One Change, 73% More Subscribers
The Walden University homepage used to feature a button that prospective students could click to sign up for more information. It doesn’t have a button anymore. The university found a way to get 72.72% more sign-ups by changing the format of their offer. Keep reading to see how they did it – and the rule that can help you do the same.
By Amanda Gagnon December 14, 2010
The Walden University homepage used to feature a button that prospective students could click to sign up for more information.
It doesn’t have a button anymore.
The university found a way to get 72.72% more sign-ups by changing the format of their offer. Keep reading to see how they did it – and the rule that can help you do the same.
What Walden Found
The university wanted to make sure they were hearing from as many interested prospects as possible, so they split test two sign-up processes.
The first was their original button. Those who clicked it were taken to a separate sign-up page to enter their details. The second was a complete web form embedded directly into the home page.
With 72.72% more sign-ups, the web form quickly became the university’s method of choice. They added the form to pages throughout their site so it would be available whenever visitors were ready to find out more.
What Process Are You Using?
There are several ways you might ask people to subscribe. You might use:
- A form somewhere on your regular content pages. We recommend doing this anytime you have the space to work with. Then, when visitors are doing whatever else they planned to do, the form nudges them to consider subscribing. It’s easily available, so people can just sign up and continue with whatever they were doing.
- A separate sign-up page, tucked neatly away from the rest of your site. It’s linked to from other pages, but doesn’t disrupt their design much. This is commonly used for larger forms with many fields or when there are already too many elements competing for space on other pages.
- A form hosted by your email service provider, linked to from social sites, blogs and articles. This is especially appropriate for marketers without a web site.
- A pop-up or lightbox form that you can set to appear a certain number of seconds after the page loads.
- A link that invites viewers to sign up and causes a triggered lightbox form to appear
You have your reasons for choosing the methods you do. But there is one rule of thumb to keep in mind. Walden University increased their conversions hugely with it, and you may be able to do the same.
The Rule That Increases Sign-Ups
Minimize clicks to subscribe.
That’s it. The fewer steps people have to take, the more likely it is that they’ll sign up.
With a form on each page, visitors just add their info and click once, then continue with what they were doing.
The other methods listed above complicate subscription. Some potential subscribers will drop off.
And unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t make the mistake of requiring people to create a whole account on your site in order to sign up for emails. You’ll scare away anyone who’s not ready, plus anyone who’s wary of giving away all their details, plus anyone who doesn’t have the time.
Counting the Cost
These methods will help you collect as many subscribers as possible.
But sometimes, quantity isn’t the goal. Some marketers would rather have fewer subscribers who are willing to go through a complicated process – it shows they seriously want the emails.
Is your goal to market to as many people as possible? Or do you have a select crowd that you’re aiming for?
Your sign-up process should fit your goal. Should you simplify it for more subscribers or make it more complicated to narrow your audience?