The easy way to get more signups – A/B testing ideas

Gathering email addresses from prospects has become more and more difficult lately. People have become more aware of spam and are less likely to sign up to a simple popup.

How can we overcome this?

By providing a Download option for our users.

Popups are going to die

A while ago, a client of ours has asked us to increase the number of sign ups they get for their newsletter.

Their emails are a gold mine for prospects, with over 6 hours of premium content for free plus a lot more benefits.

Even with this offer, their sign up rate remained almost the same in the past months. We have tested different copy, images and formats for their sign up popups. But nothing worked.

People have started to develop a popup allergy. In addition, Hotjar recordings revealed that it takes a user only 0.2 seconds to hit the close button. They don’t even look at it.

We were forced to take another path.

A simple A/B Test idea to increase sign ups

As with everything, you should test any new feature before implementing it. It’s not uncommon for changes to backfire and hurt your KPIs.

I got this idea after landing on a really long article.

Fortunately, the site had a download option. In exchange for my email address I would get the whole thing in PDF format.

Because we’re in the EU, GDPR applies, so they had to request my permission before signing me up to their newsletter.

It was a simple 2 step sequence:

  1. They sent me a confirmation email;
  2. They sent me the PDF.

Pretty simple.

Now they’ve got one more subscriber AND I got what I wanted. That makes us both happy.

Why it might work

You might be wondering, why would people give you their email address for an article that is already on your website.

The answer is simple: time.

We really don’t have enough time to read 10k words in one go. If your piece is really good (and it should be for this strategy to work) and pretty long, people will want to read the whole thing.

If those people just found your website on Google after a quick search, they are not prepared to spend more than a few seconds on your page, as they do have something else to do.

In addition, this experiment is backed up by psychology. It’s in our nature to expect something in return for what we give (even if that thing is our email address).

If you want people to give you their emails, then you’ll have to offer something in return (even if it’s already available on your website). It’s a nice psychology trick that works over and over again.

How to implement the test

First and foremost, you have to find out your best article. The ones read by most users.

If you implement this test on a page that gets too little traffic, you won’t have enough data to analyze.

To do this, go to your Google Analytics and look under the Landing Pages report and All Pages report. Depending on your URL structure you might need to filter the results so that you’ll see only your blog articles.

Pick the first 3 or 4 (again, this depends on how much traffic you have) and convert them to PDFs. You don’t have to be a designer to do it. Just follow this link and see how easy it is to use Google Docs to create a PDF .

Next up you’ll have to setup a sequence in your email software. Once a user gives you their email, the autoresponder will send the PDF to them.

Bear in mind that if you have EU traffic, you have to comply with GDPR. If this is your case, you will need a double opt in. After a user gives you their address, send them a confirmation email. Only after they confirm you’ll send them the PDF.

What to analyze

A/B testing is useless if you don’t analyze the results. In this experiment you should track the number of sign ups and sign up rate (number of sign ups/number of users).

It’s really important to keep an eye out for other metrics as well:

  1. Make sure that your bounce rate does not increase. Depending on your implementation, copy or how you display the download option, some people might not like it. Always keep an eye on the bounce rate. If it goes up, it means that something is wrong. Of course, there can be a million reasons behind it, but if the bounce rate remains the same on your Control then there is definitely a problem with your experiment.
  2. Is your conversion rate declining? This is a risky experiment, as it involves taking users out of your website. But it can prove really well in the long run as it will get you more email addresses, which is definitely a good thing.
  3. Look for average time on page. Another really important metric to keep an eye on is the average time on page. It might go down as users will go check their emails, but if it goes down too much you should reconsider. In the end, having more email addresses can mean more business, or more frequent readers, or more leads.

It’s virtually impossible to cover all types of businesses in one article. This isn’t even the purpose. If you want more leads than you should try out this experiment and see how well it goes for you.

Bonus tip – Convert your articles into an ebook

If you think that your article is not long enough for this to work, don’t worry. 

Gather up your best articles and create an ebook out of them. If you have enough content to cover around 20 pages or so, then you are good to go.

In addition, ebooks aren’t usually free.

When a prospect sees that you are willing to offer one for free, they can be more likely to subscribe to your newsletter.

Have you tried this already? Are you planning to? Let us know down in the comments.

By Dan Cucolea

I am a conversion rate optimization specialist at Ontrack Digital.
I am a Spreadsheets Wizard who can translate any data into a lovely graph that even has a story behind it.

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