When you’re marketing online, you want to expose your prospects to your opt in form every chance you get because you never know at what point people may enter your online funnel.
There are five steady methods you can start with when it comes to list building and the strategic placement of your opt in forms. There may be others that you come across, but this is a good starting point that allows you to cast a wide net around the most common interactions people will initially have with you.
Set Up Your Squeeze Page
Your squeeze page has just one purpose – convert visitors into subscribers, period. It’s not there to sell a product or offer deep insight. It’s there to tempt and convert.
A squeeze page is usually 100% above the fold. That means everything your prospect needs to see is seen right when they land – no scrolling required. You have to craft your squeeze age for brevity and write in a powerful manner.
The first thing your squeeze page will have is a headline. This can be created just as you would create a sales letter headline, always focused on the needs of the customer.
Some people include a sub-headline (or even more than one). It’s not necessary, so don’t stick one on your squeeze page just because you feel it’s part of the formula. Only use it if you have an important point you want to stand out.
The next item on your squeeze page is either an image of your free opt in offer or a video. Both have been used successfully. You might even be able to use both if you design it just right.
If you’re using video, then you can talk about what’s in your sign up offer and why the viewer will not want to miss out. You can also use the same approach that the image-based squeeze page users will rely on – bulletpoints!
Bulletpoints should be crafted from about 5 of the very best things your visitors are going to learn in your opt in freebie. Don’t give it all away here – tease them into wanting to download the free report.
Tell them in the opt in form itself exactly what they’ll be doing. Use words like download and sign up and give them something very specific, like “Download Your FREE Report on Making Your First $100 Now and Start Earning Today!”
Don’t just say, “Sign up for updates.” It’s too boring, doesn’t have enough urgency, and it’s not worth handing over contact information for.
When it comes to designing a squeeze page, you can either go professional and hire a graphics designer – or take the do it yourself route. Just make sure it’s up to par because you don’t want to deliver a poor first impression.
Populate Your Blog with Opt In Opportunities
Blogs often have no opt in form on them – yet they’re one of the heaviest traffic areas for your whole business! There are many blog opportunities where you can place an opt in form.
Start by positioning one in the upper section of your sidebar. You want it to be the first thing they see before they scroll down to the next level of content. You can use a built in widget or embed the code into a Text box.
Make sure you watch the width. There are many times when you’ll see someone has embedded their opt in box in the sidebar of their blog, and it’s leaking out of the blog frame, making the box look unprofessional.
If you choose to use the sidebar option, make sure that you also try to match the design or coloring of your website. Most autoresponder systems are very flexible in helping you match the colors. You might even choose something complementary, but not an exact match, so that it stands out but matches perfectly.
For instance, if you had a Christmas blog and your theme was the green color of a Christmas tree, then a suitable opt in form color might be red like Santa’s suit or Rudolph’s nose. It matches, but it stands out.
Each and every post on your blog should have an opt in form below it. There are plugins you can use that will automatically do this for you. But let’s say you’re on a budget and don’t have extra money for a plugin.
In that case, you can simply copy the code and embed it into your blog. Just make sure you’re using the Text tab before you paste the code. Then save it. You can increase the width of your form from what you used in the sidebar so that it looks uniform with your blog post’s width.
Another place to use opt in forms on your blog is in your header bar. There are tools like the Hello Bar, which fit neatly across the upper portion of your blog and help you build a list that way.
Test Various Pop-Ups to See How Your Audience Responds
Whenever you hear the word pop-up, do you instantly feel annoyed? The funny thing is, as consumers, we dislike pop-ups. But as marketers, they work. Someone must appreciate them because each and every day, they help people build lists!
There are a variety of methods you can use with the pop-up approach, some less intrusive than others. So look for a method you prefer and then test it out on your site to see if it helps you increase sign-ups.
A lightbox is very popular with many marketers. It’s a code that basically dims the rest of your site while highlighting your opt in form pop-up. This is better than the old fashioned pop-ups that you used to have a hard time chasing across the site so you could click on the close “X” button.
There are other forms of pop-ups you can use, too. Take Covert Messenger PRO, for example. This is a less intrusive form of pop-up. The Covert Messenger can be made to look like a private message from Facebook, for example.
When your visitor arrives on your site, they will be there and either instantly or a few seconds in, see your pop-up in the lower right corner of your site (depending on how you time it).
The whole box is clickable, so what you’re doing here is not actually using an actual pop-up opt in form. You’re sending them to a page with an opt in form on it.
So for example, your pop-up could say something like, “Want to know how I started earning $100 a day consistently? Click here to find out!” You would link them to your squeeze page where they could see the details of the report and sign up to download it instantly.
Some people want the specific opt in pop-up form to be what appears to their visitors, and that’s fine if you’d rather go that route. The good thing about Covert Messenger Pro is that you can split test.
You can use a variety of messages on different categories or pages within your site, tailoring it to the content they’ve clicked on to see on your site. You could, in effect, tailor which squeeze page you send them to.
For example, let’s say you have a marketing blog with categories for social networking tips, writing content, and paying for advertising. You could make sure that the message that popped up for paid advertising content was specific to their needs, and point the in the direction of a squeeze page on your domain fitting for those needs.
That way, even within a broad niche, you’re able to pinpoint the needs of each individual customer and point them in the direction they need to go. Whenever they go to another area of your site, they’ll see a different pop-up … or, you might make it so that after they see one pop-up that day, they don’t see another one until next time they come.
Remind Buyers of Your Products Where They Can Opt In
Whenever someone buys your product, there’s a good chance they won’t confirm the opt in email if you’ve had it sent to them. This is especially true if they’re immediately taken to a download page.
You can’t blame them. Marketers have a reputation for invading email inboxes and spamming recipients, so they have to be careful about who they approve. So what you want to do is give your readers and buyers ample opportunities to sign up.
You want to definitely provide the link to your squeeze page within the products that they buy. For example, at the end of a PDF report, you can have something like this:
“I hope you’ve enjoyed my XYZ course! I love sharing tips and freebies with my loyal customers, so if you’d like to get notified of these gifts when they become available, just add your name and email here: (insert URL).”
They’ve just finished reading your wonderful course, so this is the perfect time to let someone (who sees value in what you offer) know where to get more – and freebies are very enticing!
You can even craft a follow-up or free bonus report to accompany this creation they just bought and offer the bonus to them as the free opt in – like an unannounced freebie.
You can do this even if you have a membership site or a video course, too – just include text inside the files that share where they can sign up for more information.
Utilize Third Party Sales Platforms
If you’re using a site like JVZoo, for example, then you want to include the list sign up information so that whenever someone buys the course, they’re immediately sent your confirmation email.
Before sites like this existed, many people missed out on capturing names and email addresses, unless they forced people to opt in against their will in an effort to retrieve their product.
How to Create and Embed an Aweber Opt in Box
Aweber’s tools are very easy. Some people use one method, but we’ll talk about the easiest one you can choose – HTML. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know any code yourself.
Log into your Aweber account and after you create a new list, you’ll want to go to the step where it lets you create a sign up form. The process is divided into three main steps: Design, Settings, and Publish.
In design, you’re going to choose which fields you want (typically, no more than name and email address) and you will then try to select a opt in style that matches your blog or website.
Once you save and go to the next step, you’ll give the form a name, choose whether you want Facebook integration, and save it before going to the final step.
This is where you grab your code. It will ask whether you’ll install it or you’ll have someone else do it. Choose to do it yourself and then select the HTML option. Copy the code that appears and get ready to place that on your domain.
Log into your blog or website where your opt in box will go. We’ll use the blog sidebar as our example in this scenario. Once inside your dashboard, click on Appearance and then Widgets.
All you have to do from here is drag a Text widget over to the sidebar, remembering to strategically place it as close to the top of the sidebar as possible.
Open the widget and paste your opt in code in it. Save and close the widget and go check to see if your opt in form is working. Go through the sign up process to see if everything’s working the way it should.
Giving your prospects ample opportunity to sign up to your list is not harassment or spamming. It’s a genuine courtesy if you plan on providing true value to those people.
Have an Unbeatable Opt In Offer
Do me a favor, will you? Go to Google and look up a few niche blogs. Start by typing in the niche word and then the word blog such as “insomnia blog” or “dog training blog.”
Now look and see what, if any, opt in boxes you see on the blog. If it’s a good blog marketer (and not just some random person blogging about their personal life), they’ll have a subscriber area.
As you go through the page 1 SERP (search engine results page) links, notice the difference between opt in forms that simply say, “sign up for updates” or “sign up for the free newsletter” and those that address the visitor’s urgent problems.
Here’s a stark contrast you can see as an example. On http://sleepstarved.org, the opt in form looks like this:
But land on this insomnia site – http://www.theinsomniablog.com – and the results are much different:
Wow! On this one you’re promised the newsletter, but also a FREE Sleep Starter Kit you can use TONIGHT.
There’s a big difference in who is addressing the visitor’s urgent issue of being sleep deprived.
Another site, located at http://www.insomnialand.com/blog, promises a free sleep training kit and says you’ll be sleeping better within 2 weeks.
So the problem with bland opt in offers is that they don’t address the visitor’s problems with any urgency – and they don’t entice people enough to fork over the name and email details. So what can you offer that sets you apart from other marketers in the same niche?
Find Out What Your Niche Needs
One of the worst offenses to your visitors is to offer them something they don’t even need. When you think of need, dig down deep. Dig where it hurts – where they feel desperation.
Instead of “How to Have Pretty Skin,” touch on the concept of shame and beauty with a report called, “7 Ways to Clear Up Acne Overnight.”
Be specific about the problem.
Add a sense of urgency to the mix.
It’s not enough to offer a report on how to make your first $100 online, but offer it on how to make that first $100 today.
If you don’t have a list at all yet and you don’t know what they need. Start researching. Where do you look? First, turn to forums. This is where people routinely go when they need advice from others in the same predicament.
You can go to Google and type in the niche and the word forum and visit a myriad of forums to see what people need. So here’s a great example: http://www.psychforums.com/insomnia – when you go there, you don’t even need to go into the threads to get some great opt in report ideas for insomnia, such as:
* Natural Insomnia Remedies
* How to Fix a Messed Up Sleep Schedule
* How to Sleep When You Don’t Feel Tired
* A Beginner’s Guide to Curing Insomnia
Another place you can visit for ideas on what consumers need is the comment section of other blogs. Whenever you see a blog with a thriving community, people will often comment and discuss their needs – especially if the post doesn’t answer all of their questions.
Look at these blog comments, for example: http://sleepstarved.org/2010/08/25/unexpected-help/#comments – reading through that, you can get some ideas for niche reports for your opt in offer.
For instance, one comment talks about the difference between insomniacs and perpetual thinkers. That could spark the idea for you to create a report called “Do You Really Have Insomnia?” where you differentiate between someone having sleep problems and someone whose mind won’t shut off.
Another place to look and see what people need in any niche is through keyword tools. There are free and paid tools. Ubersuggest.org is a free option. Just type in your niche and you can see what people want to know.
Using this tool, if I type in “insomnia” first, one of the top 10 listings is “insomnia cures.” Click on it and go one step further, and you see report ideas such as:
* Insomnia cures for depression
* Insomnia cures during pregnancy
* Natural insomnia cures
Deliver Value They Would Pay For
For many marketers, their big mistake isn’t in coming up with an idea. They mess up when they fail to provide value. You see, this is your very first impression with a potential new subscriber.
You want to go above and beyond and wow your audience with what you over deliver to them. So when you sit down to start planning your opt in offer, think of it as a paid offer.
You want to give away a whole course. Something where they download it or access it and can’t believe you just gave that away. This will do more than just appease a new audience – it will have them sharing it with others.
When you finish creating your opt in offer, put a price on it. In fact, you might even create a page somewhere online where you’re selling it for that price. That way you can show more value by saying, “My FREE Gift to You: Download My Insomnia Kit Now (Regularly $27)!”
But don’t skimp on the information. Your subscribers will know if you’re trying to dupe them. They want true value, and if you prove yourself the first time, chances are they’ll turn into rabid, loyal subscribers form that point on.
It will also help you increase conversions whenever you do put a product out in the marketplace. Your readers will be thinking, “Wow, if s/he gives this much value away for FREE, I can’t begin to imagine what great information s/he’s charging for!”
One Up the Competition
You want to be the best you can be at all times with your business. But you also want to make sure you’re better than the other guy. Always one step ahead of him and outperforming his offer.
So that means competition spying time! Go through the same steps you did when you were first checking out the offers for your niche on page one of this report. Make notes about what offers are already out there.
The best way to one up the competition is to get on their list. Go through their system and be a subscriber so that you can experience the pros and cons this other marketer has to offer.
Look at every detail of their opt in freebie. How big is it? Is it broad, generic information or detailed and specific? Do they have poor spelling and grammar? Do they have blatantly wrong information?
Make notes of everything you like and dislike and keep those handy whenever it’s time to create your own offer. So for example, if one insomnia expert said in his report, “have good sleep hygiene,” but he didn’t expand on what that meant, you make sure you do in your report.
Make your opt in offer longer, meatier, and more informative than the competition. Another way to do it better to be very cutting edge with your information.
So take your niche and go to Google and type it in. Then click on the News tab.
You can add that to your report. This up-to-date research might give someone a huge relief from their worry – or it might alert them to urgent information they need to know now.
Offer Multiple Formats for Your Prospective Subscribers
Many marketers have nothing to offer. Just updates. That’s the worst type of opt in offer to have. Anyone can go to your blog through their bookmarks, or choose to use an RSS feed to check in.
Here are some of the formats you can choose to offer for your new subscribers:
These can be done in a variety of ways. Usually it’s a timing slant. So for instance, you could offer:
* 7 Day Diet Plan
* 2 Week Sleep Improvement Course
* 365 Day Stress Relief Tips
Like this report, you can create a short PDF file for your subscribers to download and devour. Extra points if you encourage them to share it virally with their friends!
Give someone access to something exclusive – a membership site. You can have a free level where users get in and get to see inside, and then they can level up to a gold or silver membership.
Not everyone likes text. Some people like to learn on the go. You can create a podcast that subscribers love. It can be you talking or you interviewing someone – or even you being interviewed by someone else!
A video course is a great opt in freebie. Not everyone has fast Internet, so if you go this route, give them the download files to watch on their desktop so they don’t have to worry about streaming speed.
Split Test Your Offers
Make sure that whatever option you choose when creating an unbeatable opt in offer, you test and tweak throughout the year. Set up a split test so that you have different offers.
See what people like best. Test different formats for the same information. Test different offers completely. Test different ways of saying what it is you’re offering them as a freebie.