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Do you have trouble getting website visitors to sign up for your email list? One of these reasons may be why they’re not signing up.
1. Because they can’t.
This first reason is fairly obvious: if you don’t have a form on your website that allows people to subscribe to your email list, they can’t join your email list. And subscribing to your blog through WordPress isn’t the same thing–that will just send them an automatic notification when a new post is published. To collect a list of email addresses from people interested in you and your content, you need to add an email sign-up form to your website that’s connected to an email service provider.
Not sure which email service provider to choose? If you’re just starting out, Mailchimp is a great choice because it easily integrates with most websites and online softwares, it has lots of features, and it’s free to use for up to 3,500 subscribers.
Once you’re ready to start focusing more on email marketing, I suggest ConvertKit (which is what I personally use) because it has so many features geared specifically toward bloggers, like the ability to create multiple forms connected to specific freebies and easily add them to a single blog post or page on your websites, as well as the ability to tag subscribers according to their interests, which freebie they downloaded, etc., and send them to email automations designed specifically for them.
2. Because they don’t know they can.
Is your email signup form in the footer or sidebar of your website? Or only on the homepage? If so, readers who visit your site on a mobile browser will have to keep scrolling down to find once they reach the end of the blog post (and why would they do that)?
If your email signup form is only visible on your home page, then anyone who finds your website because they clicked on a specific blog post on social media, Pinterest, or Google may never see your form because they might exit your site after they finish reading the article they came for.
To make sure everyone who visits your website has the opportunity to sign up for your email list, I suggest that you include an email signup form at the bottom of every blog post–either a generic form, or one that contains a freebie related to the content of that specific blog post (but not a freebie that has nothing to do with the blog post–I’ll explain why later).
You could also try using a pop-up or notification bar that will display to blog readers, but you need to be careful how you use those…and that brings me to the next reason people might not be signing up for your email list:
3. Because your pop-up is annoying.
Do you have a pop-up e-mail form on your website that covers more than 50% of the page? This is definitely something you’ll want to avoid, as Google penalizes websites with pop-ups that prevent readers from viewing the content by hurting their search rankings.
Even if you have a pop-up that you think is fine, be sure it also looks fine when viewed on a phone, because sometimes pop-ups that look just fine on desktop aren’t mobile friendly–cover too much of the page or or are too hard to close.
The other thing that can make a pop-up really annoying (and/or ineffective) is displaying it too soon. No first-time visitor to your website wants to sign up for your list or download your free e-book before they’ve even had a chance to read the first paragraph of the blog post they clicked on.
If you decide to use a pop-up, I suggest that you follow these guidelines:
- Make sure the pop-up has a delay so that it only shows after a certain number of seconds or after a reader has scrolled a certain percentage of the way down the page.
- Make sure the pop-up is easy to close on both desktop and mobile, and won’t show up again on the next page after it has already been closed.
- Think about the types of visitors who are likely to see your pop-up, and what a pop-up can say that will actually make them want to enter their email address (read on for more on this).
On my website RVinspriation.com, I use a plugin called HelloBar to display a small pop-up at the top of the page to viewers after they have scrolled halfway through a blog post. It can be easily closed and doesn’t cover the text. I have it set to only show to mobile visitors because desktop visitors can easily see the email form in my sidebar, whereas mobile visitors would have to scroll past the bottom of the blog post before they would find it.
An alternative to HelloBar I recommend checking out that offers a free plan is Sumo Smart Bar. There are also a few WordPress plugins that offer similar functionality, but I’ve personally found all the ones I’ve tried lacking in features or too complicated to customize. Your email service provider should also allow you to create a pop-up that will appear when a link or button is clicked (though it’s always best to reduce the number of steps / amount of effort required to sign up for your list, because if you make it too complicated many people won’t bother).
4. Because they have no reason to want to.
Another reason people might not be signing up for your email list is that they can see no clear value or benefit in doing so. Think about it: would you fill out an email form simply because it was there, or because it said, “Join our newsletter!” or “Sign up for updates!”? (What kinds of updates are we talking about anyway, and how often?)
Instead, your email form should clearly explain what will happen and/or what people will get if they sign up. Following are some examples of reasons you could give people to sign up for your list; you could test one or more of these to see which one does best for you:
- To be notified when you publish a new blog post.
- To receive more content similar to the content they just viewed.
- To receive tips/ ideas / content / special offers / related to a particular topic they’re likely to be interested in.
- To receive a relevant freebie (see below!)
5. Because they aren’t interested in your freebie.
If the only opportunity to sign up for your email list requires your website visitors to opt-in for a freebie that’s not relevant to them, then they probably won’t subscribe. That’s why it’s important to only offer freebies that your readers will truly find valuable.
That’s also why, in addition to your freebie offer, it’s important for every page on your website to include a way for visitors to sign up simply because they want to be on your list. And wouldn’t you rather have subscribers who signed up because they want to hear from you and not just because you promised them something for free?
On my website RVinspiration.com, I do have a few popular freebies that get a lot of people to sign up, but believe it or not, most of my subscribers sign up through my forms don’t include a free download. Even before I switched to ConverKit, when I just embedded a simple Mailchimp signup form at the bottom of all my blog posts (like the one at the bottom of this page) I started getting a lot more subscribers. Here’s the text of some of my most popular forms; feel free to borrow and adapt for your own website if you would like to:
- Want to see more ideas like this? Enter your email and I’ll let you know when I publish a new blog post!
- Let’s stay in touch! Enter your email to receive useful content and occasional updates from RV Inspiration.
- Sign up for more useful RV ideas and resources!
- Sign up to get ideas for RV decor and organization!
To learn more about how to use freebies to build your email list (and how to make sure your freebie doesn’t end up preventing you from getting subscribers, check out my blog post “Why Your Opt-in Freebie Might Be Hurting Your Email List.”