Please Stop the Opt-In Madness

Please stop the opt-in madness //

Are email addresses like gold? Absolutely!

If all of the social media sites in the world went down tomorrow, you'd lose your audience. But an email list is all yours, always! 

There are many tactics to capture that precious email address from your visitors. But here’s the thing, if you’re not providing value, users won’t give up their email address.

One day, I was browsing Pinterest and found a pretty graphic with an enticing headline. I liked it so much that I clicked through to read the article. Once I made it to the site, I was smacked in the face with not 1 but 3 pop-ups. One on top of the other.

I immediately left the site. 

It might have been a great read but, that initial experience really turned me off. 

Pop-ups can be a great tool, don't get me wrong. What I'm saying is... Ease up on the immediate screen takeovers, the slide-ins, the pop-ups with no way to close out and the bouncy boxes. (Yep, those are the technical terms.) Don't be so pushy.

If I’m going to your site, I’m interested in your content. But, let me give it a read and browse around a bit before smacking me with the request. If you’re throwing it in my face, especially on a mobile device when it’s even harder to close, I’m less likely to spend the time on your site and I’m definitely not signing up. 

I’m not alone. In this article by Kissmetrics, Matthew Woodward found that a pop-up effected his overall website stats negatively. 

For example, the most popular list-building method is the pop-up, right? Matthew Woodward ran an experiment to see how pop-ups affect user behavior. He set up a pop-up to execute in the 7th second of a visit. The results were a 9.29% drop in Pages/Visit and a 10.20% drop in Average Visit Duration. The pop-up prevented users from reading the content just as they were getting started. The truth is that people do not like to see a pop-up, especially when it looks like an obstacle.
— Kissmetrics

I'm not saying they're all bad all the time. In fact, opt-ins can prove to be a valuable acquisition point. Just be mindful of how and when you sign up for things, take a poll, do some testing, etc. to figure out the best timing, content and more for the highest conversion rate. 

So, what should you keep in mind? 

1 // Placement Matters

Think about user experience and make sign-up easy. It’s very common to see email opt-in fields in the header, footer, and sidebar of a website. Place your opt-in where users naturally look for it and make it stand out with color, enticing copy, and even an offer. 

2 // Pop-Up Strategically

Let users scroll to the bottom of the blog post, review more than one page or hit them when they are about to exit. That way, you’re reaching them after they have experienced a bit of your content and are more likely to be interested in signing up for your email list.

3 // Utilize Landing Pages

Create a landing page, like a cover page in Squarespace, and promote it! Make it pretty, keep it simple, and share the awesome reasons why they need your email content. 

4 // Track the Data

Nothing is more annoying than seeing the same pop-ups over and over again… especially after I’ve provided my email! Check out the settings with your email provider or plug-in to see if you can hide pop-ups for current subscribers or hide it for so many return visits. Your users will thank you. Also, keep it fresh - update creative with new offers and creative or try some testing if you see your subscriber numbers dropping. 

5 // Provide Value

Users want discounts and good, quality content to fill their inbox. If you’re an eCommerce business, offer exclusive savings in exchange for an email address. 

Once they are in, think about: 

  • a loyalty program (like Sephora)
  • recommended products based on website views or product purchases (like Amazon)
  • reminding them what’s in their cart (like Birchbox)
  • updating them on inventory that’s back in stock (like Modcloth)

If you’re service-based, trade a high-performing piece of content for their email address. You’re not only providing value, but you’re sharing a glimpse of what they can expect from your emails and your work. Share things that will make their lives easier and showcase your skills.