Every single day I must visit several sites with a “sign up to our newsletter” section on the page somewhere. In many cases, this will be a pop-up. Something that gets in my face and screams “SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER!!!”.
But I have to ask – why?
Why Would Anyone Sign Up To Your Newsletter?
Do you think that people don’t get enough email? That they need ‘news’ about your business area? That your news is so delicious and irresistible that they want more, more, more? The fact is, news about your business is likely to be pretty boring to most folks and will just further clutter up their inbox.
Now I hear you – the email hook includes “special offers and updates” but is that really enough? Will that get a first time visitor who has no previous experience with your business to sign up for some vague special offers down the road? Would you?
I had the below pop up this morning – I was looking for Halloween decorations and had not yet even had the chance to browse the range. Certainly, this did nothing to convince me to add yet more clutter to the battleground of my inbox.
Needless to say – having not yet even browsed the site, as this popped up 10 seconds after landing on the page, I was not even tempted by the huge SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER heading, and I did not even notice the “offers, tips and sneak peeks” subheading till I screen grabbed it for here.
What’s In It For Me?
Now, there are countless blogs out there offering ideas you can use for incentives, but that is missing the point somewhat. First, you have to nail the philosophy here. First, you have to step into the mindset of your target customer and think ‘what is in it for me?’
Your goal here is to create something so relevant and so desirable that the visitor would be a fool to say no. Now, that can come in the form of a download, a discount, or even a competition, but it should consider the timing and context of the user’s visit.
Timing & Context
Even a great incentive can be ruined by poor timing or a lack of context. This is what can make or break your efforts at building that all important email list. We have to consider the context of the user’s visit and what an offer has to look like in that context.
1. First-time visit & almost instant pop up
The prospective customer has just arrived for the very first time and you are thrusting an email sign up box in their face (much like the one above). This person does not even know you yet so the odds of them signing up to a “newsletter” are pretty slim. Any offer here has to take the context of what you do and what problem they are trying to solve into consideration.
So, if this is a page of Halloween decorations then you could try offering some form of a guide on how to decorate your house for Halloween + what’s hot in Halloween decorations for 2017 + a financial incentive. Something that is really finely tuned to what your customer is looking for and the timing of the visit.
2. Exit pop-up
You really have nothing to lose here. The user is going. You are trying to get their attention and win them over. It could be your prices, your delivery fee, availability – who knows. But, you can make an offer here that is much more comprehensive. Competition to win what you were looking at. Discount. Money off first order. Fine tune it to your situation but throw everything you have got at it as you may never see this visitor again!
3. Everything else
This is not meant to be comprehensive and any attempt to do that would in itself be missing the point – your site and customer are unique and your offer should be tailored to those unique situations. Consider the context of the visit and consider the timing and use that to craft an offer of value.
I am not a huge fan of entry pop-ups, however, if we were to look at improving the example above, we could go with something like the below. In this example, we are offering some discount against a first order, plus the chance to win £200 of decorations for Halloween 2016. We are considering the timing (first visit) and offering £10 off the first order if they stick around + the chance to win £200 of Halloween Decorations. The offer is now the heading with “sign up to our newsletter” in the small print and the important parts of the offer text are bolded to draw our user’s attention.
This is not rocket science, but there is a focus on the marketing offer before the technology of how the offer is delivered.
Common Forms of Incentive
I hope if you take anything away from this it would be that the offer needs to be customised to deliver – however, it would be a bit of a cop out if we did not offer some basic advice and starting points for what your offers and incentives can look like. I would always recommend testing these offers and striving for continuous improvement in your sign up rates, but the following ideas should set you off on the right track:
- a discount on first order – great for an on-entry and commercial sites
- win x – again works well for an on-entry or on-exit pop-up
- cheat sheet – help your customer achieve what they want to achieve
- template or blueprint – a framework related to the content being viewed on the site
- email course – a structured way to help your customer achieve their goal (and like getting emails from you)
- ebook – this old chestnut still has plenty of life if done well
I really don’t want to go into detail here on any of these as you should be asking that crucial question – what is in it for my customer? Why would they sign up? How do we make our offer irresistible? Nail that, and then watch those sign-up numbers swell!