Turn Casual Visitors into Customers with a WordPress Slide-in Signup Form
Most site admins focus far too heavily on traffic at the expense of what truly matters. And while what truly matters is up to you, it shouldn’t be traffic.
Why? Because traffic doesn’t represent anything useful. The number of eyeballs on your site simply isn’t as important as more relevant factors, such as the percentage of those eyeballs who subscribe to your email list or make a purchase.
What I’m getting at is this: you should be as focused (or perhaps even more focused) on optimizing your site to achieve your ultimate goal (subscribers, sales, etc.) than sending visitors to your site. For many of us it would be far easier to double our conversion rate than double traffic to our site.
In this post we’re going to focus on email subscribers; namely, gaining more of them from your existing visitor pool. I’ll explain what your site-wide conversion rate (i.e. the number of visitors to your site who become email subscribers) should be. Then we’ll look at a few slide-in signup form options and some tips for writing compelling headlines and copy.
What Should Your Website’s Conversion Rate Be?
I’ve done a lot of research on this, and the bottom line is that there is not a great deal to go on in terms of formal blog email subscription conversion statistics. So I’m going to rely largely on anecdotal evidence.
Based on my fairly extensive experience, I can tell you a couple of things:
- A 1% conversion rate is pretty bad
- A 10% conversion rate is highly unlikely
In my opinion, you should be working within a 2-5%+ range of expectations. This may not sound like a lot, but if your conversion rate is currently 1%, an increase to 2% is considerable.
Let’s put it in perspective. Say your blog attracts 5,000 visitors per month. That would lead to 50 subscribers a month at a 1% conversion rate, or 100 subscribers at a 2% conversion rate. That may not seem like a wild difference, but that same 2% conversion rate will leave you with a whopping 600 more subscribers over a year.
And that’s not even taking into account the exponential effect of having more subscribers. The more subscribers you have, the more subscribers you are likely to reach (through word of mouth, social sharing and so on). In reality, a 100% increase in conversion rate will lead to subscriber growth way in excess of 100% over time.
So take all of the above information and now imagine if you were able to increase your subscriber rate from 1% to 3%, or 1% to 4%, or even higher. We’re now talking in the realms of completely transforming your blog without actually attracting any more visitors.
As an aside, you should always be looking to improve your conversion rate, regardless of what it actually is. Always be testing. Google Optimize is your friend.
Slide-In Signup Forms
There are lots of ways to encourage visitors to signup to your side. The following are the more popular options:
The Feature Box
The Pop Up
The Sidebar Form
The Post Footer Form
The generally accepted wisdom is that the more opportunities visitors have to subscribe to your blog, the better. So including all of the above forms on your blog is certainly not overkill.
If you’re worried about irritating your visitors, I’ll refer you back to the aforementioned mantra: always be testing. Metrics such as bounce rate and time on site can demonstrate the positive or negative impact of anything you do on your site.
So let’s assume that you have all of the above in place. What next? In my opinion, a slide-in signup form is a great option.
Here are examples of a few in action:
The idea is that these little bars at the bottom right of the screen contain some sort of enticing headline that compels visitors to click. Once they do that they are met with a signup form:
As you can see, the signup form contains a short paragraph followed by an email field and a button. Once users entered their email and clicked the button, they’ll be sent a confirmation message via email so they can confirm their subscription.
There are a couple of special things about slide-in signup forms:
- In the above example, a visitor needs to click on the headline to reveal the main copy and the signup form. This starts what is known as a “yes chain.” The psychology is simple: If you can get someone to take positive action once (i.e. click to find out more), they’re far more likely to take positive action again (i.e. signup). It feels much more like they’re in control of the opportunity placed in front of them, rather than it being thrust upon them.
- Another setting we’ll get into is the ability for a slide-in signup form to appear only after the visitor has scrolled past a certain point. Firstly, this feels far less imposing on the visitor; they have a chance to read at least some of your content before you are asking them to subscribe. Secondly, a slide-in form that appears only after a certain point is far more “visible” to visitors who might otherwise be blind to your signup forms.
By now you should be sold on the potential of slide-in signup forms. And even if you’re not, you should at least test one to see how it performs.
Slide-In Plugin Options
There are many slide-in plugins available, both free and premium.
If you’re looking for a great plugin with support and updates, check out our own Hustle. It’s a versatile and customizable option for promoting products and key messages on your site.
You can configure when the slide-in, well, slides in – when a visitor reaches the bottom of your site, after a set period of time, etc. Setting up a new slide-in is as easy as writing a new post.
Creating a Slide-In Signup Form That Converts
As you can see, I am using a slide-in form on my own site to promote a free e-course (here’s an example of a post that has the slide-in form on it).
This is a completely different offering to my other signup forms (which offer a free download of my manifesto) and is targeted only at blog posts on my site that are in the Freelancing category. In this way I am getting two bites of the cherry: if a visitor isn’t interested in my manifesto, they may still be interested in a freelance blogging e-course.
I would advise that you consider doing the same: use a slide-in form to promote a specific signup incentive that you do not have available elsewhere on the site.
It is likely to be an incentive that persuades people to sign up to your blog. Simply telling them that they’ll get updates is rarely enough these days. When it comes to creating an incentive, I highly recommend that you listen to Episode 78 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, which offers some truly valuable advice on how to create persuasive and enticing headlines and incentives.
And I know I’ve already mentioned this twice already, but it bears repeating as many times as possible: always be testing. You may have your own opinion on what you think is the most effective headline, but the only way to be sure is to split test headlines against each other to see which one emerges victorious.
We’ve covered a number of things in this article, but the key takeaways are as follows:
- You should ultimately be tracking truly meaningful metrics (such as email subscribers and/or sales) to adjudge the success of your site.
- You should always be aiming to improve your site’s conversion rate, regardless of how high it is.
- Always be testing!
- A slide-in signup form is a unique and powerful means of enticing subscribers who might otherwise be blind to your other forms.
As for writing your copy, Episode 78 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast offers more actionable copywriting tips based upon real statistics than I could ever hope to offer myself.
So what are you waiting for? Get a slide-in signup form up and running on your site now.