Getting Your Ezine Signup Process Right: Seven Key Elements

Ezines can be fantastic marketing tools, and no step in the entire process may be as important to email list building as the first impression you make – namely your signup process.

I would argue that your ezine’s signup process has three general aims: generate the maximum number of signups from the right kind of people, set the expectations of those people accurately, and convey the right image for you and your business.

With those aims in mind, here are seven key elements your ezine signup process should include:

1. A good, automated signup function.

Either via a web-based form (the norm these days), and/or by emailing a given address to request a subscription.

2. Readily apparent contact details.

Just in case there is some problem with the automated signup or for some reason a potential subscriber needs more guidance.

3. Around or on your signup form, a clear and accurate summary of what your subscriber will get when they sign up: what sort of content, and how often.

Of course, your ezine has a commercial purpose, but be aware that overselling, or misleading, is likely to backfire as dissatisfied subscribers bad mouth you or report your emails as spam.

4. Tell people on signup what you will do – and not do – with their email address and other data.

People are extremely anxious these days about the data that is collected about them and what it’s used for, so you need to address this anxiety head-on if you are to maximise signups.

5. Your privacy policy, or a link to it, somewhere that it can be easily found.

Your privacy policy doesn’t need to run to pages and pages – a simple explanation in a few sentences if often enough. But showing that you’re serious about privacy is likely to have a positive impact on signup rates.

6. A (preferably automated) signup confirmation email and/or webpage, as instantaneously as possible after signing up.

Make sure this email answers the question: ‘do I need to do anything else?’ (such as click a link to confirm the subscription). Don’t forget that after you’ve thanked your new subscriber for signing up, this email or message is another chance to build your relationship by directing them to your website, providing more valuable resources, or asking for content ideas.

7. As little information required to sign up as possible.

Too many businesses scare off innumerable potential subscribers by asking for reams of data that they never in fact use. On signup, gather other data from your subscriber if you really need it, but be aware that your signup rates will decrease in proportion to the amount of information you ask for.

For most businesses, the best strategy will be to ask for very limited information first off (maybe just two fields: email and name), in the knowledge that it isn’t all that complicated to go back and get more information, or more extensive permissions, from your subscribers later on. If you do ask for other details, explain at that point why you’re asking.