Email Marketing Guidebook: Get People to Join Your List with a Killer Call-to-Action

Bizzy Tips for Growing Subscriber Lists

Whether you are just starting out with list building or you’ve been struggling with growing your subscribers, building up your email list can seem like an overwhelming task.

In this installment of our email marketing series, the Bizzy team breaks down how to create compelling calls to action in your marketing that will grow your email subscriber lists. We’ll take a look at writing tactics and tools you can use to implement them well.

On the fence about email? Take a look at the first post in this series where we highlight the benefits of email marketing.

How do I influence people to sign up?

Your greatest responsibility as a marketer is to influence people to make a buying decision — to convince people to say ‘yes.’ Let’s assume you have an amazing product, a visually stunning website, and useful content for your visitors. However, for some reason, visitors aren’t signing up for your list. The first thing to investigate is how you are crafting your calls to action (CTAs). 
Our best advice is to listen to the wise words of Dr. Robert Cialdini, as outlined in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. By studying marketers, sales people, advertisers, and other people who rely on influence tactics to be successful in their jobs, Dr. Cialdini identified six universal principles of persuasion. They are:

1. Reciprocity

Reciprocity is the idea that humans feel obliged to return favors. Pay for a co-worker’s coffee and she’ll pick up the next one. An example of how you might consider using reciprocity as a marketing tactic would be as follows:

  • Offer visitors a free guide on how to best use your product, and, in exchange, ask for them to post on social media to tell others about how helpful the information was to you.
  • Give away free information or data through useful tools, but ask for permission to send an email marketing message in exchange. GoDaddy’s Get Found tool and Hubspot’s Website Grader tool are great examples.
  • Provide automated product discounts in exchange for an email address.

To implement these tactics, you can set up email autoresponders with links to content or tools like Earn Coupon that make social referrals simple.

Bizzy Email List Building Tips - EarnCoupon
Check out free tools like Earn Coupon make social referrals simple.

2. Commitment & Consistency

Humans have a deep desire for consistency and commitment. Once we’ve decided we’re going to do something, we’re likely to be inclined to see it through. For instance, you’d probably be more likely to support a coworker’s idea at a team meeting if you had shown interest in it when talking with her beforehand. You can leverage this tactic when building your list by:

  • Using a landing page funnel to ask users questions about their habits/preferences, then requesting an email address based on the answers they give.
  • Asking your audience to take an action if a certain event occurs. When the event occurs, you can email them requesting action.

Tools like PicReelLeadPages or Unbounce are built to help you do this. Additionally, you could construct your own list for free with WuFoo.

Bizzy Email List Building Tips - Lead Pages

3. Social Proof

Social proof is a nicer way of saying “herd mentality” or “safety in numbers.” Basically, people are more likely to take an action if they see others are as well. For example, notice how in coffee shops  there is usually already cash in the tip jar (even when you’re first in the door that day)? It’s because people are more likely to give money if someone else already has. How you can leverage social proof in your marketing and calls to action:

  • Show visitors your numbers. Have an active social following on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook? Show those numbers on your site! Have articles that people share a lot? Drive network effects by telling new readers they should share them, too!
  • Get a bit fancy and use Facebook to show your visitors how their friends have engaged with your site or product.
  • Use your customer testimonials on landing pages and your checkout pages. Photos, titles and names work best.

Monarch (WordPress) or Share for Sumome (any site) can help you share your social numbers very easily. For reviews, check out Yotpo.

Bizzy Email List Building Tips - Share by Sumo Me

4. Liking

We are more influenced by people that we like. People like others who are similar to them, familiar to them, or complement them. Thus, it goes to show that people are most likely to buy from people they trust or know.

  • Referrals, referrals, referrals. Ask for them from people who love your product or brand, as they’re the most likely to give you a positive endorsement with their friends.
  • Join in conversations online (forums, blog comments, Twitter, Facebook) and endear yourself to the community. The leaders and members in those groups will help you spread your word.

You can easily capture contact information for referrals with email tools like Bizzy or MailChimp. Additionally, if you want to capture the contact information and offer payouts or tiered incentive structures, check out Ambassador.

Bizzy Email Marketing Tool

5. Authority

We feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority. This is why pharma companies use doctors in their campaigns and why we listen to our bosses (most of the time). Keep in mind, however, that authority only influences when the target believes in the power and authenticity of that authority.

  • If you have meaty blog posts, ask visitors to sign up for access to exclusive information that only you can provide. Most likely, if a visitor makes it to the bottom of your posts, they are interested in what you have to say.
  • In a similar vein, create posts in a series – asking for an email address in exchange for a notification of when posts come out in the future.
  • If you have expert or celebrity endorsements or testimonials, make them prominent in your digital presence.

To share customer testimonials, product reviews, site reviews, or any other type of feedback, check out Taggle. For social reviews, there’s always the tried-and-true Yotpo.

Bizzy Email List Building Tips - Yopto

6. Scarcity

Things are more attractive when availability is limited. When scarcity tactics are employed, people act fast in an effort to make sure they don’t lose the opportunity. Scarcity is the rationale behind the “offer ends soon” or “only 5 remain” deals you may see online or in stores. A few ways to use scarcity tactics:

  • Offer a unique version of your product or service for a limited time in limited quantities. Make sure visitors are aware of this offer before they leave your site via pop ups or other notifications.
  • Incentivize the first X visitors who take an action through a limited release, competition, or raffle. In reality, you’ll get many more.
  • Show the number of people viewing the page a visitor is on. It will help create a sense of urgency.

Exit intent tools like Sumome, Optimonk, Exit Monitor are great at getting the attention of your visitor. A more pervasive option to get your message out there is Hello Bar.

Bizzy Email List Building Tips - Optimonk

A Quick Note on Wording

As we’ve outlined above, wording is definitely not the only crucial component of an effective call to action. However, we would be remiss to not include a few tips on crafting the written portion. A few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Numbers speak the loudest. As indicated in The Science of PR, consider adding the page length of your white paper, the amount of your discount, or the numerical impact of a benefit a potential customer could receive.
  2. Use verbs aggressively and adverbs sparingly. Adverbs get fewer shares on Twitter than adjectives, nouns, and verbs, according to Dan Zarrella’s  Science of Social Media research.
  3. Write in layman terms. In the wise words of Paul Graham, Founder of YCombinator, make your language practical. Vague marketing-speak or overly technical descriptions make it difficult for your customers to relate to your business.

What Comes Next?

The next time you are designing content that is intended to turn a visitor into a subscriber or paying customer, think about how these principles of influence can be put to work to improve your call to action and in turn your conversion rate. Have you seen examples of Cialdini’s six universal principles of persuasion used effectively around the web? If so, please share in the comments!

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