Have you ever had a second chance to make a first impression? I can’t say that I have, and you likely can’t either.
The saying is true for a reason, and it’s never been more true than in email.
Yes, the people opting in to your email list are humans who sometimes forgive and forget and move on but it’s just as easy for those humans to have a negative first experience with you, unsubscribe, shut their laptop, and never think of you again.
While that might feel a bit dramatic, it’s an unfortunate but common occurrence for bloggers everywhere. Luckily for you, we’re going to solve that right now.
No more opt ins that are after-thoughts. No more complicated download processes or multi-step funnels. Just simple and clear opt in experiences your subscribers will love.
So where do we start?
Deliver the goods
It sounds obvious, right? If you tell someone you’re going to send them a PDF download or info on how to join the webinar, you should send it. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it always goes. Or, at least, it doesn’t happen seamlessly.
There are two best-case scenarios for delivery of the promised goods.
1) Immediately after signup on the thank you page
2) In the very first email they get after signing up
Or a combination of both, really.
Any other delivery method is confusing, time consuming for your subscriber, and frustrating enough to make them unsubscribe before they’ve even started.
Let’s look at an example of how things could be simplified:
In the interest of protecting identities of the innocent, I’ll share some broad strokes of an actual signup process here. Now keep in mind, this opt in belongs to a true pro, a coach who is a real genius at helping new business owners get success and freedom with their businesses. The trouble is, it takes a while to actually get on her email list and get what you want from her. Here’s how it goes:
First you see her opt in form offering a free worksheet she typically reserves for her private clients. Cool! You want it so you opt in:
Then you see a thank you page (which is always a nice touch, btw) and it says that you have to confirm your email before you get that guide.
Frustrating. If this coach used an email provider like ConvertKit, clicking to confirm her subscription could also deliver that guide at the same time. Instead, I now have a multi-step process.
So I go confirm my email (even though I feel like I’ve already said I want those free resources…):
And then I get another thank you page:
Oy. I head BACK to my inbox (luckily I’m pretty dedicated to making sure I get this free guide) and wait. A few minutes later, I get the email I’ve been waiting for:
… but where’s the guide? I see it’s a longer email so I scroll down. Ah, there it is!
One link. FAR down the email. I finally get to click on it and I’m (thankfully) quite impressed. It’s not just one resource but four entire docs! At the same time, though, I wonder how long it’s going to take me to get through all of this material.
I’m happy I have these now but I have lots of other things to attend to that flew in over the last 10 or so minutes it took me to get these docs so I close the window and know I can read through them later. Eventually.
But isn’t that just how email goes? The whole opt in process just has to be clunky, right?
Here are two simpler versions, one using ConvertKit, one not.
Super Simple = Satisfied Subscriber
Kimra Luna is the (punk rock) queen of webinars. I’m ready to learn more about this blue-haired chick and, most importantly, how to run successful webinars, so I head to her homepage.
First I see her opt in incentive at the top of her homepage and, yeah, I wanna “rock it with webinars” so I sign click the button:
And get a simple opt in form:
As soon as I click the button to “Watch Video #1 Now”, I’m taken to a page with, you got it, Video #1:
I watch a few minutes of it and then, like the rest of us goldfish, I get distracted and go check my inbox. Surprise! There’s an email from Kimra and she’s giving me a link to that video in case I closed the window:
But you don’t just have to use video. Or have a single opt in.
Some email providers (ahem, ConvertKit) give you the option of a single or double opt in. Of course, they each have their pros and cons so you’ll want to weigh those for your own blog and then move forward from there.
Remember, with ConvertKit, you can even deliver that opt in downloadable with the click of the confirmation button. One click confirms the double opt in AND gets your subscriber exactly what they want.
Add Sequences For Extra Magic
Lisa from CookEatPaleo.com takes the single opt in route with her popular printable paleo shopping list. When I clicked on the link inside her top blog post, I got a modal (pop up) opt in form that looked like this:
I entered my name and email address and instantly got this email from Lisa:
Boom. I have exactly what I signed up for almost instantly and Lisa is my new BFF. I have an instant trust in her to give me what she says she will with no fuss, no wait. And that is refreshing.
In fact, Lisa goes on to use a sequence and provide me with two more emails over the course of the next 4 days (the time I’m most engaged with her content).
Day 2: peek inside my paleo pantry
Day 4: paleo breakfast ideas for busy mornings
And Lisa isn’t alone in offering an onboarding sequence to her subscribers.
Over at Litmus (the masters of email), their Research Director Chad White has some advice around sending sequences to your new subscribers:
Keep that first email in the series focused on the most high-value action—the one that’s the most predictive of continued engagement and of generating the most subscriber lifetime value. Then use subsequent welcome emails to further educate subscribers on the value of engaging with your brand and with your emails.
A few of our personal favorites include:
- Pinterest for Business 6-email welcome series
- Zulily’s 5-email welcome series
- Target’s 4-email welcome series
Sending a chain of welcome emails allows them to emphasize different aspects of their businesses, and even to reiterate key calls-to-actions.
Notice those household brands right there?? I don’t know about you, but if I’m thinking about a quick shopping trip that’s convenient and full of style, I’m thinking Target. They’re simply top of mind, thanks to their excellent marketing. Look, if Target is sending a welcome sequence as part of their email marketing plan, you should too.
Roll Out The Red Carpet
Delivering what you promise is step one in developing a long-standing relationship with your subscribers. Create a positive and memorable experience and they’ll refer others to you, become subscribers for life, and are likely to become purchasers of your products or services.
Have a great example of an email opt in experience you’ve just loved being a part of? Share it in the comments below so we can keep learning together!
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