5 Ways to Use Email Pop Ups That Don’t Suck

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Nothing divides an audience quite like the mention of email pop up forms. Many opinions lean towards hating pop ups for being intrusive, rude and a place to lose your soul. There are however those who swear that pop up forms are super effective for increasing email signups.
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Nothing divides an audience quite like the mention of email pop up forms (ok I admit, by audience I mean bloggers, digital marketers and mostly internet types).

Many opinions lean towards hating pop ups for being intrusive, rude and a place to lose your soul (I joke, but see my recent tweet). There are however those who swear that pop up forms are super effective for increasing email signups (see Problogger’s tweet).

So maybe you’re considering a pop up form on your site but are wary of how it will affect your visitors and rub them the wrong way. Thankfully there are ways to use pop up forms and still give visitors a great experience.

Here are 5 things you can do that will boost conversion rates on email pop ups while not annoying your visitors.

Timing is Everything

Spend any time in sales and you’ll know that people buy from people they like. The same thing applies in email pop up land except your sale is getting an email address.

If you don’t give your visitor a chance to like you then chances are you wont get their email. So how do you know if they like you?

There are some indicators that will help you determine a visitors affinity to you.

  • Navigate to a second page
  • Go to a specific page like “About Us”
  • Spend 60+ seconds or higher than the average visit duration on your site.

Setting your pop ups to appear only after 1 or more of these conditions are met ensures you show up to people who probably like you, are more engaged and would want to sign up for a newsletter.

What’s in it for them?

When it comes to writing copy for your pop up always ask yourself one question, “What is in it for them?”. If you’re not thinking about why somebody would give up their email address, you’re not going to get much success.

Avoid boring copy like “Subscribe to my newsletter” and instead look for angles to make subscribing attractive. We especially like this one.

Bad Email Pop Up Example

Another thing that always works well is a special offer or a free download to entice a subscription. Maybe you’ve got a free ebook or a video about a special topic. All these assets are great for driving subscriptions. Not only are they great for conversions, more importantly they are a value add that helps your visitors.

It’s not about you it’s about them.

Create Scarcity

If you’re offering a special download on your pop ups something that works really well is creating scarcity around your offering.

Simple things like offering your free download for the next 7 days only, or having the words “limited offer” are subtle things you can do to create scarcity and increase the number of conversions you get.

Keeping the context consistent

Continuing in the vein of keeping pop ups as relevant as possible you should consider making the pop ups you use tarted according to the type of content that person is reading.

For example a cooking blog may have lots of different content topics ranging from cuisine type (chinese, greek, italian) through to different meals (Breakfast, Dinner etc). If someone is reading a chinese recipe a pop up encouraging them to subscribe to get more chinese recipes makes a lot more sense.

Different messages for different traffic sources

Every website gets traffic from different sources (Google, Twitter, Facebook, Email etc) and each of these channels sends visitors who will behave differently on your site.

For example, an email newsletter visitor probably knows your site a lot more than someone who came via Google search. The Google visitor is probably meeting you for the first time so getting them to subscribe to your email newsletter makes sense.

The same can’t be said for the email newsletter visitor because they’ve already subscribed. So instead of a standard email pop up have another one that encourages them to sign up for a more targeted email list. For most sites you should have at least 4 different email marketing tracks to nurture different subscribers.


Email pop ups will continue to divide opinion with some preferring to never touch them. Sure there are other ways to capture emails but few are as effective as pop ups. If you’re ready to drive more subscriptions through pop ups keep these 5 tips in mind and you should be seeing a steady rise in emails without too many unhappy visitors.

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Alyona Galea

Alyona is a WordPress enthusiast, focused on sharing interesting things she comes across during her work with this great CMS. She loves exploring new destinations and maintains a travel blog at www.alyonatravels.com

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One Response

  1. I am very grateful you did share your knowledge here. It is an excellent post we usually face such issue. This is a great post and helpful as well. Keep Sharing!

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