The Care and Feeding of Your Opt-ins

One of the cool entrepreneurs I connected with during the #blog30 challenge was Melanie Kissell.  I invited her to share a guest blog post and gave her free reign on topic.  She’s fantastic at brainstorming, has a great sense of humor (go read her blog, it’ll brighten your day), and here she shared some great tips for your newsletter list.

Guest post by Melanie Kissell

You’ve tapped into your unstoppable passion and crafted a one-of-a-kind, super duper, must-have freebie offer for your target audience.


You’re off to a good start and the feeling of self-accomplishment is cause for celebration.  How about a Danish?  A chocolate donut maybe?

When the party mood lifts, you’re ready to buckle down again and take the next important step.  You subscribe to an email marketing system and set up your opt-in box on your web site or blog or both.


Consider yourself a successful action-taker.  Break out a bottle of sparkling cider!  You’re about to start building a list.

But wait.

When someone opts in and downloads your freebie offer, then what?!  Following your thank-you page (you did create that email message, right?) you don’t have the foggiest notion what you’re going to send your list.

You’re not alone.  This is the toughest assignment for most solo entrepreneurs – the care and feeding of your opt-ins.

But maybe you’re an affiliate marketer and you have tons of goodies for sale that you could pitch to your list every day or every week.

Don’t do it.

Or maybe you have a great sense of humor so you’re thinking it would be fun to email lots of humorous quotes, riddles, and jokes.

Scratch that.

Well, how about a nice daily inspirational message?  Everyone appreciates those, right?

Wrong.  They’ll be “inspired” to unsubscribe.

People are reluctant nowadays (and for good reason) to give over their name and email address. So don’t spam them with coupons, ads, and offers all the time or send them frivolous tidbits.  They’re getting enough of that kind of undesirable stuff in their inbox eight days a week.

The way to care for your opt-ins is to feed your list lots of valuable information.  Your goal is to nurture the relationship and build trust through sharing informative, engaging, educational, and enriching content.

And if you’re stumped for ideas, just send a survey to your opt-ins and “ask” them what their challenges are and how you can help.  It’s one of the easiest ways to make sure you are meeting their needs and insure they don’t opt out!

Melanie Kissell is a single mom to four daughters, big dog lover, avid affiliate marketer, and founder of Solo Mompreneur.  She works with single womenpreneurs who show great tenacity and passion for their business, but who are short on time, exhausted, and tapped out financially.  Melanie focuses on sharing low-cost and no-cost marketing strategies with her target audience.

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  1. Michelle ~

    To take a seat in your Guest Brilliance chair is a privilege I will cherish and the memory of this day will put a perpetual smile on my face.

    From the tips of my toes to the end of my nose …

    Thank You!
    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Affiliate Marketing Part 4My Profile

    1. LOL I’m happy to share this – excellent tips!

  2. Thank you Melanie for the wonderful lesson! And so glad to see you on Michelle’s blog. You both are wonderful ladies who share so much information.
    MJ Schrader recently posted… Creating Sales Letters in WordPressMy Profile

    1. Add yourself to the mix, MJ — You Rock!
      Melanie Kissell recently posted… Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Affiliate Marketing Part 4My Profile

  3. Right on!! Leave those jokes and quotes at home! You are one smart cookie :)
    Martha Giffen recently posted… Blogging – You Have To Start SomewhereMy Profile

    1. Have I told you lately that I love you, Martha? :-) Glad you came by Michelle’s blog today and thanks so much for the compliment and the comment.

      Melanie Kissell recently posted… Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Affiliate Marketing Part 4My Profile

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Martha Giffen, Michelle Shaeffer. Michelle Shaeffer said: The Care and Feeding of Your Opt-ins Guest post on my blog from @melaniekissell #blog30 […]

  5. You hit the nail on the head. I think filling my auto responder is the hardest part.

    I like to send my subscribers to my blog posts and I will ask them to comment. But I like to keep in mind that my subscribers are the most important and deserve the best. So they get additional tips and content that is not on my blog.

  6. Good idea and good to know, Sheila! I’m on your list. :-)

    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Time to Tie up the Loose Ends – Affiliate Marketing Part 5My Profile

  7. Good advice Melanie and I agree with you 110%.

    A persons list is one of the most valuable assets that one can have online. I know for a fact that the people I pay most attention to are the ones which have offered me something of value, and have worked to earn my trust and build a relationship over a long period of time.
    Your post reinforces this idea – nice work!
    Brandon recently posted… Buying Outdoor Cat EnclosuresMy Profile

    1. Brandon ~

      It’s always nice to cross paths with another small business owner who “gets” it. Thanks for stopping by to read my guest post.

      I’ve been on some lists where I’m pitched, pounced on, prodded, and downright PRESSURED into making a purchase or signing up for something. As soon I see that type of behavior, I get hit the unsubscribe link fast enough!

      Sounds like your list is in really good hands.


    2. Oops – Sorry Brandon. I meant to say I “can’t” hit the subscribe link fast enough. And I’ll add that I’ve attended some trainings where people are advocating the “slam ‘n jam” tactics of email marketing. Those are folks I immediately say goodbye to!

      On a positive note, there are lots and lots of people who treat their lists respectfully and provide them with ongoing helpful content. I say kudos to them and keep up the good work! They obviously have a clear understanding of the value of relationship building.
      Melanie Kissell recently posted… So They Are On Your List – Now WhatMy Profile

  8. I opt-out of lists that over sell. I appreciate those who give additional information or direct me to sites that are helpful. If I feel this way, I know my list does also. I’m just beginning to fill my autoresponder in conjunction with my new site and I’m keeping your tips in mind.

    1. I like the way you think, Kathy – you’re a true professional. With you steering the ship, your list is in good hands and they’ll have a wonderful journey!

      Melanie Kissell recently posted… Time to Tie up the Loose Ends – Affiliate Marketing Part 5My Profile

  9. It’s a matter for helping other people. If I can help them via email they would obviously will like my services.

    1. That’s exactly right, Uzi!

      The golden word is “helpful”. If the information you’re mailing your list is helpful to them, they are more likely to purchase your products, programs, or services.

      Thank you for reading my guest post and be sure to follow Michelle’s blog. She’s got fantastic stuff here!

      Melanie Kissell recently posted… Time to Tie up the Loose Ends – Affiliate Marketing Part 5My Profile

  10. Melanie,

    Another great post with important information. It’s so easy to think “everyone is like me, so they’ll love what I’m sending them.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. Thanks for the reminders that too much information is . . . indeed too much. :)

  11. Thanks for reading my guest post, Lis!

    What happens with email marketing campaigns is the same scenario as with some of the patients I’ve worked with throughout the years. The doctor gives the patient a prescription medication and a specific way to take it. The patient disregards the doctor because he or she wants overnight results. Here’s how the patient thinks: “If a little bit of this medicine is a good thing, then taking a whole lot has to be even better!” WRONG. COULD BE VERY HARMFUL.

    I agree with Kathy Griffiths. I’m choosing to unsubscribe from people who over sell and I intend to treat my list the same way I’d like to be treated — respectfully.

    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Time to Tie up the Loose Ends – Affiliate Marketing Part 5My Profile

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