Growing Your Email List With The Foot-In-The-Door Technique

Smart marketers focus on growing their e-mail lists because they know the bigger and better the list, meaning the more qualified, the more they can grow the bottom line.

But getting more opt ins on the web is no longer as easy as it was in 1998 or even 2010. Visitors are now inundated with email offers and as a result opt ins have been harder to get.

Now a days, you’ve got to give to get…

The key to growing your email list in 2014 is to offer the right lead magnet to your visitors, which is an art in to itself and worthy of a seperate dedicated blog post all it’s own.

The short  answer is that you need to offer something of value to your potential subscribers in exchage for their email.

But that’s only half the battle.

You have to get in front of them with your irresistible offer at just the right moment.

There are many ways to do this from pop ups to fly-outs that appear once a visitor scrolls down to a certain point with a sign up box.

All of those are great and despite how people feel about these types of gimmicks, they do work to grow your email list. This blog itself has a pop up to first time visitors.

Even though it might be annoying to some people, the trade off is worth it.

The downside of these tools is that they once they capture a lead their usefulness is pretty much done.

The power is in the data…

Anyone who’s read this blog before or listened to any of my conversion podcasts knows, I’m a big fan of data and using it to make decisions as well as base tests hypothesis and analysis on.

Which is one of the reasons why I like the ManyContacts Opt in Bar to grow your list.

One of the most powerful features of ManyContacts is the data collection beyond simply the prospects email address.

ManyContacts collects a rich set of information based on each contact’s social profiles, location, and IP address, among other things.

Below is an example of the data set you can get along with your opt in.

This robust info helps to flesh out the nitty gritty details of your list.

You can really drill down, if you do the work to understand each new opt in, and get a complete 360 view of who they are and what makes them tick based on the compilation of social profiles alone.

Not to mention opportunities for future dialog you can have based on that data.

Of course you have to use this power wisely.

You don’t want to scare away anyone by appearing too creepy.

ManyContacts focuses on collecting leads with a sticky bar that sits on top of your site in a fixed position, which is great for grabbing attention. But also makes it easy to create a lead generating opportunity on the same page, without creating a dedicated landing page.

It’s also easy to include an irresistible offer like a coupon code, an e-book in exchange for an email, without extra set up.

But what’s even better is that it looks simple with just an email field, minimizing any anxiety that a visitor would have normally on an opt in form with multiple fields.

Yet here’s the best part…

Well almost as good as the data part already mentioned.

Once your lead Opts in with their email, the bar expands down, turning the unassuming single filed opt in into a customizable form, where you can capture additional form fields.

This creates forward momentum from a small “yes” in your fresh new opt in lead.

They have already entered their email address in the previous step so completing an additional step has a much higher chance of success than if you had asked for all fields to be compleated in one go.

This is a classic “foot in the door” sales strategy where a salesmen gets a prospect to agree to one request, usually a small request, then  asking for more.

This works because it plays on the basic human nature called successive approximations.

Essentially, the more someone goes along with a small requests or a commitment (also know as the commitment/consistence principle), the more likely that person is to continue in the same direction and feel obligated to go along with another request, usually a larger request.

The small “yes” of the single email address opt creates a connection between the website requester and the opt in lead.

Even though it’s only an email address, when the future request of additional form fields, the new lead feels obligated or more likely to complete them because this behavior is consistent with their earlier one on giving their email address.

Of course the key to make all of this successful is to have the right offer that resonates with your audience.

You’ve got to give to get.

The key to offering something that resonates with your target audience is to first know who they are and what they want.

To do that you need to be able to invasion them clearly in your head by creating a document that makes them real.

My friend and fellow conversion rate optimization specialist Alex Harris calls this your “avatar.

But don’t let the lack of a lead magnet stop you from building your list.

Jump right in and try out ManyContacts to grow your email list, let me know your results.

Then work on adding to it and test different things to see what works best for your audience.

Get your free conversion cheat sheet

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About Bobby Hewitt

Bobby Hewitt is the CEO and owner of Creative Thirst, the conversion rate optimization agency that specializes in turning more clicks into customers to increase leads, subscriptions and sales through A/B and multivariate split testing to improve clients’ conversion rates. Bobby has over ten years experience in web design and Internet marketing and holds a bachelors degree in Marketing from Rutgers University. He is also certified in Online Testing and Landing Page Optimization and holds a certificate in Web Analytics from The University of British Columbia. Bobby is also the recipient of the Jim Novo Award of Academic Excellence, an award given out yearly (starting in 2007) to the graduate with the highest grade average over all 4 courses of the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics and is awarded by the Web Analytics Association and University of British Columbia Continuing Studies. He believes that improving conversion rates begins with an understanding of the social psychology of your users, based on personas and persuasive design.
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3 Responses to Growing Your Email List With The Foot-In-The-Door Technique

  1. Gary Gaspar says:


    Awesome post Bobby! It’s fascinating to see how someone like you talks about our product. You definitely gave me some ideas for positioning the product!

    Thanks again for this post Bobby!


  2. Bobby Hewitt says:

    Glad I could provide a different perspective Gary. If you’d like to talk further about strategy and positioning, I’m available.

  3. Alex Harris says:

    Great ideas here Bobby. I never heard of that tool. Seems similar to Hellobar. I will need to check it out.

    I am always looking for new tools to grow my email list. Might as well test them to try new strategies.

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