In the break room where I work, there are a variety of posters and flyers adorning the walls.
Flyer listing the legal rights of employees? Check. “Teamwork” poster with an image of two hands shaking? Affirmative. Kitten hanging from a tree with the words “Hang in There” underneath? We have two of them.
“Do people actually read these?” I wondered to myself long ago.
“What would happen if I created a fake motivational poster? Would anyone notice?”
To satisfy my curiosity, I decided to run an experiment.
I found a high-resolution photo of two businessmen looking very businesslike. I put “SUCCESS” in a bold font underneath it. And then, in plain text, I added the following:
If you’re reading this, congrats! You just won a Subway gift card that has $5.37 left on it. To receive your card, go to Kevin and say ‘the crow flies at midnight.’
I wish I could tell you people proved me wrong and multiple co-workers could be heard throughout the building shouting “crow” as they sprinted towards me. I wish I could tell you that, but the office is no fairy-tale world.
No one noticed it ? not one soul.
That’s what happens when you’re used to seeing the same thing over and over. Eventually, you become numb to it. You develop a blind spot.
Even when something new is added you fail to notice it. Why? Because you long ago stopped paying attention.
We’re the same way with blogs we visit.
Thanks to sidebar after sidebar being filled search forms, social media icons, and Google Ads; most of us long ago stopped paying attention to sidebars.
That’s why many blogs have switched to themes that don’t have them. It’s why Copyblogger’s Brian Gardner created an entire site around the idea. It’s why I use Be A Better Blogger’s sidebar for aesthetics more than anything.
Unfortunately, many bloggers put invaluable information in their sidebars. Oftentimes, it’s information unavailable anywhere else on their site. And when you also consider that sidebars disappear (or are pushed to the bottom) on mobile devices, this is a problem.
It’s okay to have an email optin-form in your sidebar, but don’t let that be the only place you have it.
Have a link to it in your menu navigation. Put it at the end of each blog post. Put it before each blog post.
In short, give readers more chances to see it.
By avoiding their blind spot, you’re far more likely to get people to notice your amazing opt-in bribe.
It might not be as appealing as a Subway gift card with $5.37 left on it, but they’ll be intrigued just the same.
Creative Commons Image via Jennifer Boyer.