7 Data-Based List-Building Tips from 1,000,000+ Email Signups
By Hunter Boyle September 30, 2014
Two things I hear a lot from fellow marketers:
- I really need to grow my email list.
- Pop-ups annoy me and I’m not sure about using them on my site.
Fair enough. So I asked Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo at SumoMe.com, to provide his best tips and real data to address those issues.
In this guest post, Noah shares the actual results and methods from sites using SumoMe’s List Builder pop-up tool. If you’re looking to build a legion of email fans, here’s your blueprint for success….
It Worked, So We Shared The Blueprint
When we developed SumoMe, our idea was to give away all the same tools we’d used ourselves to grow the AppSumo list to over 750,000 subscribers.
But most importantly, it works.
In just the past few months, sites like ArtofManliness, WaitButWhy and OkDork have used List Builder to collect over 1,115,942 emails!
Email Pop-up Trends and Tips You Need to Know
We looked for trends among the different email pop-ups created by List Builder users, and wanted to share 7 tips to help you get the most emails with this tool:
1. What is the average conversion rate for email pop-ups?
We saw that the average conversion rate for email pop-ups is 1.66%. This means that 1.66% of people that visited a site gave their email.
Explanation: This is super useful for anyone to compare how they are doing vs. an average of thousands of websites. If you are below it, the following tips will help you bump that number up.
Psychology: Imagine meeting a stranger on the street, and he hits you up for cash. How likely are you to give them money? Compare that to someone you have a relationship with, like your brother or parent. What’s the difference? Trust.
Most visitors don’t personally know the owners of a site, so only about 2% of visitors give their email addresses. Consider other ways for people to engage with you (social media, phone) besides just email to establish that trust.
2. How often should you be showing your email pop-up?
Say someone visits your site and an email pop-up shows.
Then they visit your site a day later. Should the pop-up show again?
What about a week later?
Here’s what we saw:
Explanation: Surprisingly, it’s not the worst thing to keep asking people for emails when they visit your site. Every minute and month were very close so we encourage you to go with your personal preference.
This doesn’t mean your visitors should be seeing a popup every minute while browsing your site. This is meant to tell you when to ask for their email after they revisit your site.
Psychology: Overall, pop-ups have a bad rap. As a site owner, why would I want to ask people for an email?
If you have good content, people want to hear from you. Sometimes when I’m on a site that I want to subscribe to and they don’t have an email pop-up, I don’t even know where to look!
Don’t worry too much if it’s once a month or once every minute, just make sure you are at least asking.
Hey? Why haven’t you installed SumoMe? By this point you would already be doubling your daily email signups! 🙂
3. How soon should you show your email pop-up?
The easiest way is to use the “Smart” Pop-Up mode setting. It calculates when your reader is done reading a blog post or browsing your site. Then it asks them for their email.
But if you want to be old-school and set it manually, here’s how soon a pop-up is shown vs. how many emails it collected:
Explanation: Asking people 5 seconds after visiting your site to subscribe to your newsletter gets WAY more emails than any other time period, according to our data.
Psychology: Strike when the iron is hot (but not burning). Give your visitors at least time to look at the site (more than 3 seconds) but ask for their email before your visitor gets distracted with other things on your site. The next tips will teach you what you should have on your pop-up.
4. What headline should you use?
We learned a few different things by looking at the top headlines of different pop-ups:
There were 3 types of effective headlines that we saw.
a) Social Proof: Show how many people have already subscribed.
Psychology: People believing that others are finding value in your content makes them think the content is validated and ultimately valuable.
b) Incentives: Give them a bonus for joining your mailing list.
Example: Get my 6 tips ebook to a better outdoor photograph.
Psychology: No one in their right mind really wants to be getting more emails. But if the email gives something special, people are way more likely to want to give you an email address and receive your offers. Make sure to be specific and make clear the value of the incentive you are offering.
c) Discount: If you own a physical or digital store, give them a coupon for joining your newsletter.
Example: Give your email address for 10% off!
Psychology: Who doesn’t love a discount? By offering a discount to a visitor, you’re immediately giving them a benefit to sharing their email with you.
5. Which color button should you use to ask for an email address?
Explanation: After we removed the data for our default blue color, List Builder email pop-ups that used a red colored button got more emails.
Psychology: What’s the first thing you think of when you visualize the color red? Besides blood from watching too much Game of Thrones … I think of a stop sign. Red is a color most people subconsciously associate with having to stop, think and then take action.
I’m not saying it’s a must for all sites to have such a contrasting color, but it is encouraged. A contrasting color is a pattern interrupt to the color spectrum your visitor sees on the rest of the site.
6. What should your email collection button say?
Explanation: Many people lazily used the word “submit” which is the opposite of what you should do. Top winners were “Send me Free Tips” or “Subscribe Now.”
Psychology: Instead of a neutral word, use reinforcing language about the reason the person is signing up. Example: If you are giving them a bonus, change your button so the visitor will “Get the Bonus.”
7. What should your pop-up text say?
Explanation: The highest email collecting sites offered some unique benefit for people receiving their newsletter.
Psychology: Think about the emails you always open and read. Now compare them to the ones you unsubscribe from or immediately delete when you receive.
Incentives work. The thing to ensure is that you deliver on the incentive you are promising. Make it compelling so a person wants to give you their email address, and then fully deliver on that promise with each email.
Now that you know the key tips and tricks for collecting emails, isn’t it time to go update your own email pop-up? 😉