What’s an “Email Optin” and Does My Website Need It?

Often perceived as an old and inefficient web technology, many small business owners overlook Email when considering outlets for their digital marketing efforts.

With social media playing such a large role in our day-to-day communication, it’s easy to see why one might make such a presumption. However, when it comes to digital marketing, you absolutely need to incorporate email into your strategy. So, how do you go about doing this? Enter the email optin.

What is “Email Optin”?

In short, an Email Optin is a form your website’s visitors see that encourages them to provide an email address. Once submitted, this email address is then added to a database for later retrieval by an individual or group of individuals.

Why should I use an email optin?

The purpose of the optin is two-fold. From the web user’s perspective an optin is a way to acquire content that is presumably “premium”. Special offers, free or discounted products and brand-related announcements are a few examples.

From the business/website owner’s perspective, email optins are there to provide fresh business opportunities and a more personal, direct way of engaging their audience.

Engaging customers can be accomplished on social media as well, but the level of engagement will vary when you compare social media and other marketing options to email. Let’s look at the data to better understand why this is.

According to the provided infographic, email campaigns see 50 to 100 times the click rates of Facebook or Twitter. Also, the expense associated with email marketing is much, much lower than alternative options – email marketing will cost you 10 times less than Facebook and “a lot” less than Google Ads. Check out the infographic for yourself!

Email vs. Social Media: Which Has the Highest Engagement?
Source: Social Media Statistics: Email Still Has the Highest Engagement
From: Devesh Design

How do I get an email optin on my website?

Now that we’ve covered the what and why of email optins, let’s move onto the how.

Integrating email optins on your website will require 2 components. First, you’ll need a database of some sort to store the email addresses that are collected through your website. Secondly, you’ll need a way of actually collecting the email addresses on the front-end of your website. Let’s go into more detail for each of these components…

Component 1: Storing Emails

There are many services that offer comprehensive email marketing services. Pricing and features for each service vary, so check into each one to see which one fits your business needs best. My personal favorite? MailChimp.

MailChimp

Over 10 million people make use of MailChimp – a service that sends out over 600 million emails per day. With their optin services you can monitor the performance of these emails and how many people responded to them. It offers a flexible design, making it easy to use for small businesses or larger companies. It has the ability to integrate with apps you already use like Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Shopify. Finally, its mobile-friendly platform makes it easy for you to assess your email database anytime, anywhere.

AWeber

AWeber offers you the best of both worlds, whether you want a standard pricing plan or a plan for high volume emails. They make sure that your on-the-go lifestyle doesn’t have to be put to a stop in order to check the status of your email subscription. They offer efficient customer support for all your queries and needs. With almost 20 years of experience in the email optin business, they are the name that many trust. Browse their selection of templates, apps, and widgets that you can use to spice up your website and your email list.

OptinMonster

Over 270,000 websites make use of the services at OptinMonster and have praised their lead generation software when it comes to optimizing mailing lists. It’s easy to use and provides you with a customizable platform where you can build your own personal email list based on your own preferences. Like others, their services have built-in analytics making it easy for you and for them to track the progress of your mailings. Their technology and innovative features can help you drag those abandoned visitors onto your family of subscribers.

Component 2: Collecting Emails

Once you know which Email marketing service you wish to use, the next step is to start collecting email address from your website visitors. From a technical standpoint, there are a few ways to do this on your WordPress website.

Plugins

There’s a plugin available for just about everything in WordPress, including email optins. I recommend Bloom by Elegant Themes to my web clients. It’s visually appealing, functional and provides a wide variety of display options. Once you’ve found the plugin you want to use, you’ll need to verify your ownership of the email marketing program that you use. Typically this will involve copying/pasting some kind of token into the plugin’s settings.

Embed Codes

Many email marketing platforms will provide account holders with snippets of code that you can copy/paste anywhere on your site. If this is the route you want to take, just do a search in the respective platform’s help section for where to find these codes.

Contact Forms

Some WordPress contact form programs allow you to automatically opt someone into your list when they send an email through your website. Be very careful if you choose this method as people tend to not appreciate being added to an email list without consent. Make sure you have in writing that submitting the email will opt the user into an email list.

So, what have we learned today?

Email Optins are a cost-effective and reliable way of engaging your existing and potential customers. And with so many options available to WordPress site owners, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t integrate email optins with your digital marketing strategy.

About the Author

My professional experience with the web reaches back more than 8 years. During this time, I've been developing sites for individuals and businesses, working on a team of digital experience analysts as well as providing qualitative and quantitative research surrounding web and mobile technology.

Jonathan

Web Strategist

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