Easy Social Media Authentication Opt-In.

In online marketing, sometimes business owners expect that prospects will happily give up their personal details and join their mailing list.  We see signs like “join our mailing list” or “subscribe to updates” all over the internet.  In theory, prospects who want to learn more about your business will enter their information and receive future communication from your organization.  However, that is a theory and in real life, it doesn’t work.  These opt-ins, often generate less that 1/3 of one percent conversion rate.  If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know that a 10% opt-in rate isn’t impossible if you use offers in your marketing.  In today’s post, we’ll dig deeper into what makes an irresistible offer and how your company can boost opt-ins through the use of open authentication

Understanding the Buying Process

We understand that everyone isn’t supposed to buy today.  By creating an “offer”, we give away something that is interesting, free, and provides value to prospects.  We’re simply identifying those that might buy in the future and adding them to a database when they request the offer.  We know that they are somewhere on the A-Z buying spectrum, meaning they might buy today, tomorrow, or maybe not for several years.  The offer allows them to request more information and dig deeper into something, without the pressure to purchase anything.  One of the platforms where prospects come looking for information is obviously, a company’s website.

As a consultant, almost every prospective client I meet with fails to offer anything on their website with the exception of products or services for sale.  There is no offer!  There is no option to learn more.  It is simply, buy now, or leave.  Obviously, if they don’t build a database through offers in step 2, they they will never be able to follow-up using marketing automation in step 4.  Not good!

 As I walk companies through, I find that a light bulb goes off and they see what they’ve been doing wrong.  Once they understand the process, usually they want to pump as many people into the database as possible.  While there is a lot to the Platform and Offer stage of marketing, the main rule of thumb is that if people aren’t opting in and requesting your offer, then it stinks and should be changed.  Once you have a good offer, the next rule of thumb is make it simple for people to flow into the database.

Making the Offer Easy

On my blog I offer a video series and a few other marketing resources.  It is a good offer and thus we’ve built a pretty strong subscriber list thus far.   When someone is interested in learning more, they can enter their first name and email and then download their resources.  There is a catch however.  The email address has to be valid!  They have to go to their email account, wait for an email, confirm it, and then they can download their goodies.  So, if someone is interested, it takes a couple of minutes.  Not terrible, but what if there was a better way?  Good news!  There is with open authentication!

Open Authentication Tokens

They way open authentication works is fairly simple.  While I’m not a designer or coder, I began to research this topic a while back because I wanted to help a client receive more opt-ins for their free offer.  In a nutshell, we understand that people already have Facebook and Google accounts.  They use them every day.  Their accounts are confirmed and we know the email addresses are valid.  Open Authentication basically lets the end user say, “Yes Facebook, please share my information.  I trust him.”

When they authorize the application, a token is released and basically we now have access to some of their Facebook details.  For example, in my application I have access to their name, email address, and friends.  While we don’t look at, or care about their friends list, this is the most basic authentication available.  While this token gives access, that doesn’t get them on my database yet.

Getting the Users Contact Details

The next part of the script is to request the first name and email address from the authenticated account.  Because there is already documentation on these authenticated accounts on how to request this through application programming interface, a simple script goes to their authenticated account and gets their first name and email address.  The next part of the script is that it post that information into my database, which in this example is Mailchimp.  While it sounds complicated, it really isn’t.  One of our developers built this for us over a weekend and we set it up in about 30 minutes.

When a user authenticates through Facebook or Google, the scripts run in less than a second.  The user is then redirected to the download page to watch the videos.  There is no need for a confirmation email to be sent to them because we already know the email address is valid.  Thus the opt-in process takes less than a second and makes the entire process simple.

Does Social Open Authentication Work?  Yes!

Obviously, not everyone will use these authenticated accounts to opt-in.  That’s fine!  There’s a first name and email field where they can opt-in.  The majority will use this method.  When we’ve tested this, most just opt-in the old fashioned way, but there are 1-2 out of every hundred visitors who use the social opt-ins.  Because many people come to our website directly from Google, Facebook, or Linkedin and are already logged into their accounts, it makes it easy to subscribe.

The good news is that they won’t have to type their email address or username again if they want my offer.  They can simply click a button and then quickly access my free offer.  Where open authentication opt-ins become very powerful is when you use it in conjunction with the Marketing Arsenal.  Imagine Facebook ads where the user lands on your page.  You say, “Download with Facebook”, knowing full well that their currently logged in!   For any marketing campaign or offer, their total opt-in rate will increase because of how easy it is for the end user to opt-in.

I’ve posted the authentication buttons below so you can see the process.  You can click on the buttons below without being subscribed as you’ll have to do a final second confirmation within Facebook, Google, or Linkedin.  You’re also welcome to subscribe to see how the whole process works and can unsubscribe later if you’d like.

Questions or Comments – Do you use open authentication personally to log into other websites?  What’s your thought on this script and do you think that the end user will opt-in this way?  (Note – We’ve tested it and already know that some will, but I’m curious of your thoughts)  Start the conversation today!