Email opt-ins popups can be a great way for internet marketers to capture an email address theoretically, but does it really work these days? The short answer is yes they do work, but the important question to ask is to what extent do they work.
What Kind of Sites do Opt-in Popups work well with?
While you can put a popup on any type of site, you generally do not see them on very large sites that people go to primarily for entertainment (Yahoo.com, TMZ.com, etc.). These sites rely on ad impressions and the last thing these kinds of companies want to do is turn visitors off with a popup.
The sites that do well with opt-in popups are ones that work more with affiliate networks for revenue, or websites that aren’t quite as popular but still update often with new content.
The value of a visitor is much higher for the latter types of sites, meaning that everything that can be done must be done to turn them into either a promoter, lead, or paying customer.
Sending emails to these users is a great way to get them to share the site, or re-visit it and the best method of capturing these emails involves making it perfectly clear you need their email address.
Pop-ups vs. On-page Email Capture Opportunities
The majority of people are going to click the “close” button on an email pop-up, but there will be those who enter their email now that they have a clear opportunity to do so. For them, it is like the website is asking them for a bit of information for providing the content that got them there in the first place.
This makes it much more likely that they will fill in their email address, since they have a clear chance to do it right in front of their face.
Other on-page email capture boxes or links to an email capture page are still useful, but they will not get anywhere near the traffic your opt-in pop-up will. This is because they can be easily overlooked. You can place them as best as you can but they will never be in your face with no distraction like a pop-up will.
You can expect to see anywhere from double the opt-in rate as opposed to before putting the pop-up into place, to over five times the expected number of opt-ins without the pop-up.
Which Pop-ups Work the Best?
Any pop-up that offers the user something of value will convert much better than just a generic form asking for an email address. Another way to use these pop-ups is to have them appear towards the very end of a page. This way, when a user is done, or almost done reading, they will have the opportunity to opt-in, without having it in their face as soon as they get on the website.
This should negate the negligible bounce rate spike you might receive when you first put pop-ups on your site, and the visitor may feel more inclined to share their email if they gained a lot of information from your content.
What Kind of Conversion Rate can You Expect?
The conversion rate of an opt-in pop-up is going to vary quite a bit depending on the type of website the user is visiting. Conventional wisdom would tell us that a website that would normally convert “well” will see a much higher conversion rate with an pop-up as opposed to a site that would not convert well in the first place.
A website owner’s main concern should be to increase the percentage of visitors who opt-in, which is almost automatic with a good pop-up. Take for example the case of Unbounce.com, they tried out an opt-in pop-up with their blog to see how many more people they could get to join their mailing list.
They found that they could get a signup rate of about 14.5%, which is incredible. An important fact to note here is that the blog specifically targets those in the internet marketing niche, and their blog posts can help people earn more money, but the fact remains that a pop-up box really does work.
As far as your personal conversion rate, you can probably expect to see at least double the number of opt-ins that you would usually get. If you optimize your pop-up, you can expect to see an even higher opt-in rate, depending on your vertical.
The Best Way to Use Pop-ups
Shoving a pop-up in the face of a website visitor immediately when they land on your page will increase your bounce rate, and decrease your average time spent on site metric significantly. When someone comes to your site, they want something from you – information, entertainment, etc.
By asking something from them immediately, the visitor will be put off by your website and press the back button.
There are a few of good options to consider when deciding how you are going to use an opt-in pop-up:
- Time triggered
- Pageview triggered
- Scroll triggered
1. A time triggered pop-up relies on you setting a certain amount of time between when the user lands on your site, and when the pop-up is presented to the visitor. Setting this too quickly can result in a lot of people clicking out of it since they are either invested in your content, or they exit your website because of a perceived annoyance.
Set it too long and some visitors will leave of their own accord before even getting a chance to see it. Expert opinions range from 15-60 seconds, but it is generally something that you need to A/B test for yourself.
Every website has a unique audience, and their behavior cannot always be predicted well enough to give a blanket answer. Try out 30 seconds as a starting out point and adjust up and down from there. This should give visitors enough time to get through some of your content, but not enough time to exit the site.
2. Triggering your pop-up based on pageviews is a great way to get people who are very interested in what you have to say to sign up. In this case, a pop-up appears only after a user visits another page on your website.
If your website has a lot of content and gets updated often, this can be an excellent way to grow an email list that sees more engagement than a normal list. If the pop-up triggers on the second page view, you will miss out on anyone exiting the site after the first page.
This is why a pageview triggered opt-in pop-up is not very popular among internet marketers, especially for those who see a high exit rate after the initial landing page visit.
3. Scroll triggered pop-ups are a fairly popular method of initiating opt-ins, especially since it will not distract the user as soon as they get on your site. Typically, a scroll triggered pop-up will appear near the end of an article, after the visitor has had a chance to read what they came there for, but before they have the chance to exit.
These can be particularly effective since the visitor has already gained some value from your site, and now sees a chance to gain even more value from opting in to your email list.
What should you use as your popup content
Designing a good looking pop-up can have a considerable effect on your conversion rate. The last thing you want to do is have your opt-in appear spammy, the best way to avoid this is to stay away from flashy buttons, bright text, etc. A sleek design, or even just a simple design, should be enough to encourage people to put in their email address.
One of the best things you can do to increase your conversion rate is to offer something – usually an ebook or coupon, in exchange for an email address. Visitors know your website offers them something of value, which is why they are there in the first place, but not necessarily enough to get them to give you personal information.
By framing it like a trade, visitors will be more likely to opt-in, knowing they are going to get something tangible in return immediately. In a recent case study, going this route helped bump conversions up by 300-400% above the baseline rate.
All from offering a few simple pieces of information that provide real value to visitors.
Implementing the Popup on WordPress
Putting your opt-in pop-up in place does not have to be difficult, especially with a content management system like WordPress, which is used by a little over 20% of all new websites in the U.S. Since there is a good chance that you will be using WordPress for your site, the following list will cover a couple of the most popular free opt-in pop-up plugins available to site owners.
1. Optin Revolution – This free plugin may be one of the easiest ways to get an opt-in pop-up on your site within minutes. There is a step-by-step guide which shows you exactly how to configure the pop-up to your liking.
This includes setting a timer, adding images, video, and integrating with the list manager of your choice. For those starting out with opt-in pop-ups, this is a great way to get your feet wet and help grow your list.
It is missing a few features, such as an easy way to A/B test different pop-ups, but it would work great for those who do not have much experience with lists or pop-ups.
2. Popups – WordPress Popup – another good free plugin, it has quite 9000 installs and a rating of 4.9 out of 5 which is quite high for a free plugin of this kind. It has a couple of interesting features like – show popup depending on referrer, show popup on specific pages, templates, posts.
If you like and want more features it also has a premium version with a couple more options like exit intent technology, track impression and conversions and a couple more.
3. PopupAlly – a nice free wordpress plugin for creating a popup, over 10.000 installs and a great rating. It has exit intent capabilities so there’s no need to upgrade to a premium version to get that. It has a nice visual editor that you can use to create you own popups quite easy and fast.
It’s quite easy to send all the new signups to your list as it is compatible with all of the following: Aweber, MailChimp, MadMimi, iContact, GetResponse, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, and any other email marketing systems that provides HTML opt-in code!
For people that need more instruction on how to set it up video tutorials are provided so it should be quite easy to set your first pop-up really fast.
4. ITRO Popup Plugin – they boast to be the best plugin of this sort, with over 20.000 installs and a rating of 4.5 out of 5, they might just be. It has a nice user interface and you can design your popup easily, you can also add fade-in and fade-out animations to it.
This plugin also has an age validation feature that you can set if you want only people above a certain age to view your site and you can also set a timer for the popup to automatically close.
5. WordPress PopUp this is a plugin created by wpmudev, with over 30.000 installs but with a lower rating ( currently 3 out of 5). It’s a responsive and customizable and it has several nice features for the free platform, however if you want to take advantage of its full power you will need to get the pro version – this might be the reason why many people gave it a smaller rating.
You can set when a pop-up appears based on time, clicks, CSS markers and location and you also control who sees a pop-up including logged out users, search engine visitors and visitors who have never commented.
What should you take from this
As you saw from the above list, the free plugins usually have limitations or fewer features. If you’re just starting one of those will definitely be enough. However if you’re serious about your site you’ll need something more powerful.
Either upgrade one of the free plugins that you used and like ( that’s basically why they offer it for free in the first place) or get a paid plugin that has everything that you need from the start.
Opt-in pop-ups have worked pretty much since the day the first one went up on a website. There is a reason why more websites seem to use them now as opposed to even just a couple of years ago – the results. A good internet marketer is always looking for ways to increase their earnings even just a tiny bit, adding this type of pop-up usually offers a visitor value, without looking like a blatant ad.