Selling Your Sign-up Isn’t Enough

Let’s talk about growing your list. Let’s talk about selling your sign-up. In an earlier post, Marco Marini stated that it isn’t enough to just offer the possibility to sign up, you have to do something more. I completely agree. But he also stated that a sign-up box doesn’t help you grow your house-list by that much. I totally do not agree. Lets see why.

From that article I quote:

An email signup box on your home page won’t grow your in-house list. At least not by much.

That’s not accurate. How would you know? Some companies actually measure their traffic-to-signup ratio. If you are a strong brand or have good content you can have a big chunk of sign-ups just by putting a simple opt-in sign-up box on every page. You might get more sign-ups from a well executed sign-up box then you would from a separate sign-up page.  Our friend sign-up box has helped email marketers all over the world to achieve a steady flow of new subscriptions derived from the (natural) traffic on company websites.

Selling the subscribe

Quote number two:

The first mistake we must eliminate is relying on a signup box alone. Even if that box appears on every page of your 30-page website, it’s not selling. It’s just a box. No pitch, no reasons to enter an email address, no reasons to pay any attention to it whatsoever. To get past that common mistake is simple. Add a page to your website that tells people why they should sign up to get emails from you.

Again, not accurate. It seems like the author hasn’t been looking around that much. As I see selling sign-up boxes all the time: “Sing up to receive our daily deals”, “Sign-up for exclusive content”, etc, etc. You can easily put the reasons to subscribe to the list above or in the sign-up box. Those reasons should stated short anyway. So in fact your sign-up box can be selling. No need to make a different page for that. You could say the same of a banner promoting a sign-up. The most important thing isn’t the fact that you can sign-up via the sign-up box, but that it is visible and helps you convert your visitors into subscribers!

5 reasons to love your sign-up box:

  1. You can put it on each page
  2. It promotes your newsletter or email program
  3. You can make it contextual to the website page it’s on.
  4. It takes the (first mental) step out of signing up
  5. It adds sign-ups!

Final thought

So what should we get out of this? Optimization comes in many forms. By “selling the sign-up” on the subscription page, you might be able to reduce the people who come to that page and then leave before signing up. But if you are struggling to grow your list and someone advises you to create a sign-up page to make all well… Ask them this: “How are people going to come to that page then?”

About the Author: Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant at EmailMonday and editor of Emailvendorselection.com. You can also find him @jvanrijn.

2 comments

  1. Great Point Jordie!

    The text accompanying the sign up box is a sufficient sales pitch if you choose your wording carefully.

    I think the placement of the sign up box is key. Ideally I think the sign up box should be at the very top of pages/sidebars. In addition to that adding sign up boxes at the end of every article and about pages are a great way to increase subscribers.

    When people are done reading something they look for some else to do, why not plant a sign up box there with a clear call of action?!

  2. Hi Jordie, thanks so much for the candid feedback on my blog post!! The point I was trying to make (and should have done a better job of) is to not rely solely on having a sign-up box and nothing else. I agree that they are important tools but if one relies only on a sign-up box, you’re limited in your ability to sell the value the recipient is getting in return for giving you their email address.

    Of course, if you have a very strong brand or extremely intuitive offer (e.g. Groupon) a box may suffice. But if you’re part of the other 98% of companies out there, you might want to think about having not just a sign up box but also other real estate that better outlines the benefits of what they get in return for giving you their email.

    Ultimately, results will be different for different people/companies and only way to find out what’s best for you is to test test test!

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