On Copyblogger recently we’ve talked about why it’s so important to make your website mobile-friendly.
And we’ve hammered on how critical it is to get people onto your email list.
But there’s a problem: it can be really hard for your mobile visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
Most mobile-friendly themes (in WordPress or other content management systems) hide the sidebars. They show just the main content area. For example, in the mobile theme I used for one of my sites, there’s a built-in way to share posts with Twitter, but there’s no way for a visitor to see the signup box in my sidebar. No matter what they do, they just can’t get there.
Even if you’re not running a special mobile theme (for example you’re depending on the built-in mobile-friendly goodness of a framework like Genesis) your visitors are still just looking at your main content column.
Why? Because even though they see your full page when they initially arrive, the first thing they’re going to do is “double-tap” on the content column to blow it up to a readable size. That pushes those sidebars out of sight and out of mind.
Also remember that if someone is reading your site on a mobile device, you probably don’t have their full attention. So don’t expect them to take the initiative and hunt around for your signup box. They won’t.
How to fix the problem in two easy steps
The solution is simple. You need a call to action for your newsletter at the bottom of your content column.
Not in the sidebar. Not in the footer. You want it right there at the bottom of your text, so it’s the first thing people read after they finish your post.
Step one is to copy the code of your signup box and drop it onto its own page. Give it a sexy name like yourblog.com/subscribe. Add some content that lets people know why it’s a good idea to subscribe. And be sure to test that it works.
Step two is to get a call to action and a link to your new signup page onto the bottom of every single page you create. You can do this manually, by typing or pasting it into every post, or you can do it automatically by editing your theme.
I actually prefer doing it manually. (That’s also how they do it on Copyblogger.) I like to vary the call to action depending on the content of the post. And writing it reminds me to make sure that the rest of my content is mobile-friendly.
For example, if I’m showing a video hosted on my own site, I’ll provide a link to a copy on YouTube, so people on iPhones or iPads can see it. And if I’m using a Flash-based audio player, I’ll provide a link to download the MP3, which also allows it to play on mobile devices.
If you’re comfortable with code, you can insert the signup link into your regular theme with a hook or a widget so it shows at the bottom of the content column. Then it will show up automatically on every post, past and future.
But if you’re using a mobile theme, I don’t recommend modifying the code. That’s because your mobile theme is probably a plugin or a module, and any customizations you make will be overwritten when you update the plugin. For normal human beings, the chance that you’ll update your mobile theme without remembering to reinstall your customizations is pretty high, and unless you visit your site frequently on a mobile, you won’t notice the mistake for months.
Getting people onto your email list should be a major goal with every post you write. No matter what device someone uses to read your content, you can make it easy for them to get to your signup box.
It takes just a couple of minutes to copy your signup box onto a standalone page, and only seconds to add a link at the end of each blog post. Start doing it now, because mobile traffic is only going to increase … and you want to be sure you’re there to capture it.
Check out the rest of the Email Marketing 101 series.
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