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1. 40-40-20 Rule

2. Respect Your Recipient

3. Opt-in's Big Payoff

4. Think Like A Customer

5. Write Great Copy

6. Track Your Results

7. Test, Test, Test


Secret #3:  Opt-in's Big Payoff

Don't be fooled by the opt-out masquerade

If you want to boost click-through and sales conversion, start with the best opt-in lists you can buy and make a great offer. But, you need to make certain that the lists you rent, or even your own house file, isn't just a counterproductive opt-out or spam list masquerading as opt-in. Unless you ask permission first and confirm it, the list is opt-out. There are only a small handful of list brokers today that provide 100%, or double opt-in lists. And, opt-in usually costs more.

Fact is, cheap names actually cost you a bundle.

One popular "rule" is that all permission-based lists are alike. "Opt-in, opt-out, whatever! Just buy cheap and mail large."

Sound familiar? This is one of the most destructive myths in the entire email marketing industry. Frequently Those so-called "cheap" names can cost you a small fortune. Check out the facts from a list test  I ran comparing low-cost opt-out to more expensive double opt-in lists. All results are used with permission of the client on condition of anonymity. These are the actual statistics with only the company names removed to protect the innocent and to avoid embarrassing the guilty.

The test:

  • List A contained 250,000, 100% Opt-in email names that cost a dime each and were tested against

  • List B which contained 2 million opt-out names that cost just a nickel each.

Sounds like a great deal on the opt-out list, right?

Judge the results for yourself

List A - 250,000, 100% Opt-in email names produced:

  • 24,000 paying customers

  • Spending an average of $40 each

  • For a cost per acquisition (CPA) of just $1.13

List B - 2 million Opt-out email names produced:

  • Only 17,000 paying customers

  • Spending and average of only $25

  • For a cost per acquisition (CPA) of $5.88!

The Big Pay-off
The more expensive opt-in names:

  • Acquired 40% more customers

  • Who spent over 60% more dollars

  • For just $1.13 CPA.

The Big Rip-off
The lower-cost opt-out list:

  • Drove far fewer customers

  • Who spent much less and

  • Cost much more to acquire at $5.88 CPA.

Now, ask yourself, was the more expensive, opt-in list worth it?

Simply put, the opt-out list was over four times more expensive when measured in cost per acquisition than the more costly opt-in list. And yet, the price difference per name was relatively small. You can make money with that kind of arithmetic all day long.

There are no absolute guarantees of success. The success of every email campaign depends 40% on the list, 40% on the offer and 20% on the creative. Bear in mind that even the most responsive list won't work miracles if the copy doesn't sparkle or if the offer doesn't sizzle.


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