Mailing lists are the bread and butter of Internet Marketing, and it is one thing that experienced marketers tell to newbies, get a list! Now buying a list is a no no as as you won’t be getting your targeted audience, plus you will just be spamming people as they haven’t consciously signed up to your list. This is a bad thing for your reputation, and reputation is quickly becoming a huge factor in internet marketing.
So what do you do?
You create a sign up section for your mailing list! Yeah, it’s that easy, yet ever so hard. It is well know that simply by changing one word within a mailing list sign up box (optin box), you can easily double the number of sign ups you get, which means more people in your captured audience.
Testing out different styles and placements of optin boxes can be hard work and requires a lot of stat taking and messing about, so that’s why when I heard that Glen Allsopp had created OptinSkin, I was intrigued.
“Add gorgeous opt-in forms and social share boxes to your blog in seconds”
that’s what Glen has to say on his website, so is it true?
Well, yes. The plugin comes loaded with 20 different designs pre populated so you can literally pick one, tell the plugin where to put it, add your Mailchimp or Aweber details and your away!
Not only that but each of these designs is fully customisable, literally every aspect can be changed, which is great. Adding a new one is simply using the existing ones as a base and converting it to what you want, it is then saved separately from the base designs. One area in which this plugin could be drastically improved is the preview area. Currently it stays at the top so that you have to keep scrolling up to view your changes, plus sometimes if the optin box gets too large, it gets chopped off so you can only see the top. Minor points aside, you still get to see the changes in real time which is awesome.
The other brilliant thing about this plugin is its ability to allow you to do split testing (A/B testing) for the optin boxes. Simply allocate two different optin box choices to the same position (say the bottom of each post) and tick the Split-testing check box on each and the plugin will do its magic and show only one of this on each page view.
This combined with the Statistic section means that you can see which of your optin boxes is actually performing better. Then you can take that one, tweak it, split test again, until you have the perfect optin box for your site.
Where can you place the Optinbox?
Well OptinSkin provides two ways you can place the boxes. Through the optin box editing screen you can select top of post, bottom of post below the first paragraph, floated right of the second paragraph. Or using a shortcode you can place it anywhere in your post or site. Plus once the optin skin is created, a widget is made so you can put it directly into the sidebar or other widget ready areas!
Two other great features are the fade in and stick to the top options. These are for when you have the optin box in your post content, the fade in literally fades the box in as the user scrolls through your content. The sticky option, means that as the user scrolls past the optin box, it sticks to the top of the screen! Really useful and not as invasive as a pop up box.
You also have quite a bit of information on the statistics page: number of sign ups, impressions and conversion rate. Also a list of which posts are performing the best. I found this a little buggy, showing posts I hadn’t even gone into, but this was on a test server so that may have been the issue, time will tell.
Sounds a little anal right? Wrong! As an internet marketer this sort of tweaking splits the pros from the amateurs, and can increase your profits substantially (imagine marketing to a list twice the size of the one you have, simple maths states you will get more sales).
How compatible is the plugin?
Well I tried it out on a variety of popular themes, including Elegant Themes and some free themes and it worked on every one. You will have to make sure that when designing the optin box it will fit your content/sidebar are though as it wont automatically resize.
A must buy?
Overall OptinSkin fills a void, and can provide valuable information to budding and experienced internet marketers alike. Whilst it has a few bugs in it, I know from following Glen that he is a perfectionist so this bugs will be found and stomped on in due course. Is it worth the money? $47 for unlimited personal sites? Very much worth it, as this pluign could increase list capture 10 fold or even more. I know that once ApinaPress v2 is ready it will be using this plugin.