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May 6, 2015

Pros and Cons to Subscriber Pop-Up Forms

If you’re like many website owners, you have a small box on the right hand side of your page that asks your reader to sign up. It’s not intrusive. It’s simply available for anyone interested in learning more from your business.

How is that small box working for you? Are you getting the numbers of subscribers you’d like? Although you could see an uptick in signups, chances are you would welcome higher conversion rates. One approach used by many websites is the dreaded pop-up box. Pop-up boxes have their fair share of pros and cons. Here’s a look at both the positive and negative sides of this popular, yet controversial approach.

The Upside

No matter how you feel about email pop-up boxes, there are enough upsides to make this tactic worthy of your consideration.

They convert.

Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger, was happy with his 40 new email subscribers per day but he decided to test the conversion power of a pop-up. To his surprise, his numbers skyrocketed and soon he was seeing 400 people signing up to his blog every day. That’s just one example of the many bloggers who have seen tremendous conversions from the pop-up box.

You can time it right.

Worried about irritating your visitors? Change how you time your pop-up to appear. tested this strategy and found the sweet spot to be 60 seconds. At that point, the reader has already scoured your content so they might be more likely to want to sign up for more.

They can put your business in a positive light.

Are you offering a free giveaway for signing up? Do you have a secret that will make your reader swoon? Offer it in the pop-up to look generous instead of pushy.

The Downside.

Although pop-up forms convert well, they come with their fair share of downsides.

They’re irritating.

If you’ve ever landed on a website that uses pop-ups to grab your attention then you know how irritating it can be. One minute you’re digging into something interesting (the reason you came to the website in the first place) and the next, you’re distracted.

Subscriber quality might decrease.

Did the person sign up just to get rid of your irritating box? Or is she genuinely interested in what you have to offer? When you are overly pushy about signing up for your email list, you could attract people who ignore your messages, making them a lower quality email list subscriber. What good is that?

You could lose people.

You know that person who was just enjoying your article? She’s gone. She clicked the back button as soon as she saw her screen flicker. These types of website visitors might be few and far between, but there are people out there that get so disgusted with pop-ups, they don’t give you or your content a second chance.

What should you use?

It depends. Every business, industry, and audience is different. Some companies see tremendous conversions from pop ups. Others, not so much.

Test a pop up on your website for at least a week. Then, watch your email marketing analytics to see how well it converted. You might be surprised by what you learn.