Review: Building An Email List of Interested & Engaged Prospects

Email Marketing

I came across a guest blog post about email listing building on the IBM Podcast Blog, written by a web developer and Internet marketer who I have worked with in the past, Daniel Watrous. He launched a WordPress membership site 2 or 3 years ago, and I became a member. Unfortunately, he had to let go of that project. I had a feeling it was taking too much of his time, and that there wasn’t enough demand for the program. Despite this, he was a pleasure to work with.

I wanted to discuss Daniel’s post because it deals with one of my own posts on email list building and the use of different opt-in forms. In my post, I discussed four major types of opt-in forms: side bar opt-ins, in-post or bottom-of-post opt-ins, slider opt-ins, and pop-up opt-in forms. I mentioned that the most effective type that my clients and I have used on our home pages have been pop-up forms. I also talked about how I initially thought the world of slider forms until I began to thoroughly test different opt-in variations.

Daniel has created a popular slider opt-in form (which I’ve included a link to below) that I have used with success in the past. In his post, he shares his view on building an email list and the methods people use to do so (i.e. what types of email capture forms they use). You’ll notice that he isn’t an advocate of interrupting a user’s Internet experience, stating that one should have “good manners” by not using a pop-up. This is where the slider email capture form comes into the picture. Slider forms do not obstruct a website visitor’s view.

Daniel’s post recommends slider email capture forms. I stand by my initial recommendation that pop-ups are more effective on website home pages. I have compared the two on many different websites that generate a ton of traffic. In every single case, the pop-up form did better. Nonetheless, there are situations where a slider opt-in form will yield better results. I encourage you to download Daniel’s opt-in form plugin and test what works best for you.

Here’s his post in its entirety.

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Building an email list of interested and engaged prospects is like meeting someone at a party…

In order to get traffic and generate leads, entrepreneurs publish. Some publish advertisements and brochures. Others publish articles, booklets, how to’s and tutorials. Whether online or offline, you’ll find publication channels that cost you money and others that will send you traffic for “free” if the content fits their purposes.

Regardless of where you get your traffic, you need to ask for the optin. I’ve seen a lot of people go wrong with this. I personally like to think of asking for the optin in terms of a social encounter (this is actually helpful for many aspects of business).

Pickup lines

Imagine you meet someone attractive and you want to get to know them better. Which of the following “optin” lines do you think will work best.

A) I’ll give you a free chapter of my new book if you give me your phone number
B) Would you like to grab a cup of coffee
C) Getting in your car right now could cost you the opportunity of your life
D) Let’s find a table and I’ll tell you the top three mistakes people make when…

DISCLAIMER: before I go any further, it’s extremely important to understand that everything must be taken in context. This includes venue, mind set, familiarity, etc. If the person I want to get to know just came up to me and told me I look like James Dean, I can come back with a much different line than if I stopped her on the corner to ask directions to the barber shop.

Most effective approach

So which option did you choose above? I personally like B for a few reasons. It is non threatening and low risk. However, if the context is that someone just clicked through a paid link after searching for a topic that appears in your new book, A might get you more mileage.

Whichever way you go, take a minute to stop thinking like a marketer and instead imagine yourself standing in front of someone that is likely to be interested in getting to know you. Then ask yourself “If I said this to a real person, would I sound like a dufus?”. That might seem silly, but you’ll be surprised how effective it can be in helping you come up with a more natural call to action.

Once you have worked out what you plan to say, all that’s left is presentation. Let’s go back to our situation above and think about what the person is doing at the moment we want to invite them to have a cup of coffee. If they’re in the middle of conversation, reading something or concentrating on anything other than you, remember that it’s good manners to say excuse me and wait for them to finish.

Good Manners

It’s not good manners to yank a book out of their hand or jump in between them and another person that they’re talking with or otherwise interrupt them. There are a lot of optin approaches that do exactly that. They interrupt someone while they’re in the middle of engaging with the content you worked so hard to publish so you could get their attention.

You’ll find that there are optin tools available that effectively say “Excuse me…Is anyone sitting here?”, rather than interrupting someone. This might be as simple as using a sidebar widget for a persistent optin message or using an animated, attention getting tool, like the optincrusher, which gets attention but does not make a nuisance of itself.

So, would you like to get a cup of coffee?

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Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Have you tested both types before?

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Myles is a seasoned entrepreneur, marketer, and management professional. He is the CEO of eReach Consulting, a full service digital marketing agency, and he manages several online business websites.


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