It’s no secret that building an email list is smart. Get emails from your readers from day one. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to promote your next blog post or give everyone a heads up about your next offer. I still see a surprising number of new bloggers deciding that they’ll start building a list “after they have an audience”. Whatever that means.
Trust me…the time to start building your list is now. I suspect the reason most new bloggers hold off on list building is because they’re not sure how to do it. This post contains a list of the three best places I’ve found to place opt in forms on your blog. If it works for me, it’s likely a great place for you to start off as well.
First off, grab an autoresponder account. My personal favorite is Aweber. There are also many popular alternatives, such as InfusionSoft, MailChimp and GetResponse. This makes building and managing your email list and creating opt in forms a piece of cake.
Yeah, setting up an autoresponder isn’t free. The reason it’s not free is because it kicks serious ass. A solid autoresponder is worth every single penny. And then some. Trying emailing a list of 5,000 subscribers from your laptop and see how far that gets you. Trust me, just set up an Aweber account right now.
Opt in Form Placement (for High Conversion)
I’ve tested basically every type of opt in form out there, and here are the three locations that have consistently worked best for me:
- Home page – Create a large opt in the entire width of your home page. Derek Halpern calls this a “resource box”, and you can see one in action on the home page of his site Social Triggers. You’ll also see one on the home page of my site. Michael Martine also has one up and running on Remarkablogger. I had a client change his “normal” opt in form into one using this format recently, and his conversion rate quintupled. If you’re bad with numbers like I am…that’s a 500% increase. Bonus points for including a video.
- Popups – Yep, I’m dead serious. And I understand that I’m evil for even mentioning them, but I can’t deny what I’ve seen work. Everyone supposedly hates em, yet many top bloggers continue to use them regardless. Why? Because they just flat out convert. Grant has talked about a great option for generating popups that gives you a high level of control over who sees it and when. I think this is a really smart application.
- Squeeze pages – The fewer distractions there are, the higher your conversion rate. This is a pretty simple concept, yet I still see many bloggers failing to take advantage of this. A squeeze page is simply a page displaying NOTHING other than your call to action…and your opt in form. A well-designed squeeze page should convert at a bare minimum of 20%. Squeezes typically have little or no content on them, which is why they convert so well, so how do you direct your blog visitors to your squeeze pages? My favorite way is to simply link them up in my navigation. I also link squeeze pages up in my sidebar and email signature. My business cards also display a unique URL I use to point to a squeeze page on my blog.
You may notice I didn’t mention having an opt in form at the top of the right hand sidebar. This is the most common placement for an opt in form, and I’ve run one of these for years. They work, but they never convert at a very high rate. I’ve come to prefer placing a graphic or other call to action in this location…pointing most likely to a squeeze page.
I have squeeze pages on my site right now, some of which convert a little over 25%. Others convert consistently over 40%. It’s not difficult to get a lot of leads this way, which of course is the whole point, correct?
If you’re running Headway (which I think is a safe assumption, this being the Headway blog and all) then you’re in luck. Setting up squeeze pages can be done by simply creating a page and switching off the header, navigation and footer. You can even create an entirely unique page layout in the Visual Editor, and these are all point and click features. No coding required whatsoever.
I’m a big fan of not reinventing the wheel. I try not to get too crazy or innovative with my website layout. It can be tempting to want to do something revolutionary or awesome with your layout or design. It’s understandable. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. They’re just looking for a solution to their problems. That’s it. I write for small business owners, and in my experience small business owners want a website that converts. Pretty simple.
If you’re trying to win a design award, then that’s one thing. If you’re main goal is to get leads and build your business, I’ve found that simple is better. Less is more.
If you have any questions about lead generation from your blog, hit me up in the comments. I’m happy to help 🙂
Christian Russell is the blogger behind Dangerous Tactics, a unique small business marketing strategies blog with no tolerance for B.S. His latest report, How to Get (a lot) More Leads from Your Website teaches you – surprisingly – how to get a lot more leads from your website