One of the most frustrating things about email marketing for bloggers is building opt-in forms.
If you have one list, one sign up offer, etc – then one opt-in form might be fine.
But, typically, you want a different offer for different blog posts.
Some of your pop-up forms might be time sensitive. So, you want the ability to change these out quickly etc.
Sigh. The frustration.
As tempting as it may be, using the forms builder in your email service provider is a big mistake, in my book.
For several reasons …
Why You Should Not Use the Opt-In Forms from Your Email Service Provider
I’ll start with the number one reason –
1. What Happens if You Switch Email Service Providers?
Think about it.
You are chugging along, happily adding form after form to each post on your website.
Maybe you have several opt-in offers, each one a little different.
Suddenly a better service comes along and you decide to switch.
Now, you have to go back through every post and page on your blog and change out the code for the opt-in box.
Holy canoli – how long will that take?
And how many new subscribers will you miss while you transition?
If you use an opt-in service like ConvertPlus (formerly ConvertPlug), Optin Monster, Thrive Leads, MailMunch, SumoMe, or any of the options mentioned here on Blogging Wizard, etc – all you need to do is change the API connection in the plugin for each form.
There is no need to go back to each post and physically change the code.
2. You Don’t Get Enough Functionality
The forms builder in your email service provider typically doesn’t provide much “smart” functionality – as compared to some opt-in forms services.
Take Thrive Leads for example.
In Thrive Leads you can set an opt-in form to show on specific posts, specific categories of posts, specific tags, etc.
You can also set the opt-in form to show up after say, for example, the 5th paragraph on each post in a category.
You can toggle the boxes on and off right from your Thrive Leads dashboard. And you can arrange the priority of a group of opt-ins and layer the order in which they will show – so you don’t end up bombarding your reader with 10 pop up forms by mistake.
And in Convert Plus – you can schedule the start and end dates for your opt-in forms. This is pretty cool if you are tying your opt-ins to a limited time promotion.
Set them up in advance and schedule them to go live. There is no need for you to be sitting at your computer in the middle of the night to manually flip the switch when the promotion starts and ends.
3. You Will Spend Too Much Time on Your Designs
While many email service providers allow you to duplicate a form – you can actually create a template within many standalone forms builders, instead.
Just spend your time once and create design that fits the look and feel of your site.
Then pop in a different photo and update the text whenever you create a new form.
4. You Can’t Track Performance
Many standalone opt-in forms builders give you solid analytics and offer A/B split testing of opt in forms.
In Thrive Leads you can create 2 versions of the same form, set the test to show each variant randomly for a certain amount of time – and when the time passes, the plugin will automatically close the test, and display only the best converting variant.
5. You Can’t Do Anything Other Than Collect Email Addresses
Naturally, your email service provider is focused on helping you build your email list.
But what if you want your forms and pop ups to do something a little more ninja?
Maybe you are an affiliate for XYZ Product.
You want a pop up that announces a once in a lifetime sale.
So, instead of advertising your email list – you can advertise the sale, and then switch back to a sign up when the sale is over.
With Thrive Leads you can even add a two option opt-in, which allows your reader to self select the list they want to be added to.
Let’s say you blog about dogs and cats.
In your opt-in you can ask your readers whether they want info about dogs or cats.
Now are sending more targeted info to your customers/readers.
Using An Opt-In Forms Builder Saves You Time
The bottom line is that using an opt-in forms builder will save you time in the long run.
Typically these services offer:
- easy switching between different email service providers via API
- targeted placement for your opt-in forms
- pre-designed templates as well as template builders
- advanced analytics
- multi functional pop ups
Which Service is Your Favorite?
Tell us about it in the comments below.