Let’s talk about something pretty divisive: pop ups. Specifically let’s talk about how to use pop ups.
Awhile back I took part in an Aweber seminar about web forms and the moderator running the seminar polled the room for people’s thoughts on popups. (Probably) not surprisingly, it was split pretty dramatically; with 5% (including me) liking them, 58% hating them, and 37% didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other. After getting these results, the moderator made a point to share that whenever he did this poll he got similar results.
Of course it’s very worth mentioning that this seminar was comprised of webmasters of all different backgrounds, experience levels, and niches. Many of these people are not marketers but more closely aligned with average web users. This is an important distinction to make because my point is that I believe consequently most of the participants in the survey were not familiar with the same “use” of pop up as the moderator may have meant or could have meant.
Yes there are different types of them and I believe it’s simply a matter of how to use pop ups effectively. For example, ask someone what they think about pop ups and the connotation which most people will think of is random pop ups which they come across while surfing the web; those which appear and have NOTHING to do with what you are browsing at the moment, or even audio or video commercials for something which again has nothing to do with what you’re browsing.
I HATE these kind of pop ups, as well, but I think there’s a world of difference between those and using one on your own site to advertise your own email list and nothing else.
In order to improve the perception of pop ups and give some tips about how to increase your sign up rate for your list, I thought I’d now write about how to use pop ups more effectively.
How to Use Pop Ups
First, you’ve got to figure out what kind of pop up you want. In addition to straight ahead pop ups which are also known as pop overs, there are light boxes (meaning the form appears on the screen while the rest of the screen goes darker) and pop ups which appear on a new screen. My personal preference is the light box because I find it to be less invasive. I recommend against the new screen pop up as most browsers will block this. The kind of light box matters, as well. Ever since I switched to Pop Up Domination, I saw my sign up rate climb. This is a plugin designed to streamline the process of making attractive and effective light boxes, check out my Pop Up Domination review for more information.
You can also choose just how the form appears on the screen. It can come sliding in from a certain direction, and you can choose the delay of the form in seconds, as well. The best way to find out which will be best in terms of maximizing your opt ins is to experiment with different set ups. In addition to all of the other features I’ve mentioned so far, with Aweber (which I use) you can save an infinite number of forms and have them all randomly appear on your site so that you can gauge which setup performs the best over a period of time.
Also, make it very clear for why someone should sign up for your list. Remember, just because no money is involved doesn’t mean you’re not still selling your visitor. Clearly list your incentive if you have one. I recommend having an incentive which your visitors can only get if they sign up because it always sweetens the deal. You’ll notice my pop up also contains a link to a page of my site called “why should I sign up”.
Because I don’t have room on the sign up form to go into great detail about why someone should sign up for my list, I have a page of my site which clearly explains what the eBook incentive is about and what kind of content I’ll be emailing my subscribers.
This brings me to my next point. You’ll notice I also have a static sign up box on that and every other page on my site in addition to the lightbox. This gives the person a chance to still sign up even after reading the reasons page. You should have a sign up box on every single page, making it as simple as possible for them to sign up.
I also recommend this because, as this post is about, a lot of people hate ALL pop ups. For some people, closing a pop up as soon as they see one is a reflex, so having that static box in place in case they do close out your pop up gives them another chance to sign up and read the benefits of signing up.