Having consulted for hundreds of companies and websites over more than a decade, one of the most common problems that I come across are pages and sites that are NOT being loud enough about the desired action. If you want your visitor to signup to get your emails, you need to tell them that and tell them why they should. If you want your visitor to make a purchase, again, tell them where to click, what to do, and why they should take the next step.
Basically, if your header takes up half of the viewable page, there are ads all over the place, no visible or readable headline that kind of yells out "start here", then chances are very high, that the visitor is going to be overwhelmed and leave.
Space things out, tell people why they're there and what the page can do for them. Do it quickly and make it easy to understand, or they're gone forever.
It doesn't work to put a little box lost somewhere on the page that says "subscribe to my newsletter". Why doesn't that work? Well exactly, why would it? Nobody needs another newsletter, make it compelling, give a reason! I'll show you the difference in a minute and you can guess which opt in form would have a higher opt in rate.
I'm not saying make the whole page scream, but if you look at sites that have a bunch of content and then just a little link near the bottom, chances are that the vast majority of people will NEVER see it, let alone click on it. You need to make it obvious to the visitor what they are to do next or risk allowing them to choose something irrelevant or simply click away. A good starting point is by placing your important links above the fold. Also, put your signup box right in the middle or on the right hand side of the page above the fold as that is where the visitor's eyes will naturally focus. If you look at most squeeze pages or even normal pages with email signup boxes, they're usually going to have this on the right hand side and like I said, it's because the eyes move from top left to bottom right. So put it where the visitor is going to see it!
Now speaking of email signups, so many people are still using words like "sign up" or the worst, "subscribe". I taught about this in a recent webinar and subconsciously, people don't want to subscribe to anything. It makes you feel like you're getting locked into something and even if that something states that it is free, several companies have abused this. Remember Columbia House? You would subscribe to get free tapes or CDs. But suddenly you learned that the tapes and CDs weren't free at all and on top of that, you were SUBSCRIBED and forced to continue purchasing.
Now you probably don't have the intention of locking anyone into any nasty surprises, but still, don't use the word subscribe.
So what to use?
One of the highest converting terms to use if you are giving away something free to those that signup to your email list may well be "Get Instant Access". Of course, this term can be used for other things as well. A few other effective ways to replace your wording include:
- Download Now
- Click Here to Access
- Click for Instant Access
- Get This Free Guide
and really, any combination of these or creative way of telling people what to do and what to expect. You'll have to test it and it depends on your offer and the context.
Right below your signup button, you should have a little sentence saying that you won't spam them if they do signup. I'm sure you've seen it before and I know that it seems kind of stupid, like, "yeah right, just by having a little sentence I'm going to convince people", but the truth is in the results. I've tested it on so many different sites across many very different markets and it WORKS. It works by increasing the opt in rate. If the rest of the site looks bad and doesn't really convey trustworthiness, then no, it might not help, but every small tweak that improves your page can have a drastic effect, especially when combined with other small tweaks. Putting a little padlock or security type icon next to this sentence also speaks to the visitor's subconscious. It implies security, safety… all good things that people like to feel when there is any type of risk (whether real or imagined) involved.
As far as design errors go, this is really just the tip of the iceberg, although those mentioned can be some of the most devastating to your bottom line.
Matt Greener is a leading expert in online strategy for businesses and entrepreneurs. Helping propel clients to total market domination is his passion. For over a decade Matt has consulted for national celebrities, CEO's and INC 500 companies, among many others. Recently, he has focused on serving a larger audience with specialized training and powerful online tools including his Pro Template Pack which takes the time and guesswork out of creating highly effective webpages.