The Opt-In Form:
Easily Get More Quality Leads
The opt-in form must make it easy for a prospect to provide two critical pieces of information: an email address, and a name. The form must be carefully designed to get this information effectively.
As explained in my article, “Profitable Ads: How to Write Ads that Pull,” if the other ad components have been crafted properly, your visitors will already be “presold” on what you are offering them. The opt-in form must eliminate any misgivings a visitor might have about filling out the form and hitting the submit button. The basic components of the opt-in form work together to accomplish this.
The basic components of an opt-in form are:
Contact Collection Fields
Call to Action
At the top of the opt-in form, you remind your prospects what you are offering and what they need to do to get it. Here is a sample call to action:
“To get my FREE 5-part report about creating effective squeeze pages, enter your name and email below. I'll send the first part to you immediately.”
The submit-button text can also be used as an additional call to action. For example, the text could be changed to somethiing like, "Send the Report Now."
Contact Collection Fields
For lead capture, the minimum required information should be a prospect's first name and primary email address. Asking for just a first name allows the prospect to maintain some anonymity and is less threatening. If required to enter a last name, some prospects will shy away from completing the form.
As marketers, we tend to want as much contact information as we can get. However, you will lose prospects if you try for too much information too soon. You must gain their trust first before asking for more personal information. By asking for a phone number or, much worse, making a phone number a required field, you will drastically reduce the number of your opt-in prospects.
Internet savvy prospects understand that email is commonly used to collect additional information but might resist initially providing this information on the opt-in form. The simple rule is to “keep the opt-in form simple.” Follow-up emails can build the trust and interest your prospects need to provide additional information.
Just below the email collection field, I like to include a little reminder as to the importance of entering a *primary* email address to ensure that my future emails to the prospect will be delivered. You can include your privacy statement with this. Here is a sample “reminder:”
“To insure immediate delivery, please use your *primary* email address. I will never disclose it to anyone.”
Before prospects fill in an email collection field, they need to know that this will not result in the distribution of their email address to others. Some opt-in forms go overboard on this. A simple statement telling your prospect that their email address will remain private is enough. A somewhat lengthy privacy statement might be ...
“We hate SPAM as much as you do and will make sure you never get any from us. If at any time you feel our emails are no longer serving you, you may unsubscribe by clicking a single link in all emails we send to you. We will never disclose your email address to anyone.”
A privacy statement such as the one above will help to build trust with your prospect and will more likely result in a valid name and email address.
The layout and appearance of your opt-in form is important.
I like to put a red, dashed border around the opt-in form. Using an appropriate background color for the form will make it easy to read and any colored text within the form will show to advantage.
As a trust-building measure, I like to include my contact information at the bottom of the form. This lets prospects know that they are dealing with a “real,” reachable person.
Putting It All Together
The image below shows part of a squeeze page designed to capture leads for a detailed ebook on creating effective squeeze pages.
The primary function of a graphic in an opt-in form is to draw the eye to important, nearby text. In the opt-in form above, I used the image to draw the eye close to my contact information. My photo also serves as an additional trust-building measure.
Adding multimedia doesn't always make an ad or opt-in form more effective. The only way to be sure if the multimedia helps is to run a split-test in the marketplace: run the ad or form with and without the multimedia and keep the one that works best.
Three basic components must be carefully designed into an effective opt-in form: call to action, contact collection fields, and privacy statement.
Asking for too much information in the opt-in form will discourage prospects from submitting the form and becoming a lead for your information, product, or service. Keep the form simple and utilize the trust-building techniques outlined above.
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