Author Topic: Current thinking on using pop-ups on your website/blog for email sign-ups  (Read 924 times)  

Offline CathleenT

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I've been working on trying to dial in my webite/blog/email list system lately, and I've come to this point: what to do about pop-ups.

I dislike them personally, but I'm trying to get past that. However, it's a data point to consider--I certainly don't want to annoy people who come to my blog. If I was to do a pop-up, it would be a form that only displayed when it looked like they were going to leave the page, and it would be in the bottom right-hand corner.

However, I ran a search on them in kboards, and the only relevant thing that came up was a thread where someone thought their site had been hacked through a pop-up. Really don't need that hassle.

Also, lots of people have pop-up blockers.

And it could be one of those things, kind of like a fad. It works for a while, then everyone does it, and then it doesn't work so well anymore.

For these reasons, I've also been thinking about simply installing a footer on my posts instead.

What do kboarders think is the best course?

Thanks so much in advance, anyone who responds. :)



« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 10:14:32 AM by CathleenT »

Offline Rick Gualtieri

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I don't think pop-up blockers block modal windows like what you'd use with something like jquery. 

That said, I'm from the crowd that finds them uber annoying, especially the ones that try to be cute and make the button to X out of them really hard to see. 

Your best bet might be a clear call to action at the top of your page directing people to sign up / enter their email.


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Offline Dennis E. Taylor

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Imma do a 'me too' on Rick's post. In many cases, I just close a website as soon as I get a popup. And no, popup blockers don't block the java-instantiated popups, as they aren't a separate browser window or frame.

Having said that, those popups come in these flavours:
- Popups that can be dismissed by hitting the escape key or clicking on the background web page
- Popups that have a clear X
- Popups that have an X but make it hard to find
- Popups that don't let you out until you do what they want.

The bottom two are absolute killers. I'll never go to your website again, and I sure as hell won't join.

The top two are minimally acceptable if your website is otherwise desirable.

Offline Talia Vines

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+1 to what's been said above. Pop-ups will make me leave a site, and for some reason, the ones that pop up as the mouse heads toward the back button especially give me a bad feeling, like I want to rush away and never come back. 

I'll throw this out and see how others feel: Alternatively, landing pages don't bother me nearly as much. If I'm trying to get to your site and I hit a full page, "Hey, wanna sign up for info my latest book?" and a clear "no thanks" I'm OK to breeze by on my way to whatever I was looking for.  Maybe because if it's the first thing, I assume everyone else coming to the site is looking to sign up, whereas if it's a popup distracting me from what I'm searching for, it feels more aggressive salesperson-ish. 

Offline Day Leitao

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You can add a pop up to your website using a plugin.

Regardless if you use a pop up or not, you should also have another form for your mailing list, so that people don't learn about it only when they're about to leave your site...

I think there are many other ways to incite people to subscribe to your mailing list other than a pop up. Some people use the titlebar, some use a topbar (I used it), information strip on top or bottom, sidebar information, overlays...

That said, apparently pop up sign-in forms are more effective.

But you probably won't get many visitors. The few visitors might come from the links on the back of your books, and they might be interested in subscribing anyways, so you want to have that information clearly accessible in the beginning. If you have a website with some traffic, maybe you could consider a pop-up.

Online Edward M. Grant

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I was just thinking the other day how much I hate that every... single... site... on the Internet now puts up a 'hey, why not sign up to our email list' popup when I go there. It's incredibly annoying when I find something in a web search and go to the site to read the info they have, and can't until I click away from that damn popup.

I understand why they do it, but it just makes me avoid the site unless I have a good reason to go there. Particularly because I use private browsing mode on my web browser and most of these sites seem to check a cookie to decide whether to put up the popup, so I get it every... single... time... I go to the damn site.

There's one store where I've spent thousands of dollars in the last year which I'm starting to avoid because I get the damn popup every time I go to their website now. They're literally looking at losing tens of thousands of dollars of business over the next few years because of this crap.

Offline Tommy Muncie

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That said, I'm from the crowd that finds them uber annoying, especially the ones that try to be cute and make the button to X out of them really hard to see. 

Your best bet might be a clear call to action at the top of your page directing people to sign up / enter their email.

Rick got there before me. Every time I send a newsletter out, I find myself thinking 'I'm doing this even though I don't sign up to many of them and mostly find them annoying inbox filler.' Sometimes you have to adopt marketing strategies that you yourself are irked by because your target audience are not you, IE they don't mind them and some even like them. Popups however are one of those things where I let the 'If I don't like it then I won't inflict it on anyone else' mentality take over. If I've found my way to someone's website, it's usually through an article I'm interested in, and when those popups come up it just makes me yell 'You already got my interest, stop pushing your luck by interrupting me from reading the thing I'm interested in!' If I find something on a site that I like and the books also interest me, I'll either sign up, keep an eye on the author without signing up, or if they've got me on a good day I'll get my wallet out. The popup thing is the quickest way to kill that mood before I've even reached it.

Personally I've always found website sign-ups weren't the best way to get new mailing list subscribers. It's a hot topic at the moment because some have reported a drop in effectiveness, but until recently I always liked Instafreebie promos best. There are lots of variations on that sort of sign-up marketing that you could do rather than max out your website with 'PLEASE JOIN ME LIST! I'LL DO ANYTHING!' (Bottom line, those popups often make authors seem that desperate even if they don't mean it to come across that way. Just my two cents.)

Online Anarchist

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If you use a pop, your offer should be irresistible.

Newsletter? Not good enough for a pop.

Alerts about new books? No.

Free book that's available for sale on Amazon? Maybe.

Free book that cannot be obtained elsewhere? Yes.

As for whether pops  p*ss  people off, here's my perspective...

If someone gets ticked by a pop, I have zero interest in having them on my mailing list. So they're doing me a favor by leaving and never coming back.

In my experience, most people will tolerate non-aggressive pops. If you're loading a pop on every page, that's a problem. Use a plugin that allows you to dictate things like "display once every 10 days," "do not display after conversion (opt in)," "pop after 30% scroll," etc.

Then, test and monitor your conversion ratios. (Nothing trumps your own data.)

One more thing... forget exit pops. When it comes to conversions, they suck. It took me awhile to discover that because I was stupid enough to blindly believe others' recommendations. That's why I always recommend testing and tracking your own data.




"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

Offline CathleenT

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Thanks so much, everyone. I've never had a pop-up to date, and my site gets okay traffic, in prawny terms. (16k last year, 12k of which was evergreen posts, mostly on writing, where I solve a problem for people.) I've been posting for three years, and most of my traffic is from search engines.

I used to rely on my sidebar, but a lot more people use phones and tablets these days, and on those, the sidebar comes after the post, below where the footer would be, which is why I thought of using a footer instead.

I cleaned up my home page a bit, and got rid of author interviews and book reviews as categories, since that traffic is mostly linked from someone else's blog. Instead, at the bottom, I made my newsletter a category, like writing tips or social media tips, and that has actually increased my sign ups a bit.

And Anarchist, the reader magnet for my email list is a book they can't get anywhere else. Thanks for the info on exit pop-ups.

Just thinking out loud here, but I don't know about putting the newsletter at the top of my home page. That's really for books, and then short stories. And if it's not going to be at the top, I don't want it buried in the middle. Psychologically, people remember things best at the beginning and end of sequences (I did actually get a whole degree in this stuff--I might as well put it to good use.)

If anyone wants to be so kind as to actually visit my blog and give me opinions on it (I'm kinda worried that my new top banner is too heartlessly plain), I'd love to hear what you think. And I'd be happy to repay the favor if you'd like feedback on yours. https://cathleentownsend.com
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 02:13:09 PM by CathleenT »

Online RobMartin

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I use pop-up blockers to keep things like this specifically from happening.

Online The Fussy Librarian

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I think there's a difference between a one-time popup and having a popup that shows every time someone visits the site.

That said, if you decide not to do them, consider a retargeting ad either on Facebook or Google for your website visitors. Mailchimp offers ways to do both now.

Jeffrey
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Offline Patty Jansen

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I've put my signup in my site's header/front page. That's a very common method that appears to work well.

Online Lorri Moulton

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I've put my signup in my site's header/front page. That's a very common method that appears to work well.

Patty, just looked at your website and that is SO much better than those pop ups! :)

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Offline Nicholas Erik

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If you use a pop, your offer should be irresistible.

Newsletter? Not good enough for a pop.

Alerts about new books? No.

Free book that's available for sale on Amazon? Maybe.

Free book that cannot be obtained elsewhere? Yes.

As for whether pops  p*ss  people off, here's my perspective...

If someone gets ticked by a pop, I have zero interest in having them on my mailing list. So they're doing me a favor by leaving and never coming back.

In my experience, most people will tolerate non-aggressive pops. If you're loading a pop on every page, that's a problem. Use a plugin that allows you to dictate things like "display once every 10 days," "do not display after conversion (opt in)," "pop after 30% scroll," etc.

Then, test and monitor your conversion ratios. (Nothing trumps your own data.)

One more thing... forget exit pops. When it comes to conversions, they suck. It took me awhile to discover that because I was stupid enough to blindly believe others' recommendations. That's why I always recommend testing and tracking your own data.

Anarchist laid out good general guidelines.

Do pop ups work? Yes. Unequivocally, if done right.

Do I use them? No. I find them super annoying, and I'm willing to eat the mailing sign-ups I'd otherwise get. But that's a conscious decision to leave those on the table.

Nick

Offline Patty Jansen

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Patty, just looked at your website and that is SO much better than those pop ups! :)

Don't make too many people look, because I SO need to update that website! Ack. No time.

Online Bill Hiatt

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I have mixed feelings. I've seen the studies that popups work, but I have never signed up for a mailing list (or done anything, in fact) as the result of a popup. I guess a true fan would probably sign up, and those are the people you want most. It's hard to imagine someone who just pops by out of curiosity signing up.


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Online Anarchist

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It's worth noting that lead nurturing is far more important than lead generation.

Getting people onto a list is easy. Turning them into true fans is where the magic starts.


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

Offline CathleenT

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Thanks, again, everyone. *insert sigh here* I suppose I could move my email list magnet to the top of my home page. It just seemed...pushy. I probably need to get over that. The books didn't feel pushy because they were all free, but I can't keep doing that forever.

Fans (or at least potential fans) are the ones who'll sign up from your site, like Bill said. In that case, just making sure they see the free book offer is probably enough. I think. Very definitely probably. Aargh.

And I agree, Anarchist, about trying to build a relationship with readers. I think I'm a nice person and a good writer. I do care about people. I'm trying to take those qualities and translate them into a welcome email sequence.

So far I've got:

1. Welcome email with short intro on me, free reader magnet links, along with making them aware that I have other free books available, too.

2. Second email with the first short story I ever sold. I used to just send it, but I've recently snazzed it up with a cover.

3. Third email where I ask about them. A couple of folks have told me they really like this. I have questions like: if you had to stay on a deserted island for a year with no internet, and you could only bring five books, what would they be? I also ask for age ranges. Sex is usually obvious, so I don't ask. For some reason, my tiny readership is 90% female. I don't know if that's because I'm a gal who uses my whole name. I don't think my books are particularly feminine. Anyway, I reply to all these replies.

4. This one I haven't tried sending yet, since I'm still writing it--a short story about a dragon, a brownie, a unicorn, and a dwarf--all fantasy writers who get together to talk shop, and they all have hopefully humorous takes on getting book reviews. Still searching for a twist on it. Anyway, I was going to use that to ask for reviews.

Then I dump them into my chatty, end-of-most-months updates series.

I've gotten Patty's book on email lists, and I've skimmed it, but until I've finished writing welcome emails and shifting to MailerLite, I think most of it's beyond me still. I have to finish publishing my series before I need to worry about getting people to finish books 2 and 3 with more email sequences.

Back on topic: so I think I'm going to make my email list a more prominent part of my home page and not worry about pop-ups at all. What a relief! I really didn't want to do them. :)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 10:15:13 PM by CathleenT »

Offline jb1111

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Whenever I see a pop-up asking for email info, my gut feeling is "why do you want my personal information just to read your blog?"

In light of the recent explosion of concern over data gathering, that might also be a consideration.

Most web pages have a "contact me" thing somewhere on it. In my view, that should suffice. Along with a note somewhere saying "I always respond to emails", and the like.

Just my two cents.

Offline Acheknia

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I hate pop ups that come up immediately.

Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think.
Sign up to our newsletter etc

Why would I want to do that before I've even had a chance to see if I'm interested?

I'll just leave unless it's something I really wanted to go there for.

The type that pop up as you're about to leave at least give me a chance to like what I'm seeing & will maybe make me want to look further, subscribe, leave feedback (or engage in whatever the message is).

I'd still prefer a clickable button to follow, sign up (or whatever) actually on the landing page.
Not AS the landing page but on there.

Offline Simon Haynes

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I was just thinking the other day how much I hate that every... single... site... on the Internet now puts up a 'hey, why not sign up to our email list' popup when I go there. It's incredibly annoying when I find something in a web search and go to the site to read the info they have, and can't until I click away from that damn popup.

My browser is set to discard almost all cookies when I close it, so most sites assume I'm a first time visitor and go through the entire process of convincing me their mailiing list is teh awesome. It's not, it's tiresome. Sometimes I go as far as blocking whichever script they're using to call the popup.

Sure, it's partly my fault, but I've been security conscious since the BBS/Fidonet days and I'm not changing my habits now.


Yes, I'm writing a scifi/high fantasy/comedy crossover. What do you mean, write to the market?

Online RPatton

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Here's a really good article about the effectiveness of pop-ups that uses metrics. https://conversionxl.com/blog/popup-defense/?hvid=2EcGFw

Just because we don't like something personally doesn't mean that it actually represents the population or the behavior of the population. That all said, I recommend following Anarchist suggestion about testing it out for yourself.

Offline Joseph Malik

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My email subscribe triggers when someone reaches the bottom of a page, and my site uses cookies to only trigger once per unique visitor. I figure that if they've read that far, they might be interested in hearing more. If they see my page and read a bit and decide my work is not for them, then I don't see what the point is in getting their information. And if they "nope" out of signing up once, I don't bother them again, no matter how many times they visit. (Unless, of course, they clear their cache, but that's not up to me.) I have a call to action for the email list on each page, if they want to register later.

I did it this way because I know that, personally, nothing annoys me faster than a signup demand the instant I check out a website. It's like a salesman running right over to you the minute you walk in a store. Let me look around. If I have questions, I'll ask. And if your site has an immediate signup every time I visit? I'm out, and I'm never coming back. You're showing me that getting me on your marketing list is more important to you than telling me about your product. I'm the customer, here. I'm here to see what you have to offer, not the other way around.

Subscriptions are way up since I did this, BTW. So, I can't be the only person who feels this way. In fact, I don't know anyone who does.

Edit:

Here's a really good article about the effectiveness of pop-ups that uses metrics. https://conversionxl.com/blog/popup-defense/?hvid=2EcGFw

Just because we don't like something personally doesn't mean that it actually represents the population or the behavior of the population

I'd be leery of a site selling "conversion optimization" that assures you that everybody really likes something that everyone you know personally hates.

That site talks about a 6% signup rate; that means that 94 out of 100 people who see the most effective pop-up still tell it to go suck an egg.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 08:40:04 AM by Joseph Malik »
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Online dgaughran

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I hate pop ups personally. That said, Erica Ridley did a presentation at NINC and swore by exit pop ups - and she tracks everything and they ended up being a... can't remember the percentage but it was a non-trivial for sure.

I'll probably test it at some point.
Stuff for writers thisaway

Online Anarchist

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I'd be leery of a site selling "conversion optimization" that assures you that everybody really likes something that everyone you know personally hates.

Peep and his crew are very good at what they do. That's largely because they test and track their metrics - their own and those for clients - over a buttload of data.


That site talks about a 6% signup rate; that means that 94 out of 100 people who see the most effective pop-up still tell it to go suck an egg.

Not necessarily. The value proposition may not be strong enough to convert at the outset.

Here's what currently happens on one of my sites...

An entry pop asks for contact info in exchange for the incentive (lead magnet). If the visitor closes the pop, he's left to explore a site that's filled to the gills with deep, targeted content. Meanwhile, customized opt-in forms appear in several places on each page. They're subtle, but hard to ignore.

My average time on page suggests people read the content. My average time on site suggests they read multiple pages per visit. Along the way, many of these visitors become comfortable with me and hit my main landing page. This lander has a 70%+ conversion rate.

So, while most folks close the entry pop, many do so because they're unconvinced in the beginning that it's worth getting onto my mailing list. But after they read awhile and eventually hit my main lander, their hesitance has usually evaporated.


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"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

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