We’ve all seen them.
They come in various sizes, and though they look innocent enough, they’re really a mysterious black hole leading to something even more puzzling.
Hard to believe, but it’s true. A newsletter signup box can be that easy thing you stick in a corner, yet you come to realize it’s not earning its keep. People aren’t signing up. Not long ago I did some troubleshooting for a company who couldn’t figure out why there were so few subscribers to their newsletter. After they received my report, they wrote back,” To be honest, we put that up because we were told its good to have a newsletter.” Nobody told them it takes a lot more than putting up a little signup box on a web page.
Here’s a rundown, in no particular order, of things to consider if you want to present a newsletter or any type of subscription-based publication (such as news updates, sales promotions) that requires asking for someone’s email address and their name. The idea behind list is to increase conversions, reduce signup abandonment and inspire interest in your subscription offering.
1. Are there too many opportunities for signup? Some web sites appear desperate. There may be a text link in global navigation and footer, plus a box placed on every single web page. Some web sites have two boxes – one above page fold and a duplicate below fold.
2. Did you extend a polite invitation during conversational content somewhere? There are many ways to invite signups, such as when introducing yourself or company, in a form return page when you direct visitors back to homepage or somewhere of interest, or as an item in About Us content. Link to a page containing information about newsletter, which also has a sign up form on it.
3. Does box contain scan words such as “Free”, “Sales”, Special”? (Ex. “Subscribe to our free newsletter.”)
4. Did you study your target market to learn if there is a need for your type of newsletter? Who are your intended readers?
5. Be careful. Some forms are confusing, such as when they ask for a mailing address for an EMAIL only newsletter. Why do you want to know where they live? (If you have a good reason, it’s best to clearly state what that is.)
6. Is newsletter intended for an International audience? If there is a reason to ask for personal information, make sure form is designed for International users to fill out.
8. A simple newsletter sign up box should request a user name and email address that will accept email. Instructions near or inside box, or in newsletter information page, explaining they’ll receive a confirmation email verifying their information will increase user confidence.