Email marketing is one of the most powerful and effective ways to increase traffic, revenue, and growth. While content creation is the core focus for many online businesses and brands, it’s the email marketing and mailing lists that drive the majority of revenue and repeat traffic back into the business.
However, why are some sites so good at email marketing while other’s aren’t?
The common theme among underperforming mailers and marketers is that they aren’t fully utilizing all of the tools at hand and definitely not split-testing to see where improvements can be made.
It’s easy to start a mailing list, throw an opt-in form on your site and send out a blast to your audience, but if that’s all your are doing, then you are leaving a ton of money and opportunity on the table.
GetResponse is one of the top email marketing platforms available today. Unlike other list hosting solutions where they simply store your data and make it easy for you to send out mailings to your audience, GetResponse has a whole tracking, marketing, and management platform built into their system. In short, as a customer of GetResponse, you are essentially gaining access to the same tools and features that huge email marketing companies are using at a fraction of the cost.
In addition to the many features provided by GetResponse, they also offer a wide range of methods to get people to join your mailing list. The days of simply adding a subscribe form to your site and asking users to “Join My Newsletter” are over! Now it’s all about engagement, providing value and split testing headlines and call-to-actions to see what’s working best.
Using everything GetResponse currently has in place for their customers, let’s take a look at ten of the most effective ways to increase signups to your mailing list.
10 Opt-in Form Methods to Increase Your Mailing List
Depending on the content of your site and how you provide value to your audience, each of these opt-in forms might be used differently. No matter how you are collecting leads online, any or all of these methods should be split tested against what you currently have in place.
To see a full breakdown of each opt-in method used before, be sure to check out this infographic. We’ve provided a quick description of each opt-in method below, along with value pros, cons and tips from GetResponse as well.
Imagine if you had the ability to make one last call-to-action attempt before a user clicks away from your site? That’s exactly what happens with ‘exit-intent’ popup forms. As the user is looking to click away or close out your browser tab, you are getting one last chance to grab their email address before they leave forever. You can see a list of how top bloggers are currently using this method on their sites here.
- Pros: Grabs attention and might give you a last chance to convince your visitors to stay connected, in the long run could help you improve your churn rate
- Cons: Similarly to light-boxes, can be overused and cause annoyance especially if difficult to close
- Pro tip: Make sure that the presented benefit is something they are truly interested in and is worth their time.
A pop-up light-box subscribe form is a great way to engage with your audience as they are browsing through your site. One of the many benefits of using a light-box form is that you can set when you would like the popup to display. This also means you can split test how well the form might perform if it pops up after 1, 5 or even 10 seconds.
- Pros: Instantly grabs attention and drives user action, thus helping to maximize conversions
- Cons: Easy to become overly used and can cause annoyance
- Pro tip: Test the amount of time before the light-box appears and try using funny/clever, graphic elements to motivate sign-ups.
Embedded email sign-up form
The classic and most traditional way to get users to sign up to your mailing list is to simply ask them to join. The problem with this method is that many users will see your subscribe form every time they visit, even if they’ve already joined your mailing list. If you are going to use this method for newsletter signups, be sure to have a call-to-action, otherwise you will likely see very low conversion rates.
- Pros: If designed well i.e. fits the overall design, good copy, clear benefits and CTA – can motivate to sign up
- Cons: May not be enough to catch attention unless your visitor is looking for a newsletter sign-up
- Pro tip: Should be visible on all the major pages of your website.
Testing different locations on your site for mailing list signup forms is key to maximizing conversions. Bar signup forms are great for testing performance at the top, middle or bottom of your site. A bar signup in the top middle portion of your main page might be the perfect spot when trying to make that first impression, while offering something of value.
- Pros: Instantly visible yet subtle
- Cons: Limited space, but can be part of a two-step sign-up process
- Pro tip: Use contrasting color and a catchy line to quickly grab users’ attention.
If you want to increase email signups on your site, you are going to need to use a form that grabs your audience’s attention. If you don’t want to use popups or exit intent forms, you may find slide-in forms work just as well. As a user is browsing through your site, a popup for your newsletter form will come scrolling up in the bottom corner of your site. Easy to sign up, easy to close out. A win-win situation for the site owner and the site visitor.
- Pros: Shows up only to users that are engaged and have scrolled down the page or blog post
- Cons: Appears only to users that are engaged in your web page
- Pro tip: Make sure to include it next to your best articles or high-traffic websites in addition to your other sign-up forms.
Getting site visitors to take action is all about incentivization and giving them a reason to want to enter their email. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the use of a free gift or offering something to download. Such downloads can be a PDF of the article they are reading, an educational course, whitepaper, or free report.
- Pros: Great way to generate leads with valuable content
- Cons: Easy to overuse – not all content is worth gating,/em>
- Pro tip: Make sure that what you’re gating is valuable and unique.
We’ve already covered popup windows and exit intent subscribe forms while also seeing how effective they can be on user engagement. If you want to step up your call-to-action a little bit more, why not implement a simple “shake box” to grab their extra attention?
- Pros: Engaging and attention grabbing. Hasn’t been used too often yet!
- Cons: May not fit all target audiences
- Pro tip: Choose it instead of your regular light-box and test its effectiveness. The element of surprise may improve your conversions vastly.
Webinars are one of the best ways to build a massive mailing in a short period of time. When trying to get people to attend your next webinar, you should send a mailing out to your existing newsletter subscribers and also try to connect with other audiences as well. A perfect example of this would be if you wanted to co-host a webinar with another popular site. This would be considered a joint-venture or revenue-sharing project, where you would split the earnings from your webinar. However, the person running the webinar will end up with a much larger mailing list as a result of it.
- Pros: A great way to attract new subscribers who are already interested in your topic
- Cons: Visitors may be reluctant as they might assume that they’ll receive purely sales-oriented communication
- Pro tip: Clearly communicate the frequency and the content of messages that your visitors are likely to receive if they sign up.
Twitter Lead Generation Cards
With over 300 million users on Twitter wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to get them to join your mailing list with a simple click of a button? Good news — there is! It’s called Twitter lead generation cards and millions of brands and websites are using it right now to massively grow their mailing lists. If you aren’t already using Twitter cards, get started with that today!
- Pros: The easiest way to attract leads from Twitter other than redirecting your traffic to dedicated landing pages
- Cons: You have to pay for the generated leads, which means you need to devote additional financial resources
- Pro tip: Select your audience carefully and design your ad with their personas and preferences in mind to make the best use of your budget.
Bring your opt-in form to live by having a video built right into the subscribe form. Not only is video a great way to show who you are, it’s also something people will instantly see and not be as reluctant to close it out in once the subscribe form shows.
- Pros: A growing number of users prefer to watch videos and if you can entertain and educate them, building a list won’t be a problem
- Cons: Users may be annoyed by ads and other similar elements that prevent them from watching the video
- Pro tip: Great videos are worth waiting for. Serve them enough content to gain their interest and convince to leave their details with you.
Building Your Mailing List with GetResponse
Now that you’ve seen some of the best ways to gain new subscribers through creative opt-in forms on your site, which are you going to use?
GetResponse has all of the necessary tools and tracking in place to make it easy for site owners to implement any of the form types above, while also split testing which work best.