Merely inserting someplace where email addresses can be gathered and collected is already a first step towards building a list. In general, there are two choices that you’ll be faced with when deciding exactly how and where you’re going to be gathering emails:
1. Creating an Opt-in Page
Amongst those who are honestly going all-out to build up a list, this is the most commonly employed method, simply because of its effectiveness. By creating a separate opt-in page, all the attention on that page can be focused completely on the singular goal of getting a customer to subscribe to the list.
Essentially, the best opt-in pages are those that have no ‘extras’ that may distract from the goal, and so normal advertisements and other links (except at least one leading back to the main website) are removed.
Really, it is sort of like plugging up all the ‘leaks’ so that everything just flows towards gathering up emails.
Also, having a distinct opt-in page would allow traffic to be channeled directly to it, maybe even bypassing the main website entirely. By doing so, the possibility that visitors will be distracted on the way to the opt-in page is removed as well.
Thus, the opt-in page gives the customer a two-way decision: to subscribe or not to subscribe (with everything possible being done to ensure that the former option is picked!).
Remember: With an opt-in page, your form should always be ‘above the fold’ (so that visitors will not need to scroll down to see it).
2. Adding an Opt-in Form to the Main Website
Definitely less effective under normal circumstances, it is still an option that could be considered. In more some websites, especially blogs, which may not want to have their traffic leaving the main website to go off to a separate opt-in page, having the form as part of an easily located sidebar could even work just as well.
Of course, doing so does not have the added benefits of removing all other distractions from the equation, but it is still better than nothing.
Regardless of which option is chosen in order to build up a list, there’s one other key ingredient that should not be overlooked:
Firstly, it is actually possible to build and maintain a list without using autoresponders at all. That said, it would be monumentally difficult, inconveniencing, and get close to being downright impossible when the list reached a large size.
Today’s generation of top-of-the-line autoresponders deal with a variety of functions. Not only do they store email addresses, but they also have the ability to send out scheduled automated emails.
Most autoresponders track a variety of statistics based not only on sign-up rates, but also on the click-through rates and open rates of emails. In short, they can do pretty much everything that you’d ever need done to help manage your list.
Just to get you started, here are the two best known autoresponder services that are currently available:
1. Aweber – By far the most established autoresponder; it has a huge list of features, and also claims to be able to avoid junk mail filters the best.
2. GetResponse – Aweber’s main rival, it is almost as good in terms of the number of features on offer, and a lot cheaper, especially for large lists.
Of course, seeing as you’re just starting out with list building, you may not want to invest too much money right from the start. If this is the case, then go ahead and try AutoBot. Unlike other free autoresponders, it does not include its own advertisements to emails that you may send out, making it a decent option.
Eventually though, you’re definitely going to want to go with a paid option such as Aweber or GetResponse, just because they have so many additional features that will end up saving you a lot of time.