I still see this from time to time. A marketing person (never a UX person) says, “If we give them no choice but to sign up, they’ll sign up!”
I just got here. I don’t know what your company does. You won’t let me find out. I can’t click any links. I can’t even get to “How It Works” because your overlay won’t go away. Does that mean the “How It Works” page is only for people who’ve already signed up? Do you imagine that people will go through those steps, agree to unread terms, and I bet end up on at least one email list without knowing what your company DOES?
Some might. I guess I could go get a temporary, burner email address and give you fake sign-ups.
I closed the browser window.
That doesn’t help marketing either.
Marketing doesn’t want fake sign-ups. They want real people they can market to.
Marketing also usually wants people who are interested. If you put 10,000 mostly-disinterested, forced-to-register people on the mailing list and 20 open the emails, you will appear to be failing. If you make 10,000 people sign up to your site and you sell 20 things, it will look like you are failing.
If 100 truly interested people sign up and join the mailing list and 20 of them open emails or buy something, now this looks like it could have legs. That’s 20%… because you marketed to truly interested people.
Bad data on home page bounces
This company might see a lot of home page bounces when they check their analytics. People come to the home page and then they leave right away without seeing other pages.
Will the people reading those analytics understand that it’s probably because we visitors had an obstacle? We COULDN’T get anywhere else without signing up and we decided not to make that level of commitment yet.
Will the people reading those analytics think that the home page just isn’t grabbing people enough? And send UX and UI people to keep redesigning it? I hope not. I honestly have no opinion on the home page yet because I couldn’t experience it. A popup blocked me the whole time.
Drop the fantasies of the big database
The big database of uninterested people won’t get your company very far, especially in a world where people want to hear about “adoption” and “conversion.”
If people don’t look at your individual offerings, if they don’t buy them, you’re going to know. People will wonder why you’re not converting, especially with all those people hitting your home page or signing up. They signed up… why aren’t they buying? Oh, we MADE them sign up.
Improve the UX
Give me a way to close that popup. Let me explore your site. If your offering is compelling, I will WANT to sign up. You won’t have to force me to do it. You won’t have to make it an obstacle. I’ll be looking in the header for a “SIGN UP” call to action button.
Make me want to sign up because you’re so great. Don’t make me sign up before I even know what you do.