Web Forms and Sign-Up Boxes – Part I

Online entrepreneurs, I’m sure that you have heard many times that one of the most vital things that you must do is “build your mailing list.” Your “list” being the names and e-mail addresses of those people in your niche who have either signed up for your services or purchased a product or are interested in what you have to offer. Why? Because these are the interested prospects that you can market to over and over again.

But where do you begin? Some of the most often-asked questions I hear are, “How do I get people to sign up for my list?” “How do I create a sign-up form?” “Where should I put a sign-up box?” This article is part one of two articles in which I’ll answer these questions and more. This first article will discuss why you should use a list manager program and the basics of what to include when setting up your web form.

The first thing you will need to do is purchase a list management program or service, such as Aweber or Constant Contact. The biggest reasons are: 1) the programs are centrally managed and off-site (broken hard drive + no back up = no list), 2) these programs can handle subscribes and unsubscribes with ease, and 3) once setup, the process is automated.

Once you are setup with your list manager, create a sign-up box on your website and/or blog to capture names and e-mail addresses. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

Here are four things to remember when setting up your sign-up form.

1. Put a form on every page of your website. The reason for this is because you never know from which page the potential prospect is going to enter your site. Users rarely will type in your URL and enter your site through the home page; they will most likely land on a web page after searching through a browser using key words or key phrases.

2. Answer the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) question. Include the answer  next to the sign-up box by giving details about what benefits the prospect will receive if they sign up for your mailing list. These days it’s not enough to just receive a newsletter – give them something of value such as a special report, top ten list, or a free mini e-course.

3. Set expectations by letting them know what it is that they will be receiving and how often. You should also include a link to your privacy policy or state briefly “we will never give away your e-mail address.” The goal here is to reduce friction, remove obstacles, and eliminate fear since identity theft and spam are still big concerns for many people.

4. Thank them. I cannot state this enough, thank these people for taking the time to sign up. Thank them and mean it. Set up your list manager program so that once someone has signed up, he or she is redirected to a thank you page letting them know what is coming next and if there is anything else he or she needs to do, such as confirm an e-mail address.

5. Bonus -Welcome e-mail. This adds a nice touch if you have an autoresponder program. A “Welcome to” e-mail can be used to restate expectations, give more information about the publication, e-course, etc., when it will be sent and how often. More importantly, you are building trust and establishing a rapport between you and your prospects.

Setting up the list manager, whether it is just to send a newsletter or an entire e-course, can be a daunting task and many of you simply do not have the time to do it. This is a perfect task to delegate to your virtual assistant! The most important take-away, however, is to get your web form in place. You can always go back and fine tune the sign-up process, replace the free item, or change the text on your opt-in e-mail. It does not have to be perfect – it just has to be up.

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