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Janet Roberts

Feedback: Building the Pre-Launch Buzz
By Janet Roberts

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Has the world gone mad? Is Ezine-Tips really telling publishers to spam prospective subscribers in order to build a database before launching a newsletter?

I can't speak for the world, but I do know that I didn't intend to say it's okay to keep bugging people via email to sign up for their newsletters when I passed along an email subscription solicitation idea in Thursday's Ezine-Tip. Review that column here first.

Jill Whalen, who copublishes Rank Write Roundtable, a well-regarded newsletter on effective copywriting and search-engine optimization disagreed:

"One email to let people know of your newsletter is acceptable. After that, you're bordering on spam (or misuse of your original email list), and that is most definitely unacceptable to me."

I agree; I guess I didn't make the point loudly enough in the column that when you send out your email solicitation, you MUST send it only to people who have already given you permission to contact them, and you MUST include an opt-out link for people who don't want to hear from you again. Yes, that means even though these people gave you permission once, you have to let them change their minds.

You also should not raid your "cookie" jar to get addresses of people who just visit your site without requesting information or buy bulk email address lists full of people who have no interest in your subject.

Mark Brownlow passed along two problems to avoid when building a subscriber database before the launch:

  1. "Collecting sign-ups too far in advance of the first issue. By the time the newsletter appears, people have forgotten they signed up, and spam accusations start to fly.

  2. Collecting sign-ups before the title and scope of the newsletter have been finalized. Then people receive a newsletter they don't recognize or which doesn't meet their expectations. Again, you can then run into problems with disgruntled recipients.

"A variation on 2 though is to use the advanced sign-ups to adjust your scope, by letting people indicate their areas of interest on the sign-up form."

Mark recently published "The Keeping the Key Report: How to Give Your Email Newsletters Impact and Influence." It's an excellent guide, which I will be reviewing in a future Ezine-Tip.

Ezine-Tips for December 14, 2001

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