The 5 year email newsletter subscription loss is a story of woe but learning how to use email newsletter subscription pop-up forms and mass email almost made it all worth it. Many of you have heard of email subscriptions to a website’s content and many webmasters have a newsletter subscription form adorning their website in some form. These forms are usually located in a sidebar, at the bottom of a published article, in the header or in the footer of their website.
How many of these same websites use an email subscription pop-up that appears to visitors that have come to their website for the first time? For five years I did not have a an email subscription pop-up on my movie website.
The time recently came for this practice to come to an end.
What is an Email Newsletter Subscription Pop-up Box (Lightbox)?
On Lightbox-enabled links, direct links to image files (or HTML content via Ajax) are displayed in an overlay on the current page instead of causing a new page load. While the overlay is displayed, the rest of the page content is darkened (and, in effect, temporarily disabled) to focus the user on the overlay. Depending on the plugin’s settings, the overlay may be positioned, sized to the user’s browser window, and animated.
Office Max Email Newsletter Subscription Popup Box
The Reason Why
Here are two reason why the use a email newsletter subscription pop-up box is advantageous:
1. Opt-in newsletter subscription opportunity after opt-in newsletter subscription opportunity were never realized and were wasted on my first movie website. Every time someone new came to my website that was not subscribed to my newsletter was a subscription capture opportunity through the pop-up form lost. In my case, it was a five year loss.
This was especially true during spikes in traffic from unique site visitors. Remember this article: How my website went from 4000 Page Views to over 16,000 in a single day. I had no newsletter subscription pop-up form when this occurred. As a result of not having one, 16,000+ possible new email newsletter subscribers went down the tubes. This was a fantastic missed opportunity to capture new newsletter subscribers. I do not know how many I would have captured with the pop-up but I know how many I captured without it. Zero. The subscription form was present on the website but these people came to the site for something specific. When they got that, some stayed but many bounced away. If the pop-up form had been there, it would have put a subscription form right in front of their faces.
Some believe this is not a good practice:
The biggest mistake I see is pop-ups that deploy far too early. My first visit to a site, I need time to look around before I’m ready to join a Facebook page, download an e-book or sign up for a newsletter.
It’s not recommended to bombard a new visitor with a request for a social follow or share upon arrival, before he or she has had enough time to interact with your site and experience your brand. Even though not all “new visitors” are new to your brand – they may have cleared cookies or have searched your site out after using your product or visiting your shop – it’s safer to ask for social opt-ins or email sign-ups is to ask on a returning visit, or in the case of a content site, after “x” number of page views (you determine the “x”).
Ask users that have viewed at least 2 pages on your site, not upon arrival. The user has 3 seconds to determine if she wants to stay on your site – don’t cover up your site’s value proposition with a lightbox unless it’s essential to guide your visitor to the right content (e.g. geographic content).
The above argument is compelling and persuasive but hinges on one thing: subsequent visits. What if there are no subsequent visits and x number of pages are not viewed? If either scenario is the case, you have lost the opportunity to present them with a newsletter opt-in opportunity.
I saw the email subscription pop-ups on how-to websites like ProMovieBlogger but it never occurred to me to place one on a movie website.
Like the counter-argument alludes to, I thought they were bothersome, annoying to visitors.
I thought those pop-ups had no place on a movie website, that they only belonged on a certain type of website. Now I believe I was wrong.
2. Advertisers (a list of them) use pop-ups on opinion-maker websites all the time, especially for new film releases, whether it takes up half the screen or the full screen. Why shouldn’t you use one to advertiser yourself and what you have to offer to your site visitors?
Give people a chance to opt-in on your newsletter by placing the form right I front of them when they visit your site for the first time, or on subsequent pageviews (giving people a chance to take in what your website has to offer), every seven days, et cetera. The choice is up to you.
The Easy Solution
Install a email subscription pop-up on your website so that you do not miss possible email subscription captures.
The One-Two Punch Solution
Install a email newsletter subscription box (most website themes come with them pre-install) and a email newsletter subscription pop-up on your website.
The higher the subscription box’s position on your website, the better. Like with advertisements, above the fold of the website is best.
Tell potential email newsletter subscribers what they can expect to get if they subscribe to your email newsletter e.g. site content, movie reviews, etc. Remember the acronym: A.I.D.A. (Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action)? When applied to pop-ups and email subscriptions, its Attention (the pop-up), Interest (its free and you get x, y, and z), Decision (whether to enter your email address in the box provided or not), Action (whether to click the “Enter” button to begin the subscription or not).
You can accomplish good A.I.D.A. by selling potential subscribers on the attributes of the newsletter and by enumerating them. Close them on why they can not do without your newsletter. “Always be closing“, Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross.
Email newsletter services with and without Pop-up forms
Mailchimp (mentioned here: How to Start Movie Website Resources), Aweber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and iContact all have email newsletter and email marketing services. Mailchimp is free up to two thousands email addresses contained in your account. With Aweber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and iContact you have to pay to use their services from the beginning. Aweber is the one I use and can attest to the fact that they offer pop-up forms and embeddable email subscription boxes. I checked Constant Contacts’ website and they offer a website newsletter sign up form but I couldn’t find anything about a pop-up form like the one Aweber offers. Over at Mailchimp, they do offer the pop up form and it can be accessed in the ominously titled evil pop-up mode. I couldn’t find if iContact or GetResponse offers a pop-up form (neither had a search function on their website).
Even though some of these email newsletter services do not offer pop-up functionality, there are solutions to this problem that still makes them all viable. Those solutions are described below in “WordPress Plugin”.
The Subscriber / Price Bump
Be aware: the more subscribers you acquire, eventually, the more you will pay per month to Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and iContact.
When using Aweber, once I hit over a 1000 email address signed up, my pricing got bumped up to from $19 a month to $29 a month.
Constant Contact seems to offer more corporate options than the other email newsletter services: when PR companies and some other organization email me, the bottom of emails are sometimes adorned with the Constant Contact sigil.
I called Constant Contact and was informed that they offer their customers the ability to email up to 500 people simultaneously the same email (they send the email out one at a time) and they hide all the other recipients of that email. When I emailed Aweber asking if they provided the same service, I was informed I could only mass email people subscribed to my newsletter (anti-spam laws for email service providers [ESPs] must be observed).
There are WordPress plugins that will create a pop-up window for your website. Some can be used in conjunction with Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and iContact. They include: WP Super Pop-up, PopUp Domination, (this plugin works with all of the above email newsletter providers), and All-in-One Subscribe Popup are a few that I have come across. I have not used them myself so I can not attest to how good their functionality is. Here is a listing of 20 Other WP Pop-up Plugins. Remember though, the more plugins you use, the slower your website will eventually load.
Web Form Builder
The Web Form Builder application may be worth your time. It lets you create your own sign-up forms and has been integrated into MailChimp. The other email newsletter and email marketing services offer their own form creation solutions.
RSS Feed Integration
By using Aweber, a new menu shows up in your Feedburner (previously spoken of in this article: RSS Feed Email Subscribers, Related Posts, and Anchor Text Linking) account under “Email Subscription Services” called “AWeber.com Blog Broadcaster”. It shows how many subscribers you have via Aweber. I do not know if Mailchimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, or iContact will show up in your Feedburner account once they have been set up.
Email newsletter subscription pop-up forms are advantageous but can be annoying if used too zealously. In my experience, if used on first time site visitors and the interested (you can’t gauge their interest unless you present them with the option at some point ), you are treading on safe ground. Opinions differ though. Some of your site visitors might want your newsletter but do not know where it is located (a problem that you should fix if it is present on your website). Some might not even realize they want your newsletter until the option materializes before their eyes.