5 Responses to “Opt-in offers: are you giving away the wrong stuff?”


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  1. Great advice here, Karen: Give away info that your potential audience wants. Your heads-up in #6 is the keynote point:

    Your audience will be made up of sub-interests within your main topic so, you may want to
    offer different give-ways to each sub-interest. You can do this by reaching out to these
    sub-interests separately, leading them back to a specifically targeted landing page dedicated to the give-away you’re offering each sub-interest.

    I’d add 2 excellent ways to find out what your potential audience wants …

    If you decide you want to offer an incentive offer one that answers their burning question, as Karen says. You can find this out by asking people:

    #1: What’s your biggest [your niche] question?

    #2: How difficult have you found it to find answers?

    Package your solution to their burning question and difficulty in a give-away incentive to give you their email address.

    Your give-away is your chance to offer more; a sales funnel if you like.

    Keep them signed up by continuing to offer them more answers. It can often be a clue for
    a product or service to offer your audience too.

    Another way to discover what questions your potential audience has is to read the comments on all the popular blogs in your niche. Any recurring or similar questions commenters ask – and you’ve got your lead-magnet give-away.


  2. Caroline

    Thanks for another very insightful article Karen which I have duly shared to my networks.
    I am helping my partner to expand his business to the next level and we have a holding page until our website is being built. It’s an event-based business currently only operating in the Wiltshire area – is there any point in running a free draw to win a place on an event as an incentive to register info given that people may stumble across the website from all over? A place is worth around £100 and we were planning on offering 5 places. Feedback anyone??


    Karen Skidmore Reply:

    Hi Caroline – my instant answer is yes … but only as just one of the many ways you communicate your competition. You are (hopefully!) planning a full campaign for this and covering lots of places to tell your target audience about it ie other local businesses, other local events, etc.

    If you have done your homework on your target audience and know who exactly you are wanting to attract, a google adwords campaign *could* be perfect, so having a webpage with your competition makes it the right place to have people add their names and email addresses (you are building a database, too aren’t you?)

    Remember – the internet is as local as it is global.


  3. Wow Mandy, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response – it’s like two articles in one now! And Karen, thanks for the high quality posts I’m keeping an eye out for them now.


  4. A quick reminder of the legal side of email marketing:

    Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003

    The regulations control two key areas: first, e-mail or text messaging to promote goods or services is prohibited unless it is undertaken with the express consent of the individual concerned. Second, specific information requirements apply to marketing messages sent by electronic means. Note that the Privacy and E-comms Regulations apply to email marketing sent to private subscribers, so they do not apply to e-mails sent to businesses or to e-mail addresses of individuals at work.

    The prohibition on marketing by electronic means without consent means that consumers must “opt-in” to receive marketing e-mails or text.

    There is an exception to the prohibition on e-mail marketing and text messaging where existing customers are being offered substantially the same products or services they purchased from the advertiser previously. This is the so-called “soft opt-in”.

    The definition of what is “substantially the same” has yet to be tested in the courts but it can be seen that this is a narrow exception. In “Electronic Communications Guidance” issued May 2004 the Information Commissioner said that similar products and services were those that customers would reasonably expect to receive details of from the advertiser. The Direct Marketing Association is advising its members to ensure that a sale or “significant” negotiation of a sale has taken place within the last year and that the products or services promoted will be considered similar as judged by the reasonable expectations of the individuals receiving the e-mails. For example if a consumer goes through an online purchase transaction but abandons the “shopping trolley” just before payment details are taken, it is likely that this will be deemed to be significant progress in negotiating the purchase and the soft opt-in will apply.

    The regulations provide that the following should be included in an e-mail marketing message: an option to unsubscribe including a valid address which could be an e-mail address, a website address or PO Box number. For text messaging the use of short codes can constitute a valid address provided the sender ensures that they clearly identify themselves in the message. The e-mail must also feature a clear indication that it is an advertisement. Recommended words are “Advertising feature” or “Unsolicited commercial communication” either in the subject line of the e-mail or at the top of the body text. The e-mail heading must not mask or misrepresent the identity of the sender or the subject matter of the e-mail. Other information requirements are clear contact details, address and telephone number of the sender. Promotional offers must be identified, including terms and conditions and competitions and games must be clearly identified and include their terms and conditions.

    In addition, the Privacy and Ecomms regulations apply to:

    • To prevent the use of automated calling systems for direct marketing purposes without the prior consent of the subscriber.
    • To establish the facility by which consumers can register that they do not wish to receive marketing telephone calls, “Telephone Preference Service”, which applies to e-mail and text messaging.

    The information requirements are that the name of the sender be supplied and, on request, an address or a freephone number on which the sender can be contacted.

    Checklist for compliant e-mail marketing

    An advertisement to be sent by e-mail or text message should include the following:

    • A clear indication that it is an advertisement.
    • Name and contact details of the advertiser including geographic address and telephone number.
    • Opportunity to unsubscribe from receiving future e-mail from the advertiser.
    • Promotional offers, competitions and games must be identified, including terms and conditions.


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