Email is powerful for communicating proactively with your clients and for nurturing your prospects. Yet you can still find many financial advisors who haven't earnestly focused on building their email list. If you're of the mindset that email is "old-school," think again. 

Research from McKinsey & Company shows that email is nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. combined when it comes to acquiring customers. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the ROI on email marketing is estimated to be 4,300%.

It’s critical to build your list and keep replenishing it as contacts become clients or as they unsubscribe from your campaigns. One way to accomplish this is by adding a pop-up or opt-in box to your website. Read on for tips on how to deploy one. (For more, see: 4 Top Online Marketing Tips for Advisors.

What is an 'Opt-In' Box?

An opt-in box can be a form on a website or a pop-up that prompts site visitors to take action. You’re probably familiar with opt-in boxes from your own browsing experience, like this pop-up from The Wall Street Journal. The call to action can be in the form of a product sale, a free download, a prompt to join a mailing list or any other task that the marketer would like you to complete. (For more from Steve Sanduski, see: How Advisors Can Analyze Website Traffic with Google Analytics.)

The goal of an opt-in box is typically to capture information so you can move your website visitors through your sales funnel. By offering them something of value in exchange for their email address, you gain exposure to them and begin a nurturing campaign to land that first appointment or encourage them to attend your event.

Opt-in boxes can turn a one-time site visitor into a loyal customer. By collecting a prospect’s information, you can build a relationship and instill confidence in your brand. 

Here are some opt-in box examples with differing calls to action:

From Engaging Women in Wealth

From FinancialFocus 401(k).

Key Drivers of an Effective Opt-in Box

An effective opt-in box must be captivating, visually attractive, and easy for the visitor to fill out quickly. Be sure to limit the fields of information you request to only what you need to follow up — I recommend requiring only the email address and the contact’s first name. Yes, pop-ups and opt-in boxes are annoying when you visit a website, but from experience, they work in capturing leads and building up your list. The key is to always provide something of value. By providing an intriguing hook, your visitors will be less likely to close the pop-up before reading your offer.

Focus on the benefits to the visitor in a few simple words and write a headline that's more likely to lure them in, like “Avoid These 5 Common Social Security Mistakes” instead of the blander “Signup For Our Newsletter.” (For related reading, see: How Financial Advisors Are Leveraging Social Media.)

An Enticing Lead Magnet

To get visitors to offer up their email address, you will need to offer something of value to your prospects. Digital Marketer offers an excellent description of what makes a successful lead magnet: “You simply need to solve a specific problem with a specific solution for a specific segment of the market,” it recently read.

Be sure to steer clear of offering off-target resources. For example, if you present a free list of "20 Ways to Live on $50,000 per Year," you will generate a list of people who probably don’t have much money to invest. Your lead magnet needs to be specialized to your target audience and should include something that relates to your products or services.

Here are some examples of strong lead magnets for advisors:

From Mom and Dad Money

From Finance for Teachers

From Rich Life Advisors

Attractive Visuals

The visual presented in your opt-in box will convey information about your brand and your company. Provide a visual that is simple, professional, and clearly branded. Here are some great examples:

From Skill Share        

From Financially Wise Women

A Call to Action

Once you’ve hooked your site visitor with a relevant and properly-worded lead magnet, it’s time to get their contact information. Keep it simple. Studies show that opt-in forms with more than three fields cause a significant drop in completions. In most cases, an email address is all you really need. Only ask for a phone number if you must — requiring a phone number causes a 5% dip in conversion rates, according to

Once their information has been submitted, redirect the subscriber to a thank you page where you can give instructions for obtaining the lead magnet, let them know what to expect next, and start creating your relationship with them. (For related reading, see: How to Be a Top Financial Advisor.)

How to Create Your Opt-In Box

Adding an opt-in box to your website can be done with a variety of tools and integration. To add a lead capture pop-up, one popular tool is Follow these instructions to install the free tool:

1. Go to and enter your website’s URL, then click “Try it Now.”

2. Enter your website URL, email address, and password to create a SumoMe account.


3. Now you need to connect your SumoMe account to your website. If you have a Wordpress website, simply click on the Wordpress icon to install SumoMe for Wordpress. If you do not have a Wordpress site, you will need to copy the HTML code provided by SumoMe and paste it into the “Head” of your website and publish. This may be in the “Design” area of your website. If you’re not sure where to add the code, ask your web designer.

4. Once you’ve installed SumoMe, return to the page in your browser and click “Visit Site” at the bottom of the page.


5. On your site, click on the SumoMe crown icon in the upper right corner of your site. This will take you to the “Sumo Store.”


6. From within the store, add the Free List Builder app.


7. Open the app and select the free version when prompted. Then, customize the pop-up to match your website colors, add your headline, and direct subscribers to your lead magnet if applicable. To use an advanced visual template, you will need to upgrade to SumoMe Pro.


8. Log out of and go to your website to test your new feature.


Once you have your opt-in box up and running, you will likely want to integrate it with your email system, which will allow new leads to be automatically added to your contacts list. Most email clients allow you to set up an automatic responder so sending new subscribers a welcome message is something you don't have to think about. (An auto responder is a tool that allows you to pre-populate a series of emails that automatically get sent to a specific subscriber based on certain triggers.)

The Bottom Line

It takes hard work to get visitors to your website. Don’t waste that effort by not capturing their contact information. Set up an opt-in box, create a compelling lead magnet, and you’ll start adding new leads to your email list that you can nurture and eventually turn into first appointments. (For related reading, see: Top Digital Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors.)



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