6 Opt-Ins and Bribes to get 1,000 Subscribers in 30 Days
Now you have your autoresponder and your domain/host, you have the raw tools you need to start creating your strategy. At the moment though it’s all empty of course, so there’s a long way to go yet! In this next chapter then, we’re going to look at how to start creating your opt-ins and using bribes and products to get people to sign up…
The opt-in is what you call the form that comes up and that invites people to sign up.
This is the gateway where you will be collecting your e-mail addresses and so you want it to look professional and inviting.
The good news is that these are easy to create seeing as Aweber, MailChimp and GetResponse all have the tools built right in. Just sign in to your account and somewhere you should find a designer that lets you create your opt-in forms. This will let you pick your color scheme, the text and the layout and it will also let you arrange the URL where your visitors will be sent once they’ve signed up etc. After you’ve created an opt-in form you’re happy with, you can then just grab the code and paste it onto your site.
More good news is that you can create as many opt-ins as you want. That means that you can have ten different forms all in different styles to sit on different pages of your site.
Types of Bribes
Add an opt-in form to a blank page and send a thousand people there and you might get a couple of people signing up. If you have text on the page and if you have a good website behind it, then you’ll get a lot more (we’ll get to that).
But another easy way to drastically increase your conversions is through some form of bribe or incentive. This is a ‘free giveaway’ that will hopefully offer value to your readers and that will encourage them to want to sign up. Either the free giveaway will give them that added incentive when they were already considering signing up (which is the best scenario) or it might even be that they sign up purely to get what you’re offering.
Here, the former situation is actually best. The reason for this is that you want your visitors to want to sign up to your mailing list. It’s actually better to have a mailing list with 5 people on it who are your biggest fans than it is to have 200 freeloaders who just wanted a free book. When you offer your incentive then, make sure that it’s relevant to your industry or niche and make sure that the value is more likely to ‘nudge’ them rather than force them.
So what kind of incentives can you give away? Read on and we’ll take a look at a few of the most popular choices…
Many people are willing to pay for ebooks which right away makes this a fantastic choice of giveaway. Ebooks are completely free for you to produce and there are no delivery costs – meaning that you can give away as many as you want and not lose out or cost yourself tons in overheads.
At the same time though, ebooks are great at delivering value and this means that people are going to want to sign up. Make sure that your ebook is really tantalizing and that it offers a clear ‘value proposition’. In other words; how is your ebook going to make your readers’ lives better?
Bear in mind though that there’s a good chance you’re later going to be using your mailing list to sell ebooks. In other words, you need to make sure the ebook is really good so that it sets a good precedent and makes your list eager for more of your books.
This can be a good or bad thing depending on how you handle it: if the ebook is terrible then there’s no chance anyone will want to buy more from you. And if the ebook is good but free then they might feel loathe to pay for the next one (as you’ve taught them ebooks shouldn’t cost anything). On the other hand though, if you give away a snippet of an ebook or part one in a series, then this can be a great ‘taster’ to wet their appetite. Remember: the first hit is always free!
If you’re not going to be selling an ebook later, then this is not so much of an issue.
What if you can’t write an ebook because you don’t have the time or maybe the skill? Don’t worry – in that case you can opt to outsource the process. This just means hiring a writer and paying them to write it for you – which can be surprisingly affordable. Otherwise, you could make an ebook using raw materials from a blog or a website that you’re already running (very few visitors will have read all your blog posts!). Alternatively, you might be able to find a free ebook with the rights to sell, or to buy one ready-made. Look for ‘PLR’ which means ‘Private Label Rights’.
2. Free Reports
A free report is an alternative to an ebook which sidesteps some of the potential issues associated with them. Free reports tend to be much shorter than ebooks – possible a few pages – but they have the big advantage of containing something that is highly valuable to the reader.
This might be a ‘secret technique’ for losing weight or making money, it might be a survey of customers in a certain niche or it could be anything else that generally offers a lot of value quickly and in one place.
Free reports are great because they have a clear value proposition again and because they don’t undermine your attempts at selling e-books later on. They are also much quicker and easier to make, though they inherently don’t appear to offer quite the same value as a full book.
Sometimes just offering membership can be enough incentive. If people love your site or business then you can offer them the opportunity to sign up for your ‘exclusive insiders’ club’ or your ‘VIP program’. Even if you don’t have anything clear to offer, this can still often be a great strategy that’s highly effective, simply because people love being members of things – especially when it’s exclusive and makes them feel important.
This is a particularly good strategy too as it will make people feel like they’re a part of something bigger. This in turn is excellent for getting them interested and involved in what you’re doing and it increases their likelihood of reading your e-mails and buying your products. Why would you become a VIP member and then not read the emails?
Another strategy is to run a competition. Enter all your subscribers into a prize draw for a product every month and announce the winners via e-mails. This is a good strategy because it costs you nothing and because it ensures your readers will be looking out for your messages incase they’ve won. On the downside, it does again encourage the kind of subscriber who perhaps wouldn’t be interested in actually paying for anything. And what’s more, it doesn’t engage them with your content. This type of free gift will work best if you’re selling affiliate products for commission and if you’ll be offering lots of different ‘deals’ down the line.
5. Deals and Offers
Another option that is ideal for the above type of situation is to provide information about big offers and deals. This is again a good strategy if that’s the kind of things you’re going to be selling in future for commission and it also doesn’t cost anything. It’s not so good though if you’re hoping to sell your own informational products. Take a look at Groupon as an example. They provide daily deals straight to your inbox.
6. The E-Mails!
Finally, the best case scenario is to get your e-mails to sell themselves. Think of your messages as products in their own right by ensuring that they offer clear value to your audience and that they have a real selling point.
How do you get an email to sell itself? You promise to provide your audience with amazing exclusive information and offers, you do an e-mail course and teach them valuable secrets and techniques, or you make the e-mails glossy and well-presented with big production values like ezines so that they’re actually much more than just ‘messages’. This way your audience will be excited to see your emails and they’ll be willing to sign up without any additional ‘incentive’. This is the ideal scenario, though it is not always as easy as you would hope of course.
Placing Your Opt-In
Once you have your opt-in form and your incentive/bribe to get people to sign up, you need to start thinking about where you’re going to put it and how you’re going to get people to see it. One option is to put it on a landing page which we’ll look at in the next chapter. Another is to place it on your existing website if you have one, in which case it can live on the home page, at the bottom of each post or in the sidebar as a widget.
Otherwise though, you can also try using a pop-over box, also called lightboxes. These are boxes that appear over the top of the page as you’re reading and which dark out all the rest of the content. They’re perfect because they leap right up in your visitors’ faces and tell them why they should be signing up. Of course they can be frustrating but most experts say that the pros drastically outweigh the cons and that it’s very much worth signing up as a result.
You can get lightboxes from sumome at (https://wordpress.org/plugins/sumome/). When using them though, make sure that they don’t pop up right away and ensure that the cross to exit is nice and large – this is especially important for mobile users who can sometimes end up stuck with no way to interact with the page unless they leave. Not good for business!