Just 2 months ago when I made the latest redesign at Stream SEO, I decided to do what I have never done before: use a popup.
Whaaat? Yeah, I’m not really into the popups because they usually distract people from reading your content and because sometimes I hate closing too many windows when popups appear.
However, Darren Rowse from Problogger tried using a popup a few years ago and he said he had great results. This world is all about A/B testing, so I decided to try it and see if I could increase my conversions without losing readers and fans.
Want to know the results? Keep reading 😉
What made me think about it?
I have covered 9 different ways to gather email subscribers before, and while all those tactics work well, I’m no master or guru on the email marketing area. i’ve never been, but I’ll probably be one day 🙂
However, I studied myself to see how annoying can popups be and my reactions to popups in different websites.
Short story: I never really cared about the pop ups on websites with great content and good design. But I hated annoying (multiple) popups that appear when you want to close a tab on your browser, specially if the website I was reading had a horrible design and the content look cheap.
So basically, if the content was really good or it answered the question I was looking for, the popup wasn’t an issue at all. If I was really interested on it, I could even subscribe myself, but if I wasn’t, I would just close it and keep reading in an automatic mode without hesitate.
The truth is: If the content is really good or solves my query, a popup is not going to stop me from reading it.
But what if not everyone thinks like that?
What if some people would get so annoyed about a popup that he would close my website and navigate to another one?
I discovered that those readers are not the readers you want to have. They’re not the loyal fans that will buy from you or leave a comment and engage.
How do I know this? Well… Derek Halpern, the master of Social Triggers (he’s got more than 100k subscribers already) recently did a video about this:
After watching this I decided myself and started my popup test. And here are my results:
I recommend using Aweber to create your email list and auto-responders. And as you can see, I started using a popup on February 2014. It’s been almost 3 months already and my subscribers are increasing fast month by month. But how did I do it?
Stream SEO receives an average of 1,000 visits per day. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Just 2 months ago when I redesigned my website I published on my about page that I had an email list of 500 subscribers already, but today i have more than 800 subscribers. This means I grew more than 60% of my total subscribers before February, in just 2 months.
I used to get 3-5 new subscribers per day, which resulted in less than 100-150 new subscribers per month. From each 10 subscribers, 1-2 of them would end unsubscribing after a few weeks.
After installing my popup, I went from 3-5 daily subscribers to 10-15 new subscribers. On average, 2 of them unsubscribe after a few weeks.
So, to wrap things up:
Before the popup:
- Average daily subscribers: 3
- Average monthly subscribers: 90
- Average daily unsubscribes: 0.5
- Average monthly unsubscribes: 15
- Total net subscribers: 90 – 15 = 75
After the popup
- Average daily subscribers: 10
- Average monthly subscribers: 300
- Average daily unsubscribes: 2
- Average monthly unsubscribes: 60
- Total net subscribers: 300 – 60 = 240
As you can see, I’m now building subscribers 3.2x faster than before the popup! I’d say it’s a win!
Yes, I have more unsubscribes, but the unsubscribe to subscribe ratio is still almost the same as before, which means the unsubscribes are not really increasing just because of the popup.
Do you hate me now?
I had one person that unsubscribed from my email list and he said the only reason was because of my new popup which he hated.
I tried not to take it personally and said I was sorry but the popup was working well, so I won’t remove it. And he left…
Only 1 person told me this, from more than 500 subscribers, so I’d say it’s not really a big loss. Also, he wouldn’t comment on my posts, so I don’t really think it’s a problem and you should never take it personal.
My favorite popup
I’ve covered this before, but I use Hybrid connect to create my email forms everywhere on my website. At the sidebar, after content, and now in the new popup, Hybrid Connect (it’s an outdated and deprecated plugin now though) just beats the crap out of Popup Domination or Optin Skin, IMHO.
It even allows you to create squeeze pages to gather emails, even though I prefer using Optimize Press for that, but here’s a little tip included on Hybrid Connect that makes your popup a lot less intrusive for your readers:
Hybrid connect allows you to control when you want your lightbox to appear.
For example, I’m using a cookie that launches the popup every 7 days only. So if a reader comes to your blog and he reads multiple articles, the popup won’t appear more than once. Even if he returns 3-6 days later, the popup won’t appear.
You can also set it to appear only when a user is going to click anywhere on his browser or when he’s been reading for more than X seconds. It’s your call, but I prefer it this way.
Track track track
Never forget to track your opt in forms. If you have several forms (e.g. sidebar, after content, etc.) you should track them! Hybrid Connect, Optin Skin, Popup Domination and other programs already do this on your dashboard, however, don’t forget to create different forms so Aweber can track them too!
I used my sidebar form for many months and my results are really screwed, however, here’s a view my last results after I created different tracking codes for every form:
The popup form is rapidly reaching the sidebar form, even though the sidebar was the tracking code for all my email forms for 1 whole year!
If you’re not using a popup and you receive traffic already, why not start now?
Let me know if you’re using a popup or not, and your results! You might be surprised to see a whole lot more subscribers with yout popup and few people complaining about it (if they do it, at all).