It’s exciting. Every time a person taps his address into your form and hits the button, you’ve got another conversion.
Which is good. Right?
Sure. More conversions means more prospects moving into your marketing funnel. But, getting the click is just the beginning. Your new potential customer or client has several steps to go through in the email opt-in process before becoming a new subscriber.
And if you’re not putting thought into each one of those steps, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with that person.
Worse… you might just lose him before you even get him hooked on hearing from you again.
Follow along as I walk you through not only how you can make this often overlooked process more engaging for your subscribers but a whole lot more insightful for you.
What’s a lead generation funnel?
For the purposes of this blog post, a lead generation funnel is simply a series of steps your visitor takes from landing page or website to subscriber of your email list.
Depending on whether or not you’re requiring people to confirm their email address (more on that later), a typical path from opt-in to subscriber looks something like this…
At each step, you’re asking your prospect to take a desired action… ultimately becoming one of your new email list subscribers eager to start hearing from you.
Two very good reasons why it’s so important to optimize every step in your lead generation funnel
#1: People remember the bad before the good
Every interaction a potential prospect has with you and your business creates an impression in his or her mind. Whether it’s at a cocktail party or on your website, that person takes inventory of the experience.
Unfortunately, negative impressions stick with us far longer than positive ones. Psychological studies have found that both animals and humans are more likely to remember the negative things that have happened to us in greater detail and more strongly. According to the social psychologist, Roy Baumeister, “Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones.”
Which means, each point in your opt-in process is an opportunity to create a positive experience so your newly won subscriber isn’t ready to jump ship before becoming a viable lead.
Seems pretty obvious. Except, way too many marketers are dropping the ball and sending people to pages auto generated by their email platform or pages on their websites that does little more than confirm a subscription.
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The only thing these pages are telling their prospects is that the business couldn’t be bothered to think beyond getting the click.
#2: You’ve got prime real estate on your hands
Your landing page or website visitor has made the decision to give you his email. He’s not only interested in knowing what you have to say but has agreed to let you make guest appearances in his inbox.
This is a chance to capitalize on being top of mind with your new lead. At each step, you can use it as an opportunity to show off your brand personality, connect that person more deeply to your messaging, and even lead him to another conversion.
So… How do you make the most of your lead generation funnel?
Let’s take a look at some examples and ways to up your marketing A-game on your pages and emails after you’ve gotten the opt-in.
The Confirmation and/or Welcome Page
As soon as your visitor has opted into your email list, he will be directed to either a confirmation page or a welcome page. Third party email providers host those pages by default on their servers with standard language you can modify.
In MailChimp, the confirmation page looks like this.
My suggestion is to always ditch the email provider’s form – no matter how much you customize it – for a page on your own site. Besides looking more polished and professional, you’ll be able to gather data on how visitors are moving through your funnel in your Google Analytics.
And the only way to get the data is by having every step of the opt-in process happen on your own site. When you use the default pages from your email provider, your Google Analytics can’t track those visits because the pages don’t live on your site.
When you can’t track, you can’t find out where you might be losing people in your funnel. Check out this post that gives you a quick walk through of how to set up a conversion goal for your email list.
Ways to boost engagement and keep from losing subscribers on your pages
#1: Patch the leaks with clear instructions
If you’re requiring people to go through the double opt-in process – which many marketers choose to forgo – your confirmation page will be the first thing subscribers see after opting in. The primary goal of this page is to make sure your would-be subscriber checks his or her email to click on the provided link.
There’s much debate as to whether or not it’s worth it to force your subscribers to jump through the added hoop just to get on your list. You run the risk of losing between 20-40% of subscribers with a double opt-in. On the upside, you improve your chances of building a higher quality list.
Also be aware that depending on the country you’re in, anti-spam laws differ. Canada enacted new legislation last year that applies to any business sending emails to Canadian citizens making the double opt-in a smart move for marketers everywhere. You can read more about Canada’s anti-spam law in this article.
This is where creating a well crafted page can help patch holes in a leaky funnel. Take a look at Breanne Dyck’s confirmation page she sends people to after they enter their email addresses.
Breanne lets you know exactly what you need to do and what to look for in your inbox in order to finish the subscription process.
#2: Remind people why they subscribed in the first place
The Entrepreneur on Fire confirmation page takes things one step further by not only walking you through your inbox to make sure you successfully click the confirmation link but also by reminding you why you subscribed in the first place.
To up the odds you’ll search for that confirmation email in your inbox, the copy plays on urgency and the very human desire to act on it.
The copy does that well by telling me in no uncertain terms to “DON’T WAIT” and then giving me a reason why, starting with the very powerful word “because.” As I mentioned in a previous post, employing the word because along with a reason behind your request can make all the difference between someone taking action and not.
#3: Say thank you with a little personality
Even though you may have traded a value added piece of content you’ve created for an email address (also known as the lead magnet), showing a bit of appreciation is a sure fire way of endearing someone to you. Adding a dose of your brand’s personality helps create instant rapport.
Here’s the confirmation page that appears on my site after someone signs up for my list.
#4: Make an offer
It may feel too soon to start selling your subscribers on something that isn’t free. But once you get one yes from someone, you’re far more likely to get a second. Robert Cialdini, in his book Influence, calls this commitment and consistency.
Retailers often do a good job of this, framing an offer as a thank you discount for agreeing to be on their email list.
Then, there are the guys over at Digital Marketer who send you to a sales page for a $7 mini product after signing up for one of their lists.
They call this a tripwire offer. The barrier to entry is low and based on the idea that because the visitors to this page have already exchanged their email addresses for a download they’re primed to take the next step. That step is to part with a small amount of money.
The Confirmation and/or Welcome Email
If you decided to go the way of the double opt-in, you’ll be sending your subscribers an email asking them to click on a link to verify they truly want to be on your list. This email can be relatively short and sweet.
Sometimes less is more except in the case of this email that my colleague, Gabriella received a couple of years ago.
If you’re constantly signing up to email lists (as some of us do), it’s easy to forget why you decided to give up your email. Or worse, who this person sending you the email is.
Don’t give your subscribers enough information to make you memorable, you run the risk of an immediate unsubscribe.
Ways to boost engagement and keep from losing subscribers in your emails
#1: Tell subscribers what they’ll be getting in the subject line
Treat your email subject lines like you would any important headline. Make it clear and value added so there’s no guessing what your subscriber will be missing out on if he doesn’t take action.
David Kadavy does just that in his confirmation email subject line.
When this email hit my inbox, I immediately knew who it was from, what I needed to do, and what I’d be getting once I opened it and took action.
#2: Make a promise you’re prepared to keep
In Ian Brodie’s welcome email from a couple of years ago, he sets expectations for his subscribers. You know how often you’ll be hearing from him – so there’s no surprises.
Plus, his warm conversational tone encourages engagement. As long as he follows through on his promises and maintains a consistent brand personality (which he does), I’ll remain a subscriber (which I am.)
#3: Let them know about their options
As I mentioned earlier in the post, it’s a good idea to tell your visitors:
- Why they are receiving this email
- That by confirming the subscription they are consenting to receive more emails from you
- What they can do if they no longer want to continue getting them
By doing this, you’re helping to cover your assets so there’s no question anyone who subscribes to your list didn’t mean to. Ramit Sethi does this well in his confirmation email.
Is your email opt-in process as good as it could be?
Take a few minutes to go back through your entire email funnel. If you haven’t signed up for your own list (or done it in a long time), do it now. Ask yourself if you’d want to be getting emails from you.
Is the process seamless? Are there compelling reasons to sign up? Is your lead magnet outdated or really providing much value?
Then, create confirmation and thank you pages on your own site instead of relying on the default pages from your email provider. You’ll be able to develop more engaging experiences for your visitors along with giving you a way to track what your visitors are doing every step of the way.