Prioritising your calls to action

Paul Boag

Paul would you mind sharing your thoughts on the practice of using ‘subscribe’ popups for initial user visits for eComm sites?

At first glance you may be tempted to think this question is about popups… it’s not. It’s about priorities and user objectives.

Set some priorities

As you know every website needs a set of business objectives. But having a list of objectives is not enough. You must prioritise them. If you don’t, it results in questions like the one above.

An ecommerce website may have any number of objectives, but you can presume that selling products and building a subscriber base are going to be two of them. The question is which is more important?

Ultimately the reason any ecommerce site wants to build a subscriber base is to sell more products. It is therefore logical that selling is more important than encouraging people to subscribe.

As a result it makes little sense to popup a window asking people to subscribe, so distracting them from the process of buying. You are effectively preventing people from completing your primary business objective to encourage them to complete a secondary one.

It also doesn’t make sense from a user’s perspective either.

Get out of people’s way

Users come to an ecommerce site looking to place an order or research products. They do not come looking to subscribe. We need to help them complete their primary goal before offering them the opportunity to subscribe.

If you want to encourage people to subscribe don’t interrupt them while they are completing their primary task. Wait until they finish and then make your ask. In case of an ecommerce site this is when they have placed their order. That is a great time because the user is then asking themselves “what next?”

But when you do ask, make sure you give them a good reason to subscribe, make it clear they can unsubscribe easily and be sure to show them what they will receive.

“Direction priority sign on white background” image courtesy of