Opt-in forms are one of the simplest and most autonomous ways to collect leads and build your contact lists, however, insufficient time is spent ensuring opt-ins are perfectly created and located, to take advantage of maximum conversions. Even if this is your very first website, there are plug-ins and guides to help out beginners, so adding opt-ins to your site should be a no-brainer.
What you see is what you get
This may go without saying, but the success of your opt-ins depends largely on their appearance. These days you can create beautiful opt-in forms using online marketing software so there is no excuse for ugly form syndrome. Apart from general aesthetics, add functional elements like directional cues which include varying colours or an arrow to help visually guide the lead to your CTA.
Even something as simple as making your CTA an actual button will be more effective than simply making it hypertext. Your choice of colour will also make a difference; following testing, Performable found that a red button increased clicks by 21% compared to a green button. With all of that in mind, focus on your own branding, if you predominantly use red throughout your page, a red button won’t stand out.
Offer something in return
While you can end your lead conversion process with a lead capture page, you can also create a further link in the line that leads your customer to an offer. This sounds simple but needs careful consideration. On the one hand, it provides a sense of exchange of value: the lead gives you their email address = value to you/you give them a free pdf/ or ebook etc = value to the lead. On the other hand, you need to be sure you are offering quality materials/products. Making false claims to get quick conversions, will lose you those leads just as quickly. Essentially you are bribing your leads to sign up, so you better make it a juicy offer.
This refers to both the perceived and real value of the offer, for instance, mentioning a dollar value- ‘get this resource library worth $3000 free when you sign up’, will improve the perceived value. While if you make the offer sound unmissable: ‘How to double your leads in 30 days’, make sure to offer real value that can meet these claims. The quality of your content will make you stand out from the rest.
Location, location, location
It is to be expected that one opt-in form won’t provide optimal conversions, rather, add several throughout your site to maximise access. Opt-ins need to be a tool of convenience for your leads. Consider a feature box above your content, at the top of your sidebar and in your footer, then also add one in your about us page and of course, your contacts page will be one big opt-in as well. The key is to not make the opt-ins hinder your leads access to the content itself.
Another option is to create content upgrades with your opt-ins, that is to say, add an opt-in within the text that provides an offer relevant to the content of that particular article. If I’m talking about how to increase lead generation, I could create an opt-in with a free e-book that offers a how-to in this area.
Choose your words wisely
The wording of your form is also surprisingly important. What words you use, what you ask the lead to fill out, and how you do so all can seriously affect results. Choosing to have ‘submit’ on your CTA button is a sure fire way to throw away leads, while ‘Go’ will increase conversion by 25% and ‘click here’ by 30%.
The number of fields a lead has to complete will also affect conversions rates, with 3 fields ensuring a 25% conversion rate, while up to five reduces conversions to 20% and more than six reduces conversions to only 15%. Asking a lead for their phone number alone can decrease conversion by 5 %. While you may genuinely need a contact number to provide your specific service/product, be sure you consider each piece of information you ask for and its potential future value, against the potential loss in leads when this information is requested.
Always best to carry out A/B and even C testing to assess what works best for you. Add images that visually depict the offer as bountiful. Eg if its online resources show several books, DVDs or other which will visually guide the lead.
Consolidate it all
Opt-in forms provide fantastic opportunities for marketers to build their contact lists with solid, valuable leads. However, there is a fine balance between what works and what will send leads running to your competitors. Your opt-in needs to be visually pleasing and bold, concise yet informative, enticing and clear, but above all simple, by including exactly the information needed and nothing more. You want your leads to spend time pouring over your content and choosing between product offers, you do not want them to have to take half an hour to figure out where the CTA is on a long-form landing page.
All the advice in the world is not as valuable as your own testing, with your own customers. Once you’ve created what you consider to be the perfect opt-in, tweak a few details and do some A/B testing to find out what works for your customers. Simply harvesting valueless leads is a waste of time, however making that extra effort to target your best leads and turn them into loyal customers is worth it, not only will your net promoter score (NPS) go up but your profits should too.
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.