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How to Get More Visitors to Sign up to Your Newsletter

Posted February 9th 2016 Blog - 0 Comments

Last year, a friend of mine, Anna, started blogging to promote her coaching business. Anna wanted to guide people to finding happiness and she knew that her 7 Steps to Happiness program would be very helpful. So Anna spent over 100 hours developing the program, the materials, finding a good email client, designing the list, opt-in forms, and making sure everything worked perfectly because she knew that email is the key to a good inbound marketing strategy.

When she was done building it, she realized she had missed something, because nobody was subscribing. Anna came to me with a lot of questions. If you’re reading this, you’re most probably in the same situation – wondering how to get users to sign up to your newsletter. It all starts with answering the question – how do people sign up for your newsletter?

Most probably via an opt-in form on your website. So, we’re going to look into optimizing that in depth – how to get more sign ups to your newsletters. Keep in mind, that your website opt-in form is not the only way to get people to subscribe. You’ll need to read this article till the end to find out my insider strategies and creative places to get more subscribers.

Here are the three most important tips on how to get people to sign up to your newsletter I shared with my friend:

Where’s the opt-in form?

Believe me when I tell you that no matter how obvious an opt-in form is, it just isn’t – there’s always someone who missed it.It’s not an email marketing sin to use more than one forms on your website. On the contrary – it’s necessary to make sure everyone sees it.If website visitors don’t see your form, how are they going to get all the value that you offer to subscribers? Let’s help them to find the form.

Here are the places where your form needs to be:

  • On top of your page, promoting featured content.
  • In the top part of your sidebar. Research has shown that when people land on a website, one of the first places their eyes land is the upper part of the right sidebar. Use this information to put there your most essential opt-in form with the biggest promise.
  • Top and middle of content – each blog post is a new opportunity for people to see value in your website and subscribe. Don’t make them look for a form, put it right there in the content.
  • Top and bottom is key, so don’t forget to put your sidebar form in your website footer as well.
  • On every page that talks about you and your company, especially if you have done your job well and you specifically describe how you can help your readers on those pages. If you communicate the value you give well, people will want to sign up for more right there on the spot.
  • One of my favorites is the Hello Bar and Viper Bar that create a thin header form on your website. Nobody can miss it.
  • Pop-ups are not our favorite because they’re, quite honestly, annoying. But they’re effective! That’s why we recommend you to try them even if you have a sidebar, blog, and footer forms. To make them less irritating, make sure that each visitor sees them only once or they pop up at the bottom right corner of the website.
  • keep forms consistent to avoid confusing your readers
  • one offer at a time – if your form promises an ebook, don’t have a button that says “Subscribe”, they want the ebook
  • make sure pop-ups don’t appear again once they’ve been submitted

How to grow your newsletter list without website visitors

Who said that someone needs to visit your website to become a subscriber? Nobody creative!

Real successful businesses are creative in promoting their email newsletter. Imagine you go to a networking event and a few people are very impressed by the gardening advice you provide. They want more. What do you do?

Here are a few places where you can put a link to your opt-in form and get even more subscribers to your newsletter:

  • your business card
  • your email signature
  • your social media profiles
  • your yellow pages and directories entries
  • your brochures and printed marketing materials
  • Quora.com profile
  • Medium.com profile

and so much more! Remember – the more forms, the better.

Red or Blue Subscribe Button?

Small tweaks in opt-in forms have proven to create big change in terms of conversion. Why? Because they make forms more visible, more attractive and easier to submit.

For example, one of the common mistakes I see on websites is asking for people to make that extra click to subscribe. Forget about that. Make it as easy as possible. If your site collects cookies and the name and email or the visitor can be auto-filled in the form, way to go! Easier is always better.

Apart from putting the form everywhere, you need to make it stand out – use contrasting colors, big sans serif fonts and attractive images.

Make a promise. Your form will make more people sign up if you give them a value promise. Getting your newsletter is not very attractive, trust me, nobody cares about company updates. Your newsletter might be an amazing resource, but nobody knows that. In your opt-in form, include a promise of the benefits and value of subscribing.

Privacy. Now, there is one thing that many miss but has proven to increase conversions significantly – na email privacy policy and a promise that the email won’t be sold or shared with third parties. Just add it there. I know you won’t do these things anyway, but people feel safer to see it in writing.

Social proof. Another small tweak that makes people feel more secure and comfortable about subscribing is social proof. Add the number of subscribers, social media followers or shares under the opt-in form to make people feel welcome and let them know they’re joining a thriving community rather than an unknown territory.

Do you want my mother’s maiden name with that?

What’s the goal of your opt-in form? To get the lead, right? Not to visit your subscriber on a Sunday afternoon so, you don’t need their address. Unless you’re going to send them a gift by mail. In that case, you need the address but you have a reason for it. If you communicate the reason for a field, it’s quite okay to add it. But don’t add a field because you need the information. Add it because having it will add value to the subscriber.

Research has shown that when an 11-field contact form was replaced with a 4-field one, there was a 120% increase in conversion. Which is more important for you: getting subscribers or phone numbers and mothers’ maiden names? I guess the answer is clear but to make it easier for you to make up your mind: unless you have more than 1,000 subscribers any information more than an email address and name isn’t needed.

One your list is in the thousands, you can afford to slow down a bit by adding one or two additional fields. However, the number of fields in your forms must correspond to the value you provide to your subscriber. But how do you know which fields to keep and which to abandon? Start with your goal in mind.

You need to be able to contact leads so an email address is vital. From there on, everything is optional. I always prefer to ask for at least a first name, so that when I apply marketing automation, emails can be personalized. However, I always leave that field optional. This information is hardly enough to segment your leads, though. So how do you get more information from your leads without asking them to fill in putting off opt-in forms?

Here is a tip: Once you’ve earned their trust with valuable email content, you can start asking them to reciprocate.

For example, you might ask for their birthday date in an email (that can still go through your marketing automation software and be recorded directly in your database). To make it more enticing, give them a reason. One idea is to explain that you want to send them birthday surprises. The trick to make this really work is to be genuine – if you promise a birthday card, send it!

Another piece of information you might need for segmentation is their website or phone number. You can ask via email again, but make it count: if they share their phone number with you, how does this benefit them? Maybe you’ll call them to answer their most pressing question in 10 minutes, or maybe they’ll be able to enter a giveaway.

It gets even more difficult to get sign ups when you use completely unnecessary features like

  • a “Clear” button next to “Submit” button
  • checkboxes and lists – don’t confuse your readers with too many choices
  • a Captcha
  • repeated fields (like a password confirmation field, just email it to them)

So, just leave them out of your forms altogether. When it comes to opt-in forms, simple is always better. If you don’t believe me, recall the last time you had to fill in a long contact form to just get a PDF. Did you go through with it? Or did you click away with a bored sigh?

There is much advice on how to grow your newsletter list, from button colors to huge promises, but before you start testing those, go back to basics and make sure your opt-in forms are doing what they’re supposed to – telling people how you can help them and why they should give you their private email address.

Which one of these should you implement first to grow your email list faster and more efficiently? The truth is that each and every business is different and there is no one-size-fits-all answer in marketing.

What you can do, is speak to an inbound marketing consultant and create a step-by-step action plan for getting more subscribers to your list.

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