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Small Business Blogging Tip #27 – Opt-In Mechanism

Opt-In MechanismYour blog should be well designed. It should have valuable content. And it should have an opt-in mechanism. How you implement that opt-in mechanism is up to you, but don’t take for granted the importance of this feature. Your blog’s top priority should be to build your RSS feed subscribers and e-mail lists as much as possible. You may need to offer something for free to gain their trust, but once you have it, these prospects are generally more than happy to hear what you have to say in the future.

Many bloggers are afraid to ask, don’t have the time to produce an information product or simply don’t know how, but these problems are more psychological than anything. If you are blogging, I’m sure you’d like to have at least a few readers. Why not make it easier for them to get your content? The time spent on creating a good information doesn’t have to be substantial, though it can be. Use your company’s information to your best advantage by finding out what your prospects want to know about your products or services, or your industry at large. As far as not knowing how, well that’s what we are here for.

What type of opt-in mechanism should I use?

  • The most common form of an opt-in mechanism is the RSS feed. By increasing those readers that subscribe to your RSS feed, you are building not only the trust factor of your blog, but also a massive database of prospects that have bought into what you are talking about. The value in this should be apparent
  • Another opt-in mechanism you can use is that which gives prospects a free item in return for giving you their e-mail addresses. By developing valuable information products, you can increase this number quickly
  • You may also want to consider creating splash pages for some of your products and services and entice prospects to register there. If you have time to build pages for each of your products it will pay off in time as you can specifically target certain products in certain situations instead of all of your products or services. Keep in mind how important targeted marketing is in today’s landscape

What can I use to entice readers to opt-in?

  • You can use contests to entice readers to sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your RSS feed. A well launched contests may have to give up some nice prizes, but when you keep in mind the importance of building these lists, you will be very pleased with the growth a good contest will create
  • Giving away free information products is another great way to entice readers into opting-in to your e-mail list. The more valuable your product is, the more likely the reader will stay around awhile, as well as tell their peers about your offerings
  • Linkbait is a newer form of getting opt-ins. Strongly similar to giving away free information products, linkbait is more about shocking people for a short period of time in an attempt to get a large amount of links very quickly. Linkbaiting used correctly can indeed bring more readers, but they aren’t the type of prospects for the most part that are going to stay around long. This tactic can be used to build links, so don’t dismiss it quickly

What do I do with those that choose to opt-in?

  • The first thing you should do is send an autoresponder message and make sure they really want to be on your mailing list. If they are, send them the item you promised as quickly as possible
  • Your original message should also include a sales pitch for some service or product you offer that can help them succeed at whatever the topic of the information product is. You should also have some sequence of follow up emails that will offer even more free information, and to advise them to keep en eye out for them
  • Lastly, you want to add all these new email addresses and try to separate them into certain segments so that when you are ready to market to your list, you can do so by tailoring your messages to each group. In the long run, this is exactly what you want to do with your e-mail lists

Be sure your opt-in mechanism is read from day one. You may not have a product to give away yet, but you will. Surprisingly, if your content is good, readers will opt-in on their own. I have one blog with 2 posts and 5 registered users. This tells me it’s in a good niche and when I have the time to follow my own guidelines, I think it will be just as successful if not more than any of my others. Having that opt-in method, with nothing to give away, has given me some good market research if nothing else. Get yours set up and notify readers from time that a free e-book or newsletter is on the way. Perhaps offer the first 10 signups a freebie.

To get your opt-in mechanism set-up, you will want to check with your hosting company or try out other companies like AWeber. Ther are many options on the market but AWeber is widely considered to be the best autoresponder for the prics. Don’t neglect creating your own tailored landing pages which you can use in numerous ways from social networking to forum posting. Lastly, make sure your opt-in methods are in prominent locations.