Email Marketing Services | Creating an Online Community

Creating an Online Community

All the way back in Email Marketing, we spoke at length about online communities and how they can be a powerful tool to make a Web site successful. The premise is simple: give potential customers a compelling reason to come to the store even if they have no intention to buy. Belonging to a community creates loyalty and so customers are more likely to buy from you, as opposed to your competitor.

In the next stage, we’ll see more companies simply acting as an agency to let people with similar interests communicate. Although the message will be primarily one of  sharing and communication, these sites will build in an underlying message promoting the fact that the site can also supply the various goods and services that make whatever market sector or interest group they’re involved with more exciting.

In this section, we’ll be seeing how Rony can create a community of people who want to talk about make money online related subjects. Rony can then become an active part of this community himself by connecting with the visitors to the site, and sharing his knowledge and experience. This community environment is only one click away from a selling environment from which Rony can profit. It’s almost as if his sponsoring the meetings of a money making club.

In this article, we’re going to look at building an online community by:
* Implementing a newsletter of Rony’s Money making secret announcements.
* Implementing a discussion group called All About Money making

Newsletters:

One of the most common ways of keeping in contact with your customers and regular visitors to the site is to have an online newsletter. This feature is also known as a mailing list and is often run by a computer called a list server.

Most of us are familiar with these, as our inbox fills up with them every day. Despite their bad press, some people do find them an excellent way for keeping up to date with what’s going on at a particular company in terms of special deals or other information. Privacy is very important that you don’t abuse the trust afforded to you by subscribers by behaving irresponsibly. Usually, this means not adding people to your mailing list until they specifically ask to be added (opt-in), and not selling, renting or giving their names to other companies without their express permission.

Implementing a Newsletter

There are, as with everything, a few ways you can implement a newsletter; the options we’ll quickly discuss are:

* Constructing our own
* Buying a mailing list package
* Using an online service

To build your own online newsletter, simply collect a list of names and e-mail addresses in your database and periodically run a script that fires off your e-mail to each of them. This can be done using Windows Script Host and SQL Server, but the main issue with this is that as the list grows in size, your server could start to experience severe load. Coverage of the Windows Script Host is beyond the scope of this site.

Buying a mailing list package will allow you to supply it with a list of e-mail addresses and, in a similar manner to a homegrown solution, it will fire off your newsletter to each person on that list. The advantage with using an off-the-shelf package is that it is cheaper and faster than developing your own.

The third option here is to use an online service that deals with the whole problem for you. ListBot, which is part of Microsoft’s bCentral service lets you set up your own mailing list, and provides methods for letting people subscribe and unsubscribe either through a Web site or through e-mail. In this category, we’ll be implementing a mailing list using ListBot. However, one. thing you should be aware of with this service is that the e-mail will come from the ©listbot.com domain, which will not help build your online brand.

Note: As we’ve said before, there are lots of competing services out there, so make sure you shop around to make sure you’re getting the one that best suits your needs.

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