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Obtaining Leads...Opt-In For Ads

By: Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright is owner of New Innovations, a small business Internet marketing consultancy, specializing in guerrilla marketing.  He has been on the 'net' since 1997 and a 'netrepreneur' since 1998.  After his serious bout with the disease 'get-richous-quickois', he came to a final realization.  The basic rules of business haven't changed with the arrival of the Internet, just the way they're implemented.  His motto:  "Some see problems in opportunities...I see opportunities in problems."

Leads...the life blood of any business. No business can survive long without them. One of the more recent 'hot' trends to obtain leads were to get them as opt-in subscribers to your ezine in exchange for a free ad. Then someone got the idea to automate this process on a wider scale. They gathered many ezines together to sell advertising in these newsletters. The owners of the ezines didn't receive any money, they only received the subscribers. The advertisers receive wide exposure on the cheap, newsletter owners receive subscribers for running an ad, and the organizing company receives cash compensation for bringing the two parties together. Not a bad deal for everyone involved.

Dark Clouds...On The Rise

Now, for the dark side of this process. First, the advertiser is required to join each ezine that runs his ad. This means that if he places an order to have his ad placed into three groups, he will have to join as many as 15 different ezines. This assumes that each group contains at least five ezines. Secondly, he may have to wait 2-3 weeks or more before his ad is ran.

The ezine owner has his problems also. If he joins several of these type programs, then his work load becomes that much more difficult. It wouldn't be unusual to get 25-35 subscribers per week from 3-4 of these programs. "Great...I can get 100-140 new subscribers per month", I hear you scream. Yes, this is true, but are you ready to handle what comes with these new subscribers. Remember you have to run an ad for each new member...I don't hear you shouting so loudly now! And let's be realistic, most will join using their alternate (not their main) email address. This means you may have many subscribers, but few who actually reads your newsletter.

I personally don't like ezines with many ads. I've seen some with as many as 10-15 ads per issue. I think having 4-7 ads per issue is more than enough. This is one reason why advertisers sometimes have a 2-3 week wait before their ad runs. So, if there are so many negatives, why even bother at all with this technique?

A Beam of Light...Through The Darkness

Seems like I'm against the whole "ad-for-opt-in" idea...well I'm not. I'm just a realist and like to look at the way things are...not how I'd like them to be. This does require work, but can be well worth the trouble. Realize that most advertisers won't stay with the ezine long, their main motivation is to have their ads ran. Understanding this, it becomes even more important that you get as much contact info as possible.

Here's how I handle the situation. You'll need three things to implement this strategy. First some way of storing the emails you receive. Second, an email/contact program. Third, a follow-up strategy. I use my Compuserve account to receive my incoming emails from these types of companies (ie TwoDollarAds). Open your filing cabinet and create a folder, name it TwoDollarAds. I publish my newsletter once a week, with no more than 4-7 ads per issue. For each group of ads, I create a sub folder for each week (Ex: 11-01, 11-07, 11-14, etc.). This enables me to remember which ads are ran in each newsletter.

Now, you'll need to input your contact info into your email/contact program. The email program I use is GroupMail. This is a great program and allows you a great deal of flexibility. TwoDollarAds' emails contain important contact information. You get not only their email address, but their first and last names, AND a phone number. This program requires that you contact the advertisers within 48hrs. Using GroupMail, I'm able to send out personalized emails showing their personal names. You know what the sweetest sound a person likes to hear...their name. This allows me to have many of my email read (some will send a reply; with the original message).

Follow up isn't just a term that is said just to be said, it's an action that's to done. My first contact informs them when they can expect their ads to run. I send a second email 1-2 days before it actually is ran, to remind them that they're required to be a member for the ad to run. I send a third email 3-5 days afterI run the ad. I don't try to sell them anything, I'm only interested in the results of their campaign. From then on, I'll send an occasional email reminding where they know me from and how's their campaign progressing. If I happen to run across something that I think they'll be able to use in their business...pop out goes another email. The purpose is to keep you and your product/service in the forefront of their minds. And it pays to do so.

If you really want to make an impression, use the phone number you acquired from the first email and make a live person to person call. I make a point of making 4-5 calls per week (probably should do more) and most of the time the other person is surprised to receive a call from a living human being. Again, don't try to sell them, just inquiry as to their activities. You'll be amazed as to how much a person has to say when their talking about themselves :)

Interesting PostScript

I received an email from a lady who I initially contacted through the TwoDollarAds program. She had a sudden need to market a new business opportunity she had just become involved with, and wanted me to help with her marketing campaign. Although this resulted in only a small sale ($150; $50 over three weeks), this would not have happened without a follow-up plan.

The whole purpose is to set up a foundation from which you can launch other business opportunities, like joint ventures, article or ad swaps, etc. As long as you don't "wear out" your welcome, you can enjoy a long and prosperous relationship.

© Copyright 2001, Christopher Wright

Other Articles by Christopher Wright

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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