Collecting Email Addresses
There are many free list services on the Internet that will enable you to set up a mailing list however, they won't allow you to personalize your messages, they require that your subscriber reply to a confirmation message and they can choose to shut your list down at any time.
Your first step in setting up your system will be to get a good form processing script. This script will be used to enable your subscriber to submit their information via a form and send the information to a specified address.
The best form I have found is called, Master Form. This form will enable you to have the results emailed to you or to a specified address, can write your information to a database file and even have a personalized thank you page. In addition, you can even have multi-page forms with no limit on the number of pages. This script costs $35 and can be found here: http://hop.clickbank.net/hop.cgi?wsnet/willmaster
You can find a free script with similar features here: http://cgi.tj/scripts/alienform/
Whatever form you select, make sure that it will allow you to use email templates, as you will need each subscription request to contain certain words in the subject for processing. Email form templates will enable the email messages sent to your subscription address to contain any information you'd like.
After you've gotten your form set up, you'll need to set up a pop email account on your server just for your list(s). You can name it "lists" or whatever you'd like. In addition, you will need to create two email aliases for subscription requests. Example, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Setting up a database
Your next step will be to set up a database to enable you to store your subscriber's information, process subscription requests and email your subscribers. I use a great program called Group Mail by Aureate. This program will process the information from your form, process your subscription requests, store your subscribers information in a database and enable you to send personalized email messages. Best of all, it's free. You can find it here: http://www.group-mail.com/
Note: Make sure you download all of the extra, free plug-ins.
Once you've gotten Group Mail and the plug-ins installed, your next step will be to create your mailing list. Simply follow the instructions provided. After you've set up your new list, click on "Plug Ins" then on "Subscribers." You'll now have to set up your subscription filters to enable the program to process your subscription requests.
Now that you have your system set up and ready to collect email addresses, you'll need to place a form on your web site. Create two input fields for your form; one for your subscribers name and another one for their email address.
Your new system will take some time to set up, but it will work for you continuously. It will take care of all of your subscription requests and undeliverables and will store your subscriber's information in a database for easy access. In addition, you'll be able to send personalized messages with any of the following:
- first name
- last name
- user name
- email address
- four additional customizable fields
Now, you're ready to begin collecting your visitors email addresses and start building your targeted list of potential customers.