Given that the life of our teaser site is drawing to a close it felt like an appropriate time to write a quick post about a few important lessons it taught us.
Lesson 1: How changing a few words can dramatically increase conversion for double opt in registrations
Many companies have some kind of registration on their site these days whether it’s a newsletter sign up or some form of competition entry. A lot of sites go for the single opt in which causes minimal barrier to entry and means all the people who sign up end up on your list. However, this is not best practice as you can have a situation whereby someone enters an address incorrectly or worse still the email address of somebody else. To prevent this, you use a double opt in method whereby the user is sent an email asking them to click on a link thereby verifying their address. The problem with this is they don’t always click on the link which means they don’t get added to your list.
When we built the first incarnation of our teaser site we had a very simple sign up form where users could enter their email address to be informed of our launch. There was a second step whereby if they shared their unique link with friends and one of those friends consequently registered, they would be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad 2.
After a few months we were getting plenty of registrations but frustratingly over 50% of them were not clicking on the confirmation link in the email we sent them and therefore not being added to our confirmed mailing list.
We decided to have a close look at the user journey and change a few things. Here’s what we did:
upon reading the ‘Nice one!’ the user thought, “Ah, my job is done, I can just sit back and wait for the email informing me I’ve won and iPad 2″ – and fewer than half bothered to keep on reading. Not their fault – our fault!
To add to that, the email that they then received had a subject line of:
Confirm your email address for Resource Guru
and an intro line of:
Thanks for signing up. Before we can put you on the list, we just need you to confirm you got this email. To do so, please click the link below:
So the first thing we were saying in the email was “Thanks for signing up” – Again our user is thinking “Job done – I don’t need to carry on reading”
2 clear calls to action: 1. Enter your email address 2. Share your link. So we’re putting it in the users mind that they need to do something else after hitting the sign up button.
Then we’re telling them there’s one more step so if and when they see the email in their inbox they are expecting to perform an action.
The email that they then received had a subject line of:
You are nearly on the list
and an intro line of:
Please click the link below to confirm that this email address belongs to you, we can then add you to our list:
Much more concise and to the point.
And the moral of the story is…. our conversion went from 44.6% to 75% which is pretty phenomenal for just changing a few words.
Lesson 2: Create an interesting mechanic that others might want to write about
When we were deciding what we wanted in a teaser site one of the things we thought would be very powerful was some kind of incentive for our users to share our site among friends and a clever mechanic enabling them to do this easily. The solution we arrived at is illustrated in the visuals above. What we hadn’t really bargained on though was the fact that we were going to get written about by some fairly influential websites for our mechanic alone. We got a mention on the godfounder which in turn got picked up by Smashing Magazine who wrote this article titled Elements of a Viral Launch Page. These articles probably bought us more traffic and registrations than the mechanic itself! We learned that if you think of creative and interesting ways to execute tasks no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, people will want to talk about it which will really help your amplification.
Lesson 3: Build a teaser site
It seems like a no brainer – but it’s one of those tasks you can keep putting to the bottom of the pile. When you’re building a startup from scratch there is so much to do and all of it seems more important than a teaser site. However the sooner you do it, the sooner you start getting traction in the search engines and the sooner you start getting leads.
We will be launching very soon, and when we do, we will have a database (comfortably north of 500 registrations) of hot prospects to email about our good news. Unless they registered purely to win an iPad or registered so long ago they’ve now got bored, this should really give our launch a boost at a time when we’re going to need it most.