signups – Meta Baeldung Marketing experiences growing Baeldung Fri, 15 Mar 2019 16:08:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is It Worth having an Email Optin Form at the End of the Page? Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:48:41 +0000 The Premise

Until very recently, I’ve been using a single Sidebar Email Signup Form on my blog – front and center.

This has been performing relatively well – over the last couple of months, I was able to improve its conversion rate from 0.37% to 1.14% through a series of changes (all documented on this blog).

I recently started using an “End Of Article” second Signup Form on the blog – basically appearing after all of my articles. I was motivated by the well understood idea that the reader usually needs reminding in order to take action.

Before going into details about the experiment, here is the Optin Form I’m currently using:

Signup Form at the Bottom of the Page

Signup Form at the Bottom of the Page

Because the form is positioned at the very end of the page, by the time they get to it, the reader would have already presumably read the whole article. Also, given most of my articles are over 1000 words, the fact that they actually reached the end indicates that they found it useful enough to stick around – or else they would have stopped reading by that point.

So – the premise is that visitors that see this second Signup Form is much more qualified and interested in the content than the visitor who has just landed from Google and happens to see the main form simply because it’s above the fold.

Let’s now take a look at the actual conversation rate I’m getting on this form, and see if we can validate the premise for the experiment.

The Results

The data for this new Optin option is as follows:

Visits: 6044

Conversions: 141

Conversion Rate: 2.33%

How can these results be interpreted?

First – the conversion rate for this new Optin is much better then the Main Sidebar Form – more than 2x better. The premise of visitors being more qualified at the end of the page is validated and now has hard numbers behind it.

Then – given the fact that only half of my readers reach the end of the article, but the conversion is double – it basically rounds up very nicely to another 100% increase in signups.

It will be an interesting November!

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Improve Email Opt-In Conversion by 229% – Case Study. Tue, 12 Nov 2013 15:02:00 +0000 How the Test Worked

I’ve been working to improve the email conversions on my blog lately. Up until now, every test I ran resulted in a triple digit increase in my conversions – but I didn’t expect this trend to continue. I’m happy to say – I was wrong.

After my previous test – when I saw a huge 750% increase by having my signup optin scroll with the visitor – I am now testing a completely new design of the form against the existing one.

To set up the test, I used the Split Testing feature of OptinSkin to server version A to some users and version B to others in a simultaneous A/B test. Once I reached statistical significance (over the course of several days) – I turned off the under performing version.

The initial version of the Optin Form looked like this:

Initial Email Optin Form

Initial Email Optin Form

The new version being tested looks like this:

New Signup Form

New Signup Form

I kept the copy exactly the same so that I can later on pinpoint the results to the design change and nothing else.

Obviously the one significant element that stands out from the new design is the new book representation – this didn’t exist in the old design – so it’s interesting to see how much of an impact that had on the overall conversions.

Which Test Won?

If you guessed – version 2 – then you guessed right.

Here is the data:

design 1 – 38271 impressions – 142 conversions = 0.37%
design 2 – 11309 impressions – 138 conversion = 1.22%

So the new version not only outperformed but absolutely dominated version 1 of the design – by 229%.

If there’s one conclusion that you can pick up from this experiment is that it’s a spectacular idea to include a visual artifact – such as a book – in the design of your Optin Forms.

I’ll continue to test various elements of my site and bring you the results – sign up for email updates from me (see what I did there?).

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How a Simple Visual Tweak improved my Singups by over 750% – Yet Again Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:11:34 +0000 1. A New Experiment

I said in my last article that I’m no longer expecting an experiment to yield drastic improvements in my Email Signups. I was wrong.

My first experiment – offering a free eBook – resulted in a 625% increase, and my second – a completely new Signup Form – a more modest 125%.

So, my third experiment was simple – I fixed the position of my Email Signup Form (via plugin) when the reader is scrolling down. The idea is straightforward enough – with the form staying on the screen more, the reader will have more of a chance to actually read what it says and choose to sign up. You can of course check out the blog to see it in action.

What I didn’t anticipate was just how much this small change was going to affect my conversion rate – nothing short of a 763% spike in signups.

2. Unexpected Results

The “Before” of this experiment is of course the “After” of my previous article:

Email Signups before fixing the form position

Email Signups before fixing the form position

Now, here is the data after I have made the change:

Email Signups after Fixing Optin

Email Signups after Fixing Optin

And finally, just for the visual impact this always has on my – here’s my Mailchimp:

Mailchimp - October

Mailchimp – October

3. Learning

The key takeaway from this experiment is that a single, uncluttered Call To Action works wonders, especially when the reader will keep eyeballs on it longer.

The “single CTA” point is – for me – also very relevant. Notice that my optin form does not contain any additional, secondary options – such as social buttons or badges. These would give the reader to many alternatives and less valuable ones.

Once a reader does go for one of these alternatives – for example they follow me on Google+ – it’s highly unlikely that they would also go back and signup for Email.

There are of course more “in your face” ways to collect emails – using a popup for example (on my TODO list) – but what’s interesting about these results is that this change does not qualify as “in your face” – just the opposite in fact.

Live and learn.

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How Less Options On My Optin Improved the Conversion Rate Mon, 21 Oct 2013 12:26:54 +0000 1. The New Experiment

In my last experiment, I looked at the results of offering a free eBook and how that affected my conversion rate for email signups. In that experiment, I kept the exact same Optin Form and only changed the copy – adding the eBook as an incentive.

This time, I did things a little bit different – I changed the old Optin with a new one, where I have more or less the same copy but less options (no more social sharing).

The result – a nice 115% increase in signups over the course of a 2 week period. That is less than the 625% bump I got after the last experiment, but then again I was getting almost no signups before that, so I wasn’t expecting anything of that magnitude.

2. The Before and After

Here is how my Signup Form looked before the change:

Email Form with free eBook

Email Form with free eBook

The new Optin form is simpler – the social sharing options are gone – and there is now only one thing you can do – Subscribe:

New Email Optin Form

New Email Optin Form

Notice that, besides some minor modifications, the main Call To Action copy is similar on both Optins. This is mainly so that I can clearly pinpoint any change in my signups to the new design and eliminate other possible influences as much as possible.

Next, notice that the new form is actually collecting more data than the old – I am now asking for the Name of my subscribers as well. It is a well known fact that the more information you ask for, the lower the conversion rate, because less people will actually bother to fill in everything.

But ultimately – the most important change is that the new form presents the reader with less options – the old form contains social buttons for Twitter and Google Plus, as well as a RSS feed link. The new form removes all of these so that the Call to Action is clear and there is no confusion about what I want the reader to do.

3. The Results

First, let’s look at the data from the previous experiment: I had 29 signups over the course of 28 days.

Now, let’s see how the new form changed things:

Email Signups after New Form

Email Signups after New Form

Over the course of 13 days, there were 28 new signups to my email list.

This represents a 115% increase in signups as a result of the current experiment.

4. Conclusion

This is another good step towards the end goal – which is a high performing email signup process.

My next experiment is going to be a proper A/B test – pitting several Email Optin forms against each other to see which one performs better.

Stay tuned (by signing up the my email list – go figure).

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Signing up for the Mailing List – the Success Email Sun, 20 Oct 2013 13:44:19 +0000 1. A Generic Success Email

In a previous article, I talked about the standard elements of an email subscription flow:

In this article, I will illustrate how I improved the generic Success Email template provided by default by Mailchimp.

First, let’s analyze the default email:

Original Success Email

Original Success Email

With the subject line:

The Baleldung Posts: Subscription Confirmed

1.1. What’s wrong with the default email?

Let’s start putting this email into context – the immediate value that the user is getting out of signing up for my email list is the free eBook. This is what they’re getting right now.

Of course my goal is to keep providing value to the reader with regular and useful content, but that’s going to come much later, so the eBook is important because it is available NOW.

With this in mind – this email is clearly inconsistent – it mentions nothing about the eBook or why the reader signed up for emails in the first place.

It is also a little redundant – since it doesn’t give the reader any new information – other than the fact that the subscription worked.

2. A Better Success Email

Let’s look at each element of the original email and see how we can improve it.

2.1. The Subject Line and the Title

The default subject line reads:

The Baleldung Posts: Subscription Confirmed

It is exactly the same as the previously discussed Subject of the first Confirmation email – so I’m going to skip to the end on this one:

Here’s your eBook link & thanks for signing up for the mail list!

The default title reads generically:

The Baeldung Posts

Similarly, the title has been already discussed also, so I’m going to skip to the end on this one as well – the final copy for the title:

Tips on Building Web Applications.

2.3. The Main Copy

On to the main copy of this email – by default, it reads:

Your subscription to our list has been confirmed.

So once again we are loosing the opportunity to communicate any useful information to our reader.

What we want to do here is to, first – reward the user for trusting us with their email address. We do this by providing the link to the free eBook.

We can also take this opportunity to set future expectations about the type of communication they can expect:

Thanks for confirming your email address!
Here’s that eBook I promised you about building REST APIs with Spring. I’ll send you an email about something you’ll find interesting every week or two.
Get the eBook (pdf)!

So here we are – the final version of the Successful Registration email:

Final Success Email

Final Success Email

3. Conclusion

This email is an easy one to miss – the logic goes that the reader has already signed up for the email list, so why put in the extra effort.

The reason – mentioned several times throughout this article – is a consistent signup experience – we want to keep all emails that reach our readers consistent and relevant to our own site and our own voice – instead of the generic copy that comes by default.

My next article will discuss the “Almost There” and “Thank You” signup pages – their purpose and their copy.

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Signing up for the Mailing List – the Confirmation Email Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:13:18 +0000 1. A Generic Confirmation Email

I am on a mission to improve my mailing list – starting with the copy of the main subscription form and now, moving on to the actual emails send to potential new subscribers.

I am using Mailchimp as my email service – but any of the main service providers out there have the same exact options to configure the signup flow.

First – let’s take a look at the main elements of an email subscription flow:

  • the Signup Form
  • the Confirmation Email
  • the Success Email
  • the “Almost There” and the “Thank You” pages
  • tracking the events of the flow (Google Analytics)

In this article, I’m going to be looking at the Confirmation Email specifically. This is the email that a potential subscriber will get when they first put their email into my signup form and hit “Subscribe”.

By default, this email is already configured with some generic copy – and Mailchimp does a decent job of it – but this is the first email your potential subscribe gets from you – generic copy is not going to cut it.

Here’s the email in all it’s generic glory:

Original Confirmation Email

Original Confirmation Email

Finally – the subject line of the email is:

The Baleldung Posts: Please Confirm Subscription

2. A Better Confirmation Email

So what’s wrong with this email?

First – it doesn’t really say anything. This is a chance to impress upon the user why in the world they would like to subscribe to my mailing list – what’s in it for them. Instead all a user can get from this email is what they already know – a moment ago they wanted to subscribe.

So let’s break the email down into parts and see how we can carefully craft and improve each of these parts.

2.1. The Subject

Let’s start with the Subject of the email – currently it reads:

The Baleldung Posts: Please Confirm Subscription

This is because in Mailchimp – it’s set up as follows: *|LIST:NAME|*: Please Confirm Subscription

Instead, let’s take this opportunity to be more personal and add put this email into context:

Please confirm that you want that free eBook and other emails from me.

First – this is consistent with my main signup copy – where I specifically the reader than – if they trust me enough to give me their email address, I will give them a free eBook. So why not remind them of that: Remember that book I mentioned – you’re going to get access to it just as soon as you confirm.

Next – it sets clear expectations – always a good idea – it tells the reader that they are indeed going to receive other emails from me.

And finally – I like being personal – so this is just a bit more personal than the original “Please Confirm Subscription” bit.

2.2. The Title

On to the title – right now, it simply says: “The Baeldung Posts“.

Why? Because that’s what I originally named my email list – not knowing that this name is going to end up in the first email I send to subscribers.

But that’s easily fixed – Mailchimp is nothing if not configurable, so instead let’s actually give the reader some valuable information:

Tips on Building Web Applications.

Nice and simple – and exactly what they’re going to get from my blog – articles about building Web Applications – not Posts.

2.3. The Main Copy

This is the final act – the main copy of the email; by default, it reads:

Please Confirm Subscription

Again – this is a lost opportunity. The reader already knows this is a subscription confirmation email – they know how this work, as it’s highly unlikely that this is the first one they see.

So instead of this generic and redundant text, let’s go for something more contextual, and friendly:

Want the eBook and an occasional email from me?
Click below.

And we are done – the email is short and to the point, and hopefully the user will actually read it now, instead of just glossing over it.

2.4. Finally – the improved Confirmation Email

Here we go – after all the careful tuning – this is what the user is going to get now:

Final Confirmation Email

Final Confirmation Email

3. Conclusion

It’s important to keep one thing in mind – when reading any of these elements – the reader needs to be able to answer – “Why am I signing up to this?

If it’s some generic copy that has nothing to do with why they’re actually signing up – then they simply wont.

On the other hand, if it’s clear what the win is for them – if one quick action can lead them to immediate gratification – then maybe they will and you will have gained a new subscriber.

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How Giving an eBook Away Skyrocketed my Mailing List Signups Mon, 14 Oct 2013 09:46:02 +0000 1. The Experiment

I have been thinking of writing a small eBook for quite some time – and my new focus on growing my email list was a great excuse to do just that.

Put two and two together and I wrote the book on Building REST Services with Spring, and am now giving it away to readers that trust me enough to signup to my email list.

Since I don’t like hiding the actual numbers and I like scrolling even less – here’s the end result: my signups jumped a cool 625% after giving the eBook away.

So let’s jump right into it.

2. The Before and After

Here is how my signup form looked like before the eBook:

Email Form with no free eBook

Email Form with no eBook

The copy was generic and entirely untested:

Subscribe to receive email updates or follow us on stuff:

And here’s the new form after adding the eBook:

Email Form with free eBook

Email Form with free eBook


Notice that I am using the exact same widget – the only change is the new copy:

Free eBook on Building REST Services with Spring + regular content about building stuff ( ~1 email a week. )

3. The Results

On to the numbers – first, let’s look at the last 30 days before adding the eBook:

Email Signups Goals BEFORE eBook

Email Signups Goals BEFORE eBook

This comes out to a grand total of 4 signups to the mailing list – impressive, I know.

After the change, the new signup form with the free eBook was live 28 days. Here are the results:

Email Signups Goals AFTER eBook

Email Signups Goals AFTER eBook

Over the 28 days the new form, there were 29 signups to my email list – just over one signup per day. That represents the 625% increase in my email signups I mentioned early on – which is nothing short of cool.

4. The Conclusion

This experiment was a good step towards converting more of the casual visitors of my blog into into regular and engaged readers, getting actual value out of the content I put out.

And finally, it’s good to finally have hard numbers for this – giving an eBook away does wonders for your email signups.

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