Why did THIS popover work for me?


Given that I just wrote about how annoying it is to get email signup popovers earlier that day, it struck me as odd that this one “worked” for me. When I saw this, I somehow wanted it, and did not feel annoyed by it in the same way. Now, I’m sure this is personal, but I’ll still try to pick apart why this was.

Clear offer versus vague offer. The other example offered “a free health membership.” As if I have time to sort through something as vague and mysterious as that. Other popovers offer “free tips” or just “sign up for my newsletter”.

One of the examples from the last post was promising tips and recipes “right in my inbox”. I don’t think there are many people now who want to get anything more in their inbox, unless they know just what it is. They are probably going to have to fish through lots of emails just to find it to begin with!

In this example, I can see exactly what the offer is—a PDF download. And everyone knows what that is, and I can decide in the moment whether I want to get it or not.

The immediate thing is attractive. The design is beautiful, and that helps!. The contrast and clarity in the design make me feel like I am going to get something good. The shadows make it feel more real. And the picture of the “book” is extremely helpful.

While the earlier promise to get “free tips right in my inbox” felt annoying to me, this offer to “download your free digital copy” sounds kind of good. I can only conclude that the cumulation of care in the design, care in the wording, and in the offer, all project a sense that this is a clear, direct offer that I can either choose to accept or reject right now, and don’t have to figure out later. The fact that the site is very clear and immediate in what they are offering, and there’s no promise of amorphous “tips” in the future, makes me feel much more confident.

And, the book looks interesting. I didn’t actually decide to download it, but the point is, it did not annoy me. I think we are conditioned to see something like this offer as an offer of actual value.

Since this is very subjective to my own experience, I’m sure that testing (or asking a variety of people for their opinions, at least) would be in order.

Email sequence

The email I get back is, “Chris, access to your report”. The welcome email already enrolls me by saying “I wanted to personally welcome you to the Social Media Examiner Family! We’re a fun, creative, and smart bunch. And now you are officially part of the tribe.”

This actually works. By the time he tells me they’re going to send me emails on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I already feel more open to this idea, because he said this. And the free report is actionable, useful, scannable, and timely.

If I had to sum it up, there is a lot of care and thought that’s gone into making this sequence really useful. It is giving, giving, giving. Whereas, “get tips right to your inbox” feels like it asks something of me—it asks me to wait and figure out whether I think the tips are valuable. (And since the internet is full of tips that are not, I presume I am about to be annoyed.)

This is the difference between saying “I’m going to give you something great and awesome, just trust me,” and actually giving someone something they will find great and awesome.

There is a lot to study here. Overall, a well thought out sequence with a clear offer actually gives people something, where a vague and flaky ask to sign up for an email newsletter takes my attention. I think that is the biggest lesson.

This one worked for me too, and it shows me how much design can matter. It looks like something I would want to pick up in a bookstore: