By Ian Brodie

In my previous article on building a big, engaged email list I highlighted the two factors that will motivate potential clients and customers to become subscribers: the Long Term Value they see from your emails and any Short Term Incentive you offer them.

There are two other critical factors, but both of these will stop people subscribing so you need to make sure you reduce them as much as possible.

The first negative factor is Friction. This is the way that the design of your site and the layout of your optin forms might get in the way and slow up people from subscribing.

So, for example, if your optin form is buried at the bottom of key pages instead of appearing prominently. Or if you send traffic to your home page instead of a dedicated landing page geared up to encourage people to opt in.

Or if you try to collect too much data on your optin form it ust becomes a hassle for potential subscribers. Or if your form is unclear. Or if there are lots of shiny objects elsewhere on your page that distract your potential subscribers: social media icons, latest tweets, animation or video.

You’ve got to minimize those friction factors. Make sure your optin form is clearly visible at key locations across your site. Reduce the distractions (after all, what do you really want people to do: subscribe to your emails or head off to Twitter to see your latest tweets).

The second negative factor is Perceived Risk. If your potential subscribers fear that signing up is going to result in them getting hit by spam or worse, then they’ll be very reluctant to hand over their email address.

You sometimes see sparse looking websites with big shouty red headlines and unbelievable promises being hailed as best practice optin pages.
Maybe in the get rich quick markets, yes. But in the world most of us live in, these sorts of pages and forms just get our potential clients (normal human beings) to start running for the hills.

Instead we need our sites and forms to look trustworthy. So if you have been awarded any trust seals or certifications that would indicate this, show them. Potentially include quotes or testimonials from readers of your emails – giving people confidence in them.

And have an anti-spam policy that potential subscribers can click on and read if they want.

Getting people to opt in is reliant on grabbing people’s attention, but also on winning their trust. So make sure your site and your forms don’t scare potential subscribers away.
So those are the big four factors. Highlight the Long Term Value of your emails. Give away a related Short Term Incentive. Then minimize Friction and Perceived risk.

Get that right and your email list will begin growing. Fast.

Ian Brodie is the author of The Art Of Email: 7 Success Strategies for Effective Email Marketing. He teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals how to attract and win more clients using online marketing.