As someone on both sides of the equation, my take is that there’s an implicit agreement between you, the blogger, and me, the first time reader:
You provide content and maybe I read it. That’s it.
- I may never have heard of you.
- I found you through a Google search.
- I didn’t see your homepage.
- I’m not even sure yet that I want to read the blog post I landed on.
You have a long way to go before I care.
IF I like what you wrote and IF I ever end up back on your site, I might care to read more from you.
If I don’t know you and you give me a pop up, that’s a bad first impression. The pop-up interrupts my browsing and reading experience (my “flow”). It’s unasked for and unwelcome. It’s too aggressive to assume every new visitor will care enough to sign up.
Anyone who’s signed up to five or more email lists knows that …
Most emails sent by the average person with an email list suck, so I have very low expectations for your emails.
HEY BLOGGER! If you want my email, you have to give me something more than notifications of your new blog posts. I know you look at your blog all the time, but I don’t.
I don’t care. And unless you’re one of the top five bloggers in my space, I don’t care.
I have friends that blog and I don’t even have time to read all their posts. It’s rarely the most important thing in my life or the most relevant thing I need right now.
An Alternative to Pop-Ups
- GIVE: Create something special to incentivize me to sign up. Got a white paper? A special video teaching me something? Give me something virtually free to you that’s valuable to the reader. This is also a great B2B social media strategy.
- ASK: Put it above the fold. Even put it at the end of the blog post- I’d rather see it on the page several times than be interrupted by the pop-up.
- RESPECT: Treat me like an adult – if I want it I may give you the email.
- KEEP GIVING: Once you have my email, keep giving. Your latest blog posts might not be enough. Anybody, including me, can publish a blog post. Can you make a video? Can you do something different, interesting, or more useful than average? Please? If not, I’m busy, and I’ll unsubscribe or even worse I’ll start ignoring you Why is your email open rate below 25%? Because you don’t deliver value and you aren’t unique.
Photo Credits (Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License):