Give Pop-ups a Chance!


Kellie Boggs, Senior Marketing Strategist

Author Bio

With over nine years of experience in developing and growing email and cross-channel marketing programs to drive revenue, Kellie Boggs brings a track record of success in building multi-channel campaigns across a variety of industries. By working one-on-one with clients to understand their business model and goals, she provides strategic marketing guidance to increase revenue. Boggs offers experience in providing clients with industry best practices, message design, campaign optimization, list growth tactics, segmentation strategies and detailed analyses of marketing campaigns. She truly enjoys helping clients build their customer base, grow their email channel and increase revenue! In her spare time, Boggs enjoys chasing her toddler around and the motherhood adventure. She also enjoys attending NC State sporting events with her family.

Hosting a pop-up sign-up on your site is a great way to grow your list and can be a powerful acquisition tool if implemented properly. Yes, I know what you are thinking. “No way! Pop-ups are super irritating, and the truth is the majority of people don’t enjoy them.” I understand that line of thinking, but I have a handful of clients who have recently implemented pop-ups and are seeing some impressive results. So, hear me out as I share some techniques on how to make your pop-up program a successful one.

Timing is Everything

Pop-ups should be set up to appear after a user spends a certain amount of time on your site, but you will want to test the timing to see what gives you the best results. Some users choose to display their pop-up immediately after someone lands on the site, while others opt to delay it for a period of time or until someone navigates to other pages. When testing, look to see when you generate more sign-ups and more sales. You should time your pop-up to be effective but not disruptive for your website visitors. Be sure you don’t show your pop-up too often. Displaying too frequently could cause people to abandon your site altogether and could ultimately affect your reputation.

Cookie Your Visitors

To keep from annoying your site visiors, I recommend only showing a pop-up sign-up to “new” visitors. You don’t want return visitors to see the pop-up time and time again. Put a cookie on the site to track your visitors so that you can trigger your pop-up for the right audience.

I visited Rue La La and was on their site for about four or five seconds when this pop-up appeared and their site faded to gray in the background. For me, this was perfectly timed, and I appreciated the option to log in if I was already a member.

Rue La La

Add a Powerful Headline

Your pop-up needs a great headline to encourage people to provide their emails. It should grab your attention. Anthropologie hits the mark with this one!


Minimize the Fields on the Form

In the pop-up window, create a form that collects simple information such as email, first name, or birthday. Don’t make this form too long or involved as that could deter visitors from completing it. I would limit it to two to three fields at the most.

Add a “No Thanks” Button

You want a visitor to know how to close out the window and return to your site. I recommend adding a simple “No Thanks” call to action button in the top right corner. The C.O. Bigelow pop-up uses an X in the top right, and that works, too!

C.O. Bigelow

Offer an Incentive

An incentive on the form itself is a great way to engage the visitor and lure them in. If done right, they will have no reason not to sign up!

This pop-up from Free People touts an incentive, but they don’t actually specify what it will be. If I was on the fence about signing up and saw that I was going to receive a special treat, it’s a no brainer that I would give you my email address!

Free People


Monitor your bounce rate and watch for user complaints about your pop-up. You want to make it easy for visitors to subscribe, not drive folks away from your site.

One of my clients finally implemented a pop-up on their website to supplement their standard sign-up form. Since it went live, they have seen a 70% lift in the number of subscribers per day! So, what are you waiting for? Give pop-ups a chance!

Already using a pop-up sign-up? I would love to hear how successful it’s been for you and what techniques you use. Feel free to share below.


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