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How Effective is Your Opt-In Form?

Opt In Form. My opt-in list has never grown all that quickly. For most of the time I’ve had an opt-in form on my site I’ve been getting up to 6 a day, or thereabouts. No more than that.

And my list was not all that responsive either.

There are lots of factors that contribute to this, including the offers I make, the number of times I email, the content of my emails and so on. I understand all that.

But one interesting factor came out of a recent experiment I set up – and which is still running:

It’s increased my submissions to displays ratio by a factor of 10.

The trigger for the experiment came out of a thread I read a while ago in the Third Tribe forums which, in turn, had been prompted by a Google slap on squeeze pages.

The question was whether or not it was still possible (in light of this slap) to use Adwords to drive visitors to a page where the purpose was to get them to opt in to your list.

According to Google Webmaster Tools, the first reason pages are given a low quality score (in Adwords) is because they’re there to “…offer free items, etc., in order to collect private information”. Squeeze pages.

Despite this, a number of the answers asserted that it was still possible to use Adwords for this, provided you made clear commitments about the subscriber’s ability to unsubscribe, the promise of safe-keeping their details and so on.

Well, one of my pages was hit by that slap and, despite following the advice in that thread, it was never forgiven.

So I decided to change tactics.

Instead of having the opt-in form on the landing page, I re-wrote the landing page and moved the opt-in form to a new page, with links through from the Landing Page.

And a couple of things happened:

  1. My landing page has still not been forgiven (but it’s true that I haven’t asked for a review)
  2. Natural search traffic to my landing page started to rise (albeit slowly)

And I noticed one other thing:

In my Aweber statistics the ratio of submissions to displays (the number of times people opt-in as a ratio of the total number of times the form is displaid) climbed dramatically – from less that 2% (with the exception of my light-box form) to more than 20%.

True, the hard numbers are still low but, so far, I’m getting more responsiveness from my list, too.

Intrigued by this I decided to change tactics on this site as well.

So I created a new page on which I wrote some copy persuading people why it would be a good thing to opt-in, and also making those very clear commitments that were referred to in the thread on Third Tribe.

When the page was ready I removed the opt-in form from the sidebars of this site and placed it in the new page.

And the same results are beginning to show up.

Here’s a screenshot of the statistics page from Aweber, showing the relative performance of the different ways I’ve displayed my opt-in forms:

Aweber Webform Statistics

The Two Bottom Forms are Part of my Experiment

As you’ll see from the figures, it’s still very early days. Nonetheless, the results so far are startling – even putting the performance of the light-box into the shade.

But the key benefit I’ve noticed so far (apart from the much improved submissions to displays ratio) is that I’m starting to get more interaction from my list. Not a lot as yet, but a noticeable increase.

And that’s a good thing. Marketing to a responsive list is far more effective than marketing to a non-responsive one.

I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Cheers,

Martin Malden

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard 28 January, 2011, 7:13 am

    I have PHPList & Mailchimp experience but have been more drawn to the liles of Aweber & GetResponse due to their AutoResponder functionality.. Do you have an AR series of emails setup?

    • Martin 28 January, 2011, 5:09 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Yes – each of my lists has an AR sequence,

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Vincent Parker 5 March, 2011, 8:32 am

    Hi Martin,

    That is very, very interesting. I had known about AdWords but the fact that your conversion rate and the responsiveness of your list grew (and grew so much) simply by taking your opt in form out of your sidebar and put it on another page is really surprising.

    But, it actually shouldn’t be given my OWN reaction to your new opt in form.

    Thank you very much for sharing. Since this is actually my first visit to your blog (I do believe) I’ll have to dig about and read up on your updates.

    Vincent Parker

    • Martin 6 March, 2011, 7:28 am

      Hi Vincent,

      Glad you found it useful.

      Yes – I’ve been reading in a few places (CopyBlogger for one) about the need now to pre-sell whatever enticement you’re offering to opt-ins – even when the enticements are free.

      So I think of my opt in page now as a landing page and work on it as such – reviewing and optimising it on a regular basis.

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Steve Faber 18 March, 2011, 9:24 pm

    Martin,

    I did almost the exact same thing on one of my blogs (not the one in my sig here), albeit for different reasons. I was just trying to see if it would impact my sign up percentage to have a squeeze page on my site, rather than an opt-in on every page. It has worked out very well, and I’ve even managed to get it ranked on page 3 of Google with a minimum of effort. I haven’t used any PPC to drive traffic to it however, so I can’t tell you about any effects on that.

    Thanks,
    Steve

    • Martin 18 March, 2011, 10:47 pm

      Steve, hi,

      Hey – good news – well done!

      Delighted you got a great result 🙂

      Cheers,

      Martin.