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Posts Tagged ‘Double Opt-in’

Line of peopleMy colleague, Mark Robertson, just wrote an interesting blog on Welcome Email Programs. I thought I would add to this by discussing the very first point – growing that email list.

With that in mind, here’s my checklist of things to consider when growing an opt-in email list ….plus a few additional comments/opinions:

What are you looking to achieve – quality or quantity?

Put simply, is it double opt-in or single opt-in?

•    Double opt-in: As Mark suggests, best practice would be to take a double opt-in approach when capturing data. Anyone within the industry would have a hard time arguing against this, yet this isn’t the norm as it isn’t a legal requirement.
•    Single opt-in: The most common method used, yet all too often people are simply collecting with growth targets in mind and not really thinking about why? Write down the objective.

What are recipients opting-in for?

There are two quick wins here – point of sign-up and welcome program.

•    Sign-up: We hear people talk about ‘competing within the inbox arena’, so let subscribers know what they can expect to receive straight away (e.g. newsletters, promotional offers, both, …). I’ve seen examples of some retailers actually giving a click option to see an example newsletter (e.g. www.elc.co.uk/SignUp.php). No confusion here.

•    Welcome Program: A ‘triple-whammy’ here.  A chance to thank them for joining your email list, inform them about what they can expect to hear and, most importantly, your first opportunity to get a recipient engaged.

What to capture?

A few things to cover here. The reality is it might be an area to test – email only vs. full data capture. Things to consider would be:

•    Industry: B2B would differ from B2C (e.g., organisation vs. post code).

•    Types of Data: If you stick to the types of data that can be used for personalisation, I don’t think you can go too far wrong. If you’re not at that stage of your contact plan, then there’s no need to worry, collect that information by way of ongoing process (e.g., reintegration of click behaviour, preference centre/edit profile).

•    Type of Communication: If you perform other forms of marketing communication (e.g., mobile), capture that data BUT be sure to give them that preference as an option.

•    Frequency: I’ve heard it discussed that you should give a recipient a choice of how often they wish to hear from you? A good idea in theory, yet how would they know? That’s not to say it’s not a good idea, yet it might work better to have a preference page link within the email so this can be done after they gain a feeling for your contact frequency.

•    Sharing Data: The recipient has opted to receive newsletters from your brand. Make it absolutely clear if you intend to share their data with ‘trusted 3rd party partners’. If not, both brands will suffer, yours most.

Where else can I capture data?

Numerous places, write them all down and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised:

•    Online: Both new and existing customers. If they have to sign up to receive these emails, make sure any unsubscribe process is still 1 or 2 clicks. I hate those ‘can’t remember password’ scenarios.

•    Offline: I bought my Godson a present from Baby Gap just the other day. As soon as I finished my transaction, the till assistant was tapping my email address into a hand-held device ….she looked terrified when I quizzed her as to where that was sending my email address?! No spelling or hand writing problems here for Baby Gap. Tim Watson wrote an interesting blog about How to grow email lists through offline touch points read more here.

OR

•    Lead Generation Specialists: Oops, shameless eCircle plug time: www.ecircle.com/en/products-services/lead-generation-services

Generally, when reading a blog I tend to work to the 5 minute rule – any longer and it’s eating into something else I need to be getting done. So whilst this subject could warrant the breaking of this rule in its importance, I’m going to end with one comment. With email list growth requiring such a detailed thought process, do you know your list growth rate versus your rate of unsubscribe …? I’m often surprised as to how many don’t, worth a check I’d say.

Other related articles can be found below;

http://www.email-marketing-reports.com/iland/2008/10/new-email-marketing-22-ways-to-build.html

http://dmaemailblog.com/2010/02/16/generating-new-email-recipients-from-facebook-apps-why-integration-is-the-key-to-success/

https://ecircleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/email-relevanc…t-go-far-wrong/

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waving handsI spend a significant part of my day opting-in to email newsletter programs. I do this partly because I work in email marketing and want to keep abreast of what clients/prospects are doing and partly because, as a frugally-minded consumer, I like receiving all the special offer emails in my inbox. As a result, I see loads of different welcome emails and programs. Some are excellent, some not so excellent.

This is a topic that had been addressed hundreds of times, including some excellent articles here email-marketing.mailinmanager.co.uk, stylecampaign.com and www.campaignmonitor.com. Despite the fact that this is widely regarded as intrinsic to any good email marketing strategy, I’m surprised how seldom companies get it right! More often than not, I’m sent a plain text email (sometimes not even straight away), telling me that I have subscribed to a company’s list, nothing about the company, what communications I should expect to receive and when I should expect to receive it.

Some basic things to consider when conceiving your welcome email program;

•    Double Opt-in: Minimum legal requirements aside, best practice always dictates that you ask individuals to confirm their subscription. Usually this is done by a simple link click.

•    Real-time: Send the confirmation/welcome emails straight away – an email hours/days/weeks after the initial point of subscription is pretty shabby.

•    Set Expectations: Tell people what to expect from you and when to expect it, don’t just send them a plain text email thanking them for subscribing and telling them that you’ll ‘be in touch soon’.

•    Don’t Miss an Opportunity: The point of subscription is be the ideal time to incentivise an individual to purchase/book, forward to a friend, share to social etc…test different HTML creatives (not simple text versions) to maximise the potential of the welcome email, whatever your goal.

•    Ask for Information: The initial point of subscription is also the ideal point in time to ask someone what they are interested in, how often they want to hear from you and when they want to receive your info. This is a good opportunity to drive them to an edit profile page or preference centre.

•    Consider the Drip-Feed Approach: The best welcome programs in my opinion are those with a tiered approach. Maybe one email to confirm subscription, a thank you email laced with interesting info and teasers of what is to come, a follow up email after a day/week and another email thereafter. The best programs are educational and set expectations, not simply sales messages. Another interesting approach is to split up articles or user information over this series of triggered emails, so the recipient engages with the info and looks out for their next message in their inbox.

•    Treat Fresh Subscribers Differently: If you have a good welcome program, keep them in a separate ‘pot’…let them receive the full lifecycle of your welcome emails before they start receiving newsletters/ad hoc campaigns.

A bit of thought, aligned with creative/technical work and testing can lead to the kind of initial contact strategy that will start the relationship as you mean to continue. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Other related articles can be found below;

http://e-commerce-marketing.suite101.com/article.cfm/benefits-of-automated-welcome-emails-to-email-marketing-campaigns

http://anythinggoesmarketing.blogspot.com/2009/04/top-10-triggered-b2b-email-marketing.html

http://www.getelastic.com/writing-welcome-emails/

http://www.ecircle.com/en/resource-centre/best-practices.html

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