List growth plays a very important part in your email marketing strategy, and having a clear and simple sign up process will help you gain more email subscribers from your website visitors. If you have a newsletter sign up feature on your site, but you are not seeing many submissions coming through, read these tips and see how you can improve your sign up rate.
Make your sign up form stand out
This is quite an obvious thing to state, but your email sign up form should be easy to find. If I do a search on Google and land on your site as a first time visitor, will I see your newsletter sign up box? Go and have a look at your Google Analytics data and identify your top pages; can the sign up box be found on these pages?
The best way of making your sign up box stand out is to include it on every page of your site. I often suggest the footer as being the ideal location, but you should really test the placement to see what works best for you. If your site has a search functionality then you should avoid placing the sign up box in the header, as users may confuse it with the search box. There is a fashion site I visit on a regular basis that has the newsletter sign up box very close to the search box, and it still catches me out on a regular basis, even though I visit the site often.
Sell the benefits
In order for people to hand over their email address, you need to provide something of value to them. Why should they sign up? By providing a link to a dedicated sign up landing page, you can sell the benefits of subscribing, and set the expectations; tell the visitor what they are likely to receive – special offers, exclusive content, the latest industry news, new product launch information. To give prospects an idea of what is likely to land in their inbox, include copies of recent emails on the landing page.
44% of UK subscribers are motivated to hand over their email address if they are going to receive free stuff or giveaways in exchange, [Source: ExactTarget, November 2011] so offering an incentive is something worth considering. You could offer a discount voucher for example, or free access to a whitepaper download.
Keep it short and simple
Long forms will discourage people from handing over their details. Whilst you may feel that you need to ask a lot of questions in order to send targeted emails, at the sign up stage you should just ask for the essentials. Name and email address fields, and a very small choice of preferences is sufficient. You can build a profile of the subscriber in time, by directing them to a preference centre in future mailings, and also by analysing their interaction with the emails you send them.
Tailor your copy
Tailoring your sign up copy according to the page the user is on is a great way of attracting new subscribers who are already looking at content that is of interest to them. On your news and blog pages, ask people to ‘Sign up for the latest news.’ On product promotion pages, ask people to ‘Sign up for the latest special offers and exclusive discounts.’
If you track the sign ups from these pages, you can use the data to tailor the first communication with the subscriber.
Optimising your sign up page using these tips should help you work towards increasing your list growth rate. Whilst your website is just one way of collecting email addresses, is the probably the most important. You have huge potential to capture the details of new visitors, and a carefully managed email programme with these prospects will ensure they turn into customers in the future.
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: