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
Would you opt in to those email newsletters. Personally, in some cases I would if there was something I wanted in return for giving up my email address, such as a download or resource of some kind. I’ll unsubscribe after I get the thing I want.
Don‘t TrY any funny stUff
Millions of websites routinely hijack their own pages with garish capture forms and clumsy begging pitches.
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
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.
we talk about our use of pop ups in this post: https://t.co/A2jtz6DVdV Ours only appears every 90 days and it is effective.
— Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent) October 21, 2016
What is the Cost?
Someone online 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. Makes sense.
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 can 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 next move carefully. ♟️
Website with Excessive Email Pop Ups Punished by Google?
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, Google is targeting overlays which gray out a device screen and temporarily hold the website visitor hostage.
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. Web development and user testing are a process, as outlined in Steve Krug’s beloved book Don’t Make Me Think.
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.
Look at the email form below. It is not a popup. It’s just an embedded form which is less intrusive than a popup, and doesn’t use the negging mind games and FOMO that so many marketeers always opt for.
The advantage of adding in a more customised email subscription form like this it being able to track what page the email subscriber was on when they chose to sign up.
By the way, the screenshot of 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.