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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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A quick copywriting tip to get more subscribers

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I recently wrote an article for Freelance Folder about how to get more subscribers by adding an email subscription box and within the comments, Troy Peterson left a great tip on how to optimise the copywriting to maximize subscription signups and I thought it was worth sharing…

One thing that will improve your signups as well, is to replace “Subscribe” with “Get Updates”.

Many people tend to associate “Subscribe” with some type of commitment. This is typically carried over from the old days of Magazine subscriptions, where people had to commit for a year and pay a price.

Even with the name “free” on it, people are still hesitant.

I recommend trying “Get Updates by Email” or “Get Updates by RSS”.

Of course, it’s always good practice to do a before and after testing to find the best results: but, it’s well worth the small effort to make the changes.

Below you can see how I have worded my new subscription box, along with a few other minor adjustments.

Subscribe

Update 6/11/09: I’ve slightly updated the copy to what is seen above.

Could it do better? What’s your opinion?


Get Just Creative Updates

SUBSCRIBE: RSS, Twitter, Facebook



22 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Jazzikins Reply

    I can definitely see how this approach would be more welcoming to a visitor. Especially if they are new to RSS feeds. I will definitely be trying this out.

  • Deja Reply

    Thanks for the tip. My blog is new and I don’t yet have an option to receive email updates at all. Personally, I almost never sign up for blog subscriptions via email. Do you think this is important to offer?

  • Daniel Reply

    I’m kinda trying out with just the word “Grab!” to replace the word “Subscribe”, following another freelance blog’s approach of giving 3 avenues to get the updates.

  • Chaitanya VRK Reply

    Sounds promising. Will try now.

  • Decent Weblog Reply

    Very nice point and I think not many blogs using this technique so if we use different wordings then it may do good for our blog :)

    I also changed it on my blog http://www.decentweblog.com/ :)

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Jesse Nano Reply

    Hi jacob,
    I am an internet marketer, been doing for more then 1 year now and in this world there is a thing called “bribe” to get people to sign up to your list.

    Get some freebies, COOL ones, like excellent ones, put a small picture of them above that email optin of yours on this blog, under the picture write:
    “Join our little community and receive these free awesome gifts, deals…” you continue with what more you can offer.

    On the button just simply write “Send”.

    Now, please know this: everything is subject to testin and MV testing…never just leave something on your site just because some dude tells you to…add it, test it via google webmaster tools, if it works better keep it, if now trow it away.

    Also as a last tip, try to style that area abit, it is very cluttered and you can barely notice that email box and stuff,
    background is gray, button is gray.

    Also try changing the title of the whole widget to Join our community.

    Hope I helped, got questions, fire away :)

  • Jackie White Reply

    I prefer how the older boxes design looks, maybe it’s just the extra whitespace?! I think Daniel’s choice of the word “Grab!” is much more fun and inviting then “Get Email Updates”.

    Great Blog Jacob!!

  • Jazzikins Reply

    I agree with Jackie about the white space on the old one. I was kind of thinking the same thing when I saw it the first time. I guess the “Get Email Updates” button is larger than the “Subscribe” button, and makes it look a little…cluttered?? I guess that’s the correct word. Maybe some extra spacing will help.

  • Rochelle Dancel Reply

    Wow, such a small tip but will probably have a big impact on subscriber count – thanks!

  • Preston Lee Reply

    Very cool, by the way, that you added the twitter ID here in the comments section. I like.

    This is actually a technique I just read about on copyblogger.com in an article titled “How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254%”. It’s a great read and totally backs up what you are saying here.

    Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1T3dgY

    Cheers

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    I must have done something wrong. I changed my text like you said but don’t have 20,000 readers now. Did I miss something? :)

    There are simply some phrases that resonate with the human psyche more than other. Take for instance the classic headline formulas of the last 50 years – they are consistent! I bet a consensus on wording for web action items emerges authoritatively over the next few years. There is psychology, math, and then definitive conclusions. I have steadily increased traffic since day one following all the rules – many of which I discovered right here. RSS subscribers are not yet where I thought they would be, but more content and time should remedy that. I guess it’s true that you need to be clever, patient, and work really hard at blogging (or anything…)!

  • Bogdan Pop Reply

    This would definitely work. Check this small case study http://www.webia.info/articles/usability/increase-sales-by-70/ about how a company’s site that increased sales up to 70% by changing, just like you recommend here, a few words on action buttons.

  • Evi Reply

    You have a point! I would like to add sth that I did on my web site. I placed the words “Keep up to date with RSS” as I found it friendlier and catchier! But I believe those who know how rss works do not hesitate to subscribe what ever text you may use! The main reason for someone to subscribe is, if they find your articles interesting or whether you have something interest to give them for free! So we should give emphasis to the content! Anyway “Get Updates” sounds better than “Subscribe”! :-)

    Evi – Greece

  • Urszula Reply

    Re: to Jesse Nano

    I agree with you completly. Good point.

  • Alessandro Mingione Reply

    Not so long ago Copyblogger blogged about the exact same topic, advicing to use “get” instead of “subscribe”.
    I’m not an english native speaker, it doesn’t affect me so much, but I think that for an american or english guy it sounds much more convincing.

  • Designium Reply

    Yea feedbuner rules… easily manage your subscribers :D

  • Amanda Vlahakis Reply

    This is actually really excellent advice, thanks :)

  • Michael Martin Reply

    Nice tip Jacob and it makes a lot of sense. Might have to rework my subscription area as well!

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Deja,
    I certainly think it is important to offer, there is a good amount of people that don’t know what RSS is so email is the best alternative to offer.

    Jesse,
    Offering something for free is always going to be a winner. As for the phrase ‘Join’ this could also have a negative association with it, as people sometimes associate this with membership, which usually attracts fees. Just a thought? But yes, everything is subject to testing.

    Jazzikens, Jackie,
    I changed the wording to “get updates”. It does need some more padding though, will get to that soon hopefully.

    Preston,
    Thanks for the link, an interesting read. As for the Twitter field, I am using a plugin for that, not sure of it’s name but a quick Google will find some options.

    Douglas,
    Sorry, can’t give all my secrets away :P And yes, as for headlines, that is why there are so many “XX Free Resource” posts. As for getting subscribers, the start is the hardest part but as your site grows, the snowballing is much more effective.

    Bogdan,
    Thanks for the link.

    Evi,
    The phrase is friendly enough but like others have pointed out, you should test it with other phrases too. Thanks for your comment.

    Alessandro,
    As pointed out by Preston, here is the link to the article on CopyBlogger: http://bit.ly/1T3dgY

  • Paul, SuperPowerCopy.com Reply

    Great little tip. I wonder whether it would be beneficial to add a small “blurb” about the benefits of subscribing… oops, I mean “getting free updates”.

    And as others have mentioned, offering VALUABLE freebies can be good.


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