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Ideas for Using Email Opt-In Forms to Grow Your Own List Now

86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily. (Statista, 2015 Source:

People are interested in you or your products and services. They want to know more. So give them what they want.

What is an Email Opt-In Used for?

Using an email opt-in form, ask your potential clients to sign up to receive something from you. That something can be the latest news about your company or some other free content that’s of value to them.

What content do I send?

Think creatively. What might a potential client want to know? What kind of problems do they have? What type of problems have you solved? What are industry resources available to share?

Is it helpful? That’s what you need to verify before sending out to your list. The content you share should answer a question, help solve a problem, or help them get closer to achieving a goal. Otherwise, you shouldn’t being sharing it.

What do I send content in the first place?

This allows your potential customers to take some time to get to know you. It’s a low-stress way to be informed about your company without a lot of sales hype.

Let’s take a look at one business intelligence company called They provide a number of reports and ebooks for the exchange of a few pieces of information from the potential customer.




But special reports and ebooks are not the only thing you can give away.  Remember 86% of consumers want to hear from you.

You might consider a newsletter sign up to provide latest updates on your company and send helpful how-to tips.

Running a contest or an actual giveaway is another reason to use an email opt-in form.

Email opt-in forms can be used in a variety of ways. Don’t limit yourself to one type only. Mix it up and try several types to see what works for your audience.

What resources can you package and give away free through an email opt-in? Do you have a series of helpful How To tips? Do you have an ebook to share? Do you have White Papers or Special Reports?

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source:

If you find yourself including the 61% of B2B marketers who don’t have the resources for this, contact me today at to help identify and/or create resources for your target audience.


Why Video Makes Sense for Your Website Today

There are many ways to communicate. The written word is one way. Visual media such as videos coupled with sound is another very effective way to communicate.

Why Use Video?

From 75% of executives who told Forbes that they watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. The results breakdown:

  • 50% watch business-related videos on YouTube
  • 65% visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video and according to Invodo 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others.

Does Video Convert?

MarketingProfs say 70% of marketing professionals report video converts better than any other medium.

ReelSEO says Homepage videos are shown to increase conversion rates by 20% or more.

Unbounce says using video on a landing page can increase conversion rate by up to 80%.

As you probably can tell from the statistics shared above, video is an important element to add to your site.

How Do I Use Video on My Website?

Let’s look at three business intelligence companies who use video on their uses videos everywhere on their site.

FIGURE 1 DATAWATCH.COM utilizes video very effectively too.


Panorama does a good job with offering plenty of videos.


What about your business?

Do you have videos on how your product works?

Do you have how-to videos to increase awareness about your product or service?

Start using these videos effectively on your website.

Need help writing a script for a video? Contact me at to get started today.

Catch Customer’s Attention By Solving Their Problem Now

There are many forms of lead generation tactics: newsletter, special reports, blog posts, articles, webinars, videos, case studies, white papers, and more.
Although, one tactic stands out – White Papers.

Why Use a White Paper?

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016 Source:

And because White Papers have a dual purpose. On one hand, they offer helpful information on a particular topic. On the other hand, White Papers help position you as an expert in your field. This builds creditability and trust among your potential clients.

What is a White Paper?

A White Paper is a type of a report. It’s written as an educational piece. Typically describing a particular problem in a specific industry. It describes how people have tried to solve that problem and failed. It also shows how the problem is finally solved, along with a subtle mention of a specific product that solved the problem.

When is a White Paper Used?

At the top of the sales funnel you find lead generation pieces to get people into the sales funnel. Once a prospect has entered your sales funnel, you will nurture them with content. This allows you to overcome any obstacles preventing a future sale.
This middle portion of the sales cycle is where we help a potential client get to know your company has the potential for solving their problems.

What is Gated Content?

When content within a White Paper is highly valuable, it should never be shared for free. This is called gated content because one must pass through the gate of an “Opt-In” to receive the information requested.

The content shared in the White Paper should be so compelling your potential client has no qualms about entering their name and email address to get this content.

Let’s a take a look at a couple business intelligence companies to see how they use White Papers in their marketing strategies. has multiple White Paper opt-ins throughout their site. Below you’ll see one specific to Qlik Sense Architectural Overview.

Panorama is bucking the industry norm by giving away their White Papers with no email opt-in. While this may be helpful for the customers, this is definitely not best practice. Panorama is losing valuable marketing opportunity here.

What topics in your industry would make a useful White Paper? What problems does your product or service solve? Can you write a compelling White Paper to convey how to solve that problem?

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source:

If you’d like help with White Papers, contact me to get started on your own White Paper.

Customer-Driven Marketing

In today’s rapid-paced, highly competitive landscape, and uncertain economic conditions, dollars are tight.  When we launch an expensive marketing program we need to know it will address the customers’ real needs.  Because if the programs don’t address the real needs, we won’t achieve the kind of return on investment we’re hoping for.   Spending that kind of money without some kind of guarantee of attracting customers is a poor business decision.

So how can we be sure our programs meet the customers’ needs?  One way is by integrating customer feedback into program design.

Step 1: Start with the customer.

Find out what customers need.  How? Ask them.   There are many methods of obtaining information from the customer. Depending on your budget you may opt to implement more than one of the following methods: face to face conversations, telephone calls, email communications, surveys, focus groups, advisory councils, social networking, blogging, etc.  In fact, the more methods you deploy the greater chance for success.

Step 2: Ask the right questions.

Begin by asking for honest feedback about what they like and don’t like about doing business with you.  Customers value a company who asks for their opinion. Move to questions around what their expectations are.   Ask specifically what is it about your company or product or employees that make the customer buy your products.

Step 3: Don’t stop asking.

Every interaction with a customer should reveal a little more about what’s important to the customer.  Track your conversations by logging customer interactions in a database.  If you’re not learning more about your customer with every conversation, you’re losing valuable insight to use to strengthen your relationships.

Step 4: Anticipate the basics.

There are basic needs which are global in nature.  For example, every customer wants more for less.  Don’t wait for the customer to tell you they want better price.  That’s a given.   Think like the customer. Give them what they want, when it makes good financial sense to do so.

Step 5: Read between the lines.

Once you have gathered customer needs data, begin to analyze it.  Look for ways to improve on what they are asking for.  Customers can only envision what’s available today.  It’s our job to provide more so customers are compelled to try us over the competition.  If a customer asked for a specific color for your product, perhaps offering a variety of colors would be a delighter because a person’s tastes or style may change over time.  Having the flexibility of color might interest them in your product.  Look for ways to give the customers more than they asked for.  It shows you value the customer and want what’s best for them.

Step 6: Prioritize Program Elements

Rank the program elements to ensure program elements address as many customer needs as possible.  Elements offered as delighters will rank high too.  As you assess which elements to implement, prioritize the items directly linking back to a specific customer need and/or a delighter for the customer.  These are the items that will compel customers to buy.  Therefore, put your resources where they bring the biggest bang for the buck.  If you have a great idea for the program but it doesn’t address a current need or delighter for the customer, hold off.  Save it for another program at a later date.  In this way dollars are spent on items we are confident have a direct impact to customer.

So you want to capture customer mindshare? Build your marketing programs with customer needs in mind.  Be selective about the marketing elements you include.  Choose elements directly impact or satisfy the customer’s need.  Then build a marketing story around how you listen to your customer and designed the program specifically for them.   Nothing says you care more than following through with action based on something the customer told you previously.

What Web Metrics Should You Measure? By Robert W. Bly


             I may be wrong. I frequently am. But there are three Web metrics people seem overly concerned with that I just don’t worry about.

3 Web Metrics to Forget About

1. The first is open rates. Since both my e-zine and e-mail marketing messages are text, I can’t measure open rates.

I could convert my text e-mails to text in an HTML shell, which would enable me to track open rates. But why? As long as an e-mail is profitable, generating a lot of sales, what do I care how many people opened it? After all, in direct mail, we only know how many people responded by returning the order form with payment. We have no idea how many people opened the envelope or whether they read the contents.

2. The second metric I don’t care about is page views: what pages of my Web site are visited most, how many minutes the average visitor spent on each page, which pages people returned to, and so on.

Again, my concern is whether the Web page can convince visitors to order the product … or if they don’t order, at least get them to give me their e-mail address and opt into my list.

3. The third thing I don’t care about is complaints. A reader recently asked me, “How many complaints do you get from AOL users?” Why would I track AOL users separately from the rest of my list?

Look. I don’t like complaints. If someone doesn’t like an e-mail I sent them, I take it seriously and respond thoughtfully and politely. But it doesn’t keep me up at night. Just as they can change the channel if they don’t like what they hear on the radio, they can opt out of my list if they don’t like my content – and they should.

Okay. So what Web metrics do I, as a small-time operator and Internet entrepreneur, really care about?

5 Web Metrics to Focus On

There are five I watch like a hawk. More than that, I live and die by them. If the numbers are good, I have a smile on my face all week. If they plummet, it’s like a black cloud over my head.

Here are the metrics I monitor:

  1. Click-through rates (CTR). When I send an e-mail to my subscriber list, how many of the people on the list click on the URL link to the landing page? We measure total clicks, unique visits to the landing page, and the CTR, which is a percentage: if 800 people on my list of 40,000 click-through, that’s a 2% CTR.

With e-mail marketing messages sent to your house e-list, CTR can range from 1% or 2% on the low end, to 10% or even 15% on the high end. These CTRs are for e-mails selling a product, not e-mails inviting the reader to get a free white paper or other free offer.

  1. Conversion rates. Conversion means converting people who visit your landing page into buyers. If you generate 1,000 clicks to your landing page, and 100 of those people place an order, your conversion rate is 10%.

Conversion rates can range from 1% or 2% on the low end, to 10% or more on the high end. Inexpensive products generally have higher conversion rates, while an e-mail promoting a big-ticket item can be profitable even with a conversion rate below 1%.

Combined, the click-through and conversion rates determine how many units you sell. For instance, if you get a 3% CTR on a list of 40,000, you get 1,200 clicks to your landing page. If your conversion rate is 5%, the e-mail generates 60 orders.

  1. Gross sales. This is the number of orders generated by the e-mail multiplied by the selling price of the product. On the above example, 60 orders for a $29 e-book generate gross revenues of only $1,740. But for a $249 product, 60 orders produce total sales of $14,940. In my little Internet business, the former would send me into a deep funk, while the latter would have me popping the champagne cork.
  2. Opt-out rates. Every time you e-mail to your list, a certain small number of subscribers decide to opt-out or “unsubscribe” from your e-list. That’s a bad thing, because unless you do something to generate new subscribers, your list will gradually dwindle to nothing.

What is an acceptable opt-out rate? My average e-mail to my list of 40,000 causes about 20 people to unsubscribe, which translates into an opt-out rate of 0.05% — half of one-tenth of a percent. I think you can live with an opt-out rate of 0.1% per e-mail, but more than that, and your list will shrink too rapidly.

  1. Dollars per name. Dollars per name is the dollar value of each name on your list – the amount of revenue per name. If you make $200,000 a year in online sales from your subscriber list, and you have 40,000 subscribers, your dollar value is $5 per name per year.

Why is this important? Because the various methods of building your e-list – pay-per-click advertising, co-registration, banner advertising – all cost money. So your dollars per name tells you how much money you can afford to spend to acquire new names for your e-list.

For example, if your dollars per name is $5, you certainly can afford to pay $1 to add new names to your e-list: on average, you’ll earn five times your investment within one year.

Say you use pay-per-click advertising to drive people to a landing page where you offer a free report as an enticement to opt into your e-list, and half of the people who visit the page accept the free offer and subscribe. You can therefore afford to bid up to 50 cents a click, since it takes two clicks – costing a dollar – to get one sign-up.

Now, general advertisers, brand marketers, and b-2-b marketers generating leads rather than direct sales may care about many other metrics, including open rates and page views. But for the direct marketer selling a product online, the five metrics listed above – click-through rate, conversion rate, sales, opt-out rate, and dollars per name – are the most important metrics you can track.

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter

5 ways to capture e-mail addresses of landing page visitors By Robert W. Bly

Most Internet marketers I know who use landing pages to make direct sales online focus on conversion: getting the maximum number of visitors to the landing page to place an order for the product being advertised.

Other Internet marketers, when writing landing page copy, focus not only on conversion, but also on search engine optimization: keyword selection and meta tag creation that can increase traffic by raising the site’s search engine rankings.

But in addition to conversions and unique visits, savvy Internet marketers are also concerned with a third performance metric: e-mail address capture.

If you have a two percent conversion rate, then for every 100 visitors to the landing page, only 2 buy – and of course, during these transactions, you capture the e-mail addresses of those buyers.

What happens to the other 98 visitors — those who do not buy? You will not be able to add their e-mail address to your list unless you incorporate a deliberate methodology into your landing page to capture it.

Here are four different methodologies for capturing the e-mail addresses of landing page visitors who do not purchase. Every landing page you operate should use at least one of these methods:

  • E-zine sign-up box.

This is a box where the visitor can get a free e-newsletter subscription just by entering his name and e-mail address. You can see an example of a simple e-zine sign-up box at and countless other Web sites.

The e-zine sign-up box placed prominently on the first screen is a widely used method of e-mail capture for Web sites. But it is less commonly used for micro-sites and landing pages.

The reason is that, if your headline and lead properly engage the reader’s attention, he won’t bother to sign up for the e-newsletter – instead, he’ll start reading.

Then, if he loses interest or reaches the end but does not order, and instead clicks away, you haven’t captured his e-mail address.

  • Squeeze pages.

Also known as preview pages, these are short landing pages that require the visitor to register – by giving his name and e-mail address – before he is allowed to go on and read the long-copy landing page. To see a squeeze page at work, visit:

In some cases, the long-copy landing page itself is positioned as a “report” which the visitor can read only if he submits his name and e-mail address first. For this to work, your landing page should be written in an informative, educational style.

Many squeeze pages offer a content premium, such as a free report, just for submitting your e-mail address. Those seeking to capture snail mail as well as e-mail addresses make the premium a physical object that must be shipped, such as a free CD.

Squeeze pages work well when your primary source of traffic is organic and paid search. Reason: search visitors clicking to your site are only mildly qualified, because they are making a decision to visit based on only a few words in a search engine description or paid Google ad.

Therefore, they may not be inclined to read long copy from a source they are not familiar with. A squeeze page lets them absorb the gist of your proposition in a few concise paragraphs.    The main advantage of the squeeze page is that it ensures capture of an e-mail address from every visitor who reads the full landing page. In addition, these prospects have been pre-qualified, in terms of their interest in the subject, and so are more likely to stick with long copy.

  • E-mail capture sidebars.

These are forms built into the main landing page as sidebars, again making a free offer. In a long-copy landing page, the e-mail capture sidebar usually appears early, typically in the second or third screen, and may be repeated one or more times throughout the page. Example:

The drawback of the e-mail capture sidebar is that the prospect sees it before he gets too far in the sales letter, and therefore before you’ve sold him and ask for the order.

Therefore, the risk is that if your product teaches, say, how to speak French, and the e-mail capture sidebar offers free French lessons, the visitor will just take the free offer and feel no need to spend money on the paid offer.

  • Pop-under.

When you attempt to click away from the landing page without making a purchase, a window appears that says something like, “Wait! Don’t leave yet!” – and makes a free offer. To see how this works, go to one of my sites,

The big advantage of the pop-under is that the visitor sees it only after he has read to the point where he is leaving without ordering. Therefore, the free content offer doesn’t compete with or distract visitors from the paid product offer.

The disadvantage is that about half of Internet users run pop-up blockers on their PCs, and these blockers will prevent your pop-under from showing.

  1. Floaters. A floater looks and functions much like a pop-up window, but it’s actually part of the landing page’s HTML code, and therefore, won’t be blocked by a pop-up blocker. You can see a floater at

The floater blocks a portion of the landing page when you click onto the site. You can enter your e-mail or click it away without doing so. Either action removes the floater and allows you to see the complete landing page.

As you can see, all of these e-mail capture methods offer some sort of free content – typically a downloadable PDF report, e-course delivered via auto-responder, or e-zine subscription – in exchange for your e-mail address.

Why bother to maximize capture of visitor e-mail addresses on your landing pages and other Web sites?

There are two primary benefits. First, by sending an online conversion series – a sequence of e-mails delivered by auto-responder – to these visitors, you have another opportunity to convince them to buy and increase your overall conversion rate.

Second, the best names for your e-mail marketing efforts, far better than rented opt-in lists, are in your house e-list. So the faster you can build a large e-list, the more profitable your Internet marketing ventures will become.

How much more profitable? Internet marketing expert Fred Gleeck estimates that, for information product marketers, each name on your e-list is worth between ten cents and a dollar or more per name per month.

Therefore, a 50,000-name e-list could generate annual online revenues of $600,000 a year or higher. In other businesses, the sales could be significantly higher. Hewlett-Packard has 4.5 million e-zine subscribers, from whom they generate $60 million in monthly sales.*

* B-to-B, 4/4/05.

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter.

The 3 Most Important Things I’ve Learned About Writing E-Mail Marketing Copy By Robert W. Bly

             In this column, I want to share with you the three most important things I’ve learned about writing winning e-mail marketing campaigns.

1. Reference Current Events

The first is: when your e-mail copy makes reference to what’s going on in the news the same week – or even better, the same day – you distribute it, your response rates soar.

Financial publishers were probably the first to discover this: e-mail messages that reflect what’s going on in the market on the day they are distributed – for instance, “gold hits $700 per ounce … should you sell or buy more?” – pull much better than generic promotional e-mails or those with evergreen content.

Example: the publisher of a financial newsletter boosted subscriptions by referencing the Martha Stewart case during her trial. Headline: “Stay one step ahead of the stock market, just like Martha Stewart … but without her legal liability.” The HTML e-mail even included a color photo of Martha looking contrite on the courthouse steps – an image the reader probably saw daily on TV and in the newspapers, and which therefore immediately attracted his eye.

The idea of including news in your copy is not new. But e-mail marketing makes it easier to more precisely coordinate and time your e-mail messages with current events and developments.

Of course, it is easier to tie in with news and current events for some products than others. A company that sells aluminum siding to homeowners might find it more difficult to link their e-mail copy to Bush’s latest speech than a company promoting penny stocks.

But it’s not impossible. And anytime your e-mail can reflect news or trends, readership and response are likely to soar.

2. Give Away Content in Email Itself

My second tip for writing winning e-mail messages: giving away content in the e-mail itself is, contrary to what you might expect, a way to strengthen copy and results.

I say “contrary to what you might expect” because, you might reason, “If I give the information away in the e-mail, the reader’s curiosity is satisfied, and he does not have to click through to find the answers he is looking for.”

The trick is to give “partial content” – as a sample of the kind of help your product, service, or firm offers.

Ideally, this could be something as quick as a simple how-to tip embedded in the e-mail copy. Then, you promise many more useful tips and advice when the reader clicks through.

This works for two reasons. First, people are trained on the Internet to expect free content, so this technique fulfills their expectation.

Second, including actual content in your e-mail marketing – and not just teasing the reader with promises to provide valuable content when they respond – demonstrates your expertise and knowledge right then and there in the e-mail. The reader is quickly convinced that you know what you are talking about — and therefore, may be a resource he wants to know better.

3. Be Consistent

My third tip for writing winning e-mail messages: open rates and click-through rates both increase when your e-mail marketing messages match – in look, content, tone, and style — the other e-mails prospects get from you or the list owner on a regular basis.

For instance, if your e-mail is going to an opt-in list of subscribers to a text e-newsletter, your response will be better if you send a text e-mail rather than an HTML. If people on your list are used to extremely short e-mail messages, a long-copy e-mail blast probably won’t work as well as a short teaser e-mail linked to a landing page where they can read the rest of your message.

Take a look at past e-mail promotions to the list that worked as well as issues of e-newsletters these readers receive. If they all contain graphs … or technical information … or pictures of pets … or news … or a pithy how-to tip … or survey results … then your e-mail probably should, too.

Reason: people on a given list are “trained” to accept e-mails with a similar look and feel to the ones they get regularly. When your e-mail matches their expectations, they believe it’s something they read regularly and open it. When your e-mail looks wildly different, they view it as spam and delete.

This is contrary to the creative approach Madison Avenue favors in print advertising, which is to make their ads look different from all others the reader has seen.

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter