By Dan Morris – SEO Consultant, The Munn Group
What is an optin? If you said “ebook”, that’s the wrong answer.
An optin is anything a future customer is willing to trade their contact information to get. That opens your options to things much vaster than ebooks alone. Personally I have worked with clients who have offered:
- Motivational Poster
- Book by mail
- 20 Minute Consultation
- Recorded Conference Session Audio File
- Workshop Ticket
- Free Webinar
- Free Trial of a Service
- Paid Webinar
- Product Comparison Chart
- Case Study
- Cup of Coffee in real life
Each of these things were of value to the readers, but not necessarily the first optin that was tried with the audience. The optin and language leading to the optin defines who is on the list, and if done right exactly what stage of the buying process the prospect is in.
So what is a conversion? The simple answer is a measurable action. If you are measuring optins, then a successful optin would be a conversion. If you are measuring sales, then a successful optin would not be a conversion, but a necessary step on the path to a conversion.
Optins are great for products that have a long lead cycle, where the buyer needs a lot of information or where products are offered to warm market people only. Impulse buys typically fare better when the path to checkout is smooth and simple.
That means that to increase sales conversions, the optin must be necessary, which they aren’t always are. To increase sales conversion it is helpful to mine comments and questions from your audience that you perhaps answered via email or social media that led to a sale.
Amazon, for instance, converts sales at an amazing 13% without offering an optin. Their sales of diapers would likely go down if they offered an ebook on “how to choose diapers” during the sales process.
However, might they do well offer a checklist on “The 13 Things You Need When Planning Your Wedding”? If they asked you for your wedding date as part of the optin process, they could then send you reminder emails of all the things you need between then and your wedding and likely increase sales. ESPECIALLY if they offer services like flowers you didn’t even know they had.
Sometimes sales only come when a person really gets to know you. Businesses like personal coaching and tutoring often require more than a referral but also exposure to the coaches services, personality and ideas. An optin can be used to grow an audience that then gets access to webinars, ebooks, and blog posts all with calls-to-action to consider products and services.
When your business model relies on a warm traffic, an optin is a great way to increase the size of your warm audience.
SOLO EMAIL AND BOUNCE BACKS
For some business models the list size is the monetization model.
Many bloggers make their money with sponsored content. Brands pay them based on social media, blog and email list size. For them optin success leads directly to a larger audience size which leads to higher sponsored post rates.
As a former infomercial marketer myself, we sold access to our email list and our product boxes to marketers. Selling an antioxidant product we were able to put advertisements in the box that got shipped to the consumer. Most of the time it was wrinkle cream companies who were interested in putting this “bounce back ad” in the box. Therefore the larger our customer list, the more we could make in bounce backs.
That was also true with our email list, they offered to pay per subscriber for us to send emails about their cream. Doing the math we figured out the lower our product cost the more we sold. And compared that to the amount of money we’d make in solo emails as the list grew. That’s a great exercise in figuring out the worth of your product and optin.
No matter what. You can’t sell a product or service to someone who’s never met you, nor someone who’s forgotten about you, nor someone who visited your website yesterday and left without a trace.