Now that we’ve talked about how to create the perfect lead magnet in episodes 70 and 71, it is time to talk about your general opt-in strategy on your blog. What are the most effective ways to build your email list from your blog?
In this episode, we cover 7 different strategies for building your list effectively. These strategies are specifically chosen to increase your conversion rate on your blog and put more people onto your list.
- What are the best converting locations on your blog for opt-in forms?
- How do you integrate squeeze pages into your blog?
- Should you ask for their first name?
- When is it OK to turn OFF double opt-in?
- How does a two-step opt-in increase conversion rates?
- What’s the most effective opt-in strategy for a blogger – bar none?
All that, in this episode of Coffee Break Blogging. 🙂
Like I said, today we are going to be talking about 7 Strategies for Getting More Opt-ins to Your Email List. But before we jump in into that, I want to quickly give a shout out on Ms. McLain on iTunes. She had posted a quick review for me inside of iTunes for Coffee Break Blogging and I always appreciate and want to show my acknowledgement to those reviews.
And what she said was…
“I have been blogging for over a year now and wished I found David sooner. The podcasts are short and sweet but packed full of helpful information with easy to accomplish action steps. Definitely a “must” for those looking to increase their web presence and customer base.”
So thank you very much to Miss McLain; I do not know your first name but thank you very much. And for everybody else listening, I would highly appreciate those reviews inside of iTunes; really helps me out quite a bit. And all the way, you probably heard on other podcasts. And I have actually, finally a shortcut link; I don’t know why I forgot about this… But that is blogmarketingacademy.com/iTunes. Makes it nice and easy, it will direct you right into iTunes for the Coffee Break Blogging Podcast and you can go and post a review for me and I will definitely acknowledge your review on the episodes of the show.
So without getting into too much more, let us go right in to the actionable steps of this episode…
The 7 Strategies For Getting More Opt-ins To Your Email List
1. Create an effective lead magnet, to begin with.
I am not going to cover all this ground again because we covered it in the 2 Part episode starting with Episode 70. So if you go back to Episode 70 and Episode 71, we covered how to create a perfect lead magnet and we covered it quite in depth.
But the thing is, those strategies that we talked about in those last 2 podcasts are very important to getting people onto your list because these are the kinds of lead magnets that are going to stand out. They are the kinds of lead magnets that are actually going to help drive sales to you as well, once you put the funnel in place after these things. But it is very important that we set up these lead magnets in a specific way so that we get specific kinds of people with the specific thing that we can help them solve. And I say that word “specific” very often because, again, if you go back to Episode 70 and 71 you would realize how important that “specificity” really is when you create those lead magnets.
The good news is that they are actually going to be shorter and easier to create than what you probably thought in terms of these big 7 day courses or those big honker eBooks. Those things actually do not make the best lead magnets. The best ones are a lot easier to make. Okay so I am not going to repeat that ground, go back; listen to Episode 70 and 71, if you haven’t already.
2. Position your opt-in forms in the highest converting locations on your blog.
So if you look at the layout of your blog, most of you probably are going to be using whatever layout your theme originally came with. And I understand because many of my listeners are not super geeky. So I understand that there might be some issues that come into play here when it comes to actually modifying our blogs to look a certain way. But I want to give you what the ideal is, here. And then you can go out and find themes that give you these options. I am a big fan of a lot of the model child themes that go along with the Genesis Framework and you can find that at StudioPress.com. But with those themes, there are a lot of options in there. Say for example, if you want to flip the sidebar to the other side of your blog, most of those themes allow you to do that with a click of a button and so it is just so much easier.
So let us go in real quick on the highest converting locations on the typical blog theme…
The first one is at the very top. It could be above the logo area above the header; sometimes we see these “floater bars” that kind of sits there or it can be underneath that. So for example, if you go to the Blog Marketing Academy right now and you click on any of my blog posts, you will see a big full width opt-in for the Blog Monetization Model. And it is right there, on the every single blog post and it is pretty damn noticeable; you are pretty much not going to miss it. And that is a very high converting location right at the top.
The second on is in your sidebar. But here is an important component… You want the opt-in, and it should be a lead magnet, by the way; not a “subscribe to my newsletter” kind of a deal because that is a waste of time. But you want this opt-in to be at the top of your sidebar and then the second thing is you want to consider; you want to test the idea of having your sidebar on the other side of your page.
Most people put in on the right… You might want to consider testing it out on the left. So you put your content on the right side, you put your sidebar on the left side. Here is the thing, that left oriented sidebar falls right into the eye path of people when they land on your site. We are all used to reading books from left to right and top down. So if you put your opt-in form in that location where we naturally gravitated which is going to be the top left, you are going to get more opt-ins typically.
Now there is some debate here in terms of “Do you want to emphasize the opt-in versus the content?” But the thing is, personally if your blog is designed right and you have got a good size headline and good white space, putting your sidebar on the left side is not going to detract from your content. People are still going to notice that content, they are still going to read it. So I find it definitely helps opt-in rates.
Last one will be at the end of your blog post; you should have another opportunity to opt-in.
3. You want to use squeeze pages.
You want to use squeeze pages. Now a squeeze page is a single purpose page designed to get an email subscriber. So you would remove all the other clutter. You do not have your top menu, you do not have your sidebar, you do not have your typical footer stuff; it is just an opt-in form, basically, with some teaser text and maybe an image on why you should opt-in. You want to use these things. We are going to talk more on this on Episode 74 coming up so we are not going to cover that ground. But the big thing here is that you should be using squeeze pages.
And if you are concerned about how they interact with your blog, like how do you link to them… Well, you just link to them! It is not a big, complicated thing.
If you have got a squeeze page and it is not part of your top navigation which is no problem to that; you just link to them where it makes sense. So if you are writing a post about topic X and you happen to have a really good lead magnet that would cover people interested in topic X, then you could just manually and naturally link to that squeeze page right from inside that blog post. So it is not complicated. We do not have to get into the weird plug-ins and stuff like that; you just link to your own squeeze page just like you would anything else, okay? But we will talk more about that in Episode 74.
4. You want to reduce the number of fields that you are asking for.
So here is the thing… in my personal opinion, your best opt-in form is simply going to ask for email. And that is it. Okay?
Now, many people ask for the name. Now the thing about the name is… Two things… The more fields that you add to the opt-in form, generally it is going to reduce your conversion rate. To what degree that happens? You have to test it and find out. But the thing is, too… you have to ask yourself; is there really any major benefit to having their name? I mean, are you really going to address your general list by name? Most of us don’t. So therefore, why do we need to ask for that information?
Obviously, if they buy something from you, you are going to get their name because you are going to get it as part of your check out process or what have you. Not only that, because they are spending money with you, they are going to give their names. They are not going to call themselves “Mickey Mouse” or something weird. I’ve seen some really creative names being entered into these opt-in forms. Why ask for data that you really do not need given what you are going to be sending them? And the other thing, too, quite frankly, if you do put Name fields in your outgoing emails, then keep in mind they can call themselves Mickey Mouse; they could call themselves anything they want and you are going to be calling them that. So does it really make you look good? Maybe not.
They can literally start pounding their keyboard in the random character for their name and as long as they are on your list, you are going to be calling them that big bunch of characters, unless you just leave it out and then it does not really matter, right?
Again, the summary here is to reduce the number of fields that you ask for in your opt-in. Do not ask for the name unless you truly need it. And if you are going to use it, combine it. I’ve seen some people, they ask for first name and last name as two separate fields. That’s just a stupid move. Do not do that for a general lead magnet opt-in forms, okay?
5. Stop using double opt-in.
This one might be a little bit debatable but I am going to tell it to you, anyway and that is to stop using double opt-in. Okay, this is different than I used to recommend. It is generally considered good form to use double opt-in and to be honest with you in some locations it is actually a legal requirement. But if you can get away with not using double opt-in you might want to consider doing it. Because the thing is, you are losing subscribers to the double opt-in process.
You are going to have people that just do not confirm themselves even though they wanted your thing… I don’t know why they don’t double opt-in but just some people just don’t do it so you are going to be killing conversions into your list. The other thing too, is if you are going to my funnel in the way that I typically teach it, there is going to be an offer on the other side of that opt-in form. But if you put a double opt-in process in the middle of that you are just putting a big wrench to the works and you are going to kill your conversion rates on the front end sale.
Now, here is the thing… Am I saying that you just want to have your opt-in and your list be wide open with no policing whatsoever? No, I don’t. The flip-side of not having double opt-in is that you want to practice very good list hygiene. And what I mean by that; the short version of it is you want to be actively tracking active subscribers, engaged subscribers; people who are actively opening and clicking on your emails and then you want to track the people who are not.
And if people have been on your list for 60 to 90 days… 90 days I would say is tops; and they have not clicked on anything and they are not engaging with your emails, you need to cut them loose. You need to stop emailing them. You need to delete them. As hard is that is, gut wrenching it is going to be, you need to delete those people because they are just taking up space, costing you money and they are just not engaged. And to be honest with you, you having that subscriber on your list; a little extra subscriber there, if they are not even reading any of your stuff, what’s the point?
So that is how you get around not having a double opt-in process is that you practice really good list hygiene so that you are not just blasting bogus email addresses because that will be a horrible practice, okay? But if you have good list hygiene, if your system is designed to automatically test for bounces and deal with bounces and most of the good email host providers they do all these automatically, then you are going to be fine having single opt-in and you are going to get more people on your list.
6. Use a two-step opt-in form.
These two-step opt-in forms are pretty simple. They are the ones where there is no email entry field on the page but they click a button and then they get a little pop-up and that’s is where they enter the email. So that is what a two-step opt-in is, they do typically increase conversion rates. So the easiest way to use this that I found is using the Lead Boxes feature of Lead Pages. Now, if you want to pay the monthly fee of Lead Pages just for that, it’s totally up to you. I’m going to be honest with you, it is really the only reason I am still with Lead Pages, is the Lead Boxes. I am not actually a huge fan of their Landing Pages because they are not that flexible. But that is just my personal opinion. I thing they are great if you are not very technically inclined. But if you really are particular about what your pages look like, and I tend to be; Lead Pages tend to get on my nerves. But their Lead Boxes functionality is fantastic and it is really great for two-step opt-in.
Now, if you are using the Optimize Press, they got the overlay box in there. I forgot what the heck they call that. But they have got the whole thing built right in. So it makes life easier. So give it a try. If you go to Blog Marketing Academy and try out getting my lead magnets from the blog itself, you will find that they pop-up. I do not have the email form right there on the blog. So that is an example of two-step opt-in.
7. Content Upgrade
The last strategy we are going to discuss here is what is called the Content Upgrade. I have seen many people using this. I think I originally saw it with the guys with Lead Pages talk about it, I have seen other bloggers talk about it; but it is essentially the idea of having a piece of content, essentially a lead magnet but is designed specifically to go along with one of your blog posts. So the idea here is that they read a blog post and then they get offered some kind of a download that is very specific to that post. Like it is not like some general thing that you kind of match in. It is literally unique to that blog post.
And so if you give a tutorial on how to do something in a blog post and then as a lead magnet or a content upgrade they can download a resource list to find the exact tools used to do it or something like that. You can get really good opt-ins there because it is so related to the blog post and you are going to find your absolute best opt-in rates by using a content upgrade.
Now the best way to do these content upgrades is quite frankly using two-step opt-in like we just talked about. Lead Boxes is great for this because you can have standard hyperlinks; just standard links inside your blog post but they have to use their clicks on one, they get an opt-in form right then and there. And so it is so easy so that is a really good combination if you can take the extra time to create a content upgrade to go along with your blog post, it will convert a lot better than any side bar opt-in form, any header opt-in; all that, because they are so tightly targeted wider on your site, in the first place.
So those are the quick 7 strategies for getting more opt-ins to your email list. Definitely go and put them to use. Some of these might be new to you, others not so much. But the thing is if you heard this before and you haven’t done it, you have to ask yourself “Why the hell not?” Get busy, okay? We aren’t talking about these things for our health, you know… You got to go out there and do them and that is where the results are going to come from.
Brand New Landing Page
So real quick before I end this episode, I want to let you know that I have created a brand new landing page for this podcast and you will find out at coffeebreakblogging.com. But anyway, what you can do there; if you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you can actually find an opt-in using the two-step opt-in, by the way, and that is where you can download the full Infographic on the 7 Stages of Building an Online Business. And the reason why I bring this to your attention is because this is the exact roadmap which this podcast is following.
So if you want to have the general outline of the entire course that is in Coffee Break Blogging, go over to coffeebreakblogging.com scroll all the way down to the bottom and opt-in for the 7 Stages Graphic. You will get the full graphic sent to you, you can save that on your hard drive, print it out if you feel like it and this will be kind of like your overall roadmap for everything that we are doing with Coffee Break Blogging; everything that we have done so far and everything that we are going to be doing throughout the rest of the year; okay? So… it is coffeebreakblogging.com.
And with that, thanks for listening and I will see you in a few days with Episode 73 where we are going to be talking about how to insert opt-in forms inside your blog post. It can be a little bit of a technical problem because the WordPress Editor tends to screw them up. So we are going to talk about how to get those opt-in forms inside your blog posts… 😉
I’ll see you next time!