Opt-In Rate for Email Marketing

email opt-in rate
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Getty Images/Enis Aksoy 

If you are engaged in any type of email marketing (and you should be), then one of the key things you are focused on and trying to improve is your email opt-in rate, the number of people who get onto your email marketing list.

Email Marketing Opt-in Rate refers to the percentage of site visitors who subscribe to your email list. As an example, if you had 100 visitors visit your website or landing page and 20 people subscribed to your email list, then you would have an opt-in rate of 20%. Subscribing to an email list is voluntary, so site visitors should be given a good reason or incentive to want to opt-in to your email list. Typical free offers include free special reports, white papers, and special discount codes amongst other things.

What is a Good Email Opt-in Rate?

There are many factors that determine what your opt-in rate is. This can vary depending on the industry you are in, how you are getting traffic to your website, and what type of offer you are incentivizing people with to get them to subscribe.

As an example, if you are running ads to cold traffic on Google or Facebook to get them to sign up for a webinar, then your email opt-in rate will be much lower than if you are emailing your existing subscribers who already know, like, and trust you to register for the same webinar.

With that in mind, generally speaking, an average opt-in rate on a website can be anything from less than 1% to 5% or more. Anything less than 1% can probably be improved by making some additional changes discussed below. You can also significantly increase your email opt-in rate by driving your traffic to a dedicated email capture landing page, commonly referred to as a "squeeze page". Opt-in rates on a squeeze page can be as high as 25% or more.

As mentioned above, if you are running ads to cold traffic (people who never heard of you before) you'll get lower opt-in rates than if you're sending traffic from warm traffic (such as an endorsement from a trusted source or your own house email list).

Overall you'll always see better email opt-in rates on a dedicated landing page or squeeze page than you will on a standard web page. We'll discuss this in more detail below.

How to Increase Your Email Opt-in Rates with Squeeze Pages

There are a number of ways to increase email opt-in rates. One strategy is to send your traffic to a dedicated landing page (also known as a squeeze page) instead of your regular home page. A squeeze page is a landing page on your site that is solely dedicated to promoting your free offer and capturing the visitors information. There are no other links or things to distract the visitor, leading to much higher opt-in rates on average.

Opt-in rates for squeeze pages can be anything from 10% to 20%, or much higher.

As you can note from the example above, some best practices for an effective squeeze page include:

  • A headline that explains the big benefit of your free offer.
  • A picture that represents your free offer (book picture, video screen shot, etc.).
  • Some copy that further explains the benefits of the free offer.
  • A call-to-action (tell them to enter their name to get access).
  • Form fields for them to enter their name and email and a call-to-action button.

Other helpful things that can increase the conversions of your squeeze pages include having credibility logos and an email privacy statement.

Note: the example above is an example of a "short form" squeeze page. It's also worthwhile testing a "long form" squeeze page where you have a lot more copy and information that describes the free offer in depth.

Squeeze pages can be very short, or in some cases can include much longer copy selling the benefits of the free offer; but either way a short form or long form squeeze page will always include a benefit driven headline, some bullet points pointing out additional benefits of the free offer, a picture of the free offer (if applicable), and a good call-to-action asking them to opt-in.

How to Increase Email Opt-in Rates with Pop-Ups

Another method to increase your conversion rate is to use a pop-up tool. This tool will place your offer right in front of you site visitors, so they can't ignore it. They could close it, but not before seeing your offer. If you include compelling reasons to subscribe in this small pop up window you should see your opt-in rate increase significantly.

A pop up tool that stands out above the rest is Popup Domination. It works smoothly and can increase conversion rates by up to 500%. Though you may hear many people complain about how they don't like pop-ups and that they are annoying; if used properly pop-ups can be an extremely effective way to build your list with out being an unwanted distraction on your site.

Many good email autoresponder services, such as AWeber, will have pop-up tools available as well.

The key is to only make your pop-up appear once; if the visitor wants to subscribe they will, if not don't annoy them and drive them away by repeatedly displaying the pop-up.

Even if you are using a pop-up, you'll still want to include regular opt-in forms on your website.

The Best Tools for Handling Your Email Opt-in Subscribers

When it comes to email marketing, you'll want to use an email autoresponder service, also known as an email service provider, to handle the management and emailing of your list.

Your email service provider will act as a CRM solution, storing the names and email addresses (and the information you may have collected) as well as handing the actual email delivery; ensuring that the emails you send get delivered to your prospects and customers. 

They'll also unsubscribe and remove people from your email list who no longer want to receive emails from you, keeping in compliance with anti-spam laws.

Popular email service providers include AWeber, iContact, GetResponse, Constant Contact, and MailChimp, just to name a few.

Note: This article has been updated by Online Business/Hosting Expert Brian T. Edmondson