Is 'submit' good enough? A lesson in branding

Are you losing opportunities with the bland old 'SUBMIT' button Are you losing opportunities with the bland old 'SUBMIT' button Image credits:

Have you ever had one of those forehead slapping moments? You know. When you read an article or a tweet that makes you shake your head and say "that is so obvious. I can't believe I never thought of it." Well, I had one of them this morning.

Going through my morning emails doing the quick skim, delete, skim, delete through all the crap I see an email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - who seems to be quite busy of late. It's titled "Is 'submit' good enough? A lesson in branding". There's no article on her site about this so I've nothing to link to so I'm going to reproduce it here. Check out Ittybiz for yourself. It's a great blog about running and marketing a home based business.

The email reads...

I was on a website the other day that had one of those pop up "sign up for my newsletter" boxes and I actually didn't hate it. (Despite what your social media consultant tells you, those boxes aren't all bad. They're just bad when they're done badly, which is, admittedly, pretty much always.)

You know when you sign up for the newsletter, the button that you click normally says "submit"?

This one said "gimme!"


What an interesting word choice.

It conjured up so much. It conjured up that part of the self that wants to take and not give, the part that wants the cake to always be free, the part that wants to stay three years old forever.

And on this particular website, that was completely perfect. (I wouldn't necessarily recommend this button text for you if you're not in the business of selling to the greedy. It's a little... greedy.)

I got to thinking, what else would work? "Yes, please!" would be a nice touch. Kind of sweet. Like getting in touch with your inner nine-year-old instead of your inner three-year-old. "Okay!" could work. "I'm in!" "Woohoo!"

Lots of possibilities, all with their own unique micro-branding opportunities. The feeling you get when you click "Woohoo!" is a little bit different than the feeling you get when you click "Gimme!", and that feeling can reinforce so much.

I co-taught a class once where the buy button said "Hell, yeah!" When Dave set up my Advance Discount List (oh my God, that was in 2008! I feel about a hundred years old!) he used "Screw paying retail. Sign me up!" and we liked it so much, we kept it.

(Again, you probably wouldn't want to use that kind of tone all by itself. The header for the page reads, "You want to save money? Fine, let Jack starve." So it's not like "screw paying retail" is going to catch them unawares.)

The real opportunities for branding come in the tiniest places, the places that don't seem to matter much at all. The real opportunities for branding are ones you can take in a matter of moments. The real opportunities for branding are almost always free.

Where are your opportunities?

We think that branding for small business is about logos and typefaces and huge social media initiatives.

Logos help, yes.

Typefaces help.

Huge social media campaigns have been known to help, sometimes.

But when someone clicks the button to say they want to receive your newsletter, what does the button say? If it says "submit", you're probably wasting an opportunity.

And when someone clicks the confirmation link that comes after they sign up, what does your thank you page say? If it's the one that came with your newsletter software, you're definitely wasting an opportunity. (Hint: Link to your store.)

What does the footer of your website say? What does the envelope look like? What's in your email signature line?

So that was my forehead slapping moment. For years we've been building sites with newsletter signup forms that say "Submit". Using "Gimme" or "Yes, please!" or "I'll have a copy" or whatever makes such total sense. I'll never use "submit" again.

john-pitchers-avatar smAbout John Pitchers

John Pitchers is co-founder and lead developer at Joomstore where his primary role is the design and development of Joomla websites. He is also the developer of the FocalPoint maps extension for Joomla. John has been building CMS based web sites since 2004, originally working with Mambo before it forked into Joomla. When not writing PHP, Javascript or CSS you'll find John carving up the hills around Baldivis on his longboard (long before Walter Mitty made it famous).

Find out more about John on his page and . Follow John on Twitter.


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