Opt-In Email Hacking (For The Ethical Marketer)

Opt-in email

Opt-in email is not magic, sometimes it happens organically. In helping a friend with their website a few months ago, we encountered a problem with spam in the comments section. The website quickly gained in popularity, and there were many legitimate comments sprinkled in with the spam. We wanted to control the spam situation without stifling any legitimate comments.

There are plugins like Akismet that could easily handle the spam situation. However, to avoid installing a plugin whenever possible, we changed the comment requirement. Now, only those who have registered with the site, for free, with an email address, can leave a comment. This takes care of the spam situation, and, as an added bonus, brings in email subscriptions.

This is just one way of creatively capturing email addresses from your readers. In this article, we’ll discuss a whole plethora of other options you can employ to get real, organic opt-in email addresses.

Why Bother with Opt-In Email?

While these days, many companies are throwing themselves over each other to try to make a splash on social media, the most respected and best source of engagement is still the email address. And even though regulations are tighter with regard to opt-in email (making sure you got legitimate permission to market to people this way), it’s still the way to go.

Everyone has an email address. It’s still one of the primary communication methods used today. Most Internet services that just about everyone uses these days require an email address. It’s like a direct line to the people who are viewing your content and/or buying your services. And you can have access to them 24 hours a day.

Anyone can get an email address. Just about anyone who can manage to use a computer can easily obtain a free email address and begin using it to get access to goods and services made possible through the web. This means your potential email reach is infinite.

No Social Platform Is Perfect

No social media platform is perfect. If you require any further convincing, consider that social media platforms do not exist to help you succeed in your business. At any point, a social media company can change their algorithm in a way that interferes with your goals, and can effectively make your strategy worthless.

But with email subscribers, you never lose contact. You always have access to your most important customers.

Free Stuff

Everyone likes free stuff. One of the best ways to get legitimate opt-in email addresses is through providing free resources.

Many websites will leak out bits of their product through free offerings like PDF documents or videos. If you can get someone to voluntarily provide their email address in exchange for an exclusive glimpse or product offering, you may have just earned yourself a sale.

Coupons and special discounts are also readily exchanged through email sign-ups. Giving up a percentage of a sale for an email address is definitely worth it.

Setting Up a Great Landing Page

We can’t dance around the fact that email sign-ups are about influence. But if you sincerely believe that your product would improve someone’s life, you can more easily justify using influence operations to encourage someone to give up their email. Is it ethical? Yes, it is. But not always, so be cautious.

The established influence master, Robert Cialdini, author of bestselling books such and Influence and Presuasion, reminds you that not everyone is susceptible to influence and persuasion to the same degree as others.

In designing a landing page, consider what you are focusing on. Cialdini informs us that what is focal is thought to be causal. This means whatever receives the most focus is thought to be the cause of a certain result.

Let’s imagine you’re trying to sell vitamins. If someone opens your email and clicks a link to learn more, lands on your landing page, and sees healthy people full of vitality, next to a bottle of your vitamin supplements they are likely to make associations between the two, almost unconsciously. They will think that your vitamin supplements cause vitality.

Consider Geography

Consider geography. Is your target in the right place to receive your message? Did you consider where your target is when they’re opening their email? A student might be hanging out in their dorm. An office worker might be on their lunch break. If you strike the target in the wrong geographical locale, you might be missing an opportunity.

More Resources about Email Marketing

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