6 Ways To Improve Your Customers’ Email Opt-in Experience

So, the store’s up and running (finally). You’ve smoothed out the communication issues with your rather difficult main supplier. And if the eCommerce angels are on their A-game, you might be able to pay back your father-in-law that cashola he borrowed you to get started, this year.

But now the real work starts.The work of marketing and selling your brand and products, that is.

In this article we’ll look at a powerful marketing channel the internet marketing community has been leveraging (very profitably) for years. And you’ll learn how you too can optimize this part of your sales funnel to bring in more revenue and loyal fans to your business.

How to improve your customers email opt-in experience

No email opt-in box on your website yet?

Stop what you’re doing right now and go add one. Then, come back to this article and make sure your opt-in process is optimized to deliver the best results for your company.

1. Don’t make them hunt for it

If a visitor to your online store has thought about getting on your mailing list – even for just a nanosecond – the best thing you can do is make sure an opt-in box is within their eyesight, or at the very least easy to find.

Don’t make them hunt for your mailing list on obscure pages – this is not a treasure hunt. And don’t make your opt-in box list so small you need a magnifying glass to find it. Lastly, pay attention to your opt-in box design. Ask yourself, “does this element of my site look like an after-thought?”. If the answer is yes, then you have some design work to do.

Your opt-in should be easy to find. Easy on the eye. And easy to use.

Email grabbing using a pop-up. The numbers prove how effective they are


The ‘after-thought’ email opt-in box

2. Give them a reason to opt-in

I often ask clients, “tell me why your prospects should give you their email?”. This question is usually met by a nervous silence; followed by “I don’t know’, muttered in hushed tones. Houston, we have a problem, and here’s why…

…if you don’t know what makes your company awesome and worthy of being given access to the sacred space of inbox, then it’s highly likely your customers won’t either.

A ‘reason’ doesn’t need to be complicated. Think about your own buyer behaviour? Simple savings, or exclusivity-based motivators like a % off your first sale, free shipping, or the chance to see new or limited edition collections first — is usually enough, right?

So what are you waiting for?

Pick a simple ‘ethical bribe’, so when your prospects asks themselves this silent question (which they will) “What’s in it for me – WIIFM?”, the copy on your opt-in box makes it obvious. A small discount coupon is always a good jump-off point.

A great reason to opt-in


No reason at all

3. Don’t ask them to do too much

Just like your shopping cart checkout should be simple, easy and self-explanatory, so should your email opt-in process. Think quick, painless, over in 60 seconds or less. Complicating, time consuming and confusing are the enemy of the eCommerce store owner.

However, there is one caveat to that – early stage list segmentation. If you sell a wide range of products, it stands to reason that not every customer is going to be interested in everything you sell.

Having a few segmentation choices baked into your opt-in – for information on specific products or frequency of mailing, can help ensure you’re sending the right message to the right people, at the right time. And at a frequency they are happy with. *THIS* is what separates the email marketing noobs from the pros.

Maybe asking a bit too much?


Asking just enough

4. Don’t leave them wondering whether you got it

Question? How annoying is it to enter your email address, press submit (btw, no one wants to ‘submit’ to your newsletter), and get back a big fat, nothing? Answer: very!

The problem is, you’re not sure whether you need to go to your inbox and click another link to confirm – standard in the IM niche, or, whether you made a silly typo and it didn’t go through at all?

If your viewer is truly interested in being on your list, chances are they will input their email again. But here’s the thing, they’re going to feel a little pang of irritation, and you’ll lose some subconscious brownie points for your brand.

Make sure your opt-in box lets subscribers know their email has been successfully received, which brings me easily to my next point.

5. Have a thank you page. Did I just have to say that in my out-loud voice?

So, you got their email, great! Now you’ll be able to bombard them with sales messages for time immemorial, or until they flag you as spam (whichever comes first). FYI, If you’re thinking like that, you’re doing it wrong.

Being given the gift of your customers email is like getting your secret crush to agree to a first date. It’s a privilege, and now the wooing really starts. Smell good. Don’t be late. Be witty but not arrogant, etc, etc. Basically, don’t muck.it.up!

Have a thank you page. Suggest interesting content on your website they might have missed. Let them know about any current sales or discounts you’re running. This simple thank you page is your opportunity to bring a potential customer deeper into your brands ecosystem, so use it wisely. Don’t just dump them back on the homepage, or worse still, a generic “we’ll be in touch” page, with text so small you can hardly read it. This is amateurville.

Thanks for subscribing page which drives home to brand


Thanks for subscribing page which says anything but!

6. Have a welcome email

I used to think it went without saying that if I gave you my email, I kinda expected a welcome email of some sort. Sadly, after a non-scientific study of a large sample of eCommerce merchants – both big and small – what I discovered is a surprisingly large number failed to optimize this pivotal part of their subscriber funnel.

There were two types of epic fail:

  1. Failing to send any welcome email. Yes, you have my email address and now, radio silence
  2. Their welcome email was boring (yawn), did not answer my question, WIIFM? And did nothing to direct me back to their brands’ product offering, further increasing the chance of an early sale

Don’t forget, your welcome email is your 2nd chance to win back the sale you probably lost when they were giving you their email address, and not their cash. At this stage you need to do three simple things:

  1. Let your customer know they should get used to seeing you round these here parts (their inbox)
  2. Give them an offer they’d find hard to refuse
  3. Get them signed up to your social media profiles. I know, I know… give an inch, take a mile and all that, but this*is* marketing! The goal is..err..to make MONEY
Plumo send out a great welcome email

In Conclusion …

So there you have it. Six steps you can take to optimize and improve your customers email opt-in experience. Do these things, and you’ll be one step further towards getting your target customer to know, trust and like you. And another touch point closer to getting them to put their hands in their wallets and fork over their hard earned…’cos that’s kinda like the point, right?

Tell us what you’re doing to optimize your customers email opt-in experience in the comments.

(Lead image source: mirvettium)