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List Building: Are You Sending The Right Message? - Articles Surfing

The Internet is full of sound and color, isn't it? You have dynamic content, flash, video, and on and on. And when you start list building, you're setting up your autoresponder messages and may think that HTML is the way to go. But is it? Remember, you shouldn't be as concerned with look as you are with conversion. Which type of email works best? It's a toss up, but here are a few things to consider:

How do we communicate with one another, offline, list building aside? We speak to each other. Certain body languages enhance our interpretation, it's true, but people don't have to hold flashcards up for us to see what they're talking about, do they? It's the same with email. Text is our message, whether we use plain text messages or HTML. Why distract people away from our message with images?

And what does an HTML message say: "We're a company, trying to get you to buy something"? How do your personal emails look? OK, so some people go in for that stationery stuff, but most of us just send plain text messages. If you want your list member to feel that you're communicating directly with him or her, then you should probably stick to a more personal way of sending it. Who's going to buy that you took all that time to create an HTML message for them personally? Nobody. So, if you're going to do this, why bother personalizing at all?

Many people are very wary of viruses hiding in emails, too, and for that reason, shut off the images completely. They'll never see the graphics you put such hard work into including. Some email clients block pictures as a matter of course, too, so most people will just skip them and read the text, anyway. By including images, you may be just wasting your time.

Some of the best list building enthusiasts still insist that they want to use "Click Here" anchor text rather than a whole URL. Some fear hijacking of their affiliate links; others are just lazy. "Click here" isn't terribly effective. "But," you say, "affiliate links are ugly." So, if you just hate the URL, use a forwarding service like TinyURL or ShortURL to make them shorter and prettier. Don't worry that your autoresponder can't track the URL in a plain text message, either. So what? You should be using some kind of tracking program for everything else you do. Use it for emails, too.

Maybe the biggest problem with HTML is that it takes much longer to download. When your list member is on dial-up and every email you send has a picture that takes him or her 15 minutes to download, how long do you think they'll stay on your list? No long, I'd guess. You've just spent lots of time and money on list building. Why let that happen?

What should you do? I can't say. But as I see it, even if you spend time on an HTML message, there's no getting around writing the text for it. If you send that by itself, how much time will you save when you could be doing other things to improve your list building process? So, why not ask your list members how they'd like to receive your messages? Set up a poll at InternationalVoting.com, where you can choose to set up a one-question poll or a survey, and ask your customers what they want.

Both methods of email construction have advantages and drawbacks when you're list building and preparing your autoresponder messages. But you have to decide how much time you're spending creating HTML messages when you could be doing something else. Still, nothing you do in your list building efforts should depend on you. Test the effectiveness of each method, ask your customers what they want, and then make your decision.

Submitted by:

Tellman H. Knudson

Tellman Knudson is CEO of Overcome Everything, Inc. and a master list builder. Get more of his great tips on building targeted web site traffic by visiting My First List at http://listbuilding.overcomeeverything.com/



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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