How I got 1,354 New Emails with 1 Checklist

Terry Ibele 13 April 2016 0 comments

target emailsThis is the story of how I repurposed traffic to our website to gain email addresses using a simple offer document.

Scroll to the end for instructions on how to set this strategy up for your nonprofit.

Late last year, I was brainstorming ways to capture more email addresses.

With more email addresses in our list, we can talk to more people about Wild Apricot (find out how emails can bring you in more members with a 5-step marketing funnel strategy).

The first place I went to was our blog and knowledge articles. 

Wild Apricot is famous (well, internet famous) for a few of our articles. Our most popular one on Meeting Minutes was written a few years ago and has obtained nearly a million views since. If you type "Meeting Minutes" into Google, it's the first result.

meeting minutes

To give you an idea about how popular this article is, in the last 3 months (Jan-Mar), this article has had 195,472 unique views.

Now, meeting minutes has absolutely nothing to do with Wild Apricot's software, BUT, some people looking for meeting minutes are likely on the Board of a membership-based organization, and these types of organizations are the perfect target for our software.

So, how could I qualify someone who's interested in meeting minutes and see if they also work for a membership-based organization (and may be interested in our software)?

And furthermore, how could I get those people to give me their email address so I can start talking about Wild Apricot's software to them?

In January, I added an offer document (a checklist) to this article that you could only access if you gave me your email address.

Here are the results of what happened:

From January to March, the article received 195,472 unique views.

During this period, my checklist qualified and collected 1,354 new emails (0.7% conversion). 

Of those emails, 564 (42% of emails) of them actually requested a demo of our software (yay!).

0.7% may seem like a super tiny conversion rate, but 1,354 new emails is quite substantial, especially because nearly half of those emails requested a demo.

So what is this offer document that I added?

It’s ridiculously simple. It took only a few hours of work to create and set up and now I can just let it do its thing.

The offer document is a Meeting Minutes Checklist. It’s simply a 1-page list of things anyone taking meeting minutes should remember to do.

The list itself is helpful, and I can see why people reading the article would want it. 

But here’s the catch. In order to download the list, I ask for someone to fill out a form and give me their email so that I can email them about Wild Apricot.

Remember, nearly half of all emails I captured asked for a demo of Wild Apricot. How could so many of these emails be qualified for our software? 

Simple. I made it very clear as to who should give me their email. Read this banner I created and stuck in the article.

Meeting Minute Checklist

If someone is not a “Membership Based Organization” why would they click the banner?

Sure, the checklist is useful for anyone taking meeting minutes, but I don’t want just anyone’s email. I only want the emails of people who could possibly want our software.

And when you click the banner, it directs to a landing page that further qualifies someone. So, if someone goes through all the trouble of clicking the banner and filling out the form (which also asks them if they'd like a demo of Wild Apricot software), they are likely someone who might be a good customer.

Now here’s the fun bit.

Within the meeting minutes article, I placed the banner twice. Once at the beginning, and once at the end. I also wrote out a text link in the middle of the article (it’s a long article), that says, “Download our Meeting Minute Checklist for Associations and Nonprofits and learn how to take better minutes.”

Which link do you think got the most clicks?

Here are the results:

  • Top Banner: 36%
  • Middle Text Link: 52%
  • Bottom Banner: 12%
I was surprised to find out that the text link got more than half the clicks! 

Overall, the main thing is that now I'm collecting emails on an asset I already have.

The next step I took was to go to Google Analytics and find Wild Apricot's top 10 traffic driving articles and blog posts. I then created offer documents for those pages too.

Admittedly, not all of them have done so well, but I hit jackpot again with an event planning checklist, which has captured 1,361 new emails already, with 390 (29%) of them requesting a demo.


Now I'm collecting the emails of people who might not have explored Wild Apricot as an option for their organization. I have a huge opportunity to start a conversation with these people!

Here's how a nonprofit can use this same strategy:

1.) Figure out which pages on your website, or articles on your blog are bringing in the most traffic (Google Analytics is the easiest way to figure this out).

2.) Think of ways you can offer additional value to visitors of those pages/articles. Additional value can be in the form of:

  • a checklist
  • a guide
  • an online course
  • an infographic
  • an ebook
The point here is to create something "evergreen" meaning you don't have to keep updating it. You only have to create it once and then let it do its thing.

3.) "Gate" it. In order for someone to gain access to this content, they must give you their email address. The simplest way to do this is with a landing page. See mine for an example.

After someone fills out the form on the landing page, they're either taken to the resource, emailed the resource, or both.

4.) Now you have that person's email address. Set up an "autoresponder" (an automatic email that's triggered to send once you have their email) that talks about the value your organization offers.

5.) Keep track of emails that come in from this offer document and continue the conversation with these people about the benefits of becoming a member of your organization.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "I don't have an article that brings in THAT MUCH traffic! How can I do this too?"

You don't need that much traffic. I mentioned that there are other pages I have offer docs on that have only brought in a few dozen emails. Those pages themselves only get a couple dozen hits a day, but they still bring in qualified emails.

The point is, don't let visitors to your website just read an article on your blog and leave. Create something of value related to the article they're reading and a certain percentage of them will give you their email for it.

What if that offer document you create only collects one email, but that one person becomes a paying member? Was that one new member worth your few hours of work? I'd say so!

And once you set all this up, you don't have to give it constant attention. You can just sit back and wait.

One final thing to remember is that your offer document should only qualify people who may be interested in your organization, like I did with my checklist for membership-based organizations.

And of course, make clear your intentions of collecting emails and also be sure to brush up on your area's anti-spam laws.

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Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Posted by Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 13 April 2016 at 8:59 PM

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