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Direct Email: Opt-In for Your Campaigns          Print the current page

Kevin Kwasnik is a Web entrepreneur who developed, designed and manages two small businesses online. In the six months since Gee-Wiz, his next-generation Internet directory, debuted, Kevin has grown his site traffic to over 30,000 page views per day.

"Most first time traffic to Gee-Wiz is a result of links that are freely given to my site's internal pages, and from the massive amount of subscriber-based or Opt-In email that I generate," remarks Kwasnik. Most of my link-originating traffic comes to list their web site URL, but through email, I've been able to successfully target and get conversions for my low banner ad rates from advertisers."

Gee Wiz is not alone. There has been noticeable activity on the e-commercial front as businesses work to surpass personal fourth quarter revenues and gear up their product visibility for the holiday season. By embracing per-click banner advertising and Opt-In direct email packages as their prevailing modes for promotion, web marketers are signaling that they are not comfortable with taking substantive financial and uncalculated audience behavior risks this season.

Driving a successful direct email campaign requires working through six important steps. Do you know them? Let's discuss.

Campaign Objective - it is worth saying again.
It makes sense for every marketing campaign, regardless of the promotional vehicle being used, to begin by asking the question why. Why are you spending the money? What do you hope to achieve? Where do you want to be in relation to where you are now? The answers to these questions will be your proverbial campaign crutch, and the central point that your must re-focus upon whenever you need to make a decision about how to progress. Do you want sales, leads or visibility? Will you be happy with five sales or five hundred? What is the cost of one visitor to you? If you can't determine these answers alone, consult someone who can help you.

The most obvious error made in direct email pieces is verbosity - much like this newsletter. The objective should be to get the qualified candidate to return to your web site, not for them to be able to complete a question and answer session post-email. Face it, not every recipient of your email is going to be interested in what you have to say and many of those that do click-through to your web site may not respond positively. For this reason, your email must be specific without being scholastic, entertaining without frivolousness and compel action without begging for it. Mention your web site URL and company name and spring directly into the benefits of your product/service.

Targeting - no spam.
Choose only Opt-In email houses to distribute your announcements through. Opt-In subscribers request information on the topics that you're mailing about, so tap into their inboxes. Be creative in your messages. If you are a travel agency announcing a travel promotion to Bermuda, you may want to target categories beyond the boundaries of travel. You may target Communications: tradeshows for coordinators seeking a new location for an annual convention; upon teaming up with a Bermuda business; target Business: opportunities with an expose of the business opportunity and a special fair and hotel rate for interested parties; Internet: webmasters telling them that they need to spend less time in front of a computer and more time sipping Pina Colada's on the beach. Realistically targeting each of these categories in the manner mentioned above requires distinctly crafted messages about the promotion. Using your imagination to target in this way broadens your targeted email horizons.

Fulfillment - are you ready?
Do not partake in the business of offering false promises or not being able to handle the results of your email campaign. Expect the worst - or better yet, the best. Anticipate a 50 percent response rate to prepare yourself for time consuming phone calls and emails. Insure that your inventory is sufficiently stocked to fulfill every order in a reasonable amount of time. Hot leads require immediate attention.

Tracking - Fulfillment: the sequel.
To satisfy all of your site's visitors, offer multiple channels for communication, including a lead qualification form. Provide an opportunity for hesitant visitors to participate in your campaign by requesting further information. For best results, create a unique URL for tracking incoming visits. Do this by developing a URL that mirrors your home page, like www.yourdomain.com/index2.html or /epromo.html. Simply copy the page that you want to drive traffic to, paste it into a new HTML page, rename the page to something new, then upload it to your Web server. This technique allows you to track the daily traffic to your unique URL via your server logs. Establishing this custom approach to your tracking system allows the origin of your site's visitors to be determined and accountably assigned to specific promotional tools. In effect, you will know the efficiencies of your online marketing campaigns. This elementary step is often overlooked by marketers, but is the key to refreshing or modifying your messages. As your traffic diminishes as a result of a promotion's end, you will now be able to calculate the immediate cost of the campaign to you in real dollars. It is hard to assign a dollar amount to branding and residual or future purchases that may result from any campaign.

Follow-up - Fulfillment: part three.
Advanced Internet marketers build relationships with their clients, They are less concerned in benefiting from single points of contact then they are in warranting their products and services and surveying for quality and customer assurance. To make impressions that last, you must follow-up with your customers, whether via email or phone. Be careful of email autoresponders. Often they are interpreted as artificial interjections of gratitude, sent solely to promote additional goods and services than to examine satisfaction levels. Responsible marketers care about feedback and use it to improve and re-construct. Sincerity is as simple as an anonymous and optional feedback form placed prominently on your web pages.

If you're in the market for Opt-In direct email, visit http://www.upromote.com/email.