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Because my last post on e-mail copywriting was so well received, I have decided to take the topic and expand it out into a three part series. These three articles will cover what I consider to be the most important aspects of e-mail marketing: getting the opt in, writing the subject line, and writing the body content.

This entry, of course, is part 1: getting the opt in.

When you first embark on an e-mail marketing campaign, you need to get people’s e-mail addresses. There are two ways of doing this: first, you can simply find people’s e-mail addresses (for example, on their websites); second, you can lead people to a website and have them opt in to your list voluntarily by offering them a free resource.

As you may have already guessed, the second approach is far more effective. Although cold prospecting has its place in marketing, it will always get you a lower conversion open compared to warm prospecting. Of course, if you don’t have any way of getting people to opt in to your list, then it’s better to contact them “cold” than to not contact them at all. However, if you’re going to be serious about e-mail marketing, you will need to find a way to get people to opt in to your list, so that when they receive your newsletter, they will see it as something of value, not as spam.

If you’ve studied copywriting or internet marketing at any length, you’ll know that a page where people opt in to your e-mail list is called a “squeeze page.” A squeeze page includes a brief sales pitch, followed by an opt in form where the visitor can give you their name and e-mail address. The actually coding of the opt in form is relatively straightforward, so the real trick to getting people to opt in is twofold:

1. Driving traffic to your squeeze page, and

2. Writing effective squeeze page copy.

Now, you could write a book about both of these topics alone, and I’m not going to cover them in full detail in this post. Nevertheless, it is possible to create a very general, yet helpful, set of guidelines of how you can get people to your squeeze page and then get them to opt in once they’re there. A rough sketch of such guidelines is as follows.

Part One: Traffic

In order to get people to your squeeze page, you need to open up communication streams that lead them there. You have two options for doing this: one, you can promote your website, through SEO, blog commenting, forum marketing, and so on. Two, you can buy traffic, in the form of a pay per click campaign or some other form of paid advertising.

If you don’t have the budget to buy traffic, you will need to get it by promoting your website through various communication channels. One way to do this is to post on forums related to your niche, and include a link to your squeeze page in your signature. Another way is to comment on blogs and include a link to your squeeze page (in the “website” field, not in the main text of your post). Still another way is to try to get your site’s search engine rankings up by posting links to it all over the internet, although you’ll definitely want to avoid doing this in an overt fashion, since Google will look at you with some suspicion if you create hundreds of links in a single day.

If you can afford to buy traffic, make sure you do some research and find out which terms are commonly searched for by readers and buyers in your niche. You can do this using search tools like Google Analytics and SiteCatalyst. Once you have discovered those terms, find out how much it costs to do a PPC campaign with them (contact Google about pay per click rates), and if the costs fit in your budget, then go for it.

Part Two: Squeeze Page Copy

Once you’ve got your traffic, you of course need to convert that traffic into opt-ins. This is where the copywriting itself comes into play. In general, squeeze page copywriting follows the same principles as sales letter copywriting; however, it must do the same thing in much fewer words, because few people will stick around long enough to read a full sized sales letter promising something as mundane as a free newsletter. The most important things to keep in mind when writing your squeeze page copy are:

1,  Keep the copy to less than 350 words.

2Write a headline that tells the reader EXACTLY what they’re going to get (or LEARN) when they opt in.

3, Use bullet points to deliver all the benefits as succinctly as possible.

4, Tell the reader to opt in, using these exact words: “sign up now by entering your name and e-mail address in the form below.”

5, Make sure the opt-in form itself is visible. Include an arrow pointing to the form.

I highly recommend you read blogs related to SEO for more on the topic of traffic building. I assure you, it is a field of study in its own right. However, the points mentioned in this post will suffice as a general introduction to the topic. As for writing the squeeze page copy, you can supplement the advice above by checking out other posts in this blog, especially on topics like headline writing and internet marketing. Be sure to tune in on Wednesday, as I will be going into detail on one of the most important topics in e-mail marketing: the subject line.

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