You are competing with 5.7 million UK businesses selling products and services, you need to stand out to get custom. Marketing yourself is hard, with endless advertising platforms and huge levels of competition. It’s proven that the more a customer sees your business the more they grow to trust you (Gaining customer trust is something I will be going into further in my next blog). So, not only do we need to grab the attention of our customers but we need to keep it.
So how can we do this? There are a number of ways that you can expose yourself to potential customers; today I am going to discuss customers signing up for an email list or newsletter on your site. Being given the permission to deliver newsletters, blog posts, updates directly into your customers inbox, reminding them of how wonderful you are is an excellent way to drip feed your business. You are also able to show that you are deeply knowledgeable and skilful as well as demonstrate your ability to do what you say you do – ultimately gaining your customers’ trust.
So, you need to give visitors an incentive to hand over their contact details. The offer of a free newsletter was once enough to entice the most cynical web visitor to give you a name and email address but those days are over. Your offer needs to be something that your visitors really want and consider worth having, like an information guide or software trial. A good newsletter provides long term, ongoing value.
Our websites is a great example (with many better out there too).
Not only is our page simple, clear and easy to navigate (refer to previous blog post on landing pages) it offers you ‘Free lifetime membership’ to our mailing list giving marketing and tech insights, and a downloadable ‘free quickstart strategy guide’ to support growing business. All we are asking for is your name and email- no fuss.
Unfortunately, with so much competition out there, companies are becoming desperate to get potential customers email address’ that they will resort to anything – including annoying techniques in the hope of extracting customer data. Techniques including irritating overlays you can’t close, constant pop-up windows, manipulative wording designed to badger you into signing up…the list goes on. All of this and no real incentive to hand over your details anyway.
Newsletters should focus on educating the reader. That may come in the form of helping users select the best product for them or teaching them a new skill. A newsletter should inform, not only sell. This is reflected in how we encourage people to sign up…
There are many examples of ineffective sign up pages that offer no incentive or reason for customers to hand over their details. Below is just one, with a great example of incorrectly placed call to action that is right at the bottom of the page and no reward to incentivise the customer giving their contact details. As well as this, It makes little sense to subscribe to a newsletter for a law firm (why would anyone ever signup to a newsletter for a law firm?) In contrast, if they were to offer a free consultation, or call back to schedule a consultation, for example, they could then continue to stay in touch. A law firm could also pick a key specialty, for example business law. They would then be in the perfect position to offer a newsletter keeping businesses up to date critical legal developments that may effect them in the future.
The web has evolved to be truly more social. Which means businesses need to evolve too. Reciprocity is a social norm that must be adhered to online just as it’s adhered in person. In short, you cannot expect to profit from someone’s personal details without giving something of value back. Simple.