“Thanks, I’m just browsing.”
This phrase has been uttered by many in-store shoppers. The same thing happens on your website: a Marketo study estimates that 96% of your website visitors are not yet ready to purchase. If you want to keep their attention, capturing their email address is your best bet.
But customers are protective of their contact information (as they should be). Not only are unwanted emails annoying, but they can also be used for fraud. Plus, with privacy laws becoming more stringent, it’s essential to get people’s explicit consent before emailing them. Getting visitors to opt-in to email contact is the only way to stay in touch.
However, if you do manage to capture the attention of your website visitor and get that elusive email address, it’s worth it. Email marketing has higher conversion rates than social media marketing and search channels combined. The only way you can ensure that you keep a direct line to your customers is to capture their email.
That’s the reason why optimizing your email opt-in forms are so important. In this post, we give you five tips to boost your email opt-in rate, so you can turn those casual browsers into committed customers.
Tell your customers what it will be used for
If you’re asking for a customer’s email address, it’s important to set clear expectations on what you’ll use it for. Do you send out daily coupon codes? Will they have opted into third-party advertisements? For example, BigCommerce says exactly what their subscribers should expect when they sign up: weekly newsletters with marketing and sales tips.
Some things to consider including in your email opt-in message are:
- What the email address will be used for (ie. newsletter, advertisements, discounts, promo codes, partner promotions, etc.)
- How often they should expect to hear from you (ie. daily, weekly, or occasionally)
- What value they will receive from the emails (ie. their quiz results, or knowledgable blog posts, or discounts)
- A link to a sample of your newsletter format
While you obviously don’t want to write a whole novel on your opt-in form, the more information you provide, the more likely you’ll encourage your audience to sign up.
As Optimizely says in their marketing glossary, social proof is “evidence that other people have purchased and found value in a product or service offered by a business.” More people are likely to take the same action if they know others have done so previously (also called the bandwagon effect). Social proof works in a number of ways including building trust, demonstrating popularity and conveying authority.
Social Media Examiner does this on their newsletter sign up by sharing their vast number of subscribers. If 255,000 people are subscribed, surely that means you’re missing out on something good? Other opt-in forms might include the logos of brands that also read the newsletter or a complimentary review from a well-known reader.
Ask them at the right time
Understanding how your visitors move through your site is key to offering an email opt-in at the right time. Nothing is more annoying to visitors than hopping onto a new website, only to immediately be shown a large pop-up asking for their email. At this point in the journey, the visitor has no reason to want to stay in touch.
LoveCrafts offers first-time visitors the chance to save 15% off their first order – but their pop up doesn’t show up until visitors are browsing their selection. By this time, the visitor might already have their eye on something, which makes the 15% off coupon more desirable.
If you use live chat on your website, you can proactively ask customers if they are finding everything okay while they are browsing. If they are, offer free shipping on their first order in exchange for their email address.
Other great places to embed an email sign-up form are:
- At the end of a quiz for their results to be emailed
- Partway through a valuable blog post or guide
Review your website analytics to see when and where your visitors might be primed for trading their email for something valuable. It might be right before they bounce, or after they’ve engaged with a certain amount of your content. Try out a few areas to see when your audience is ready to commit to an email from you.
Use trust signals
People want to trust the company they are giving their email address to. You can build this trust in a number of ways, including using commonly recognized trust signals.
Another common trust signal is the https lock and up to date security certificate. If you don’t have this lock on your website, customers will be less likely to trust you with their data, including their email address.
Make it worth their while
The business of asking for email addresses is essentially a trade. You’re offering something valuable and hoping that your audience agrees it’s worthy enough to trade their contact information for. For example, if you’re asking prospects to sign up for a weekly newsletter, is the content of the newsletter valuable enough that they want to receive it every week?
There are some giveaways that customers perceive as more valuable than others. Interactive quizzes are one of these. According to a Conversion XL study, quizzes can generate opt-in rates over 50%. Many visitors don’t mind trading an email address for the opportunity to see their quiz results.
Northyards Cider enters all of their newsletter members a chance to win free merchandise every month. Plus, newsletter subscribers are the first to know about new releases and events – definitely a newsletter that’s worth signing up to if you live in the area!
Opt-in to better Opt-in Rates
Small changes to your opt-in strategies can make a big difference to your email list growth. By paying attention to what your customers really want and reassuring them that you won’t abuse their trust, you will win over more subscribers.
Keep experimenting with new messaging and new formats for your email opt-in form. If a customer wasn’t interested in a newsletter, maybe they are attracted by free shipping or discount codes. By continually refining your message and your offers, you’ll continue growing your email list.
Bio: Yaakov Karda is the co-founder of Chatra.io and a slow coffee enthusiast. When not brewing or working on the startup, he helps his wife with their art projects or explores Tel-Aviv on a bicycle.
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