Are opt-in pop-ups rude?
When you begin a conversation with someone, do you immediately interrupt the conversation to talk about yourself? No, I didn’t think so. Only someone totally clueless about person to person interactions would be so rude.
As you cruise the internet for work, research, shopping or in the pursuit of your hobby, no doubt you’ve encountered websites which interrupt your visit with opt-in pop-ups imploring you to subscribe to receive the latest posts or newsletters. This is analogous to interrupting someone with whom you have initiated a conversation, after inviting them to your home.
Slightly less annoying are opt-ins which are displayed as one scrolls down the page.
Opt-ins which seem even more desperate are the ones which are displayed as you exit, inviting you to join now, sign up now!
Current de facto advice to entrepreneurial website owners admonishes one to install opt-in, pop-up displaying software in order to grow your email list. I’m going out on a limb to tell you to stop this annoying behavior. Do really you think someone will want to opt-in after you’ve just annoyed them?
With current trends indicating the escalation of visits from mobile devices, Google is taking note of sites using content obscuring pop-ups. Pop-ups or opt-ins which cover content are frowned upon by Google. They lead to high (mobile) bounce rates. High bounce rates on mobile on sites using opt-ins blocking content are a signal to Google of an issue. Their use may potentially result in lowered ranking for the site employing this strategy.
There are a variety of ways that conversations are interrupted in digital space all to get the valuable email address of the person visiting your site. For every conversion or sign-up you get, how many people are turned off and leave your site?
Watch how fast they leave your site
If you want to know if your opt-ins are working, look at your website analytics to see how many people depart the page on which your opt-in is displayed. High bounce rates indicate that the content was not compelling, helpful, useful or that visitors were ticked off by the displayed opt-in.
How do you get more people to sign-up or give you their email address?
Everyone enjoys getting a gift. While it’s true “there is no free lunch”, it is also true we love getting something of value for a low cost. We can be persuaded to part with our email address if we feel we are going to receive something of value in return.
In digital marketing these tactics and deliverables are called lead magnets. Frequently, they are invitations displayed at the end of blog posts asking you to provide your email in order, for example, to receive sales improvement tips. After you’ve finished reading a great article, wouldn’t you be highly likely to respond positively to an offer to receive more of the same?
Another tactic is to offer an e-book or article with knowledge that is highly in demand in exchange for an email address. Business to business firms do this, offering latest insights relative to a particular industry in exchange for an email address.
Whitepapers and best practices / tips are another type of deliverable which may be used. When promoting a digital deliverable, use a landing page to both pitch the value of the content and to capture the lead / contact information. Rather than interrupt a visitor intent on particular information, landing pages are attached to digital ad campaigns or are provided as special graphic invitations, on your website navigation, footer or sidebar.
E-commerce sites may also offer an opt-in checkbox during registration to allow someone who is purchasing from you an opportunity to receive future updates or special offers. Lists built this way have great worth, because these folks are your customers. They want to receive news and offers.
Your RSS feed is another area where you can promote your special insights which are available for free, simply by providing an email address. Facebook and Twitter are additional channels where you can promote your valuable content bringing visitors to your deliverable landing / registration page.
You catch more flies with honey
With so many good ways to entice visitors to provide their email address, why would you scare them off by shoving a registration form in their face? Think about how you feel the next time a digital device holds the content you want hostage in exchange for your email address.