Can You Get More Readers By Displaying Your Subscriber Count?

Just because someone else does something, doesn

Just because someone else does something, doesn’t mean you should, does it?

Maybe not, but from infancy all the way through adulthood, we take cues from others on what is worth our attention.


Now with just a few clicks, you can add a subscriber count chicklet to your AWeber opt-in form that shows your website visitors how many others are benefiting from your email newsletter.

Subscriber Count Chicklet

This social proof might not make everyone want to jump on the bandwagon, but when subscribers are considering why they would want to give up some more time and inbox space to get your email, things like links to a privacy policy and subscriber counts may prove to be the tipping point.

Showing your subscriber can help you to boost conversions on your sign up forms. Give it a shot!

Learn How to Add a Subscriber Count Chicklet to Your Form!

30 Comments

  1. Aaron Abber

    7/16/2008 6:05 pm

    I use a number of separate lists to get people signed up, then use the multiple send feature for broadcasts. Each list only has a few hundred people, but the total list is much larger.

    Is there any way to show my total subs rather than just the subs on that particular list?

  2. Jennifer Hofmann

    7/16/2008 9:28 pm

    This is a clever idea! It’s non-intrusive and, as you said, creates a little social pressure. Plus it’s kinds fun to show off how many subscribers I have. 🙂

    Super, free way for Aweber to advertise, too.

    Thanks for the tip!

  3. Gelder

    7/16/2008 10:11 pm

    I like that idea.

    Thnak you for inventing this kind of tool!

  4. W

    7/16/2008 11:40 pm

    Wow this looks more and more like RSS feed count. Definitely something bloggers will find extremely useful!

  5. Marc Kline

    7/17/2008 8:35 am

    @Aaron,

    The chicklet is designed so that when the image loads, it pulls information from a particular’s list in the database. At this point, there is no simple way to aggregate that information to display.

    I will note this comment for our developers to see if we might explore expanding the scope in the future.

  6. Codrut Turcanu

    7/17/2008 10:03 am

    This is a great add-on which I started to adopt on my new blog.

    It’s good as it’s social proof and when potential subscribers see others joined the list, they would want it too.

    You copy-cat feedburner on that, huh? lol.

    Btw, hope the graph show total number of VALID subscribers only, and do not count the removals or the inactive leads..

    Is this right?

  7. Andy

    7/17/2008 11:35 am

    Hello, is there anyway to set-up a subscriber threshold when the chicklet is displayed? Our list is small right now and I imagine that it works the other way if people perceive there isn’t going on.

  8. Aaron Abber

    7/17/2008 12:30 pm

    @Codrut,

    I didn’t even know about this until I went to your new blog. That was the first I saw it, I went back to AWeber and, with help, figured out how to add it to my forms.

    @Andy,

    You could create the form without the chicklet and then add it once your sub count climbs.

  9. Chris

    7/17/2008 1:01 pm

    Are people this easily fooled? I could not care less how many subscribers a list has, as far as whether I want to sign up for it.

  10. Marc Kline

    7/17/2008 1:21 pm

    @Chris,

    As they say: "to each his own". We don’t expect this will make *everyone* want to subscribe more, but social proof has proven to be an effective marketing tactic.

    We have to remember that we are not our website visitors, and each website visitor is different from another. In any case, it’s not a matter of fooling people into signing up to a list. I’m not sure I understand your reference to trickery.

    Either they want the information or they don’t. But showing them that there are others like them signed up can help them clear a last hurdle in their minds.

  11. Codrut Turcanu

    7/17/2008 1:29 pm

    I’d like to suggest AWEBER create an option to let us edit and create great-looking sign-up buttons. This will definitely boost CR 🙂

    And, besides this, an option to create better looking pop-ups and pop-overs, and pop-ups on exit, would also be welcomed.

    Moreover, I’m waiting for an option to let us to real split testings between forms and pop-ups within the same list.

    For e.g. I’d like to test which form gets more subscribers.

    #A – with the ‘sign-up now’ button

    or

    #B – with the ‘join now’ button.

    You get the idea..

    Let me know if any of these options or add-ons would be taken into consideration.

    Thank you.

  12. Aaron Abber

    7/17/2008 1:55 pm

    @Chris and Marc,

    Pretty easy to split test that one.

  13. Randy Cassingham

    7/17/2008 2:05 pm

    While this is a good idea, the execution suffers. "Readers" the people who read the information on a web site. But that’s not what this widget measures, and it is wrong to use that word next to the number that shows when it’s used. I have 1650 *subscribers* to my joke posting notification list, but the site has FAR more readers than that. So instead of getting some "social proof" that there are a lot of people reading the pages, instead you’re "proving" that there are far, FAR fewer people interested in what I’m posting than actually come by to read on a daily basis, so the concept will hurt, rather than help, in many cases. I eagerly await this function to be improved.

  14. Aaron Abber

    7/17/2008 2:25 pm

    @Randy,

    One type of social proof you could use is similar to Drudge or many other sites: 24 hour visitors, 1 week visitors, etc.

    Instead of any of us showing any stat (or "social proof") has to be to accomplish a particular goal on our sites. If it helps, we use it. If not, we don’t.

  15. Justin Premick

    7/17/2008 2:27 pm

    Thanks all for your great comments!

    Codrut,

    The chicklet counts active subscribers (not total ones).

    You can customize the look of your signup form buttons using your website editing software (look at the button we use in the signup form on this blog’s sidebar).

    While we try to make the web form tool as versatile as possible, it’s not designed to try and match/replace the functionality of Dreamweaver or any other website editing tool. It’s designed to help you create a basic form that you can then easily customize after placing it on your site. Adding more and more "customization" options to it would make it more complicated/difficult for the many people who just want to create a basic signup form.

    Randy,

    We did think about using "subscribers" instead of "readers." However, we feel that:

    * "readers" is the more widely used/recognized term on such chicklets

    * having the chicklet within/near the signup form associates it with people who have filled out that signup form

  16. Randy Cassingham

    7/17/2008 3:21 pm

    Aaron, absolutely! My ideal would be to show XXX e-mail subscribers, YYY RSS subsrcibers, and ZZZ pageviews per (whatever: day, week, month), ALL of which total up to some large number of "readers". But I can’t have "Readers" as one of the variables which add up to …"Readers". It’s confusing, calls attention to itself, and engenders distrust. Which isn’t what the "social proof" thing is all about.

    My lament was that AWeber isn’t letting us decide how to label the number, and that Yet Again, there’s a "new feature!" I can’t use because someone else made decisions that are contrary to my real-world experiences. And why? I can’t see any reason that anyone should force one particular subset to be THE one labeled "Readers".

  17. susan

    7/17/2008 5:11 pm

    Great little tool! I love this idea and can’t wait to add it to my site when I get more readers 🙂

  18. Michael Madden

    7/17/2008 5:34 pm

    Although I appreciate the fact that Aweber appears to be a forward moving company, intending to add value to our offerings, I’m sitting ths one out after thinking it over.

    I understand social proof and the value it presents in certain circumstances. However, I’d prefer folks sign up for my broadcasting newsletter based upon the value it brings on its own merit, and not because thousands of others have done so.

    After all, if someones not fully on-board and makes an emotional decision to join, they’re less likely to remember signing up for it. This represent the type of person who’ll issue a spam complain with their ISP’s for no apparent reason.

    Too many of those types of subscribers becomes harmful to my overall delivery rate when they complain, as I already have difficulty with Bell South.

    Lastly, my newsletter is my secret weapon over my competition. Making my numbers readily available to them possibly incentivizes them to get off the couch and into the game.

    I kinda like having uninformed competition:>))

    Keep up the good work, Tom and all.

  19. Warwick

    7/18/2008 8:48 am

    Its a neat idea. But doesn’t social proof start to work only after a certain number of subscribers?

    Would 247 subscribers be as effective as 24,700?

    I would start to use it but only after I had a couple of thousand opt in subscribers.. Am I missing something about social proof?

  20. Aaron Abber

    7/18/2008 9:04 am

    One area this could be particularly powerful is for websites who sell advertising in their newsletter. Showing the subscriber numbers from a neutral source could be powerful.

    Not as powerful as Superman or Ironman, but maybe as powerful as Aquaman–when he’s hangin’ at the Justice League and out of the water.

  21. Marc Kline

    7/18/2008 11:16 am

    Warwick,

    Doesn’t sound like you’re missing anything, but the point where you’d like to start showing your reader numbers of is a value judgment, dependent on several factors specific to *your* website and your visitors.

    As Aaron has suggested, for more tangible effects like list growth, you can split test adding the counter at different points of to see how it affects your numbers.

    For less tangible effects, like visitor engagement, it may be more difficult to get a specific report that tells you whether it is having a positive effective or not; this likely would be another value judgment you’d have to make.

    Sounds like you’re on the right track – you’ll just have to decide when adding the chicklet would be right for *your* website.

  22. Warwick

    7/22/2008 10:13 pm

    Thanks Marc

  23. Carl Juneau

    7/24/2008 2:27 pm

    WIDGET IMPROVES CONVERSION BY 32.4%: TEST RESULTS ARE IN.

    Justin, Mark, other readers:

    I implemented the the readers widget on my landing page the day it came out in an A/B split using Google Optimizer (services.google.com/websiteoptimizer).

    Here are the results:

    OVERALL
    Visitors: 552
    Conversions: 140
    Conversion rate: 25.36%

    PAGE A: NO WIDGET
    59 conversions / 271 visitors
    21.8%

  24. Justin Premick

    7/24/2008 3:30 pm

    Carl,

    Awesome results! Thanks so much for sharing.

    PS sent you an email about your test & signup form.

  25. Social Proof Tool Boosts Landing Page Conversion 32.4% - Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    7/25/2008 9:25 am

    […] recent release of a new subscriber count chicklet met a mixed […]

  26. Will Riley

    8/3/2008 5:34 am

    Carl,

    Nice results! I just had a look at your squeeze page and here are a few other things you may want to test to help increase your conversion rate:

    – Add an optin box above the fold. This always increases conversion rates. It may mean having someone do a new design for your squeeze page with an optin box in the header but it will be money very well spent.

    – In your first optin form on the page which i’m sure is the one most people would be using to sign up, you should add a short sentence about privacy below the ‘Free Instant Access’ button. Also in this optin box you should tell them what they are getting if they signup. The optin box should be able to stand-alone by itself – a visitor should not need to read any of the rest of the page to know what they are getting. Make it clear in this optin box exactly what they will be getting.

    – You use the words ‘free’ all over the page and market this as a free report. You then go and put a ‘Paypal verified’ image on the squeeze page which people would associate right away with money. This would turn people off signing up because you are basically telling them there is going to be some ‘selling’ going on at some stage. I’m sure you have put this image here just to help visitors trust you more, however you would be much better using a ‘Hackersafe’ seal or ‘Trust-Guard’ button or something similar.

    – You may also want to test a shorter headline and one that uses simpler words. Try using a bigger font also so it really stands out. Something like:

  27. Will Riley

    8/3/2008 5:40 am

    Carl,

    Oops. One last thing I forgot to mention. The text on your page goes right to the edge of the page border. This often makes it more difficult and tedious for people to read.

    Try having at least a 10-20px indent on both sides of your text. This is very important for your headline. You want your headline to have padding either side of it so that it stands out as much as possible.

  28. Carl Juneau

    6/23/2009 11:51 pm

    Hi Will,

    Thank you so much for your suggestions.

    I just read them, though (we’re in 2009 now). And the landing page has changed much.

    Thanks again for your time anyway.

  29. Jay

    3/25/2011 5:28 pm

    Can the Aweber chicklet count include feedburner count or is it only the other way round?

  30. Amanda Gagnon

    3/28/2011 8:40 am

    Jay ~ It’s the other way around. Your AWeber subscribers automatically add to your Feedburner count if you have a blog broadcast set up.