How to add a mailing list to your website

What you write, matters a lot

Naturally, what you write to your readers matters a lot.

You cannot expect the best if you just slap something together and send it to your subscribers.

You have to do it right! What usually works best is a well written free solid advice in your field.

It is better to give your readers a good researched information as opposed to something very obvious that anyone already knows or can easily guess.

This is especially important in the beginning, when you are delivering your first newsletter.

Another biggie is the subscription boxes

I am talking about the box on your website where your readers enter their email address to subscribe to your list.

The biggest mistake you can make when adding a mailing list to a website is to just put a silly, boring “subscribe to mailing list” box somewhere in a dark corner of the front page and expect everyone to enter his email address in such a box.

WRONG!!!

Most people will never look at the sides of your web pages and at the places where the advertisement banners usually are. Regarding the latter, there is even a term called “banner blindness” which is used to describe this phenomenon.

Take it as an axiom, people never look at anything that even slightly resembles advertisement unless it has cleavage or other private body parts.

So REMEMBER:

Plain non-informative “subscribe to mailing list” boxes never work!

I would never enter my email address in a box like this:

And, I would especially ignore this one since it looks like a lottery scam to me:

Wouldn’t you be afraid to put your email address in one of these boxes? Be sure your visitors would be too! Why would anyone risk his email address by entering it in such a mysterious box?

These silly boring boxes are suitable for the government websites only where visitors subscribe under the fear of being penalized for missing something if they do not get notified in time.

Since you are not government, you cannot use fear as an “advertisement” mean.

Instead, you want to:

Show the obvious benefits of being on your mailing list right in your “subscribe to mailing list” box

This sample box, shown below, would work very well because a potential seeker who wants to unleash his maximum potential subconsciously wants to minimize his costs and a free e-book definitely beats all other deals.

Remember, nothing sells better than free stuff!

A word of caution here… Your e-book better be good. In many cases I would even recommend you put more work into creating your free e-book than into your commercial product.

The stuff you give away MUST BE as good as or even better than the product you sell.

Do not even think that you can get away by giving some regurgitated content or widespread knowledge. The information you are giving away must be worth a lot to your potential customer to really earn his trust.

This doesn’t mean that you have to share all your secrets though, but you can give out one… The best one you’ve got.

It does not need to be a lot…

Think about your potential customer for a second and choose the biggest bang advice. He must get the biggest outcome by implementing it.

Do not be skimpy!

Do you still remember I was talking about describing the benefits instead of features?

Or even benefits of a benefit?

This is the time to do it.

Place the list of benefits right into your subscription box

Give people a very compelling reason to subscribe to your mailing list.

And this is VERY important…

Deliver on the promise immediately

If you promise a free e-book, software or report, allow them to access it right from the “thank you page”, once they subscribe. This creates a good first impression of reliability, which is very important.

It rises a giant green flag in a person’s mind: “He delivered… He is real… And I can trust him now”.

If you continue to deliver solid and useful information in your newsletters, it will add more and more trust to the relationship, and sooner than later your client will start to trust anything you say.

Put the subscription box on most of your website pages inside the sidebar as close to the page top as possible

It should be visible right after opening a page without scrolling.

By the way, in geeky terms it is often called “above the fold”, meaning above the area that becomes visible only after you scroll down to it.

Of course you do not want to put it on the pages accessible only after having subscribed, such as “Buy Now”, “Contact Us”, “About Us”, and so on.

In addition to that:

Place your subscription box in a pop-up that appears once, when a person visits your website for the first time.

This pop-up should be large. It should pop over your regular page and it must list all the key benefits of being on your mailing list in a nice graphical form.

Use images, colors and advanced formatting to grab attention of visitors.

So called “box shot” is a must. It is a picture of your product, such as book, DVD or report.

Even if your product is intangible and does not have a box and you only distribute it over the Internet, anyway create a “box shot” or pay a designer to do it for you.

This whole pop-up box with your convincing words and a picture will be the first thing your visitors will see when they arrive at any page of your website for the first time.

So, it better be convincing!

You will never believe until you try it for yourself how much this thing improves conversion. It is just IMPOSSIBLE to ignore.

Most of people are deep in their sleep during the day even though they are awake in a physical sense…

Well, you can tell they are asleep most of the time.

If you are not creative and do not wake them up somehow, your message and your subscription box is not going to be even “visible” to them.

This thing is sooooooo blatantly “in their face”, that it produces a mental “HALT” signal, and as a result people start to pay the attention you need.

Avoid using abstract words such as “Submit”, “Subscribe” or “Sign Up” on the “submit” button of your subscription box

Submit to what? Slavery?

Subscribe? Why should I? What do I get out of it?

Instead, use words or phrases pointing to the benefits a person would get if he presses this button.

Phrases such as “Claim Your Free E-Book Now”, “Get Free Access” or “Get Free Lessons Now” would be your best choice.

They tell for themselves, and the person knows exactly what he is going to get. Specifics are better than something unknown or abstract.

It answers the question: “What am I going to get out of it?”

You will get a free e-book NOW!

Oh, OK, then I better subscribe.

Subscribe people to a DIFFERENT mailing list when they press the “Add to cart” button to start a new order

You ask, WHY?  This is another cool secret that I want to share…

Did you know that statistically, about 80 – 85% of people on average go to your “shopping cart” page, select the product they need and even fill out all the necessary information, but then suddenly bail out without buying?

I want you to wrap your head around this number, because there is no getting away from it…

80 – 85% of the people are ready to buy your product. They take all the necessary steps to buy it BUT…

They just never press that last “Buy Now” button. They chicken away!

It is just a human nature. When you need to part with your money, some alternative “self” takes over and starts talking to you about why “we” should not buy this product now.

This trick above will allow you to collect those VIP clients and later ask them nicely to “complete” the process.

You can incentivize them by offering a discount or bribe them by any other way.

Using this technique alone, you can recover about 20% of your “lost” orders.

These are the orders that would otherwise be gone forever.

Yes, I know… It creates an extra step in the shopping process.

Yes, I know… More steps in the shopping process decrease the number of purchases.

But this specific trick is so much worth it. It totally makes sense to sacrifice those 2% of sales for the sake of 20% more.

Think about it! The box above is pretty harmless, it only asks for customer’s name and email address.

For most of your customers, by the time they hit the shopping cart, you’ll have their names and email addresses, because they were on your mailing list already. So, it looks very harmless and innocent to them.

But for you, capturing the people with intention to buy your product, makes great practical sense, since it allows you to give them a gentle push to tip them over the fence.

Create your own cool-looking subscription box and embed it into your website

So that you would be able to collect a large list of names and email addresses of all those people who is going to strive to receive your free information or product.

No matter what you offer, a free e-book, promotion or report, you need to capture their personal details somehow.

To embed a subscription box to your web pages, you can use my simple HTML code and PHP mail script.

I developed it long time ago, and have been successfully using it for many years.

Do not run scared yet, because I am giving you both absolutely free:

Press this button to download subscribe / unsubscribe PHP script

These plain-text files are very simple and intuitive. I have put a lot of explanatory comments inside them.

I have also created a read-me.txt file with complete instructions on how to use it and I made a watch-me.mp4 video where I guide you through the script and the web form HTML code, and teach you how to modify them both so that they could be used for your website.

You will find the text file and the video file inside the zip archive you have downloaded by clicking on the “Download” button above.

This thing works in a very simple way…

When a visitor submits his name and email address using your subscription box (created based on the sample HTML code), this PHP script kicks in, and as a result you receive an email message with a “subscribe” request in your mail box.

Subscribe request is no more than a regular email message with the “subscribe” keyword in the “subject” line and subscriber’s name and email address in the “from” field.

Most of the programs used for mass mailing (including mine) recognize this type of “subscription” email messages and add new subscribers to your mailing list automatically.

If you still have no idea how to build a web form for your subscription box yourself, it’s not a problem. You can use any free “online email form” service such as EmailMeForm.Com which will easily and visually take care of this problem without you needing a programmer.

HINT: You do not have to be limited by one form. Create as many as you like. Use different forms in different places of your website.

This is also a very good practice, because people’s eyes are trained to resist boredom and other abuse.

If you show an identical subscription form on all your websites and pages, people will start to tune it out soon.

“Banner blindness” will kick in, causing people to just ignore your subscription box.

Go and get yourself a good program for sending mass email messages

If you expect to be getting more than 20 subscribers in your mailing list, you will need a good mass email program to manage them.

Just think about it…

People can:

  1. Subscribe to your list at any moment
  2. Cancel subscription at any moment
  3. Abandon or delete their mailboxes

You need to automate addition and removal of all those people, especially if you have to deal with hundreds of them.

Let me tell you, even with a mild traffic you will be getting dozens of requests a day to get on and off your mailing list.

If you have a thousand people, you will be getting requests every minute or so.

If you think you can sort them all out manually somehow, think again! You will shoot yourself in the head upon dealing with the 1001st request.

That’s why you really need a specialized mass email program to do the hard job for you.

You know your email program, right? Mass email program is essentially the same thing with only one addition…

It keeps your contact lists in sync using those “subscribe” and “unsubscribe” requests that I mentioned earlier.

So mass email program will automatically take care of all people joining your mailing list and leaving it, and…

It will also deal with all sorts of “bounce backs”, which otherwise would become an unbearable “pain in the ass”.

“Bounce back” is an error email message sent by mail server in case if recipient’s email address no longer exists. It means you cannot keep sending your newsletters to this address and have to remove it from your mailing list.

I promised to give you a FREE 30-day trial version of iMacMailer email marketing software so you could test my tricks on your website while you learn. Here it is (sorry for such a big button :)).

Finally, give your readers an option to unsubscribe from your mailing list

This is not just ethical to give readers an option to get off your list. It is required by law in some countries and states, and most people are used to doing this.

Besides, if somebody decides he does not need your advice anymore, what is the likelihood that he is going to buy your product anyway?

ZERO… So what is the point of keeping him on the list?

None…

However sometimes you can make a person reconsider by presenting a small discouraging text upon unsubscription that will pull his emotional strings.

We will discuss it later again, but for now, I am giving you a small example.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say John, in his email newsletter to Sam gives a business advice on car manufacturing.

To discourage unsubscription, John can write something like this in his “unsubscribe” message:

Hey Sam, I already know everything there is to know about car manufacturing, I know every local law and caveat.

I do not want to receive your newsletter on car manufacturing business, because I am an expert in this field already.

I am cool with forfeiting tons of excellent free advice, discounts and offers from various partners, and I have no problem giving up any business benefits I could have from receiving this information.

I wish to unsubscribe from your list.

unsubscribe in here>

From my experience, quite a lot of people usually reconsider unsubscribing at this point.

Your “unsubscribe” link doesn’t need to stand out in your messages, and at the same time, it should be normally visible without needing a magnifying glass to read it.

Do not try to hide it. You are confident in the information you are giving away, and you have nothing to hide.

I have included instructions on creating “subscribe” and “unsubscribe” forms and links in my download page. So, go there now, download and read about how to slap everything together:

Press this button to download subscribe / unsubscribe PHP script

Phew! I don’t know how you are feeling, but I am definitely tired for today.

In the next lesson, I will dedicate myself to telling you a lot about what distinguishes a good newsletter from a bad newsletter.

It is a whole big subject on its own, so you better prepare yourself and get a good rest.

I know, I will…