As competition between e-commerce businesses gets fiercer, online retailers are using more aggressive techniques to convert their website visitors into email subscribers in hopes of long term customer retention and higher conversion.

You might have noticed more and more popups are showing up as you navigate the web. From a simple popup that shows up as soon as you enter a web page, or one that suddenly appears on your screen as you are reading a blog post. We call those, Behavioral Webhooks. Because 95% of your website visitors leave without taking further action, it is essential that you do your best to capture their emails so you can grow your subscriber’s list.

Below are seven tips on how to properly use smart popups to increase your email subscribers:

Display the pop-up at the right time

Above is an example of popup fiesta gone wrong! The point is that timing is crucial in triggering a popup so configure your action to fire up at the right moment or you run the risk of annoying your subscribers. For example, asking people for their email address before they read your blog post does not make sense as they do not know if you are providing value to them yet. In this case, it is advisable to wait until the user tries to close his browser before triggering the action. If you have a pricing page, you can setup a timer to trigger after someone stays on that page for more then 3 minutes, showing him or her a promotional code that “expires” by the end of the day.

Use filter to target the right audience

Make use of filters to create different popups based on your target audience. For instance, create a popup for the traffic coming from your PPC ad campaigns that are slightly different than the traffic coming from your email campaigns. Most engines use cookies to separate your subscribers from the anonymous visitor on your website. Here are few filters available through our engine that works beautifully for different audiences we have.

Create attractive and transparent messages

Make sure your subscribers know what they are opting-in to. A message such as “signup” is not clear and rather confusing to the end user. Choosing a creative punchline will make it more appealing for the user to trust you and give you permission to message his “wholly” inbox. Here are few messages that got my attention:

This is a slider message I stumbled upon as i was browsing the services page of a local veterinarian

And here is an offer popup that fires up as a user is browsing the products page. If you put your email below, the user will receive a coupon code automatically through the form autoresponder settings.

Don’t use your pop-ups extensively

Do not abuse the use of smart popups or your users will get annoyed and you risk giving a negative impression about your product or service. At the end of the day, users came to your site because of selfish reasons. They are either shopping around or they want to learn something new, popups changes this behavior to become about you, so use them moderately.

A/B test your popups

Testing is the number one factor in marketing success. I always advise users to create 2 variations of the same popup that runs at different times, then look at the execution stats to see which one is performing better. Your popups can have different headlines and call to actions text.

Evaluate the performance of your popups

If you are not getting more subscribers or expected results from your popups, even after doing A/B testing, that could mean one of 2 things: A- you do not have enough traffic to your pages, B- your popup is not executing properly and you might need to test it thoroughly. Check your analytics data to confirm if the ratio of visitors vs popup execution makes sense.

What should you do after you get your subscribers?

Getting your subscribers through smart popups is only the tip of the sales funnel. It is highly recommended to setup a series of 5 to 6 emails, using email automation, to consistently hit the subscriber’s inbox. By using the proven tactic of 4-1-1 (4 informational emails, 1 soft sell, one hard sell) you can get the best out of your subscribers and convert more leads into sales over the long run. Make sure your emails are properly timed and should be personalized and simple. Over-using graphics and templates are not necessarily effective in drip campaigns.


  • Behavioral popups are highly effective in increasing your subscribers count.
  • Make sure you execute your popups at the right time and to the right audience. DO NOT OVERUSE THEM.
  • Choose compelling messages and don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your offers.
  • Always measure, test and try different variations of your popups until you find the magic recipe.
  • Attach your popup to a drip campaign in order to leverage the power of automation to convert more leads into sales.