Want to get more subscribers on your email list?
Here’s a quick way to increase subscriptions without putting in a lot of time or effort.
Increase the locations of your email opt-in form.
It may seem a little silly, but where you decide to ask people to give you their email address can make a BIG difference in whether or not they sign up.
For example, I was exploring a nonprofit website earlier this week specifically so I could subscribe to their email list.
And I was disappointed that I couldn’t easily find their opt-in form.
It wasn’t in the most popular location, the static sidebar opt-in.
And it wasn’t “above the fold” of the home page meaning I had to scroll down or click to another page of the website to find it.
And you’ll never guess where I eventually found it…
Below the fold of their “Contact” page…below their address, phone number, fax number, and the photo of their office.
This is a big problem.
Basically, I have to decide I want to contact you before I can figure out how to give you permission to contact me?
Why did they make it so hard to sign up? Do they not want people to sign up?
Don’t they know how important email marketing is for nonprofit fundraising?
Eventually I found their opt-in form, but I had to work way too hard to do so. And trust me, most casual visitors to your website are not going to work half as hard as I did to sign up.
It needs to be easy and it needs to be convenient. You need them to see the opportunity to sign up when they most want to sign up.
In other words, you need to bring the opt-in form to them. Don’t make them search for it.
So how do you do that?
Below I’ll show you 3 places to put your opt-in form (in addition to the top of your sidebar) so that your opt-in form is always readily available.
Note: These are in no particular order and my recommendation is to use all three.
Prime Opt-in Location #1: The Feature Box
This is a screen shot of the feature box on my homepage the day I published this post. The feature box opt-in is located below your header and navigation menu, but above the content of your homepage or blog page.
Being above the fold, the feature box takes a prominent place on your website. It is telling everyone that arrives:
“Hey, we’d like your email address. If you want to learn more from us then go ahead and sign up.”
It helps to ensure people see your opt-in form because it is in the center of the website, where people are looking to read your content.
But it is also clear that there is content below the feature box and they can scroll down if they want to read the content before subscribing.
So in this way, it is a prominent feature of your website, but it is not annoying or blocking access to any content on your website.
Prime Opt-in Location #2: In-Post Content Upgrade
I don’t see this method used very often and that’s too bad because it works incredibly well.
First, let me show you an example:
The in-post content upgrade is basically a short sentence that asks people to opt-in to your email list in exchange for access to additional content.
This works best when you offer content that is related to the information on that specific web page.
For example, if you were an international organization that worked to provide skills training to the rural poor, you could offer a country specific case study on each country’s “Where We Work” page.
This is a nice way to collect the email address of people who are interested in what they’re already reading on your website.
And if the content upgrade is related to the current article it’s offering your reader more of what they want. You are serving their needs and interests first.
Another great way to start building a relationship of trust and respect.
Speaking of which, go ahead and sign up to my email list while you’re here…
Prime Opt-in Location #3: Post Footer
The post footer is an opt-in form at the bottom of every blog post or article on your website.
The theory behind the post footer is that the only people who see it are those that have just read through an entire blog post.
This means that they were quite interested in what you had to say and would probably be willing to hear more from you over email.
Here’s a quick example:
I have a post footer email opt-in form under my signature on all of my blog posts and most of my pages, too.
While it probably won’t give you as many opt-ins as your feature box or content upgrades, it still does a great job of getting high quality leads.
People that sign up in your post footer are much less likely to unsubscribe because they’ve already shown a deep interest in what you have to say.
Sidebar blindness and the static sidebar opt-in:
By far the most popular location for an email opt-in form is at the top of the right sidebar. This has now become so standard that it is no longer the most effective way to get people to opt in to your email list.
It is all due to a recent phenomenon called “sidebar blindness.”
Basically, people have now spent so much time looking at websites, they no longer even see what is in the right sidebar.
People have learned that the right sidebar is for promotional or navigational content and have quickly learned to focus on what they really want, the content in the middle of the web page.
To fight sidebar blindness you have to have your email opt-in form in multiple locations throughout your website and in the center of the website along with your primary content.
Using the three locations in this post should do the trick.
So should you even use the static sidebar opt-in?
Test your metrics and see.
If you have a feature box opt-in then the static sidebar opt-in might be a bit overkill.
But, if there are certain pages of your website where you do not show the feature box, then having the static sidebar opt-in will make sure people can find an email opt-in form when they need one.
It is the first place people will look if they decide they want to subscribe and don’t have an option right in front of them.
It won’t get the highest conversation rate on your website, but it might still be helpful to some users.
If you find that no one ever uses your sidebar opt-in form once you have these other three forms in place, then you can safely remove it without worrying that you’ll lose subscribers.
Do you use these 3 opt-in form locations?
If so, I’d love to see them. Email me or put a link to your website in the comments below so I can check it out.
Keep doing good work,