Competition for e-commerce sites is steadily increasing. As a result, online retailers need to use effective techniques to convert visitors into email subscribers and then into long-term customers.

While browsing the web lately, it is hard not to notice more pop-ups being used when you visit sites. There are simple pop-ups that appear as soon as you open a page, and there are those that suddenly appear while you are reading a blog post. These are called Behavioral Popups since they occur as a result of pre-defined behaviors you define as triggers. An estimated 95% of web visitors leave a site without taking any action. This makes it essential for businesses to try to capture information from those visitors to grow their subscribers lists.

Below are seven tips on how to masterfully use smart pop-ups to increase your subscribers and conversions:

1. Display the pop-ups at the right time

Above is an example of a pop-up fiesta gone wrong! There is no faster way to lose credibility and annoy visitors than with excessive, ill-timed pop-ups. Instead, configure your pop-ups to trigger one at a time, at the right moments. For example, ask people for their email address after they read your blog post, not before. This gives them a chance to see if they like your content. In this example, it is best to trigger the pop-up when the user tries to close the browser. If you have a pricing page, it is best to trigger a pop-up after someone stays on the page for more than 3 minutes. The content that appears could offer a promotional code that expires by the end of the day to create a sense of urgency.

2. Use filters to target the right audience

Personalize pop-ups with filters for different audiences. One way to segment is to filter according to how they reach your website. For example, you can create one for traffic coming from PPC ad campaigns and you can have a slightly different one that appears to visitors coming from your email campaigns. Most engines use cookies to separate subscribers from anonymous visitors on your website. Here are a few filters available with our tools that can help you personalize content for your audiences.

Create a popup

3. Create appealing and transparent messages

Make sure your subscribers know what they are signing up when they provide their email address. A message simply stating “sign-up” is not clear enough. Try choosing a creative punchline to make it appealing, and clarify in a few words what they will receive. This creates interest and trust and will increase your subscriber rates. Here are few messages that got my attention:

This is an offer pop-up that appears while a user is browsing the products page. When a visitor provides an email address, they receive a coupon code automatically through the form autoresponder settings.

4. Don’t use your pop-ups extensively

Do not overuse or visitors will quickly get annoyed and could walk away with a negative impression of your product or service. Always remember, when someone first visits your site, they are either shopping around or want to learn something new. Pop-ups can feel like pressure selling, so use them moderately.

5. A/B test your popups

Testing greatly increases your marketing success. The best practice is to create two versions of the same pop-up, run them at different times, then observe which performs better. Your pop-ups can have different headlines or call to actions text. To measure results accurately, only change one item at a time during your testing so you know which element makes the difference.

6. Evaluate the performance of your popups

If you are not getting more subscribers or the results you expected with your pop-ups, even after A/B testing, there could be two reasons: 1) You do not have enough traffic to your pages, 2) Your pop-up is not executing properly and you might need to test it thoroughly. Check your analytics data to confirm if the ratio of visitors to pop-up execution seems accurate.

7. Now that you have more subscribers, how do you increase conversions?

Getting more subscribers with smart pop-ups is the top of the sales funnel. At this stage, you need to nurture your leads with regular contact to engage them. This should not be excessive. You should send a series of 5 to 6 emails, at timed intervals to your subscribers. These are called drip email campaigns and they can be successfully set up and executed using email automation. Using automation means that you can schedule the messages and their content in advance to ensure nothing is missed with manually sending communications. Studies have shown that a 4-1-1 strategy (4 informational emails, 1 soft sell, 1 hard sell) is a proven method to convert subscribers into sales over time. Automation also helps ensure your emails are properly timed, personalized and simple. Over-using graphics and templates are not necessarily effective in drip campaigns.


  • Behavioral or “smart” pop-ups are highly effective for increasing your subscribers.
  • Make sure you execute your pop-ups at the right time and to the right audience. Do not overuse them
  • Choose compelling messages and get creative with your offers.
  • Always measure and test different variations of your pop-ups to get the best results.
  • Attach your pop-up to a drip campaign to leverage the power of automation to convert your leads into sales.