Want more email subscribers?
Then you need a better strategy.
New trends in customer expectations have changed the game, and these days it’s all about presenting your opt-in a way that feels simple, natural, and spam-free.
Here are three ways to do so in 2018.
We’re all familiar with the typical opt-in.
It usually lives on the sidebar or hangs as a banner throughout a website’s pages, maybe with an included offer and standard call-to-action (CTA).
The problem with them is that they are, in fact, typical.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing them, and equally accustomed to ignoring them.
We can attribute it to the law of diminishing returns: using the same tactics and strategies over a long period of time will result in – you guessed it – diminishing returns.
Then there’s the tried-and-true pop-up opt-in. While this still has merit, using them runs the risk of actually deterring visitors-ups by interrupting the user experience on your site.
So to stay on top of the game, we have
1. Use Live Chat For Lead Generation
Live chat has been on the rise for some time.
Generally powered by chatbots, they’re designed to automate certain tasks and allow businesses to communicate with customers via a small pop-up box on their website.
When live chat was first introduced, it focused on support and customer service. If someone didn’t want to call or email a business, they could talk to a live sales representative right through their computer.
Now, live chat’s role in business is expanding to lead generation.
It’s effective in this way because it provides what most customers need – active engagement with your brand.
In fact, recent studies show that 44% of consumers state that a live sales rep was vital to helping them complete a purchase online, and 62% were inclined to purchase products online if live customer support was available online.
So sure, a live stream can clearly benefit business. But what about opt-in emails?
It can do that too.
Live chat offers a natural way to collect emails from your customers, either through the conversation or an additional pop-up.
Look at how Drift did it. They completely got rid of lead forms and gated content and turned the focus instead to live chat.
The results were pretty impressive, reporting that of the people who clicked on the opening message, 63% became leads on their list.
If you’re not ready to give up on forms completely, you can still combine the two.
For example, LiveChat offers lead generation integrations with many email marketing services. These allow you to add to add an email opt-in checkbox in a pre-chat survey that lets you collect some details about a visitor before the chat.
Bottom line: you have options, and live chat offers a way to both collect qualified leads and collect their emails in a natural, conversational setting.
2. Opt-In Email: Run Facebook Lead Ads to Optimize Mobile Experience
If you’re not making an effort to reach users via mobile, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.
That’s because as of 2018, 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3% in the previous year, and 57% of all US online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.
And when it comes to emails, 75% of Americans say they use their smartphones most often to check email.
But you know what no one wants to do on a mobile device? Fill out a form.
Enter Facebook Lead Ads.
Email opt-in’s aren’t exclusive to your website, by incorporating ways for prospects to sign up for your list in different corners of the web, you’ll increase the eyes – and numbers – on your offer.
And these ads, in particular, are ideal for mobile users, and businesses with the objective of growing their email lists.
They work like this:
When someone clicks on a lead ad, a form opens with their information automatically pre-populated from their Facebook profile. By eliminating a good portion of the work usually required with opt-in forms, more users will be inclined to submit theirs.
No fields to fill and no hoops to jump through. Instead, all it takes is two taps for a user to submit their information.
The form and fields are customizable based on your business goals. For email opt-in, you can add messages that promote your weekly newsletter, etc., so users know exactly what they’re signing up for.
In this case, it’s also best to ask simply for users names and emails. That way, all they have to do is click a button without filling out additional fields.
Then, using integrations with an email software (most, like MailChimp, offer lead gen form integration), the new contact will automatically be added to your email list.
Pretty cool, right?
It is. And if you’ve run any Facebook ads in the past, you’ll find the process very similar.
To make them as effective as possible, keep the following in mind:
- Target each led ad to a specific subset of your target market; that way, you can still segment your list based on as few form fields as possible
- Create new lookalike audiences based on actual customers, instead of prospects for the
- Adding a context card is optional, but recommended. This is the step between someone seeing your lead ad, and the actual form. Be as concise as possible here: explain who you are, what you’re offering, and why the user should take you up on it
- Experiment with carousel ads – ads that users can swipe through multiple pages. These lend themselves particularly well to lead gen ads
- Make sure you have a striking image to pair with your ad copy. Remember, you want users to take immediate action, so you want your ads to be as eye-catching and persuasive as possible
3. Opt-In Email: Multi-Step Forms
I know, this one seems a little counterintuitive. After all, the fewer steps a user goes through the better, right?
When it comes to opt-in email forms, not necessarily.
A multi-step form is a longer form that’s broken into shorter, simpler steps. Traditionally, opt-in email forms follow a two-step opt-in which requires users to confirm their subscription before joining a list.
It’s based on a psychological trick called the Zeigarnik effect, which says that humans are primed to finish an action we start.
But conversely, these forms can also trigger what we call “Goldilocks Syndrome:” if a form is too long, a prospect may not take the time to complete it. Too short, and you won’t gather enough information to properly segment.
A multi-step form meets the two phenomena in the middle. By leading with a carousel of simple, unobtrusive questions, users are more likely to continuously click through rather than get stuck when presented with an overly long opt-in form.
For marketers, this allows you to collect more detailed information because it does so in short segments. That also means more time on page, more leads, and more insights.
And in a user’s eyes, it could remove any potential barriers that come with submitting a form, because it doesn’t have to look much like a form at all.
For this method to be effective, remember to start simple. If possible, begin with an easy yes or no question, like this example from Instapage:
Then, proceed to more detail. Multi-step forms generally have three or more steps, so don’t rush the process.
For the record, the example above has a conversion rate of 89.9%!
You can design these as you would regular pop-ups, with a few fields on each page. But for best results, I’d recommend a platform like Leadformly.
Take a look at this example:
By asking simple questions in a well-designed, interactive format, they coax users through to the end before they even realize it.
Again, there’s a little bit of psychology at play here. The questions above are essentially what would be found in a traditional form, but they’re separated into different segments and presented in multiple-choice fashion.
It’s a matter of removing perceived barriers. To do that for your own clients, focus on the following:
- What user information is most important to you?
- Can you phrase it in question or multiple choice form?
A platform like Leadformly can help transform your answers into an engaging, mulit-step form that integrates with most major CRMs and email software.
Opt-In Email Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered a few of the newer strategies, let’s take a look at some time-tested best practices.
- As always, include an option for users to unsubscribe (most software require this)
- Segment your lists to target the right content to the right subscribers
- Use social proof and testimonials in your opt-in
- Provide an offer (ebook, whitepaper, etc.) in exchange for a users emails
- Limit the information you ask for in your sign-up forms (even in multi-step forms, only ask for the essentials)
- Preview and test – no matter the method, always test features like text, images, CTAs, timing, etc.
- Stay on brand, and show some personality where appropriate
- Once a user subscribes, have an immediate plan of action – deploy a welcome email and have a drip email campaign set up
Wrapping Up Opt-In Email Strategies
Email continues to be one of the most effective marketing tactics for businesses.
But for it to work, you have to have a quality list of voluntary subscribers.
Start building that list with these three strategies today.