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Email Marketing Aimed Towards Repeat Business
by Chrislyn @ GayAW

Repeat customers are your best source of income. If you do not keep an email list, now is the time to start. Here are some proven techniques to build your email list.

AUTOMATION IS THE KEY
If the idea of maintaining a marketing list makes you cringe, then automated services may be key for your site. You can start with a free program like Yahoo Groups. Simply place their script (and small ad) somewhere on your homepage, and they will handle the rest. New subscribers request and confirm the addition of their email and have control of removal. Yahoo Groups has automated opt-in and removal, you will not be labeled a spammer. 

Another option is to run your own email management script on your server. This is a little more work but valuable as it will not have advertisements (other than your own) and allows you to use HTML. You can start with free programs like Mojo Mail, CGI-Subscribe, or NoMoDoMo.

CONVINCING THE PASSER-BY
Once your script is operable, you must convince non-members that they should provide their email address. Here are some suggestions:

Free Samples: Don't think that just because you sell gay adult content you do not have free products to offer. A simple image editor can be used to censor the XXX-rated portions of pictures you already have showing. Offer these as "sneak previews". You can also go a bit further and offer a free set of uncensored pictures.

E-zine or Newsletter: The only reason a site should not have an e-zine that notifies members and visitors of site updates is if you don't update often enough or not at all. Webmaster should use an e-zine to remind members and visitors of updates by describing highlights of what has been added. Nonmembers are interested in how often you update just like members especially if you decide to cover a different angle on your site for a short period of time.

Feedback: Asking surfers what think about your site and what they would like to see on it has three advantages. First it get you their email address, the point of this article. Visitors that use the feedback form are usually more interested in doing business with you than any other visitor. In a sense they are saying, "I would become a member if..." Secondly, feedback gives you tips on improving your site. Chances are that if one person likes or dislikes something, there are others as well. Even negative feedback shows you people are paying attention. Lastly, feedback gives you a chance to personalize your efforts towards the customer. Taking time to win that visitor builds your reputation. The word of mouth by that visitor alone could lead to many more customers, or a lot fewer.

HEY! REMEMBER ME?
Don't wait until you have hundreds of members to begin marketing your list. New members should be notified almost immediately. A simple, "Thanks For Visiting!" email will suffice. Contact should be maintained at least on a monthly basis. Sending a message once per month is enough to remind, but not to annoy. Try the following to make your new tasks easier to manage:

Plan In Advance: If you are going to send a monthly e-zine or special offers, go ahead and create the offer or reminder. Working a few weeks to a few months in advance will keep you out of bind when crunch time comes to get the email out. If you are going to send an update, create a format (template) to plug the new information into it. The familiarity of the arrangement will make it easier to create, and let your list members know what to look forward to.

Use Auto-Responders: There are several free auto-responders online. Responders.com offers a free auto-responder that accepts adult content. If you chose to use special offers and e-zines that you write in advance, an auto-responder is essential. You can tell the program which email to send to your list member on specified dates. You do not have to remember to send it out yourself. Your initial email can be set to send through an auto-responder as well.

Use Outside Content: Internet surfers are notorious information seekers. They want what they are looking for quickly and as much about it as possible. Placing a link on your site for writers and/or pics can give you low cost content for your e-zines. Also if you don't advertise the request anywhere except on your site, your content providers will more likely be your target audience or your members.

It is easier and cheaper to get a visitor to come back than it is to get a new visitor. Remember to be creative and make your site's theme work for you. Increasing your profit margin can be as easy as starting an email list, giving incentives to sign up, and being consistent with your contact, both with original content and timeliness.
 
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