You’ve worked hard to produce great content and designed a stunning blog that provides an amazing user experience. You’ve added various opt-in forms and CTAs all over your blog hoping to turn your readers into subscribers. But it just doesn’t work.
Why does it happen?
It can be frustrating to invest in various opt-in tools for your blog and get no response. Here are 7 email opt-in mistakes that can drive readers away instead of persuading them to join your mailing list, and how to avoid them.
1. Showing your opt-in form at the wrong time
One of the most common mistakes you can do while setting up your email opt-in form is to show it at the wrong time.
You find an interesting article on Google or Facebook, that you think will help you solve your problem. You click to read it, and instead of the article you see this:
At this point, you will most likely be frustrated and leave, because the site is asking you to subscribe, even before allowing you to see its content. That’s exactly how your readers feel, too. Here are some of the ill-timed opt-in forms that you should avoid:
- Showing a popup immediately when a person visits your site
- Showing an opt-in form when your readers’ mouse hovers over the scroll-bar
- Showing a subscription form when a reader scrolls down your page. I’m amazed so many blogs do this mistake. How does a person read without scrolling down?
- Showing a popup within 10 seconds of visiting your site
Email opt-in tools allow you to trigger opt-in forms based on various conditions. They also have default criteria for each trigger, to help users get started, like the ones mentioned above. However, you need to ensure that you don’t splash a salesy email signup form, even before your reader gets a chance to spend some time on your site.
Give your readers some time to read your content and get some value, before you ask them to subscribe. Show them an opt-in form, after they have done at least one of the following:
- Finished reading your post
- Shared your post
- Posted a comment
- Visited at least 2 pages. This shows that they are clicking around your site and reading more content.
2. You have too many opt-in forms on your site
When we get a new marketing tool or plugin, we’re tempted to try out all its features, especially if we’re paying for it. When adding opt-in forms to your blog, it’s important to look at your blog from your readers’ perspective to find the right balance and avoid overwhelming them.
Before you set up CTAs for your blog, have clear conversion goals for them and ensure they don’t overlap. For example, if you have an email form for a piece of gated content, a slide-in form for newsletter subscription as well as a generic opt-in form, all on one page, then your readers are bound to leave.
It’s fine to have a CTA pointing to your main site or other articles, in addition to your email subscription popup. But keep everything else in moderation. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Don’t use different call to actions on a page. It will confuse readers that they’re signing up for multiple email lists.
- Use A/B testing tools like Optimizely and heatmap tools like Hotjar to try out various CTA combinations, analyze their results and refine your page.
- Even if your CTAs have different purposes, keep them far apart to prevent them from spoiling the user experience
3. Using opt-in forms that are irrelevant to the page
Another mistake that blogs make is to use a CTA that is unrelated to the content on the page. This is especially true if your website covers multiple topics.
Typically, such sites create a generic opt-in form that shows the same message for all pages of their website. This is fine for blogs like Mint.com or Pennyhoarder.com that only write about one topic – money saving tips.
However, if your blog writes about different categories, make sure you create different opt-in messages for each category.
For example, if your blog covers diverse topics such as SEO and social media marketing, then instead of saying “Get latest marketing news”, your popup message needs to say “Get latest SEO news & tips” for SEO-related articles and “Get latest social media news & tips” for Social media blog posts.
This is more effective because you’re saying that your newsletters contain more content that is similar to what the readers are already interested in.
4. Not offering immediate value in your opt-in forms
If you want your readers to provide you their email addresses, you need to clearly tell them what’s in it for them. Most blogs make the mistake of providing a very generalized offer, or not offering anything valuable in exchange for readers’ email addresses.
Using generic statements like “Join our community of 100,000 subscribers“ isn’t going to cut it.
The trick is to offer something tangible. For example, “Download our free ebook to grow your conversion rate by 11%”.
Even if you don’t have any downloadable resource to offer, ensure that you clearly communicate the value of subscribing to your mailing list.
Why should readers sign up for your newsletter? Will it help them grow their website visitors? Will it help them turn more visitors into customers? Mention it in your value proposition. For example, “Sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive actionable tips about increasing your website traffic” is a lot better than “Sign up for more awesome content”.
5. Your opt-in-forms ask for too much information
Most people don’t like giving their personal information due to privacy concerns, especially to a blog they’re visiting for the first time, or have only visited a few times. Many others don’t find it worth their time to fill out long-forms and give up. Here’s an example:
No matter what the reason may be, avoid asking too much information from readers, if you want them to subscribe to your blog.
Ask yourself, what do you really need to send email newsletters to your readers – just an email address and name(for personalization).
6. Too much text in your opt-in forms
When designing opt-in forms, avoid using a lot of text. The more text you provide, the more cluttered and unappealing it will look. It can also be visually distracting and drive the attention away from your submit button. In the following example, the signup form is at the bottom and can be easily missed.
Use images instead. See how the signup form is more prominent here.
People tend to put a lot of text when they set up their opt in forms, and then reduce it, when they don’t get the desired response. Go the other way around. Start with minimal text and increase it to see if you can get a better response.
If you really need to put more text on your opt-in forms, use bullet points.
7. Poor design
Today, design plays an important role in increasing conversion rates. If your opt-in forms use bad colors (like bright red) or have bad fonts (too small or large fonts, using a different font than one used on your blog), then it can adversely affect your sign up rates.
Most blogs make the mistake of using the default colors & styles for their opt-in forms.
Make sure that your opt-in forms have a consistent look and feel with your blog and use colors that are similar to your brand. Otherwise, it will stand out in a wrong way and look like a spammy popup.
Also, use colors to provide subtle hints about what you want your readers to do such as:
- Read your offer
- Type their email address
- Hit the submit button
Here’s an example of well-designed opt-in forms from Neil Patel’s blog:
Here’s why it’s good:
It’s green-orange theme not only provides a good contrast but is also consistent with the rest of his blog.
It provides subtle directional cues about what the reader needs to do.
It clearly mentions what the reader will gain (traffic tips) by subscribing to Neil’s mailing list.
It has a persuasive copy with words like “Free” and “Exclusive” to lure the readers.
Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be able to turn more visitors into subscribers. The key is to deliver value before asking readers to subscribe, provide a non-cluttered user experience, clearly communicate the benefit of signing up for your newsletter and keep testing regularly.
For more than 8 years, Sreeram Sreenivasan has worked with various Fortune 500 Companies in areas of Business Intelligence, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He regularly writes at Fedingo about a wide range of business growth & marketing topics. He’s also the Founder & CEO of Ubiq BI, a cloud-based BI Platform for SMBs & Enterprises. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.