Author Archives: Mike Gingerich

About Mike Gingerich

Author: Mike Gingerich, President of web firm Digital Hill, Co-Founder of TabSite . Digital and Social Media Marketer, Speaker, and Business Consultant. Part geek, part marketer, total digital junkie! Seeking to add value, make the complex simple, and leave a positive impact. Follow me on twitter: @mike_gingerich.

Easy to Follow Plan to Create Your Free Opt-in Offer

Easy to Follow Plan to Create Your Free Opt-in Offer  First things first: what is a free opt-in offer? Essentially, it’s a value-packed informational product (this can be a spreadsheet, workbook, ebook, cheat sheet, checklist, etc.) that you give out to your audience in exchange for their email address.

Sure, giving out something for free sounds counterintuitive when you’re running a business. But giving away a free opt-in offer to add people to your email list is always a smart idea.

Why is it a good idea to build your email list?

Well, because not very many people are going to buy from you the very first time they hear about your product or your business. But a lot of people will give you their email address in exchange for a free workbook that will help them with a problem they’re having. Now their email is on your email list, and you’re able to nurture that lead and eventually turn them into a customer.

So how do you go about creating your free opt-in offer?

Step 1: Determine your topic

How do you know what to create for your free opt-in offer? Think about the problems that your target audience has. How can you solve them?

You want to offer something of value to increase conversions. So make sure your opt-in offer can help your audience solve a pain point they’re facing.

Step 2: Create your content

Now it’s time to create the content for your opt-in offer. Whether it’s an ebook, a workbook with pages they can write in, or a checklist, you’ve got to create the meat of the offer.

Do your research, repurpose some of your own blog and email content, and phone a friend to ensure you’ve included all of the moving parts. After all, you want this to be as informational as possible so your readers will keep coming back for more.

Step 3: Design your opt-in offer

Good design is a huge step in your opt-in offer freebie. You don’t want to simply hand off a PDF word document with content. First of all, it’s hard to read. And second of all, even if the content is amazing, it doesn’t look impressive.

You don’t have to use fancy software to design a visually appealing opt-in offer. You can use Apple Pages or Canva to get you started or outsource this part to a designer.

Step 4: Create your sales page.

This is one of the most important parts (aside from creating the actual content). This is what is going to actually “sell” your freebie. (Sell is in quotations since it is, well, free.) Design an aesthetically pleasing landing page on your website or with software like LeadPages and create succinct but engaging sales copy that shows your audience exactly why they need your opt-in offer.

Creating an opt-in offer doesn’t have to be a difficult process. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to start exponentially increasing your email list subscribers. Use this easy to follow plan to get started creating your first free opt-in offer.

How to Improve Your SEO to Generate More Leads

How to Improve Your SEO to Generate More Leads  One of the main features of a properly executed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is that, along with boosting traffic, it generates more leads. SEO needs some time work before you can see results. Generate more leads by improving your website SEO.

How SEO Helps Generate Leads

SEO isn’t obvious. Site visitors won’t notice its presence. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, will notice and will rank your site according to how it’s optimized for the search engines. SEO increases your site visibility and improves the user experience by boosting site quality, speed, and ease of navigation.

Because SEO helps your page rise in the ranks, it is a great tool for getting leads. Two of the ways search engines generate leads are:

  • Organic Search –  Results that appear in the search engine because the topic/keyword phrase emphasized on the web page has been searched for.
  • Paid Advertising –  Paid listings at the top or right of search results.

The beauty of the organic search method for generating leads is that is free! There are quite a few ways your SEO strategy can help you stand out in organic search.

Improving Your SEO Strategy

Act Natural

Avoid putting your SEO strategy before user experience. Your customers have little use for content that revolves solely around keyword density. Instead, write as though SEO takes a backseat to providing relevant content to your readers. Find the right balance between SEO and solid content.

Use the Right Keywords

Keywords are a vital component of SEO. The right keywords can bring targeted traffic to your site that is looking for exactly what you’re selling. Select keywords based on relevance, search volume, and competition.

High search volume keywords are the ones many people are searching for. However, you’ll be competing with lots of other brands with those keywords alone. Use lower search volume keywords to stand out more and find a more targeted audience.

Embrace the Locale

If you are a local business, don’t miss an opportunity to use local SEO techniques. Let people know where you are. Highlight your location often without appearing spammy. For example, if your photography business is located in Dallas, Texas, use keywords such as wedding photography in Dallas.

Make Sure Your Site is Responsive

Practically everyone is searching on their mobile devices. Having a site works on mobile as well as desktop gives you the advantage.

Start Blogging

An active blog provides fresh content, keywords, backlinks, and social media opportunities to your site. Publish relevant blog posts that make use of keywords and elements such as HTML tags ( particularly <h2> and <h3>) for easier scanning.

With a good SEO strategy, you can generate more leads and provide better content for your customers. Need help with your SEO strategy? Digital Hill can help! Contact Digital Hill today.

Overlooked Ways to Generate Leads Online

Overlooked Ways to Generate Leads Online  Lead generation is an art that requires careful planning and a creative approach. After exhausting all the obvious channels, you’ll inevitably feel like you’ve hit a roadblock. Once you find yourself at this crossroads, change your tactics and try out these alternative methods instead:

Focus on other social media platforms

Expand your reach beyond out of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Other places like Quora and Reddit are good to explore. Both platforms are social, but less personal and therefore, more targeted. They also cater to different interests, some even niche. Best of all, they have a large enough user base to make them worth a marketer’s time.

Design a free email course

People like valuable information as well as free stuff. Combine these two things in one package like a complimentary email course, and they’ll find it hard to resist. Whatever topic you choose to discuss, make sure you delve into it deep enough to make people feel like they’re part of a virtual class. If they find the experience useful, they’ll think, ‘If I already get this for free, I wonder what more I can get if I buy their products or services?’

Support a cause

Kill two birds with one stone – fulfill your civic responsibility and get leads at the same time. People are likelier to support a business with values that align with theirs, so choose a cause that’s not only close to your heart but also relevant to your brand. Sponsor a project with your charity, or donate part of your proceeds.

Start a podcast

Not everyone likes to watch or read content. Some people prefer to listen to content while running on the treadmill or typing emails at their desks. So aside from the usual articles, infographics, and videos, consider starting a podcast by uploading pre-recorded audio files or streaming a live online show. It’s a great way to appeal to people.

Create a quiz

There’s something about a quiz that draws people in. Maybe it appeals to vanity which is all part of human nature. Or maybe it piques curiosity, which is also part of human nature. Whatever the reason is, people can’t resist a quiz. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown – even a simple quiz that reveals an aspect will do.

These are just some of the alternative ways to generate leads online. You can surely come up with more on your own as long as you think outside the box. Get wacky, get crazy! Who says lead generation has to be boring?

Best Practices for Email Subscription Forms

Best Practices for Email Subscription Forms

There’s lots of noise in the digital advertising arena these days, but the best way to reach customers and keep them engaged is email. Social media may be the best way to drive customers to your website, but keeping them coming back is a job best left to email.

Currently, there are 2.5 billion email users worldwide, a number that is expected to grow to 2.9 billion by 2019. Dollars budgeted towards email marketing has been climbing since 2014 and is projected to continue to rise well into 2019.

Email Personalization

One of the secrets to effective email marketing isn’t much of a secret — it’s personalization. When email messages are personalized, the open rate jumps from 13.1 percent to 18.8 percent. An email signup form with more than a person’s email address is the best way to increase response.

Constructing an email signup form that feels more like 20 questions might be a good way to get to know your customers, but it can create a lot of “friction.” Friction is the psychological reaction customers have to forms, whether they be long or short.

Simply put, the more friction your signup form has, the less likely people are to complete it.

Straightforward Formatting

Another important strategy to keep in mind is to keep the email signup form simple. Don’t distract from what you are trying to do, which is open an avenue of communication with your customer. Lots of distractions on your email signup page just keeps people from finding the form.

It’s important to make your email subscription form easy to complete on mobile devices as well. Current data shows that 56% of emails are opened on a mobile platform, as opposed to a desktop computer.

Your email should be formatted for mobile viewing first, and your email signup form should also be completed easily via mobile. Making them responsive to screen size reduces a bit more of that psychological friction.

Details, Details

Personalization and adaptive formatting aside, there are also some small details that can increase people’s response to your subscription form.

  • No long drop-down lists. If you have a drop-down, keep it to just a few options.
  • Eschew the Captcha nonsense for double opt-ins. Captchas just end up being seen as another response field and can be a pain via mobile.
  • Use large buttons that are easy to find and recognize.

Among all the numbers, a clear narrative emerges. Businesses that do not harness email marketing will be left in the dust. It’s imperative that your business has a clear email marketing strategy that remains flexible in the face of the ever-changing digital landscape.

How to Convert Email Subscribers to Customers

How to Convert Email Subscribers to Customers
Getting people to sign up for your email list is a critical early step in your sales funnel. This step can be difficult. You have to determine the perfect lead magnet for your customers to turn them into email subscribers. But, email subscribers don’t pay the bills.

So how do you convert those email subscribers into paying customers?

The next step is lead nurturing.

It’s the process of nurturing your leads in order to turn them into customers via your email newsletter and your content marketing. So if you’ve been focusing on growing your email list, and want to make money from it, here are a few tips.

1. Understand what your subscribers want from you.

Even if you’re sending out awesome newsletters every week, if you’re not sending information that’s useful to your subscribers, they’re not going to move any further down the sales funnel. Instead, you need to understand exactly what they want from you and give it to them.

If you’re unsure what you should be sending out, try creating a reader survey. Send it to your email list to see what are the most requested topics for you to cover.

2. Perfect your welcome email.

You should be sending an automated welcome email to each new subscriber. If you created a lead magnet, it should be sent immediately, along with a well-crafted welcome email.

A welcome email will introduce your product or service to your email list. It will let the new subscriber know what to expect. It will also include an easy way for them to move further down the sales funnel: either a discount code for a purchase or a small-dollar item that they can buy for just a few bucks.

To make your welcome offer even more enticing, create a nurture series rather than a single email. Craft an automated email series that sends a different email every 2-3 days reminding new subscribers of your welcome offer. Finish off the series email by letting the subscriber know it’s their last chance. This creates a sense of urgency, and brand new subscribers are the most likely to convert.

3. Create multiple sales funnels.

Not every new subscriber is going to quickly turn into a paying customer. This is why it’s important to create multiple sales funnels for subscribers.

Segment your list based on different categories. Entice people who have been on your list for awhile with a loyalty offer. Create a sales funnel for people who click-through to your website more often. Try to reel in subscribers who haven’t opened your email in awhile with a really fantastic email subject.

4. Include a call to action in every email.

Not every email needs to be a sales or promotional email. In fact, a majority of your emails should be used only to educate. Users won’t want to stay subscribed if you’re constantly bombarding them with sales and offers. However, you should still include a call to action in each email you send, so your subscribers still have the option to buy.

The very first step is to get email subscribers. You need a form, and not just any form will do. You need a form that grabs attention and gets people to fill it out!

Pop-up email subscription forms get up to 70% more subscriptions than a sidebar form. How can you keep from annoying your visitors? Have the form pop up only when people move their cursor up to exit the website, popup on exit intent.

I find that on my own site pop up and slide in forms are my #1 subscription source, with a form embedded at the bottom of my blog post coming in #2.

Waftio is the perfect solution. Nicely formatted forms that draw the eye without being overbearing or unreadable. With Waftio you can add a form to the bottom of your blog post and add a slide in or popup on exit intent to the site also. The form loads a millisecond after your site, so there is no drag on your site load time. Your site stays lightening fast, just the way Google likes it.

Have questions about Waftio? Leave them in the comments below. I’ll answer them right away.

Popup Subscription Forms. Should You Use Them?

Popup Subscription Forms. Should You Use Them?
Pop-ups, pop unders, and interstitials. They’ve been around almost as long as the internet, and they’ve had a reputation as an annoyance nearly as long. People have even created software whose sole purpose is to block these interruptions, so it’s safe to say that they’re not well loved. But people keep using them. Why?

How We Use Popups Today

There was a time when the sole purpose for pop-ups was to make sure high paying ads were seen. That’s part of the reason why they’re annoying and frustrating.

However, and these days, popups are primarily used to promote your own email list and similar subscriptions.

Why This Is Better

There will always be people who are annoyed by popups. The fact is most popups today are related to a site they’re already reading, and interested in. So they’re less likely to inspire anger and frustration.

How to Get More Out of Popups

If we want to get more email subscribers, we need to make sure that people are aware of our lists. The best way to do that is to make subscription forms as visible as possible.

Pop ups are great, but there are several ways to get more from them if you do decide to use them:

  • Keep the design clean and avoid garish graphics, ghastly gifs or blaring music.
  • Limit the information you require. This is true of every form on your site, but even more so with popups. If you can get away with just a name and email address, do it!
  • Use persuasive copywriting on your opt in or opt out buttons. Something like “YES! I want to learn how to X” and “No. I have enough Y already” usually works well.
  • Make sure it’s easy to close the popup. If users can’t close them, they might close your site instead.
  • Set up pop ups so they only show once per visit. That way your visitors aren’t bombarded on every page they visit.

The fact is, popups increase opt-ins from 0.4% for a regular sidebar subscription form to 5.5% overall, and that’s a huge gain that’s hard to ignore.

If you want to grow your list, they’re a great way to do just that. While they can be hit and miss, try testing them, perhaps with different messages to see what works for you.

If your site is a valuable resource, and you’re offering an enticing deal in your popup, you’d be surprised at how much a pop-up subscription form can bring.

The Sales Funnel for Beginners

The Sales Funnel for Beginners
If you spend any amount of time researching online marketing, chances are you’re going to encounter the term “sales funnel.” It’s not a new term, but if it’s new to you, then you’ve come to the right place! This is everything you need to know about sales funnels.

Stages of Purchasing

Sales funnels are built around the accepted notions that people need multiple interactions with a brand or product before they purchase and that there are several stages to the purchasing process.


Awareness is the first stage of the sales funnel. It’s very much advertising driven. At this stage, new customers who’ve never heard of you see ads or articles about your products.


If you’ve ever heard that it’s the visitors that return to your website that count this is what they’re talking about.

Interest is when people who visited your site once, as the result of an ad, make a repeat visit (or 6!) They read articles, look at reviews and product data, and immerse themselves more in your products and services.


After enough contact with your company via your website, reading articles and reviews, and hearing good things about you, eventually, customers reach the stage where they will make a decision.

They might be looking at more than one option. If you’re credible, your products and services are high quality and meet their needs; chances are, they will purchase from you.


Action is the last step of the customer driven sales funnel. This is where orders are made, payments exchanged, and delivery details agreed upon. This is a big step for any customer, so make it as easy as possible.

Use large, clear, easy to find buttons to direct customers to your online store or contact page. Offer multiple payment options.

After Sales

Many people forget this crucial step in the sales funnel, but you’ll do a lot better if you don’t! The truth is, the sales process doesn’t end when you’ve taken payment or delivered the item in question.

Follow up with customers after sales, stay in touch and keep them up to date with new products and deals is a great way to boost your bottom line.

Make sure you automate the after sales marketing to existing customers process and keep them coming back, time and time again!

How to Create an Ebook as an Opt-In Offer

How to Create an Ebook as an Opt-In Offer
When building your email list, the best way to increase subscribers is by offering something in exchange for their email address. This needs to be more than a basic “Sign up for our newsletter!” call to action. People have no idea what to expect from your newsletter. So even if it’s full of valuable content, you need to offer more to get their email address. Create an ebook opt-in offer.

There are many different options for an opt-in offer, eBooks, white papers, free video webinars. But an ebook is a very powerful option. Typically it’s around 25 pages and covers a single topic your audience is interested in.

If you’re ready to create your first ebook, check out our tips below.

1. Pick your a Relevant Topic.

Pick a topic that’s relevant to your business. What’s something your target market would be interested in learning more about? What question do you get asked most? That’s a great topic for your eBook.

For a digital marketing agency, an ebook about Facebook ads or creating a social media strategy. A contractor might have an ebook about minor fixes homeowners can do themselves. A credit union might have an ebook about repairing your credit.

It’s important to give away valuable information in your opt-in ebook, but not too much information that they don’t buy from you.

2. Outline your ebook.

Since ebooks are much longer pieces of content than a typical blog article, the best way to get started is by creating an outline. Write the main points you want to make and include a few bullets about each one.

The best way to outline your ebook is by dedicating a separate chapter to each subtopic, then cover each subtopic thoroughly.

3. Flesh out your points.

Now write your ebook! Take the outline you’ve created, write your introduction, and flesh out each of your chapters, subheadings, and bullet points.

Include a call-to-action to your products/services in your conclusion to let each of your new email subscribers know what next steps to take after reading your ebook.

4. Proofread and edit your ebook.

Proofreading and editing anything you write is always crucial. Sentences that may have made sense when you initially wrote them might need some cleanup after rereading them. Once you’ve finished writing, set it aside for a few days before coming back to edit. It’s always a good idea to let it stew before revisiting it.

5. Design your ebook.

This can be one of the most difficult parts. You want your ebook to be engaging and compelling. It requires more design than a regular blog post. You want to make it easy to read and aesthetically pleasing. Don’t slap a bunch of words onto a Microsoft Word document and export it as a PDF.

Here’s a great tool to create your own eBook,

Once you’ve finished your design, export it as a PDF, and you’re ready to get started increasing email subscriptions with your new ebook opt-in offer. Create a pop-up on your website and a landing page that includes a thank you and link to download the eBook for new subscribers.

Why People Unsubscribe from Your Email List

Why People Unsubscribe from Your Email List
It’s challenging enough to get people to subscribe to your mailing list, so when they start unsubscribing at a noticeable rate, it’s hard not to worry. Are you doing anything wrong? The likely answer is yes. But don’t fret! The usual reasons people unsubscribe can be addressed in the following ways:

Reason: You send too many emails

Whenever people access their inbox, they have several messages from you.  If this happens too often, they start feeling overwhelmed. Tired of deleting emails, the only other way out is to unsubscribe.

Solution: Give delivery options.

Let people choose how often they hear from you. Some prefer weekly; others want monthly. Some want to be updated right away, while others just want a summary of highlights. Different strokes for different folks, so provide several options they can choose from. And stop sending messages several times a day!

Reason: You send too few emails.

Not sending enough emails is just as bad as sending too many. When people hardly hear from you, they don’t remember they subscribed, so they unsubscribe or even worse, report you as spam. As expected, balance is important.

Solution: Stick to a consistent schedule.

Life can get in the way of email-writing, but try to follow a publication schedule. Even if you send emails twice a month, it establishes a pattern people can recognize, and they know when to expect to hear from you.

But what if it isn’t you, it’s them? There’s still something you can do:

Reason: They signed up by mistake.

It’s easy to click on the wrong buttons on smartphones and tablets. The result is people subscribing to newsletters they never intended to join in the first place. They only realize what happened when they get messages from you.

Solution: Use a double opt-in form.

These people aren’t major losses because they won’t become conversions, but they skew your marketing data. To prevent accidental signups, use a double opt-in form that confirms their subscription.  This ensures that all members of your mailing list are either potential or existing customers.

Reason: They canceled by mistake.

Again, we can blame the small screens of mobile devices for the increasing number of accidental cancellation.  People who don’t plan to unsubscribe still leave your email list because they didn’t realize what they’ve done. They’ll just wonder why they haven’t heard from you and assume you’re too busy.

Solution: Use a double opt-out form

If you ask people to confirm their subscription, then it makes sense to confirm their cancellation. Otherwise, you’d lose a good lead, and that’s a shame. Only those who intend to leave your mailing list will go through the whole process of opting out.

Reason: Your content is too sales-y.

People who knowingly joined your mailing list did so because they want to get relevant content from you. So if you bombard them with ad after ad and not much else, they’ll unsubscribe.

Solution: Deliver content your subscribers find useful.

Soft sell is the way to go when communicating with your subscribers. They’re more likely to respond positively if you give them what they want first, which is information they’ve been looking for.

Building your mailing list is not just about getting new subscribers. It’s also about retaining the ones you already have. Work on both, and you’ll see considerable growth in your subscriptions.