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Guest contribution from BestVPN

Email is the key to building a scalable business. How many times have you heard or read that phrase from successful marketers? Probably hundreds of times.

Email marketing is cited by top marketers as a great way to drive traffic, nurture leads, and generate sales. When you look at the data, you can can see why. On average, email yields a 4400% ROI – every dollar spent on email marketing results in $44 back.

However, with all this good news comes one fundamental problem: getting someone to opt-in for your email list is tough. On average, a person gets 121 emails every day. People are swamped with offers, coupons, and promotions. It’s becoming harder to convince people to give you their email address when they’re receiving messages from so many sources.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are four proven ways to increase your email opt-in rate and grow your list.

1. Use live chat for lead generation

Almost every site looking to collect emails and grow their list has sidebars with boring, weak calls to action (CTAs) that don’t work. Plus, using the same tactics for decades produces diminishing returns. For example, this is the first ever display/banner ad that was ever produced. It was launched by HotWired in 1994.

Hotwire Click through rate

It debuted with a click-through rate of 78%, which is mind boggling in today’s world, where these types of ads have an average CTR of 0.04%.

That’s why live chat may be a good option. When live chat was first implemented for big brands, it focused on support only. For example, if someone didn’t want to call a hotline or send an email and wait days for a response, they could talk to a live sales rep.

But nowadays, live chat is being used for lead generation, and it’s hugely successful. It’s becoming a vital tool in customer onboarding and lead procurement. Latest data shows that 44% of consumers state that a live sales rep was vital to helping them complete a purchase online.

But that’s not all. Live chat was cited as the communication tool with the highest satisfaction levels. When 52% of people will abandon their cart because they can’t find answers fast, live-chat is the place to be.

And it goes beyond a simple customer service tool. You can easily collect emails for your list in a more natural way than standard web forms. For example, Drift recently stripped their site of forms and used live chat as their sole lead gen tool. When landing on their site, you’re prompted with a live-chat engagement message.

drift-live-chat-lead-gen

According to their data, of the people who clicked on the opening message, 63% became leads on their list.

Similarly, Directive Consulting is using the same strategy, engaging potential clients the moment they land on-site.

directive-consulting-chat-leads

This works to (1) qualify potential leads instantly and (2) capture emails for their list in a natural, conversational format.

2. Employ exit intent popups (they still work)

Exit intent boxes are a pop-up style function that appear once the user moves to close a current window. For example, if you landed on a site, browsed a few pages and then moved your cursor to close the tab, the website would initiate a pop-up to entice you to stick around.

Unlike light boxes or instant popups when you first land on-site, they are only shown when users are about to leave, lowering the risk of annoying them while also giving you one last shot at driving a sign-up. Since users are about to exit your site, there is virtually no downside.

For exit-intent popups, keep them simple like Search Engine Journal does. Leveraging social proof (“Join 23,857 marketers and counting”), Search Engine Journal entices users to download a free ebook of valuable content for a simple email exchange.

search-enginge-journal-exit-intent-popup

3. Create better CTA offers

Nobody wants another email jamming up their already cluttered and disorganized inbox, which means the cost of entry is higher for you. You have to convince someone to get over a huge pain point that you are potentially causing. That means your offer better be incredible.

Your button copy and value proposition have to be on-point if you want higher conversion rates. Instead of the typical call to action buttons like “subscribe” can turn people off, killing any conversion momentum you had.

Convince them that they can’t leave without getting this deal. That giving you their email is a no-brainer based on the value they receive in return. Birchbox uses a lightbox to draw attention to their email sign-up form, and tells site visitors what they’ll get when they do.

birchbox-lightbox-email-signup

To do this, make sure that your button copy and value proposition answer this critical question: What is the most important, direct benefit that a user will get from clicking? For example, will they: boost rankings by six spots. Increase email open rates by 32%. Check out how ContentVerve inspired signups using these ideas.

contentverve-lead-magnet

You should always be testing your CTA copy to see what offers resonate with your leads.

4. Run Facebook lead ads to engaged social users

Chances are, you’ve generated quite a bit of traffic on social media. Many businesses use Facebook Ads as a huge driver of awareness. It’s your job to capitalize on those ads, and combine your efforts with email.

Even if you don’t have any traffic on your Facebook page, using lookalike audiences, you can target customers who share similar interests as your current customers, giving you a shot at reaching new targets and collecting tons of leads.

You can use ads to capture email addresses. For example, check out this Facebook Lead Ad from The Skimm.

the-skimm-facebook-lead-ad

Just recently, Ladder.io used the same tactic, implementing lead-based ads to collect emails for their list. Using Lead Ads, they decreased their average cost per email acquisition by 80%.

ladder-facebook-ads

To get started, create a new campaign on the Facebook Ads Manager and select “Lead generation” as your primary objective.

Wrap up

Email is a key driver of sales for tons of businesses worldwide. It provides a massive ROI when compared to other marketing tactics. But none of that matters if you can’t get people on your email list. And nowadays, people get hundreds of emails each day just at work, let alone promotional content from companies.

It’s becoming harder and harder to convince someone to give you their email. Instead of using age-old tactics like a CTA sidebar, try re-inventing the wheel by using some of the tactics outlined here.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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