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In this article, we investigate the value of the e-mail opt-in for use on your website.  We discuss the pros and cons of using an e-mail opt-in and what you should and should not do to obtain e-mail addresses.  Additionally, we will talk about how to cultivate the relationship with your subscribers and how to turn them into repeat customers.

Below are the topics of discussion in this article. Feel free to click on any one of the following links to skip to that section.

Given its popularity, you may think that Social Media has left e-mail in the dust, but that is not true at all.  According to OptinMonster.com, the United States alone, 85% of adults send or receive e-mail every day.  We send 74 trillion e-mails every year!  There has been an increase in e-mail correspondence from 2016 to 2017 according to the Communicator Email Benchmark Report 2017.

According to Patricia Reaney of the Huffington Post, U.S. Workers Spend 6.3 Hours A Day Checking Email.  She writes: “Millennials are so addicted to emails that half can’t even use the bathroom without checking their email.

The point is that e-mail has been around for over 47 years (since 1971), and given that “Eighty-six percent of professionals name email as their favorite mode of communication“, you can rest assured that e-mail will continue to be the dominant means of communication for the foreseeable future.

 

Why You Should Collect E-mail Addresses

You can target people who have an interest in your product or services.  Once you have the e-mail address of someone who has expressed interest in one of your products or services, you can then send that user an e-mail about that product or service in an attempt to get their buy-in.  Once you have their buy-in, they will more likely than not purchase your product or services.  Remember, getting their buy-in is the goal, not the sale, but more on that later.

Visitors who willingly give you their e-mail address want what you have.  If you purchased an e-mail distribution list of 100,000 e-mail addresses but if only 10 out of that 100,000 are actually interested in what you are offering, you have gained almost nothing.  In fact, it’s highly likely that if you send an e-mail to all those e-mail address on a list, your email provider, (MailChimp or iContact, or some other e-mail marketing service), will penalize you if too many e-mail recipients on that list report abuse.  They very well may just shut your list down permanently.

When people give you their e-mail address, you own the list.  This can not be over-stated.  Social media platforms comes and go, . . . (remember MySpace?), but when someone give YOU their e-mail address, YOU own that e-mail address.  What would you do if you had created a fan base of hundreds of thousands of followers, only to have that social media platform terminate your account for any reason?  Think it’s farfetched?  Think it could not happen to you?  Ask Felix Baumgartner.  That is precisely what happened to him.  Overnight he lost 1.5 million followers as Facebook shut his account down without any notification whatsoever.

Key Takeaway
When people give you their e-mail address, they do so because they want you to tell them more about your product or services.

 

How To Woo Customers Into Willingly Providing Their E-mail Address

You don’t need to apologize for asking for people’s e-mail address.  Here’s why.  They want what you have.   People are more than willing to give you their e-mail address because you have something they want.  It may be more information on a topic that they are interested in, or it may be a service or product that you offer them.  Either way, they are willingly providing their e-mail address because they want what you have.

You can grant access to a section of your website that offers exclusive content, once they submit their e-mail address.  For example, you can offer access to a page on your website that addresses “5 Sure Ways to Attract Website Traffic”.  The only problem with that, however, is if they know the title of the article that you are offering them, they can simply google the title of that article to gain access.  But most people won’t do that, (as easy as that is), because it’s just easier to enter your e-mail address.

Another idea is to give your site visitors a free eBook.  Simply exchange your eBook for their e-mail address, but make it a point to make it worth their while.  Remember, you don’t simply want their e-mail address.  You want the e-mail address of someone who is really interested in your products or services.  If you over-deliver by giving them something really worth-while now, you will won’t have to convince them that you are worthy of their business later.

The objective is to get their buy-in, not this one sale.  If you get their buy-in, you will easily be able to sell other products and services that you offer.  So many people think short term.  They work so hard at getting the sale, and neglect the bigger picture.  Invest your time in the customer, not in the sale.  If you invest yourself in the customer, and not in the sale, you will build trust and gain a client, not a sale.  That client will then buy other products and services that you offer because of the relationship you have invested in.

What does that look like?  Stop focusing on getting that user to your checkout.  If you focus on the needs of the customer, many “sales” will come as a result because the customer will respond to the fact that you are addressing their needs.  I know that this flies in the face of traditional marketing, but in the long run, this approach to building repeat customers is dead on.  Customers buy now.  Clients buy now and later.  Remember, A customer will feed you for a day.  A client will feed your family tomorrow.

Key Takeaway
Focusing on the Customer is the key.  If you only focus on the sale, you will never gain the client.  Clients are repeat customers.

 

The Pros and Cons of Single E-mail Opt-in

Single opt-in is defined as one who submits their e-mail address via a form on your website.  After they submit their e-mail address, you can then immediately send them information about your products or services.

Sounds good, right?  Well, there are both pros and cons to this method of collecting e-mail addresses using single opt-in.  It is the easiest means of collecting e-mail addresses and it sure is the fastest way to grow your e-mail distribution list, but there are several downsides to gathering e-mail addresses in this manner.  Let’s take a look at some of those.

Single e-mail opt-in comes with enormous risk.  This requires a bit of explanation. A number of bad addresses can enter into your email list, which will definitely hurt your reputation with the company that serves as your e-mail marketing platform.

For example, if someone mistypes or misspells their e-mail address when submitting the form, your reputation *will* suffer because the email marketing platform that houses your email distribution lists will penalize you for sending e-mail to e-mail addresses that are undeliverable.

Single opt-in encourages fake e-mail addresses.  One way in which your reputation could suffer, is if someone entered a valid e-mail address of someone who did not ask to subscribe to your e-mail list. When they receive your e-mail, they may report it as SPAM, and as a result, your reputation will suffer from the e-mail marketing platform that you utilize.

Revenge e-mail submissions are treated the same way.  A “revenge” e-mail submission usually will come from an ex-spouse, or after a bad break-up, where the one partner tries to hurt the other, so they try to get back at them by submitting their e-mail to a ton of websites. This really hurts you more than the owner of the e-mail address submitted. Remember, you only want e-mail addresses from people who really want your services.

Keep in mind, that e-mail marketing platforms such as MailChimp or iContact, can shut your list down and refuse to give you access to the list in question. They can require you to prove that you have gathered every e-mail address via double opt-in verification before they will release the e-mail list to you.

Key Takeaway
The single opt-in strategy might seem attractive, but will not provide the rock-solid list of users that really want more information about what you have to offer. 

 

The Pros and Cons of Double E-mail Opt-in

The double opt-in method of gathering e-mail addresses to create a list means that after the user initially submits their e-mail address, they will immediately receive an e-mail asking that they verify that they did, in fact, request to be added to your mailing list. After they have confirmed their e-mail address, only then will they be added to your list.  Let me share with you a few pros and cons of using the double e-mail opt-in method.

The double opt-in method provides the opportunity to communicate with your  subscribers immediately.  For example, after initially submitting their e-mail address, you can affirm the user right away by offering them a freeby, perhaps an e-Book so as to incentivize them to confirm their e-mail address.

If you don’t have the time or want to write an e-book, perhaps you can grant them access to a page on your website that offers “5 Steps to (finish your page title)”.  This method of marketing is very effective and greatly appreciated by the user who just submitted their e-mail address.  It certainly provides that “warm and fuzzy” feeling.  By providing them with a “gift”, you convey both confidence and assurance that they have signed up correctly.  It’s a great way to start the relationship with your subscriber.

One downside to the double e-mail opt-in method is that it takes longer for your list to grow. Why? Because some of the users won’t respond to the double verification method, or think that it’s too much of a hassle to follow through on. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Again, you really only want people on your list who have signified that they want more information on your product or services.

Key Takeaway
Purpose to communicate confidence by reassuring your subscriber by starting this relationship out by giving them something for free.  Something over the top with no strings attached.

 

What You Should NOT Do To Obtain E-mail Addresses

Single opt-in verification is just not a good idea. There are too many risks involved, and people report abuse (a single click) to your e-mail marketing platform (and they will, trust me), your entire list can irretrievably be removed from your account.

Just yesterday, I signed up to receive notification of when something was going to be launched.  Perhaps *that* does not require double e-mail opt-in verification, but for me and my clients, the double e-mail opt-in verification is just a no-brainer. This leads me to my next point.

Do NOT purchase distribution lists. There are those that will sell you “solid e-mail lists” that “have been double opt-in verified“, (yet offer no proof). This is definitely not a good idea. Why not? There are two reasons that this is not a good idea.

  1. The users did not subscribe to YOUR offering, and as such, will report abuse, hurting your reputation with your e-mail marketing platform.
  2. You don’t really know if the “list” of e-mail addresses has anything to do with your industry, let alone, the products that you offer. This will inevitably lead to people reporting abuse to your e-mail marketing platform.

Never ever take short cuts.  It may be tempting, but that is short-term thinking.  Shortcuts may provide the quick-buck, but they do not create wealth.  Wealth comes from hard work, not “good luck”, or by cheating, or taking shortcuts.

Key Takeaway
There are no shortcuts to success.  If you lay the right foundation, you can build anything.

 

What You SHOULD Do To Obtain E-mail Addresses

Double e-mail opt-in verification is definitely the wise choice.  It may take longer to build your “house”, but it will have been built on solid ground, not sinking sand.  If you use double opt-in verification, you will maintain an excellent reputation with your e-mail marketing platform provider, and your subscribers will get exactly what they have asked for.

You should target your e-mail campaigns.  When you send e-mail to the list that they have subscribed to, make sure that your e-mail is specific to that topic, and only that topic.  If you do, you will build trust.  Trust builds confidence, and the more you value your subscriber, the closer they come to a decision to buy into your offering.

You should only contact the user as often as they granted you permission to contact them.  If the list that they signed up for stated that you would only send e-mail every other week, only send e-mails to that list every other week.  Never ever violate that agreement.  If you do, you will loose trust.  Not only will they unsubscribe from your list, but they will not buy your products or services either.  It is a matter of integrity, so do what is right.  If you do, you will be rewarded handsomely.

Think of your subscribers as real people.  They are real people.  What I am trying to convey is that you can’t think of your subscribers as money.  If you do, you will be easily tempted to take shortcuts.  If you have a great product, purpose to communicate to get their buy-in.  That is your objective.  The first sale will come, but only after you have earned their respect.

After the sale, show them that you still care.  Send a personal e-mail (not through a list), following up with them personally, ensuring them that you are there for them, should they have any questions.  Demonstrate that you are not a short-term thinker, one that is just after the quick buck.  Overwhelm them with service.  Invest in the relationship, and you will find that they will not only purchase other products from you, but they will tell their friends to buy from you as well.

Key Takeaway
Your list subscribers are real people that are entrusting you with their e-mail address.  When you treat that e-mail address with respect, you increase the probability of gaining a repeat customer.

 

Why Use the Bloom Plugin from Elegant Themes

When I started writing this article, I had every intention on spending the majority of this article talking about the Bloom plugin by Elegant Themes.  It is a great plugin, however, as I started to write, the more I thought it better to talk about how such a plugin could benefit you, and offer practical advise on how to use it.  I honestly hope that you have found value in what I have shared thus far.

Admittedly, there are other e-mail opt-in plugins out there that one could use.  But what distinguishes the Bloom plugin from the rest?  Hear are a few things that definitely distinguish the Bloom opt-in plugin from other plugins.

Options! Options! Options! You pick from 6 different display types.  This means that there are 6 different ways to display the e-mail opt-in on your website.  To better visualize this, take a peak from the image below:

You get to determine how and when your opt-in will display with the 6 automatic pop-up & fly-in triggers.  These are as follows:

  1. Timed Delay – A timed delay displays the pop-ups and fly-ins so that they trigger after the reader has been on the page for a specified period of time.
  2. Bottom of Post – When your reader scrolls to the bottom of the page, the pop-up or fly-in will trigger and display the opt-in.
  3. After Scrolling – Here, the pop-up or fly-in will trigger after scrolling for specified percentage of the screen, of which you get to determine.
  4. After Commenting – You can trigger your pop-up or fly-in to display after your reader has commented on a post or page on your site.
  5. After Purchasing – You can offer updates on future products or promotions by triggering an opt-in form for visitors after they complete the checkout process.
  6. After Inactivity – If a visitor to has been on your site for a while without doing anything, bloom can get their attention again by triggering a pop-up or fly-in after a specified period of inactivity.

Currently, there are 16 email marketing integrations available for the Bloom plugin.  If you use any of the following e-mail marketing platforms, you can use the Bloom e-mail opt-in.

 

 

There literally almost too many layouts to choose from.  Even after choosing a layout, you can modify it to your liking.  You get a ton of different design settings, allowing you to adjust just about every aspect of your opt-in form.

 

You can apply a new e-mail opt-in well within 10 minutes. I know that this seems a bit far-fetched, given all of the options that are available, but this is not an over-exaggeration.  You really can implement a new e-mail opt-in well within 10 minutes.  If you have already created a list with your e-mail marketing platform, (like Mailchimp), creating an an e-mail opt-in is very easy and straight forward with the Bloom plugin.

I really like the way that Elegant Theme walks you through the set up process.  I’m not going to walk you through the process in this article, (as that is not the point of this article), but it’s easy of use and implementation is simply straight forward, even to those who have never used an email opt-in plugin before.

There is one final thing that distinguishes the Bloom e-mail opt-in plugin from any other one on the market.

Elegant Theme’s Support Team is available to you 24/7/365.  Got a question?  Simply click the chat button on their home page.  Is the issue you are having just a bit too complicated to communicate via chat? . . . Submit a support ticket and get a response within 24 hours.  Does your issue require someone to fix it for you? . . . Install their Support Center plugin granting the Elegant Themes Support Team access to your site via a token where you determine the expiration date.

Remember how I mentioned that you can never afford to think of your subscriber (customer), as a “quick buck”?  That you need to think of them as “real people”?  I can tell you from personal experience, that they do not think of me as a “quick buck”.  Their Support Team has gone WAY out of their way to address the needs that I have had and brought to their attention.  And they don’t know me from a hole in the wall!

Key Takeaway
The easy-to-use, feature-rich, e-mail opt-in plugin offers incredible value for the money.

 
In closing, if you would like to purchase the Bloom plugin, you can do so by clicking here.  This e-mail opt-in plugin costs $89, which is part of the Elegant Themes membership.  With that membership, you get this plugin for free to use on as many websites as you wish, even after your membership expires.To explore the benefits of an Elegant Themes membership, you may wish to read an article I have recently written, entitled, “7 Reasons To Get a Membership with Elegant Themes“.  If you have any questions or comments, I encourage you to post your comment below.
 

Tim has been building websites for clients since 1995, and loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur’s perspective, enjoys freelance writing, all things WordPress, and an occasional game of ping pong.