Are you tired of email popovers on websites? Are you particularly fed up with the passive aggressive choice of words used in the subscription solicitations?
Not only are email popovers irritating, but the obnoxious copywriting tactics used in the propositions can be self-defeating.
The classic “false dichotomy” is a tried and tested rhetorical device using one of two options unrepresentative of the wider reality surrounding your decision making.
Here’s an example:
Do you want to get FREE regular marketing tips delivered direct to your email inbox?
Yes. I’m ready for success!
No. I don’t want more business.
The choice of words used in such propositions tend to hinge on guilt, shame or insecurity, fulfilling the same function as what male pickup artists call a “neg”.
Is it a good strategy? Does it work?
Yes and no.
Subscribe to my email list
The fact is, for media websites, a well-done newsletter can be a crucial source of traffic that drives revenue.
However, email lists with poor engagement ultimately affect inbox deliverability, and marketers can measure and even prune (delete) subscribers that are not opening sent items to get the list to overall better health.
We know the value of permission based marketing, but do crude methods work out well in the long run?
Here’s a sample of screenshots demonstrating the glass-half-empty attitude used by millions of
Also ask yourself how likely you are to engage with any future emails sent to you as a result of a hasty sign up under such circumstances.
Don‘t TrY any funny stUff
Millions of websites routinely hijack their own pages with garish capture forms and clumsy begging pitches.
It’s one bad experience interrupting another – insult added to injury – and making a website visitor feel foolish by forcing them to admit to character defects real or imagined is indirect manipulation.
If these website visitors do become email subscribers, what is their loyalty or level of engagement?Aggressive Solicitations: Manipulative website email popovers look like backhanded ransom notes Click To Tweet
It’s pertinent for marketers to ask themselves whether they should exhibit mild disrespect to those who have decided not to give up their email address. It seems childish.
Everyone with an email account has or will at some point have inbox fatigue.
Regardless of the tips, help and advice offered in email newsletters, we’re wise to what the senders are interested in eventually doing: selling.
rESIStance Is futiLe
Seasoned marketers with huge lists cite empirical data to support the effectiveness of email popovers. It’s hard to deny that such tactics appear to be working.
Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner attributes a large part of his 450,000+ subscribers as having opted in via his email opt in form.
— Michael A. Stelzner (@Mike_Stelzner) November 4, 2016
Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute says roughly 25% of their email list comes from a popover.
@SmallBizGeekUK We have about 200k. Not sure the exact figure, but probably 50k via pop over.
— Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) October 24, 2016
Of course, both Social Media Examiner and Content Marketing Institute are websites offering exceptional value free of charge. It doesn’t work quite so well for sites that are not as good.
I listen to the podcasts of both websites and for that alone I’m happy for them to have my email address. (If the messages are too frequent I’ll set up a custom folder with a rule).
— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) October 21, 2016
Derek Halpern insists on interstitial email popovers to the nth degree. He’s indignant, almost angry, in typical Social Triggers fashion.
I’ll bet many people will take issue with his sweeping generalisations and flimsy rhetoric, especially the “missing finger” spiel he uses to justify email popovers – however effective they may be in building his list.
w hat is the cost?
Matthew Woodward ran an experiment using an email pop up and concluded there was only marginal improvement at a significant cost: poorer user experience and higher bounce rate.
Although some of the most successful brands with eye wateringly high subscriber numbers have pulled the email coup, it’s not necessarily going to work for the average business with an average website peddling average content.
Paid list management software can be expensive and pointless without a strategy. If you’re operating a website with a small readership you begin using MailChimp (2000 subs free).
The cost is about to increase, and I’m talking about our favourite search engine. If Google traffic matters to you and your website is using interstitials, consider your strategy carefully.
Google punishinG popups
Because interstitials appear between website interactions and use up most if not all the device screen space, it can severely affect the mobile web user experience.
As usual, Google have taken it upon themselves to step in and throw out mobile search results where quality of experience and/or information is lessened, in this case, by targeting overlays which gray out a device screen and temporarily hold the website visitor hostage.
Note: this is not the case on desktop search results.
Google AMP, which rolled out in 2016 and offers mobile sites a SERPs advantage by way of a severely minimal webpage layout with faster load time, dispenses with ALL pop ups.
Under Google AMP, email popovers and other interstitial elements are, effectively, deactivated.
Considering hundreds of ranking factors contribute to a website’s search engine position, it’s unlikely that we’ll see immediate changes in mobile SERPs and less likely that webmasters will suddenly make a U-turn at the expense of list size – at least for the time being.
Analysis: Permission Marketing Should be Tasteful
- You could use a WordPress shortcode that references the HTML of a form.
- Create different lists/segments using different optin forms for certain posts.
Making your email solicitation at a critical moment somewhere within the webpage content can grab your consumer at peak interest and, arguably, produce an engaged email subscriber.
Now compare that to an individual who opted in under the duress of a popover and its supplementary agenda to plant greed or aversion in their mind. Will they be quite as engaged?
By the way, the form below, while still an interstitial, demonstrates restraint as well as manners. While the popup was annoying in and of itself, it didn’t make me immediately bounce from the site. I actually read the webpage beneath the popover in its entirety.
Email subscription solicitations are a two sided coin requiring balance between reader’s wants and marketer’s wants.
It’s as though the email subscription “ransom” is levied not only at website visitors but at webmasters themselves. Businesses are scrambling to build their list because the echo chamber of marketing orthodoxy implies you’re an idiot if you don’t.
Some of you want to tell me I’m all wrong. You’ll say popovers work, get over it, suck it up.
See you in the comments. 🙂