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I am working on a website for an asset management company, and I need to provide a newsletter sign-up option.

  1. Is a newsletter something users are specifically looking for on a site, or is it more of an 'extra value' afterthought, selected by a user while they're browsing for various other reasons?

  2. Where would be a good place to put a newsletter sign up option?

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    Anecdotally, I don't think I've ever gone to a website thinking "I really hope they have a newsletter" -- I have definitely signed up for some, but it's never been my primary motive. That doesn't mean making it prominent is bad design, but it at least means that not all users would want prioritized. – asfallows May 23 '14 at 19:33
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I would like to add to @SwankyLegg's precise answer that in order to select a place for your signup form you may want to think about your conversion goals.

Signup forms are part of a marketing strategy that have the objective to extend your communication channels, in this case, extend the channel into your visitors' inbox.

Regarding the above statement, then think about your signup form as another call-to-action element in your site.

If we think about UX, the signup forms are, as @asfollows said in his/her comment, not what users are looking for initially and is not until they discover the value-proposition of your product, that they'd probably choose to enter their signup information.

There are good tools to know if your site visitors are engaged with your proposition in a first visit, this is by knowing one or several of the following:

  1. How far have they scrolled
  2. Where is the visitor's cursor at an specific height of the whole page
  3. How long has the visitor been actively in the site

If you manage to know one or more of the above, then it should be easy to know where to place any of your calls-to-action.

  • This is exactly the right way to think about it. Where you place the newsletter depends on how important it is for you, and where the user is in their journey. – adrianh May 25 '14 at 8:13
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Users won't signup immediately after visiting your site, unless you're someone they know about already.

They need to look around and find your services / products interesting for them to consider following you. And not every user will look for the newsletter sign up so they will have to be reminded that they can get the latest updates through your newsletters.

There are several ways in which you can prompt the user to sign up.

1. Sidebar : Sign up form on the top of the right sidebar.

2. Footer: Sign up block on the footer.

3. Product Pages: Have a signup block visible where ever your products / services are.

4. Lightbox on their first visit (Not-recommended): You can have a lightbox popup where users are prompted to signup for the newsletter on their first visit.

And most importantly instead of saying "Sign up for our newsletter," give them the value proposition (ie. mention what the user will gain from sign-up). Something along the lines of "Sign up to get notified about our latest offers."

  • I think that footer is the best way. Just right after user has small introduction about company – Sashko Valyus May 23 '14 at 13:24
  • If you give users a popup on their first visit, I will personally stick a chair thru your head. – bjb568 May 23 '14 at 21:28
  • "Users won't signup the very first time they visit your site." — That is incorrect in my experience. From looking at when newsletter sign ups happen on multiple sites it's actually fairly common for people to sign up on a first visit. They've visited your site because they have an interest in it's content, and a newsletter is a fairly well understood way of remaining engaged. – adrianh May 25 '14 at 8:09
  • @adrianh I meant users won't sign up for your newsletter without knowing who you are and what you offer first. Unless you're a well known brand and the customer may already know about you, it's possible they'll look for the sign up. But lets say a user is searching for an online store to buy (ie.) costume jewellery, they will browse your site first before signing up. And by first time here I also meant the time before they've browsed through your site. Wrong wording. I'll fix that. :) – nuwa May 26 '14 at 7:10

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