Every business, blogger, and entrepreneur want more email subscribers. You do want to make sure that when someone visits your website, they fill out your email opt-in form to receive updates and everything you publish.
So to help you get more opt-ins or email subscribers, I have put together some best practices for opt-in forms.
In this post, I'll share with you 6 email opt-in best practices that you should know. These best practices will help to improve your list building strategy and help you convert more visitors into subscribers.
Of course, what works best for one website may need a little bit of tweaking for another website to get a similar result. In other words, my best practice for my website is not necessarily your own best practice. You've got to test. But these email opt-in best practices should give you very good testing ideas and help to guide you into a very successful list building journey.
1. Be Passive
The first email opt-in best practice I want to talk about is that you want to be passive in the words you use. What I mean by that is be passive in the words you use when you want people to take certain action on your website. If you come across as aggressive and forceful, then people aren’t going to want to take whatever action you want them to take.
Let me give you an example about my favorite smoothie recipe book so that it’s crystal clear on how this works.
"I just bought this smoothie recipe book a few days ago. I am already halfway through the book. I have been making smoothies and they are super delicious. I absolutely love them. The recipes are so healthy and easy to make. If you would like to try out these smoothie recipes, I recommend you go to Amazon and get a copy for yourself.''
“This smoothie recipe book is the best book ever. If you are struggling to make delicious and healthy smoothies, then you need to buy this book. This book will help you out a lot. You need to go to Amazon and buy this book today.”
As you can see, in the passive example, I am just telling you a story about my recipe book. It doesn’t appear as if I am promoting the book even though I am. Using the passive approach allows your audience to discover products that are helpful to them, on their own, as they go through your website and get deeper into your content.
In the second example, I come across as pushy and aggressive. Most people won’t like that because they don’t want to be sold to. Even though people might enjoy buying something, they don’t feel good and enjoy it when someone tries to sell to them.
So, be passive in the words you use is very important when it comes to promoting a product or service or asking others to sign up to your email list. You don’t want to use the aggressive approach to get people to sign up because it’s more than likely that they won’t.
2. Don't Overpromise
When putting the content on your signup form, I recommend not overpromising anything. If you overpromise something and fail to deliver it or your subscribers are not getting the results you promised, you will be label as a scammer or a liar.
And this will ultimately hurt your reputation and credibility. I am sure that’s not something you want, right?
Let’s say you have an eBook that teaches people how to make money with affiliate marketing. On the signup form, if you say “How you can make $2,000 with affiliate marketing in 2 weeks,” this will, of course, get many people excited and get them to sign up.
But is this really a good way to get people to sign up? I personally think it’s a bad idea. And here is why.
When you use those words, people are literally going to think they are going to make $2,000 in 2 weeks. And when they don't see the result in 2 weeks, they are going to turn around and label you as untrustworthy, a scammer, or a liar.
Even if you eBook can legitimately help people make $2,000 in 2 weeks, the problem with this is that you can’t guarantee how much they can make. Because you don't know if they are going to do the necessary work in order to get that result. More often than not, people are going to naturally blame others for their own failure.
This is definitely not a way to start building your email list. Always remember not to overpromise anything and be careful with the words you use to entice people to fill out the signup form.
3. Do You Need To Collect Their Name?
Do you really need people’s name in the signup form? Some marketers use it, and some don’t. In fact, many popular sites on the web don’t ask for names in their email opt-in forms.
You’ve probably heard that too many fields on opt-in forms reduce opt-ins. Generally, it’s true. It’s just an additional step one has to take to sign up which will lead to fewer people subscribing. How much it reduces the opt-in rate depends on who you ask. Unfortunately, the figures shift so much from source to source that there is no one statistic that you can take and apply to your business.
The advantage of knowing your subscriber's name is that it allows you to personalize emails. According to this study (Heerwegh et al. 2006), it suggests that personalizing an email results in higher response rates.
Now the disadvantage for asking for the name is that some people won’t put their real name in, even if you require it. They will put some filler text in, like a letter or a fake name. This is not good for you, because it means every time you send what you hoped would be a personalized email, you’ll instead be sending an email to them with a name they made up.
Imagine that you send an email with the following greeting: Hello Rfadagasha. This would not look pretty and your subscribers would likely not respond.
So, do you collect or not collect names? I believe the only real way to know this is to test. I know that’s not the most exciting thing to do, but it’s the only responsible answer.
I suggest putting one form that asks for the name and one that doesn't. Put 50% of the traffic to the first variation and 50% to the second. Try to track everything you can, like click-through rates, conversion rate, etc. Then see which of those two forms gets you the most subscribers and revenue. This is the only way to truly know whether or not collecting name is suitable for your business.
4. Tell Them What To Expect?
On your email sign up form, tell people what to expect and what they are going to receive when they sign up.
If you want people to sign up to receive new blog posts, then on your email signup form you should say something like “sign up to be the first person to receive our blog posts when it comes out” or “get new posts sent directly to your email,” something along these lines.
If you have an eBook and use that as your lead magnet, tell them that you will send the eBook after they’ve signed up and confirmed their email. This is also known as double opt, which I will cover more shortly.
Always tell people exactly what to expect and what information they are going to receive from you.
It’s important that you only deliver what they signed up for. Don’t promise to send one thing and then blast their inbox with something completely irrelevant to what they’ve signed up for. Doing this is the fastest way for people to unsubscribe.
5. Avoid Using The Word "Subscribe"
Subscribe is overly used word. Many bloggers use it because other bloggers use it too.
The problem with the word "subscribe" is that many people associate "subscribe" with "subscription." And subscription generally costs money. They think they have to pay to get something.
Let me ask you this, do you really know what “subscribe” means? Are you being completely clear with your word choice?
Let’s look at a couple of definitions from two dictionaries.
Dictionary.com: “to pledge, as by signing an agreement, to give or pay (a sum of money) as a contribution, gift, or investment.”
Vocabulary.com: “pay (an amount of money) as a contribution to a charity or service, especially at regular intervals.”
So, when you ask people to subscribe, are you asking them to agree to pay you a sum of money or pay you a subscription fee? I am sure that is not what you want your readers to think. You want your readers to sign up for free to receive useful information from you, right? If that’s the case, then you got to make it obvious to your readers that it doesn’t cost them any money to sign up to receive valuable content from you.
If you are going to ask people to subscribe, at least make it exciting and attention-grabbing. You want to be creative with the words you use. Here are some examples of words to use beside subscribe: Let’s go, sign up for free, get started, join now, and let’s begin, get special offer, become a legend, and etc.
So, if you are struggling to get subscribers, maybe consider a different word. Test it out and see what works best for you.
6. Use Double Opt-in
Double opt-in is when someone fills out a signup form, an email is then sent immediately to their email, the new subscriber will then need to go to their email and click on a link to confirm the subscription.
Using double opt-in is a great way to keep your email list clean. This process helps to eliminate many of the “bad” email addresses that get entered into the system due to a typo or incorrect email address.
Sometimes spammers try to target a single opt-in email list. Well, with double opt-in, they won’t be added to your list unless they use a real email, because if they don’t use a real email address, they’ll never get a confirmation email.
Use double opt-in allows you to get more quality subscribers. And here is the reason why. So, if people go to their email and confirm their subscription, then chances are that they really do want to be on your list and want to receive your content. And that is a valuable lead and subscriber.
On the other hand, if they decide not to confirm their subscription with you, then you may be losing a subscriber, but you likely just have saved yourself from a potential spammer that didn’t really want to be on your list in the first place.
Keep in mind that building an email list is not just a numbers game. What I mean is that the number of subscribers on your email list Does Not matter. Yes, that’s right, it Does Not Matter. What you need are engaged subscribers. Subscribers that open your emails, like your content, click through, engage with your brand, and purchase your products.
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I hope you find this article helpful. Keep in mind that implementing these strategies is not a guarantee that you are going to gain a ton of subscribers.
These 6 email opt-in best practices may or may not work for your site because no two websites are the same. What works best for one website may need a little bit of tweaking for another website to get a similar result.
My recommendation to you is to use these best practices, test as much as you can until you get your desired result. Don't limit yourself to what we have here, Google and YouTube are great places to find other resources as well.
If you use these tips and you are not getting subscribers, then make some changes. Once you find what works best for your business, then you will be able to drastically increase the number of subscribers on your list.