It's no secret that building an email list gives you a great starting ground for a running successful online business. The trouble is, getting people to subscribe in the first place can be quite challenging.
Today I'm going share 10 ways you can optimise your website for more email conversions!
What is a conversion?
A conversion means getting your website visitors to do what you want them to do. This could be signing up to your email list, following your blog, sharing your article or buying your product etc.
Most of the time, your visitors won’t just do what you want them to do, you have to tell them.
If you want your visitors to sign up you you email list, you have to make it very easy and clear for them to do this. The more opportunities you provide them to sign up, the more email conversions you will get!
10 ways you can optimise your website for better email conversions:
1. Welcome gate
Using a welcome gate as your homepage is a very effective way of getting email conversions. The majority of your website traffic will visit this page before entering your website. You then present your visitor with two simple options, sign up to your email list or continue to the website. The simple design with less distractions narrows down their options and leads to higher email conversions.
I used a Squarespace Cover Page to create a welcome gate for my website. As you can see from the image below, I have a bold title featuring my free email course, then simple button actions.
2. Landing page
A landing page is a simple, standalone page that your visitor can “land” upon. This page is completely dedicated to your email list and usually promotes your lead magnet, such as a free email course, ebook, workbook or printable etc.
The main purpose of a landing page is that there’s only one action available to your visitor and that is to subscribe to your email list. Because of this, your landing page should not be connected to your primary website. This helps limit the options available to your visitor so you can clearly point them towards your intended conversion goal.
Megan Minns has a great landing page for her course. As you can see from the photo below she has a bold page with a big yellow button as the only clickable action on the screen.
3. Blog sidebar
If you have a blog, placing a opt-in form in your sidebar is a great way to convert blog traffic into email subscribers. If possible, try and place it near the top of the sidebar so it’s one of the first things your visitors will see.
Here’s an example of the opt-in button on my blog sidebar. I place this just below my photo and bio so it’s still above the page fold and very visible.
4. Announcement bar
An announcement bar is a thin bar that stretches across the very top of your website. It is usually a bright colour and displays updates and announcements so that visitors will see when they first land on a page of your site.
This is a great way to feature a message about your email list with a link to your landing page where they can sign up.
Pauline from TwelveSkip has a great announcement bar on her site. It’s a bright red banner that stands out and entices her audience with her exciting opt-in freebie.
The more places you add your signup form, the more opportunities for people to sign up. The footer of your website is a great place to add a signup button or form. It doesn’t interfere with the rest of the website and chances are, if your visitor has made it all the way to the bottom of the page, they are probably quite interested in what you have to offer!
XOSarah has the perfect example with her footer opt-in button.
Pop-up boxes tend to have a bit of a negative connotation. I can understand why, as they can be quite annoying, but they are also very effective at converting email signups. Here’s a few ways pop-up boxes can be done tastefully:
An exit pop-up. This means the pop-up box only appears when the visitor goes to exit the tab or leave the website.
Timed pop-up. A timed pop-up is a great way to incorporate a pop-up box without getting on people’s nerves. You can set a time limit so the pop-up only displays after the visitor has been on your site for 1-5 minutes. This way you can ensure your pop-up is only targeting visitors that are very interested.
A scroll percentage pop-up can be set to display when the visitor has scrolled through a certain percentage of the page. This can work particularly well for blog posts. For example, you might decide to target readers that have read around 75% of your article and provide them with the opportunity to sign up before they finish the post and leave.
Example: Career Girl Daily features a timed pop up box on their site.
7. About page
A great way to get email conversions from your about page, is to add a signup opportunity to the bottom of the page. Once you’ve finished talking about yourself and telling your story, add a small paragraph about what you can do to help your reader. People like to hear about you, but they also love to know what you can do for them. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, mention how you help people transform their businesses with your design skills.
Once you’ve sparked their interest in how you can help them, talk about your lead magnet and how it will benefit them. Then add a form or sign up button to the bottom of the page. If getting email subscribers is your main priority, make sure this the only clickable action on the page so they don’t go elsewhere.
Example: Abagail and Emylee from Think Creative Collective have a ‘join our community’ section on their about page.
8. Content upgrades
A content upgrade is similar to an opt-in incentive or lead magnet, but it is added to the end of a blog post as a piece of “bonus content”. This is usually very specific to the post and can only be downloaded when the visitor enters their email address.
A content upgrade could be a workbook, question sheet, printable guide, checklist etc. These are commonly in PDF format so it’s easy for everyone to download, print or refer back to later.
The best way to incorporate content upgrades is to analyse your five top performing blog posts and create a useful piece of bonus content for each one. Then add an opt-in form to the bottom of each blog post.
Content upgrades are always incredibly effective at converting email subscribers. If someone is reading your blog post they are obviously very interested in that particular subject, so they are also bound to be interested the extra bonus content you are offering on the same subject!
A perfect example is Melyssa Griffin’s use of a content upgrade in her blog post. She features a picture of her incentive on the blog post thumbnail image, this inspires people to click through and read the post. In her post she then has an image that clicks through to the signup form where the visitor enters their email address to download the incentive.
9. Friendly looking forms
Once your visitor is interested in your opt-in incentive and ready to sign up they need to enter their email address into a form on your site. Forms can often look intimidating and immediately put people off. So it’s important to make sure yours looks as friendly as possible!
Add a picture of the opt-in incentive, use exciting text and only add necessary fields. If you don’t need your subscribers name, just have an email field. The shorter you keep the form, the more likely your visitors will fill it out.
I also recommend you avoid using CAPTCHA’s if possible. A CAPTCHA is a challenge-response question which is commonly used on forms to avoid computer bots filling out the forms with spam. However these can often be annoying and time consuming for visitors to fill out which could prevent them from signing up at all!
Here’s an example of a very simple form on my website. There is only one field for the visitor to enter which makes the signup process quick and easy.
10. Call to action
If you’re not using a call to action in your signup forms, you need too! A call to action consists of words that urge the reader to take immediate action. Words like ‘submit’ or ‘sign up’ are boring, they don’t stand out and they don’t really give the reader a reason to sign up.
Your call to action should be exciting and attention-grabbing. It should tell the reader exactly what they need to do and what they will get from doing it. Are you offering a free email course? Replace that submit button to say ‘click here to enter the free course’ and people will be a lot more interested!
Example: The image below shows a button on my website. I chose the text ‘join for free!’ because it creates excitement which results in the reader taking action.
I've created a printable checklist to help you implement these steps in your own time.
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