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Five Questions You Must Answer To Build an Effective and Responsive Opt-In List

If you ... want to make a living from the ... no matter what you intend to market, you simply must develop and ... your own mailing list. That list should contain names and ...

If you seriously want to make a living from the Internet,
no matter what you intend to market, you simply must
develop and cultivate your own mailing list. That list
should contain names and addresses of people who have
expressed at least a general interest in what you have to

In other words, they have 'exercised their option' to join
your list, in return for more information, training, free
promotional items, etc. They have chosen to 'opt-in' to
your list, effectively giving you permission to contact
them regularly into the future.

Whether you have already started building your list, or are
just beginning, here are a few questions that you should
answer to yourself. We believe the answers you develop will
lend focus, and aid you in compiling a much more effective
and responsive opt-in mailing list of your own.

1. Who do you want to target?

Your first answer may be 'everyone.' And that may seem
reasonable, especially if you intend to market widely used
consumer goods like nutritional products, DVDs, gamewares
or the like. In reality, your target must be much smaller
in order to achieve adequate results from your marketing

Take a look at your product or service. What can you
determine about the people who will be most likely to need,
want, and use it?

Let's say you offer a line of exclusive designer baby
accessories. Your target market will primarily surround
young mothers (and fathers) in the 20-30 year age bracket
who enjoy above average incomes. A secondary target would
involve financially stable grandparents. Mailing to a list
that includes childless married couples, single adults, or
people who have no disposable income will be a waste of
your time and resources.

2. How will you attract attention?

You must do something or offer something that will cause
your target market to take notice. If you want superlative
results, then you must make a superlative offer.

Most Internet users come online seeking one thing . . .
information. And you may have already heard that a 'free
informational report' will draw new subscribers like bees
to honey. Not necessarily so!

The information itself must be of a timely nature, and not
yesterday's news. It should be thought provoking, useable,
and have value in and of itself. To young mothers, a short
report titled '10 Ways To Make Your Baby Smarter' would be
of immense interest.

3. What is your plan of action?

In other words, what will you DO to spread the word about
the benefits of joining your opt-in list? First you will
need to seek out the venues frequented by your target
market. Next, develop a regimented marketing plan of daily,
weekly or monthly action that you will take to make your
market aware of what you have to offer.

Then stick to it! Many would be entrepreneurs will give up
when the first efforts seem to produce scant results. This
will only leave a larger market share for you. Consistent
marketing action and persistent focus will get you what you

4. How will you retain subscribers?

What will keep your list members from unsubscribing? What
will you consistently offer to keep their attention?

It's important that you develop firm answers to these
questions in advance. Lack of a well defined concept in
this vein can lead to inconsistencies in your content, and
possibly a mass exodus of previously interested prospects.

We do wish to advise against offering a constant flow of
'freebies' in order to retain subscribers. This can
critically undermine the responsiveness of your list. Your
subscribers should know upfront that while you are
interested in serving their needs, you are also in business
to earn a profit.

5. What will be your mode of delivery?

How do you plan to keep in touch with your list? It goes
without saying that we are discussing online communication
by email. But there is methodology within that form as well.

You may choose to send your list only updates, new product
announcements, and bits of useful information from time to
time. Yet even this seemingly informal contact mode should
be done on a scheduled basis, and not be left to random

You may also choose to formally publish your own
newsletter. In this case, make a realistic assessment of
how much time you have to devote to publishing, and gear
your publishing schedule to surround your own ability to
follow through. Few things are more detrimental to the
effectiveness of your list than haphazard publishing and

When approached with prior planning and systematic action,
your opt-in list can accumulate much quicker than you might
expect. With proper care and cultivation, it can literally
grow into the proverbial money-treeFeature Articles, and yield fruit for
your lifetime.
Copyright 2002 - Serenity Marketing Group LLC
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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Dan B. Cauthron is a veteran entrepreneur with a 40 year history in the direct marketing field. He offers original marketing insights and a 7-Volume eMarketing Library to all new subscribers. Join his list by visiting or by sending
your name and email address to with the words 'subscribe me' in the subject bar.

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