There has been a lot of chatter on how to promote newsletter subscriptions and if you need a landing page or a pop-up.  Here are a few things we have picked up that work for the brands we work with.

Subscription landing pages

Landing pages might not be your first stop where people subscribe. Let me explain: people will encourage you to subscribe using a widget in the sidebar or will even make use of a pop-up.  Regardless you still need a good landing page because this is where all the information concerning the newsletter should live.

Good newsletter landing pages will include an interesting heading, images linked to your newsletter, how often they can expect to receive the newsletter email , reasons why users should subscribe, the subscription form, as well as the terms and conditions.

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What details should users provide on the subscription form

The minimum amount of information that you need from users is their valid email address.  That is why you should have a double opt-in not only to confirm that it is the actual user requesting the subscription but also to validate the email address.

A double optin is when someone signs up through a subscribe form; and an email is immediately sent to the address they provided. The purpose of this is to verify the email address. The email contains a verification link which the recipient must click to confirm that they own or manage the email address.

You can gather other information such as name, age, gender and birthday and so on if you wish.  Remember there are laws online such as CAN-SPAM Act (Read Here), EU Opt-In Directive (Read here), POPI act (Read here) and many more that will govern how you can use information gathered.  Remember if you are a global player you will have users from around the world reading your newsletter or emails. Most acts do not allow you to see your databases or send communication other than what the user opted in for.

Pop-ups, widgets and menus

You will notice that a lot of subscription forms appear on widgets, pop-ups and menu items linked to the landing page.

A widget is important because it usually appears on every post on your website.  Users have a quick way of subscribing to your mailing list and usually they only need an email adresss to subscribe.

A newsletter sign up widget can be placed in the top right hand corner, within the home page or under each article.

Links in menu items are important.  Users can easily choose to go to your subscription page and get all the information they need.

Pop-ups are an interesting way of reminding users that there is a newsletter going out.  Best practice is to have a pop-up appear after some time.  Once the user is done reading the post and is about to leave or after some time that has passed.  Pop-up might not be best if a user is on mobile.  Pop-up should only appear once per IP address as not to annoy a user.  Google’s latest thought on the subject of pop-ups is that they will start to penalizing websites that has spammy or annoying pop-ups.  One way of getting around the pop-up being too annoying is to display the pop-up only when a user has scrolled 80% down the page.

Hello bars can also be used to encourage subscriptions.  Hello bars are that little stripe that you see on top or bottom of a website with a short message.

Other thing to keep in mind

Here are some tips about creating subscription pages and on email marketing:

  • Make the page look good on mobile.
  • Ensure the fields big enough for people to use on mobile.
  • Use images to entice the user and to show what your newsletter is about.
  • Mention your newsletter subscription on your social media on a regular basis.
  • Do not send out the newsletter late at night or on weekends because in many parts of the world it might be illegal to do marketing during those days and hours.
  • If people have failed to double opt-in you can resend them a reminder (How to send subscription reminders using bulk update)
  • A/B test your subscription page – try out different layouts, colours, and buttons.  You can do slight changes from week to week and track results to see what your audience likes.

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