Traditional marketing is really good at getting the first contact. Whether you use organic SEO, pay-per-click ads, video ads, or great blogging, it’s pretty simple to get people to visit your site. Unfortunately, they often visit, look around, and then leave. Unless you run a site that is primarily supported by ad impressions, you aren’t making money with just visits. Figuring out how to turn visitors into customers is what separates the great business sites from the failing ones.
One of the best ways to ensure repeat visitors to your site is to get them to subscribe to an e-mail list. Once you have an e-mail you can continue to keep in touch with your followers In working with clients, we’ve found that most the valuable traffic comes directly from e-mail subscriptions. If you continue to create good content, sharing this content via e-mail is an excellent way to continue driving traffic back to your site. As visitors return to your site, you’ll be able to build rapport with them. Building this trust is the first step in turning them into customers.
Getting the Address
So how do you get an e-mail address from your visitors? Well you can just ask them. Unfortunately, everyone is asking for e-mail addresses, so this often doesn’t work unless you are really able to sell them with your copy.
Perhaps a better option is to offer a trade. This is common on many sites. Create a course, ebook, video, report, or white paper that would be of interest to your visitors. Offer to give them this book for free if they just enter their e-mail address. They are happy because they got valuable information, and you now have their e-mail address.
E-mail Tools: Aweber and MailChimp
Two of the top list management services we’ve used are Aweber and MailChimp. Each of these tools is excellent for helping you manage your list and create forms. MailChimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers whereas Aweber starts at about $20 a month for services.
Both of these services allow you to build lists and have simple HTML based form code that you can copy and paste on your own site. MailChimp’s free version requires a double opt-in (meaning subscribers have to confirm their e-mail address). Although this may slightly reduce the number of sign-ups, subscribers will tend to be more committed – meaning you’ll get a higher response rate.
Where Do I Put the Form?
Great! You’ve setup your e-mail list…now what? At this point, you need to find a place to put your form. Although there is no one right answer, here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way.
Don’t ask for too much information – At this point, you don’t need names, addresses, or credit card numbers. Just ask for the e-mail. You’ll get more form submissions, and if the people like your product, you’ll have plenty of time to get this information from them later.
What’s in it for them? – If you’re offering something free, be upfront about it. Let them know what they get by giving you their e-mail address. And always follow through. If you’re offering an e-book, make it available as an instant download. Don’t make them wait for you to follow up with them.
Make It Prominent – Some people use on page pop-ups while others put it in a sidebar of the site. Find a place to put the form online that is prominent without being annoying. You don’t want your site to feel like a web-based infomercial. Instead make it look professional, and be sure to add value to your visitors.
Be Clear – What am I signing up for? People want to know exactly what they are getting into before they give you their e-mail. If you’re going to give them something, tell them exactly what it is. It can also be helpful to tell them how often you’ll be sending them something. Is this a weekly, daily, or monthly e-mail? What does it contain?
A/B Testing – If you have significant traffic on your site, don’t be afraid to do some A/B testing. You can find out a little more about A/B testing by visiting Optimizely.
When people entrust you with their e-mail address, they believe that you’ll respect their privacy and not assault them with spam. If you want to build up your brand and reputation, be respectful. Don’t share their e-mail address (or sell it!). Only send them e-mails when you have something to contribute. And always be sure to offer a simple and easy way to unsubscribe.
A list is one of the most powerful ways to begin capturing leads to your site. If you don’t have a mailing list, begin creating one today! It will ensure that all the time and resource you are putting into marketing today payoff in the long run.
Tyler Brooks is a SEO and video production specialist at Proof SEO.