Why ‘Sign up for our Newsletter’ should be kicked off a cliff

Turning your website into a lead generating, email collecting, prospect capturing MACHINE is a very profitable thing to do. Why say goodbye to all exiting visitors forever, when you can collect their email address and market to them forever instead? An email capture form is a form on the site that offers visitors something enticing (bait) in return for their email address. Something juicy and valuable enough that your visitor will risk a potential torrent of spam from you. Capture those emails and build your database. But the mistake that most people make is not giving adequate enough thought to the bait. They fall victim to the ‘newsletter’ trap…

Sign up for our Newsletter

Could anything be drier, less appealing and more invisible than that? With no explanation of the benefits to be had – the offers, tips and tricks within this newsletter- visitors have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to sign up. Conversion rate = pointlessly low.

A better way…

Instead of assuming that people want to give you their email address, assume that they don’t want to give you their email address. Because they don’t. To persuade them you have to offer a bait so enticing that they throw caution to the wind, say ‘what the hell’ and jump in with two feet. A newsletter is not such bait. If you want a shortcut to see what sort of bait works best, study two types of businesses:

  1. Businesses that rely on email capture to sustain themselves
  2. Marketing businesses that specifically work in conversion

Businesses that rely on email capture

Businesses in this category include those selling a software-based services like Netflix (https://www.netflix.com which offers a free trial month) and Spotify (https://www.spotify.com, offering a free download) as well as companies selling a larger package which requires sales follow up, such as http://www.homelearningcollege.com/ (offering a course information pack) or lead generation businesses whose sole aim is to attract leads for other peoples’ businesses (http://www.find-uk-accountant.co.uk, http://www.ratedpeople.com). You’ll notice that all of these lead capture baits are very low barrier to entry (usually ‘Free’ or, only slightly more effort, ‘download’), but the reward far outweighs the cost (unlimited music or films, accurate customised quotations, tailored in depth information).

Marketing Businesses that work in Conversion

Companies like us spend all day every day trying to increase conversion and get more leads for businesses of all categories. Why do we offer a free online marketing review? Because it works. Check out http://conversionfactory.com, http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com and http://get.qualaroo.com/cro-pdf-available-soon. These guys all work in conversion, so it stands to reason that they know what… converts.

Designing your Bait

Here are some questions to ask to help figure out an appealing bait:

  • What goal is your audience striving towards?
  • How does your product or service help them to reach that goal?
  • What are some common mistakes that people in their position make?
  • What can you give them on a webpage, in an email or video that takes them closer to that goal?

Let’s do an example: We’re a personal trainer looking to attract clients in the local area online. Rather than having a form on the website that says ‘Sign up for our newsletter’, we decide to turn our website into a lead generating, email collecting, prospect capturing MACHINE and get paid. Working through the questions above:

  • What goal is your audience striving towards? Healthy, happy, sexy. They want to live longer and feel better day to day and have the energy to do the things they want to in life.
  • How does your product or service help them to reach that goal? By getting them into shape and teaching them about health and nutrition, you’re giving them the tool kit to make the changes they need.
  • What are some common mistakes that people in their position make? Giving up too early. Falling victim to fad diets. Exercising in the wrong way and injuring themselves. Doing the wrong sort of exercise and not seeing the results they’re after in the time frame they need. Choosing an exercise plan that is unsustainable long term and/or doesn’t fit around their lifestyle.
  • What can you give them on a webpage, in an email or video that takes them closer to that goal? A report explaining common myths around weight loss. The 5 most effective exercise regimes for losing weight. A tailored plan according to their body type. The main body types and how to tell which one you are. Three simple alternatives to the Gym. A guide to working out outdoors.

Notice that none of these baits render the core personal trainer service unnecessary. In fact, they only strengthen the PT’s position and demonstrate expertise and value to the audience. Now imagine on the back of this email capture there was an automated email stream, timed to send out valuable emails to those that signup, helping them move closer to their fitness goal and further positioning the PT in that person’s mind. It’s a strange quirk of human psychology that the closer we get to a goal the more we want it, so if you can help your audience get one step up the ladder, they’ll only be more eager for your help to climb the rest. And ain’t no Sign up for our Newsletters in sight.


About the Author

Tim is Head Ninja at Exposure Ninja and Europe's bestselling online marketing author.When he's not Ninja-ing he's playing in his band, going to the gym with his wife or fixing the destruction caused by their three fur babies, Ninja, Samurai and Shinobi.

 

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