While opt-in e-mail-marketing consistently has the highest return-on-investment of any form of advertising, the catch-22 is that you can’t get surfers to your website to opt-in. Much is the same when you’re looking for a job that requires experience, but how do you get the experience to get the experience?
The first option is to make the opt-in process a pop-up at the beginning of the entry to the website, with three “power points” as to why it is essential to follow what you do. Paying the recipients to pass on your newsletters as legal chain letters (cannot ask for money, may not promise “a lot” of money in return) would be your your most powerful statements. Offer prizes to the most opens of your e-mail message (tracked by invisible pixel tracking code) click-throughs, and referral sales offered by bulk mail services like MailChimp.com, free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 messages. You can also request that the recipient include your “reply-to” e-mail address in the forward or “CC” list so you can track forwards, which is good if the recipient fears virus or tracking cookies that steal information. Offer a large percentage of your profit to those that get referral credit and those that are referred when a purchase is made. Give those who are second level or lower-tier recipients a reason to opt-in to main newsletter at website, knowing they are now in the first tier and more likely to qualify for higher earnings with future contests. This works well for your subscriber list, and those whose e-mail addresses are in your inbox and you forward and share messages at the same time.
The critical mass index (CMI) can be calculated on a tier by tier basis for all messages sent, or as the net average for a campaign by the time it completes itself, and the chain letter will sustain itself indefinitely if the following conditions are met:
average-#-of-recipients x %opens x %forwards => 1;
An arbitrary trial balloon in June of 2016 had 6,000 unsolicited public sector recipients, 13% opens, and 30% forwards. While the first tier “send” is much higher than 1 (about 350), the second tier petered out quite quickly, as there was no financial incentive to pass on to the next tier, and no instructions how to amass a large forwarding list, and no consolation for those who don’t pass on the newsletter. Bristol Apps estimates in June 2016 the average inbox has 47 contacts, so it can be presumed that for second tier and lower-tier recipients, as a conservative estimate, 47 people of the 13% who open the e-mail forward it 30% of the time (and open and forward rates will be higher if they were forwarded from a known and more trusted source, as opposed to the original virgin sender) and that means about CMI = about 2.5, so the newsletter could potentially expand indefinitely. However, remember, content is king, and if yesterday’s success’s become tomorrow’s failures, and the lower tiers realize they’re not at first eligible for as much money as the higher tiers, the CMI is subject to plummet until new opens/reads are negligibly low. So theoretically no chain letter can sustain itself indefinitely. There is still good news as you can give the lower tier recipient a chance to opt-in to the first tier by going to the website, and more first tier people means they are happier and you are happier, with the highest possible ROI. While the vast majority of people don’t have an opt-in newsletter, or more than a few “reliable” contacts in their inbox, there is a way to harvest all the e-mail addresses for free from your inboxes and websites that can be looked up in search engines pertinent to what you do, along with keywords like “@yahoo.com”, “@gmail.com”, “guest book”, “classified”, etc., with free software from ChinaCompanyDatabase.com.
Most lists you extract will have too many spam traps (older and/or unregistered e-mail used to discouraged spamming when lists are uploaded to build e-mail sending programs like MailChimp.com) unless you harvest fresh e-mail, which can be done by prioritizing the sites you look up in search engine by most recently modified sites, or removing the older half of the addresses taken from a single URL with a scope limiting you to that domain/URL, which is usually necessary, otherwise extractor will descend to other links to other sites that have too many spam traps. Use NeverBounce.com for a free validation check – unless the bounce back rate is under 15%, the list is probably no good or has to be cleaned with older addresses removed. Determining what addresses are older often means dividing your lists into halves, thirds, etc., and while Google allows search engine sorting based on age, you might sacrifice relevance in the process. Public sector e-mail addresses, for obvious reasons, get little unsolicited e-mail, but as an anarchist I know that to get the message to the most people soon, I need to go to the people most effected by imminent collapse of government first.
The most sacred rules of unsolicited e-mail, make sure you are Can-Spam compliant (no misleading subjects, physical address must be present, etc.), send from a website based e-mail address, not gmail, yahoo, etc. or many spam filters will block you, and most importantly, do not solicit to make a purchase. I once got a free $3,000 Cision list by spamming for e-mail addresses in exchange for links to the owner’s site. To follow suit with free chain letter automatic affiliate program networks, like I offer for my opt-ins, my affiliates, and the many people (about 95% public sector) I send unsolicited messages to, with what money you have in the beginning, offer multiple-place prizes to those in your trial balloon who have the most opens (therefore “forwards”, according to MailChimp), and a percentage of the business profit to those who refer or are referred when a purchase is made. This is not an illegal or “terms of service” violating MLM, pyramid, matrix or “ponzi” scheme, only a two-layer-only no-need-to-sign-up affiliate network compliant with PayPal and the many other programs. There is no loss of income for those at the end of the chain letter, no misleading sales tactics, and commissions do not descend from beginning to end of chain letter – double-level affiliate programs are compliant with all major Internet payment processors. It is also essential to verify with testimonials and payment receipts that the recipients did win the prize/affiliate commission – two questions customers ask before they convert to a sale – do they know you, and do they trust you. So be persistent with the same audience, and enforce through encryption, not just traditional trust, otherwise known as “digital anarchy” like BitCoin. Make sure you opt-out those who want to be opted-out, and back-up your website daily in case you are cancelled for spamming, and upload to new hosting account right away. It is good to send e-mail with multiple “back-up” and “reply-to” e-mail addresses with alternative domains that can be registered for $3 per year and hosted for $3 per month, as e-mail recipients will send messages to host about spam complaints and threaten to black-list both domain and hosting company. This gives you the option of being elusive, changing the “reply-to” address every 500 message sends (I recommend) and trying to keep total transmissions under 1,000 messages per day. Also, try to rotate SMTP addresses for sending (most are free for an average of 500 to 1,000 messages a day). See WeRockYourWeb.com. Patience and persistence is the key, as more exposure means the customer comes closer to knowing you, and then trusting you with testimonials, physical evidence, etc. about your products and services. But think of e-mail marketing, at first, to be a loss-leader, to get your prospective customers hooked on what you know they really enjoy.