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(Updated statistics at the bottom of this post)
A year or so ago, I started noticing a lot of sites showing a lightbox/popup with a subscription form for their newsletter. I found it slightly annoying — it interrupts your reading, and you have to click the X to get rid of it. In some cases it shows up on every page you visit, which is downright rude in my opinion. But when I started seeing them on many blogs and websites, I figured they must work…so I started investigating.
The best article I found with good data on how well this technique works is Problogger Darren Rowse’s article, How To Drastically Increase Subscriber Numbers To Your Ezine Newsletter. Based on this article, I decided to experiment. I had two requirements: 1) there had to be a way for the frequent visitor to turn it off permanently, and 2) it had to show at most once per day.
I don’t use Aweber, so I had to find lightbox code I could implement myself. That’s where Will Bontrager of WillMaster.com came to the rescue. He had recently written a lightbox script that allowed you to easily customize the size, color, placement, timing and frequency of the lightbox. At my request, he added code to allow the frequent visitor to ask to “never see this box again.” Perfect for my needs!
We’ve now implemented this feature and the results, in just a short amount of time, have been astounding (note we had some early technical difficulties having a signup box both on the page and in the lightbox…solved by putting the lightbox into an iframe.) Looking at the first week of January (pre-lightbox) vs. February (post-lightbox), signups have increased 50%. I wanted to be sure this was due to the lightbox…and indeed, the lightbox may account for even more, with half of all signups being through the lightbox. (This is a small sample period, so the data is a little rough — but the results were so good, I was just too excited not to share right away!)
Looking at Google Analytics — our conversion rate is up 34%. Our bounce rate is actually down a couple percentage points. Average pageviews per visit are up a few percentage points. Conclusion: no adverse effect from “visitor annoyance”. Just good results from conversions!
If you don’t have Aweber (or aren’t happy with the options available), consider Will Bontrager’s Lightbox Generator. It’s available to all Website’s Secret members ($60/six months gets you access to dozens of handy scripts that offer cool features on your website; it’s well worth the cost!)
What do you think about our popup/lightbox? Do you have any questions about implementing something like this on your own website? Please comment below!
Updated stats from February 2011:
-Monthly subscribers increased 75%
-Website conversion rate increased 87%.
Terri Z is
The Solo-CEO: a self-employed internet marketing consultant to solo entrepreneurs, freelance writer, and grassroots promoter of the
solo entrepreneur lifestyle. She runs www.Solo-E.com, the resource website for solo entrepreneurs which attracts thousands of visitors monthly from over 100 countries on six continents.
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