Opt-ins, landing pages, lead magnets, funnels, calls to action, and auto-responders all have one thing in common- collecting your readers email addresses so you can eventually offer them your products. Email addresses = relationships = eventual sales.
Through my first couple years of blogging, I set up some pretty sorry ways to collect people’s email addresses. The cheesy variations of the opt-in pitch “you don’t want to miss my newsletter” coupled with a sidebar form was the sure path to nowhere. I wouldn’t fork over my email address for that either!
Let’s make yours better.
Why do you need lead magnets anyway, what are you funneling to, and WTH is a squeeze page? Those are all ways for you to give your readers something valuable, turn those readers into fans, and your fans into customers. Your livelihood as a professional blogger depends on it!
So what can you do to turn casual readers into email fans and make it worth your while?
Know the relationships and roles between each function.
Below is a super easy, 5-step way to understand what each piece of the marketing puzzle is and how they work together to create a seamless experience for your ideal fan.
Step 1: Define your marketing goal- subscribers or sales?
While these terms can be used for both purposes of getting subscribers and making sales, ensure each offer is unique to one goal. Combining the two will only confuse your readers. You can’t have sales without readers, so make sure growing your loyal fan base of subscribers is at the top of your priority list.
The beautiful dance of making all these systems work in unison will come when you understand each role. Which leads us to…
Step 2: Understand their definition and purpose.
Let’s take a look at each piece, define it, and identify some providers of those services.
Auto-Responder, Drip Campaigns, Sequences, and Workflows
Those terms all mean the same thing; The automated functions available through your Email Service Provider (ESP). So why the different terminology? The word choice depends on the company you choose.
For example, I use ConvertKit as my ESP (affiliate link) and their terminology is “sequences”. If someone opts-in on my offer of free access to the library, the user automatically gets put in my sequence of:
- A welcome email with the password to the library.
- A second email on the following day describing different platforms we can connect on.
- A final email explaining they are subscribed to the newsletter and an additional freebie.
Those emails are sent at different intervals and without me having to manually send each subscriber three different emails.
Mad Mimi calls theirs Drip Campaigns, as you are dripping information out to your subscribers. MailChimp calls them Workflows, and Aweber calls them AutoResponders. All have the same purpose of giving your readers information at different intervals on auto-pilot.
A lead magnet is a valuable freebie you have created to entice your readers to give you their email address. These should be short, actionable items possibly in the form of a checklist, worksheet, .pdf download, video, or a mini course via email.
As Bnonn put it on the Kissmetrics Blog, “The important thing is to give him something he will use. Not something he should use. Something he will use. That’s the only kind of thing he’ll find valuable.”
Providers that show your lead magnet enticing readers to opt-in to your email list include OptinMonster, LeadPages, OptimizePress, SumoMe, Unbounce, Thrive, and Clickfunnels. Prices range from $8-$50+ per month.
However, basic lead magnets can be cheap, if not free. Your ESP probably has some included in their software. Or on a elementary level (that can work!), you can create a picture or text box that integrates with your ESP.
This is a lead magnet example from Melyssa Griffin:
An Opt-in is simply the form field where the reader is choosing to enter his/her email address. They are opting in to join your list.
Opt-ins can be incorporated anywhere in your site. Popular places to put them include your top bar (before your logo and menu), side bar, sprinkled through each post, at the end of a post, in your site’s footer, in a popup, a slide-in, welcome mat (an overlay at the beginning of your site), and a full screen takeover.
This is what an opt-in looks like: (this is a live opt-in so if you enter your info, you’ll be getting the Huddle from me on Sundays!)
Squeeze Page, Splash Page, or Landing Page
A landing page is literally a page on your site, most likely your home page, that leads to an action, or squeezes the customer to register for or purchase something.
These pages usually have no navigation, heading, or menu. The readers choices are to register, “return to the blog”, or scroll down to see the main content.
Landing pages can either by hosted on your site, or by the provider- depending on their software.
Most of the providers that were listed for lead magnets above are probably better known for their landing pages, including LeadPages, OptimizePress, SumoMe, Unbounce, Thrive, and Clickfunnels.
An example of a landing page can be seen when you land on Neil Patel’s home page:
A sales funnel is the multi-step process, using the options above plus some extras, where you provide value to your customers that ultimately ends in asking for the sale.
You start with a large audience at the top of the funnel, provide them educational content and create need for more advanced information (your course), and it keeps spiraling down until sales (profit) come out of the bottom.
Step 3: Put all of the marketing pieces together.
Now, let’s put it all together and make them work in unison. This is where the magic happens!
Remember how I said in Step 1 that you have to define your goal- subscribers OR sales? That is still true to the individual offer, but now we’re going to use all the tools in our toolbox to get both- new subscribers AND sales.
The best way to illustrate the process is by an example.
Let’s say you have a photography blog and you want to sell your new course on “Mastering Manual Mode on your DSLR Camera.” The entire process could look like this:
- Your lead magnet is a drop dead gorgeous picture with beautiful outdoor light on the cutest baby you know and it reads, “How to get this shot in manual mode in under 3 minutes.” It describes the time of day, angles, and settings. (you’ve created a quick win with lots of value)
- On your website, you have a picture of the lead magnet with an opt-in form promising to deliver the instructions to get that picture if they subscribe to your list. (you now have a new follower in your sales funnel!)
- They subscribe and you have an auto-responder all set up with a 5 step sequence. Your first email is to welcome them and deliver the instructions to get that perfect picture. The next 3 emails dripped over the next couple of weeks are informative and giving more helpful DSLR instructions.
- Your fifth and last email has a link to your free webinar about “4 manual presets every novice photographer should know.” When they click the webinar link, it sends the reader to a landing page with a countdown, registration, and summary. You also send the landing page link out on social media and your newsletter.
- You rock your webinar on the landing page and and mention there is an advanced course available for purchase called, “Mastering Manual Mode on your DSLR Camera.” The buy link is right below the webinar screen and some of your viewers buy your course, thus, completing your sales funnel.
It’s a beautiful thing, right? The concept, not the picture from yours truly.
MEGA BONUS TIP: Work Backwards
Work backwards if you want to work intentionally and stop guessing what needs to be done next.
Create your product first, or at least have an outline done. Then, create your webinar topic, with email sequences being next. And because you know all your content already, you can create lots of awesome lead magnets taken directly from your previous steps. Your creation process becomes hyper focused and productive!
If I could draw better, there’d be an upside down funnel with people sliding out inserted here>!<
*Note* You don’t have to do a webinar. Feel free to substitute it with another value-filled option like YouTube videos, an email course, or an e-book. Whatever allows you to ask for the sale after you provided them with actionable wins.
To sum it up:
If you still have a sidebar opt-in that says “Join my newsletter”, just stop. Take it down now unless it’s converting extremely well, and btw, it’s not. I care too much about your success to see that taking up your web estate.
No matter what niche you’re in, try making a new lead magnet and opt-in this week. If you don’t have a product idea yet, no worries! Just getting people on your email list will pay off huge down the road when you do create your first course and are ready to sell it.
Or maybe it is time to start thinking about your course outline and work backwards! Either way, take action this week!
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