By: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media
In my time at Jacobs Media, I’ve talked about how to use a Content Marketing Strategy to bring all of your digital tools together into a single coherent strategy. The first step in that strategy is to create content (translation: a blog) to attract people to your website from social media, search engines, and your airwaves.
But getting them to your website is just half the battle. Once they’re there, you want them to do something. Maybe multiple somethings. The somethings are called Goals.
Your website can have multiple goals. For example, you may want people to stream the station or click on an ad or request information about advertising. On your list of website goals, encouraging listeners to give you their email address should rank near the top.
Visitors give you their email address by filling out a form on your website. A form can be long — asking for information like name, gender, and zip code — or short, asking for as little as just a person’s email address. The length of the form and the information requested will depend upon the context in which it appears.
For example, on smartphones, people are unlikely to fill out long forms, so the mobile version of your site should only ask for an email address. On the other hand, people are more likely to give more information to gain access to engaging content, like an archive of morning show interviews.
Where should these forms appear? Here are seven suggestions:
1. When Listeners Want to Stream the Station
According to our Techsurvey11 results, two-thirds of those who regularly stream your station are willing to register in order to continue doing so. So feel free to require (or simply request) contact information before allowing people to listen online. But don’t make the registration process cumbersome. After all, you don’t want to deter people from listening.
Consider allowing people to register without having to double opt-in (in other words, don’t require them to click on a registration link in an email). Require just an email address. Once you have that, you can always encourage them to give you more information later — and allow people to opt-in with a single click using their social media accounts. Be sure to run a usability test on your website to make sure that the streaming process isn’t frustrating listeners.
2. On Contest Pages
When doing a web giveaway, you’re offering a bigger incentive, so you can ask people to give you more information. Be sure to explain why you are asking for each piece of information. For example, many people are reluctant to give their phone numbers because they don’t want to receive unexpected calls. The form should reassure people by explaining, “We will call you if you win; we will not share your information with anyone else.”
People don’t read websites; they skim them. So make sure the call to action is clear. Instead of small text that says “Log in to enter” with a button that says, “Log in,” create a button that reads, “Enter to Win” or “Log in to Enter.” Again, run a website usability test to make sure people have an easy time entering your station’s contests.
3. Accompanying Each Blog Post
Gathering contact information is one of the most important functions of your website. As your station blogs regularly, increasingly people will enter the site through blog posts instead of the homepage. So you’ll want to encourage them to fill out a form on every blog post, either by inviting them to receive the blog by email in the sidebar or at the end of the post (or both).
4. In Pop-Up Windows
Pop-up windows can be very effective if used properly, and horrendously annoying if used incorrectly. Never ever ever let your sales staff sell pop-up ads on your station’s website. People did not come to your site to see pop-ups hocking mattresses or Horny Goat Weed.
However, if the pop-up is related to the content it is hovering over, it can be very effective. The simplest pop-up window will simply say, “Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get our blog by email!” and include a form that asks only for an email address. I have seen pop-up windows like this boost email signups by over 500%.
A more sophisticated strategy will draw a tighter correlation between the pop-up window and the content beneath it. For example, on blog posts about the Foo Fighters, the pop-up window would invite people to enter to win Foo Fighters tickets or their new album. Start simply, and slowly refine your pop-up strategy over time.
5. Before Freemium Content
While the content on your blog is free and open for everybody to see, be sure to create some premium content that, while still free, people must fill out a form to access. For example, take some of your best artist interviews and put them behind a form.
6. On the ‘Advertise With Us’ Page
The ‘Advertise With Us’ page could be the most valuable page on the entire website because it holds the power and potential to generate more revenue than all of the other pages combined. Too often, radio stations simply list an email address or phone number on this page. This is a huge missed opportunity. You want to capture the contact information of as many potential leads as possible and put them into a lead nurturing email campaign. So put a form on this page.
Even better: Give potential advertisers an incentive to fill out that form by putting some freemium content behind it. For example, offer a “Guide to Creating a Winning Radio Campaign,” or a “Guide to Understanding Radio Ratings.”
7. On the 404 Error Page
The 404 Error Page is the “Oops! We can’t find what you’re looking for!” page that people see when they go to a broken link on your site. Add some extra text to this page – “But don’t leave empty-handed! Sign up for our email list!” – followed by a signup form.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of all the places you could put a form to capture contact information on your website. Gathering data from your listeners is so important that I encourage you to look for as many places as possible for these forms. If you’d like help, feel free to reach out to me.