‘Tis the Season to Audit Your Email Opt-In Experience

'Tis the season to audit your email opt in experience!

The holidays are quickly approaching and marketers are about to receive the gift of website traffic. It’s likely your email focus this past month has been on planning and executing new holiday email campaigns to drive your current subscribers to your website. However, with the much-anticipated additional traffic to your site in the next few months, now is the time to take a look at your email opt-in experience. An audit is a great chance to see if there’s anything that can be tightened up, updated, or fixed over the holidays. The goal is to look for ways to increase sign ups and get the new subscribers into the mix to receive your holiday campaigns sooner rather than later.

I’ve made a list of a few things to consider for the holidays –feel free to check it twice!

1. Do you have an email sign up? This is certainly the first place to start. If you don’t have an email sign up prominently displayed on your website that clearly sets expectations about the frequency and content a subscriber will be receiving, then you are missing out. With a strategically placed email sign up – above the fold – you can estimate five percent of your unique site visitors will convert to an email subscriber.

You can expect even better results if you use a popover/lightbox to collect emails from new visitors coming to your site. Make sure to avoid showing the popover/ lightbox to returning visitors who’ve already seen it on a previous visit to your site. That way, you’re not asking people who aren’t interested or have already signed up to sign up more than once. Remember, while your homepage real estate is valuable, gaining an email opt-in is a personal invitation from your subscriber to have a place in his or her inbox.

2. Is everything working correctly? Your opt-in experience was likely one of the first items you set up when starting your email program. Make sure your sign-up form is still connected to the correct list, all of the subscriptions are still offered, and the opt-in language is still relevant. If something isn’t working, you’ll not only be missing out on getting an email subscriber, you’ll also run the risk of providing a bad user experience, which could leave someone with a not-so-warm-and-fuzzy feeling about the brand overall.

3. Is your email sign up naughty or nice? Consider changing your opt-in message to include language about “receiving exclusive access to Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts” or “special discount for signing up for emails.” Let them know the benefits not just of signing up for email, but for signing up for email during the season especially when they know they will already have a full inbox.

4. Do you have a welcome email? It’s important to welcome your new subscribers, confirm subscription expectations, and introduce them to how they can continue to interact with your brand. For some, it makes sense to send a series of emails to educate and build the relationship with your brand. Think about what would work best for you year round, as well as around the holidays. Since a subscriber shouldn’t start receiving promotional emails until after finishing the welcome series, you may want to consider reducing the number of welcome emails over the holidays, adjusting the timeframe for which the welcome emails are sent, and/or reordering the series so any incentive is move up in the process.

It’s a great exercise to go through your opt-in experience at least once a year (if not quarterly) to make sure you are optimizing it any way you can. Don’t have the time this holiday season or do you want some additional recommendations on how to adjust your email sign up to acquire new email subscribers? Contact me at strategy@whatcounts.com to learn more about how WhatCounts can help you grow and cultivate your email list this season.

Lauren Bell
Manager of Strategic Services, WhatCounts

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