5 Steps to Creating an Effective Email Opt-In Page
With roughly three-quarters of consumers preferring to receive marketing messages via email, it’s easy to see why many experts believe that your email list is your company’s number one asset. The following steps will help you create an opt-in page to effectively build this essential resource.
1. Plan Your Approach
Before you start typing it’s important to plan your approach. Firstly, ask yourself who you want to sign up to your email list. You might think that you hope to sign up anyone and everyone, but this would be a mistake. If you don’t have a clear idea of your target audience then you won’t be able to craft a message which resonates with them.
Once you know who you’re writing for, you need to remember why you’re writing the copy. An email opt-in page has just one purpose: to get your target audience to sign up to your email list. Every element of your opt-in page should support this goal, with an approach that’s tailor-made for your target audience.
2. Write the Copy
Clutter is the natural enemy of efficiency, so it makes sense to eliminate any elements which might distract potential subscribers on your email opt-in page. However, it can be difficult to decide which elements are essential.
An efficient email opt-in page should start with an attention-grabbing headline. It should also feature a call to action, which compels people to sign up to your email list, and the opt-in form they need to complete this task.
Many call to actions tell people what you want them to do, but it’s more effective to tell potential subscribers of the payoff for completing the action. For example, rather than having a button reading “Subscribe” you might tweak the copy to “Sign Me Up” or “Send Me the E-Zine.”
A call to action is rarely enough to inspire people to sign up to your email list, so stating the benefits of subscribing is also important. These benefits might include birthday discounts, informative weekly newsletters, early access to sales, and more. These perks could get lost in a mass of text, so it’s better to use bullet points. These are read by seven out of ten people, compared to the 55 percent that read lists without bullet points.
If you have data to sell your email list, this might also deserve a place on your opt-in page. A high number of subscribers, testimonials from happy members, and media mentions can all help persuade potential subscribers to join your list. If your company already has a strong reputation then this extra information may simply distract subscribers, but if you’re a start-up attempting to build your brand then it’s worth taking the risk.
Remember to write using the language and tone that best suits your target demographic. Copy to encourage new moms to join a mailing list will be dramatically different to text designed to persuade high-flying businesspeople. The copy should only be as long as you need it to be to get the message across. It’s a good idea to write, then look over your work objectively to eliminate the elements that don’t add value.
3. Create a Simple Opt-In Form
Your opt-in form should be as simple as possible. It might be tempting to build a more complete picture of your email subscribers, but remember that your opt-in page’s goal is simply to get people to sign up. The majority of online users are happy to share their email address with a company, but roughly a third of the population say they’re unwilling to reveal more personal data such as their age and address. Asking for too much information adds a barrier to the sign-up process that can impact your conversions.
Studies show that the less information that you ask for, the more efficient your opt-in page will be. If you’re planning on segmenting your email address you may need to know ages and addresses, but otherwise perhaps an email address is all you require. You may also prefer to ask for the minimum immediately, then ask for more information later, once you’ve gained your subscribers’ trust.
4. Consider Sweetening the Deal
Giving your subscribers an incentive on sign-up can help boost your conversions. Business specialists might offer a free report or webinar, while a rock band might offer a free digital download of their latest single. Think about incentives that are a natural fit for your company and enticing to your target demographic. The instant gratification an incentive promises can help give potential subscribers the push they need to sign up for your service.
In some cases, new subscribers might sign up, only to unsubscribe once they receive the goodies. You can combat this by giving new subscribers just a taste of the bonuses you’ll offer. For example, the business firm might send just a chapter of its report on sign-up and the rest over time. The rock band might write in its welcome email that it will offer more free music periodically to its subscribers to encourage them to stick around.
Like all additional elements, the extra clutter that an incentive adds can do more harm than good. Consider whether you need to add this sweetener carefully, and monitor your sign-up rates to determine whether it’s having the desired effect.
5. Monitor Your Results
Monitoring isn’t just important if you’ve decided to offer an incentive though. It’s an essential step for anyone that’s created an opt-in page. It’s rare that you’ll come across the most efficient design on your first attempt. Tweaking the headline, the call to action, the number of fields in your form, and even your colors can make a dramatic difference to your results.
Monitor your results closely and make small changes so you can determine which elements resonate with your target demographic and which ones don’t. Following best practice can only get you so far. Every business is different, so it might take some time to develop the most effective email opt-in page for yours.
Following these steps will help you build an effective opt-in page for your email list.
This article was published on the iContact blog.
iContact offers email marketing features built around professional business needs.