Top 7 Email Signup Ideas for 2019

It’s 2019. By now, shoppers know what to expect when they’re confronted with an email signup popup.

What are shoppers likely going to do today? They’ll immediately close the popup, skip past the email signup form, or uncheck that sneaky little email newsletter box.

They do this automatically, as if they’ve been conditioned to hate popups and email signups with a passion. Well, they have been conditioned to hate them, and we as marketers are to blame.

We all show the same popups and email signups with the same generic messaging. Would you sign up for your own email newsletter? Chances are you would close out of a popup before reading the first 3 words.

But it’s not because the 10% off coupon or free item with a purchase coupons upon signing up aren’t compelling offers.

It’s because our popups and the mechanisms that trigger our email signup prompts are not compelling.

What do I mean? Below I’ll show you 7 of our favorite ideas for generating more email signups in 2019:

Idea 1: Unconventional Popup Shape

90% of the popups out there look exactly the same. They’re rectangular and feature an easy-to-spot and all-too-enticing ‘close’ button on the top right corner.

Seems like a good way to immediately tell users how to close your popup, right?

So why not try an alternative popup shape—something that will make your shopper stock for an extra second because they weren’t expecting something so different?

Look at this popup from Wayfair.com:

Instead of a rectangular popup shape, Wayfair.com uses a circle. They also removed the ‘close’ button and replaced it with a “No, thanks.” link at the bottom of the popup.

The shopper is practically forced to slow down and scan through the content. They have to do this even if they want to close out of the popup. Just by changing the shape and ‘close’ mechanism, Wayfair.com was able to slow their shoppers down and increase the chances they’ll submit their email address.

Idea 2: Use Human Nature to Your Advantage

Humans are naturally curious creatures. Someone says, “don’t go in there!” and suddenly you feel the urge to go in there. You want to know what’s there or what will happen if you go in there.

Take a look at this email signup from Trumans.com:

What’s the countdown timer for? What do they mean when they say “So close we can taste it”? Many shoppers will feel like they’ve got to know what this is all about.

But in order to know, they have to sign up.

Genius.

Idea 3: Asymmetry

Popups are often very neat. Nothing is hanging off the edge of the popup, the design is sleek, the popup is symmetrical, and so on.

However, creating a little bit of asymmetry can be all that’s necessary to slow down your shoppers and get them to read your popup content. Take a look at this example from Rockbottomgolf.com:

The Rock Bottom Golf logo is large and hanging off the edge of the popup! It looks weird, but that’s why it works. Shoppers will take notice and slow down before instinctively moving their mouse toward the ‘close’ button.

Idea 4: Let Your Shopper Play a Game

Shoppers—and people in general—love to play games. When they see a soccer ball, they have to kick it. When they see an upset bird that can be launched with a slingshot, they have to download Angry Birds on their phone.

And when they see a giant The Price Is Right style wheel . . . well . . . they can’t help but spin the heck out of it.

Elevatedfaith.com knows this. So they’re taking advantage of this in their email signup popup. Once a shopper wins a prize, they have to sign up and claim the prize within 15 minutes.

Could you resist the urge to spin the wheel?

Idea 5: Hand-drawn Popup

Take a look at this popup from Postcardmania.com:

You’re probably taking an extra few seconds to look at this popup right now. It looks fun and inviting.

More importantly, it’s unexpected. Postcardmania.com’s shoppers will definitely slow down to look at this popup. That could be enough to generate more sign ups.

Idea 6: Popup Shape that Looks Like an Object

This is taking Idea 1 above two steps further.

Take a look at this popup from 4allpromos.com:

Not only is this popup an unconventional shape, it’s a dang truck! This will certainly be unexpected and slow down more shoppers.

Idea 7: Can You Keep a Secret?

You probably want to know what the secret is, right?

Like I said earlier, people are naturally curious. UncommonGoods.com knows this and they’ve taken advantage of this with their email signup.

Take a look at this floating tab that appears on their site:

Many shoppers will definitely want to know what the secret is, so they’ll click on this floating tab. When they do, they’ll see this:

UncommonGoods.com is making their shoppers feel exclusive. After all, only people who subscribe will be notified of “secret sales”. Do you think all shoppers would be able to resist the urge to find out what secret sales they could benefit from?

What do your email signup popups and prompts look like? Could you be taking advantage of any of these ideas?

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Clever Discount Tactic for 2019 (that None of Your Competitors Know About)

10% discounts are everywhere. They are so pervasive most shoppers ignore them or yawn when they see them. Here is a discount offer on seabags.com:

Seabags.com popup message. 10% off.

So if shoppers are unimpressed by a 10% offer what is seabags.com to do? One idea is to give a bigger discount. That’s actually a terrible idea.

We have a better idea. What if we flipped the script?

While studying the site I noticed they have some really cool, eclectic pieces. From a Blue Lobster Print Ditty Bag . . .

. . . to this coaster:

The unifying theme is that everything is nautical.

Without even looking at their data (and based on data we’ve seen for many dozens of other sites) we know two things about user behavior:

1: When users are on your site they don’t notice 83% of what’s on the site. So most of your good stuff remains hidden.

2: There is an undeniable relationship between how much time a user spends on your site, the number of pages a user sees, and overall conversion rates. If you can get a user to spend 20% more time on your site, their conversion probability will go up. This is a fact.

So our big insight was: seabags.com has a lot of cool stuff and most new visitors will never stumble on those pages. If we could somehow get those users to stay a little longer and leisurely stroll the site (like a walk on the beach), they would notice someone they simply “have to have.”

So we took the 10% off bribe and converted it into a treasure hunt. Here is the concept:

New seabags.com popup message encourages users to explore the site. We don't give a bigger prize, we just message the prize differently.

Do you think this strategy can be applied to your site? This strategy works best for sites where there is an element of discovery. Where the user doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for but will know it when they see it.

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Your Most Important Conversion Goal

Many businesses are developing different strategies to get shoppers to stay on their sites. The problem is not many of these strategies are working because marketers are making the wrong assumptions about shoppers.

For example, when a shopper arrives at Kittyhawk.com—the online store for Kitty Hawk Kites—this popup appears after a few seconds:

Kitty Hawk Kites is making the assumption that shoppers will immediately stop what they’re doing to read a popup.

But shoppers hate popups. They’ve been conditioned to because of how intrusive they’ve been in the past. However, that doesn’t mean we should avoid popups. Instead, that means we need to rethink how we’re using them.

The goal of this popup on Kittyhawk.com is to generate email signups and encourage shoppers to make a purchase after receiving their 10% off coupon code. That’s a great deal, especially if you’re really considering a new kite.

But I highly doubt most shoppers are reading beyond the first two words of this popup before clicking the ‘close’ button.

Today, this is a shopper’s instinct.

We’ve developed a concept to slow the shopper down and increase the chances they’ll read our popup message.

Here’s our idea:

Popup message reads:

WE’VE GOT A SPECIAL MESSAGE WAITING FOR YOU

Spend 10 minutes exploring our unforgettable kites, wind spinners, and more, and we’ll give you a special offer that you don’t want to miss out on.

Your time starts now: 9:59

There are 3 major changes we’ve made that will result in higher conversions:

1: The Popup Design

Instead of a conventional square or rectangular popup, we designed a circular popup. This is unconventional and unexpected, which will naturally slow shoppers down.

Additionally, the ‘close’ button is detached from the popup, which forces the shopper to take an additional couple seconds to find the ‘close’ button, providing more time for them to notice our messaging.

Lastly, we’ve added design accents to make the popup truly “pop”. There isn’t anything visually interesting about the popup on the control (the current site).

2: The Messaging

Instead of asking shoppers to immediately provide their email address, we’re using our Challenge tactic to encourage the shopper to look around on the site for 10 minutes. After doing so, we’ll give them a “special offer” that they won’t want to miss out on.

Humans are a naturally curious species. When you hide something from them, they’ll want to know what it is. Our concept is taking advantage of that instinct.

We’re also achieving another goal with this challenge. If shoppers stay on the site for 10 minutes, they’ll likely see a number of products that may suit their wants or needs. Instead of just adding a single kite to their shopping cart, they may find 2 kites and a wind spinner that they just got to have.

After they spend 10 minutes on the site and receive their 10% off coupon code, they’ll be able to convince themselves more easily to add the 2 kites and wind spinner to their cart.

3: The Countdown Timer

At the bottom of the popup is a bright green countdown timer. This isn’t here to just let shoppers know their challenge has begun and they’ll soon see our special offer.

The true purpose comes before shoppers even read the popup.

Since this is a countdown timer, the numbers change every second. This changing element will grab the shoppers attention immediately. They’ll want to know what the heck this countdown is for. Then they’ll read the whole popup and see our challenge.

These are the types of assumptions we should be making.

Shoppers, like you and I, have short attention spans. We don’t always want to admit it, but it’s true. Because of this, we need to think deeper about strategies to keep shoppers on our sites.

One school of thought insists that we need to make the shopping process as quick as possible. But as you can see in our popup concept, sometimes it’s better to slow a shopper down or else they’ll entirely miss some compelling information.

How can you apply this to your site?

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Getting Better Quality Reviews

Let’s look at these 2 reviews:

A: Generic and just adds cognitive load:

Chubbies_Review.png

B: Specifically addresses shopper concern about mattress delivery to buildings (Narrative Control):

Review_Leesa.png

Which one do you like better?

Instead of sending out a generic post-purchase email that says, “Hope you are enjoying product X, please write a review” study the product and the reviews you have already collected. Is there a feature that isn’t talked about enough? Is there a feature that is unfairly criticized by a tiny minority? You can identify 15 such scenarios specific to you.

Now that you have the most promising ideas craft a review request email.

Look at an example CAMINO CARRYALL 35 on Yeti.com is marketed as a rugged bag. But most of the reviews don’t talk about that feature. So what can one do? Simple, send an email to people who purchased the bag in the last 6 months. Here is my example email:

Subject: Camino Carryall is rugged, right?

Hi, Steve.

You’ve had your Camino Carryall for the last 6 months. We hope you’re using the heck out of it. We also hope you’ve been rough with it because ruggedness is a feature engineered into the bag. But you know what? We have 853 reviews and only 6 talk about the ruggedness of the product. That sucks because we went through 38 prototypes just to maximize ruggedness.

If you’ve taken the bag through the paces we would love your feedback on the ruggedness of the bag.

[review link]

We need your help, Steve.

Regards,
CEO

This email works for a number of reasons:

A: We’re asking Steve for a very specific thing
B: We’re challenging Steve to tip the balance of ruggedness reviews (they’re just 6 right now)

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Getting More Email Signups

Shoppers have been trained to gloss over marketing messages, which means most will close this popup without noticing the 20% off coupon:

BabyBrezza_Demo_CONTROL.png

Video:

If I was working for BabyBrezza here is what I would have done …

To engage the user, slow them down, and notice the discount rate we’re using Challenge tactic. In our concept, this is the popup message the user will see:

BabyBrezza_Demo_Default.png

This is what is shown when the dropdown is clicked:

BabyBrezza_Demo_Dropdown.png

This is what we show when someone makes the wrong selection (very few will make the wrong selection):

BabyBrezza_Demo_Incorrect.png

And this is what we show when the user makes the right selection (most will get it right on the first try):

BabyBrezza_Demo_Correct.png

And when the user clicks Sign Up they’ll be shown the signup fields:

BabyBrezza_Demo_Sign_Up.png

Compared to the original popup our concept has more steps, which might feel like it’s adding friction. But remember, all friction isn’t bad. Sometimes one need to add friction to slow the user down so our marketing message has time to sink in.

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Play on Magicmurals.com

Play is a tactic where you employ an interactive element to subliminally communicate your marketing message. Why go through the trouble of constructing an interactive element to pitch your marketing message? Because we’re living in a world saturated with marketing messages.

I’m going to use a made up example to show how a dash of Play can boost conversions (especially for first-time buyers).

Here is my video–

Written explanation:

What is currently being shown on lower half of homepage:

Control - Play.png

Here is the default state of our concept (using Play):

Default - Play.png

Here is what the user sees when they make the wrong selection:

Wrong - Play.png

Here is what is revealed when the user guesses correct:

Correct - Play.png

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How “Play” Drives Conversions

There are 2 types of readers of my blog, people who prefer video and those who prefer the written format (I’m looking at your Lars).

Written format:

There are 7 levers (that I know of at this point in time) to influence potential shoppers. One of them is PLAY. Play is a tactic where you employ an interactive element to subliminally communicate your marketing message. Why go through the trouble of constructing an interactive element to pitch your marketing message? Because we’re living in a world saturated with marketing messages (if I had a penny every time I hear “we’re #1” I’d be 87 pennies rich). As a result, shoppers immediately discount marketing hyperbole (System 1 in action). If as a marketer you want to communicate your value prop you need to use PLAY. This is how contentsquare.com uses it:

1: This show this interactive element (notice how enticing it is):

ContentSquare_Default.png

2: Once you make a selection you’re shown this:

ContentSquare_Activated.png

3: Finally, the answer is revealed:

ContentSquare_Result.png

Guess what contentsquare.com specializes in solving for retailers??

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