Optimizing Email Capture: 8-point Checklist to Grow Your Email Marketing List by Maximizing the Perceived Value of Opting In
Every action you ask your customers to take has a cost and a value to them. Even “free” actions like subscribing to an email list.
If you want to get more email subscriptions, you have to increase the perceived value of subscribing, while decreasing the perceived cost. You have to look at email as a product your customers would pay to purchase – because they are paying, with their time and inbox real estate.
To give you ideas for increasing that value, here is a handy checklist derived from the lessons in the Email Messaging online certification course taught by MECLABS Institute.
You can click here to download a PDF of the Email Capture Value Force Checklist, and I will walk through the checklist step-by-step in this article.
Email Capture Value Chain
Email capture is the process of getting prospective customers to sign up for, or opt in to, your email list. This is usually through a form, often on a landing page. By engaging in landing page optimization, you can improve the conversion rate of that form.
Every decision you ask prospective customers to make has a perceived value to the customer as well as a perceived cost. The “force” of value or cost is a term designed to discuss the strength of the effect of those elements on the customers’ decision-making process.
Put simply, if the value force is stronger, your customer will take the action you are asking. If the cost force is stronger, your customer will not take the action.
So this checklist will help you maximize the perceived value in the email capture process to help you grow your email list. You also need to minimize the perceived cost of opting in.
1. Does your content focus on an existing desire in the mind of the visitor?
What do your visitors really want? Do the emails you send through your list serve those desires?
If not, you should revisit what content you’re sending to your list.
If so, focus your email opt-in language intensely on how that desire is met by your email list…
2. Is your content specific enough to connect to that desire?
It’s not enough to fill a felt need. Your prospects need to understand clearly how your email content, promotions, etc. fill that felt need.
Here, specificity often helps.
So show examples. Provide specifics about the topics covered.
And realize the specifics that will resonate with one audience may not connect to the desire of another audience. So consider building multiple lists with multiple opt-in processes. Or clearly communicating the multiple options (lists) available within the single opt-in process.
For example, what resonates with a practitioner and a business leader may be very different. If both of those roles are intended groups for your email list, make sure you have specific information that connects to each of their desires.
3. Is there a desire you can fulfill better than competing companies, products or calls to action?
In the appeal stage, if you’ve found ways to meet your prospective email subscribers desires with specific content, that is a good first step.
However, what if there are many other email lists (and other sources of information – social media, newspapers, etc.) that can provide the same information? Other companies. Other products (an app, perhaps). Other calls to action (for example, to simply read a blog post or article instead of subscribing).
It would be difficult to serve customers with commodity information better than media, publishers, and scores of other competition. So what is the unique voice of your email newsletter? What can you do that others can’t? And are you clearly communicating it? Which leads to …
4. Have you integrated specific claims of exclusivity into the content?
Maybe it’s the only place they can get your best coupons or discounts. Maybe your team has the most investment banking in your city. It could be how long you’ve been in business, how much content you create or the non-salesy approach you take to your content.
Give prospects specific reasons why you’re different than their other options, and why they should subscribe to your email newsletter.
For example, I was consulting with a company in the medical industry. They wanted to know how they could possibly compete with the Mayo Clinic. It has so much content and has rightly earned a strong reputation so it’s credibility is very high as well. Why would someone choose their content instead of the Mayo Clinic’s?
The answer we settled on was, that while the Mayo Clinic was great, it essentially only had three locations — Rochester, Scottsdale, and Jacksonville. However, this company had locations all across the country, so its element of exclusivity was the localization it could bring to its content.
5. Does your copy use active verbs and concrete nouns? Are there too many subjective adjectives and adverbs?
It’s the “… most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational …”
That much over-the-top best/incredible/amazing boasting might work for The Muppet Show. But for the average email subscription form or product, most customers react more like a Public Enemy song than the Muppets song — they don’t believe the hype.
Daniel Burstein is the Senior Director, Content and Marketing at MECLABS Institute. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the marketing direction for MECLABS — digging for actionable discoveries while serving as an advocate for the audience.