6 easy strategies to boost mailing list opt-ins

Feb 22, 2014 by
6 easy strategies to boost mailing list opt-ins

The mailing list is probably the most underused facility in the average marketing toolkit. With social media being ‘hot’ and at the forefront of every strategy, the email is often left languishing in a far-off second, third, fourth or even last place.

However, it still comes up trumps when it comes to delivering marketing messages that convert. In fact, research from Exact Target shows that:

Most users (77%, up 5% since 2008) still “prefer to receive permission-based marketing…through email”.

Clearly email and email marketing is still very relevant. So how do you turn visitors into members of your mailing list? We’ve put together six key strategies that are simple to implement but will lead to higher conversion rates for your business.

Create content that matters

ChecklistInstead of churning out sub-par articles often or irregularly, put some effort into creating quality posts – say on a weekly basis. In a previous post, we stressed the ever-increasing need to create more high quality content– both in terms of quality and quantity. We’ve all heard that ‘content is king’ and this does ring true when it comes to motivating people to give your their email addresses. Content that truly stands out and delivers something valuable to readers will also get you shares, likes and retweets.

Offer incentives to join

People won’t just hand out their email addresses without reason. If all you have is a form field with a ‘Join’ button, you’re not going to get very far in building your mailing list. They need something to entice them. Think about what your visitors would be interested in. How did they arrive at your site? Provide your users with stuff they want and they’ll be happy to opt-in.

For example, if you run a blog about health and exercise, put together a free ebook on something such as “Top Tips to Lose the Holiday Weight”. Invest some time and effort in creating something worth reading to give away and you will soon be attracting new subscribers. If you don’t want to give away an entire ebook free of charge, just give away the first chapter containing an offer on buying the rest of the book at a discounted price.

And speaking of offers – they work. They really do.

Create multiple lists

People often make the error of having a single mailing list funnel and that’s it. This will seriously hamper your ability to get targeted customers. Instead, create multiple funnels or segments through which you can work on different user profiles at a time. This way, each strategy can be tailored and personalised, increasing the chances that users will relate to your opt-in incentive. This approach also enhances the chances of conversions once someone has to opted-in. Based on the path they’ve chosen, you can send each group targeted offers and content that will be relevant to them.

Use social media to your advantage

Post boxDon’t limit your efforts on your site alone, although it is important. Instead, get yourself on the various social media platforms to drive traffic to your opt-in forms. For example, it’s possible for you to add opt-in forms to Facebook – to get prospective customers to look at your content. Check out our previous blog post on how to make the most of social mediain your overall marketing effort.

At the very least, you should sign up to be on some of the major platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. The idea is not just to have a presence on these platforms, but to actively use them to offer news and content to your subscribers, participate in relevant discussions in your industry, share postings on your blog, and to get people to link back to your blog. These activities can boost your SEO performance.

Make your opt-in form stand out

Even if you have a killer offer, people aren’t going to sign up to your mailing list if they have to put in some effort to find it. Invest in the design of your site to ensure that your form stands out and is simple to find. Put your form in the key conversion areas of the page (this will vary from site to site, so make sure to test what works best for you), and don’t be afraid to put the form on each page more than one – for example, in a right hand side column and in the footer. Don’t skip on the graphic design either; make your form visually appealing to your visitors.

Finally, just keep it simple

People are a busy bunch. You may want to know everything about your new subscriber, but people just don’t want to waste time filling in complicated forms. Even if they have some interest in what you have to offer, they’ll often pass, as they simply don’t want to put in the effort to give you all of their personal details. Does your opt-in form ask for names, addresses, URLs and a bunch of other details? Time to tinker with what you’ve got. Opt-ins are likely to rise once you remove every field except the one asking for an email address.

So with this one, stick to the old adage: KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid! It’ll do wonders for your opt-in rates.

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