More on Burying the Sign Up Button

Why the counter-intuitive removal of sign-up actually helps you focus on your user’s goals.

A couple weeks ago I published Why You Should Bury your Sign Up Button and got some really interesting feedback and comments from folks. One of the more interesting bits was a follow-up post by the folks at Zurb who had experienced the exact same phenomenon…when they took away the “sign up” button and instead put a “learn more” button at the bottom of the page they got a 350% increase in sign ups: Why Burying Sign Up Buttons Helps Get More Sign Ups

Think about how counter-intuitive that is at first glance. You take away the call-to-action that says “sign up” and you get more sign ups. But actually it’s just focusing on what people really want, in the order that they want it, where they happen to be in the usage lifecycle. They want to find out about what you’re offering first, figure out if it makes sense for them, and then sign up. It’s a process. Too often we treat a landing page like an immediate decision.

Cue the analogies to dating and relationships. When you first meet someone you don’t usually ask them to get into a full-blown relationship (even if that’s your goal). No, you want to get to know them a little, see what they’re about, see if they like Footloose, and see if you’re compatible. You want to know that they’re not crazy or an axe murderer.

Relationships take time, no matter what kind they are. So the next time you are designing a call-to-action, first make it crystal clear but then go beyond clarity and ask: “Is this the most appropriate time to ask this?”. Too often timing considerations get lost in our rush to get calls-to-action in front of people.

So yes, timing. In the same way someone would never say “Hi, I’m Josh. Do you want to move in together?” we should be time-appropriate with our design. There is a right time for every message. If I was a religious man I would be quoting Ecclesiastes right now, but I’ll let Ren McCormack do it instead.

Published: December 7th, 2011