Have you noticed that some sites have little check boxes near their comments form to invite commenters to join a mailing list? Usually it says, "Notify me of new posts by email"? Inviting people who make comments to subscribe is a great subscriber or list-building tool because visitors who scroll to the bottom of a page to comment are usually very interested in your subject.
These are your ideal readers to stay in touch with a newsletter, automatic email response system and to send your new blog posts.
But how do you get those check boxes by the Comments form? And how do you integrate them with a mailing list?
Three Tools To Offer Email Sign Up Checkboxes At Comments Form - Jetpack, AWeber and WP Subscribers
Add Blog Subscribers Only, Limited But Free Option
Jetpack for WordPress.org - Jetpack is a built-in feature of WordPress.com (their public-hosted blog system). However, there IS a free Jetpack plugin that's available to WordPress.org (the self-hosted platform) users too.
Not everyone seems to know this judging from the number of posts by people searching for this feature in the WordPress forum. Unfortunately there were some erroneous responses that self-hosted WordPress.org users can't use this feature, but it's not true. Just install the free Jetpack plugin.
There are a lot of great features inside Jetpack - it's basically like having 12 or more plugins in one. The feature that you want to activate once you install the plugin is, "Subscriptions".
Jetpack Good For Blog Posts Only, Not for Email Marketing
Although we recommend installing Jetpack for the many free features it offers, it's not the ideal way to build a subscriber list because you can't delete names (spammers for example) and you can't transfer your subscriber list to a newsletter list or set them up for an automatic welcome email series. They will get your blog updates only.
This is major hindrance that prevents you from using Jetpack for professional email marketing to these visitors. Surely there must be a way, you say? We thought so too, but read here what the Jetpack developers say themselves, http://jetpack.me/2012/01/17/how-to-view-your-email-subscribers/
PROS - Free and easy to add a newsletter, comment or blog post sign up optin in the comments section or via a sidebar widget
CONS - Not possible to delete subscribers (spammers) and there's no way to easily export your subscriber list to a more professional email marketing platform like AWeber, GetResponse, etc.
AWeber is one of the most popular email marketing platforms out there because it's easy to use (very beginner friendly with simple setup wizards) and it's only $19 a month for your first 500 subscribers. They even offer a one-month trial for $1 here.
Once you're an Aweber customer, download their free AWeber Web Form Plugin which will enable you to place optin forms on your site in the comments section or in the widget area.
PROS - Easy to use email marketing service, gives you ability to send beautifully formatted newsletters, set automatic followup emails sequences, and add, delete or transfer your subscribers and lists. Also has email signups checkbox option.
WP Subscribers - Professional Optin Forms
WP Subscribers - Is a paid plugin that gives your email sign up forms a much more professional look and many more placement options than the standard AWeber options. WP Subscriber sign up form options include lightbox overlays, footer optin forms, Facebook logins, and many more color and graphic choices.
Although this premium plugin costs $47 for one site use and $97 for unlimited sites. It's designed to increase your sign up rate to help you capture the email addresses of the visitors you worked so hard to attract to your site.
And it integrates with all the popular email newsletter plaforms including, Aweber, GetResponse, Mailchimp, Turbo AutoResponder, Google Feedburner. WP Subscriber plugin page.
*As a side note, a 30 or 60-day return period is what most reputable online products offer, anything less is a red flag in our opinion. Doesn't mean they're bad, but at least 30 days is an industry standard.
PROS - Many more sign up options than the standards offer by list servers like AWeber or GetResponse. Better looking forms and more placement options lead to capture emails from more visitors.
CONS - One-time charge of $47 for use on one site, $97 for use on unlimited sites.
Getting Traffic Is Hard - So Stay In Touch with Your Visitors!
Considering the time, effort and expensive we site owners go through to attract traffic (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing, etc), it only makes sense to use one of these email and newsletter sign up options to get your visitors to opt in to receive future communications from you.
Recap Of Email Sign Up Tools
Each of the tools discussed here do slightly different things. Here's a quick recap about how they fit together:
Jetpack - A free suite of more than a dozen plugin tools in one package
- Free and functional for both Wordpress.com and WordPress.org site owners
- Puts email sign up checkbox near the Comments form BUT you can only send your blog posts to these subscribers
- The subscribers on this list can't be deleted or exported for use in email marketing campaigns
AWeber - An email marketing platform for creating a list of subscribers and communicating with them
- Use AWeber to collect and organize your subscribers and their email addresses into customizable lists. You might create different lists based which site they came from, or subject matter within a site or sites, or how/when opted in, the product or free download they selected, etc.
- AWeber has a limited selection of sign up forms, but their Web Form Plugin is worth installing because it does put a sign up checkbox at the Comment form
- Use AWeber to creates newsletters or plain text emails, broadcast blog posts or other one-time communications to your subscriber list and use an Autoresponder to create a series of automatic emails that go out when someone signs up to something on your site (called a Follow Up series of emails)
- AWeber has a collection of customizable sign up forms, but for more professional optin forms, consider investing in the WP Subscribers plugin below ($47 for one site, $97 for unlimited site installations)
WP Subscribers - Use this to add more subscriber signups to blog in conjunction with your AWeber (or other service) email lists.
- Has a large portfolio of attractive and flexible optin forms to help you convert more of your site's visitors to subscribers of your email list(s)
- Some of the options they offer - that don't come with AWeber - are popup lightboxes (on a timer, upon entry, exit, only on certain pages, etc), nice sidebar widget optins, footer optins and many fancier graphical choices than AWeber offers