How to Make Sales at Email Signup

A year and a half ago, remodeling and construction guru Tim Carter heard a very powerful piece of advice.

Recognizing the idea’s potential, Tim went home and immediately put it into action. That action has added thousands of dollars to his yearly revenue ever since.

The change Tim made was very simple. It can be done by any email marketer with something to sell, an e-commerce site and a few hours.

If this is you, then starting today, you can have the same results as Tim. Keep reading to find out how!

The Page That Tim Built

The Page That Tim Built

“My advice is to absolutely have something to sell at the confirmation page,” says Tim. “It’s free money. You have the person’s TRUST and attention at that point. Leverage it to the hilt.”

Tim knows what he’s talking about. In April 2009, he heard AWeber CEO Tom Kulzer recommend the confirmation page as an ideal sales opportunity. People who have arrived on that page have signed up for your emails, Tom explained, so they’re clearly interested in the brand.

So Tim went home and changed the email sign-up process on his web site, AsktheBuilder.com. After new subscribers confirmed their subscriptions, they encountered an offer for checklists that would guide them through their home-improvement projects.

Tim made things simpler by selling checklists he already had available. In order to make sales on that page, though, he needed subscribers to feel a sense of urgency. So he grouped the checklists into bundles and slashed the price for a one-time-only discount of 80% off.

TCarter Conf Offer

“We started to get sales almost immediately,” says Tim. “I’m sure within days of posting it, I had a sale. Lately we’ve been getting one or two sales a day just as the sun shines.”

With a $30 product selling at this rate over the past 16 months, Tim’s profits – just from his confirmation page – have climbed to over $11,000.

And he’s finding ways to make them climb even higher…

A Blueprint for Expanding Your Sales

A Blueprint for Expanding Your Sales

Frame The Offer With Relevance

Because construction projects tend to depend on the weather, Tim switches his offer out seasonally.

“In spring and summer, we offer a bundled package of my checklists that have to do with exterior projects in the home,” he explains. “Then in the fall and winter we switch to a bundled package of interior projects.”

Can you make your offer stronger by tweaking it for a season? A holiday? A sports event?

Try Different Floor Plans

Because there’s always room for improvement, Tim is now testing an upgraded offer. Instead of being presented with one bundle that may or may not fit their needs, new subscribers can choose from a selection of three.

Like Tim, you may want to offer your subscribers more options to increase the odds that they’ll find something they need. Or you may want to rotate offers to see what works best. What makes the most sense for your products and your customers?

Expand Your House Into a Neighborhood

If you have more than one list, don’t sell to just one. Put an offer on every confirmation page. Just make sure each offer is relevant to each set of subscribers.

“We are starting up a new list for www.StainSolver.com,” Tim says, “and we absolutely will have an offer for those who sign up for that list.”

Hang Caution Tape

Subscribers to your free newsletter may be confused by dollar signs on the confirmation page. If they think they’re required to pay, they may feel upset.

You can keep them calm with some clear communication. First, confirm that their subscription did indeed go through (for free!)

Then, make it clear that while they’re already getting your emails, you’ve have a little something else that you think they might appreciate…

And introduce the item for sale.

Now, You Wear the Hard Hat

Now, You Wear the Hard Hat

As we’ve seen, an offer at confirmation can channel a steady stream of sales.

But some marketers might argue that by selling on the confirmation page, you’ve waited until the subscriber has confirmed, which could take hours or days.

The thank-you page, they might say, makes more sense. Pitch your sale as soon as you can, while the reasons they subscribed are fresh in new subscribers’ minds.

What do you think?

By:
Amanda Gagnon is the former Education Manager for AWeber and has started a number of small businesses.

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44 Comments

  1. What a great idea! Thank you for being so thorough in explaining how he did this. I’ll try to see how I can incorporate it into my business!

    10/7/2010 11:08 am
  2. Mike

    I thought the whole purpose of email marketing was to build a relationship with someone, earn their trust and confidence BEFORE you make them a sales offer.

    So which one is it?

    You seem to be sending conflicting advice. Please clarify.

    10/7/2010 11:46 am
  3. Hey Mike,

    Good question!

    Here’s how I view it: each subscriber arrives at your site with his/her own level of knowledge about, and trust in, you and your business.

    Some people are definitely not going to take you up on an offer on your confirmation page, and in some cases, you can attribute that to a lack of trust. That’s OK. They’re still subscribers, and you’ll have an opportunity to deliver value and build that trust over time.

    (Is it possible that some people will be put off and unsubscribe immediately? I suppose so… but as long as you’re providing an offer that is clearly relevant to your new subscribers – Tim does a great job of this, as you can see – I wouldn’t expect many unsubscribes to occur. Of course, your mileage may vary and you’ll want to test and track your results, but on the whole I expect the pros outweigh the cons for most businesses.)

    Other people may be far more comfortable making a purchase at that stage… perhaps because they’ve been to your site before and know more about you (but hadn’t yet signed up to your email list). Why not make it easy for them to become customers?

    10/7/2010 1:46 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  4. I kind of agree with Mike… If I sign up, and have an offer being thrown at me right away, I myself would think – oh well, so it WAS just a sales letter after all… But, it could depend on the wording, and my interest in the product, I suppose!

    What I’ve found, though, is that the sprouting trust can be capitalized by culivating our budding RELATIONSHIP – this is the perfect spot for a survey or a surprise freebie. I have excellent click rates on those links on the confirmation page, and it speeds things up, rather than waiting two or three follow ups down the line before introducing these pages.

    The bottom line, as usual, is probably: try it for your lists and see what happens! :)

    10/7/2010 2:14 pm
  5. Monetizing your confirm page is a great idea because once people have already taken a certain action, they are likely to keep taking similar actions.

    In this case, they’ve already decided that you’re offering enough value to opt in. They’re already walking down that road, and presenting an offer at this point can catch visitors in a ‘ready to buy’ mindset.

    As with anything – optimize and test test test before drawing conclusions.

    Thanks for the great article!

    10/7/2010 2:21 pm
  6. Hi Mike, Hi Justin

    in relation to Mike’s point… email is one spoke on the wheel over a larger marketing plan.

    the goal is to reenforce your message, brand, support etc at all opportunities.

    I like the idea as described in this article and use something similar to hold the hand of customers before, during and after a sales interaction.

    Like teaching someone to cycle, You compliment or guide them along the way. each step is important.

    10/7/2010 3:42 pm
  7. Will

    The whole building trust and sending people to your offer a week, or 2 weeks after they subscribe to your list sounds great in practice, but in reality it doesn’t always work so well – especially these days.

    When peope initially signup to your site, you have an opportunity right then and there to try and make a sale. This is the time when they are the most interested in your site – the fact that they have just entered their email address is proof of this.

    You will never get that same amount of people to see your offer if you hold off and show them a few weeks later via followup emails. Even if your email deliverablity rate is good, you can still only expect, in a good case scenario, maybe 20% of your list ever reading the followup email(s). People’s inboxes are full of emails these days and if yours doesn’t jump right out at them, it will never get opened.

    So, why waste the other 80% of your list?

    Don’t always listen to what the ‘gurus’ say and believe it as the law. I am a big follower of guys like Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher and I will always listen to their advice over other well-known marketers. The reason? These guys are in a whole range of different markets and they are fanatical testers. They test everything. They don’t just guess what works best – they find out by testing various options against each other.

    The truth is, you don’t have to spend weeks sending people free stuff to build rapport and trust. You can do it immediately. All you need to do is deliver on your promise and give them exactly what they asked for, right away. You can actually over-deliver and give away too much free stuff whch means people have too much free information to consume and implement that they won’t even consider buying your product just yet.

    Moving the free line is NOT about giving away more and more content. It is about giving away better content. Always give away your biggest secret – the one that is going to give your subscribers an ‘Ah-huh!’ moment. But make sure it is simple to implement.

    And remember. A decent product can convert at anywhere between 1-3% with cold trafic (people who arrive on your sales page with no presell what-so-ever). So the sandwich page method works very well. When they optin take them straight to a page where you reveal the secret you promised – make it short and sweet. Just give them only what they need to get the results they want.

    Then at the bottom of the page have a link that says ‘Click Here to Continue >>’ and that link then sends them to your sales page. If the free information you offer after signup is as good as it should be, then your subscribers will be eager to click through and see what else you have to offer.

    10/7/2010 6:02 pm
  8. Great article and great advice! I’ll see how I can incorporate this idea with my keyword auction.

    10/8/2010 7:17 am
  9. I enjoyed reading that… simple yet effective advice, I will have to modify it to fit my products… Now looking forward to seeing the results!

    10/8/2010 7:18 am
  10. Rob

    Great idea, I’ll have to try this out for my product.

    10/8/2010 7:20 am
  11. Great idea! I like the fact that the when his customers are confirmaing, Tim gives an added bonus at a fairy reasonable pricefor something most of his subscribers would be interested in.

    10/8/2010 7:22 am
  12. I think this might work with specific sites where people are buying building material or something like shoes that can be delivered at a reduced price – even I would go for it!

    It is always easy to sell a person something that he NEEDS especially a brandname at a reduced price – that is why he is in the store.

    I would not try it with digital products – here you need to build trust.

    Especially in my case where someone would be searching for ways to make money online and I pitch forex trading to him with an immediate sales pitch on a forex trading course.

    10/8/2010 7:35 am
  13. Hi Justin,

    Every once in a while you come across a golden nugget that makes all the difference…this was it!!

    I’m in the process of setting up my ‘Shop’ and I can’t tell you how much this post right now has helped with what I would like to do moving forward.

    Thank you for writing it and please thank Tim for sharing his story!

    10/8/2010 7:36 am
  14. This is such a great way to go! I can see that some might be offended by a sales offer being made but it comes down to the fact, that if people are joining your list to receive valuable niche specific information at no cost, then you won’t loose many subscribers in my view and any small loss will be offset by the additional income stream. Your prospects don’t get much ‘hotter’ than when they join your list.

    I think there is a danger sometimes of educating our prospects over too long a time about our product/service, that they either end up buying a competitors or just loose interest or the need changes.

    Not sure which way to go? Just test it and compare results.
    Thanks for the great info!

    10/8/2010 7:38 am
  15. Riz

    Good Article – This tactic may work for some businesses alot more than others. As Mike pointed out for some businesses it’s more important the relationship is in place first.

    Nothing wrong with offering subscribers a good offer thou..

    10/8/2010 8:05 am
  16. I thought this was Very Helpful. Let us All remember that interest begets interest, and once you have someones attention enough to cllick on a confirmation, it only seems logical to present a positive
    useful product for a “point of Sale” “Impulse” Upgrade!!! Tremendous Advice and Thank You!

    10/8/2010 8:17 am
  17. I think as well the success of this approach depends on your product. You can see how it works well for Tim, the checklists are relatively low cost and someone who is interested in them is likely to be about to embark on a major DIY project and may consider this small investment as insurance for the big project.

    Whereas if you are selling a much higher value or complex product – visitors to your site and those subscribing to your newsletter may just want the expert opinion on a product and may find an instance sales pitch off putting.

    But in either case, as long as the pitch is done sensitively and contextually to the product I don’t think you risk a high level of unsubscribes.

    10/8/2010 9:17 am
  18. This post – and the comments that follow – definitely present food for thought. I see both sides and agree with both: providing an offer at the confirmation page makes sense because you DO have the subscriber’s intention and the individual has already decided to subscribe; yet, it could be a turn-off to be immediately hit over the head with an offer. I think if done professionally, with tact, the subscriber should not be offended by the offer at that stage.

    That all being said, the best way to find out is to test it and see!

    Thanks for some great material to consider.

    10/8/2010 9:55 am
  19. Maria,

    A surprise bonus/freebie is certainly another good idea for that page if you opt not to make an offer. The broader point to take away from this article is to *not waste the opportunity* that the confirmation page provides.

    Devin,

    Exactly – even a purchase of a low-dollar-amount product can lead to future (larger) purchases. I’m a big fan of incorporating commitment & consistency into marketing campaigns, and the confirmation page is a useful place to do so.

    Ivan,

    I agree 100% – marketing involves more than one channel (email just happens to be a particularly effective one :D ).

    Florence,

    Exactly – it’s all about making the offer timely, relevant & valuable.

    Michele,

    Glad you liked the article – and please let us know what your results are from using this technique on your site!

    Pete,

    Exactly – when people sign up, their interest level is at its highest. As the saying goes, "strike while the iron’s hot," no?

    Richard,

    You nailed it – test and see!

    10/8/2010 10:58 am | Follow me on Twitter
  20. Jon

    Nice tip guys… your blog keeps getting better and better. One of the few I always click on. ; )

    If anyone is interested:

    I actually signed up for Tim Carter’s email newsletter to see how the process happens. This actually occurs ‘before’ confirmation. Tim has this set to his confirm page. The article above says:

    // After new subscribers confirmed their subscriptions… //

    That was actually the bit I didn’t get, as the tip I’ve always heard to use was to use your destination post-first optin page as the sales tool, which of course you can see immediately, unlike the suggest for post-double optin.

    Also, Tim’s header says:

    // Your FREE Newsletter Has Been Activated! //

    This is clever, but not accurate either. (Sorry to be picky, but that’s my job.. ; )

    I think Tim would have a higher double-opt rate if he had no other external links on that page, an exit splash to remind people to confirm for a SECOND bonus (or, something we’ve yet to test, a ‘discount’ on the first item offered… ninja!), etc.

    His video for opt-in is excellent… could he LOOK more trustworthy? No way… nicely done. Perhaps if he hinted at a getting his deal-of-the-day or something the user would not be taken by surprise.

    Test, test, test …

    10/8/2010 11:17 am
  21. Hey Mike another thing to think about is that it is not just an offer. What caught me was the 80% off of his item. That is a possible relationship builder in itself.

    What I would also do in addition to this idea is setup a subscriber buyers list.

    So after they confirm>

    they buy>

    tell them I am adding them to a exclusive list (remember they got my autoresponder from the first list so whatever freebie I offered they got)>

    then set that exclusive list to unsubscribe them from the original list. And then send them a confirmation for the new list>

    send them their link to download their purchase/details AND ADD A SUPER COOL BONUS- Tim should throw in a unadvertised bonus "just because" to over deliver.

    Then for the next 3-4 weeks send them nothing but cool FREE info (with a little sales link at the bottom of each one in a passive way).

    10/8/2010 11:32 am
  22. Personally I try to monetize both the Thank You and the Confirmation Page. The only page you can ever guarantee everyone will see is the Thank You page so it makes sense (IMHO) to start adding useful information and relevant products to your target market there.

    Good tips!

    10/8/2010 11:48 am
  23. Jonathan Thompson

    Wow! Sheer brilliance! I’m so excited. I’m emailing my boss right now and telling him that we need to do something of this nature. We’ve been trying to come up with lower tier-priced product packages and ways to market them. This was perfect timing. Thank you A to the Weber!

    10/8/2010 12:17 pm
  24. Darren ~ You’re right; it’s a good idea to send different messages to people who’ve already purchased.

    If you don’t want them to have to confirm a second time, though, you could use set up sales tracking, then segment by sale amount for the appropriate messages.

    Jon ~ I believe Tim is currently testing a thank-you page offer – he agrees with your mantra of test, test, test!

    Jonathan ~ You’re welcome, and let us know how it goes!

    10/8/2010 12:31 pm
  25. Great information, I am just trying to get setup so I am reading everything I can about the techniques others are using to get results. Thanks a lot.

    10/8/2010 12:40 pm
  26. Darren, great ideas! Do you have them subscribe to the second list (buyer’s list) or do you manually add them yourself?

    10/8/2010 1:48 pm
  27. Hi,

    This is a good one, I have used it for a very long time. And it works well if you have a very good products that people will like to buy.

    10/8/2010 2:26 pm
  28. @Amanda thanks. :)

    @Peggy, yes I would have them signup as buyers and explain to them that they are NOT signing up to 2 lists but moving up to a "more exclusive" one :)

    10/8/2010 3:15 pm
  29. great piece of advice! I’m putting it into action this weekend…Wow…I’m gonna see an increase in my premium guitar lessons at http://www.qpguitar.com for sure…Thank you for this!

    You rock !

    10/8/2010 3:34 pm
  30. Will

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is not uncommon for a sale page receiving cold traffic to receive a conversion rate of around 1-2%. In fact, it’s what you should expect if your sales page is well written. So these are people arriving at your site for the very first and landing directly on your sales page. It is your job to build the trust and rapport through-out the sales letter.

    It’s great to just think you can send some email follow-ups after they initially sign up to your list and gradually build the trust over a few weeks before you send them to your product. The truth is, using this tactic you will never end up with anywhere near as many people seeing your sales page compared to if you just sent them straight there after they subscribe to your list.

    As I also mentioned, why wait a few weeks to send them to your ‘solution’ (product). For someone to subscribe to your list it means they are interested in what you have to offer right then and there. Wait a few weeks and they may have already found another solution or they have figured things out for themselves.

    I know that if I was having problems with bad acne on my face and a random stranger walked up to me on the side of the road and showed me a product that would clear all my acne, along with proof that it had worked for others and his credentials, I would buy it in a second. I don’t need him to keep calling me every 2 days over the next 2 weeks to convince me to buy. I am hurting right now so I want the solution right now.

    Now sure, there might be a few who see the solution and are still a little unsure or skeptical, but that is exactly what followup is all about. Email follow-up is about pushing those people who have already seen your product but were a little unsure, and convincing them to buy. And if done properly, throughout this process you can build trust and rapport with them. Each and every email should at some point be sending them back to the sales page.

    Studies have shown people need to be exposed to an offer an average of 7 times before they will buy. This DOESN’T mean send them nice emails 7 times and then try and sell them something. This is saying once they have already seen your offer, they then need to be exposed to it an average of 7 more times.

    Anyway, everyone is welcome to followup with their customers however they like. I just like to do it in a way that maximizes profit whilst also building a responsive list – and the sandwich page method does just that.

    10/8/2010 11:45 pm
  31. Hi all

    Great article, I have just spent the entire morning implementing this in my website / autoresponder.

    I will report back what is has done for me.

    Thanks for the article!

    10/9/2010 6:52 am
  32. Hi,

    Great tip.

    Mike Filshaime has been teaching it for years. He refers to it as the OTO (one-time offer).

    Since the new subscriber sees the offer only once (after signing up), he feels a lot of urgency and is pushed to buy. Cialdini writes about it in Influence and Persuasion.

    That’s a great read.

    10/10/2010 12:02 am
  33. Jon

    @ Will: Great comments, although (at least in fitness) a TRUE 2% cold response (i.e. via PPC or what-have-you) would be nothing short of miraculous OR it’s someone selling a pill. If you know of one converting even at 1% cold that’s selling solid info-style products, please post it! ; )

    Totally agree with the solution-now idea; and that’s why your objection to the sub page offer should be taken seriously. This IS a very good idea (and as you can see from m post above, Amanda clarified that Tim is "testing a new offer"… i.e. he’s a savvy marketer and he’s using his ‘confirmation’ page as the OTO.

    The sales page is something to consider however… thanks.

    10/11/2010 11:05 am
  34. Good article, and lots of good points. This motivates me to put together some of my own brand checklists and templates and offer them at the Thank You page. I agree with others that the confirmation page may be several days after, but the thank you page is an opportune time!

    10/11/2010 12:30 pm
  35. EZ

    Good article.

    10/12/2010 4:51 am
  36. Some great stuff here guys. I already have quite a responsive list, but as of yesterday I implemented this along side a new strategy to increase sign ups. Worked like a charm. Let’s see how it goes from here.

    But I like what has been discussed here, as I’ve been testing the process for new subscribers.

    Test, test, test, test, test!

    10/12/2010 10:35 am
  37. I can’t believe it! I was just thinking TODAY I needed to do this for home business help, and here’s the solution!

    Thanks Aweber, great reminder!

    10/12/2010 11:41 am
  38. Brilliant …I have just the product to go with the Article Writing Ebook subscription..i have some work to do..thanks

    10/13/2010 5:10 am
  39. Great idea, tips like this can really make a difference!
    Thanks Amanda!

    10/16/2010 7:43 am
  40. This is a great site. I can see why it converts so high. The guy looks very trusting and friendly. And the content shows he know’s what he is talking about. I can definitely pull some ideas from this site and put on my own.

    11/6/2010 6:23 pm
  41. Will’s comment was great, and a shame he is not showing his website! I liked KNITFreedom’s comment, and her site is open in another tab, waiting for me to read it.

    12/31/2010 2:08 am
  42. I’m quite new to this so it may be a silly question but this sounds like a great idea. The question I have is that its based on the fact that its a one time offer. This is the only time you will see this page.

    What stops someone bookmarking the confirmation page and going to it any time they want to or emailing the address to a friend so they can get the offer as well?

    4/1/2011 12:25 pm
  43. Stephen ~ What you’re actually putting on the confirmation page is an offer to buy something else, so it would be good if people sent it to friends – you’d have more people buying from you.

    4/1/2011 2:45 pm
  44. I have the same question as Stephen

    In particular i would like to know if is it possible to send them as confirmation page to a special link that is valid only once so it is a real one time offer.

    Thanks
    Fabrizio

    3/11/2013 2:04 pm