How To Add Optin Forms To Your Blog
If you are building your business with a blog, the most crucial component it must contain is an Optin Form. An Optin form collects your visitors' name and email information (and sometimes more) and adds them to a subscriber's list or newsletter list that you manage.
There are several ways to accomplish this if you are using a WordPress Blog. I am going to review with you how to invite folks to opt in and then cover TWO ways to add optin forms to your blog:
Let's start with how to get someone to optin to your list to begin with. (Then I will cover how to add an optin form to your blog).
The best way to entice a visitor to opt-in to your list is to offer something of value (to them) in exchange. Depending on your content and your audience's needs this can be anything from a simple downloadable check-list, a video series, access to exclusive content if they subscribe or even a newsletter packed with pretty desirable info.
What do you offer on your blog and how can you package a simple but valuable piece of content to offer in exchange for the optin? For example, I teach people how to build their business with a blog. My audience could use either “a list of plugins” or “a free course on how to install a blog”. I offer both throughout my blog. Access to either require your name and email. Both are VERY valuable and not only can be applied instantly but it goes my prospective blog students an opportunity to see my courses in action before they spend a dime with me. It's all about establishing this type of trust first. No one wants to buy money from someone that they don't know unless they were highly recommended (likely by another subscriber or student).
So you need to think of how you can offer amazing content up front so your visitors start to build trust and confidence that you know your stuff. Maybe it is a short video explaining how to do something that you know how to do well, or a series of videos that walk your visitors through a couple of steps to solve a problem, or an instructional guide they can download and use in their business. It needs to be valuable to them and it also needs to be something YOU produce. I realize there are tons of affiliate programs that give you access to articles and such you can give away on their behalf, but then you are likely just building trust from your visitors in the producer of the content instead of them building trust in YOU. Worse case you are also just building their list. So, I want to show you how to do this RIGHT FOR YOU!
I tell you what, in exchange for a “Facebook like”, a “Twitter tweet”, a “+1” or a comment, if you need some ideas on what your free offer could be please do stop by my fan page and ask away! I might regret typing this here but I love a challenge and I really want to help you. You don't have to spill your whole business plan on the page. Simply mention that you read this post, what you do, and we will take it from there.
Another way to get some optin offer ideas is for you to pay close attention to the sites you visit and what grabs your attention in respect to their opt-in offer. This will spark your creative juices to come up with a totally unique optin form for your blog. Do make sure you do not copy anyone's stuff though. But it's totally ok to be inspired and then come up with your own creation!
Let's go ahead and discuss a couple of ways to add an optin form to your blog
THE FREE, FAST AND FURIOUS WAY
Although NOT the recommended way to build a list because it makes it virtually impossible to follow up with it (which is ultimately the whole point), there is one easy way to add a simple Subscriber Optin to your blog using a widget. Some themes even have their own widget built in that you can just drag and drop to your sidebar. If they don't install the JetPack for WordPress plugin (free) and that unbundle tons of neat widgets you can use, including site stats, social sharing icons and a subscribers form widget.
Pros: Fast, free, easy, and it sends your subscribers an email every time you post something new and brings them back to your blog. That's 1/2 the battle right there! WOOHOO!
Cons: You can't manage this subscriber list to send them your own emails or newsletters. Even if you exported these emails and send information manually, you still would not be CANN compliant (which is a term for “your customers need to be able to unsubscribe, EASILY without having to call you, from your list”).
When I recommend you use this type of form: In fact, I use this little widget at the bottom right of my sidebar to maybe catch some folks that missed all the other optin hints. It happens. I would recommend that you used this optin solution if you are just starting your blog, you don't yet have a lot of traffic and/or maybe you are not ready to set up an email marketing campaign. But once your blog starts getting some traction, upgrade to an optin form managed via a professional email marketing company. See my next suggestion on How To Add An Optin Form To Your Blog below.
THE PROFESSIONAL SOMETIMES FREE, NOT SO FAST, BUT MOST EFFECTIVE WAY
The other way, and the way I most recommend you built your list, is by utilizing an email marketing company. I won't get into all the technical details of how to set things up here because there are many companies and they each work slightly differently, but I will cover how they all pretty much work.
Basically when you sign-up with an email marketing company like for example, AWeber (yes, this is an affiliate link but you can also Google it), you will receive a free account you can start building campaigns with. Typically companies offer free accounts until you reach a certain number of subscribers, or for a limited time. At that point, there will be a monthly fee that is set according to your total subscriber total.AWeber is only one of many email marketing companies out there. I use them as an example because I have used them for 8+ years without any problems. A lot of people also use Mailchimp.
“General” process to install optin forms into your blog:
So in a nutshell you will first set up a LIST. The settings of this list will usually include: name of the list, who any subsequent emails sent to this list should come from (this is usually you), and website and address details about your company so subscribers can remember later if they forget (and for CANN reasons).
Once you have a list that the company can add subscribers into, then you want to create the place through which these subscribers will add themselves into that list. Yes, they have to pretty much add themselves or it defeats the purpose. This gateway is called “an optin form”. AWeber offers tons of pre-designed optin form templates you can easily pick from to create a form that matches the look and feel of your site. The settings usually include WHERE you want customers to land once they provide their contact details and whether you want them to confirm that email before AWeber sends them to that landing URL.
Once your form is designed and you've figured out the settings you want, your next step will be to grab the SCRIPT they give you and copy/paste that into your blog. For this I drag and drop a TEXT widget (comes with every WordPress blog) and I place it along the right sidebar exactly where I want my form to show up. Optin forms are most effective when placed above the fold (so top right).
Once your widget is placed where you want it, open it and PASTE the form code you grabbed right inside of it. Then click save on the widget and go look at your form and see if it looks right. If it doesn't look right, go back to your form and make the changes. Since you used the script (instead of the html code), the form on your website will be updated automatically to reflect your changes. (Note: I am referring to AWeber here. Not 100% sure of other companies offer both the script and the html code. I always cope the SCRIPT code).
But Wait There Is More…
Now that your form looks AWESOME, your subscribers will be automatically added to the list you created once they enter their contact info and hit SUBMIT. All you need to do next is maybe draft a welcome message that is automatically sent once a person adds him/herself to your list. You can find that option under MESSAGES in AWeber.
I recommend against too many automated messages unless your subscribers are optin in to receive a series of instructions. I like emailing people live and with current events rather than canned messages prepared too far ahead. So a welcome message is great, beyond that, set up your newsletters or email marketing strategy manually but not too far ahead. You never know when you need to send an email out and some people might get antsy if they get two emails from you in one day!
And that's How To Add Optin Forms To Your Blog. I appreciate your readership and if you like my content or you feel your audience might benefit from reading my post, please like, share or comment to make it more visible! Thank you!