(Note: Welcome dannyvankooten.com readers. I hope this guide is helpful in configuring Danny’s awesome plugin, which has helped more than double my newsletter signup rate.)
Earlier this week Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income (SPI) blog shared with his audience a number of things that had helped increase his subscription newsletter conversion rate. Something that has worked out really well for Pat was to add a “Subscribe Me” check-box in the comment box area for his posts. His solution was to purchase a particular pricey plugin that did just that. I figured there had to be a better way (read: cheaper). Fortunately, I found Danny’s excellent (free!) plugin.
(Note: Danny has updated his plugin to a much better version. This one works great for me still, so I’m not updating yet. Check out Danny’s new plugin at the bottom of this post and feel free to test out the subscribe checkbox by leaving a comment here :-) Thanks for the feedback!)
Increasing Your Sign Up Conversion Rate
If you are designing a website, unless the sole purpose is to share information with minimal reader interaction, you’d ideally like the reader to perform a particular action. Whether you want them to download an e-book you have created, sign up for a newsletter, purchase something, or even read more of your content, you have to make it easier for the reader to accomplish the particular action. This is known as a “call to action” item.
Whether we would like to admit it or not, most of us look for shortcuts when doing things. Without the “Subscribe Me” check-box, the reader would have to go back to the “Subscribe Box” and fill out the name and e-mail address. Maybe they intended to sign up for the newsletter upon first arriving to the website, but were distracted by an enticing headline or something else in your website that led them away from the “Subscribe Box.” And BAM!, just like that, the conversion opportunity has been lost. Putting a “Subscribe Me” check-box in your comment box makes it convenient for the reader to sign up for your newsletter, since they only have to enter the information once.
Everything that you design for your website has to be created with usability in mind. This is why Apple has the market share it has. The User Interface (UI) in their devices make them intuitive and easy to use. If your site is difficult to use, or confusing, it will not leave a good impression. You might have incredible content, but if nobody can get to it or it’s hard for somebody to get to it, then the reader misses out. I have learned very useful information regarding this topic that I’m sure will help some of you out there. I will be sharing this in the very near future.
There are a number of ways that you can add a “call to action” subscriber check-box to your comment box. Pat shared the method that he uses on his post. Since I am a blogger who recently started, I have the “luxury” of investigating what are the most cost effective ways to accomplish what I want to do with my website. Either that, or I’m too cheap to spend for something when I can do it for free with similar or slightly more effort. ;-)
I would like to share with you today a new plugin I’ve discovered called “Qoate Newsletter Sign-Up.” It is completely free, and you can add this plugin directly from your WordPress interface to add as you would any new plugin. This plugin works very well and will allow you to add a “Subscribe Me” check-box to your comment box.
Here are the step-by-step directions on how to add the Qoate Newsletter plugin to your website. Keep in mind that I use MailChimp as my e-mail list manager. You may have to adjust a couple of things based on your particular e-mail manager, but it should not be much different than what I’m about to show you.The developer of the plugin has a website with useful instructions, but I felt clearer instructions could make the process easier for some. Also, I’d like to mention that I’m not the creator of the plugin and offer no guarantees, explicit or implied, by the installation of the plug in.
Bear with me if some of the stuff seems elementary, but I want to show all steps, even basic ones, to help the most number of people.
The first thing you need to do is log into your WordPress admin interface. Go to your menu, type “Qoate Newsletter” and press search.
The search should come up with the Qoate Newsletter sign up plugin. Install the plugin.
Once you install the plugin look for it on the list of installed plug-ins. Click on <Settings> to view Qoate Newsletter’s plugin settings. The following window should come up:
There are three settings above that you should concern yourself with. They are:
Newsletter Form Action: Here, you will input the URL to let Qoate know where to forward the subscriber’s information to,
E-mail identifier: This is the standard variable name for e-mail list managers, so you should not have to change this.
Subscriber with name: You will be checking this box to add the name variable and forward this along the subscriber’s e-mail address. I will show you how I obtained that. For your reference, most likely the first name field will be called FNAME, unless you have changed it to something else (unlikely).
Now that you know what information you need to obtain, let’s go ahead and log in to MailChimp or your favorite e-mail list manager. Once you are in MailChimp’s main Dashboard page, click on the tab to view your current lists. Your list needs to be set ahead of time, or you won’t have any List to forward and add names to. Assuming you have your List already created and ready to accept names, we need to obtain the three pieces of data that we need in order to configure the plugin. You can obtain all this information just by contacting your e-mail list support team, but I’m sort of impatient and I like to learn how to do things myself in order to show others how to do them as well.
Here’s a screen-shot of my e-mail list settings:
Click on <Forms> to view your Sign-up form, if not already selected, and click on <Create Embedded Code For Small Form>. Once you are in the next page, scroll down to view the code. We are looking for the Form Action URL. Once you find the Form Action URL, set it aside in a Notepad text file for future reference.
Once you’re done copying the URL, back out to the previous page to verify the that you have to correct e-mail and name field settings. Click on the “First Name” on your sign-up form, then go to the sidebar to the right and click on the tab. This will reveal the variable name that your e-mail list manager uses for first names. It should be called FNAME by default.
Do the same for e-mail and click on the E-mail Address field. Click on the sidebar to the right to verify what your e-mail list manager uses for the e-mail variable name. It should be EMAIL by default. If it is not, it may need to be changed. Make sure that you do not break any other forms you have set up elsewhere if you do this.
Now that we have our three pieces of information, we can head back to the WordPress admin interface.
1- On the Newsletter Form Action field enter the URL that you obtained from your e-mail list manager.
2- Then, I clicked on the “Subscribe With Name” checkbox because I wanted to obtain my subscriber’s name in order to address him or her by their name, instead of their e-mail or their e-mail username. Makes e-mails more personal when you address people by name. Enter the name identifier that you obtained from your e-mail list manager. I entered FNAME here.
Right below that, you will see a box that will allow you to specify what you want to have appear next to the checkbox. This can be anything you want.
3-Below that, there is an option to have the checkbox already checked for the user automatically. I personally would not recommend you do this, as someone can inadvertently forget to uncheck it and sign up for your newsletter without intending to do so. And that would be a BIG NO-NO, unless angry “Unsubscribe Me!” e-mails are your thing. I would leave the last two boxes unchecked as well.
And this is what my new “Subscribe Me” checkbox looks like now on my site:
I hope this was helpful and has provided value for your business. :-)