To pop or not to pop, that is the question

We want your email addresses – we want to send you a series of carefully crafted marketing messages that will gently pervade your psyche and convince you that our product or service is the answer to a specific need.

Sign-ups and subscriptions are the staple of the online marketer and the lengths that some marketers will go to can be quite astonishing.

In the bad old days pop-ups were all the rage but they got bad press so the browser and plug-in developers created pop-up blockers. For a while surfers didn’t dig JavaScript so they disabled it in the options panel. But now we all love JS, particularly JQuery.

JavaScript is ubiquitous once again enabling feature rich user experiences. The advent of  neat JavaScript libraries has enabled developers to produce pop-up style signup and subscription boxes based on JS Lightbox.

To pop or not to pop, that is the question

Is it good practice to utilise this style of push marketing? Should we fly a blatent demand into the face of our visitors?

We want them to sign up to buy our stuff, whatever that might be so we write compelling content and attract them via link building and social media to come to our sites and blogs. We want them to buy into us, to our message, our brand so why would we antagonise them by popping in their face?

Personally I don’t dig pop-ups of any description, whether it is a request to sign up, an invitation to take part in a survey or as I am quite often asked to give feedback on a site that I’ve barely started reading.

I like to be in control of whether I sign up or subscribe based upon the strength of the content or potential service I might receive. I have on more than one occasion left a site and looked elsewhere when confronted by pop-ups.

Regardless of my personal preferences the general consensus from the list builders is that whilst annoying the results can be outstanding, claiming increases in sign ups of anything from 50% to 429%. This leads me to consider the circumstances under which it might be deemed acceptable to pop.

If I may be so bold I would say that there is only really one or two circumstances under which the use of the Lightbox pop-up would be acceptable:

  • As part of a very targeted drive on a very specific landing page designed to guide the visitor to the inevitable
  • As part of an impulse marketing drive – when marketing low-value, high volume non-technical info-products, services or training – a weight-loss programme or dietary supplements for example.

under these circumstances, a well timed pop-up subscription or sign-up form could and most probably will work to great effect.

In these instances, my guess is that it’s all about the numbers , with no consideration to building a strong and respected brand or lasting relationship with the visitor – just get them to buy and if they’re put off by the pop-up tough, another one will be along very soon.

I may be way of beam here but the majority of blogs and sites that I visit regularly have numerous ways for me to sign-up or subscribe, none of which are intrusive or annoying.

More importantly, what do you think? Should we pop or not?

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