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You don’t have to look far in the IM world to see people touting how powerful email marketing is. How “growing subscribers” is a crucial aspect of building a sustainable internet business. I’ve talked about it myself on countless blog posts. Smart bloggers are catching on to the idea that their sites can act as an effective funnel for building their email lists.
Yet even though everyone wants to grow their audience, few people are prioritising that conversion from visitor to subscriber. In October 2011 I wrote out the specifications for a WordPress plugin that would let bloggers of any skill level add attractive opt-in forms and social share boxes to their blog, in seconds. There’s more…
Not only did I want to easily customise forms that I could put at the bottom of blog posts or in my sidebar (or anywhere else), I also wanted to test them. Since growing my email list is a huge focus of this sites design, and I know that changing just one word can create a 200% increase in conversions, surely I should be testing the box that gets those subscribers.
I want to know if more people opt-in when I use the text ‘FREE INSTANT ACCESS’ on my submit button or if ‘GET YOUR EBOOK’ works better. With my audience. I want to know which eBook cover works best. I want to know if a blue opt-in form would entice more people than a black one.
I have been asked over and over and over again how I add that little yellow box to the bottom of my blog posts. Well, now, you can add that little yellow box, or maybe a little blue one, or even one with a ribbon. And then see which style converts more visitors into subscribers.
We’ve made it really easy to do.
There are different hacks and ways to achieve the most basic aspect of what we’ve done with OptinSkin, but nothing comes close to what we’ve been able to develop over the last few months.
I created OptinSkin because I needed it. And since I’m a total perfectionist when it comes to design and I love looking into stats and data, we added everything you could possibly need in a solution like this. Don’t believe us?
The first cool feature of OptinSkin is simply called, Fade. It’s the most basic thing you can think of yet it does exactly what you want it to do. Our Fade feature will allow your ‘Skin’ to fade onto your page when a visitor scrolls to the part of your site that it’s on. So you can put it at the bottom of posts, or right of your second paragraph, or in the middle of your blog post while they’re fully immersed in your content.
The box then fades in, shuffling your content around it, and gets peoples attention (without annoying them like a pop-up would).
We also have a sticky feature that allows you to – for example – put an opt-in form (skin) as the last thing in your sidebar. Then when a visitor scrolls down your page, the form will scroll with them. Always remaining in view.
OptinSkin includes a really powerful editor that lets you customise our default forms to an insane degree. Make sure you check out the basic version of it on our interactive launch page.
Every single Skin you create has its own page for detailed analytics data, and our advanced impressions tracking will only increment statistics when a visitor sees your form, keeping your split-tests highly accurate. We even threw in a clever way to make money for those of you who think your own readers might be interested in something like this.
The other day on my developing web apps article I included some interview answers from the main developer behind OptinSkin, Graeme. I had initially asked him a few more questions I couldn’t include on that original post, so here they are…
In developing OptinSkin specifically, can you mention what were some of the more challenging aspects technically, when making the plugin?
Before working on OptinSkin I was heavily immersed in doing Artificial Intelligence research, so it was a dramatic shift for me in terms of languages and concepts; however, I didn’t find the latter less challenging! There are a lot of challenges when designing for the web, including cross-browser functionality (which is progressively becoming a bigger problem), and also integrating your designs into WordPress themes. Since each theme is different and has its own instructions for how things like textboxes, buttons, tables, and so on, are displayed, it takes a huge effort to keep things looking consistent.
With the amount of time we’ve both spent on this, the plugin is clearly more to you than just some specs that you want to get out of the way. You genuinely care about making it a great offering, evident with a lot of the extras that you have added along the way. Which features are your favourite?
That’s a difficult question! I love the statistics. I think that it’s going to be great for bloggers to be able to create two designs that are exactly the same except for some small difference, and then see empirically which one is more effective. Obviously you need quite a large reader-base to be able to test that thoroughly, but it’s very exciting for optimization. I would love to get feedback from users about what they found to be effective during optimization.
I also love that we included a wide variety of designs that people can customize. I think that OptinSkin is unique in that we decided to create different foundations for designs, unlike other “customizable” opt-in plugins, where each design inevitably follows the same pattern because you’re essentially customizing just one foundation. There really are more possibilities with OptinSkin than any other plugin like it available today, and I’m glad we achieved that. I’m ecstatic to see the kinds of things that people will create when they spend time playing with it.
As I’ve said, OptinSkin was created to fill my own need to easily split-test forms anywhere on a website. I’ve been using it far more than I thought I would on my own sites lately and it has far surpassed the original vision I had for this tool.
And now it’s time to add your vision.
The really cool thing for me now about the plugin is that we can add new designs for all users so easily. We’ve included tons of different styles in the default designs, and since they’re all customisable, it shouldn’t be hard to match one seamlessly with your website. However, there’s no reason we can’t take that further.
Any time I come up with a new idea I can just add it to the members area and anyone can add them to their blog in seconds. If there are different style ideas that you have, let me know.
With things like the social share boxes, we’re also constantly thinking of new things that our Skins can power. I’m not sure I should be announcing this but one feature we’re working on right now is once again very simple, but shows how creative we want to let people be with this plugin. The feature will let you add testimonials and quotes from people who have talked about you or your email list specifically.
Those quotes then elegantly rotate underneath the form, giving you social proof and enticing people to subscribe. Oh and of course, you would then be able to test opt-in forms with testimonials versus those without them ;).
I’m really proud of what myself and Graeme have managed to develop. We would both love for you to give our creation a try.
Finally, if you have any questions about OptinSkin, I’ll be live on Skype with the username ViperChill for the next few days, so feel free to get in touch.
P.S. If this isn’t for you, no problem at all. Normal posting will resume next week. As always, thank you for your support!