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.
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:
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.
Here are a few overlay and pop up plugins and services:
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.
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.’
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
The cons of single opt-in are:
I can offer you several recommendations about whether single or double opt-in is better for you. But the reality is you need to test it yourself.
Mailchimp published data showing that double opt-in provides better results. The chart below shows that double opt-in received about a 40% better open rate.
Click rate with double opt-in also improved from 3% to over 6%.
Looking at this data you might think that double opt-in is the way to go. Not so fast.
Jarom Adair decided to run his own test and got very different results.
He set up 2 email lists, one with single opt-in and the other with double opt-in.
He got 1000 people to join each list and then started running some tests. Here’s what he found:
Subscribers: In the same time it took him to get 1000 subscribers to his double opt-in list he got 1249 subscribers to his single opt-in list. That’s almost a 25% increase in the number of subscribers with no extra effort on his part.
Engagement: Numbers don’t matter as much as engagement, right? So Jarom set up a 5-part series of autoresponder emails and looked at the differences between open and click rates. Here’s what he found:
Single opt-in: 63.8% open rate and 17% click through rate
Double opt-in: 57.6 % open rate and 15.6% click through rate
Okay, well engagement is one thing, but what really counts is sales…
Orders: Jarom then sent an identical sales email to each list which resulted in the following sales:
Single opt-in: 14
Double opt-in: 12
The data from Maichimp and Jarom Adair would lead you in different directions. So which is the right one for you?
There is no simple answer, other than to say that you need to TEST.
Put these 7 tests into practice and you’ll be well on your way to improving your conversion rates and building a bigger list.