With the vast amount of online marketing tools available to the modern day marketer, it can be quite the jungle to navigate through in the search for ways to build and grow your eCommerce email marketing list.
Your email marketing list can be your most valuable marketing tool, as email marketing has the highest return on investment of all marketing channels.
However, in order to fully utilize the potential of this channel, you need an email list of high quality and relevance, packed with potential customers.
So how do you build an email list of such quality? It’s very simple – you use opt-in forms to convert your website visitors into valuable email leads.
Now opt-in forms have by many people been perceived as intrusive, disturbing, and just flat out annoying, but they don’t have to be.
The key to a successful outcome of your opt-in forms is to make them as unobtrusive as possible and make your visitors feel like they get more value than they give.
This post is packed with tips and tricks to how you create the perfect opt-in forms that will convert your eCommerce visitors into valuable leads – so let’s get started.
Time your popup perfectly
There are a number of different ways in which you can use opt-in forms. One is to show your opt-in form in the middle of the screen while blocking the content on the screen. This type of opt-in form is the one we know as a popup. This is an example from Kcal Healthy Fast Food.
A popup is quite the attention drawer, and they are highly effective as they force your visitors to take action. However, there has been a massive misuse of popups on the internet, creating the impression that popups are annoying.
The reason for this misconception is that many marketers don’t know how to use popups, and just put them on their website without thinking about how they influence the user experience.
The first step towards creating a popup that works, is to consider the timing of it. Timing is everything, and you don’t want to smack a popup in your visitors’ face the moment they enter your ecommerce site.
Give your visitors time to get a first impression of your website and what you have to offer, and then you can try to convert them. A good starting point would be to display your popup 7 seconds after your visitors have entered your site.
This gives them exactly enough time to form a first impression, but doesn’t leave enough time for them to exit your site without seeing your popup.
Present your offer with a slide-in
The next type of opt-in form I want to present to you is the slide-in. The slide-in has the same purpose as a popup, but it is less intrusive and allows your visitors to keep browsing the page without having to close down the slide-in.
Eva Solo uses this slide-in on their website, and as you can see, the slide-in shows at the bottom corner of the screen and doesn’t prevent your visitor from browsing the site in any way.
Furthermore, you can add a teaser to your slide-in. The teaser sits at the bottom of the page once the slide-in has been closed down, and you visitors have the option to reopen the slide-in whenever they want to.
The teaser is especially effective when you have visitors coming into your site with the purpose of buying something. They’ve already done their research, and they only have one goal which is to buy one of your products. They know exactly where to go, and if they are presented with a popup or slide-in, they will close it down immediately without reading the content of it.
Thus adding a teaser to your slide-in gives them the opportunity to reopen the teaser once they have finished their purchase.
Remember that the headline of your teaser needs to be compelling, otherwise your visitors won’t reopen the slide-in.
The teaser has the same function as a CTA. Tell the visitors exactly what they get when they open the teaser.
Kapten & Son have a teaser on one of their slide-ins, and it tells you exactly what the content of the slide-in is: Win a pair of sunglasses. It’s clear, it’s simple and it’s effective.
One good turn deserves another
This brings me to my next point – the content of your opt-in form.
No matter what type of opt-in form you decide to use, the content should always be relevant to your website and your products, and it should add value.
The best way of convincing your visitors to give up their email address is to give them something in return. The most common incentives are discounts, competitions and giveaways.
B&O Play, uses a competition to convert visitors into email leads. When you host competitions on your website, opt-in forms are a great way of creating awareness around the competition along with the fact that you get more signups.
When you decide to run a competition to collect leads, you need to offer your visitors something of value like B&O does, and not just stuff you would normally give away for free.
When it comes to giveaways, you don’t need to offer expensive products, but you still need to give your visitors value.
Moreover, your giveaways have to be relevant to your product. Don’t just give away pencils if you sell clothing. A great example of a giveaway can be found on Italiarail’s website.
Not only is their giveaway relevant to their product, but it’s also relevant to the specific page it appears on. They offer a complete travel guide on a page where visitors can find travel guides and frequently asked questions about traveling.
Visitors on this page are already interested in traveling as they are looking for advice on a travel matter. Offering their visitors a travel guide on this specific page ensures a much higher conversion rate than if it had been shown on a less relevant page.
What to ask for?
Now that we’ve covered the main content of your opt-in forms, we need to have a look at the more technical side of your opt-in forms – the input fields.
The input fields are super important as they are the elements that get the information you need.
So how do you determine what information you need from your visitors?
The answer is quite simple – their email address. The email address is the only information you really need in order to get value from you visitors. Many websites also ask for a name in their opt-in forms in order to send personalized emails, which is also okay. But keep in mind that whenever you add an input field to your opt-in, your conversion rate decreases by 50%.
Always ask yourself the question: Is this information really necessary right now?
Once you have a visitor’s email address, you can always send that person an email asking them to fill in some more information to complete their profile.
Lastly, you should get creative with your CTA’s. Don’t just write “sign up”, it’s boring and it doesn’t tell your visitors what they get when they sign up.
Use your offer in your CTA. When you offer a discount you can say “Get my 10% discount now”, and if you offer them a free ebook you can write “collect my free ebook”.
These CTA’s tell the visitors exactly what they get when they click the button, and they take away the focus of the email address and puts emphasis on the value that the visitor gets.
The design of your opt-in form is almost as important as the content.
The design of your opt-in is what the visitor first notices, and what should entice them to keep reading.
There is no correct way of designing an effective opt-in form as the design very much depends on what website and what products you have.
The most important factor here is that you don’t copy other eCommerces’ opt-ins. What works for them might not work for you.
Keep the design of your opt-ins relevant to the design of your website. If your website is in neutral colors, your opt-in should be in neutral colors. If your website is in bold colors, so should your opt-in form.
There are no colors that work better than others – it’s all about how the opt-in form looks on your specific website.
Kalon Studio has succeeded in creating a popup that matches the design of their website in a way that makes the popup much less intrusive.
The background photo of the popup is the same as the background photo on the website. You can easily see that this popup was customized and made specifically for Kalon Studio’s website.
Your opt-in forms automatically become less intrusive when your visitors can see that they match your website and are relevant to it as well.
Catch abandoning visitors with exit-intent
With most opt-in forms you have the possibility of adding an exit-intent trigger. This means that your opt-in forms won’t show until a visitor is about to leave your site.
Your exit-intent forms should always be popups. They are your final chance to convert your visitors and you want to make sure to catch their attention.
The exit-intent trigger monitors your visitor’s mouse cursor movements, and when the mouse cursor enters the address bar, a new tab, the close button or other exit options, the popup pops up in the middle of the visitors screen.
You can use the exit-intent popup to try and convert your abandoning visitors into email leads like in the example below.
Cocomi uses this simple, but yet effective, exit-intent popup to convert abandoning visitors into email leads by offering them a $10 discount on their first purchase when they sign up.
Your exit-intent form doesn’t have to be an opt-in form, you can also use them to re-engage your abandoning visitors with a link to some of your interesting content, or even convert them into customers with an offer they can’t resist.
FxPro offers abandoning visitors a free trading account, which gives their visitors value – because we all love free stuff – while at the same time, they get value by getting a new client.
Content upgrades are a great way of converting your visitors into email leads as well. Way too few businesses use them, which is a shame as they are highly effective.
Content upgrades are pieces of exclusive content that a visitor can get access to by providing their email address.
You can see an example of a content upgrade from our blog at Sleeknote.
The content upgrade appears in a blog post interview with Brian Massey about conversion optimization. The content upgrade contains Brian’s 5 most important tips for A/B split testing.
The point here is that your content upgrades should always be relevant to the page they appear on.
Content upgrades are not just for SaaS businesses or bloggers. You can also add content upgrades to your eCommerce site.
Content upgrades can be tutorials, guides, checklists, recipes, tips and tricks, etc. There are no limits when it comes to content upgrades as long as they are relevant to the content in which they are presented, and they give value.
As an eCommerce store, you can add content upgrades to your product pages. If you sell cooking equipment, you can add a content upgrade with a recipe where the specific product is used.
If you sell sporting equipment, you can add a content upgrade to your product page with tennis rackets with a how to guide on stringing a racket yourself.
Again, being creative is the keyword here.
So how does this relate to opt-in forms you might think?
Well, opt-in forms are a great way for your visitor to download your content upgrade without having to leave the page they’re on.
This is a continuation of the above mentioned example with the Brian Massey post. When you click the link to the content upgrade, a popup appears with the required opt-in fields, and then a CTA button that gives you access to the content upgrade.
Thus, when a visitor has downloaded the content upgrade they can simply close down the popup and continue to read the post.
The same goes for an online store. When visitors download content upgrades related to a specific product, they might do it before they decide whether or not to buy the product.
Once they’ve seen your content upgrade they will hopefully be inspired to buy the product, and can do so without having to navigate back to where they found the product in the first place.
Creating a less intrusive opt-in form doesn’t have to be a time consuming task, just make sure that before you start creating it, you consider what the purpose of your opt-ins are and how you want to achieve that.
The key ingredient in an effective opt-in form is your creativity. Be creative and don’t be afraid to test different variations to see which works best on your site.
No matter what type of website you have, you can definitely benefit from using opt-in forms. They make it a lot easier for visitors to sign up, and when made correctly, you’ll see a significant increase in your conversion rate.
Grow your eCommerce store’s email marketing list with these tips and increase your revenue with email marketing.
That was all from me this time, but I’m not checking out yet. I would love to hear what your experiences with opt-in forms are, and what you have used them for? Share your thoughts in the comments below.