No Popups From Me; Mobile’s Happy About That

Many years ago I read a blog post called Customers Won’t Discount Your Dishonesty, where the author was basically talking about internet tricks a lot of online marketers try. The article specifically mentioned this sneakiness when you’re trying to leave a website, only to have a pop up window stop you with a discounted offer without just letting you go. I didn’t like it then and I’m still not a fan of popups.

pop-up windows hate

I remember when my wife and I first moved into this house and we thought we needed new windows. This guy came to the house and was here for 3 hours, first measuring the windows, then supposedly doing all the calculations he had to do so that he could talk to us further. He then dropped the price on us; $36,000. I actually laughed out loud, which is so unlike me, but it was more than 1/3rd of what we’d paid for the house.

He left, but three days later we got a call offering the same package for $16,000; once again we said no. Then four days later we were offered the same package for $9,000. At that point I told the person that I didn’t want their company calling me anymore because I didn’t trust them.

A couple years later, my wife contacted one of the big home improvement chains and asked someone to come look at our windows. This guy gave us a quote where most of our windows came to $70 each, with the big bay window coming to $1,000 on its own; I could understand that, as it’s a different style. We didn’t go for that one, but we did replace a lot of the other windows, at a very affordable price.

You’re probably wondering why I told the story about the windows after introducing my issue with popups. Suffice it to say that I’m not a fan of popups, which used to be referred to as popup windows. I’m the guy who’s gone so far as to eliminate javascript from all the browsers on my computer so I would stop getting those stupid newsletter popups that so many people are using these days.

That’s actually worked quite well on my main computer… but it’s done nothing for me as it pertains to my smartphone. And Google was supposed to take care of that for me.

The thing is, it’s much worse having popups on the phone than it was on my computer… for the most part. The problem is that often one of two things happens way too soon. The first is that you’ve just arrived on a page and you’re ready to check out the content when suddenly this long thing pops in from the top, totally obliterating what you were about to read to smack you in the face with a newsletter or product offer. The second is that you actually get to start reading when this popup appears and not only blocks the content but is so big that you can’t even X it out.

It’s in these moments when I think back on my initial windows issue back in 2000 and makes me not want to trust the people whose content I was hoping to read. I spend a lot of time online and on Flipboard looking for content to read and later share with my online audience. I hate having my time wasted because I got sucked in by a blog or article title that looked intriguing, only to get a bait and switch that won’t let me see what I thought I was going to see.

Do Not Trust Robots
Creative Commons License Matt Brown via Compfight

It brings two thoughts into my mind. The first is that the content might not be all that good, which is why the owner is trying to get me to sign up for something without being able to read it first. The second is that now I don’t trust them because it seems they’re more concerned with getting subscribers than is catering to their audience.

Just so you know, even though I hate all popups, I do understand why people use them. Some studies have shown that one can increase their subscribers by as much as 40% by using them. Those same studies have shown that traffic and visits to those sites decreases by about 10% over time. If you’re running a large site or making money from your newsletter that’s probably negligible. If not, why are so many so willing to alienate visitors so early?

I may hate popups, but because I understand why some people use them I’d like to put in a request for using them more responsibly.

First, stop making them so big that we can’t close them out on our smartphones. All you have to do is check your own site on your phone to see if it’s bothering people.

Second, stop adding things that have nothing to do with your site as a popup. I have no idea how this happens, but sometimes I’m either getting affiliate program popups or that weird window talking about some type of Facebook survey where I can either win some prize or that I need to take in order to read more of the content. I mean… what the heck?!?!?

Third, stop having popups go live within that stupid 30-second window. If your content is actually good (which means it’s got some meat) then you could set it to go live 60-90 seconds after someone’s been on your site.

Fourth, stop having your popup drop from the top seconds after someone’s gotten to your site or, better yet, block all content immediately unless you click on a stupid X or a stupid link telling someone you don’t want to play right now (I’m talking to you Neil Patel lol). My favorite request, the one thing that could get me to add javascript back to my computer (nah; ain’t gonna happen…) is to have something pop “in” from the side as the reader is getting close to the end of the article. For those of you doing this… yay! 🙂

I know mobile’s happy with me because I don’t have any popups on any of my sites. I’m not sure that’s translating to more visitors since only 15% of my traffic comes from mobile (more than half of those being Apple phones; I should be nicer to Apple people lol). I’m also not sure if Google’s supposed mobile penalty is actually working against anyone because it seems to still be prevalent based on what I’m seeing.

If you’re a content publisher using popups, have you modified what you’re doing since Google made its proclamation?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Mitch Mitchell

Capturing Email Addresses – I’m Almost On Board

In January 2014 I wrote a post titled To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question. As the title suggests, I was looking for a compelling reason to start capturing email addresses, beyond the old saw “the money is in the list”. As the comments on that post indicated, only one person was making any real money from having a list.

where its at
Creative Commons License Chris Preen via Compfight

My major lament about it all was I had nothing tangible to sell, thus what would the purpose be? After all, without a product there’s no money to make right?

Well, it’s 16 months later, and now I’m closer to going the route of capturing email addresses. Why?

Two reasons.

The first is that one of the thoughts from last year, the only one that broke through my mind, was the possibility that RSS feeds might go away. Even though there’s been no more talk (at least as far as I know) that Feedburner will be shut down by Google, since they’ve been shutting down lots of other stuff one never knows what they might do.

I love RSS for my own use and I’m sure lots of other people do also. However, I know some people, out of fear, have gone to something called Feedly, while others have started using Flipboard. I’m using Flipboard myself, but I’ve only connected 3 blogs to it, one a local sports blog that shows up in my general feed, while the others I have to specifically go to.

What am I also worried about? At one point I had nearly 400 people subscribed to this blog. Now it’s down to 151, and I have no idea whether they’re subscribed to the RSS feed or the email feed, mainly because I can’t find that one on Feedburner anymore. I do know that most of those who used to subscribe did so through the RSS link.

Thus, having the ability to capture email addresses might be the smart thing to do to make sure people will continue receiving my stuff… if they want it.

The second is that I’m about to not only have a couple of new products, but I’m going to be doing a massive push for sales of the two products, and starting to capture email addresses wouldn’t hurt the process long term, especially since, if it turns out to be successful, I might be doing more of this type of thing.

Still, I want to differentiate the email from what most people send out. My thoughts are that I would send out an email once a week highlighting every post I’ve put on on all my blogs, any videos I’ve created, any interviews I’ve given, and have a brief thought of my own on there that’s not anywhere else. I don’t know many other people who could claim to offer that much information weekly.

Of course, the issue might be deciding what type of original thought to share. Having multiple blogs gives me multiple topics to discuss, but will the people who subscribed through this blog care about leadership? Will the people who subscribe through my business blog care about finances? Details, details…

I haven’t solidified all the details yet but now that I’m close I’m ready to ask some of you what you think about it all. Remember though… just because you offer advice doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily take it. lol I say that because I’m expecting some of the opinions are going to counter each other, and I’m smart enough to know it’s pure folly to try to appease everyone.

By the way, if I do this thing I found a WordPress plugin that looks like it’d be up to the job. It’s called WP Email Capture, and it sets up a double opt-in process to make sure no one’s subscribing someone else just to be sneaky. After that… I’ll figure out how to send out my newsletters, which will initially probably be manual since I don’t expect a major run early on.

That’s all I have for now; your thoughts on it all?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question

For 10 years I wrote a newsletter on leadership topics. For 8 of those years I also wrote a newsletter on health care finance, though it was a lot more sporadic. I stopped writing both because after so many years I not only could never get the list to grow all that much, but I never got any business out of either of them and almost never got any feedback on them. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure anyone was even reading them.

NEWSLETTERS

In my online life, that’s the only time I ever tried capturing email addresses, and it always felt, well, a bit smarmy to me. I told myself that everyone who was on the list voluntarily gave me their email addresses, which meant they really wanted to see what I had for them, and it’s possible that might be true, but when you don’t get feedback or hear from anyone… well, it just makes you wonder whether you’re bothering people or if they’re just ignoring you.

For years so many internet marketers have said that “the money is in the list”. I’ve even had specific people like Lynn Terry and Carrie Wilkerson tell me directly that I should be capturing email addresses and creating a mailing list, and yet when I’ve asked the question “but what if I don’t have anything to sell” I’ve never gotten a good answer for that. I mean, someone saying “maybe one day you will” hasn’t ever quite cut it with me.

Actually, there is a small list right now, though I’m not the one whose captured them. Because I still use Feedburner (Google hasn’t shut it down yet) and it allows people to subscribe to my feed via RSS or email, there are some subscribers who receive an email for every blog post. I appreciate anyone who’s subscribed to the feed in either way, but I’ve never wanted to bombard any of them with products or advertisements.

That and I don’t have a true product that quite fits this blog. True, the first two products at the top left of this blog could fit some of what I talk about here, but neither was created with this blog in mind. The leadership book… well, I’ve never generated any sales for it from here; then again, any sales of the other items have never been generated from here either. Goodness, people don’t even want to download the free ebook to the left about the synergy between business and blogging. If I can’t even give away a free ebook, what makes me think I can generate sales in any other way, and then again, what use would capturing email addresses be? How would I even do it?

Graphic Recording: Jour Fixe Medien und Entwicklung (2)
cucchiaio via Compfight

The part about how to do it isn’t the issue; I could figure that out. My problem is “why”. When I came home for my two week vacation from traveling my friend Kelvin, who picks me up & takes me back to the airport each time, was saying that I should think about capturing email addresses after I told him that one of my goals for the year was to increase my online income, since I now have to pay for health insurance. Once again I said I didn’t have anything to sell to anyone, and… well, I don’t fully remember his response but it wasn’t much different than what the two ladies above told me, though he did say if Lynn recommended it then I should give it more thought.

I’ve given it more thought and I still haven’t come to any real conclusion. I’ve decided to ask those of you who are capturing email addresses two questions. One, what made you decide to start doing it and two, are you really making any “real” money off it. Yeah, I know there are some big time marketers making money off their list but I want to hear from y’all, folks like me who either understand the concept but find making money difficult or those of you who don’t fully get the concept because, like me, you don’t have a product.

Please don’t say “capturing email addresses is good because you can make money from your list” if you’re not making any money; to me, that’s a spam answer that you read off someone else’s blog but have no experience at, and I see enough of that sort of thing.

By the way, I only subscribe to 2 newsletters, one from Paul Myers of Talkbiz News (yes, that’s an affiliate link), which I’ve subscribed to since 2003, and my friend Kelvin, which I linked to above (not an affiliate link). All other newsletters I receive are because someone added me to their list without my permission, which is kind of irksome but if I know the people I’ll at least check it out. That’s smarmy as well but truthfully I’m not sure if someone else added them without permission; people can be sneaky like that.

So, what say you? Help me out with this one, and maybe you’ll be getting some help as well.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

Why People Unsubscribe From Your Lists – The Answers

Our buddy Sire recently wrote a post titled Why Do People Unsubscribe From Your List. It was an intriguing little post that asked the question more than attempted to answer it. He’s fairly new to the list game; I only have one email list, and that’s for my own leadership newsletter.


by Bàrbara Bessa via Flickr

Still, I’ve had it for about 8 years now (man, no wonder I’m tired), and I’ve been on many other lists. Initially I thought that maybe he asked the question wrong. My thinking was that people don’t unsubscribe from lists, per se, but from newsletters or blogs or other types of things. Then I thought about it and using “list” or “lists” covers all of these things, so I came back to it.

Back to the topic; why do people unsubscribe from lists. It’s an intriguing question; let’s come up with some answers:

1. Too many emails. This is probably the biggest reason people unsubscribe; I know it’s the biggest reason I’ll drop out of something, usually pretty quickly. We don’t mind information, but we don’t want to be overwhelmed since it’s almost always some kind of sales pitch that we’re receiving at that point.

2. Subscribed to get something and now we’re satisfied. This is kind of disingenuous but it happens all the time. Many people that offer something if a person signs up for a list know this is going to happen, but since by that time most of those lists are automated anyway they really don’t care.

3. Subscribed then realized it’s not what we thought it was going to be. I’ve subscribed to some things and then noticed that I wasn’t getting what was promised so I drop out.

4. You run out of time. This could be for many reasons, such as getting too much other email, not enough time to read what you’re being sent, you’re participating in other things now that you weren’t before… time can be a killer, especially if you’re subscribed to a lot of things.

5. The frequency isn’t what you want it to be. Do you want weekly newsletters? Maybe something every two weeks or so? When you’re putting out a newsletter, it’s hard to figure out sometimes just how often you should be doing anything. If you’re the reader, it’s possible that every time a newsletter or whatever comes to you it’s more irksome because you weren’t expecting it and eventually you decide it’s time to leave.

6. You’re tired of it. Maybe you’ve been subscribed to something for a few years and now you’re just tired of it. It’s not that you don’t like it but you’re ready for something new, something from someone else.

7. You’re on too many lists. Many years ago I subscribed to a lot of things. I eventually created a new email address so I could shunt everything there instead of my regular email address. Then I realized that I just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, keep up with it all and I started cutting a bunch of them. At this point I only subscribe to two email lists, and it’s eased my load a lot.

8. The other person dropped your list. This one might seem petty, but it happens often. Heck, I know I’ve done it; people leave me and then I leave them because the only reason I was a part of their list was because they were receiving what I was sending out. That was years ago; I don’t do that anymore.

9. You didn’t subscribe to begin with. Man, is this irksome. I meet someone and they just add me to their list that I didn’t ask for. Or suddenly I’m receiving stuff from people I don’t even know, and I figure someone bought a list with my email address on it and just started pumping stuff my way. Some folks say you shouldn’t unsubscribe to these things because all you’re doing is proving that email address is accurate. Heck, spam’s coming anyway, so you might as well unsubscribe because it’s possible the person sending you something will have some ethics and remove you from that list.

10. You’ve irked the reader in some fashion. I had this happen to me where this guy reacted to a newsletter I wrote about my dad’s time in the military with a rant against the American military and government. Eventually, after I tried to have a conversation with them because that wasn’t what the newsletter was about, he threw out a parting shot and left. Frankly, I wasn’t unhappy he left.

There’s 10 reasons for you and Sire; do you have anything more to add?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2018 Mitch Mitchell

A Question About Free

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about the concept of free. He was saying that offering free items these days, which almost everyone recommends as a way to drive people to one’s blog, website, or newsletter, is passe and just doesn’t work anymore. He used as his example the free food given out at places like BJ’s Wholesale Club on a weekend and how he always passes all that stuff by.


by Derek Hatfield

Of course, his mentioning something like that to someone like me doesn’t quite work out. When I go to BJ’s on a Saturday, one of my pleasures is making sure I get to scarf up many of the free goodies, There’s no way I’d ever just up and buy anything I didn’t get to taste first, and I love sampling foods… at least foods I’ll eat.

However, his overall point seems to be one to consider. Let me ask you the question outright: how many of you really notice increases in visitors, increases in subscribers or increases in anything else when you offer something free? I have to say that my friend (okay, it’s Mitch) isn’t far off base.

For instance, how many of you have noticed the freebie there to the left, the book download of The Synergy of Business and Blogging? How many of you who saw the original post when I wrote it in January actually went ahead and downloaded it? Unfortunately for me, 1&1, my hosting company, has changed their start up page so I no longer have access to seeing how many times it was downloaded, and Google Analytics doesn’t tell me that either, but I’m betting it’s been a rare thing for me or the people who created it.

Eliminating myself from the mix, how do most of the rest of you feel about downloading free stuff? Are you wary that you’ll get viruses? Do you think you won’t get anything out of it? Have you just gone blind to the concept of free stuff posted on a blog or website? Or do you have other reasons if you don’t download, as well as reasons you do? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell