sly : marketing

Give Your Subscriber a Rose and Take Her to the Prom

red rose

I’m the type of guy that never shops for new clothes. I’m the type of guy that wears the same clothes over and over again. And if my mom didn’t buy me new clothes for my birthday and for Christmas, I would still be wearing the same clothes I wore during the 1980’s.

And, I’m vegetarian, I love pizza and Coca-Cola Zero. I know, what a guy. I’m not the one you will be asking to the prom.

You might be more interested if I got a second chance. But that’s the thing. Most of the time, we won’t get second chances.

I know how important first impressions are. And I know that many times, we don’t get more than 3 seconds to make a first impression. I have been reading Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, and this book is just brilliant when it comes to describing the importance of first impressions.

Clothes, hair, shoes, it’s all part of the first impression when someone looks at you. And, I have my mom to thank for not making the worst first impression ever.

But forget about me for a second. Let’s talk about your readers, and soon to be subscribers. What’s the first thing they look at when they see your blog? I’m talking about the first time they visit your blog.

Colors? Simplicity? Personality?

Don’t get me wrong. You don’t need to hire a world class designer. Most of the time, your face with a big smile is all it takes.

Think about the first impression for a moment. And then, when you’re ready, let’s go a step further.

It’s time to take her to the Prom

You want her to walk down the stairs, wearing that beautiful dress, and that awesome perfume, the one that smells perfect on her. And you want her to smile with the whitest teeth you’ve ever seen. You want everything to be perfect. You want her to want you.


What I really want to do, is tell you that first impressions are important in order to be able to build long lasting relationships. That’s what we all want. We might not be thinking about marriage when we’re at the prom, but that’s what we should be thinking when it comes to marketing.

Now, let’s continue.

You want to marry her. You want babies. You want to spend the rest of your life with her. And to do that, you’ll need to take her to the prom first, and then you’ll need to do everything in your power to keep her the happiest girl alive.

I’m saying that you should start by taking her to the prom. The prom is your subscription box. That’s how you start building your relationship. The design, the offer, that’s the amazing red rose you’re giving to her.

I think you get the point.

I see bad looking subscription forms all over the place. And it makes it hard to get subscribers, and even harder to build long term relationships.

First impressions are important when you are looking for people to sign up for your newsletter. It’s about the content. Sure. But it’s even more about the first impression. How does your optin box look?

Think about the prom. Her white dress. Her smile. Are you sure that you are ready to take her to the prom?

If not. You should be doing what I’ve been doing.

I’m testing new subscription forms designed by Martin at Optin Box Design. I’m very satisfied. The service was awesome. And I highly recommend it.

And right now, you can win a free optin box design for your website by entering the contest on the Facebook Event. If you like what you see on my blog (the header at the front page, the box in the sidebar and below every post), I highly recommend that you enter the contest.

Your turn. Are you thinking about first impressions? And what about shopping, is your mom buying all your clothes?

58 responses to “Give Your Subscriber a Rose and Take Her to the Prom”

  1. Bhupendra says:

    Simple message but highly effective information and i Using subscription forms Optin Box Design and i found it have grate service.Thanks for sharing.

  2. John says:

    I hate those pop-ups to subscribe to their news letters…If i love a blog/website, I would definitely enter my email ID for the newsletter. A neat, simple yet an eye-catching form would do the trick. Quality of content/blog post is very important in getting more subscribers.

  3. Peggy Baron says:

    Nice post with a good point.
    I like the look of your box, Jens. I’m heading over to the contest now…


  4. Nice title Jens!

    I knew I had to head right over when I read the post title and thought may be it came soon after Valentine’s 🙂

    Well, first impressions do make a lot of difference initially I guess, especially where relationships are concerned. And of course, when we do visit a blog also- I guess people do like to feel nice about wanting to stay over and read someone’s post. How well a blog is designed, all that it contains, the color combination etc- all has an affect.

    However, I guess once we know the real person, which may be after a while- such things take a back seat. For example, now that I know you a little more than before, I would really not be bothered about your first impression or how and what you do or don’t do, as I value you more as a person. But, of course if you intend dating a girl and want to take her to the prom- this won’t work 🙂 Glad you are over that phase of life now 🙂

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hi Harleena,

      I actually didn’t think about Valentines day when I wrote the title, but it seems a bit odd right now, since Valentines day is just a few days away 🙂

      That’s the thing about blogs, first impressions are very important, but only the first time you visit. If you’ve been recommended by a friend, first impressions are not as important. But it’s still more important than most people think, including myself. I usually don’t think about my first impressions, but I know that I take action based upon them all the time.

      I’m also glad that I’m over the phase of dating. I would be terrible at it 🙂

  5. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens,

    Gosh, to be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to comment because my blog sucks at taking anyone to the prom.

    I am aware of that and I’m about to start working in making it better.

    Right now I don’t have a clue how I have got subscribers already but for anyone who has opted to sign up, I really, REALLY appreciate it!

    I think Martin has done a great job here and I’m happy that you decided to work with him. I consider him a highly perseverant marketer.

    Take care and speak soon Jens, thank you for reminding me that my optin form needs work! 😉


    PS. Have you been taking stuff off from your sidebar? I have the impression it looks a lot cleaner now.

    • Hey Sergio,

      Your blog doesn’t suck at all. I believe it’s awesome and I understand why people sign up. You could probably get better design by contacting Martin, or join his contest, but it seems that you’re doing fine without it 🙂

      I have been experimenting with the sidebar, and I’m not sure when I’ll be satisfied. But it’s awesome that you noticed 🙂

  6. henry says:

    i agree with you that first impressions are important when you are looking for people to sign up for your newsletter, but how do you keep their interest after say 2 or 3 months, people can unsubscribe with just a click of a button

    • That’s right, and that’s a completely different story 🙂

      You need to keep building a strong relationship by providing help, and high quality content. And what you provide depends on the niche. Don’t think about pushing information about you or your company, it’s all about the subscribers and what they need.

  7. Jack says:

    Well I skipped going to my high school prom so maybe I ought to look into doing it now. There is no time like the present. I haven’t built an email list but I have thought about it.

    That box looks nice.

    • Me too. I was in the US as an exchange student, and I skipped going to prom. I don’t dance, and it was a little scary. What was your excuse ? 🙂

      You should start building an email list. I hardly do anything about it, but I’m planning to do something big as soon as I get my business going.

  8. Adrienne says:

    Love your message Jens and man you must have been reading my mind. I’ve been wanting to get all of my opt-ins boxes the same, custom made and this has really been on my mind this week. I’m so glad I read your post today so I can get in on this freebie. I’m not online a lot over the weekend though so not sure if I can get enough attention on this but I’m going to give it my best.

    I love the look of your opt-in box but you definitely need it at the top of your sidebar instead of at the bottom though. Always needs to be above the fold. With that good looking of one you definitely need to be showing it off.

    First impressions remember! Then you can take her to the prom. 🙂

    Great job Jens and thanks a bunch.


    • That’s awesome Adrienne. I like the way you’re thinking. Great minds think alike 🙂

      I’m switching design, and I’ll be ordering some new boxes from Martin, and I’ll be adding them above the fold. Thanks a lot for reminding me 🙂

  9. Jeevanjacobjohn says:

    Simply awesome, Jens!

    I love when people compare blogging to something else. It just makes things a little more easier to understand. You have a great point here – First impression matters (I do love your site design and opt-in boxes – along with your content – which is why I am subscribing now! ;)).

    And thanks for including the Giveaway link (I have entered :D).

    Yes, like you said, First impression matters. Design plays a very important role – I would say Design plays a much more important role in convincing a first time visitor than does content.

    Anyways, thanks for the post,

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • Thanks a lot. You actually entered my site exactly when I’m redesigning it. So it’s a little mess right now, but I promise you it will get a lot better soon.

      Martin is awesome, and good luck with the contest. I’m going to order a new design from him in just a few days (I want it to match my new design).

      Have a great weekend and thanks a lot for subscribing.

      • Jeevanjacobjohn says:

        Oh, not at all. I think, you are doing great with your design right now (It is just simple). Unlike many other blogs, you are not keeping your sidebar and after post area cluttered with too much stuff – As Derek from Social triggers says – don’t intimidate your visitors by giving them too many options 😀

        I see that your are using Genesis framework (how is your experience with it?) I am planning to make a switch from Headway to Genesis (do you the Generate child theme, I kind of like that).

        You too Jens. Thanks for the fast reply 😉

        • Thanks a lot. I just switched a few hours ago 🙂

          I’m very satisfied with Genesis, and I’m going to use it on all my blogs and the blogs I run in my new business. I’ve bought the developers pack. The Generate child theme is awesome.

          I’m going to use a very simple sidebar, in order to get more subscribers.

          • Jeevanjacobjohn says:

            Oh, that’s cool 😀

            Yeah, it is very fast (the other day, I was comparing the site speeds of my blog and various blogs that are using Genesis – saw that Genesis is little more faster).

            Yeah, that’s a great idea (I think I have to do that too). But, my main concern is not that. I think I am doing too much for my landing/subscribe page – I have written content along with a small presentation and screenshots. What is your opinion about that?

            I mean, how should we manage our landing pages? Should we use different media to convey the message (is that giving a little too much to our readers?) or should we just stick with couple of sentences. I know, I really didn’t want my landing page to look like others, so I added in the screenshots and the presentation 😀

            • I haven’t created a landing page for a very long time. But when I did, I created long ones, with a lot of text and some images of me, to make it personal 🙂

              Now, I’m more focused on letting my content on my blogs present the quality and who I am, and let people subscribe via a subscription box instead. I’m not sure if it works better or not, but that’s what I like to focus on.

              If I was going to create a landing page now, I would probably add video to present the content along with a few lines of text.

  10. Annie Andre says:

    I rather like your optin box design. It was the first thing i noticed today when i stopped by. arrows seem to be very effective for directing the readers eyes.

  11. Barry wells says:

    Hi Jens nicely put.

    First impressions are extremely important and if we give the wrong one we’re in for a long haul, trying to figure things out.

    When I first started blogging it was part of a course and the theme I was given to use was pretty basic and the opt-in box was just a box. No graphics or buttons, just a plain ol’ box, needless to say my subscriptions weren’t very impressive and to be honest i think those that did subscribe only done so to see if the antique box actually worked 😆

    I do like the look of your one Jens so I’ll be clicking that link to take advantage of your offer.

    While I’m here Jens can i bring your attention to my video blog challenge? Its running from Feb 29th until March 29th and full details can be found on my blog (link in commentluv).

    Thanks Jens, I hope everything is going well your end.

    Take care, Barry

    • Hi Barry,

      I have just switched to the Genesis Framework and I am still doing my best to get everything into the right places here on my blog. The optin boxes I received from Martin was awesome, and I’ll probably order some new ones sometime soon. I need them for my Norwegian blog.

      I’ll take a closer look at your video blog challenge. I can’t promise you anything, I’m very busy at the moment with the launch of my business and finishing the book, but I’ll see what I can do 🙂

  12. Pierro says:

    in fact first impression is really important especially when it comes to blogging. you don’t want your readers to leave your blog and therefore you would have to convince them to stay.

    • Hey Pierro,

      That’s true. In fact, most readers will visit the blog and never return. That’s because they’re visiting via a search engine and looking for a specific topic / a specific answer, and once they find it, they’ll just leave. But, if the first impression is awesome, they might stay for a while and even subscribe to the feeds. This is one reason why I have been thinking about using pop-ups, it’s really annoying, but it works very well at keeping visitors at the blog (they become subscribers of the newsletter).

  13. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, You remind me of my brother who also is a vegetarian and doesn’t care about clothes. His wife will get rid of my brother’s old t-shirts without telling him. She buys him new things and it usually takes him a while to miss what she got rid of.

    A popular news program here in the US had a show about Magnus, the Norwegian Chess Champion. Have you heard of him? What a genius!

    • Your brother sounds like an awesome guy 🙂

      Yes, I’ve heard of Magus and I’ve read about the interview. Was it on 60 minutes? I watch every episode, but it’s a few weeks behind the US. Magnus is a celebrity in Norway 🙂

      • Carolyn says:

        Yes, as a matter of fact, my brother is a totally awesome guy! He got me started on tech. I still remember when he first explained to me what a GPS was way back when. I knew I had to have one.

        Yes, Magus was on 60 Minutes this week. Truly amazing! Norway is deservedly proud of this impressive man.

        • I have just ordered a new router to use at home, and that’s an Apple Airport Extreme. I have upraded the speed here, since I’m going to start a business, I want to have a high enough speed. And now that every member of my family are online all the time, I had to do something about it 🙂

          I’ll have to watch that 60 minutes episode. I read somewhere that it will be showing in about two weeks.

          Hope you’re having an awesome weekend.

          • Carolyn says:

            Hi Jens, Yes, I am having an awesome weekend, thanks.

            Let me know if your router helps your internet speed. You’re right, you need the fastest speed with your business.

            I think you’ll really enjoy the 60 Minutes piece. Very impressive guy!

  14. Lenia says:

    Hi Jens,
    Nice post once again. I don’t like either pops ups to subscribe to newsletters and I usually close directly the window.
    Thank you, I will have a look on the Optin Box design. I like yours!
    About clothes…I buy my clothes because i want to decide what to buy 🙂

    • Hi Lenia,

      How’s life in Chios? I hope it’s a lot better weather at your place than at mine 🙂

      I should probably buy my own clothes, I’d look a lot better 🙂

      • Lenia says:

        Hey Jens,
        Life in Chios is sunny but quite adventurous!
        The last days the weather was beautiful but now they announce a bad weather for a couple of days!
        As far as clothes, is all about what you like and what makes you feel better 🙂
        Have a great Sunday!

  15. Walter Martin says:

    Great analogies used throughout the article! I also really like the red rose at the top; did you make it through Instagram? Thanks for the great resource as it opened my mind to a reader/writer relationship.

  16. Nicholle Olores says:

    Hi Jens, what if the first impression wouldn’t last? Will you stay long in that relationships? Anyway, your idea in giving an appreciation to your subscribers is great but for me a simple thank you is enough when it comes deeply from your heart.

    • Hi Nicholle,

      You’re absolutely right about the thank you. That’s what I appreciate the most as well.

      If the first impressions don’t last, I probably won’t be very long in the relationship. But, I usually don’t give up easy 🙂

  17. Francine says:

    I love this kind of idea..I hope some one will do this to me also..Thank you for sharing some idea..

  18. Avatar says:

    Courting a girl is hard though but when you get her heart by doing so, dedication, perseverance and patience the result will be fantastic!!! Its so sweet!!! Similarly we have the same concept in business relationship. And by building a solid relationship you have to be impressive—first impression last.

  19. Beats says:

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really love the article. It proved to be very useful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here!

  20. Velma says:

    Wow! You really described the process perfectly here and that’s a great comparison. Better to take it one step at a time and make sure to take her to the prom before dreaming about anything 🙂

  21. Aurora says:

    Superb site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Also would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. I find writing good articles a hard thing to do. I seem to have a hard time elaborating my subjects on to paper. I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later Many thanks.

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