A customer sign-up form — or rather, the lack of one — is one of the most common mistakes of small business websites. Look around. You’ll see more than half of them don’t have one.
A sign-up form is the first step toward building your own in-house mailing list. Without one, you have no way of getting back in touch with people who were interested enough to visit your website in the first place.
It’s like owning a retail store, watching customers come and go, and having no way to get in touch with them in the future. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what happens in most stores. That’s another advantage a business website has over a costly bricks-and-mortar location.
Provide valuable content and they’ll want more
If your website content is strong and original, and optimized to attract search engines (SEO), you should see traffic arriving from Google, Yahoo, Bing and the others. If your visitors stick around long enough to visit a few pages of your content, or read a few blog posts, chances are they’re interested in whatever you’re selling. They’re probably not ready to buy, but they are interested.
So why let them leave without at least asking for their e-mail address?
Starting your own in-house mailing list is the beginning of what’s known as permission marketing or relationship marketing. The idea is to establish a relationship with prospective customers, and let them get to know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you. Then you ask for their e-mail address, and permission to contact them again in the future.
After all, it’s much easier to sell something to an existing customer than to a complete stranger. So get to know your customers, and let them get to know you.
May I call you again sometime?
A sign-up form is the quickest and easiest way to obtain their contact information. you can write the code yourself, but e-mail service providers like AWeber, Constant Contact and Mailchimp not only manage your mailing list, automatically adding new subscribers and removing old ones, but they even make it easy to create a sign-up form you can add to your website.
If you hate messing around with technical stuff and need help adding a sign-up form to your small-business website, contact me and I’ll be glad to help.
The next challenge is making them want to join your mailing list. How do you accomplish that? We’ll cover that next time.
A few seats are still available for my E-mail Marketing for Small Businesses and Non-profits class beginning next Tuesday (Sept 28) in Sanford Maine. Click here for info and (if you’re in the area) to enroll.