You think of an item that you want to buy and you go online to check it out. It is likely you go to your favorite search engine and type in the brand or product name and scour the results that come up on the page. More often than not, those links go deep into the website where a product page is located and you don’t actually go to the home page. By skipping the home page, you are missing out on one of the hottest trends going on in web marketing – the sign-up for email pop up (or, properly called – interstitial – meaning “in between”; i.e. in between you and your intention of landing on the home page without the email pop up).
Over the last two weeks I have had the pleasure of going directly to the home page of >350 retail websites while working on a project. At first I did not think anything about seeing pop-ups as they showed up at various sites. But after about 30 site visits, I began to realize that I was seeing these interstitials on many sites. So, I decided to keep track.
How Many Sites Are Really Doing This?
Out of 358 websites visited, 43.3% of the websites prompted me to sign-up for their email with a pop up (155 websites). I can safely say that this was a random sample because the websites were across all categories and were not specific to any brands or demographics.
If Everyone Is Doing It, It Must Be Right; Right?
This led me to wonder if this is truly a good thing for websites to intrude on the intentions of the customer. Figuratively, the customer is walking in the front door of the website expecting not to be accosted. Then, BAM, the email pop up box comes from out of nowhere and the user has to work around it – either by signing up or by finding the escape mechanism (usually ‘X’ marks the spot).
I know that e-mail marketing is not dead, as many people claim, and I highly recommend a solid and sustainable approach to attracting sign-ups and mailing great content often. But surely, this approach could not be increasing e-mail sign-ups and benefitting the companies employing the tactic. I reached out to a colleague that shared some interesting data –
- The site – A home goods company based in the US
- Amount of home page traffic – ~40%
- Increase in e-mail sign-ups – 3X (with only a slight uptick in opt-outs)
The site has seen no fall-off in overall revenue performance, no increased bounce rates, and no decrease in conversions. So, effectively, they have increased their ability to market to people that have opted to receive more information. (With this sample size of one, I cannot assume that all sites are seeing the same positives). My colleague referenced DKNY for their witty approach to engaging – I concur that it is done well.
A Few Parting Ideas and Observations
As I entered all of these websites and saw the different approaches, it ranged from the simplicity of just asking for the address to offering a quid pro quo of a discount on a first purchase – the latter being more compelling (IMO). Much like the e-mails that will be sent, it is imperative to test different treatments to see what is most enticing to the company’s visitors. Tweaking the incentive, the wording/design, and the placement could all yield greater response.
Another tidbit I gleaned from my colleague, and which I observed as I was touring sites, is the frequency of the interstitials. Doing it every time is likely annoying. Once every six months is probably a waste of time. Like any marketing, there is a sweet spot to be found. Smarter marketers will even create thoughtful logic to target people based on prior activity and engagement (and spread the interstitials throughout the site to garner sign-ups even on deep linked products).
Overall, I was quite surprised by the number of sites that have an email pop up to sign-up when a customer enters via the home page. It is definitely a trend that merits monitoring as websites continue to optimize marketing and enhance company revenues.