You send numerous Email communications to your online connections. You don’t want to send template Emails without customizing. Additionally, you want to send those Emails to people most likely to opt in to whatever you are offering them.
The way in which you present your opt-in pages and forms will affect how your list grows as well as the high the quality of your list.
Your opt-in pages
You need to be careful when it comes to your opt-in pages. If you ask for too much from your visitor, he or she may shy away from opting in at all. However, it is perfectly appropriate to attempt to collect more than just the name and Email address. There is an approach that you can take to gathering information from your visitors that will most likely prove to be successful.
- Use a simple approach: Your one objective is to get your Email recipients to opt in. Making the page cluttered will not help you to achieve that. You should give them the information that you feel they need and want the most. Your opt-in pages should be a true reflection of who you are and what your business stands for. The pages should represent your brand.
- Communicate clearly: Clearly tell those people who have subscribed what you are going to do with their data. It is important to let them know how frequently you are planning to communicate with them and the kinds of messages that they will be receiving from you. Also, it is important to let them know how they can opt out anytime they wish to do so.
- Show the value: The fact that your subscribers opted in means that you owe them something valuable as well. What you are going to give to them is valuable content (in the form of a white paper, newsletter, discount, coupon, contest, or some other incentive). If you want to deepen the incentive well, you can offer something special to only those people who have signed up for your newsletter.
- Show them an example: If you really want to entice your subscribers, you can show them an example of what you can give to them.
Your opt-in form
Coming up with the perfect form may take a great deal of thought on your part. You need to make sure that you are asking for data that segments your audience and optimizes and personalizes your strategy.
- Ask for only the data that you need initially: You should ask for first and last name, and Email address right off the bat. After that, you can ask for a phone number, company, title, and website URL. You don’t want to turn off potential subscribers so don’t get too heavy handed when it comes to your data requests at the beginning. You should only ask for data that you are certain you will use in some way. Remember, the more information you request, the more skeptical your subscribers may be about you and may really question why you want the information in the first place. It is probably more effective to ask for less data initially and then use follow-up Emails to request additional data.
- Allow the subscriber to make his or her own decision: There are ways to trick people into opting in but you don’t want to go that way. Whether they decide to subscribe should be their decision alone. If you do trick them and they find out about it, you may very well lose them altogether and that would serve no purpose.
- Send a welcome Email: After a subscriber opts in, it is your responsibility to make them feel that they made the correct decision. In that Email, you should mention again how you plan on using their data. You want them to feel comfortable and confident that their information will be used in a way that is ok with them.
Where to use your opt-in form
There are several different places where your opt-in form can appear. Keep in mind that the more strategically the form is placed, the better your results will be. The following are potential places for your opt-in form:
- Your homepage: Placing your form here will get the attention of everyone who visits your website. You can add the form to this page or put a link to the form somewhere on the page.
- Download: If you offer download capability on your website, you can have them download the form. That is a great way to attract new subscribers. If you communicate clearly that they will be receiving something valuable after they fill out your form, they will probably be willing to fill it out.
- During registration: If you offer registration on your website, you can ask your readers to opt-in during registration.
- Checkout: If you have a checkout section on your website, you can place your opt-in form there. Many people will find that convenient and will be amenable to filling out the form right there and then.
What happens after opting in?
Once you have gathered the data that you need from your subscribers, you need to do a few things.
- Make good on your promise: The did what you wanted so now you need to do what you promised.
- Make haste: Once you have gotten what you need, don’t sit on the information for too long. You need to be proactive and show that you are doing your best to make things happen.
- Protect your database: Communicate clearly to your subscribers that you consider them valuable. Always respect their privacy and behave toward them as you would like them to treat you.
The opt-in process is an extremely important part of your online interactions and as such, it should be nurtured until it is as effective as it can possibly be. Your successful opt-in strategy will lead the way to the success of the rest of your social media marketing strategy. If you have the right tools in place, you will be able to build strong and sustaining relationships and people will want to buy from you eventually.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.