Analytics and Easy, Actionable Tips for Email List Conversion

Analytics and Easy, Actionable Tips for Email List Conversion

"Back in September I wrote a post for this blog about the mindset of great email marketers: that they are always looking at the data and using the quantitative results to improve their future performance."

Back in September I wrote a post for this blog about the mindset of great email marketers ( -- that they are always looking at the data and using the quantitative results to improve their future performance.

Anyone who visits your site is a good candidate to become an email subscriber – well, with the exception of those that are already subscribers. Which is why I use a metric that attempts to adjust for this.

I call it the Website Email Conversion Rate.

It’s calculated by dividing the number of email signs-ups by the unique new visitors to the site. Here’s an example:OI Blog Jennings Image 12-Dec-2013-1

I use the new visitors number instead of total visitors as an attempt to weed out those who are already subscribers. It’s not a perfect solution, I’ll admit. But it’s a good start.

Now, I realize that not everyone will sign-up for your email newsletter during their first visit – for some it may take a couple times before they’re convinced. But your goal should be to convert as many first-time visitors as possible.

I’ve see this metric as high as 80% -- but that was for a micro-site with the sole purpose of lead generation (and, as you can see from the metric, it was very good at that). I’m also seen this metric below 1% -- which means there was a huge opportunity for improvement.

So what should your goal for this metric be? Most of the clients I work have Website Email Conversion Rates between 5% and 20%. There’s no right answer to this – and remember that this doesn’t take into account quality of the subscriber (meaning do they open, click and act on your emails).

So how do you set your goal? Figure out your current baseline and then make it a goal to increase that by 10%. If you’re average right now is 10.2% (from the example above), set your new goal at 11.2%. Then start testing.

There are really simple ways to improve your Website Email Conversion Rate. Here are a few.

It’s always good to look at your sign-up process itself, calculate the completion and abandon rates from the first page of the sign-up form to the thank you page and see if you can improve. But this is a detailed optimization process.

Let me give you some ‘quick hit’ ways to improve your conversion rate which don’t take much time or many resources.

1.Include the call-to-action to sign-up for email on every page of your Website

Sounds simple right? But many sites still limit their email sign-ups to the home page and maybe a few other key pages. With deep linking you never really know where a visitor will enter your site. You also don’t know when they’ll be motivated to subscribe.

For some the home page content may be enough; others may need to read a few of your archived archives or learn a bit more about your product offering before they feel there’s value in having an email relationship with your organization. So put the call-to-action on every page.

2.Place the call-to-action above the fold

Everyone wants their content on the home page – and no one wants to be below the fold. This is an issue I’ve seen time and again with my clients. Here’s the thing – for most companies the email sign-up is critical to growing the email list. It’s the life blood of your company and it’s not difficult to make the case for giving it a prominent position.

Most Websites have a primary goal – either direct sale, lead generation, eyeballs (if you’re advertising supported). But all Websites should have the secondary goal of getting visitors to sign-up for email. Because in most cases only a small percentage of visitors will accomplish your primary goal – but if you can get those that don’t to sign-up for email, you have the chance to continue to speak to them about the primary goal.

Simply moving the call-to-action from below the fold to above the fold can cause a dramatic lift in your Website Email Conversion Rates. With one recent client I was able to generate a 30% lift (from 13% to 17%), just by moving the call-to-action up – we didn’t change anything else about it except where it appeared on the page. What would a 30% lift in monthly email list growth, with no loss of quality, do for your email program?

3.Make the call-to-action copy benefit-oriented

Again, this sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But many organizations still assume that saying “sign up for our email newsletter” is enough to drive opt-ins. It’s not. No one *needs* another email newsletter – but if you’re offering information that will help them do their job better or enjoy their life more, they’ll gladly sign-up.

So figure out what your email program offers and use that as a way to motivate people to sign-up. If you look at your email program and there’s really nothing of value, then you’ve got a larger task to undertake. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

Enjoy your holidays!