Pop ups

Monday Marketing Minute

This Monday Marketing Minute was the result of a pop up of sorts. Wondering what to write about in the shower this morning an idea 'popped' into my head (as happens to many people apparently) - let's talk about popups. The website variety, not the retail stores.

Website popups have a bit of a chequered history and are certainly not popular in all quarters. Google in fact officially doesn't like some types of pop up - sites with popups that take up the entire screen (even if that's only on a mobile device) and that you can't close without taking some action on the popup itself, will get you a negative score on Google. And rightly so. But a 'good' popup can make a real difference.

This was proven to me on one reasonably high traffic website that was put together as a retail community project. For quite a while we had an OK sign up rate with just a small 'Get our ENEWS' in the sidebar. We then installed a system called 'Sumo', (no, we've no affiliation with them) which has a free option and installs reasonably easily on a Wordpress site. It was connected up to Mailchimp so the email addresses would automatically transfer into our account.

After about three weeks it seemed to have made no difference at all, and we were just about to pull the plug, when we decided to check the Sumo app itself. Good job we did - there were (from memory) around 175 email addresses in there, and so we kept the popup.

This was despite many people who knew the site saying to me 'that's such as annoying popup'. But... it has almost single-handedly helped us to grow the traffic on that site to pretty healthy levels, not to mention giving us a good sized email list.

One other thing - learned partially through experience and partially from hearing how Tim Ferriss (the author of The 4-Hour Workweek) encourages people to sign up to his emails - is also pretty important with popups… give people a few good reasons to sign up.

With the community project we were wanting local people to sign up. Some of them were just going to be interested in finding out what was happening - the 'news'. Some were going to want to express their opinion and take part in surveys and have an influence. And some were just going to want to win stuff.

So our popup said something like “Be the first to know what's going on, let us know what you'd like to see and go into a draw to win $150 in shopping vouchers every month. What's not to like?”

It turned out that the 'bribe' was the biggest drawcard, and subscribe levels plateaued when we removed that one item. The key with a popup - as with so many marketing ideas - is A/B testing and trying out a number of combinations to see which one works for your business.

Don't simply try it once and abandon it if that version doesn't work - give a number of different wordings (and offers) a go.

The big question is - of course - why don't we have a popup on the My Marketing Person website? Well we've now got plenty of test data on subscribe rates without one, so yes, we'll be putting one up pretty soon! And yes, it'll probably be a Sumo one.

Image credit: screenshot from the incredibly useful and informative SmartCompany website, complete with popup