Do Pop Up Email Newsletter Sign Ups Really Work?

Email Marketing

A Downtown Naperville Case Study

When we launched the new website for Downtown Naperville in November of 2015, a part of the new site included a pop up for e-mail newsletter signups. The goal was to increase the mailing list so that more people can be made aware of all the events, specials and news related to the Downtown Naperville. The old site had a standard signup in the footer of the site which is very typical of a lot of sites. We were interested in seeing if the pop up caused a surge in signups.

With any type of pop up message there is a trade off between creating awareness and compromising the user experience. On one hand, you want to let the user know about the great content that can be delivered weekly via an e-mail in their inbox. On the other hand, you run the risk of annoying the user which can lead to a spike in bounces and unsubscribes.

With the pop up for Downtown Naperville, we set it up to be active only for new visitors and it would start fresh every month. With this approach we believed it avoid annoying regular visitors, yet would be persistent enough to encourage signups. Whether our strategy was right or not would be determined by the numbers. So how did this approach work out? Surprisingly even better than we imagined.

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If you take a look at the graph above, you’ll see the monthly signups for the Downtown Naperville email newsletter for the past year. Prior to November, list growth was averaging about 45 new signups. Once the new pop up became effective in November, we immediately saw a spike in signups. In fact, November signups were more than 5 times the 45 average with 269 new signups. With a new site, we expected this. However, what we didn’t expect was a consistent month to month bump.

Looking at 2016, we have maintained a strong signup rate at an average of 197 per month. That’s well above the monthly average of 45 from the old site. In fact, the list has grown by 15% in the past 8 months, the strongest growth we’ve seen in years. At the same time, unsubscribes have remained consistently low with 1 or 2 per e-mail sent.

In summary, our case study with Downtown Naperville clearly confirmed that pop up signups can be a great tool for growing your mailing list. The success Downtown Naperville has enjoyed illustrates this conclusion. The key in our eyes is building the pop up responsibly so that it doesn’t become a nuisance for regular site visitors. By using cookies to evaluate whether a site visit is from a new visitor or a return visitor allowed us to maximize the effectiveness of the pop up.

For questions regarding this case study or for more information on e-mail marketing or web development, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Top Reasons You’ll Love WordPress

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At Echo, we love WordPress. We’ve tried others, even built our own, but none of them compare to WordPress. So what is it about WordPress that makes us such enthusiastic fans? Well here are our top reasons.

WordPress is extremely easy to use

Unlike some content management systems, WordPress is amazingly easy to use. You don’t have to be a programmer or technical genius to use it. In fact, you don’t need any technical skills. That’s because WordPress uses a simple and logical interface. So you don’t have to focus on formatting or code. Instead just focus on the content you want to add.

Developers love WordPress

More than 20% of the World’s websites are powered by WordPress. There’s a reason for that. It’s because WordPress is fully supported by developers who love it. They love how easy it is to build sites with WordPress. They love how easy it is to add functionality to their sites via plug ins and add-ons. They love how easy it is to incorporate their designs into WordPress. Put simply, they just love WordPress.

WordPress has an awesome media manager

Adding images or other media such as pdf files is extremely easy with WordPress. That’s because WordPress features a media manager that is excellent. With the media manager you can easily upload files via drag and drop. You can even upload multiple files at once. Additionally, you can make adjustments to your images via the built editing tools with the media manager. So cropping, scaling or resizing images is easy with WordPress.

WordPress is open source

WordPress is open source and that’s an important distinction. As an open source solution, there are thousands upon thousands of developers who work collaboratively to develop tools and technologies for WordPress. Developers work together to adhere to best practices as well as share resources. So when you want to add functionality or new features to your site, odds are there’s an open source resource that can help turn your vision into a reality.

WordPress is free

Do we need to say much more? Where else can you get a piece of technology that is so powerful, so supported, yet it’s totally free.

WordPress is great for SEO

To start, WordPress automatically takes care of a great deal of the mechanics of SEO. WordPress makes your site crawlable by the search engines which is the first step in SEO. Additionally, there are great plug ins such as Yoast SEO and All In One SEO pack that give you amazing control over your SEO efforts.

WordPress is scalable

When you build your website, you want it to grow with you. That’s the beauty of WordPress. It is completely scaleable. With so many plug ins, add-ons and third party integrations, you can easily add new features and functionality. For example, let’s say you want to convert your site to an e-commerce solution? Not a problem. WordPress makes it easy with e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce or WP eCommerce.

WordPress keeps getting better

With a WordPress site, you don’t have to worry about being left behind. WordPress is continually evolving. Updates occur regularly and new features are continually added. So as the world of website evolves, you can be at the forefront with the World’s best content management system.

How to select the right web development team for your website.

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As new trends emerge and web technology advances, marketing executives are continually evaluating when is the right time for a new website. When that time comes, choosing the right firm to develop your site is critically important. The right team can help you craft the website of your dreams, while the wrong team can make turn your project into a nightmare. So how do you pick the right team? Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Determine what type of website you need

There are many different types of sites. Do you need an informational site to establish credibility? Do you need a site that is focused heavily on lead generation? Perhaps you’re looking to develop an e-commerce site. Once you have established the specific type of site you need, look for developers who have extensive experience building your specific type of site.

Define the scope of your site

All successful web projects start with a well-defined scope. The scope helps protect both sides. For the developer it gives them the information they need to formulate a detailed quote. For a client, it protects you from additional costs or unwanted surprises. The key is to try to remove as much ambiguity as possible.

To establish a scope, start by defining the overall goal of the site and the type of site desired. Then, determine what core features you are going to want as part of the site build. This could include a content management system, an e-commerce platform, integration of SEO tools or responsive web design programming. Once you’ve established the core features, define the custom sections of the site you desire such as a projects gallery, a news blog and a careers section. As much information related to each section is helpful. For example, if you desire a projects gallery, additional information in regards to searching, sorting or filtering projects is quite helpful to the development team. Lastly, determine the desired user behavior you want from a site visitor. In other words, what do you want the site visitor to do?

Share strategy, branding and target market information

In addition to the scope, documentation related to your strategy, branding efforts and target markets could be very beneficial. Let prospective web developers know the overall marketing strategy and how your firm is different from others. Provide them with as many elements of your brand as possible. Let them know how each brand element works within the overall marketing strategy. Lastly, provide them with detailed information on your target markets and customers.

Do a little research

While you may feel web developers speak a different language, it can be beneficial to learn as much as you can about web development. Read some of the industry blogs on popular apps such as Flipboard, Prismatic or Feedly, join a web development group on Linkedin or watch some web development videos on YouTube. While you won’t be expected to become a developer overnight, understanding some of the latest trends can help you determine who is utilizing new and exciting technology.

Create a list of sites you like

As you think about your web development project, develop a list of sites that reflect the quality and features you desire from your site. This can be very helpful to the web development team. Also, create a list of competitor sites. Provide feedback in regards to the strengths and weaknesses of each site. This will help the web development team understand your industry better and can provide the insight needed to identify opportunities.

Check out the work of potential firms

With web development, anyone who knows a little code can claim to be a web developer. So it’s important to be selective when reviewing firms. Visit the websites of potential firms and take a good look at their portfolio. If you like what you see, go a step further and actually visit the sites featured in their portfolio. This will give you a strong understanding of the user experience for each respective site.

While the bells and whistles of each site can be impressive, don’t forget about the overall design of a website. You want your site to look fantastic, so make sure the firms you review have strong design skills. After all, there is no strategy that can save an ugly website.

Interview potential firms

After reviewing the portfolios of potential firms, create a list of potential firms and conduct interviews. Have each firm present their capabilities and portfolio. Identify sites that are similar in scope to your project and ask questions in regards to the goals and custom features of these sites.

When reviewing sites, look at more than the front end. Ask to see the back end or administrative side of the site and have them walk you through a common task. For example, if it’s a content management system, have the firm demonstrate how you would add a project or a news story.

From the design side, ask about how the design was achieved. Inquire about who developed the design and what designs were presented to the client. For example, did the firm present desktop, tablet and mobile designs. Lastly, make sure the design is not a template.

Ask about roles, processes and communication

While technology drives every website, it’s the talent of the team that makes the difference. Ask who is involved with your project and the roles each person plays. Review the competencies of each team member and inquire about the ways in which you will have access the team.

While it’s important to understand the web development process, often it is overemphasized. Typically most web development firms have similar processes. Of greater importance is communication. Inquire about how the team will communicate with your team. Do they have a system in place or is it random emails and phone calls? Your website project will require a tremendous amount of coordination and communication, so establishing the means of communication up front is important.

Request a complete proposal

When meeting with each prospective web development firm, provide them a written scope of your website project. Request a full proposal based off of this scope. This will ensure you’re having each firm compete fairly. Also, request a timeline for the development.

Review each proposal carefully

A proposal will give you insight into the quality of the work of the firm. If you receive a highly professional, comprehensive proposal, odds are this firm is quite capable. On the other hand, if you receive a simple, one page estimate, that can be a red flag in regards to their sincere desire to work with your company.

As you review each proposal, carefully evaluate if they understood and accounted for the scope you defined. A good proposal should have the scope defined, as well as cost estimates and project timelines. Also, make sure they have included ongoing site maintenance costs. Typically monthly maintenance costs can include hosting, backup services, SEO services, spam prevention, site updates, server updates and 24/7 site monitoring.

Get a website contract

Once you have selected the firm to develop your site, request a website contract. Putting it in writing protects both sides and provides clarity. Keep in mind that many contracts are written favorable to the web development team, so have your attorney review it to make sure it’s fair for both sides. Of particular note, make sure you own the site should your firm part ways with the web development team. Often contracts are written to specify the “creator” as the owner of the website.

Make sure you are happy and comfortable

Developing a website is an awesome journey. As the client, the web team is there to make sure your experience is always positive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get clarity (no geek speak) and demand the best for your organization. Above all, make sure you are working with a team that communicates well, delivers on their promises and is friendly every step of the way. You deserve nothing less.