Kateryna Milokhina

Technical Writer

Learn how to use popup form in your business.

Actionable Tips on How to Build Your Email List With Popups

Popups. You might have seen them hundreds of times.

Popups are those display windows that appear while you’re enjoying a good read on a website. They interfere with your browsing experience and you have to either provide your email address or click on the X button to get them off your screen.

You probably wonder why so many businesses, regardless of their scale and industry, keep using popups on their websites. Well, it’s a good time to get your questions answered.

Our partners from Plerdy share some tips you can use to leverage popups in your own marketing strategy.

Why Should You Use Email Sign-up Forms?

To start with, pop-ups can be frustrating, but they do work. Moreover, popups are among the most effective ways to build your email list.

Numerous tests have proven that popups can be extremely effective for your business. For example, a study by AWeber showed that popups drove 1,375% more email subscribers when compared to a sidebar opt-in form.

You may be wondering why you should collect email addresses in the first place, especially if you’re already using social media, PPC, organic search and other channels.

And still, if you want to to create a lasting relationship with your customers, keep them engaged and updated about your products and services, you should start building your email list ASAP.

It may be surprising to some, but email is more effective in converting customers when compared to any other platform.

According to McKinsey, email marketing is 40 times more effective in terms of getting new customers than Twitter or Facebook.

This is apparently because people tend to treat their email inboxes like their bedrooms where only approved people can enter: clean and private.

And keeping people engaged right in the comfort of their private inbox brings about a level of distraction-free attention to your message — an advantage that no other marketing channel has.

That’s exactly why it’s crucial that you only use opt-in email databases collected with consent from your subscribers. And here’s where opt-in forms come to an aid, providing a polite way to ask your visitors to opt-in to your mailing list.

Alternative Applications of Smart Popups

  • Informing visitors of the available delivery options (e.g. Free shipping to the UK and Europe),

  • Encouraging visitors to download or view a digital product,

  • Keeping them updated on current discount offers,

  • Introducing a new product or service.

Cons of Smart Popups

  • Unfortunately, many online users don’t like popups. In the worst case, some people might even leave the website upon seeing a popup.

  • Displaying the right message at the wrong time can negatively impact your users’ browsing experience.

However, there are many ways through which you can set up effective popups for your website. For example, a smart form builder can help you save time on implementing popups and managing the collected data. Which means you’ll be able to focus on generating leads and building sales.

An example of a pop-up newsletter signup form.

And What If You’re Using an Embedded Opt-In Form?

One of the most popular options is to embed opt-in fields in the website’s footer.

An example of email collection form in the footer.

Footer-embedded opt-in forms have been around for a long time. They blend in perfectly with the overall design of the website and don’t interrupt users’ browsing experience.

If a visitor scrolls down to the bottom of your page, chances are they’re really interested in your offerings.

However, don’t rely solely on footer opt-in forms for collecting emails.

A more efficient strategy would be to give your visitors an alternative way to sign up for your email list.

For example, you can combine footer-embedded opt-ins with pop-up windows and engage website visitors as they scroll down your content.

A popup form can help you effectively convert visitors into leads.

7 Secret Tips for Using Popups

As mentioned above, popups are an easy and effective way to build your email lists and convert casual visitors into paying customers.

And if you’re already using popups on your website, but the results aren’t forthcoming as expected, you’re probably doing something wrong.

It might be time time to change your tactics.

Try following these 7 simple tips.

1. Keep Your Pop-ups Low-Key

You don’t want to beat around the bush, do you?

Keep in mind that most website visitors are already interested in your content and you wouldn't want to disrupt their browsing experience.

Go straight to the point, ask for their email addresses and leave as fast as you can.

2. Use Clear CTAs

Ideally, your popup should contain a concise, clear CTA.

A call to action (CTA for short) is a piece of text that encourages visitors to take a specific action.

Here are some examples of CTAs:

  • Sign Up Now

  • Download

  • Subscribe

  • Register

  • Buy Now

  • Learn More

A strategic CTA can help increase your overall conversion rates, build your email list, get more downloads for a piece of content or promote a particular product or service.

Clear, concise CTAs will drive traffic, grab users’ attention and guide them through the action you’d like them to take, be it signing up for your newsletters or downloading an e-book.

3. Offer an Incentive to Boost Subscriptions

People would do (almost) anything for a mouthwatering incentive.

That said, you can use offers such as discounts, coupons, and free shipping to build your email list.

A popup form with offers such as discounts, coupons, and free shipping.

Incentives don’t have to be financial rewards only.

Rather it can be anything valuable.

If you have a great piece of content you’d like to share with your users, offer it up!

4. Make Sure the Pop-up Design Is Attractive to Users

To be highly effective, a popup has to meet the two simple criteria:

  • blend perfectly with the overall design of your website,

  • attract users’ attention without annoying them.

One of the best options to opt for is to use lightbox popups. When a lightbox popup appears on the screen, the webpage is darkened in the background so that users can focus on your popup message.

Lightbox popup windows stand out against the darkened background.


5. Display Your Popups at the Right Time

Timing plays a critical role when triggering popups.

You need to find the right timing that works for your visitors. That’s where analytics steps in. Track how users interact with your popups, and test different delay settings to find what works best for your visitors.

6. Display More Than One Opt-In Form

Most businesses make the mistake of only using a single opt-in form.

That’s not a good idea.

Instead, give your visitors more chances to subscribe to your email list.

While footer or sidebar-embedded opt-in forms are still effective, they may not bring you the number of opt-ins you desire.

If you truly want your visitors to subscribe, you need to display opt-in forms where they can be easily seen.

Give your visitors more options to subscribe by using a number of different signup forms at different places on your website. For example:

  • Your header, where visitors can see your signup form without having to scroll down.

  • A sidebar, one of the most commonly used locations for signup forms.

  • A footer, where you can capture visitors who were interested enough to scroll down to the very bottom of the page.

  • Your blog posts, where you can capture visitors who are specifically interested in your posts and newsletters.

  • The “About Us” page where you can showcase your offers and ask users to subscribe for updates in a natural way.

  • A dedicated “Sign Up” page providing information on why users should sign up to your email list, and what you’ll be emailing about.

  • Lightbox popups that appear as users are looking around your website.

  • Scroll box popups that only appear as users scroll down the webpage.

  • Exit intent popup that appears when a user is just about to leave your website and help convert them before they disappear.

7. Find the Right Tools

If you are dead serious about improving your conversion rates, you might need a convenient tool for managing your popups. For example, check out Plerdy, a smart pop-up form builder that enables you to create, manage and analyze pop-up forms on your website.

One of the cool things about Plerdy is that you can easily integrate it with our service. Through this integration, you’ll be able to automatically obtain data and use it in your email marketing campaigns as soon as a website visitor enters their email address in a pop-up form on your website.


Implementing popups will help you not only grow your email lists but also ultimately increase your conversion rates.

By growing your email list, you can reach more prospects and convert them into regular customers.

However, this doesn’t happen by chance. You need a well-thought-out email marketing strategy.

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Kateryna Milokhina

Technical Writer

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