Author Topic: Current thinking on using pop-ups on your website/blog for email sign-ups  (Read 1070 times)  

Offline Joseph Malik

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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.

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.

Hey, if it's working for you, awesome. An end of page pop is working for me. Ask a porcupine to solve your problem, he'll tell you to stick it with quills.
The New Magic coming September 2018.
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Offline RPatton

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Edit:

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.

Anarchist responded about Peep's credibility already, so I am skipping that, but I do want to comment on a bias.

...assures you that everybody really likes something that everyone you know personally hates.

Self report is notoriously biased. Anyone who has done any research closes their eyes and takes a deep breath when they receive data solely based on self-reporting. Self reporting comes with a stack of biases. The respondent can give answers they think the questioner wants to hear, they can give answers of an ideal version of themselves, or they can just throw out random answers. Want an example of the self-report bias in the real world? Look at the past presidential election. Up until precincts started reporting everyone was convinced one candidate would win based on the exit polls (people still said they voted one way after they voted) and polls pre-election where likely voters were polled (the problem with this one is that likely voters were polled so those not likely to vote didn't get those calls). Self-report is a good place to start, but if you aren't also gathering data that can objectively be measured, you can't say for sure that X is accurate.

People say they hate pop-ups, but almost every measurable metric out there says that pop-ups do work. However, they work when implemented in specific ways. Spamming a visitor is likely going to get a hard no. However, gentle nudges on certain pages, a lightbox popping up on exit, or a little box making appearance when a viewer scrolls down to the 75% mark all show measurable results.

Offline Scarlett_R

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Is Google adjusting their ranking algorithm to push down websites that have pop ups like this?

Offline Steve Voelker

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People say they hate pop-ups, but almost every measurable metric out there says that pop-ups do work. However, they work when implemented in specific ways. Spamming a visitor is likely going to get a hard no. However, gentle nudges on certain pages, a lightbox popping up on exit, or a little box making appearance when a viewer scrolls down to the 75% mark all show measurable results.

This is what I came here to say.

The sample you are getting here is NOT representative of the general public, and they are certainly not your readers. The only real way to tell if it works is to gather data for yourself.

I can tell you that the popup on my site definitely gets me more signups than I was getting without it. But I did a lot of testing and tweaking to get it right. It is unobtrusive, easy to bypass, doesn't trigger for repeat visitors, and doesn't pop up right away.

Coming here for some general info to get you started can be helpful. But when it comes to your business, you should be testing and gathering data on what works for you. Every time.

Offline Mark Gardner

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I straight up hulk-smash popups of any kind. The best way to get me to avoid your* website like a boil on the ass of humanity that it is is to pop up an element begging for my email address or requesting that I disable my ad blocker.

*not you specifically, but sites that do that [crap].

Offline Day Leitao

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Is Google adjusting their ranking algorithm to push down websites that have pop ups like this?

Exit pop-ups are fine. Pop-ups in the beginning will affect SEO.

Here are Google's words on that:

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/08/helping-users-easily-access-content-on.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/amDG+(Official+Google+Webmaster+Central+Blog)

Offline TromboneAl

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Pop-ups are great.

My favorite experience involves opening a web page and getting a question about cookies. I click to get rid of that, and a windows asks if I want to allow notifications from the site. I click No, and I get a window checking, do I want to share my location? Thanks for asking, but no. I then get a ten-page privacy agreement that I read carefully and agree to. The next pop-up lets me know that I have an ad-blocker running. Do I want to stop using that? No.

Finally, I start reading the page, and a really cute pop-up ("Sign up for our newsletter?") slides out and jiggles playfully, just in case I missed it.

At that point, I've usually forgotten why I visited the site in the first place. It probably wasn't important, anyway.

Yeah, pop-ups are great.

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Offline Scarlett_R

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Pop-ups are great.

My favorite experience involves opening a web page and getting a question about cookies. I click to get rid of that, and a windows asks if I want to allow notifications from the site. I click No, and I get a window checking, do I want to share my location? Thanks for asking, but no. I then get a ten-page privacy agreement that I read carefully and agree to. The next pop-up lets me know that I have an ad-blocker running. Do I want to stop using that? No.

Finally, I start reading the page, and a really cute pop-up ("Sign up for our newsletter?") slides out and jiggles playfully, just in case I missed it.

At that point, I've usually forgotten why I visited the site in the first place. It probably wasn't important, anyway.

Yeah, pop-ups are great.

This just made me angrier and angrier the more I read it because I KNOW EVERY SINGLE STEP you're describing.

Offline Avis Black

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I hate pop-ups with the fire of 10,000 suns.  I have never signed up for anything via a pop-up.  I nearly always back-button out of the site and never come back.  For news sites, I might look for an X and click it off to read the page.  If I want a book, I'll find some way to get it, and I don't need a signup list or a pop-up to remind me about it.

If you want to know if pop-ups work, try split-testing.  Run pop-ups for about 2 months, then try 2 months with just a signup link pinned to the top of your Home page or landing page.  See which gets you more signups. 

Frankly, I'm very skeptical about the usefulness of mailing lists.  It's very hard to separate out profit made from a mailing list vs. organic readers who buy your stuff when it's new because they follow you on Goodreads or heard about your new release from their book friends, or because they've signed up for a new release email directly on Amazon, or if they're new readers who just found it on the 30-day new release list on Amazon, or if they've picked up a permafree from you.

Some authors have tried to separate mailing list profit out and have reported their results on KB in the past.  The number of opens tends to be a small portion of their total list of signups, and click-throughs a small percent of the opens.  Of course not everyone who clicks through is going to want to buy.  By which time you're often getting down to a very small number. 

I have carefully looked at the results these authors have reported, and I've calculated the monthly costs for mailing list maintenance plus time and labor spent for maintaining that list, and subtracted the profits from the books sales they report for their new releases, and the profits I've seen equal a few days working at McDonald's for minimum wage, when all the costs are taken away. 

I think there's a lot of wishful thinking involved in the whole mailing list approach.  Mailing list costs eat away at your profit every month.  It's a set fee you're stuck with once your list gets above a certain size.  I suspect a lot of authors go mentally vague and fuzzy when faced with these costs and don't want to think about them.  Add in costs involved in editing and cover design, and yeah, I think there are lot of authors who are underwater as far as profit goes.  Yes, there are authors who make money who do have mailing lists, but I really doubt it's their list that's generating the large majority of the profit. 

There's one big important thing about mailing list costs.  Editing fees and cover designs fees are a one-time only payment.  Mailing list costs will dun you forever.  They really, really add up over time and zap you hard.  If you think it's just a small thing every month, in the long run it won't be that way.  It will cost you far more to keep your list than it ever will to pay for the cover and editing, even if you thought you paid a lot for the latter two in the first place.

I'd advise calculating 10 years' worth of mailing list costs and staring at that number long and hard.  Then calculate your monthly average of earnings right now, and figure out what that would be summed up for the next 10 years, and subtract it from your 10-year mailing list total cost.  If you don't like the number, don't do a mailing list.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 12:42:01 AM by Avis Black »


Offline CathleenT

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Thanks so much, everyone. :)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 01:57:09 PM by CathleenT »

Offline VonC

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IMO -

Pop ups upon entering or reading a website:  Super annoying.

Pop ups upon exiting a website, not so bad assuming they are easy to X out.

Offline Puddleduck

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Pop-ups are great.

My favorite experience involves opening a web page and getting a question about cookies. I click to get rid of that, and a windows asks if I want to allow notifications from the site. I click No, and I get a window checking, do I want to share my location? Thanks for asking, but no. I then get a ten-page privacy agreement that I read carefully and agree to. The next pop-up lets me know that I have an ad-blocker running. Do I want to stop using that? No.

Finally, I start reading the page, and a really cute pop-up ("Sign up for our newsletter?") slides out and jiggles playfully, just in case I missed it.

At that point, I've usually forgotten why I visited the site in the first place. It probably wasn't important, anyway.

Yeah, pop-ups are great.

Haha. Yeah, I'm apt to leave the site at the first pop-up. Definitely by the second. Nothing is interesting enough to me to deal with all that nonsense.

This is what I came here to say.

The sample you are getting here is NOT representative of the general public, and they are certainly not your readers. The only real way to tell if it works is to gather data for yourself.

Sorry, but when it comes to questions like "Do you like this thing, or do you loathe it?", I'm more likely to believe what people say over generic stats. People have no reason to lie or misrepresent that they hate pop-ups or that it'll make them leave a website. Stats, on the other hand, don't capture context, outside factors, motivations that individuals have, what those individuals do later. For example, I once signed up for a cover designer's newsletter. The sign-up was a pop-up. I certainly didn't sign up for it because it was a pop-up and would have preferred it be a static element on a page somewhere. But since I signed up, I'm positive the designer believes that bit of data proves that the pop-up worked for me. (Perhaps this mindset is part of the reason the designer ended up annoying me into unsubbing from his list fairly quickly.) And I don't even go to his website anymore because even after I signed up, that stupid pop-up kept happening because I clear my cookies frequently. More data that's not captured by stats.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 06:21:55 AM by Puddleduck »