K.I.S.S.: The Most Effective Way to Grow Email Opt-Ins

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Posted: October 7, 2013 | Email Marketing

It was Sunday morning. I needed spackle.

I grabbed my 16-month old son, strapped him into his car seat, and sped off to my local hardware store, Orchard Hardware Supply.

If you have ever gone to the store with a 16-month-old, you know your time is limited. Being that our son is our second child, I’m (somewhat) of a pro when it comes to efficiently navigating a store. I located the spackle, grabbed a six pack (of batteries), and was in the checkout line in record time.

As I swiped my credit card, the cashier asked me a simple question:

Cashier: Are you part of Club Orchard?

Me: Uh, no. What’s that?

Her: Oh, it’s our reward program. You earn points for every $1 you spend.

Me: Sounds great, but I don’t have time to fill out the form right now (pointing to my son who was squirming in my arms).

Her: I totally get that. Here’s the thing: You don’t have to fill out any forms or write anything. All I need is your email address and phone number. It will take less than 10 seconds.

Me: Sold. Let’s do it.

 18 characters and 7 numbers later, I was in. Club Orchard, here I come!

Why I Joined Club Orchard

All too often, marketers (myself included!) over-complicate stuff. We force potential consumers/clients/(email) subscribers to jump through so many hoops, all to access information that we desperately WANT them to consume.

That was not the case with Orchard. Instead, they followed the K.I.S.S. rule — Keep It Simple, Stupid (or “Silly,” if you’d prefer).

Instead of asking me to fill out a long form with my name, phone number, email address, home address, and so on, I simply needed to tell the cashier my email address and phone number (to access my account) and watch as she keyed them into her system. Done. If I can sign-up while holding a 16-month-old, I’m in.

The second reason I joined Club Orchard was that the cashier was proactive. Not only did she mention the program – which most employees fail to do — she told me WHY I should join. She gave me the WIIFM.

The Ever-So-Critical First Email

The welcome email – the first email you send after a subscriber opts-in – tends to have a very high engagement rate. It makes sense if you think about it: You just signed up. It’s an email that you want AND expect. Win-win.

After my simple in-store opt-in at Orchard Hardware Supply, I waited with much anticipation – as only an email marketing guy could – to receive the welcome email.

And Orchard did not disappoint. Though I wished the welcome email was sent immediately, based on the send time (6:05AM), my guess is that they batch all of the previous day’s opt-ins and send them the following morning. Certainty could be more immediate, but less than 24 hours still works.

Here is the email Orchard sent me.

Subject Line: Welcome to Club Orchard!

Club Orchard thank you for joining

Simple. Direct. Actionable.

To be a bit nitpicky, I would have liked to see a bit more copy – reiterating what’s in it for me (WIIFM), what to expect going forward, and so on. Also, I would have made that “register now” button a heckuva lot bigger – IN YOUR FACE big. But again, that’s just me being critical. For all I know, they’ve tested this welcome email and this one performs the best.

But It Gets Better

If I wasn’t an email marketing guy, I would have clicked to register for Club Orchard. But, I didn’t. Why? I wanted to see if their marketing automation program was smart enough to know that I didn’t register.

Lo and behold, exactly 24 hours later, I received this email:

Subject Line: Register your Club Orchard account now and receive a $5 off $25 coupon

Club Orchard thanks again for joining

So not only was their marketing automation program smart enough to know I had not yet registered, their team added a small incentive to register. I love it.

But again, I didn’t click on the “register now” button. I wanted to see how this would play out.

Exactly 5 days after the first reminder/incentive email was sent, I received… the exact same email. Same subject line, same copy, same incentive.

If I were advising Orchard, I’d have suggested mixing up the subject line and/or changing the copy a bit – get a bit more creative, have more fun with the messaging. But overall, I love so much about this welcome series.

Notice I said welcome series. Not welcome email. Not confirmation email. Not thank you email. WELCOME SERIES. Better yet, an intelligent, automated, well-thought out welcome series. And that’s the key. Your welcome series should be a smart program. Not a single (dumb) email.

Combining a “K.I.S.S.”-approved in-store email opt-in process with a smart, automated welcome series is the first critical step toward a healthy email marketing relationship. In order to maintain and grow your customer relationships, your company’s focus should shift toward consistent, timely, targeted, valuable, human email messages. For tips on maintaining your list once you’ve compiled it, check out this post.

If you have a brick and mortar store, what does your opt-in process look like? How easy (or hard) do you make it for potential subscribers to opt-in on your website? Once you have their email address, do you send a welcome email or a mini-series?

We’d LOVE to hear from you. Drop your comment(s) below.

DJ Waldow is the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Marketo, a writer, speaker, and a co-author of The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing. He also hosts two podcasts – The Work Talk Show (a podcast about how work gets done) and The Marketing Nation (Marketo's podcast about all things digital marketing). DJ is a knowledge craver, a sponge, and a lover of beer, coffee, and people (in no particular order).

Read DJ's Blogs

Do your #emailmarketing opt-ins follow the K.I.S.S. rule? Here's how to make easy, actionable opt-ins. @djwaldow.

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