While everyone is talking about the growth of social media and all it has to offer let’s not forget about the importance of email.
According to ExactTarget, email is the top channel for delivering marketing messages. Their research shows that “77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.”
With email being such an effective marketing channel let’s look at 7 ways that you can increase your email opt-ins and get more subscribers to grow this valuable channel for your business.
1. Obtrusive But Effective
Most people dislike pop ups and overlays (where the area around the pop up box becomes darkened to provide more contrast and focus to the pop up area). And though many find them obtrusive, they are fast becoming one of the most effective ways to get more subscribers and leads.
In fact, eConsultancy reports that an average overlay will increase opt-ins by up to 400%.
At Business Consulting Buzz we’ve tested several pop-ups and overlays and found that our current pop-up (pictured below) accounts for about 50% of our opt-ins and grew our monthly subscriber count by roughly 150%.
If you’ve decided that you’re not going to use an overlay because you don’t like the idea of it ‘popping’ up in your readers’ face, that’s fine. But remember, if you’re goal is to increase subscribers, it doesn’t really matter what you think. It matters what your readers think.
The question is, “do your readers find it obtrusive?”
Don’t ask your mom, your uncle Charlie, or your spouse. Test it.
And while you’re conducting that test, here are a few things that you may want to think about:
- Design: Like landing pages, the design of your popup can have a huge influence on your results. Make it look good and trustworthy. It should be consistent with your brand so people don’t think it’s an advertisement.
- Headline: Testing your overlay’s headline is a great test to run. It’s one of the most important areas that your reader will see. Consider what will get their attention? Can you speak to a problem they have? What benefit are they going to get?
There are several plugins and services that you can use to help with launching your overlay. Some are free, others paid. The downside of many is that you can’t customize the design of your overlay, and instead are required to use one of their templates. In that case, you may just want to contract a programmer.
After concluding with the design of the landing page or squeeze page is time to work on your email writing to drive in large numbers of subscribers. Email writing demands some level of professionalism in the field of writing. If you have skills on writing this will be walk in the park, but if you are new to writing, one of the best ways to kick start this process is simply by “Outsourcing”the whole process.
A number of places such as Odesk, Freelance and Fiverr can be a great place to start. One of the best place i sincerely recommend is fiverr. In Fiverr you can get highly professional writers who has vast experience in writing. Click here to get more information.
2. Hot Technology
A new technology by BounceExchange is getting significant traction recently. The service will display an overlay on your site when the user moves their cursor to the top of the page to click a back or close button. Neil Patel reports that he increased his leads by 10-20% as a result of using this technology.
Starting at $2495/mo as of this writing, this service isn’t cheap and isn’t for everyone. However, I have found, but not tested, a free code set that a SEO forum user called ‘GoForJacob’ wrote – and supposedly gives you a similar result. A search for “goforjacob popup” will bring up the page.
3. Play Inline
Conversion Voodoo shared a case study where an overlay on the Shoemoney blog increased its signups by 36% simply by adding “Enter Your Email Here” inline the form field.
Before the test the form field didn’t have any text inside of it. This result makes sense because it becomes clear to the user exactly what they should enter and as soon as they start typing their email address the default text is ‘removed.’
4. Avoid Distractions
A follow up test generated an additional 28% increase in signups, simply by removing one line. The overlay had a line of text below the ‘Signup’ button that read “Not Ready to take that step? OK, Why not just Subscribe to the RSS Feed?” Removing that single line generated a significant 28% increase in subscribers.
5. Go to the Bar
Another popular option with marketers is having a colored bar that sits at the top of your website and asks visitors to take a specified action.
Two companies that offer this technology are HelloBar and ViperBar. Using this bar is a great way to get your visitors attention without being too intrusive. Plus you can customize colors and text to make the bar fit in as much as you want (or don’t want).
6. Look At the Page
Your opt-in forms don’t just appear in overlays and top bars. The landing page, where the opt-in form is still most often found, is a major factor in your conversion rate.
Every landing page should have 5 key elements.
- Headline: this is typically the first thing that will grab the attention of the user. David Ogilvy, legendary ad man, is well known for saying that your headline accounts for 80% of your ad’s effectiveness. So spend time on it and test it.
- Benefits: your landing page should contain a short list of benefits that get the user excited and more interested in what you have to offer.
- Call-to-action: novice marketers often make the mistake of not including a call-to-action, also known as ‘the offer.’ If you don’t offer your users a strong enough reason to opt-in and give you their email address, they won’t.
- Opt-in form: this is where people will actually signup. Nuff said.
- Social Proof: the more credible you are, the more likely people are going to be to signup. If you’re an established brand this won’t be much of an issue for you. But for everyone else, you’ll want to consider testimonials, videos, reviews, audios and any social mentions and sites you’ve been featured on. This proof will help you look like an authority and build give more credibility.
Aweber increased their newsletter signups by 321% by converting their landing page into a text heavy page that read “7 Reason to Sign Up For Free Email Marketing Tips.” As you can see below the original page had little text and offered few benefits.
The winning landing page offered plenty of benefits and social proof as you can see from the 7 points which focus on benefits and the testimonials offered throughout.
7. A Single or Double?
Congratulations, you’ve worked hard to convince your readers to opt-in. You now have another big decision to make, and it’s often one filled with controversy.
Will you go with single or double opt-in? What’s the Difference?
Single opt-in is when a user enters their email and information into your opt-in form and when they click the ‘submit’ button are automatically added to your list.
Double opt-in is when the user enters their information in your opt-in form. They are then sent an email and have to click a link in that email to confirm that they want to be on your list. If they don’t click the link, you won’t be able to follow up with them.
The pros of single opt-in are:
- You remove a step from people who want to signup.
- You’ll usually grow your list more quickly.
- Peter Sandeen says that “You can make the most of your thank you page and instead of saying “Check your email for a confirmation link” you can say something like “You’ll get what you asked for in a few minutes, but before that you might want to…” and get them to take a desired action.”
The cons of single opt-in are:
- You might pay more for your email service because of higher subscriber numbers (with a percentage of those being bogus emails).
- Harder to prove that the person that signed up actually wanted to. This is important for list providers and is the main reason they recommend double opt-in.
- Potentially lower engagement because your subscribers had to jump through less hoops and may be less qualified.