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Why Are 98% Of Your Visitors Not Signing Up For Your Site?

I always hear people ask, “my site has a 2% signup conversion rate — is that good?” What they should be asking is “why aren’t the other 98% who visit my site signing up?”

Knowing the answer to that question will tell you if you can get better and how you can get better.  Then you can spend your time on the “getting better” part and forget about what other companies’ conversion rates are.

This is one of the key reasons why we built KISSinsights (which has since been acquired by CatchFree) – to give ourselves and our customers a way to ask those “why” questions that complement quantitative analytics.

You probably don’t know why your site visitors leave without signing up or giving you a try.  It’s a tough question, because visitors don’t tell you. The vast majority of them simply don’t have the time or inclination to find a contact form or feedback tab and write up a message explaining themselves. They may not even consciously realize why they’re leaving your site.

You have to ask, and there are some tricks for how to ask to maximize the quality and quantity of answers:

  • Timing: Interrupting people before they’ve had some time to orient themselves and skim your site is perceived as rude.  Asking questions after someone has left your site yields very low response rate and people may not remember the specific questions or concerns they had.
  • Placement: You want input from people who have demonstrated interest in your site — not just “drive-bys”.  For that reason, the homepage is often not the best place to ask your question. Pricing/plans pages are often better; fewer people see them but they’re the people who are your most likely customers.
  • Wording:  Ask a yes-no question, and you’ll get a “yes” or “no” answer – not very helpful.  I’ve also found that asking “why” (as in “Why aren’t you signing up?”) is perceived as accusatory. I’ll provide some suggested wordings below, but I strongly recommend iterating on your question text to see what subtle variations lead to more useful responses.

How to do it:

Sign up.  If you haven’t already, sign up for KISSinsights and put the Javascript snippet on every page of your site. (Once the code is on your site, you won’t have to edit your site again. This is what makes it easy to experiment with timing, placement, and wording.) Signup is free, but you’ll need a paid subscription for most of the customizations/variations described below. website survey tool


Write your question. The default question KISSinsights provides is “Is there anything preventing you from signing up at this point?” Other variations you may wish to try are:

  • Is there anything preventing you from signing up for [Product Name] at this point?
  • What else can we tell you about [Product Name]?
  • Adding a second question, “Include your email address if you’d like a reply” with a text field.

Choose where (and when) to ask your question. My default recommendation is to ask the question on the page where a customer would actually click a sign up button or submit an inline signup form — this is probably either an explicit “signup” page or your homepage.

  • The default delay is 20 seconds. If your signup page is fairly information-dense, it may be better to try a 30- or 40-second delay instead.
  • Pricing pages are another good place to ask this question. You’re more likely to get a greater percentage of responses asking (or complaining) about price, but that might be what you need.
  • If you’re not sure which page is best, you can set the survey to appear on any page after your visitor has already visited 2 pages on your site. This is a good all-purpose way to catch visitors who are interested enough to do some due diligence into your product but haven’t accessed the signup page yet.

Do a spot check. After you’ve gotten the first 5-10 responses, read them to make sure that your question is being answered the way you expected.  Because each customer will only see the survey once, there’s no downside to tweaking it. A subtle rewording or configuration change may get you dramatically more useful responses.

For example, we initially asked “Is there anything else we can tell you about KISSinsights?” and our first ten responses included seven one-word “no” answers.  We then reworded the question to “What else can we tell you” — a more open-ended phrasing — and started getting more substantial replies.

How many responses is enough?  You’ll know when you start seeing the same responses repeat over and over. In my experience, 30-50 responses is usually a good indication to go ahead and make changes based on those responses.

Here’s you’ll see our KISSinsights survey and a sampling of the responses (edited to remove customer email addresses):

kissinsights responses

Follow up. We’ve continuously updated our FAQ page with information that keeps coming up from our survey responses. So now, when customers submit their answer, we thank them and point them to our FAQ so they can get an immediate answer. This provides a bit of immediate gratification until we’re able to reply personally or to try another homepage revision that will address these customer needs.

kissinsights thank you message


About The Author: Cindy runs product management and customer development for KISSmetrics. You can read more from her on Thursdays at

  1. The team loves your title, of course…

    Keep up the good work.


  2. Is it possible to add RSS Feeds to this site I’ve not been getting newsletters and prefer to read on my own time rather then when a email is sent to me

  3. This is my first visit to your site. Interesting observation you made:

    “Interrupting people before they’ve had some time to orient themselves and skim your site is perceived as rude.”

    Of course, I’d have appreciated it more had I been permitted to read and absorb those thoughts, perhaps even to skim your site or to orient myself, prior to your “Wanna subscribe?” pop-up.

  4. The pop up on the pricing/sign up page worked well for us with a 40 second delay.

  5. Can you integrate this code into blogspot accounts at all?

  6. Tanner Christensen May 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Okay, you’re selling your own product here, but for a good reason (I believe).

    My question is: does this really work? If visitors aren’t engaging in converting to customers, why would they engage in answering a question?

    • Absolutely. Go to and use the free trial. (No cc required)

    • I’ve seen response rates with my clients of up to 5% (of total traffic). That has meant that, for a site converting at just 2%, we were actually getting insights into non-converting low-hanging fruit (great for optimization!). What easier way to pick the brains of those soon-to-be customers?

      It probably helps that, with KISSinsights, you’re only asking visitors 1 question… and they’re presented with a low-energy-spent multiple choice answer (instead of written).

  7. Very good information. I have trouble getting customer feedbacks and couldn’t figure out why my conversion rate is so low. Hopefully I can gain some insight using this method.

  8. I found your advice helpful. It made me able to identify where I went wrong. I hope this works for me.

  9. Solid info on social intelligence and
    getting better conversion rates.

  10. Big ideas here!

    Sign ups are the lifeblood of every site, so any data related to sign-ups is of utmost importance.

  11. I always believe this: the simpler the sign up form is, the better for the readers won’t be taking up so much of their time.

    – Jack Leak

  12. Manvendra Shrivastava Sep 24, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Can you please throw some insights on the results this tool has generated?

  13. It makes me really sad that those pop up pages actually convert. It’s like telemarketing: the majority must suffer for the few that help it viable for companies.

  14. I think it is very important that the sign up is very simple and easy to see, many sites have this problem.

    Many regards from Denmark

  15. I don’t have time to sign up to everyone’s shitty site just to leave feedback. Provide easier ways to do this and I will.

    No one wants to spend their limited time on the internet signing up to sites they may never return to!


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