But I Didn’t Want it to Work! (Are You Missing This, Too?)

I’m pouting.  Because the darn pop up works.

My two cents on pop ups (don’t worry, you don’t have to agree with me): I used to detest them! Remember when you’d visit a website and get assaulted by 2 or 3 pop ups that then continued to load every time you loaded a new page or tried to close one? Ick.

Thankfully, they’ve come a long way since then. They don’t bother me terribly anymore because they’re easy to X out and most remember you so they don’t show up every time you load a page or visit a site. Pop ups that load on every page, yeah that’s annoying. A pop up I see once, or once a month, I’m not annoyed by.

Why I Decided to Test a Pop Up Ad

After Terri Z from Solo-E posted about how much her click through rates increased with implementation of a pop up invitation, I finally gave in and decided to try it.

I suspected it’d probably work well but not so well that I’d feel it important to keep it around.

Then I woke up to 30+ new subscribers one morning this week. For my blog, that’s an overnight record. I really didn’t have anything big happening here as far as special promos, events, guest blog posts elsewhere, etc.

So the reason I’m pouting is that I can’t believe I didn’t go for it sooner with this.

What’s the Difference in a Pop Up & Regular Opt In Box?

Here’s my normal opt-in box. You can see it on the right side of the page.  It’s been getting about 1% of unique visitors to this blog to opt-in. Not a great rate.  It’s not in the most visible position or as optimized as it could be, so with some work it could do much better. But that’s another blog post.

Here’s one of the lightbox pop ups I’m testing. It’s averaging 5x as many new subscribers. And I haven’t even started testing headlines, nice buttons, or other copy yet. (And yes, I realize that different offers in each make it a less than ideal comparison and skew the results a bit but I’ve also tested this offer previously in a widget and it got a 1-2% opt in rate.)

How This Will Change What I Do To Reach More People I Can Help

Most of my list building hasn’t been on this site, but through my sites like simplestorming.com (where my opt-in rate is 75% since it’s a squeeze page style with only one option–get the freebie), joint ventures with other entrepreneurs, teleseminars and other methods.

Now I see what I’ve been missing by not using a pop up on my blog!

How many visitors came, left, and never came again that I could have been a resource or support to as they built their businesses if I were able to stay in touch through my ezine?

My next step is to test different offers and see what works best.

How About You?

Have you given it a try yet?  If not, please consider testing a pop up if you’re serious about building your list.

If you know your freebie offer or ezine is fantastically helpful then you’re doing your visitors a service by making sure they see it, okay?  So don’t feel bad about using a technique like this.  Either you’ve got a business (which means you’ve got to do things like ask for the sale, invite people to opt-in, and market yourself!) or you just have a time-consuming, expensive hobby.

The plugin I used to create the pop up you see in the screenshot above is: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-popup (free version)

There are lots of other options for creating pop ups.  If you use Aweber, there’s a built in pop up generator.  Some other email marketing services offer it as well.  Or you can purchase a script like the one Terri Z mentions here.

You can always remove it later if it doesn’t work for you, but it’s worth a shot!

Photo Credit: asifthebes

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28 Comments

  1. Really that big of a different huh? Well, damn. I’ve always said I would never do that but…you are certainly making me curious. Maybe I will give it a shot when I get me new free ebook out that will go with the newsletter.
    Danielle McGaw recently posted… Your Opinion-Your Link Here FWWPMy Profile

    1. I thought the same thing, Danielle. I couldn’t believe it was that big of a difference.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Terri Zwierzynski and Shawn Clausing, Michelle Shaeffer. Michelle Shaeffer said: But I Didn't Want it to Work! (Are You Missing This, Too?) http://bit.ly/ha3xQI #tlcclub #shineonline #blogboost […]

  3. I have HATED popups and resisted them with a passion even though I keep hearing that they work so well. Well, guess what? I just installed that plugin, Michelle. I’ll let you know how it goes :).
    Leanne Chesser recently posted… Weekly WAHM Check-IN with Sharon SilverMy Profile

  4. Thanks, I can see both sides of this debate now. Clearly written and it has prompted me to file this information for future considerations.

  5. Great information. Thanks, Michelle!

  6. I am just now making plans to start building an email list. This article was very helpful. I had no idea that a pop-up form would make that much difference. Thanks for the information!
    Janette Fuller recently posted… Internet Marketing With Connie Ragen GreenMy Profile

  7. Wow Michelle, I would be ecstatic if that happened to me! It’s certainly worth trying. I’m with Leanne off to get the plugin now.
    Thanks for sharing, great post

  8. Sigh, I guess I’ll have to give it a try… I’ve been really hesitant too because pop-ups annoy me (and sometimes cause my browser to crash). I guess I’ll reluctantly try SuperPopUp…one day LOL Thanks for the tip and for taking the plunge and letting us know your results!

    Gwen
    Gwen Tanner recently posted… Is Something Stopping You from Creating Your Own ProductMy Profile

  9. Well it took me time to accept Facebook as useful. I will consider further because I trust you Michelle but it might also mean what I offer to see if it makes a difference. I guess when you still don’t have people reading you very often, would it make a difference? Cynicism because of personal angst but… I promise to consider and watch you. As someone else I know says – steal every good idea and make it your own

  10. Hey Michelle, yes the darn pops up do work! I have had one and it doesn’t even look that great, and when I added it to my site about 2 months ago, my sign ups increased by 75% from previous months. So there is something about them.

    My pop up plugin works ‘when you are going to leave’ the site. That is the reason why I am using instead of the pop ups when you come into a site. So would be interesting to test a site side by side for pop ups as you get onto vs. leaving the site.

    Appreciate your information and sharing this very cool marketing tool.
    Lynn Brown recently posted… Marketing Points For a Successful Business OnlineMy Profile

  11. Wow! I will be getting one of these soon!
    Jennifer recently posted… Do you have a Facebook landing pageMy Profile

  12. I’ve been secretly wishing no one would write a post about pop ups. So much for wishes. :)

    Had a hunch I’d hear a whole pile of really good stats and positive feedback and I’ve been avoiding pop ups like the plague. From a business standpoint, I get it. If they work, you’d almost be a fool (pardon my language) if you don’t install one.

    I should just blatantly stop being stubbornly resistant and put a doggone pop up on my site.

    And since you went to the trouble of writing such a fabulous post, I’m feeling a lot more confident and comfortable about the notion.

    Thanks!
    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Find Your Voice- Take A Risk And Tell Your StoryMy Profile

    1. Whoops — I must have heard that wish wrong… LOL

  13. As a blog reader, I can’t stand them. But, as a blog owner, the stats speak for themselves. If you want your list to grow faster, you have to go with the pop-up. I know what you mean about not wanting it to work. There have been several things I’ve tested on my site that I just KNEW would be fantastic and were bombs. Bottom line is, the numbers don’t lie.

    1. I have too, Martha! Isn’t it surprising what we’re sure should work and gets no response? I always laugh when that happens and say it’s to remind me to always check the numbers and never assume.

  14. I’m def not a fan of them, but I know that they work so I do use them.
    Alyssa recently posted… The Importance of Building Your ListMy Profile

    1. Exactly. Gotta do what works.

  15. I don’t mind pop-ups, except when they are used on every single page of a website. I think they are great when you go to the home page, but then the next page and the next after is frustrating. There is a site that I recently ordered a few things from and even when I log into that site I still get that drated pop-up in the members area!

    I’m not using yet, but thanks for the plugin for my future popup!

    1. Okay, if you’re in a member’s area, I’m thinking you’re already on their list! LOL

  16. I hate them but let’s add this one to the list of things I need to hire you to do for me :)

    1. LOL It’s quick and easy. :)

  17. […] Tweet(function() { var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = document.getElementsByTagName('SCRIPT')[0]; s.type = 'text/javascript'; s.async = true; s.src = 'http://widgets.digg.com/buttons.js'; s1.parentNode.insertBefore(s, s1); })(); Hate pop ups, pop overs, lightboxes, and anything related?  Okay, I hear you.  You weren’t a fan of my post last week about using a pop up ad. […]

  18. […] But I Didn’t Want it to Work! (Are You Missing This, Too?) […]

  19. Hi Michelle,

    Like many who have commented before me, I am not for pop-ups so the title speaks for me “I didn’t want it to work”. It’s interesting how many of us as blog readers don’t appreciate pop-ups but numbers tell us differently. I am wondering where’s the discrepancy.

    When I get a pop-up, I don’t bother but now I think of it, I did sign up for your simplestorming opt-in. I guess when it’s just too much “in-your-face”, I close it immediately.

    However, numbers don’t lie and I have to think seriously about this :) I think when I see the numbers, I will love pop-ups LOL
    Diana recently posted… Interpreting My DreamMy Profile

    1. Yes, it’s an interesting disconnect between what we say (we hate pop ups, never visit a site that would dare use them, etc) and what we actually do (sometimes barely notice them, often put our info in there…).

      I’ve not seen a decline in traffic, or returning traffic, since adding the pop up. It only shows up on one page view every 30 days (not every page, not even every visit). So, for whatever that’s worth… :)

  20. […] few weeks ago I blogged about how many more opt ins I was getting to my list since I’d added a pop up to my site (it only shows once every thirty days and not on every page load or every visit).  Then I shared […]

  21. Thanks for this recommendation. I had used a pop-up a while back and loved the opt-in results. I had to take it down when it stopped playing nicely with my theme and never went back. I recently started thinking about adding one again (I’m really on a mission to build up my list this year!!) It took a smidge longer to set up than I had hoped. But it’s up there now and ready to go!!
    Katy Tafoya recently posted… What I Learned from the Hunger Games [video]My Profile

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