It doesn’t matter which website or blog you go to—most of them make one fundamental mistake. And it’s a mistake that can be easily avoided, if only you did one tiny little thing.
That tiny little thing is placing the ‘subscribe’ button in the right place. And to understand the right place, we have to understand a tiny little quirk of human behaviour.
So here’s what we tend to do in real life
Let’s say we’re meeting a stranger. At what point do you give that stranger your contact details? At the beginning of the meeting, or at the end? The answer is, you give them your contact details both at the beginning and again at the end.
When we first tend to meet a person we don’t know, we immediately give them our business card. Notice that at this point we don’t know the result of the meeting. If it’s a business meeting, maybe we’ll do business and maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll like the person and maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll agree to their terms or maybe we won’t.
But we give them our business cards anyway.
And we do this action because we’re introducing ourselves, but also saying that we can be easily contacted. This quick gesture of giving out a business card, instantly gives the stranger the ability to get in touch with you.
The same concept applies on a website or a blog
When we put a subscribe button at the top of the blog or website, we’re saying we can be contacted. But you also have to realise that your subscribe button is not the reason why the visitor has come to your blog or website. They’ve come to your blog or website for their own selfish motives.
For instance, I went to a blog today that gave me ’10 WordPress Plugins That Increase My Search Engine Rankings’. I instantly downloaded the plugins, got distracted and closed the page.
And the blog lost the opportunity to make me a subscriber.
And it’s very likely that hundreds, if not thousands of visitors just like me would have done the very same thing. They got what they wanted and now they’re off on their merry way.
But what if there was a subscribe button at the bottom of the blog?
Do you think that would have somehow changed my behaviour? What if there was a line that said: “Would you like to get goodies or smart articles like this in future? If so, simply subscribe via email or RSS”.
Do you think I would have clicked away? Or would I have subscribed? It depends on the content of the page, right? If the contents were great (and they were indeed very useful) then my selfish motive would kick in and I would subscribe. But there was no prompt. No subscribe button at the end of the page. No next step.
And so I left.
And so did a hundred, if not a thousand people after me.
Those subscribers are leaving by the truckload, not because they want to leave, but because you won’t give them a simple instruction to stay and join the conversation.
So what should you do in the next five minutes?
You should do the following:
1) You should put a subscribe button at the top of the page.
2) You should then make sure you have a subscribe/take action button and a little teaser at the bottom that encourages me to subscribe.
This simple act alone may not quadruple your subscribers.
It may quintuple them. It may double them. Who knows! But if you’ve got great content, you’ll see a definite increase in subscribers, that’s for sure.
So remember that business meeting with the stranger? You gave your card at the start of the meeting. And then at the end of the meeting, you gave that person an action plan.
You told them: I’ll call you. Or you call me. Or email me. Or whatever. Without that simple action plan or next step you’d have been wasting your time. And we don’t like wasting our time, do we?
So there you have it.
A five-minute action plan. Put it in place, and watch your subscriber numbers go up, up and away.
(Sean’s note: Yes, we take our own advice most of the time. Our website at Psychotactics.com has a subscribe button and precise teaser, but the blogs don’t. So guess which of the two has the better hit/subscribe ratio! Seems like it’s time for my own five-minute action plan, eh?).
Don't forget: Look at the Psychotactics Sequence of Marketing Products and Services.
Gabor Wolf says
Sean, great tip as always! I read in Marketing Sherpa’s Landing page book that one of the mistakes is putting a link or a button to the landing page saying “click here to convert”. Their suggestion: always put the form in there, not just the button. I think it makes sense!
Andy Beard says
Just added tips
You should update the Tweetmeme plugin so that it includes your own Twitter ID
Use an SEO plugin that removes all the personal branding from your Title Tag – it is used by Tweetmeme, and can cause messages to be too long, or be less “re-tweetable”
I don’t currently have any subscription options on my blog, just experimenting before a major switch.
Sean D'Souza says
I’d appreciate if you could tell me what I should do re::tweetmeme, so I can do it as well.
Andy Beard says
With Tweetmeme you just need the newest plugin, and then to go into the options and specify for them to use your own Twitter usename.
The newest plugin also places via Techmeme at the end, but easy to delete it.
Sean D'Souza says
@gabor: I disagree with Marketing Sherpa’s concept. The information we get through our form is extensive. It’s not the usual ‘name/email address.’ It’s detailed and acts as a barrier. So instead of needing tens of thousands of visitors and subscribers, we only tend to get ‘interested’ customers. Is our conversion rate lower because of the form?
You bet it is.
It’s designed to be a barrier. And this barrier seems to be a needless exercise till you realise that 3% of our list generates over 90% of our income. So yeah, this article was about increasing numbers, but I also want to put hurdles to make sure that those numbers become ‘faces’ by qualifying themselves.
Andy Beard says
Your logic breaks down on one step
I may or may not be a potential customer, but the people you need to reach are the customers of my contacts, readers & followers.
Isn’t it therefore better to get people into the funnel first, and then qualify them?
Sean D'Souza says
@andy: That may well work for most. I’m not saying it won’t work to get people into the funnel first and then qualifying them. But what’s worked for us is that we get them to qualify by not letting them take the easy route.
As for a situation like you described: We’ve had lots of folks from Ken Evoy (SBI), Ken McCarthy(System Seminar), Mike Mindel (Wordtracker), Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg (FutureNowInc) all sign up. And we’ve been able to speak to their customers, their contacts and readers. And despite the lengthy form they’ve gone through the process.
I think a slight barrier is a good thing. We don’t have to agree. It’s just what we choose to do and what works for us.
Carl C says
Your site rocks! I am loving it! I Will definitely be coming back again. I’m taking your feeds also, Thanks.