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Opt-In Forms: How to use them and why

What is an Opt-in form and why do I need it?

Asking permission has always been a sign of your respect for others, and this philosophy is becoming more and more prevalent and important in today’s ever changing business environment. Consumers are becoming smarter and more demanding. Gone are the times of accepting whatever the company decides to send; now it’s all about the consumer dictating the information they want to receive. Permission marketing is when a potential consumer gives permission to a company to communicate with them by delivering them the information they want to receive. Opt-in forms are the bread and butter of the permission marketing game and today’s marketing environment. The goal of the opt-in forms is to basically take permission from visitors and customers to communicate regularly with them. It also is very important to realize that without obtaining permission through opt-in  forms, your email campaign is just considered spam; which not only affects your brand image and credibility, but also your innate ability to send emails.

Where should I put it?

Most visitors to your site are not going to search your website in and out to find the opt-in form, this is why you need to make sure you put your opt-in form in locations that the potential subscriber will see as well as acknowledge. The reason why placement is important is because most of the time the reader will not visit your site with the goal of registering to communicate with you. You need to place the ‘call to action’ in locations that attract the customer’s attention. Here are some of the main and predominant places to place your opt-in form:

  • End of your blog post or other company resource.
  • The subscriber has just finished reading your blog post and liked the post enough to  finish it. It is likely then that they want to receive more information from your company, so give them that opportunity with your opt-in form. This can also be true for other resources such as case studies or white papers.
  • The Landing Page
  • Your potential subscriber has just started to visit your landing page and they like what they are seeing. You need to give them an option to receive more information and content; this is exactly where your opt-in comes into play. The landing page can contribute the greatest number of registrations if placed correctly.
  • Footer of webpage
  • Place it at the footer of each of your company pages. The same as with the company resource; if the subscriber makes it to the bottom of your page, which ever page it may be, it should indicate a level of interest in content that you are providing so give him/her the opportunity to sign up for more.
  • Social Media Pages
  • You send out updates when a new blog post or video gets released, why not try to engage these subscribers who already follow you on social media? On Facebook, you can use an app to create a plug-in for your home page to acquire subscribers. For our company’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/octanein, we use a simple subscribe now tool which we placed along the top banner of our page as seen below.

    Don’t forget to share the opt-in link through social media as well. For example if you have just shared a video through Facebook and Twitter make sure you send out a follow up post stating if they want more content and resources to sign up through the link.

How and When?

Have a nice clean call action which should entice the reader. Avoid generic call to actions such as ‘sign up now’. Try something such as ‘Sign up for our Newsletter’ and then give a short description on what are the benefits of signing up. For example the link below which is one that we use on our company website indicates the call to action which is ‘Subscribe to Our Newsletter’. It is followed by what the subscriber can expect to receive which should entice the subscriber enough to register their email. This simple opt-in form can be placed in many different locations because of its size and simplicity. Below is an example of a small opt-in form we use on our homepage www.octane.in.

On the opt-in form, keep it short and sweet. Make sure you clearly explain what benefits they will receive and how often to expect it in a clean and concise package. The form is all about creating trust between you and the subscribers, and messy unorganized formatting doesn’t foster this trust. Keeping in line with the trust factor, don’t ask for an excess of information, only relevant information such as first and last name, email address, mailing address and geographical location. This data can be very useful in segmenting your subscribers. You also need to realize there is a fine line on how to ask for it. The more information you ask for, the more uncomfortable the subscriber will become and the chances of them backing out increases because they feel uncomfortable revealing the information.

Double opt-in

So far we have been only talking about single opt-in which is when they sign up, they automatically get added to the mailing list, but it is important that we also mention double opt-in. A double opt-in is when the subscriber signs up, a confirmation email is sent to their email and they must click on the link provided to confirm their addition to the mailing list. It is important to note that people who are really interested in signing up will proceed with the double opt-in process. This is a good way of maintaining a high quality and interested number of subscribers on your list.

We hope after reading this you have learned something about opt-in forms and how they can help your company grow. Try to test it to see which opt-in list call to action has the most traction and attracts the most sign-ups for your resources.

– By Team Octane

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