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How to Ask Online Community Members to Receive E-mails

As online community manager, you’re attracting new members who’ve signed up to be part of the community, and you’re even sending out a welcome letter. Don’t rest on your laurels yet, though. You still have a little more work to be done.

It’s not enough to point members to a web page and leave it at that. You also want them to be apprised of all your news and updates, and the majority of your members won’t be visiting your online community each day. That’s where e-mail comes in.

To make the most of your growing communities, you also want to be able to reach members via newsletter. However, you don’t want to send them anything they didn’t sign up to receive.

Behold the opt-in. Opting in is asking community members to sign up for newsletters and other mailings on their own accord. It means they checked off a box giving you permission to send them your newsletter.

For example, in your Welcome e-mail or folder, you should include text inviting new members to sign up for your newsletter by creating a check box with “I would like to subscribe to your newsletter so I can receive news and updates.” Many blogs and Facebook pages also have opt in text or links in their sidebars.

If you have several different types of newsletters or mailings members should be able to sign up for each one individually. Most members don’t sign up for every newsletter or mailing you put out, but, rather one or two.

No one likes to clog their e-mail boxes with stuff they don’t have time to read, so don’t take it personally if they don’t subscribe.

For those who opt in, make sure that you set up your newsletter program to send a confirmation. This way, your members have an additional way to opt out if they changed their mind. Also, it ensures that no one is signing them up for something they don’t want to receive and reminds them of their commitment.

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