When it comes to making the most of your business website, too often the main focus is on how it looks and whether or not it has the latest design trends incorporated. Yes, the design is important to ensure the website reflects your brand and personality, however it’s not the be all and end all when it comes to converting visitors into customers.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only way to get more out of your website is to spend a bunch of money redesigning, ensuring you’re up to date with whatever the latest “hot new thing” in the marketing world is and adding a host of new modules or plug-ins to integrate with Facebook, Twitter and whatnot.
But the reality is, there’s a simple way…
If it’s not about the design, what’s this “simple way” to improve ROI?
Well, I can tell you what it isn’t…
It isn’t some newfangled plugin that attempts to convince your visitors they’re talking to a human being when in actual fact they’re chatting with some sub-par autoresponder that ultimately leads to disappointment.
It isn’t adding a ton of videos and “cool stuff” to make your website more attractive to people with short attention spans (although if that’s your demographic, then by all means add another SQUIRREL! to get their attention).
It definitely isn’t an integration with [insert social network here] to allow people to share your content with their friends, not that these aren’t a good idea, but you have little control over the outcome or where your content ends up.
So, what does that leave us with?
The humble opt-in form, that’s what!
Surely everyone is doing this all ready, I hear you say… in reality that is far from the truth.
I come across websites every day that are not attempting to collect any visitor information or entice them to provide their email address with an “impossible to resist offer”. And while there are some businesses that do this well, it seems to me that there are so many others who aren’t, that I just had to write this article to discuss it.
With most people leaving your site without making a purchase, those visitors are in all likelihood lost (unless of course you are re-targeting, but that’s a whole other article), meaning the effort you put into getting them there in the first place has gone to waste.
And with advertising and other marketing costs eating into profits, shouldn’t you be doing everything you can to maximise the impact they have on your bottom line?
But what if I’m not building a list?
Well, the first thing I’d ask is… Why not?
If you’re in the business of selling something to customers, then creating a list of people who have expressed an interest in your product or service, and then continuing to communicate with them about said product or service, seems like a good idea to me… but don’t just take my word for that.
Campaign Monitor produced a report, summarising their 2016, including the following email marketing stats:
- $44 ROI for every dollar spent, compared with $38 in 2015.
- Mail on mobile continued to grow, and grow. In 2016, open rates reached 68%
- 320% more revenue generated with automated emails
- 174% more conversions generated by email marketing than social media
There are also some further statistics, collated by Campaign Monitor here:
So you can see there are some compelling reasons to be using email marketing as a part of your overall digital marketing strategy, and while social media and other types of marketing are also a part of that strategy, the statistics suggest that email marketing continues to perform extremely well, even if it’s not the newest tactic.
So, you really should be building a list of your own!
Sidebar: Email Marketing Services
If you are interested in starting to build your own list, then there are a range of suppliers who can provide you with email marketing services, the key being to choose the one that works best for you. If you already use customer relationship management software, check to see if it has email marketing built in (especially if you’re using a SaaS).
If they don’t provide this functionality, check to see if they integrate with any well known email marketing services e.g. Mailchimp integrates with a number of software platforms. If they do integrate with a particular provider this can be a massive time saver, as the process of transferring your customers details will be smoother.
If neither of these scenarios exist, then you’ll need to do your research and consider how you are likely to use email as a marketing tool within your business. It could simply be as a method to send one off emails every now and again, or to send a series of emails once the customer signs up for your product/service, or you could be interested in automation features like cart abandonment and other re-targeting.
Find a service that offers a free account option and sign up, as this will give you an opportunity to get to grips with the product and learn more about what it can offer. If you’re not interested in doing this yourself, then feel free to get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.
Adding your subscription form
There are a few ways to do this, the simplest being to use the form builder that your email marketing service provides, to create a simple form capturing first name and email address, and adding that contact to your list. Granted these forms can look pretty basic, but many of the providers also provide some good design tools to jazz things up a bit.
Once you’ve designed the form, there’ll usually be some code that you need to add to your website in order to get the form to show up. If you use WordPress to build your website then there’s more than likely going to be a plugin that you can use to integrate the form, alternatively there are some great 3rd party plugins that can integrate with a range of email service providers.
You can choose to integrate the form directly into the page, or have a link on the page trigger an overlay that then does the work of submitting the form and collecting the information. The great thing about an overlay is that it can be triggered from a range of places and the content to trigger it can be designed to integrate nicely with your site.
Take my form for example:
Of course, the form can still look good integrated into the page, however it can be a little less flexible when it comes to positioning across the site. If you run a blog with content down the side (a sidebar) then you can also include it there so people who read your content have the option of subscribing then and there.
Here are some examples of in-page subscription forms:
Top Tip: Create a compelling offer
Make signing up for your newsletter as close to a no-brainer as possible. If someone has come to your site looking for a solution, whether that be a product or service, then offer them something helpful for providing their email address.
Simply offering a “newsletter subscription” may not be enough, especially if you’re not a recognisable name or someone whose expertise are sought after. Demonstrate a ton of value and make it worth their while to share their details, your reward for getting them is pretty huge, so why not reward the subscriber too?
Yes, there are a ton of ways you can improve the ROI of your website, but this article has concentrated on the one that in the long term has the potential to massively impact your bottom line. All the statistics say that email marketing is effective, and compared to other “marketing methods” it is also extremely cost effective.
Getting the opportunity to converse with your prospects directly and continue to engage with them long after they have left your website, that is close to priceless. Sure, you have to do a good job of nurturing that relationship and providing value, but the payoff can be huge when it’s done the right way, so why wouldn’t you be doing this?
If you do have an email list and you’re not collecting prospect information from your website, then it’s relatively easy to integrate a form, especially if you’re using WordPress. If you haven’t yet started building your list, then there are a few more steps involved, but as I demonstrated it doesn’t have to cost a fortune (you can probably do it for free).