Motivating an anonymous website visitor to sign up for your mailing list is no easy marketing objective.
People will acutely observe how you ask for their information because they're fearful you'll abuse it and skeptical of the value they'll receive by giving it away.
A person's email address is sacred. If you obtain it, your organization possesses the ability to be — what Seth Godin describes in his book Permission Marketing — "anticipated, personal and relevant". An email address is a powerful asset that comes with low acquisition costs and could be the genesis of future revenue.
To reach a level where your mailing list sign up form is obtaining email addresses regularly, your website should know and implement these 5 conversion basics. In today’s world where everyone is seeking reasons to not sign up on another mailing list, your website must be diligent and clear with its strategy, design and copywriting.
Before we dig into these conversion basics, let me clarify something. The following are tailored towards the opt in form on your website. How you go about growing your mailing list via other means (e.g. tradeshows, networking, promotions, etc.) may require revised or completely different strategies and tactics.
Onward we go.
1. Ask for minimal information
In most cases, asking for more than just an email address could kill conversion immediately. First Name, Last Name, City, Organization, etc. — all too many fields that scream to the person: "They want too much too soon!"
Focus on widening your sales funnel at the top and ask for as little as possible on the signup form — many times a single email address will be sufficient. Obtain further information about the contact as you earn their trust over time.
2. Tell them what they get
You need to do more than "Sign Up For Our Mailing List".
People want to know what's in it for them. If you communicate a value proposition, they'll feel like they're getting something in return. Does your mailing list deliver your recent or popular blog posts? New white papers? Links to industry-related content that would take them hours to find on their own? Content they can't find anywhere else on your website?
People want value in exchange for information. Nurture a desire and don’t be ambiguous.
3. Explain how often you'll be emailing them
People don't want more email, they want less. That's why email de-cluttering services like unroll.me are becoming increasingly popular.
In a single sentence, tell them how often they should hear from you. Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Without this explanation, your organization risks becoming:
annoying (too many emails — inevitable unsubscribe), and/or
indifferent (too few emails, out of sight out of mind — inevitable unsubscribe)
Being honest and specific about frequency will boost your conversion rate.
4. Don't exaggerate or be redundant with your microcopy
Being overly verbose with your microcopy can leave a sloppy impression that you’re trying too hard to earn attention. Remember, people are already on high alert for anything that would affirm their skepticism or fear.
Being simple with your microcopy helps you control a person’s eye movement as they work through your mailing list signup form (eye tracking studies show it’s significance to conversion rate).
Don't drop your 1,000 word confidential statement near your mailing list form, but make mention of it near the button that completes the conversion.
This proactive reminder that you’ll be ethical and cautious with their information can be just the edge you need to complete the conversion.
The Details Matter
I know what you’re thinking: “Do these details really matter, Eric?”
Studies prove that the above basics matter, and I’ve also seen it work with clients. A well executed mailing list signup form will spark a person’s interest, be transparent and build trust.
If you want to grow your mailing list so that you can deliver content that is "anticipated, personal and relevant", consider the details. They DO matter.