One of the most, if not the most important aspect of email marketing, is capturing people email addresses, so that you can subsequently contact them and market to them. You have probably heard it said that 'the money is in the email list' or even that email marketing is like a 'license to print money'.
And that is true because if you have a sizeable, quality email list, you essentially have a private clientele, genuinely interested in what you have to offer. How do you know that? Well, because they took the time and (let's face it), the chance to share a piece of personal contact info (their email) with a perfect stranger – that's you!
So why is email marketing so powerful and necessary? The answer is, if you do not have a means of capturing peoples email addresses, once they visit and eventually of course leave your website (or whatever other platform you use to market and sell your products and / or services), they will likely forget all about you and what you are offering.
This is expected; people are bombarded with marketing messages all day; so even if they somehow come across your message, offering etc. amid a sea of other marketing messages and even if they like what they see, they will most likely forget all about it once their attention is diverted to something else. You cannot expect them to bookmark your site or remember you; you simply cannot have this kind of 'diva' attitude as a small business owner.
So, think of email marketing this way: by collecting people contact info, you are also doing them a favor, by giving them the chance to be contacted by you and exposed to something they have already clearly expressed interest in.
– Single Opt-In or Double Opt-In?
As you collect people emails using an autoresponder service, you are in a position to choose if your subscribers should be 'single opt-in' or 'double opt-in'.
Single opt-in subscribers are required solely to provide an email address (fake or genuine!), But double opt-in ones are required to log in to an actual, real email account and verify their email.
There are obvious pro's and con's to single- and double opt-in's. With single opt-in, you will gain more subscribers but with double opt-in, you will amass more serious, devoted subscribers, who cared enough for a certain topic to go through the extra verification step.
I personally favor double opt-in's, strongly, though it pains me every time I see a potential subscriber who took the initial step of providing an email (I receive an email alert from my autoresponder service whenever that happens), but stopped there, without verifying it, for whatever reason (fear?) – and yes, you can monitor these events and get a lot of additional data about the people who subscribe to your email list.
And that is very important, because the more you know about your buyers, the more targeted (and thus effective) your marketing efforts will be.