Always remember that with the web, your content needs to be relevant to each
reader. It has to be less about selling and more about providing. One way to do
this is to maintain multiple contact lists or list segments. Not every message
you send will be relevant for every customer. With web technology you can
easily provide relevant information to the right people.
For example, let's say that you own a clothing store. You want to highlight the
most relevant content for each individual customer. The best way to do this is
to break your messages down by demographic. If you have information on a
customer's gender, you could send a newsletter that focuses on women's clothing
to women only. Or, perhaps you could tailor your message to a specific
geographic region. For instance you could send winter coat articles only to
people in cold climates.
The best way to gather this information is to ask for it on your sign-up form.
Start by saying something like:
"Please fill out the sign-up form below to the best of your ability. The
more specific you are, the better we can serve you with our newsletters."
Next time I'll talk about using blogs and RSS feeds to draw more people onto
your contact lists.