When I was in the auto repair business, I owned my own shop. I attended many different seminars etc. regarding the selling aspect of the business.
Alot of topics were covered and alot of different approaches to winning the customer were discussed. Did you know that there is an equivalent to IM backend sales in the auto repair world?
Its called Upselling. The basic idea is that while your customer's car is in your shop for repairs or whatever, you look for other needed or sometimes not really needed items or services to perform and then sell these to the customer. Or offer free oil changes and (hopefully) sell other services.
It was never referred to as backend sales, but its the same thing.
Many of the seminars I attended and the sales coaches all had one common theme: Try something, analyze results, track sales, rinse & repeat. The "something" might be a summer special on oil changes or coolant system flushes. Or maybe a free giveaway. Or just a different advertising method.
Computing the "conversion rate" was simple: keep track of approximately how many people knew about your offer and count sales of same. This was usually done by running a printed coupon ad and counting coupons or something similar. Sometimes a live radio broadcast was done and a head count taken. Then a sales count.
It was never called a "conversion rate", but its the same thing.
And finally, we had alot of regular customers, some who were almost too loyal .
So I guess that those customers could be called our opt-in list since they made the choice to use us for their auto repair needs. Same thing.
So I guess that in IM we're all using mostly time-honored and proven business methods, just the audience is much bigger and the medium is different.....
When I think of it that way, it gives me more confidence because I guess I've done it all before, sort of.
Sorry if I'm wasting bandwidth but I thought it was kind of a cool perspective and wanted to share.....