Asking For Name On Opt-In

42 replies
Just asking for the email on the opt in form is said to have the highest lead conversion rates.

On my opt-in forms I ask for the name so I can personalise the email and use their name in the title to increase opens.

Has anyone split test this over time? Should I lose the personalisation in exchange for getting the maximum number of emails possible?

I havent split test this myself yet so I am not sure how much it effects the signup rate.

I'm really interested to hear your experiences with this.
#optin
  • Profile picture of the author Rob Whisonant
    I found just asking for the email address has worked better for me. Especially in the IM niche.

    The vast majority of people in the IM niche know that a personalized email is nothing more than a autoresponder or blast. They are already numb to it.

    Re's
    Rob Whisonant
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    • Profile picture of the author anthony2
      Originally Posted by Rob Whisonant View Post

      I found just asking for the email address has worked better for me. Especially in the IM niche.

      The vast majority of people in the IM niche know that a personalized email is nothing more than a autoresponder or blast. They are already numb to it.

      Re's
      Rob Whisonant
      I agree with Rob.

      If you are outside of the internet marketing niche then personalization can
      work very well. In the IM niche we see these marketing tactics everyday
      and like rob said we are numb to it.

      With me i just go with the email on the lead capture page but when i am building my customer list i looking to get both name and email address.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    It goes without saying, the less information you ask from someone the easier it is for them to optin and the more conversions you will get as a result. As for using the name to personalize future emails, I don't think this is important anymore.

    This worked well a few years ago but nowadays you can often appear less personal by using someone's name. A lot of spam sent out these days will use peoples names so you don't want to liken yourself to those emails.

    I think you can be just as personal, if not more, by not using someone's name. Think about it. When you email a close friend or family member do you always put there name in the subject line or at the beginning of the email? I know I don't because we are just casually speaking to one another and there's no need for formalities. This is the sort of relationship you want to replicate with your prospects.
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    • Profile picture of the author bankboss
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      It goes without saying, the less information you ask from someone the easier it is for them to optin and the more conversions you will get as a result. As for using the name to personalize future emails, I don't think this is important anymore.

      This worked well a few years ago but nowadays you can often appear less personal by using someone's name. A lot of spam sent out these days will use peoples names so you don't want to liken yourself to those emails.

      I think you can be just as personal, if not more, by not using someone's name. Think about it. When you email a close friend or family member do you always put there name in the subject line or at the beginning of the email? I know I don't because we are just casually speaking to one another and there's no need for formalities. This is the sort of relationship you want to replicate with your prospects.
      yup that is true but not always...for instance, facebook has so much of user information and have you ever wondered why the company is worth so much? yes it's because of that...

      usually the more information you have, the more effective people you're getting...
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  • Profile picture of the author BenFromSoMo
    One thing I find hilarious and somewhat common is an email where my name will be placed somewhere that it really ought not belong in an email because it was "personalized" incorrectly.
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  • Profile picture of the author RussRuffino
    Totally agree with Will. Asking for the name hurts conversions, and doing the "fake" personalization that Aweber allows isn't really fooling anyone anyway. The e-mail address is all you need.

    Russ
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by BenFromSoMo View Post

      One thing I find hilarious and somewhat common is an email where my name will be placed somewhere that it really ought not belong in an email because it was "personalized" incorrectly.
      My favorite is getting emails addressed to "Dear [firstname]"

      Many years ago, a friend of mine got a solicitation from a charity addressed to "Occupant". Some glitch in the mailing system put about a dozen of these envelopes in his mailbox the same day.

      He had some blank counter checks from his bank (this was back before the bank could print the starter checks in house). He took one, made it out for $1,000,000 (no account or other identifying info) and signed it "Occupant". It was mailed from thecentral post office with no return address.

      We got a giggle over some longnecks picturing the poor schlub who had to open the mail. I know, now it seems pretty juvenile, but back then it was hilarious...
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    • Profile picture of the author iSoftware
      Originally Posted by RussRuffino View Post

      Totally agree with Will. Asking for the name hurts conversions, and doing the "fake" personalization that Aweber allows isn't really fooling anyone anyway. The e-mail address is all you need.

      Russ

      I beg to differ - this is my experience managing a list portfolio that generates 40+% open rates and over 5,000 clicks (on a good mailing) - that's just an email list mind you..mobile list is over 25,000.....

      But I digress.....

      First of all, it depends on the Niche and market. People outside of IM are not as accustomed to the the aggressive marketing.

      If you really want to see some KICK ASS PERSONALIZATION GET ON John Cornetta's list. He has over 350,000 subscribers and he pays his bills getting people to open up emails and click on links.

      All things being equal, I've seen stats that say personalization can increase your open rates by about 10%.

      Ryan Deiss has tested this and you can see the research in one of his products.

      Also check out Mailchimps study which basically shows average open rates and click through rates according to industry.
      Research | MailChimp

      Every year the direct marketing association also publishes an annual study which is great to check out:

      Research | MailChimp
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

    I havent split test this myself yet so I am not sure how much it effects the signup rate.
    I think the sign-up rate isn't even the most important aspect of it.

    Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

    On my opt-in forms I ask for the name so I can personalise the email and use their name in the title to increase opens.
    Many people have told me how much they dislike those "personalised" emails that "other marketers" are using. Everyone knows that they're not really personalised anyway, it's just an automated gadget ... so it's not like it actually fools anyone.

    Many of the people on my lists (all of which are entirely unconnected with the "internet marketing advice" or "make money online" markets) think that it makes the sender of the email sound "like someone desperate to sell life assurance".

    I think it's a real negative, just in its own right. For "non-internet-marketing audiences", anyway.

    Never mind the fact that you also happen to build a bigger list by asking for an email address only.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
      Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post


      ... getting the maximum number of emails possible?
      Is your primary goal to get the maximum number of emails possible?

      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post


      I think the sign-up rate isn't even the most important aspect of it.
      I think you're right.

      Joe Mobley
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
    Outside of the IM market, using personalization still works extremely well.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    How do you start your emails if you haven't got their name?

    Something that really irks me are emails starting "Dear Friend" or "Dear [simile for prospective buyer]". Just makes me think Nigerian lottery.

    I get a lot of spam emails and they don't have my name because I never legitimately signed up for their lists. When I see my name I feel its more likely its a list I actually signed up for.

    I am actually quite surprised that everyone is in favour of dropping the name. I thought it was a good tool for building up a relationship with the customer. Pretty much every direct mail book I have read says having the prospects name on the letter increases conversions.

    PS. I am not in the IM or MMO markets.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
      For an IM prospect list, I tend to ask for the e-mail only
      so that I get more opt-ins and a bigger list first off.

      Then I focus on turning prospects into customers where
      I'll get their name and e-mail address automatically once
      they buy something anyways.

      You can then use their name in follow-up e-mails and do
      cools stuff like auto-inserting their name into webpage
      headlines, etc.

      It's more important to get the names of buyers so you
      can strengthen the relationship with them and turn them
      into repeat buyers.

      Then the next step is to make them an offer to get further
      details, e.g. postal address, phone number, etc.

      Just do it step-by-step getting more details and commitment
      each time.

      That said, test out the two prospect paths to see which one
      yields best results for you and your market.

      Dedicated to mutual success,

      Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author DrJale
    I also noticed that most people do not use confirmed opt-ins anymore. Most lists I signed up on recently didn't asked me to confirm my e-mail.
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  • Profile picture of the author JBIG1994
    Hmm I haven't thought about wiping out the name field. I'm in a few niches outside of IM, so I think the 'first name' fatigue may not apply there. But maybe no one 'falls' for the fake personalization anyway...Testing time!
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      I like when marketers ask for my name.

      It lets me track them.

      If I use a different name, I can see whether that name stays with them, or if I start getting eMails addressed to that name from other people.

      With an eMail address, it's hard to say whether someone sold your eMail or if it was scraped or guessed or whatever.

      With an eMail plus a name, you have a much better idea what someone is doing with your name and eMail.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        I like when marketers ask for my name.

        It lets me track them.

        If I use a different name, I can see whether that name stays with them, or if I start getting eMails addressed to that name from other people.

        With an eMail address, it's hard to say whether someone sold your eMail or if it was scraped or guessed or whatever.

        With an eMail plus a name, you have a much better idea what someone is doing with your name and eMail.
        I've got a general GMail account that I use for most of
        my e-mail subscriptions.

        If they send good stuff, then I create a unique e-mail
        forwarding address for them, e.g. 'listowner@mydomain.com'

        This allows me to track what they're doing with my e-mail
        address AND more importantly cut it off if they sell my
        details on or ignore unsubscribe requests.

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
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        • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
          Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

          I've got a general GMail account that I use for most of
          my e-mail subscriptions.

          If they send good stuff, then I create a unique e-mail
          forwarding address for them, e.g. 'listowner@mydomain.com'

          This allows me to track what they're doing with my e-mail
          address AND more importantly cut it off if they sell my
          details on or ignore unsubscribe requests.

          Dedicated to mutual success,

          Shaun
          That's exactly what I do, too. With so many marketers, their privacy guarantee isn't worth diddly. They sell their email lists repeatedly, and this system proves it.
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          • Profile picture of the author swiftimpulse
            Originally Posted by AnniePot View Post

            That's exactly what I do, too. With so many marketers, their privacy guarantee isn't worth diddly. They sell their email lists repeatedly, and this system proves it.
            It's a shame this isn't policed any more than it is at the moment.
            Personally once someone unsubscribes I do what's right, and not contact them. Actually I delete them off the system all together, that way there's no accidental re-activating them or anything like that. If they want back in, it's not hard to find me the same way they did before.
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      • Profile picture of the author ladywriter
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        I like when marketers ask for my name.

        It lets me track them.

        If I use a different name, I can see whether that name stays with them, or if I start getting eMails addressed to that name from other people.
        Exactly. They're not fooling me with the personalization but it's useful for my purposes.
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      • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        I like when marketers ask for my name.

        It lets me track them.

        If I use a different name, I can see whether that name stays with them, or if I start getting eMails addressed to that name from other people.

        With an eMail address, it's hard to say whether someone sold your eMail or if it was scraped or guessed or whatever.

        With an eMail plus a name, you have a much better idea what someone is doing with your name and eMail.
        As many others, I also use a gmail address for subscribing to lists.
        Recently, I discovered a little trick to track what happens with my email address after subscribing; i.e. to have proof if they sell it or hand it over to others.

        Suppose your address is istvan@gmail.com
        when signing up you can create different versions of it, like
        istvan+marketersname@gmail.com
        istvan+othermarketer@gmail.com

        And they all get delivered to your main address
        I already know of at least 3 marketers that gave out my address to others: started to get messages from lists I have never signed up for.

        HTH
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    • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
      Originally Posted by JBIG1994 View Post

      Hmm I haven't thought about wiping out the name field. I'm in a few niches outside of IM, so I think the 'first name' fatigue may not apply there. But maybe no one 'falls' for the fake personalization anyway...Testing time!
      I don't think people "fall" for it. I never expect people to believe I am there personally writing out all these emails just for them.

      I do think though that using someones name shows that its a genuine email they signed up for and also is a good way to connect with them while they are reading it.

      Can anyone share their techniques of starting the email and talking to the reader without knowing their name?
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      • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
        Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

        Can anyone share their techniques of starting the email and talking to the reader without knowing their name?
        There are a few options you could test...

        Don't use any salutation at all - Just go right into the main
        message. Do you personalize messages to your friends???

        Use a general salutation - Dear Subscriber, Fellow Subscriber,
        Hi, Hey, Howdy, [Newsletter Title] Subscriber, Dear Reader,
        etc.

        Use their name - go after their name at the outset and then
        use the name they input into the web form name field.

        Ultimately, test variations for your list and your market to see
        which works best for you.

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Asking for the name and other details can actually be a powerful technique as a step to pre-qualify your prospects, and weed out the casual tire-kickers and free-loaders. Indeed, always test your marketing, however. In my niches, which are high end products and extremely competitive, pre-qualification for my offers include filling out six fields or more such as: first and last name, email, company, contact phone number, best time to call, etc. The ones who do take the time to fill out lengthy forms are far fewer in number, but the results are nearly 90% conversion over the autoresponder series. Your mileage may vary.
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        • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
          Originally Posted by myob View Post

          Asking for the name and other details can actually be a powerful technique as a step to pre-qualify your prospects, and weed out the casual tire-kickers and free-loaders. Indeed, always test your marketing, however. In my niches, which are high end products and extremely competitive, pre-qualification for my offers include filling out six fields or more such as: first and last name, email, company, contact phone number, best time to call, etc. The ones who do take the time to fill out lengthy forms are far fewer in number, but the results are nearly 90% conversion over the autoresponder series. Your mileage may vary.
          I used to do this but now I just ask for name and email. I then use my follow up emails to generate leads with contact numbers and more information. My thinking is that someone may not instantly be ready to talk turkey, but after being on my list for a while they may be at the point where they are ready to give these details and work out a deal.

          This is not an easy thing to test at all really as the only thing I care about is how much money I make. I close some of my sales over the phone also so it would be difficult to track which list (names or no names) was working best.

          I think I will do a split test and see what the difference in conversion is. If it's massive then I'll probably drop it, if its marginal I will keep it.

          Has anyone split test this already?
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

            How do you start your emails if you haven't got their name?

            Something that really irks me are emails starting "Dear Friend" or "Dear [simile for prospective buyer]". Just makes me think Nigerian lottery.
            Depending on the nature of the list and where we are in the sequence (for autoresponders), I usually start with "Hello, John McCabe here. Just wanted to remind you that you asked me to send some information on [subject]. Here it is..."

            Other times, I'll autoinsert the subscription date and the url of the opt-in page. Followed by the location of the unsubscribe link.

            Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

            I am actually quite surprised that everyone is in favour of dropping the name. I thought it was a good tool for building up a relationship with the customer. Pretty much every direct mail book I have read says having the prospects name on the letter increases conversions.

            PS. I am not in the IM or MMO markets.
            Most of the direct mail classics were written before the days of software mail-merge or token substitution in the case of email. There was a time when personalization wasn't common or easy. so doing it really did set you apart.

            Using a name can help ease some resisitance if it's done naturally. Trick is, most people don't use it naturally.

            Would you really start an email to a friend with "Dear John, I was talking to my good friend Gooroo Joe and he metioned his latest deal. John, this thing is amazing. I told myself I had to get John the biggest discount possible so I told joe I knew this guy John and... John, don't wait, buy it now John. John, do it before it's too late..."

            In or out of the MMO/IM market, people aren't stupid. They can tell when a car salesman or insurance agent is gladhanding them, and they can sure tell when an email is forcing things.

            If you want raw numbers, go single opt-in and email only. If you want to prequalify people, keep adding barriers until you're getting the people you want (the ones serious about at least hearing you out).
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

    Just asking for the email on the opt in form is said to have the highest lead conversion rates.

    On my opt-in forms I ask for the name so I can personalise the email and use their name in the title to increase opens.

    Has anyone split test this over time? Should I lose the personalisation in exchange for getting the maximum number of emails possible?

    I havent split test this myself yet so I am not sure how much it effects the signup rate.

    I'm really interested to hear your experiences with this.
    I thought long and hard before i got into this thread, it has the hallmarks of something that could come back and bite me on the bum

    Regardless of the opinions in the rest of the thread i will be continuing the practice of asking for the first and last name as well as email in my squeeze pages and membership sites.

    Robert
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  • Profile picture of the author Tiffan Meloney
    Well the name is used for the things said above and to make sure your emails don't get filtered as spam. So always collect the persons name, and attempt to collect more information ( zip, location) to get a targeted list. This will make sure your emails get delivered and you will make more money.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    Thanks John.

    That is definitely a nice way of starting the email and bringing them back to the same thought process they were at when they first requested the information.

    In my niche I try to not sound overly friendly as the market perception is that I should be professional and even slightly corporate. I do however try to encourage them the hit the reply button which will start a personal conversation with me so I can discuss their requirements.

    I think I am going to go for maximum sign ups and remove the name field and see how it goes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peggy Baron
    On the flip side of the coin, I like it when I'm asked for my name on optins because I use a special nickname for this. That way I can tell if an email is spam, or something I signed up for. The spammers don't know my special nickname.


    Peggy
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    • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
      Originally Posted by Peggy Baron View Post

      On the flip side of the coin, I like it when I'm asked for my name on optins because I use a special nickname for this. That way I can tell if an email is spam, or something I signed up for. The spammers don't know my special nickname.


      Peggy
      I always do this myself on any IM stuff I subscribe for but weirdly if its outside of IM I don't usually bother.

      Looking at my list I cannot see anyone who has put an obvious identifyer in.
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  • Profile picture of the author swiftimpulse
    I'm just beginning to start a list.

    I get them to enter their first name and their email address.
    I actually went along and capitalised all the names in aweber (they entered their name as 'john' instead of 'John') because I figured if I email them with personalisation it's a bit rude to not capitalise their name. They may have done it to themselves, but I shouldn't do it to them, if that makes sense.

    I also have an open list, no confirmation required. They get the same email but don't need to confirm it, so that's 1 less click on their behalf. I tried confirmation when I first started but quite a few people never confirmed. I put it down to laziness, they bothered to click the link in the first place but not follow through. This way I deliver what they want and in a few days email them with relevant info.

    Of course they can always unsubscribe any time so I don't see the harm, even though I'm sure it's frowned upon by some people.

    Edit:

    Oh, and I forgot to add some people actually use the name of your WSO or product as their 'name' so they know where you're from.
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    • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
      Originally Posted by swiftimpulse View Post

      I actually went along and capitalised all the names in aweber (they entered their name as 'john' instead of 'John') because I figured if I email them with personalisation it's a bit rude to not capitalise their name. They may have done it to themselves, but I shouldn't do it to them, if that makes sense.
      You can do this automatically in the email designer. You add a field like "Firstname_FIX". When it says "FIX" it means it capitalizes it for you.
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      • Profile picture of the author swiftimpulse
        Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

        You can do this automatically in the email designer. You add a field like "Firstname_FIX". When it says "FIX" it means it capitalizes it for you.
        Lol now I feel like an idiot for sitting there all that time
        But thanks for the tip, I won't be doing that again
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Huddleston
    I will have to try it and see if I get better optins.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
    This is a really interesting topic...and certainly it's going to vary from page to page, business to business.

    The only "correct" answer would come in the form of an A/B split test.

    However, I did hear a good perspective about personalization the other day.

    Someone asked, "When you get an email from a friend, do they ever have your name in the email..."

    As in "Bob, are you ready to make money in 2011?"

    Not likely.

    (Just look through your emails from friends and check for yourself.)

    So, I don't think the personalization aspect is as big as some people make it out to be.

    I'll test a pure curiosity subject line vs. personalization to be sure.

    Also, there are often other ways you can get the first name beyond the opt-in form. So this doesn't have to be an either/or proposition.

    In many cases, when they make a purchase you will have their name...or fill out a survey, etc.

    You can warm them up with your solid content first...and then have a step that asks for their name.

    All the best,
    Jack Duncan
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  • Profile picture of the author Jamie Charles
    Count me for the No name Opt In.

    I always make them confirm though, no matter the niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobertAxelsen
    Great question, GuerillaIM (see what I just did there )! Hehe..

    I agree with going for the email only, as it increases signups And it's one less field to clutter your squeezepage.

    And to be honest, I never really focused on using names in the email copy anyways. Going straight into the copy, starting the copy in the subject and jumping into the body or a single "Hi," works just fine.

    But reading all the posts, I am surprised to read that most of you have good reasons not to use names, and that in the IM industry it is frowned upon anyways.

    Food for thought - for me at least. Thanks all
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