How We Increased Sales by Asking for an Email
A common question asked by software developers is: Should we ask users for an email before they can try our software? Asking for an email would be useful for marketing purposes, but would be a turn-off for some users and discourage them from trying it.
This is exactly the question we asked a few months ago – to answer it we set up an A/B test. Half the visitors to our download page were asked for their name and email address, half weren’t.
Here’s the two download options side-by-side:
After thousands of downloads and hundreds of sales, here are the results:
As expected, the number of downloads dropped off when asking for an email. But the overall number of sales increased by 18%. This was a pleasant surprise!
So what do we do with an email address that compensates for the reduced download rate? We use it in two ways:
- As soon as the user downloads the software, we send an email saying, “Thanks for downloading – here is a useful How-To guide”
- Two weeks later we send another email (if they have not opted out) asking “Did you like our software?”
Even though we don’t get much response from that second email, I suspect it is very useful to remind them to consider our product once again. Also, it’s very important not to annoy people who are considering using our software. That is:
- The name and email address is optional. Making it compulsory would just result in lots of fake emails.
- There are only 3 fields in the form. The more fields the more of a turn-off, and we only really care about the email address (and their name to get though spam filters).
- There’s an option to opt out of receiving marketing email. This gives the user added confidence that we ‘play by the rules’.
Of course, every software product is different, and you may not get the same results. The best way to be sure is to do an A/B test yourself – if you have your own results please post a comment below!