Do you know that email marketing campaigns can give you a return on investment of 4000% (Marketingland) to 4400% (Experian).
It means 40 to 44 dollars in return for each dollar invested. Quite staggering, isn’t it?
Yet, many of us fail to take it seriously. We think that placing a sign up form on the sidebar is enough for growing an email list .
I learned it the hard way. For a month or so, the sidebar signup form was my only sign-up option. My conversion rate was a lowly 1.25% only.
It was not good enough. But I did not bother me as I was using free feedburner service.
But when I moved from Feedburner to Aweber (Feedburner is not for serious bloggers), I had to justify a monthly investment. So, I became proactive.
I made certain tweaks and adjustments. I implemented a few new things. Result: it increased my signups by around 7 fold.
Impressive, isn’t it? But trust me, it is not hard to achieve. In fact, it is quite easy if you follow the right steps.
Here are the things I did and you can do the same to increase you sign-up conversion rate.
Give your users an incentive
The best way to get someone to do something is to provide an incentive. If you have attended sales and marketing classes, you’d be familiar with the term WIIFM. It stands for “what’s in it for me?”
Whenever one asked to do something, the first thing that he would think is “what’s in it for me?”. You have to give your potential subscriber his or her WIIFM.
Provide something that would persuade your visitor to sign up for your email list.“Get regular updated from my blog” and “exclusive tips and tricks” are okay, but they are not that persuasive. These are the type of lines that users see on every other blog. Kind of like cliched pick up lines.
You have to provide something that interests your visitor. On Blogician, I give away an e-book “1 huge mistake that is preventing your blogging success”. Now this is something useful and interesting! It gets the visitor thinking, what big mistake he or she might be making? Maybe the e-book could really help him or her understand the mistake and become successful.
By the way, if you read my e-book, you’ll find out that it is immensely helpful. Several subscribers have e-mailed me saying that it was an eye opener for them. The point is that, whenever you’re coming up with such a catchy name, make sure you back it up with good information. Otherwise you will lose credibility and you do not want that.
Having an incentive had a major effect on the signup rates. Create your incentive, it’s worth the time.
Some ideas would be: whitepapers, how to guides, part by part courses, one page outlines. Make sure you make it prominent to your visitors.
Use a feature box to utilize the above the fold space
The second best thing I have done is to use a feature box. Currently, it drives around 40% of my opt-ins. A feature box sits right below your main menu and above your content.
As you can see, it takes up most of the above the fold space. And it does a really good job of grabbing visitor attention. Now, it is up to you to make proper use of their attention.
What I have done is simple. I have put an image of my ebook (which I am offering as the incentive). I have written an interesting headline and then explained the benefits of signing up in bullet points.
How a feature box works:
The feature box allows me to grab the attention.
Attention is directed towards the ebook using image and headline.
The bullet points further convey the benefits and urge the user to take action.
The action is simple: put in the email and click the button.
The button text reads “Tell me”. This text gives the impression of a conversation taking place and makes it more likely to be clicked. (you are welcome to subscribe right now; feature box is upwards 🙂 )
To create your first featurebox, go to Feature Box Lite > Templates. Click “Add New”
Select a base template from the drop down menu (free version gives two base templates).
Give a name to y0ur template and click “save template”.
Now you can edit your template.
You can select the background color from the button on the top.
Click on the picture button to select any picture from your media library. Use the cover page image of your incentive product.
The text on the right is editable. Tell your user why he or she should sign up to your email list.
Click on submit button to edit its color and text.
To edit email service details, click on the button to the left of the text box.
Select your email marketing service and put in the appropriate listname. You can also add tracking code if your service provider supports it.
Go to Feature Box Lite > General settings.
Select the template you want to use.
Click Enable Feature box.
There is one more thing that you need to do for this to be functional. You need to enter a custom hook to position your feature box. You can learn about it at the Plugmatter user guide
Allow one to subscribe while commenting
One commonsense way to get more and more subscribers is to make it easy for them to subscribe. Just provide your users with as many options as possible.
When someone leaves a comment on your blog, you can be pretty sure that the person has some interest in your blog.
If you want this person to subscribe, the best option is to make it as easy as just a click. There are certain plug-ins that can help you with that. These plug-ins basically insert a check box below your comment form. If a commenter wants to subscribe to your e-mail list, all he has to do is to check the check box. The name and e-mail from the comment box will directly be sent to your e-mail marketing service. No extra steps required.
As I said before, if someone is leaving a comment on your blog, there is definitely some interest. You gave him one chance but maybe he did not notice. So, lets try again.
By saying thanks for leaving the comment. I use this plug-in called “comment redirect”. What it does it is that it redirects first-time commenters to a page of your choice.
Usage is very simple. Go to plugins > comment redirect. Select the target page from the drop-down menu and click on “save settings”.
All you have to do is to write a good “thank you” page. It is not difficult but give it some time to make it convert well. Consider it as writing a good sales copy. Here are some things you should consider
Pointers for Writing a thank you page:
Begin by thanking the user for leaving the comment.
Try to get him familiar with what your blog is about.
Build interest and let him know that he/she can subscribe to remain updated/get incentive. That is basically what you want to do.
I’d leave the details to your creativity. If you want ready-made template, just leave a comment and will be redirected to the thank you page.
Get in touch with commenters by email
If your commenter did not subscribe on the earlier chance, why not give him still another chance.
This plug-in called “thank me later” allows me to do just that. It allows you to send automated “thank you” e-mails to your commenters.
How should you use it?
By writing an e-mail that persuades the visitor to revisit your blog and sign up for e-mail newsletter.
There are three parts to a successful thank you e-mail:
Remind the visitor about his comment on your blog by mentioning the exact post and date (the plug-in lets you use short codes to do this).
Thank your visitor for leaving the comment and let him know that you’d appreciate it if he would revisit and participate in the discussion.
Promote your blog and encourage to sign up for your newsletter.
Here is how to put it to use:
Set up the sender email. DO NOT use public emails like gmail or yahoo. Use your own email for your domain.
You have to write the subject and the actual message. You can use quite a few shortcodes to personalize the email as well as make it more meaningful to the commenter. You can see a live preview on the right.
The e-mails are sent after a certain time interval from the comment. Set up the time interval; an interval of one or two day is good.
Also set the send limit to 1. This will ensure that a thank you e-mail is sent only once per e-mail.
It is recommended that you show opt out link in your email. Enable this option by going to Thank Me Later > Opt Out.
Use an exit intent pop-up
Pop-ups are my second-best performer and contribute to more than 30% of my e-mail list opt ins. While popups can be a bit annoying, they surely work well. And you can tone down the “annoying” part by using a good plugin.
I use a paid plugin called WP Subscribe Pro but there are free alternatives (with limited functionality) available.
The message on the pop-up should be in line with what the feature box shows. Provide the users with an incentive and ask them to sign up for your e-mail list.
But the most important factor with a pop-up is the “trigger” which starts a pop-up.
On Blogician, I have set pop-ups to be triggered by exit-intent.
The pop-up does not show when you are concentrating on reading the post. It only appears as you try to move away from the page.
That way, I do not make it inconvenient for you to read the post, but at the same time I deliver my offer when you are about to go away. The plug-in also allows you to show a pop-up after a person has finished reading the post.
Below are some of the Pop-up options that you can play with:
Check the enable popup checkbox.
Select show subscribe form in popup. You can also show related posts or even custom HTML if you want (HINT: you may want to ask your visitors to connect with you on social networks).
Select where you want to show the pop-up. I like to show it on posts as well as pages.You may also want to show it on the front page,which is fine, but I would recommend you to avoid it in category and tag pages.
This is the most important part: you to select the trigger for your pop-up. Keep the exit intent option checked. You may also want to show the pop-up after your visitor has finished reading the post. Avoid showing a pop-up when a visitor just enters the site. That would be very annoying.
Here you can select the e-mail service that you want to use. This is one of the very few plugins which support Feedburner, although using Feedburner is a bad idea.
Enter the e-mail list ID and customize the text and color to suit your needs. You can preview the pop-up using the appropriate button. When you’re done, click on “save changes”.
Free alternatives include Popupally free version and Optin revolution lite. Both of these are free version of premium plugins. Although the free versions are quite limited in their functionality, you may want to try them out.
Don’t forget the basics
While I encourage you to use the tactics mentioned above, do not forget to keep the subscription widget on your sidebar. If possible, add one to the footer too . Remember, it is always better to give your users as many options as possible. The more options you have, the harder it is to miss.
Use a proper email marketing tool
The tips mentioned above will help you build an e-mail list quickly.
But that is only a part of the story.
To really make any meaningful use of your e-mail list, you must get a professional e-mail marketing service.Sticking to feed burner is something you’d really like to avoid. In fact it is not a “proper” e-mail list. You can only send RSS feeds, not any e-mail of your own.
Aweber is a service which I highly recommend. They are top-notch. I am using Aweber and so does a host of other top bloggers. You can test drive full featured Aweber service for 1$ for the first month. Give it a go. In the worst case scenario, you would lose 1$. But more likely, you would be a very happy customer like me and others.
Did you find this post useful? If so, then give us a hand and share this post with your followers.
And if you know other tactics to increase opt-in rates, share with us in the comments section. What works best for you? We are looking to hear from you.
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