Nick@mindheros was just added to your company’s email list.
You just got another email subscriber – me.
I’m probably on 30-40 email lists.
And I have signed up for and later unsubscribed from hundreds of others.
So I know the drill.
US companies send 1.47 million emails per month.
That means that a whole hell of a lot of people are on email lists.
They know the drill.
It’s time to stop sending people to an asinine page that only says “Check your email.”
[bctt tweet=”Stop sending people to an asinine page that only says “Check your email.”” username=”nickajulia”]
You’re wasting valuable real estate and attention, and you business is losing sales.
When someone signs up for your email list, they make micro-commitment.
When someone buys from you, they make a big commitment.
The moment after someone makes a commitment is the best time to offer them something else – an upsell or cross-sell.
Upsells & cross-sells work.
For e-commerce sites, upsells and cross-sells are responsible for an average of 10-30% of revenue.
But very few use this strategy when it comes to emails, which is a missed opportunity.
For most SAAS and B2B companies, a key to growth is getting people to sign up for a free trial of the software or passing the lead on to the sales team right away.
Rather than focus on getting an email and stopping there, why wouldn’t you use a confirmation page to upsell the person who just signed up for your email list?
The Bad Economics of Email
Most readers will never see your emails.
The average B2B email open rate is 24%.
Even fewer people will take action based on an email you send. On average, 14% will click on a link.
For B2B SAAS Companies
People that have signed up for your free trial will be much more receptive to your emails than people who have just signed up to a list.
Rob Walling is CEO of Drip, which is a self-funded startup and an email service provider. He’s founded several SAAS companies and has intimate knowledge about email open rates in SAAS. On Quora, he explained the open rates you should be seeing from free trial subscribers:
“For trial users I like to see a 60–70% open rate for the first email in the sequence, and would expect a 3–5% decrease in open rate for each subsequent email in the sequence.
Below 50% and either your deliverability or your subject line needs improvement.
But that’s for B2B with CC up-front. For prosumers and no-CC…I’d hope for 40–50% for the first email, with a similar 3–5% decay per subsequent email in the sequence.”
People who have made a higher level of commitment respond better to your emails.
So it makes sense to try very hard to get a free trial sign-up right away.
Should I Skip Asking for an Email Address?
Instead of asking for an email, you can offer a free trial or a consult.
You won’t get as many people to sign up for a free trial, because it’s a bigger commitment than signing up for your email list. So your conversion rate will be lower for a sign up for a free trial vs. your conversion rate for an email signup.
But because you don’t have to move them from email subscriber to free trial subscriber, your conversion rate from prospect to customer may still be higher.
The problem with not getting a visitor’s email address is that the visitor is likely to leave without taking any action, rather than sign up for a free trial. You’ll have a much better chance of bringing them back if you get their email address.
That’s the beauty of the email subscribe upsell.
You still get people’s email for follow up.
And you lose nothing by offering them a free trial or the chance to be contacted by a representative.
What Is the Email Subscribe Upsell?
It’s simple and powerful.
Once someone signs up for your email list, instead of redirecting them to a typical confirmation page like this:
- Ask for their email address.
- They subscribe.
- They get sent to an upsell or cross-sell offer.
Usually, for SAAS, that would be a free trial.
For other B2B companies, it could be an offer to speak to a sales rep – though you probably wouldn’t phrase it that way.
Examples of the Email Subscribe Upsell in
1. AWeber – Free Trial
If you visit the AWeber homepage or blog page, you’ll notice that there’s no obvious place to sign up for their emails. They use popups to get you to subscribe to their email list. But instead of pushing the email list, they want you to sign up for a free trial of their software. That’s why the free trial buttons are front and center.
If you do sign up to the email list, you’ll see a twist on the standard message. You do see a message asking you to confirm your email address, but that’s not what stands out. It’s the free trial button that draws your attention.
2. ConversionXL – The Mixed Upsell
While conversionXL is a blog, it’s tied to the B2B conversion rate optimization service that they offer. After signing up for a content upgrade, you’re taken to a page where you can download the freebie that they offered. At the same time, they tell you about their paid certification offering.
If you’re worried about immediately delivering whatever you promised in the content upgrade, then this strategy might work well for you.
3. Contactually – The Sidebar Upsell
It’s easy to use your email service provider’s default confirmation page. Instead, Contactually is trying to make it funny. Who doesn’t like dogs? And in the sidebar they give visitors the chance to sign up for a free trial.
4 . SweetProcess – Free Trial
Again, this is the page that you get after signing up for a bonus. Instead of delivering the bonus on the confirmation page, SweetProcess lets you know that it’s coming by email and gives a gentle call to action, asking if you’ve “Got a moment to start your free trial”.
5. Grow and Convert – Direct Sale
Benji and Devesh from Grow and Convert offer actionable strategies for content marketing. So if you’re interested in getting more information, they figure that you might be interested in working directly with them.
The offer isn’t pushy, but it’s not subtle either. They use a big image, tell you a bit about the event, and have two calls to action to try to get you to click through to the sales page.
6. Kissmetrics – Demo
For Kissmetrics, it’s all about getting you to sign up for a demo. Because they already have your email address, they can freely ask for more information. They smartly try to get you in the hands of the sales team as soon as possible.
7. HubSpot – Download and Free Trial
Because I signed up for a specific ebook, Hubspot delivered it on the confirmation page. Below, they use a fairly classic squeeze page or leadpage technique. A large title with a bullet list of benefits and a call to action are meant to get you to sign up for a free trial.
8.Domo – Sales or Demo
Domo doesn’t care if you confirm your email.
In fact, it was fairly hard to even find a place to subscribe by email.
Rather than a confirmation page, this is exclusively an upsell page. They have a large, well-done video and push you to a sales call immediately by using a bright orange button. But they realize that you may not want to call and talk to someone, so as a secondary call to action they let you register for a demo. Finally, they add some social proof by showing videos of current, happy customers at the bottom of the page.
9.Leadpages – Webinar
The guys at Leadpages have always been smart when it comes to leadgen and conversion.
And they’re very good at webinars. So once you sign up for the Leadpages email list, they take you to the upsell page and offer you a spot to attend a webinar.
Though the visitor is likely to think of the webinar just as valuable content, it’s designed to be helpful and convert them into a customer.
If you do webinars and are able to convert attendees into customers, then it’s a solid strategy.
Where Should I Use an Email Subscribe Upsell?
Short answer: wherever you’re collecting an email address.
On your blog or any page the visitor goes to because they want to consume content.
Think about why the visitor is on a particular page.
If it’s a page that indicates purchase intent, like your pricing page, you’re probably better off asking directly for the conversion to a free trial.
Is This Strategy Right for All B2B Companies? Can It Work for B2C?
If you’re a SAAS company, it doesn’t matter if you’re B2B or B2C: it can work. Because it doesn’t cost you much to give a free trial or a demo.
But what if you’re service based?
You don’t necessarily want to offer a free trial.
If you have the sales team in place, it’s a no-brainer to try to pass them the lead right away.
If you’re a lower-priced B2B service provider, you often have a shorter sales cycle and don’t need a huge sales team. So passing leads to sales may not be the right play.
Same goes if you sell a physical product or have a B2C company. Most can’t offer a free trial. If you can – great.
If not, you have to tweak the upsell.
Tweaking the Upsell to Work for Lower-Priced Services, B2C and Physical Products
Option #1: Sell a related service or product
Grow and Convert is a great example of how this can work for you.
While they could offer you a free trial to their SAAS product, instead they’re sending people to a sales page for a conference. There’s a good chance that any company that wants “proven content marketing strategies tested on real companies” might also want in-person instructions.
Option #2: Refer a friend
Offer an incentive for the person who subscribed to invite others.
This is a great option for services and products.
So you ran the numbers and can’t offer a free trial for everyone. If you know what a lead is worth, you can offer your product or service for free to select people who refer enough leads your way.
It’s the very idea behind Maitre – a SAAS product designed to generate referrals.
Option #3: Bonus content for extra info
If you want to understand your email subscribers better to get more insights into potential customers, you can offer them bonus content in exchange for extra information about themselves.
This works well in two ways.
First, by only asking for someone’s email address on the initial signup form, you’ll get a higher conversion rate. But if you’d like more information from them such as their name, phone etc., you can ask for it in the next step in exchange for a bonus.
Or you can run a survey – if someone fills it out, they get the bonus.
Hiten Shah’s confirmation page is a perfect example.
Once someone signs up for their free ebook, they get taken to this page:
It’s well done. The progress indicator is a nice touch.
But I would test two changes. One, emphasizing the survey step by making that box bigger and blue rather than the “go to your inbox” box.
Two, let the visitor click through directly to the survey from this page (something that Hiten doesn’t let you do).
Option #4: Bonus content for social shares
Right after someone signs up to receive your emails or for a specific content upgrade, offer a second piece of bonus content in return for a social share.
If you want to automate the process, Vyper.io’s content upgrade tool is designed specifically for viral sharing. In fact, the bonus page above is from Vyper’s demo page.