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If you have valuable information to share with your customers on a regular basis, then it might be time to start an email list. Start by putting an opt-in form on your website – you know, those “Sign up for our newsletter,” boxes you see on other websites.  Doing so will allow you to expand your customer base and gain direct access to these followers’ inboxes.

Advantages of Email Marketing

It’s simple and cost-effective. Paying a monthly subscription for an email marketing service represents only a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods, including direct mail, radio spots, and phone book listings. Plus, by conducting your communications online, you’re going where your customers are and ensuring that they receive your messages during their daily email checks.
Familiarity. The people you’re emailing are those who have expressed interest in hearing from you, meaning that you’re more likely to get a response to your calls to action.
High return rates. When done correctly, email marketing allows you to easily target specific demographics; therefore, it typically yields higher returns. A 2013 survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa revealed that survey respondents expected ROI as high as 139% for their organization’s email marketing efforts.
It’s easily trackable. With email marketing campaign tools, you can easily track stats including open rate, bounce rate, unsubscribes, click-throughs, and more. This also makes the success of your campaign easily measurable, giving you valuable analytics to use for your future campaigns.
It’s fast. Tired of waiting around to see the results of a direct mail campaign? Let’s face it, direct mail is slow. Email marketing is an instantaneous type of communication – there aren’t many people in the modern world who go a day without checking their inbox.
Once you’re ready to start taking advantage of the benefits of email marketing, take the following steps to add an email opt-in form to your website.

How to Add Opt-In Form

Step #1 – Choose an email marketing provider.
There are quite a few email marketing services to choose from, but our favorite here at Bluehost is Constant Contact. Its interface is user friendly, the deliverability rates are excellent (97 percent compared to the industry’s 81 percent), and the design features are incredibly intuitive. Most importantly, though, Constant Contact boasts a great return on investment for small-business owners: $44 dollars back for every $1 spent.
Step #2 – Create your opt-in form.
Choose form layout and colors that compliment your site, but that also stand out enough for your visitors to notice. Your form can behave in a number of different ways. For example, you can choose a simple static form, a pop up form, or one that scrolls from the side to the middle of the page. In general, though, it’s best to avoid pop up forms, given the popularity of pop up blockers.
As you’re creating your form, keep in mind that you’ll get a better response rate with a form that has fewer input fields, as nobody likes spending tons of time filling out forms. A first name and an email field are usually sufficient.
Step #3 – Copy the code and paste it into your site.
Once you create your form, your provider will generate your form’s HTML code. Copy this code and open the administrator page of your website. Find your website’s HTML or CSS document and paste the code in the appropriate place. Different website providers – like WordPress and Weebly – have their own instructions for this, so be sure to consult any applicable support documentation.
Step #4 – Add an incentive. 
When it comes to encouraging email newsletter signups, keep in mind who your target audience members are and how you can best serve them. People like additional value (not to mention the word “free), so adding an extra incentive for subscribing to your list is a good idea.
If you have something of value to offer – such as an ebook that will help your target audience – put it up for grabs. You can do this by hosting your freebie on a separate page on your site and including a download link in your “Thank you for confirming your subscription” email. It also helps to include an illustration or picture of your freebie with your opt-in form in order to draw your visitors’ attention.

Email Marketing Dos and Don’ts

Finally, don’t just add your email opt-in form to your site and hope for the best.  Keep the following dos and don’ts in mind in order to increase your campaign’s effectiveness:
Do offer an incentive for signing up for your list. What will you give people in exchange for their email? Discounts? Exclusive offers? An ebook download?
Don’t send unsolicited emails. This is considered spamming and is frowned upon in the online marketing world. If someone didn’t sign up for your updates, don’t send them.
Do continuously deliver value to your subscribers. If you promised value, then continue to deliver value to your customers. Do more than send ads and affiliate promotions.
Don’t buy or sell email lists. Remember that your subscribers are trusting you to keep their information private, and that you would want the same consideration yourself. At the same time, don’t take the shortcut of buying email lists from others. Your communications are likely to have a high bounce rate and be flagged as spam since you’re basically an unrecognized sender.
Do keep in touch on a regular basis. Sporadic email communications defeat the purpose of email marketing. Your email messages represent a way for people to familiarize themselves with your brand and to grow to trust it. Whether you choose to send weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly emails, aim for regularity in your messages.
Don’t forget to show your personality in your communications. Your customers want to know that you’re a real person aiming to offer real value to his or her customers.  Allowing your personality to shine through in your messages will help to increase your open rates in the future.
At the end of the day, adding an email opt-in form to your website represents a quick and easy way to improve both the relationships you have with your followers and your business’s bottom line.  If you haven’t set up an email marketing account yet, make this a top priority on your website’s to-do list.

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