How to create an Early Bird Beta Optin List with ConvertKit

Before I begin writing code for a new membership site, saas project, product or service, I create an Early Bird or Beta Invitation optin interest list.

In short, I add a form on a landing page to start collecting emails from people who show early interest in my product or service. In exchange, they get early access, give input and always get the best deal for being first in line.

ConvertKit makes it much easier for bloggers and software developers to get started.

With no complex UI or crazy forms, it was created by one of us, a fellow blogger and online developer Nathan Barry.

I was very impressed with how simple and easy ConvertKit is to use. I quickly chose to move all of my email marketing to ConvertKit moving away from MailChimp and aWeber.

For me ConvertKit is just so much easier to integrate and powerful while still being affordable!

So let's dive in and see how I used ConvertKit to setup a new landing page with an email capture form.

So why do I need a list?

If you already know why you should start building an email interest list, before you finish your product or service, skip ahead to the next section.

Let's make this short...

Imagine you have a product or service done or almost complete, you spent a lot of time and money, you are ready to launch it, but wait, who are you going to tell?

Some friends? A twitter post? Spend even more money with online ads?

You want to start marketing, start getting customers, guess what? Nobody knows anything about your product or service and now you have to get people interested.

REVERSE THAT THINKING!

Save yourself a ton of time and begin collecting emails of people who WANT and are ACTIVELY seeking for your product or service and can't wait to get it.

Just imagine if you could ask them questions and get great feedback, or have your customer list beta test in exchange for testimonials?

The point is, you can start collecting emails and communicate with your target audience right now using an email marketing service like ConvertKit instead of waiting until your project is done.

The idea is, there is no need to hard sell, people who want your product are out there, capture there interest now and let them be part of the journey.

The Big Picture

Below is flow diagram of how I am planning to have this all work...

  1. Interested visitors will go to a landing page on my site
  2. They will fill out the invitation form provided by ConvertKit
  3. ConvertKit knows which form was used and can automatically tag the subscriber for me, so I can email only these specific subscribers later
  4. Finally, redirect the visitor to a Thank You page!

Beta List Optin Flow

Not so hard right?

The Landing Page

The very first thing I like to put up when starting a new project is the landing page.

Does it need to be fancy? Absolutely not...

Think of the old coming soon pages...

But instead of having visitors leave disappointed, I extend them an "early invitation opportunity"...

See the difference? ( doing best Keanu Reeves "WHOA..." )

It will be the first page I want them to see, in this case it is the only page since it is a new project and there is nothing else!

Below is a screenshot of my project called TextAds...

Elevator Pitch: TextAds.io enables me to create text ads on my sites for my own products or services with one line of javascript!

textads.io

As you can see, nothing fancy, just a simple optin form to get an early invitation for the beta of TextAds.

When starting out, I don't get caught up on having the perfect landing page with scrolling images and testimonials, I keep it simple, in fact the only color on the screen is the call to action button and it's big and green!

TextAds Optin

What's that you say? You don't have the skills or the budget to hire a designer for a landing page?

No worries, ConvertKit provides cut and paste landing pages!

ConvertKit Landing Pages

After selecting the style of the landing page, there are options to customize colors and text, then choose from three different ways to get that landing page on a website:


ConvertKit Embed

  • Add one line of javascript to your page and control the styling via ConvertKit website
  • Cut and paste the entire raw code into your page and customize as much as you want
  • Use their WordPress plugin that enables short codes for easy integration

Tagging Subscribers with ConvertKit Automations

So now that I have a landing page and form setup, I need to tell ConvertKit to tag all users who signed up on this landing page using this specific form.

This way I am able to later send emails only to those who signed up for the beta test.

ConvertKit provides a great feature called Automations.

In the picture below you can see that I setup a special rule that says, anyone who signed up using the TextAds Beta form, go ahead and tag them with TextAds Beta List.

ConvertKit Automation

That's it!

Now, ConvertKit Automations enables me to send tagged users through a series of email sequences that become customized based on the actions they take.

Wait what? How does that work you say?

Take a look at the image below, ConvertKit uses the cause ( Trigger ) and effect ( Action ) approach.

So if any Trigger on the left is performed by a subscriber that matches the criteria, ConvertKit can handle the corresponding Action.

ConvertKit Rules

Here are few examples that might happen:

  • Maybe a tagged visitor purchases product X, I can then tag them with "Product X Customer", now I can stop marketing to them about product X, provide them only support and updates for the product X and possibly cross sell them related products
  • Maybe a tagged visitor completes a sequence of emails ( often known as drip campaigns ) and is not tagged as a purchaser of product X, I can subscribe them to a new sequence ( drip campaign ) to introduce them to different products or services
  • Maybe a tagged visitor clicks on a specific link in my email, based on that Action, I can now send them follow up coupons or bonuses until I see they have been tagged as a purchaser

You could go nuts creating a bunch of Automation rules...

Keep it simple, as you can see, Automation can become a very powerful tool!

Tracking Email Subscribers

So how do we know all of this is working?

ConvertKit provides basic metrics for conversion, in a way I like it that way.

In my opinion, the ConvertKit team should stay focused on providing great email features, there are enough metrics tracking tools available already.

My favorite is called Clicky!

The first step is to set up a Goal to track how many subscribers per day I get.

There are two URL's to track:

The Landing Page - http://textads.io

The Thank You Page - http://textads.io/beta-thanks

Clicky makes setting up Goals very simple...

As you can see in the image below, I named my new goal "Beta Signup"...

Clicky Goals

I then provided the partial URL of the Thank You page ( /beta-thanks ), then I selected an icon, there are several to choose from, so I can tell this goal apart from other goals.

Under Advanced Settings...

I enter a forward slash "/" to make sure that Clicky only tracks this Goal if the visitor first goes to the landing page then ends up immediately on the beta thank you page.

If I needed to, I can even assign revenue or cost to this goal.

Clicky is simple and powerful, combined with ConvertKit, I get two great systems that enable me to focus on my projects, instead of patching or recreating bits and pieces.

So what now?

Get to work!

Seriously, that's it for now, get started, create a landing page, slap an optin form on it and start collecting emails...

Try out ConvertKit and Clicky, post any questions you have below in the comments or email me directly.

HTH

😉

what do you think?