Digital Ads and Landing Pages: Going Live (pt 3)

By: Spencer Brooks

This three-part series teaches you how to grow your email list with digital ad campaigns that direct visitors to customized landing pages on your website where they can easily subscribe to your list. In this final article, you'll learn how to set up a welcome email series and how to test your campaign for optimal effectiveness. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Setting up your welcome email series

Once your landing page is ready, you’ll want to create a welcome email series for your new subscribers. Remember that people are coming into your email list ice cold. They just clicked an ad and probably don’t even know who are you are or what you do. They’re much more likely to unsubscribe when they start getting regular emails from you -- unless you warm them up first.

Setting up an automated welcome email series is an advanced email marketing strategy, but the tools to do so are becoming increasingly common in mainstream service providers such as MailChimp. You may not have this ability with your current technology, but I would strongly consider finding a way to do so. By helping one nonprofit set up a welcome email sequence, we were able to reduce the number of unsubscribes by six times!

An easy and effective welcome email series might look like this:

  • Immediately after someone subscribes: send an email introducing the new subscriber to your organization and what you do. Your goal is to convince them not to immediately unsubscribe - now’s the time to hit them with the data on how impactful your organization is and why they should care enough to stay on your list. Let them know how often to expect emails and what they’ll contain.
  • 2-3 days after they subscribe: follow up with a thank you note and a more personal story to help them empathize with your mission. Take the opportunity to use your storytelling skills to help people understand you’re a team of real, passionate people behind the screen. Get them emotionally involved in your organization!

Don’t underestimate the power of a welcome email series. It will do the hard work of retaining your new subscribers so you can continue building a relationship with them. After all, if you do all this work to just have people immediately unsubscribe, what’s the point?

Going live and testing

Once you’ve set up your opt-in bonus, landing page, and welcome email sequence, it’s time to flip the switch and point your advertising traffic to your shiny new landing page. But now isn’t the time to sit back and sip a cold beverage -- the real work has just begun!

Actively monitor your results with the following metrics in mind:

  • How many people visited your landing page?
  • What percentage of visitors submitted the opt-in form?
  • If subscribing is optional, what percentage of form submissions opted in to a subscription?
  • Finally, what percentage of those subscribers stayed on your list for longer than 90 days?

This is your multi-step “funnel.” Each step of the funnel leads people further along the path to engagement with your organization, and each step can be tested and optimized to make it more effective.

Here are a few tips to help you track and optimize your funnel:

  1. Set up conversion tracking on your landing pages. This allows you to monitor the percentage of visitors who went on to submit your opt-in form. Aim for a 10-15 percent conversion rate. Any lower is an indicator that you need to adjust your advertising campaign or that your landing page could use some improvement from a design perspective.
  2. In your email marketing manager, tag the subscribers who signed up through your landing page. This will allow you to segment them and analyze their behavior compared to the rest of your list. It’s okay if your landing page subscribers have marginally lower open and click rates (e.g. a few percentage points) but if their numbers are significantly worse you should think about optimizing your welcome email sequence.

Keep testing and tweaking as time goes on. No one gets it perfect the first time, but with disciplined analytics and repeated experimentation you can maximize the value you get from your landing pages as well as your advertising dollars.

Additional resources

To keep my article from becoming the next edition of War and Peace, I decided not to cover the process of setting up or using digital advertising channels. That topic is too vast and has already been covered elsewhere on TechSoup Canada and other sites. You can check out those resources here:

Now it’s your turn. Go implement those landing pages and enjoy your new subscribers!


About the Author

Spencer Brooks is the founder of Brooks Digital, a long-term Drupal support firm built for nonprofits. He enjoys teaching organizations how to maximize their online results by using data-driven strategies to constantly improve their website. In his free time, Spencer volunteers as a drummer for his local church and experiments with different ways of hand-brewing insanely delicious coffee.