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How to Build Spam-Free Email Campaigns

By Bill Platt
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004

In the current Internet market, many people are confused as to how they can use email to build their online businesses, while consumers are fighting off the evils of spam email. As a result, we are tackling this most important issue today.

The ideal way to use email to develop your business is by creating a double opt-in list on either YahooGroups,, or

I have dozens of these lists in existence myself. Basically each opt-in list provides a specific talking point or advertising point that people are interested in. (Examples: I have a dozen lists for free-reprint articles, 2 lists for ezine ad swaps, 2 small lists talking about online business, one for computer help. I also have a couple for advertising ezines to the public. I have tried safe-lists but the hosting companies keep deleting those.)

Additionally, I have at times past had up to 5 ezines, but right now only one. Each of the five ezines were on various topics --- including computer software, online marketing and general entertainment --- and all were double opt-in.

Each of the hosting companies allow you to place an ad in each mailing delivered to your group. With YahooGroups, you can only place one ad at the bottom of the email. With Topica, you can place your ads top and bottom. I cannot tell you much about since I just learned about them this past weekend.

The trick to any opt-in list is providing something based on a niche interest. Provided your list delivers something of value to the subscribers, the people will sign up to receive them.

With the ezine, you would try to provide some type of valuable information of interest to your target market. By consistently providing valuable information to your readers, you will be building the relationships with people who will likely buy from you in the future.

Let me say one thing here. Do not let an ezine distract you from your real purpose. Any ezine you develop is a tool to help you grow your business. Don't fall into the common trap of starting an ezine to promote your business and then thinking later that your ezine is your business.

There are in fact several large mailing companies out there with clean, double opt-in mailing lists for ads, but I must emphasize care when selecting one of these companies. If the mailing company cannot promise that their list is double opt-in, leave them be. Be sure to also get references and check those references. There are a lot of scammers out there sending spam to millions of harvested addresses and then trying to convince you that their mailings are safe. Buyer beware.

Double opt-in means that I as a subscriber request the mailing then I receive a verification email from the mailing list telling me that I must follow certain steps to verify my intentions to subscribe. Double opt-in is literally a method of getting someone to agree twice to receive future email.

Single opt-in lists can be and are often abused by their owners or the public-at-large. So avoid single opt-in lists at all costs. Even the appearance of Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE/Spam) can be deadly for your business.

Ezine advertising is a great method of building business, but this too is very risky depending on your type of business. Knowing where to place your ads is always the greatest challenge. Some ezines are great and some are dogs. Some are expensive and some are inexpensive. Determining the strength of your ad copy is tantamount to your success before spending a single dime on advertising in ezines.

There are ezines offering free ads, but they are not worth much to your advertising bottom line. Most of these ezines don't have a solid buyers base to them at all. Rather, they are mostly comprised of sellers who were searching for the freebie advertisements. Just the same, you can use these to test your ads before taking your money to the paid ezines. This is just one of hundreds of ways to test your ads before purchasing expensive ad space.

Other ways to test your ads is to place them in classified ad websites, in safe-lists, in general advertising or niche mailing lists. You could run them in low-cost ezines. You can also set them up as independent doorway pages which are submitted to search engines.

There are also FFA pages that can be used for testing, but I generally recommend against FFA pages because the return is so very, vary low by the nature of how FFA pages are operated and used. In my mind, FFA pages simply are not worth the time or money that you invest in them.

Sites like ( permit you to place your ads in their directory and then send your message to people who will place their advertisements through your replicated SubmitAds website. If you were adventurous, SubmitAds actually sports a nice pay program to enable you to send email to everyone in their network at the intervals you decide. You may even earn a few additional dollars by participating in their program.

No matter what approach you take to place and test your advertising and ad copy, you should be running some type of tracking to determine the effectiveness of your advertising in circulation. Without some method of tracking being employed, your test results are based only upon guess work. In the real world of business, guess work just does not cut it. You need to know precisely what is working for you and what is not working for you.

There is no better way to determine what works and what does not than to employ some type of ad tracking software. There are a few companies employing such services, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and each with very different pricing structures.

Shop around and see which ad tracking software is best for you and then use it to make a realistic determination as to what is working and what is not. Test your ads and your advertising mediums and track the results produced by each. And when the day is done, move forward with what has proven successful and then discard the rest.

About the Author
Bill Platt is co-owner of By providing their users the ability to measure and track results connected to a specific ad or advertising media, PathTrax is helping small businesses expand the profits in their bottom line. PathTrax delivers flexible tracking URL's to track Who, Where, When, How Many? All for only pennies per day. (,14)


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