How to Use Pop-ups to Build Your List

Pop-ups in general have gotten a bad rap in no small part due to pop-up ads. Pop-up ads, typically having nothing to do with the underlying content, can be distracting and annoying. But that shouldn’t preclude you from using pop-ups altogether.

If your website features good content or regularly makes valuable offers, visitors will want to hear from you. Most websites position their email sign-up forms in a side column or bury it in the footer. Some even hide it on a separate page. As a result, many visitors who want to sign-up don’t know where to look. That’s where an email pop-up can help.

A wise man once said, “Ask and you shall receive, don’t and you won’t.” An email pop-up gets your request right out in front, floating over your website’s main content to make it easy to find and use. Unlike pop-up ads, an email pop-up is directly relevant to your content and can offer real value for your visitors.

Here are five tips for the effective use of email pop-ups:

Don’t wait to pop the question.

As the old adage goes, timing is everything. Websites that display an email pop-up five seconds after a visitor arrives get more than twice as many subscribers than those that wait 10, 20, 30 seconds or more. The key is giving your visitors a quick glimpse of your content then asking for their email before they get distracted.

Don’t take no for an answer.

If your website is popular or provides valuable content, it should generate repeat visits. Even though returning visitors may have seen your email pop-up before, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them to subscribe again. It is only a question of how often to do so. A study by AppSumo revealed that displaying an email pop-up to a visitor once a month or once a minute generated about the same number of subscribers – in each case twice as many as sites that showed the pop-up once a day. So it is really up to you how often to pop the question. The key is doing it over and over until you get the response you desire.

Don’t worry about offending visitors who have already subscribed. The same cookie that tracks visitors to your site in order to determine how often to show your pop-up can be used to turn it off for those who have subscribed.

Put your money where your mouth is.

When it comes to generating email subscriptions, putting value in the headline is key. Three of the most effective approaches to email pop-up headlines are Social, Incentives, and Discounts.

People are social animals who find safety in numbers. Social headlines such as “Join Over 50,000 Subscribers!” validate your content by convincing visitors that others find value in it.

Sometimes visitors just need a little encouragement to sign-up. Incentive headlines like “Get 7 Tips for Writing Better Headlines,” offer a fair exchange of value in return for personal information.

Everyone loves a discount. Discount headlines such as “Subscribe Now and Get 10% Off!” provide an immediate benefit to the subscriber that could also lead to a sales conversion on your website.

Push the right button.

Labeling buttons to ensure they make it clear what you want a user to do is important. The trick is choosing the right word or phrase to generate a click. So it is strange that seemingly by default so many form buttons employ the word “submit.” It sounds a bit aggressive if you think about it. Instead of demanding submission, try offering encouragement or reinforce your offer with words or phrases such as “Send Me Free Tips,” “Get Great Stuff,” or simply “Subscribe Now.”

Deliver on your promise.

Once your visitor has used your email pop-up to subscribe, be sure to deliver the offer or incentive that you promised. This can be as simple as including a coupon code or link to a download in your opt-in confirmation message.

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