What is the Email Opt-In Strategy (And How You Can Build an Effective Email Opt-In Form)

Carl Taylor | December 22, 2021

Not getting the conversions you want from your email campaigns? Here’s what might be the problem.

A lot of email campaigns fail because marketers use a spray-and-pray strategy. 

It means that recipients didn’t give marketers permission to send emails. Instead, marketers just send out emails to those on their list and hope for the best. And as a result, most of these promotions, advertisements, and circulars end up in spam. 

To get around this problem, you need to have people opt in to receive your emails. 

This is what marketing guru Seth Godin calls permission marketing. You’re asking leads and potential clients to choose if they want to receive emails from you. 

The benefits of permission marketing are apparent. But the biggest of which is the fact that when potential customers get emails that they want and expect, marketers have higher conversion and click-through rates. 

To achieve that, you first need to understand the opt-in strategy and how to build forms that encourage more people to opt in. 

What is the Opt-In Strategy? 

As mentioned, this is a marketing strategy where you ask potential clients to share their email addresses. When people willingly do it, you add their email addresses to your list. 

But take note that understanding the prospect’s position in the funnel is critical to the email campaign’s success. It’s because prospects have different needs and desires depending on where they are in their buyers’ journey. 

For example, those who opt in to receive your email the first time they encounter your brand should be introduced to your offer. You could point them to a landing page for your products or a course. 

But what should you do if someone opts in after they’ve bought your product or taken a course? 

You can then send them emails with information about how they can make the best use of the product or course. 

The important thing here is that you don’t use emails just to sell to the clients. Instead, you want to nurture them wherever they land in your marketing funnel. 

In doing so, you build trust and rapport with clients and set your brand up as a top authority in its niche. There’ll be much less shopping friction and you’ll get much higher conversions. 

How to Build a Powerful Email Opt-In Form

Tip #1. Provide a Reason to Opt In

Potential clients need an incentive to opt in. If you’re working in the B2B space, the motivation could be a white paper, stats report, or invitation to a free webinar. 

The strategy is similar in B2C. After all, everybody loves freebies or exclusive access to content that might help them understand a particular challenge better. 

With that said, you can A/B test different incentives to identify one that works best with your target avatar. But the following two strategies often outdo the rest. 

  1. Content download – pertaining to different types of freebies, as mentioned above. 
  2. Website access – granting access to restricted website areas where they can get more information about what they need. 

The goal here is to entice potential clients with exceptional content that they can’t get anywhere else. You should redouble your efforts to create truly outstanding content, or else potential clients may soon opt out. 

Tip #2. Don’t Ask for Too Much Information

You might be tempted to create a lengthy opt-in form and ask for a bunch of stuff to segment your potential clients. But that’s the wrong way to do it since few people are willing to fill out a lengthy form. 

So, what’s the ideal number of fields? 

It’s between three and five. In fact, studies show that you can expect about 25% conversion when there are only three fields. The number drops to 20% if you have five fields. With six fields or more, you can expect conversion rates of 15% or lower. 

Now, the critical thing is to determine the minimum amount of information needed. 

Sure, you’re after email addresses, so one field should be dedicated to that. But you also want a name with which you can address your prospects directly in emails. You may also ask for their location or other specifics based on your niche. 

Keep in mind that with B2B clients, the form can include fields specific to their company. Just don’t make the form too long. 

Tip #3. Leverage Social Signals

Social signals work great because they leverage peer pressure to entice potential customers to opt in. And it’s not that hard to include social proof in the form. 

In the opt-in form’s header, put down your brand’s number of followers or tell people how many subscribers you already have. Even if the number is small, it should be enough to incentivise people to share their information. 

Also, the copy is vital to the form’s success. You want to include “me” instead of “you” in the CTA button and tell people precisely what they’re getting and how often. 

Tip #4. Make it Visually Appealing

Did you know that more than half of web users spend 15 seconds or less on an average site?

To make them stay longer and boost conversion rates, you can use stunning visuals to grab the visitor’s attention. The goal is to create a form that stands out but isn’t too flashy. 

So, how do you go about it? 

First, you’ve got to be careful with your colour choices. They should reflect the colours of your brand and accentuate certain elements of the form’s copy. Ideally, you’ll stick to one colour and use a different colour for the CTA. 

Also, play with shadows to highlight certain areas on the form and take advantage of directional cues. These guide visitors through the form and move their attention to where you want it to be.   

Tip #5. Use Pop-Ups (But Do it Correctly)

Pop-ups can give your marketing campaign a boost with a conversion rate of about 3%. However, pop-ups aren’t a cookie-cutter solution that fits any situation and audience. Some internet users even describe them as annoying, 

Fortunately, there are ways to make opt-in pop-ups less intrusive. 

For starters, you don’t want them to jump out at your leads as soon as they land on the page. Instead, give people enough time to browse the website and read some of the content. If they like what they see, they will be more willing to share their credentials. 

Additionally, you should consider the triggers that set off your pop-ups. 

For example, you can use modal forms that get activated when a visitor performs a few actions. And you can use the scrolling percentage to see if a visitor might have scrolled enough to show interest. 

You can also set timing rules to introduce a pop-up after visitors have spent enough time on your website or blog post. 

Lastly, you should test different settings to find what works best for your target audience. And if you’re not sure how to do it, Automation Agency can create high-converting pop-ups for you. 

Tip #6. Ensure Optimum Opt-In Form Placement

There is some flexibility to opt-in form placements, but you should still follow general guidelines, especially when you do it for the first time. 

If you’re using a bar opt-in form, it should be at the top of your site. That’s where visitors expect to see it and the positioning that converts the best. 

By contrast, slide-in opt-in forms work best at the bottom left or right of the website. 

However, some marketers introduce their forms in the middle of their web pages or off to one side. This may work well for typical lead capture forms as long as they’re not intrusive or too long. 

There’s no limit to which pages should be dedicated to opt-in forms, although the standard placements include:

  • Homepage – in the feature box
  • YouTube videos
  • Website About and/or Contact pages
  • Ecommerce checkout page 
  • Social media 

Tip #7. Create Opt-In Copy

The rule for your copy is to make sure it is brief and precise. Verbosity in the opt-in form will deter potential clients. You have to provide only information that shows visitors the benefits of sharing their email with you. 

For example, you can create a snappy bulleted list of benefits. Or, you can come up with a few variations to see which converts the best.

Additionally, pay attention to the headline. It can be as simple as a statement of social proof. But whatever you choose to put there, remember that the headline shouldn’t exceed 10 words. 

Keep in mind that the copy isn’t something you want to rush. The goal is to make it free of unnecessary words and information. So, write a few different versions and get your team members’ input.  

Tip #8. Have a CTA Button

The CTA button is a particularly critical element of your opt-in form. 

First of all, potential customers should be able to tell the CTA apart from the remainder of your form. To achieve that, you can use red CTA buttons. In fact, a study with 600 participants found red buttons to boost conversions by 34%. 

Other than the colour, the copy can make or break conversions. It should relate directly to your offer and the benefits in store. So, write copy that inspires action and make it as short as three to five words. 

Get More People to Opt In

By now, you should have a good understanding of what makes a compelling opt-in form. 

The key takeaways are that the opt-in form should ask for the most necessary information only. Sometimes asking just for a prospect’s name and email could be more than enough. 

Beyond that, ensure your potential clients are clear on what they’re getting, but without going overboard with the copy. 

You must also pay attention to elements such as colour, shadows, and pointers. Use visuals to usher people towards the CTA button so that you can increase conversions. 

Now, this may seem like a lot of work. But Automation Agency can help you create web forms that are fitting for your branding and irresistible to potential customers. 

In addition, we can assist you in setting up pop-ups and substantially increasing your lead generation. 

Get started by reaching out to us today

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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