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Imagine this: Melanie (who happens to be your most perfect client, though neither of you know that yet!) is clicking around online.

She’s searching for just what you have to offer. She spends time with your website and gets more and more drawn in as she scans through your site. She reads your last couple of blog posts and feels an instant connection with you. She’s not quite ready to buy what you’re offering yet but she’s very interested to see how your services might be exactly what she’s been searching for. She spies your newsletter sign up, is intrigued by your free opt-in offer and can’t wait to sign up.

Now…which sounds better?

She genuinely wants to hear from you! She inputs her email address and is taken to the default and oh-so-generic confirmation created a by your newsletter provider. Then she waits to hear from you. She might even forget she signed up.

OR

She genuinely wants to hear from you! She inputs her email address and is taken to a completely personalized and customized opt-in process that sets you apart from other newsletter lists she’s subscribed to. She reads every detail and because you’ve thought about engaging her right from the beginning. She’s now back on your site and is reading your offers more carefully.

Which experience do you want for your clients?

It seems to me that personalizing the opt-in process is one of the things that seems to come last on everyone’s list (pardon the pun!) when designing their website and it’s time for that to stop.

I believe ensuring your newsletter signup process is in complete brand alignment with your web presence is important to consider when you’re in the incubator process of developing the content for your website.

It’s also still not too late to tweak your opt in process even if you’ve already got a site launched and have a steadily growing list. It’s really about making sure it genuinely reflects you, your brand and its place in the market.

I know we all want the Melanie’s of the world to know that trusting you with her email address is a sound decision.

How-To-Personalize-and-Customize-your-MailChimp-OPT-in

How you can customize your own process using Mailchimp (the newsletter provider I recommend to all my clients and use personally)?

Step ONE: Sign in to your Mailchimp account and navigate to your LISTS.

Step TWO: Hover over SIGNUP FORMS and click.

Mailchimp signup forms with Krista Smith

Step THREE: Click on GENERAL FORMS.

Customizing Mail Chimp with Krista Smith step 2

Step FOUR: Click the arrow under forms and response emails and select OPT-IN CONFIRMATION EMAIL. Customize your header and main copy that show up using the onscreen editing options. Just hover over to change.

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Step FIVE: Click the arrow under forms and response emails and select SIGNUP “THANK YOU” PAGE. What I’ve done is added changed this from the default process (which would be to receive ANOTHER email) and instead they are taken to a page I’ve added on my website. Once this page is created, all you do is add in the link as shown in the image below (mine is there as an example).

**On this page, I like to include a thank you for joining, a promise (what you’ll be using the list for), a welcome, an ask to go back to their inbox to finish the process, and even a reminder about how to mark your email as safe!**

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Step SIX: Click the arrow under forms and response emails and select OPT-IN CONFIRMATION EMAIL. You can edit the details of this right in Mailchimp.

**On this page I like to include a, “You’re almost there” sentiment along with an explanation that this process is to protect them from spam, that this is the last step before they will get your free opt-in, and that it is important for them to click the, YES, SUBSCRIBE ME TO THIS LIST to actually complete the process.**

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Step SEVEN: Click the arrow under forms and response emails and select CONFIRMATION “THANK YOU” PAGE. Again, this is one of those create the page on your website and just enter your URL in the box (like I have, below as an example!)

**On this page it’s your last chance to make a great first impression. This is where you’ll have your free opt-in they can download. You can also include an invitation to join you on social media, to a private forum, or anything else! This is your chance to connect with them. Add as much or little information that you want. Just remember to have a strong call to action (like, “Hey, you can also join me on Facebook HERE” [and insert the link!]),**

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Step EIGHT: Give yourself a pat on the back! You’re done the welcome process.

Your clients deserve this kind of thoughtfulness. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below :)

 

 

 

 

Today I’d like to introduce you to Michelle MacLean.

Michelle-MacLeanMichelle works primarily with women who are struggling with the effects of sugar. She helps them reclaim their inner sweetness and let go of sugar for good.

Her new signature service, The Sugar Shift, is an eight-week transformational program in exploring how you think and feel about your body, about food, and about sugar.

By signing up to Michelle’s newsletter, you’ll receive her free primer workbook, or Module 0 of the Sugar Shift, with 4 powerful exercises to figure out if you are ready for a Sugar Shift.

I adore how this site came together! It’s totally her.

 

Let’s dive in and meet her:

What’s the best way to bottom line what you do?

I help women shift their relationship with sugar so they can feel great and live the sweetest life possible.

Let’s pretend we just met on the sidewalk and both of us are free for the afternoon [yes!]. Where would you suggest we go for our first in-real-life conversation?

We’d pop by a local coffee shop and pick ourselves up a cup of goodness then head down to the park for an invigorating walk ‘n talk session.

How do you describe your work?

I’m a certified Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant on a mission to help women get free from the negative physical and emotional impacts of sugar, find energy, lightness and ease so they can have the health and vitality to live life to the fullest. I do this through a transformative, sustainable, step-by-step process that includes mind and body detoxing, whole foods nutrition and intuitive eating practices.

What’s the one thing you wish everyone understood about what you do?

That changing your diet and lifestyle is not a quick fix. It’s a mindset shift in how you think and feel about your body, about food, and about sugar.

What’s your favourite place to hangout online right now? Why?

I’m just starting to get my mind around Pinterest but Facebook and twitter are the online spaces I feel most comfy and at home in. I love mindbodygreen.com for the wide range of health and wellness articles.

Close your eyes and think back to your old website. What do you remember?

Lots of blue. A starting point. A generic template. Static content. A place to grow from. Not wholly representative of me and my work.

How is your new website iteration reflective of the work you do?

I truly believe that each aspect of the website – the colours, layout, graphical elements, photos, navigation – all capture the qualities I want to share through my online home and in my work. The qualities of – fresh new hope, caring and warmth, vitality and aliveness, detail and thoroughness, trust and authenticity. A feeling when you land there that you are in the right hands and going to be taken care of.

What kinds of compliments have you received about your new web design?

Gorgeous, absolutely awesome, so sweet, looks amazing, love it, I got an immediate feel of great energy from your front page. Love your picture on the front page. Just beautiful. How awesome and inspiring, It’s totally you and totally impressive. Beautiful site Michelle ! Great to see you sharing your awesomeness! I’m in awe!

What’s one thing you discovered about web strategy/web design/personal branding/technology from working with Krista?

That you need to remember your audience, stay true to your original strategy and don’t let anyone try and steer you from your values.

What do you now know for sure?

That this next step in the evolution of my health coaching practice is exactly where I am meant to be right now.

Here’s a screenshot of Michelle’s new online home:

MIchelle MacLean's web design by Krista Smith

You can visit her site in person here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Michelle. In the comments, both Michelle and I would love to hear your thoughts — on sugar, on her new design, or on her work!

 

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Amy Kessel.

Amy-KesselShe works with women who are moving into a more intentional and authentic way of living and leading. By signing up to her newsletter list, you receive her complimentary Personal Power Assessment which will help you uncover where you can tap into your own personal power. Her intuitive and intellectual ability to hone in and help you negotiate your challenges will leave you craving her compassionate touch. I adore her and her work.

Let’s dive in and meet her:

What’s the best way to bottom line what you do?

I’m a co-conspirator, an ally and a muse for women committed to living, loving and leading with integrity and heart. Call me an empowerment whisperer.

Let’s pretend we just met on the sidewalk and both of us are free for the afternoon [yes!]. Where would you suggest we go for our first in-real-life conversation?

That’s easy — let’s head to the beach. Toes in the sand, waves crashing and sun on our skin is the set-up I love best for the kind of connection that leaves us each feeling refreshed, satisfied and seen. In the winter months I might suggest we head to a cafe whose owner waits on us and where the playlist includes Edith Piaf and Billie Holliday. And where we order wine even if it’s the middle of the afternoon.

How do you describe your work?

I work with women both one to one and in small groups, drawing out what’s challenging in order to expose the factors that are keeping them from what they say they want. I also reflect back their innate gifts, their core values and the truth they’re here to speak. And I remind them how the world is hungry for their unique contribution as women and as leaders. Dream job!

What’s the one thing you wish everyone understood about what you do?

I believe we all have superpowers, and mine is my listening. I can hear waaaaaaay below the surface, to what you’d say if you gave yourself full permission. I wish everyone understood how incredible powerful it is to feel heard, without judgment and without expectation. I am deeply honored to share this gift. This simple gift transforms the playing field entirely.

What’s your favourite place to hangout online right now? Why?

I’m a bit embarrassed to say it’s Facebook. Not that it’s my favorite landing place, but it’s where I find the links that lead to news, inspiration, knowledge, touching stories and, of course, connection.

Close your eyes and think back to your old website. What do you remember?

I remember a freshly minted entrepreneur trying to reach my Right People through words, imagery and a sense of spaciousness. I wanted my rootedness to come through, so I chose a nature-based theme and color scheme. I had an aversion to slickster-ism, so stayed away from ads and pop-ups and anything that remotely resembled a bell or whistle. My website was more of a brochure than anything else; I asked little of it, and it provided the bare minimum. A nice place to land, but not much more than that.

How is your new website iteration reflective of the work you do?

It’s clear and direct — like I am. I connect best with women who take the work of looking within seriously, and who are already committed to living and leading with integrity. My website is an invitation to sit down with me, to reflect on powerful questions, and to be inspired to instigate some meaningful change in their lives. There’s nothing extra on the site, nothing to distract us from the importance of living this one life fully empowered.

What kinds of compliments have you received about your new web design?

Tons! People have used the word “adore” alot. They love how clean it is, how spacious, how warm without being gooey. They love the simplicity, and the fact that my photos and language are so “real”. I have had an uptick in newsletter subscribes as well as initial sessions; these are probably the best compliments of all.

What’s one thing you discovered about web strategy/web design/personal branding/technology from working with Krista?

I learned how important consistency in branding is to creating an invitation people can say Yes to. This is reflected in the phrases we use, the offers we make, the colors we choose on our websites, the whole shebang. While I’m still mildly allergic to the concept of personal branding, I understand how important it is for my tribe to identify with me online, and that branding enables me to show up in an accessible and recognizable way.

What do you now know for sure?

This is a great question, clearly written by a fabulous coach :). What I’m sure of is that deep down we each know what’s truly ours to do. And that our work is figuring out how to make the doing of it a joyful, life-filling, heart-opening success. I’m here to coax the whispers into words, so that my clients can name what they’ve come to do and figure out the next step, and the next, and the next. In order for me to do my work, I need the world to see who I am and what I do — hence the huge importance of an online presence that conveys just that.

Here’s a screenshot of Amy’s new online home:

screenshot-amykessel.com 2014-06-30 16-02-57

You can visit her site in person here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Amy. In the comments, both Amy and I would love to hear your thoughts — on personal power, on her new design, or on her work!

 

Creative Ideas for your 404 Page

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One of the pages you rarely think about is your error page. Google defines a 404 error as: Google discovers content by following links from one page to another. Generally, a Not Found status error (usually a 404 HTTP status code) is returned when Googlebot attempts to visit a page that doesn’t exist—either because you Read the full post here...

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Font-Suggestions-by-Krista-Smith-1

Choosing type (or fonts) for your website is an important piece of creating a cohesive personal brand.  When thinking about the fonts you need for your website, you also need to consider web safe fonts. Google has a wide range of web fonts that, when used creatively, can punch up your website to show off your personality Read the full post here...

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Krista-Smith,-activate-my-own-web-essence

The last year has been amazing. I've had the privilege of working with women with whom I've developed wonderful friendships. I've also had the opportunity to dust off my teaching hat and support the students of Amanda Aiken's Girls Guide to Web Design. Working with two other incredible women (Stephanie and Katy) made it so awesome -- Read the full post here...