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How We Boosted Blog Subscribers By 9x In One Month

A few months ago, I wrote a post about how re-organizing our content with a Hub increased leads by 800%. I also talked about some challenges we were facing. In particular, increasing our content hub subscribers, both for ourselves (since we use our own product daily) and for our customers.  

Basically, our subscriber rate sucked. And while we’ve built a database of 50,000+ over the last few years, the number of subscribers coming from our content hub just wasn’t cutting it. We’d get a few of them trickling in each day. Sometimes more. But it was nothing to write home about.

Now that we were confident that our Uberflip Hub was generating leads, we wanted to focus on expanding our network and building a high-quality list of engaged subscribers.

One of the things that led to the increase in leads was the ability to create dynamic, strategically placed CTAs within our Hub. People would see call-to-actions that were contextual to the content they were consuming and therefore more likely to convert.

We found that subscribers weren’t really that different. We just needed to find the right placement and context to ask for their email address.

Enter the Overlay CTA…

At the beginning of March, we introduced an Overlay CTA for our customers, which we immediately started using ourselves. An Overlay CTA  is a customizable call-to-action that you can include on either your entire Hub or individual pieces of content. In fact, if you’re not currently subscribed to our Hub, you’ll probably see it pop up soon.

We added one that invites people to subscribe to our Hub and placed it on our blog stream. The result? Within one month we increased subscribers by 9X compared to the previous month – and it continues to grow.

The pop-up controversy

Before you get your panties in a bunch, while I’m calling this an Overlay CTA, it’s basically a pop-up. Love’ em or hate’ em (I’ve had a love / hate relationship with them for years), they’re effective. That said, we’ve built in a few things to make sure we (and our customers) can respect the audience. Here’s what we did:

Set a delay for our “Subscribe” CTA

We typically set a delay for 60 seconds. The ideal time delay for a pop-up varies, and while we’ll continue to test different timing, our ultimate goal is to make sure we give value before asking for an email. We want to make sure you’ve had time to read (or watch) a little before inviting us into your inbox. In fact, depending on how long it takes you to read this you may have already seen it pop up.

Allow people to dismiss the CTA

While we have the option to make Overlay CTAs mandatory (we’ll get to the ideal use case for this in a second), if your goal is to get subscribers, you should always allow for dismissal. And make it clear… we’ve all seen those really obnoxious pop-ups where you couldn’t find the close button if your life depended on it. Don’t be that guy (or girl!).

Reintroduce the pop-up wisely

Controlling the option to “re-pop-up” the CTA is important. At Uberflip, we make sure that once it has popped up and been dismissed, we don’t show that CTA again during that session. If someone has dismissed your CTA, don’t bombard them. Give them more time, and if they like what they see, they’ll be back for more.  

Using overlay CTAs to gate content

Setting up a call-to-action to subscribe to our Hub is a great use case for the Overlay CTAs, but we also use these to gate premium content like a webinar, eBook or white paper.

The advantage of this is that the CTA lives within your Hub and appears overtop of the content. People can literally see the content on the other side, making it bit less intimidating than a landing page. In the next few weeks we’ll be testing these in comparison to traditional landing pages and report back on the results!

As always, we’ll keep the posts coming as we learn more about optimizing content. Would love to hear your thoughts in the meantime! Any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Let me know!