ZD Design Blog

7 Email Opt-in Tips That Improve Conversions

Okay guys, here we go… I am sharing 7 tips that we use to improve conversion on landing pages and squeeze pages to get opt-ins and new leads. First, I want you to know that, from my experience, nobody will buy or opt-in for crap. Your offering needs to be good, good enough to make you opt-in. Keep this in mind as we continue. I believe your emails are the little pots of Gold that you have in the safe of your business, if they are segmented and fresh, even better. Really, your emails are much more valuable than you would think, and will be more so in the future. Many of these ideas below are not new. It’s just that many professionals don’t follow their own advice; so, I am hammering in these key techniques again.

There are many deciding factors when someone opts-in to something.  But, we can see that the following problems can be solved by putting a little bit of love into the mix. Our theory is that you can always improve campaigns and CTA’s with some A/B testing and better content development.

So, if you’ve got a good offer and well-qualified traffic, you will IMPROVE your existing opt-in rates from 30% to 60% by using these techniques below.

So, here they are:

1. Opt-in Form Copy Optimization

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Write an amazing opt-in form text for your user.

Don’t discount the importance of accurate writing and great verbiage for your pages. The copy is easy to gloss over and say “Oh yeah, the copy is fine on our page”, because you are usually under the gun to quickly produce a page and sometimes a quantity of pages for various ads. But,  if you A/B test your landing pages, you will find performance differences with even the smallest copy changes to your landing and lead pages.

The headline should grab attention and tell people exactly what they get when they sign up for your emails. Example: “Get Your Free Content Marketing Toolkit” – The body should qualify people and nudge them to take action.

Example: “If you’re serious about content marketing, enter your email address below to receive the Content Marketing Toolkit.” –  The Call-to-Action should be simple and immediate. Example: “Get The Toolkit.”

Look at the pages your competitors use, review and dissect them with your marketing team.  Decide what works, why and how it applies to you, and how you are presenting the same product or service verbally. What is effective and what is not, how can you learn from this? It’s obvious.

2. The One Goal

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Your landing page has one purpose: to attract email subscribers and lead them to the opt-in. Every element, whether design or copy, is meant to lead the visitor DIRECTLY to the opt-in box.

The landing page design is not the same as your website, so stop trying to complicate things. Eliminate the header, navigation, and any other element that has nothing to do with the opt-in. Period. Done.

Have as little as possible on the landing page and opt-in form, NO CLUTTER!

Display your opt-in box above the fold, so visitors can see it immediately when they land on your page. Also, the landing page should not distract from the main call to action. The main CTA should be the most prominent and the only goal, to get them to click on it.

Use whatever you can to build trust on the page so the opt-in is easy. Do you have testimonials that are great? Do you have letters from the happiest customers? Do you have reviews that would sway someone’s opinion, if they read it while staring at your lead page, waiting to press the giant button? Any way you can add social proof will increase your opt-in rate conversion too, so try to build confidence to focus on the one goal.

3. Make your Offer Match your Intention.

This is first because, to me, this is where the disconnect occurs and why your opt-in will not convert—this seems overlooked by many experts but should be part of the checklist to make sure it’s clear for the user.

So, ask for someone’s email because you are going to send them something… Period.

YOU DON’T NEED someone’s email address to play a video.

YOU DON’T NEED someone’s email address so they can download a document.

People can access things for free, without giving up their email all over the net, so if the user experience is such that the person has to stop and think, “Why is this person asking for my email?”, they will bounce.  This also clearly shows your intention, and that what you are really after, in a backhanded way, is their personal data so you can sell them something else. Not cool!

If it’s clear to the user that the only way they can get your content is via email, then it all makes sense that you need it for this one reason… Oh!, as well as to re-market to them later 😉

If you have a 5 or 10-part series of something, or need to send emails to the user more than one time, this can also be a much clearer way to gain their email and for them to feel comfortable giving it.  Makes sense?

4. Don’t offer more, Offer Less.

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So, many people offer FREE this and FREE that.  I guess, some marketers have the idea that giving away more free content to “build value” is an effective way to offer. I believe that too much free stuff adds to the information overload that will turn this user against you.

There is only so much that people can comprehend and implement at one time. Even though it seems like more work, to break your offering down into 5 emails of simple information may be more effective than a 15-page pdf that has 10-point types and requires hours of reading. People just don’t have the time these days, so design your content accordingly.

Even if you have the most amazing document on “How to” or “Tips for”, your potential customer may not be able to digest it like you think. If your customer can’t make it through what you offer, they will get little or no value, therefore you failed at helping them.

So, offer small pieces at a time and offer words of confidence and motivation to help get them through your offering. The less he or she has to do, or “thinks they have to do”, the more successful result they will have after utilizing your offering. Pretty simple, aye?

So, send your emails with content in small bites, and consider that the user may not even have the time to get through as much as you think. Be considerate and make it easier for them to gain value and better results with less pressure and more support.

You want to be sure that they will definitely use what you send and not go into the black hole of stuff they will only “get to later.”  It should be content or offerings that can be used and implemented so as to show results easily and quickly.

5. Limit submission fields to 1

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Based on the pot of Gold theory, all you need is their email…that’s it. You can reach them.

Every opt-in form I have seen, or nearly every form, asks for more than is really needed. I mean all you need is their email to get to them so, why do you need their address, first and last name, phone, and a message as to why they are opting in, etc…?  You don’t, of course, and your potential customer realizes this too, so you are not fooling anyone by asking for more data, you are making it evident that you want more before you will give them that little bit of offering. Full details and more… are too much.

Just two fields (name and email) seem reasonable to fill out, but, it’s twice as much field, and this means twice as much friction—and potentially, half the conversion rate.  As you can see, we must be considerate and thoughtful as to equate the value of what we are offering to a realistic expectation by the user.

6. Make your Call-to-Action text Clear and Give the Result.

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Even after spending so much time on strategy, messaging, testing, and targeting, you still have to have the right CTA. With that comes the best verbiage to drive that click.

What we are talking about here is the Call To Action (CTA)—we are asking our prospects to take action.

The problem is, what we really want to do is tell them the result, the prospect wants to know what they gain and what they get before clicking, so the more clear that driving text is, the better % of clicks. We need to give the user the text that best describes the final result or benefit they will gain from clicking now. They need to be told the benefit and what they will gain. We don’t want to remind them what they have to do.

It’s not easy to have the payoff or driving text on the buttons. You want to have the best text that can drive the specific action, SEND or SUBMIT is not enough to convert most often. This is the standard pre-defined button text and it’s not enough anymore. The button is the most obvious CTA, and most commonly passed by when optimizing for better conversions. Below are some examples of most commonly used button copy, with optimization and improving the implied value; and by slightly tweaking the verbiage, you can have a stronger message to action:

Button text CTA Optimized Button text CTA

Instead of Submit – how bout Send Me My 10 Tips!

Rather than Subscribe –  how bout Get Me on the List!

Instead of Join –  how bout Be Part of Our Elite Group!

Instead of Sign up – Sign Up NOW!

7. Splash Pages

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Rather than being driven straight to a form, which… Blah, who wants that? Instead of a form, you can create a better user experience with an interim page or lead into a squeeze page. These types of warm and fuzzy splash pages are easier on the eyes and decrease the bounce rate.

You can have your forms embedded on the page or you can have popup forms.  But it’s a proven fact that popups aren’t effective and don’t give the best user experience. In some surveys of user-experience research, it shows that almost 100% of users are affected negatively by popup forms that appear out of nowhere and use persistent opt-in forms that put users in a bad loop they can’t get out of, unless they close their browser, yuck!

You want your experience for your new customers to be a positive and easy journey right? You want to show prospects that you already care about them and are respectful enough to give them a choice of embracing your brand.

Always start a new business relationship with a positive experience and you will have more loyal customers. They are people, you know, not robots, ha!

You solve these problems, while still giving you the chance to capture prospects, when they get to the page: If clients go to the URL, they’re directed to your squeeze page, which also includes an optional big fat button saying something like, “No thanks, take me to the main site.”

I don’t recommend splash pages before a website entrance, but I do recommend a splash page for a direct URL-to-landing page. This will give the user a better experience because they won’t have to think about what to do when they get to your website’s home page. They’re usually taken from a PPC ad or social link to a splash page, this has been known to be the most effective in the last few years.

Thanks and get Optimizing!

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