sly : marketing

How I am Receiving More Subscribers Now Than When I was using a Popup

I have been testing many different methods to get subscribers to my newsletter. And, one of the methods I’ve been using with the best conversion rate, is various forms of pop-ups. There are many reasons why pop-ups still works, but maybe the most obvious reason, is that it grabs the reader’s attention. It’s close to impossible not to see the pop-up.

But, like I’ve said before, I really don’t like pop-ups, it’s too obtrusive. So, I decided a while ago that I was going to stop using Pop-Up Domination, and start testing different methods to get new subscribers.

Subscription form in the sidebar

I have been using a subscription form in the sidebar for a long time. I have tested different alternatives, and I will continue to test them, because I still haven’t discovered something that really works in the sidebar. Don’t get me wrong. I do get subscribers from the subscription form in my sidebar every single day, but the numbers are not that great.

I know that I am not using a bait, a free ebook, or something that people really want. Well, I am using it, but what I’m not telling people is that they’ll receive two ebooks that I’ve written, as soon as they sign up. I am not using the bait (at the moment), because I want to see if people who are not subscribing in order to get a great [free] offer, will stay subscribed to my newsletter for longer.

What works better

optinskin subscription forms

I have been using Optinskin on and off for a while, I have even written about why I bought Optinskin. But, the thing is, that I didn’t use it right the first time. I just created a form and that was it. Now, I am testing various “skins” and I am testing different locations and ways to show it to my readers. I am doing split-testing, and I am seeing a better result than when I was using a pop-up.

You can say that some of the methods I am using with Optinskin is fairly annoying as well, since they’re straight in your face type of subscription forms. But, they’re still not blocking the content. And, there should be now problem reading the content, clicking on the links and going to a different article or a different site, without having to exit the subscription form.

The results so far, with my testing of the various designs in Optinskin, have been a better conversion rate than when I was using a pop-up.

I am finally finding a way to get subscribers to my newsletter, without doing something I don’t want to be doing.

How do you get subscribers?

Are you using a plugin to get subscribers to your newsletter, or how are you doing it? I’d love to get some feedback on both the method I’m currently using (do you find it annoying), and what works for you.

Let’s discuss it.


12 responses to “How I am Receiving More Subscribers Now Than When I was using a Popup”

  1. Right now Jens I am placing such a heavy emphasis on my writing business – ghostwriting clients, paid guest posts and articles I write for an SEO company – I am simply doing list building through my squeeze page.

    I would like to start list building through my blogs again and will take your advice to heart. I too dislike pop ups; too much action going on lol.

    Staying true to you always brings the best results in any endeavor. Kudos to you!.

    Thanks for sharing Jens 🙂

    • Hi Ryan.

      It sounds like you’re busy, and that’s great. I’d love to see your landing page, can you send me the url? I am going to create landing pages for a few clients next week, and I have a lot to learn. It’s been a while since I created one.

  2. Tim Bonner says:

    Hi Jens

    I really need to do some more testing with my opt-in forms and look at the results I’ve had so far.

    I don’t get an awful lot of people signing up and I guess I’d do better if I offered a free eBook. I’m almost finished with one so hopefully that will speed things up a bit.

    The slide in opt-in hasn’t produced great results or the sales bar. I’m not even sure about the one at the end of the post. Major rethink!

    I use Hybrid Connect for the opt-ins and it allows me to do split-testing with many different versions of the opt-ins and over time it eliminates the worst-performing opt-in to leave just the best one.

    Now all I need to do is use it properly!

  3. I have a custom opt-in form in my sidebar, plus I have a call to action on each of the pages in my blog. I paid for the premium version of Pippity because I love how you can create a custom look and time when the pop up appears. All of that and the #1 place (by far) people click on to sign up is the simple little reminder I include at the end of each post. I’ve been thinking about trying one of those premium author boxes that you can add to the bottom of each post – just to experiment.

  4. I have found that the best optin strategy for me has been giving away my 100+ page ebook on podcasting instead of selling it. I also use OptinSkin and like it a lot; but I use Optify, which is very similar to Hubspot, and the speed at which you can get subscribers with the ebook has blown me away. I added 68 new subscribers last month which was really good for me. So I’d say it’s not about placement, it’s about offering something of value.

  5. Hi Jens,

    Thanks for the interesting post. I think that, although popups can certainly have their place and can sometimes yield good results, largely they are annoying for most people and can do more harm than good.

    I think it’s definitely a good idea to test different methods and make a note of what works best.

    Up until recently I’d been relying soley on a sidebar signup form. However I’m now trying to give people as many opportunities as possible to subscribe, but trying to make sure that I don’t annoy them in the process.

    I think that to be constantly pitching and to have ads all over the place can be equally as annoying, but to do the same thing with subscription opportunities doesn’t have the same effect. I know that I certainly don’t like feeling like I’m being pitched to constantly, whereas if I see the same number or more of subscription opportunities it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. This is something that I’ve noticed a lot of marketers have talked about recently.

    I’m looking forward to seeing if my new tweaks improve my opt-ins!


    • It sounds like you’re doing the right thing Glenn. Keep testing. Are you using a plugin?

      • Yes, I’m now using a couple of plugins that give people the option to sign up at the point when they’ll hopefully be more inclined to do so. One puts a CTA box at the end of blog posts which tells them why they should subscribe and gives them a place to sign up.

        The other one is just a check box right underneath where they enter their details when they comment, so all they have to do if they wish to subscribe is check the box and they’ll be signed up using the details that they’ve already filled in

  6. I’ve just started to build my newsletter list. I’ve not tried popups, and like you, I find them annoying, but I wondering if I can have a popup fire only on a certain page of my blog?

    It seems reasonable, but I’m not sure. I have a page that I drive people to and it would be perfect. That way my regular readers wouldn’t see it. Is that a good idea?

  7. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jenbs, I’m not a fan of pop ups but I don’t like sliders either if they block content. Sometimes I can’t see the content on mobile, either because it’s blocked by the slider or I can’t close the pop up.

    But with Google Reader gone, email subscriptions become even more important!

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