How to design your blog to convert viewers into customers

How to design your blog to convert viewers into customers! Bonus Free Download: 7 types of epic emails you can send to your list! Click through to read more!

In part 3 of our blogging and email marketing series for handmade business owners, you’ll learn how to:

  • create a landing page and strategically design your website to collect email addresses,
  • the types of services/software/plugins you can use to capture your visitor’s email address and
  • what sort of email service providers (ESPs) are available to store all your collected email addresses (similar function to a database, but so much more powerful!)

If you missed the first 2 parts on how you can blog your way to more sales for your handmade business, here they are:

Tools to strategically set up opt in forms to convert viewers to customers

All the following opt in form options are simple but powerful, allowing you to customise the look of your opt in forms to match the aesthetic of your brand. The opt in templates offered are usually are A/B tested (this means that the company has tested different designs against each other (A vs B) and the best converting opt in form design is the template they offer for you to use), simple to edit, loads of different designs that you’re able to place strategically around your website to optimise your chance of converting a visitor into an email subscriber.

Once they enter their details (usually first name and email address – don’t add too many fields, otherwise it increases the barrier and resistance to exchange their details for your opt in freebie), their details get sent to your ESP (which acts like a database). From your ESP, you can write and send emails to the people on your email list!

I’m currently using Thrivethemes and Convertkit to power my email marketing for The Nerd Burgers. I love Thrivethemes (specifically the landing pages and thrive lightbox features) because:

  1. It’s a once off $67 investment for the plugin (super affordable!)
  2. Unlimited free updates (and these guys are constantly improving the plugin)
  3. 1 full year of tech support via their forum
  4. 30 day money back guarantee

Leadpages and Opt in monster operate on subscription based models (reoccurring payments paid monthly or yearly.)

I use Aweber and Thrivethemes for my jewellery business because Aweber has a special app integration with Etsy, that automatically sends an email to your customer, requesting confirmation for if they’re like to opt into your email list. All email list subscribers must opt into your list, you cannot add them onto your list without their permission.


The 2 essential types of landing pages you need for conversion

Squeeze page

The aim of a squeeze page is to squeeze information (usually name and email address, sometimes email address only) from a visitor in exchange for your opt in freebie (lead magnet).

A squeeze page typically has no links out (not even to your home page) so the visitor can’t get distracted and navigate away. Typically the only action one can take is to enter their email address and

The elements on this squeeze page include:

  • Image of the opt in freebie you’re offering
  • Headline: Emotional promise e.g. Work where you want earning what you want on your path to handmade business success!
  • Benefit of what you’re giving away: This is how the visitor’s life will change or improve after they buy or sign up for what you have to offer. What’s the quick win or takeaway they can expect from your freebie?
  • Call to action: tell them what action you want them to take! Don’t ever use ‘submit’ for your button text. No one wants to ‘submit’, instead change it to something more exciting like Join the club now! I want it! Send it to me!
  • Bonus if you can integrate social proof, testimonials, awards, publicity etc: reduces the perception of risk and builds trust.



Get the free email guide for handmade businesses for the 7 types of epic emails you can send to your email list!

How to create a simple squeeze landing page with Thrive leads

1. Within your WordPress dashboard, click on ‘Pages’, then ‘Add new.’

Create new page for your landing page


2. Enter a new title for your landing page and press publish.Once your new blank page is published, click on ‘Edit with Thrive Content Builder’ button underneath the title bar.

Choose a name for your landing page


3. Once the Thrive content builder loads, click on the drop down menu in the top right to choose a landing page template.

Choose landing page template


4. Click on each tab (Default landing pages, custom landing pages, thrive template cloud) to browse through all the available templates. Choose a specific template to start modifying or choose a blank one to custom build.

Browse through landing page templates library


5. In this example, I clicked on the ‘default landing pages’ tab, then chose ‘blank full width page’ landing page in the first line of templates. The blank full width landing page loads like so.

Blank page full width landing page template


6. Click on the sub-menus on the right side to get a feel for the elements you can use to create your landing page. Click and drag the specific elements to create your custom landing page. In this instance, I deleted all the default elements on the blank full width landing page and added the following elements (sub menu where you can find the elements in brackets): image for your website logo (simple contents elements), page section – grey area (thrive theme elements), 1/3 – 2/3 column layout (multi-style elements), an image for the freebie preview(simple contents elements), and some paragraph/text elements (simple contents elements).

Edit your landing page with elements


7. Edit the text areas and add images as appropriate. When you edit the text spaces, there’ll be a pop up menu with additional options to change font, size, alignment, colour, padding, margins etc.

Format the elements on your landing page


8.  All elements within a landing page can be edited, colour, padding, margins, alignment etc. This is the finished squeeze landing page with all the essential elements explained.
Your finished landing page!


Blog post opt in

The inclusion of an opt in form within a blog post is to create an accompany freebie that is related to the content you share within the blog post. This could be in the form of a checklist, a printable, a quick reference cheat sheet or even a summarised version of the blog post itself!

Depending on how long your blog post is, it could be helpful to insert an opt in form more than once within your post.
Blog page opt in

Depending on which ESP you use, and which embedding method, sometimes it’s a matter of copying and pasting the opt in form code or using a short code where you want the form to appear. In the above example, I’m using a Convertkit shortcode to display my opt in mid blog post. This involves installing the Convertkit plugin, to allow shortcodes to be active on my blog. Click here for more guidance on how to embed your forms for Convertkit.

For more detailed instructions on how to embed a form within your website or within a blog post on your website, visit the Mailchimp knowledge base.



Get the free email guide for handmade businesses for the 7 types of epic emails you can send to your email list!

Email service providers

For the first year of my online business I used and loved Mailchimp. It was a simple way to design beautiful emails, the interface is friendly, there was a low learning curve and they provide a big knowledge base full of step-by-step tutorials to help you get the full benefits of the platform.

Depending on your needs, you may find that as you grow your email list, trying to hack away using the above email service providers may prove to be clunky and more time consuming than it needs to be, because it doesn’t allow you to people to sign up to different opt in freebies to be added to one main email list, it’s not easy to create automated onboarding email series, hard to segment your list according to their interests etc.

That’s why recently I moved ESPs from Mailchimp to Convertkit!

  • No matter how many opts in a visitor signs up for, they’re tagged appropriately according to the topic (craft fairs, blogging, product photography etc) and they’re all added to 1 list without duplicates!
  • Super easy to create a series of on-boarding emails (sequences) – either to welcome new customers or welcome new subscribers to the Nerd Burgers and share the resources and community aspects they can get involved in.
  • Can see the conversion rate of each opt in form so can tweak aspects accordingly to increase the conversion rate
  • Smart automation rules that allows you to tag (segment) customers or un-tag as appropriate


How many times should I email my subscribers?

  • It depends. There is no minimum number, but there definitely is a maximum. Don’t spam i.e. email everyday, but at least once a month. The best time frame is probably weekly, because it allows you to stay front of mind, but fortnightly works well for The Nerd Burgers. I aim for monthly for my jewellery business. Of course if there is a special event that month, send more emails to promote it but tell people on your list to expect a few more emails than normal.


Is there a best time of day to send out an email to my list?

Simply put, no, there is no best time. It’s a good idea to test out different times and see the percentage of people who open it, follow through on the action you want them to take, any email responses you receive etc. Some ESPs provide an option where they suggest the ‘optimal time’ to send out for a particular day like Mailchimp’s ‘time warp’ option.

Keep in mind your target customer’s weekly schedule. Which day is most busy for them? Which day is least busy? When are they most likely at home?


How do I deal with unsubscribes?

  • Don’t take it personally, it will happen and it will continue to happen. If they unsubscribe, chances are they were never super interested and wouldn’t have become a customer anyways, so think of it as a good thing! You only want people on your list who are excited to hear from you and engaged, so why would you want to keep someone on your list and pay for them to be there, when they’re simply not interested?


How to set up your email service provider

For handmade business owners who are just starting to build their email list, I highly recommend Mailchimp. Mailchimp offers a free plan for up to 2000 subscribers. For more advanced options like automated emails, there’s a paid option that’s very affordable. For more details on their paid plans, click here.

1 .This is the home page for Click on the blue button in the middle and sign up for your free account.

Mailchimp homepage

2. Enter your details to get your Mailchimp account set up.
Create your mailchimp account

3. This is the dashboard, once you’ve logged into your account.

Mailchimp dashboard


4. The first thing you want to do is set up your email list. Click on lists on the top left menu. Then press the grey ‘create list’ button near the top right. A new grey rectangular box will appear, click on the second grey ‘create list’ button to proceed.
Create a new list


5. Enter the basic details of your email list. Such as:

  • List name (Try and come up with a name that’s a bit more exciting than ‘Email list’. For example, my email list name for Geometric Skies is ‘The Pool Party’ and for The Nerd Burgers it’s ‘The Nerd Burgers Club.’) You want to make it sound fun and exciting for your subscriber.
  • Default email address your emails will be sent from (An email address from a email account on your domain will always look more professional than an account from Gmail, hotmail etc)
  • Default from name, (This is the name that’ll appear next to your email
  • How people signed up to your list (Remind your subscriber where they signed up from),
  • Your physical postal address (This is a required field according to the Anti SPAM Act, because in case anyone needs to contact you, they can do so via your mail postal address. No matter how small or big your list is, if you’re sending out hundreds or thousands of emails, it’s a good idea not to put your real home address. Do you really want to be sending out your real home address to people on your email list? Hire a PO box if required or else enter your work address. etc

Fill in the details of your list


6. After you’ve set up your list, it’s time to create your opt in form to embed onto your website. Click on ‘lists’ on the grey menu on the top left and then select the email list you just created. Click on ‘Sign up forms’, select the type of form you’d like to create. In this example I’ve selected ’embedded forms’.

Create and embed your opt in form


7. There are a number of different style forms you can choose. Classic, super slim, horizontal or naked.

Edit your opt in form


8. Update the form title, fields, etc as appropriate. Then copy and paste the opt in form’s code to where you want the opt in form to appear on your website. Press save on your website page.Format your opt in form


9. You need to connect your MailChimp account and your lead generation software so they know to ‘speak with one another’. Click on your Account profile on the top right, then choose account. Then click on ‘Extra’s and choose API keys.

Connect your ESP to your Opt In form


10. To connect your Mailchimp and WordPress blog, copy the API key from your Mailchimp account and follow the following instructions.

Connecting the API Key

Hope these tutorials were useful and good luck with converting your viewers into email subscribers and paying customers!


Get the free email guide for handmade businesses for the 7 types of epic emails you can send to your email list!

Monica is a corporate cubical escape artist turned jewellery maker, designer and creative business infopreneur. She helps fellow artists, designers and makers launch and grow a handmade business they love.
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