If you haven’t heard, the future of online business is not social media or a fancy website – it’s email! Growing an email list is the single most important step in developing your online business. In order to get subscribers, you need to create an email opt-in that converts!
Why Do I Need an Email List?
Although some might consider email marketing outdated, email has made a massive comeback in recent years. There are countless ways an email list benefits your blogging business. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Benefits of an Email List:
- Direct line of communication between you and your audience
- Quickly identify what kind of content your audience is looking for
- Readers can get to know you and your brand on a deeper level.
- Generates high conversions for affiliate sales
- Better access to your audience
- Builds a database of potential clients
- More opportunities to provide value to your readers
In short, email provides a way to connect with your audience that no other platform can compete with. Social media algorithms are constantly evolving, making it challenging for your brand to be seen. In the same way, not every blog subscriber will read your every blog post!
Email cuts through the noise with consistent, curated content made just for your readers.
As a person who has studied six-figure bloggers for years, I can say that most of them have the same regret: not collecting emails from day one! Every single top-earning blogger recommends that your first step should be creating an email opt-in that converts subscribers.
Why Are Conversions Important?
When a reader subscribes to your email opt-in and your email list, that is called a conversion. They usually opt-in to get a freebie, which is often referred to as a lead magnet. (We will talk more about those later!)
Creating an email opt-in that converts is essential for building a base of returning readers. Why do you want to grow a community of returning readers? I’m glad you asked!
Returning readers have more trust in you and the products you sell. Because of this, they will buy from you more often! Additionally, they are more likely to share your posts and engage with your content. Converting new subscribers with your email opt-in is like creating a family of readers who enjoy your blog!
The longer you wait to create an email opt-in that converts, the longer you will miss out on traffic and sales. Every person on your mailing list is a potential client. Why rob yourself of sales and pageviews?
Speaking of page views, you might be surprised to learn that your email list’s size is more important than your monthly pageviews! That’s right – partner brands are often more interested in your email list than any other analytic. Why? Because they know that email leads convert!
Set yourself up for success with a great email opt-in and start getting those conversions!
How to Create an Email Opt-In That Converts
This is what you came for, right? Let’s dive into how to create an email opt-in that gets results!
Choose an Email Marketing Service
Several years ago, managing subscribers and scheduling emails was a major pain. These days, however, there are incredible platforms that make email marketing more straightforward than ever.
Personally, I use ConvertKit because it was created for bloggers by bloggers. It’s everything a blogger needs in an email marketing software for an affordable price! However, there are plenty of other email marketing services to choose from, like MailChimp, MailerLite, and GetResponse.
Whichever platform you choose, make sure it allows you to:
- Create beautiful email opt-ins with freebies attached
- Design and publish sleek landing pages
- Work seamlessly with WordPress
- Tag and organize subscribers
- Build email sequences and automations
- Easily customize your email templates
- Quickly access customer service
Spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of your email marketing service of choice. You’ll be creating email opt-ins that convert in no time!
Design an Enticing Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a freebie that a reader downloads in exchange for their email. The more valuable your lead magnet, the easier it will be to grow your email list!
Many new bloggers make the mistake of offering a weekly newsletter in their email opt-ins. This was a popular type of lead magnet several years ago when blogging was less competitive. But you’ll need to up the ante if you want to stand out from the crowd!
Another reason to avoid the newsletter route is that people simply do not want to sign up for more emails. The idea of getting a weekly newsletter in their inbox is a giant turn-off for most readers. Personally, a newsletter is rarely enough to entice me to give away my email address.
So, how do you decide what product to give away? It depends on who you are as a creator and your blogging niche. If you are a personal finance blogger, a budgeting template or cost-cutting workbook are good choices. A fashion blogger might try a capsule wardrobe checklist or a 30-minute fashion consultation.
No matter what lead magnet you go with, focus on offering tremendous value, and building trust with your readers. Your freebie should show them who you are as a blogger and what you provide as a creator. Keep them coming back for more!
If you’re stuck and can’t decide on a lead magnet to add to your email opt-in, that’s okay! Try identifying what problems your readers might have (saving money, losing weight, etc.). Then design a product that helps them solve part of that problem.
If you are offering a digital product, use Canva to make it look sleek and professional! Canva is a fantastic (and free) graphic design tool trusted by content creators everywhere.
Create Your Email Opt-In
It’s time to put it all together! Connect your freebie to your email opt-in so your readers can download it after they subscribe. Each email marketing service has a different way of making this happen, so I’m not giving a step-by-step breakdown!
Tips for Creating Your Email Opt-In:
Only require first name and email address. There’s no real reason that you need a subscriber’s surname, so go ahead and leave it off of the form. The fast you can make the sign-up process, the better!
Keep it simple and professional. Avoid making your form look too busy by adding too much text. Readers like forms that they can quickly understand, so less is often more! Make sure your opt-in form colors complement your blog design and that the text color is easy to read.
See an example below:
Personalize the thank you email. When your reader subscribes for your lead magnet, your email marketing service should generate a thank-you email that sends immediately. Rather than leave this as a boring form response, personalize it! Every email you send is an opportunity to build your relationship with your reader.
Include a clear call to action. Readers often need a push to bite the bullet and subscribe to your blog. If you want to create an email opt-in that converts, you need to make your call to action excessively clear! “Download Your FREE Guide Today!” might feel like you’re being too pushy, but remember – readers need to be pushed!
Where Do I Put My Opt-In?
Now you have an excellent lead magnet and a quality email opt-in form! But I already know what your next question is – where the heck do I put it?
Lucky for you, there are multiple places to add your fancy and fresh opt-in. Let’s take a look at the options!
The header is above the navigation menu, appears on every page, and is the first thing your readers will see on any given page.
The sidebar is on the far left or right of your blog page alongside other widgets.
The footer appears at the bottom of every page, reminding readers to subscribe after reading your post.
The ad bar is similar to the header but much smaller and less intrusive. It appears on every page.
A pop-up box appears after the reader has been on your site for a given amount of time. Pop-ups are considered intrusive but get high conversions.
A slider is a box that appears in the corner of the window. It slides as the reader scrolls through your post.
You can also embed your form in a blog post. The code is intimidating but not difficult to do.
A landing page is a stand-alone page wholly dedicated to collecting emails. Landing pages can be designed through your email marketing software.
Each blogger has to test and see what placement works best for their audience. Some bloggers swear by putting opt-ins in the header, but embedded forms do best on my blog. It’s all about keeping an eye on the analytics, which brings us to our next question…
How Can I Tell If My Opt-In Is Converting?
Sometimes, a blogger will create an email opt-in, add a freebie, stick it on their blog, and never look back! Blogging is all about analyzing and adjusting everything all the time. When you find what works, stick with it. But until then, it’s all about perfecting your opt-in!
Pay Attention to Analytics
Your email marketing software should provide you with all kinds of analytics on your emails and forms. The data you should pay close attention to is the conversion rate of any given email opt-in.
The conversion rate shows you how many people saw your email opt-in form and how many of those people subscribed. The goal percentage is 2-3% or better. Keep tabs on which email opt-ins are working and which need to be adjusted.
Adjust, Adjust, Adjust
If a form has low conversion rates, don’t be afraid to change it up! A few things you can adjust are:
- Cover photo of your freebie
- Placement of your opt-in form
- Call to action
Don’t be afraid to try something new. I went through ten different lead magnets before I found something that worked! If you want to create an email opt-in that converts, it’s all about trial and error.
Still Have Questions?
Send me an email – I’d love to chat!
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About Natalie West
Natalie West is a full-time lifestyle blogger, an avid traveler, and a growth mindset guru. Her blog, Pretty Little Grind, helps women increase productivity, gain confidence, and make money online. Natalie publishes new content 2-3 times a week and is always creating resources and tools to share with her readers.