One of the most profitable things that a business, entrepreneur or internet marketer can do is to build a targeted list of email subscribers. This is no secret and it is nothing new. The only thing that has changed in the last ten years is the medium through which contact is made. In the old days, standard mail was used. Mailing lists were built by placing ads in newspapers and magazines in conjunction with the broadcasting of TV commercials as well as radio ads soliciting individuals to sign up for an occasional mailer which would generally contain targeted information and unique product offerings. For the most part, that has not changed. These days, however, instead of mailing in or calling in ones opt-in information, they simply fill out an instant opt-in form that is part of a PHP script which then sends a confirmation email to the submitted email address to verify deliverability. After successful confirmation, the email address is then added to the e-mailer list.
It is only after successful confirmation that the real work begins. Once a subscriber is part of a mailing list, value must be provided so as to keep that person on the mailing list. Additionally, the rate and frequency at which contact is made must be carefully and thoughtfully throttled so as to avoid irritating or overloading the subscriber.
There are two methods of follow up that can be used to maintain contact with subscribers depending on what type of subscriber they are. Some subscribers are laymen with respect to the subject being covered and others are journeymen with respect to the subject being covered.
If an individual is a layman, then usually, the best type of mailer to use is a sales funnel more commonly know as an autoresponder series. An autoresponder series is a preset series of emails released to an opt-in email address according to a preset schedule after confirmation.
The advantage to using a sales funnel or autoresponder series is that the information and products sent to the sign up are done so in a way that brings their understanding and experience level up gradually with respect to the subject being covered. This can be much more effective than signing them up for a newsletter that may contain information or offerings that are beyond their experience level or ability to understand. For example, if someone signs up for an internet marketing basics e-course, an autoresponder series could gradually introduce them to the basics of internet marketing. Items like obtaining hosting, launching a blog, and building traffic could be covered in a way where each lesson builds on the ones before it thus allowing them to build their understanding of the subject. At this point in the learning process, the individual would hardly gain the benefit of a newsletter that covered advanced SEO tactics used by internet marketers.
If an individual has a greater experience level than that of a layman, then a newsletter may be a better option for that person. Odds are that their experience level exceeds that of the information contained in the sales funnel. For this reason, receiving the emails in the autoresponder series would be considered a waste of time by them.
The nice thing about newsletters is that you can add any and all information and tactics that are considered cutting-edge as well as product offerings for individuals with an advanced understanding.
So, which should be offered, a sales funnel/autoresponder series or a newsletter? The answer is simple. Offer both. Both laymen and journeymen exist, so offer both a autoresponder series and a newsletter. These opt-ins can be part of the same list or two separate ones.
Many internet marketers put their opt-ins on a newsletter list with that co-broadcasts a sales funnel at the same time. The problem with this is that the person who signed up receives the newsletter and the autoresponder series at the same time. This can be confusing or overwhelming to laymen and annoying to journeymen.
The other option is to have two separate lists. Journeymen can sign up for the newsletter and begin receiving the advanced information and product offerings immediately whereas the laymen can sign up for the autoresponder series and bring their knowledge base and experience level up to speed slowly. Once they have completed the autoresponder series, the last email would contain an invitation for them to sign up for the newsletter list by means of which a lasting professional relationship can be formed. Individuals who take this route tend to be more loyal and profitable to the publisher. Additionally, they are not overwhelmed by information and their inbox is not overrun by emails which can irritate them to the point of unsubscribing.
The goal is to teach everyone the basics first and once they have learned the basics, slowly feed them advanced information and products for the long term. Having two separate lists allows an internet marketer to accomplish this with no irritating overlap between the autoresponder series and newsletter. Laymen sign up for the autoresponder series first, then upon completion are invited to sign up for the newsletter. Journeymen skip the autoresponder series and go directly to the newsletter.