List Building. It’s something that you’ve heard about time and time again. It may be something that you’re in the process of doing now. I’ve discussed why it’s important to have an email list, so I won’t get into that here (you can read all about that here http://www.colorhug.com/email-marketing). What I am going to discuss is why and how to expand your options. I’m an advocate of integrating lead generation programs with your email service provider. For example, collecting emails through Sumome’s integrated forms and the subscriber data automatically transferring to your MailChimp list. Here’s an analogy to help you understand the difference between an Email Service Provider and a Lead Generation program. Think of it in terms of bees. The Queen Bee is your email service provider and the worker bees are lead generation programs. The worker bees collect all of the goods (i.e. subscriber email addresses) and bring them back to the Queen (i.e. your email list) to store it. So essentially MailChimp, ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, etc. are the Queens and Sumome, LeadPages, OptInMonster, etc. are the workers. Today I’m going to tell you five reasons why you should integrate other lead generation programs with your current email service provider on your website.
1 / Customized designs + layouts
This is by far the most important thing, that's why I'm listing it first. Custom, custom, custom! Branding isn’t just about your logo being placed on everything, it’s also about being recognized when no logo is present. This applies to your opt-in forms as well. You should always use your brand colors and fonts on everything that you put out. Many email service providers don’t offer the option to customize fonts and colors or even add an image on opt-in forms that are embedded into your site...not even on the pop-ups! You want to stay away from using generic forms because, branding. Lead generation programs allow you to customize their various types of opt-in forms with the following:
The copy- you can choose what you want your opt-in forms to say rather than just using a generic “Sign up for my newsletter” (Ew!).
Colors- you can change the background colors, font colors, header colors, etc.
Font- you can choose which fonts you want to use on your opt-in forms, so you may be able to find the closest fonts to your brand if not the actual fonts.
Call to Action (aka CTA)- This is the message that you place onto your “Submit” button, so rather than the default “Subscribe”, you can (AND SHOULD) change it to “For Sure!”, “Give it to me”, etc. Just remember to keep the CTA on brand...use a phrase that you would actually say.
Images/Videos- you can add images and videos to opt-in forms that you wouldn’t be able to add using some email service providers. I know that MailChimp doesn’t allow images on every form that they offer and they don’t have an easy way to add a video. Lead generation programs allow this on nearly every opt-in form that they offer. Video is HUGE these days, so you can really take advantage of this if you’re into creating video content.
2 / More form types
An email service provider’s standard form options tend to be an embedded form (usually designed for a sidebar) or a timed popup. There are a few issues here. An embedded form is great for certain situations, but they generally don’t convert as well when they’re in a sidebar. Also, like I said, if you can’t customize it to match your brand, it’s not going to flow well with your site. As far as the pop-ups, you don’t have as much control over their activity as your do when using a lead generation site. For example, MailChimp only has three time options that you can choose from when your pop-up appears: Immediately, after 2 seconds or after 5 seconds. I’m not a fan of this because I think that you should have more control over when your pop-up appears. It’s not a good practice to immediately ask someone to sign up for your list as soon as they enter your site. That’s like a dude asking you for your phone number as soon as you walk into a party. Immediate response? NO...because I don’t know you or what you’re all about. You should give visitors time to look around before asking them for information. SO if you use a pop-up, you need more flexibility in choosing the time that it appears. There are better types of opt-in forms to use...one in particular that is higher converting than a standard embedded form. This form is a “trigger on click” meaning that a pop-up form appears only when a visitor clicks on a link or image to “trigger” it. This is my favorite feature in the opt-in world FYI. This trigger on click option isn’t available in a lot of email service provider platforms, so if you want to use this option you may have to integrate. Lastly, the more versatile the form types, the better. You can use a slide-in, welcome mat, top bar, etc. Many of these options aren't available in a standard email service provider account.
3 / More control over form functionality
Along with various types of forms, you also have more control over how they operate on your website. You can control things like:
When/if repeat visitors see certain forms
Specifying a custom time for a popup to appear
Specifying the page percentage when a box appears (meaning how far down the page someone will have to scroll before a form appears)
The pages that forms appear on- you can enable and disable specific forms on any of your pages.
Not showing a form on someones first visit
These are just a few ways, but you can get very specific with how, when and where your opt-in forms appear. This is great because you don’t have to bombard visitors with pop-ups and such...that’s a surefire way to annoy them and make them exit quickly.
4 / Can create unlimited amounts of forms
Some email service providers only allow you to make one or two types of forms per email list. For example, in MailChimp you can only create one timed pop-up per list. When you incorporate a lead generation site, you can oftentimes create unlimited types of forms, so it gives you waaaayyy more flexibility. You can create opt-in forms that are post-specific, category-specific, season-specific, etc. The options are endless. I currently have around 20 opt-in forms all throughout my site, but you would never know because most of them are “hidden” in the content. Also, many of the opt-in forms are collecting data that syncs to just one of my lists. Can't do that with most email service providers!
5 / A/B Testing
A/B testing for opt-in forms is when you create two versions of a form in order to track which one converted better, meaning which one generated the most signups. Basically, the two forms are active on your page and take turns appearing on the screen. So one visitor may see one version and the next one may see the other version. This is an advanced feature with a lot of lead generation sites so you may have to upgrade to a paid plan, but it can be very useful! By conducting A/B testing, you will get a better idea of the kind of CTA’s to use, the actual style of form that did better and even the better received tone of voice in the wording of the form.
If you don't already use a lead generation program on your website, you should beeline to one of the many options available (Sumome, OptInMonster, ThriveLeads, Instapage and LeadPages for example) and sign up TODAY. They all have different features, so you just have to choose the one that is the best fit for you and your audience.
So now that you know a little more about Lead Generation...what do you do after you start collecting emails? You have to start reaching out to your list on a consistent basis! There’s no point in collecting email addresses if you never contact them. You need a strategy. You need #EmailParty!
In this self-paced 7 step ECourse, I will teach you:
even more about opt-in forms and how to set them up the right way
how to get your *Email Engagement strategy together for AT LEAST 3 months and consistently deliver content to your list that they are itching to read
how to set up the back end of a MailChimp account to receive new sign-ups from Lead Generation programs, create custom email templates and send emails to your list
If your Email Engagement strategy is weak or non-existent, get into this #EmailParty and get ready to start tossing confetti like it’s January 1st!
*I call Email Marketing "Email Engagement" because that's really what it should be...engaging...and email marketing sounds boring...you don't want your blog/biz to be associated to anything boring, right? :)