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You Can be an Email Marketing Supergenius #117

Getting Demographics on Your Readers
Issue # 117

1> Don’t Scare Them Off
2> Ask Them Later
3> Pay Them Off

1> Don’t Scare Them Off

What would you think of a panhandler who asked for the keys to your car as you were about to give him a quarter? You may be making the same mistake with someone who’s signing up for your newsletter. When you ask for too much info, people think they’re signing up for spam. Ask for the minimum information necessary — and most of the time, that’s just the email address. Your first goal is to establish the relationship; that means doing everything you can to not scare people off.

2> Ask Them Later

Once you have a reader’s email address, you’ll have lots of chances to get their demographics. When you send out an autoreply confirming the subscription (you do send out an autoreply confirmation, don’t you?), invite your reader to follow a link back on some pretext or other. Maybe it’s to reconfirm the address or to personalize the context. Then, on that landing page, ask for some useful data point: a ZIP code or birth date.

3> Pay Them Off

People say they hate giving up their personal information. They’re lying. They don’t hate it; they hate doing it for free. Offer a small incentive, like an emailed discount coupon. If you want a street address, offer to mail something to them. A coupon or a sample works, if that’s appropriate to your product. So does a little fun doodad, or even a brochure that can act as an off-line reminder of your company. People know that their personal information has value. Offer value for value, and people will respond.

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