Do you inadvertently make it difficult for your people to join your email list? Are you driving traffic to your sign up page but wondering why no one becomes a new email subscriber?
It could be that people are intimidated by your legal jargon and disclaimers. You may be scaring them to death or just boring them away from you in droves.
That's what happens when lawyers and other traditional professionals do email marketing. They make you think they really don't want your business all that much. Or that you're not educated enough to understand it.
Here's an extreme example. Imagine that you are interested in hiring a lawyer for some advice. You find the lawyer's website and manoever your way to a page that seems like the natural place to request his services. But there is an opt-in "gate:" You must request a fee schedule first. so you enter your name and email address and you receive....
- What is the legal definition of "contemplation?"
- For what other purpose might I use these fees, if not to see what he's going to charge me?
- By the way, yes I DO (well I might) "intend" to establish a client/attorney relationship by way of this form. I just want to see what I'm getting into -- my hand's on my pocketbook here.
- And what's with "fee schedule" anyway? He just means "prices," right???
- Should I "confirm?" I'm relieved he didn't say "submit!"
I hope I don't sound like the dullest knife in the drawer here, but I've been reading stuff on the internet for too many years for this to even sound serious. If I were really looking to hire a lawyer, I might just call. Maybe.
The POTENTIAL client decides to click "Confirm." What does he see in his inbox?
The top part of this is great. He can actually download the form he needs. The bottom part is not so great. Your reader might be un-inclined to sign up for a newsletter as long as he can just grab that form and run.
Now if there were a check box to tick at the same time; then he would not be forced to choose one or the other. He could get the form and the newsletter both. With this There is no clear assurance that if he clicks on the newsletter sign-up that he will be redirected tot the fees form he's being asked to request in the first place!
What would you do?
I understand that this is a litigious culture we live in, but I think this might be overkill. This legal language may not out of place on a lawyer's website (I'll admit that different professions maintain certain tones and styles), but I think it deserves questioning.
Some marketers make the mistake of scaring people away with the wrong message because they don't want to tell their client or employer that she's wrong. Some just take the content they are given and run with it, without viewing it with the eyes of a 3am internet searcher. Both are wrong (or lazy) and are not serving their customers well.
Here are some roadblocks to attracting people online:
- Captchas: those codes you have to re-type in order to get something, subscribe to something, or even leave something like a comment on a blog post. As bothersome as these are (I've rarely entered one correctly on the first try) I'm thinking of creating a captcha for a couple of blogs I keep because of all the spam comments we receive!)
- Receiving a verbal okay (to join a list) and then insisting on a double opt-in again. You don't have to do this; as long as you keep a list of verbal email sign-ups, you'll be able to prove (in the unlikely case you'd ever need to) your voluntarily-given email addresses. It could even be within your cash register software or handwritten in a guest book. Or it could be just a check mark on a business card given to you by someone who agreed to receive your newsletter.
- Asking people to fill out too many fields on a sign up form. Unless it's critical to doing business, err on the side of discretion. Don't be intrusive; your best prospects will tell you everything you need to know the closer they get to doing business with you. The information you really need (maybe not the info you necessarily want) is the stuff that helps you serve your customer better. When the time is right, send a survey. Cater to the ongoing bits of info that your readers give you voluntarily through clicks and opens. Reading your email statistics goes a long way toward keeping the conversation rolling along. Of course, the time may come when you'll want to pick up the phone and speak to your potentially "close-to-closing" customer personally, but chances are good that moment is not at the beginning of the sales cycle for most email subscribers. A premature phone call may not even serve your small business!
- This is the one our legal site was guilty of...Using technical or trade jargon on your most visited webpages. Remember that people are searching the web because they don't have all the answers. They need simple and clear information from you. That's why they are online looking for it. Write as if you are talking to a curious and intelligent 10 year old -- not an insider to your trade. If you must use a concept that needs explaining, then by all mains explain it! Create an FAQ page and link to it as needed.
Written by Jen McGahan