Why I ripped out newsletter signup from (almost) my entire site

Investigating a very unexpected outcome - signups dropped when I added more forms!

Why I ripped out newsletter signup from (almost) my entire site
Surprisingly, this turns out to be a bad thing to have on the site in most places!

Today, I want to share a recent tough decision I made that might sound a bit counterintuitive at first. I've removed email signup prompts from (almost) every corner of Replicate Codex.

You might be wondering why on earth I would do such a thing, especially when email subscriptions are often seen as a vital tool for growing an online community. Well, let me explain.

Before I made this change, the average percentage of subscribers after visiting my website was around 2.8%. It wasn't bad, but I thought we could do better. So, I decided to add email signup boxes to various pages. I placed them in the footer of every page and even on the models detail page, hoping to encourage more people to join our community.

However, what happened next surprised me. The percentage of subscribers dropped, averaging around 2.2% after the change. It was disheartening, to say the least. I had expected the signups to increase, but instead, they declined. Naturally, I couldn't let this slide without some thorough investigation.

signups drop
(Note: The experiment started on 4/23 ... 4/24 was the first full day with the new signups)

So, what could be the reasons behind this unexpected drop? Let's explore some possibilities:

  1. Distraction from Core Content: The email signup boxes, although not intrusive pop-ups, might have distracted users from the primary content and purpose of the pages they were visiting. Instead of focusing on the valuable information or services offered, users' attention was drawn towards the signup boxes, leading to a decrease in engagement and paradoxically, lower signup rates.
  2. Lack of Contextual Relevance: While it's important to provide opportunities for users to subscribe, having email signup boxes on every page, including the models detail page, may have seemed out of place or irrelevant. Users visiting specific pages might have expected content directly related to the page topic or functionality, and the presence of the signup boxes may have caused confusion or deterred them from signing up.
  3. Overexposure and Desensitization: By displaying email signup boxes throughout the website, users may have become desensitized to their presence. Initially, the signup prompts might have caught users' attention and generated interest, but with repeated exposure, the impact might have diminished, resulting in decreased signup rates.

Considering these potential factors and comparing them to the actual benefits I had anticipated, I had to make a tough call. The drawbacks of distracting users from core content, lack of contextual relevance, and the risk of overexposure and desensitization outweighed the expected increase in signups. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but the data and analytics justified my decision to remove most of the signup prompts.

My question for the community is: if you were me, would you do this? Am I on the right track, or is there something I'm missing?

P.S. If you still want to sign up for our email newsletter, fear not! You can find a single link on the homepage, and I do link to stories like this and other build-in-public content there too. And, of course, you can also signup below any article (like this one!)

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