Getting the email from your landing page is one thing. Getting that contact to become a customer is another. Learn the four elements of responsible email marketing on the back end of landing page and opt-in campaigns.

Tell me if this has happened to you: a great offer comes across your screen, a guide or report to help you solve a problem nagging your business. The guide doesn’t cost you any money, but you have to enter your email address to receive it. You grumble at first, then acquiesce, figuring you can unsubscribe to whatever junk mail list the company who published the guide adds you to.

You don’t have to answer, by the way. This has happened to everybody at some point.

Now, let me ask you this: does your company create these types of offers to build its email list? You see where I’m going, right? Do you just add those names to your newsletter, and totally botch the expectations of trust you set when they initially signed up?

You do? C’mon, man! But, in a way, I don’t blame you. What to do next with those landing page emails is where so many businesses fall short, really short, when they design opt-in campaigns. And nobody writes about this, they just tell you to create the campaigns and landing pages to grow your list. So, you can come out of the naughty corner now, just promise after reading this, you won’t do it again.

There are four main components to growing your list responsibly using offers that require email opt-in:

  1. Expectations
  2. Trust
  3. Value
  4. Inviting

Email Marketing is about setting expectations before anything else

A good practice in your landing pages is to disclose what exactly the person is going to get in their inbox. Aim for quality over quantity, and trust at that initial touchpoint. You’ll have to follow through, though, which means a carefully-planned email series to go behind the landing page after someone signs up.

Building trust

On the landing page, and within the deliverable text as well as the “Thank-you” messaging for the deliverable, you should at least remind your subscriber that you have a series of emails planned to complement the guide itself. Again, setting expectations.

When you deliver on that promise, you are building trust with the subscriber. You said you were going to do something, they were expecting you to go back on your word like everybody else they’ve tried this with, but you delivered on your promise. That’s big-time trust building right there.

Not to mention, creating an email series behind your PDF download is an excellent way to build mind-share with your subscribers, and prove value (the next step).

So, think about how you can expand on each of the topics within your PDF (guide, checklist, etc) using email. For example, your email series could include messages that:

  • Illustrate the ideas in action
  • Link to web pages and resources to expand on the topic
  • Provide a list of services (plugins, companies) that help the reader execute

Building value

Too many of the opt-in campaigns I see (checklists and guides, not reports or whitepapers) give you top-level ideas without getting into the details of how to execute on those ideas, or at least the tools you could use to execute. In the examples above, you can hopefully visualize how emails that illustrate, have resources, and lists of services will be a tremendous value to someone looking to use your PDF to solve their problem.

TIP: Look at the open and click rates of your follow-up emails. If the open rates are low, experiment with different subject lines. If the click-to-open-rate (COTR, or the # of clicks / # of opens) is pathetic, then tweak your wording. On the flip side, pay attention to the emails and links that are performing well, and focus on those topics when refining your inbound content and your inviting…because those topics are clearly resonating with your audience.


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the email list that you are building with your opt-in campaign probably contains a high percentage of dummy or secondary email addresses that your subscribers use for just such an occasion.

The fear is that their primary email address will get spammed by you, or that you will rent out the list to other companies.

Now that you know this, your job (after you’ve built the trust and demonstrated the value to this person), is to invite them to provide you their primary email address so you can continue the relationship. There are two important things to remember:

  1. You will want to send this invitation to anyone who has opened any of your follow-up emails (because then you know they check that mailbox).
  2. You will still want to set the expectations for frequency and content.

Your invitation emails will vary, some will be to regularly scheduled webinars, some will be to your newsletter, some will be to follow-up calls. Use the business goals from your marketing strategy to determine the most valuable invitation to send to someone. Remember, even though the invitation is about you helping them, ultimately this is the step when you want to bring them into your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) or sales funnel.

You can learn more about growing your email list responsibly using landing pages in my free Get Smart About Email Marketing web series.Register here for updates.

NEW! Learn how to create an opt-in campaign that brings the right people into your lead funnel. Details and downloads here >>

Related Resources

I've taken the premise of this article on the road to discuss elements of lead nurturing, conversion, and responsible email marketing with the following fine folks. Watch, listen, or visit to get a stronger sense of how important this concept is in your email marketing strategy:

To expand your knowledge about landing pages and marketing automation, head here.

Stephan Hovnanian

Stephan Hovnanian runs the show here at Shovi, bringing over 15 years of email and web marketing experience to companies that need more from their digital marketing efforts.

Connect with Stephan here, on Twitter (@stephanhov), LinkedIn, or Google+.


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