How to collect subscribers for a newsletter: insights into pop-ups

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How to collect subscribers for a newsletter: insights into pop-ups

In 2017, there was conducted an interesting study about types of most annoying web-advertising. The 452 participants were asked to choose the worst type of Internet ads among 23 possible variants.

Guess what type landed in the first place? Pop-ups, of course. Not surprisingly, users hate pop-ups and consider them the most annoying way of online advertising. The conclusion seems obvious: want your visitors to be happy - don’t use pop-ups.

In reality, things are not that simple (they never are, actually). It turns out, there are a bunch of other studies which show that no matter how annoying pop-ups are, they still work best. In the article of SuMo Pop-ups aren’t dead, the analysis of 2 billion pop-ups showed that they are still successful.

pop-ups statistics

Even average performing popups result in high conversion rate. So what are site owners and marketers supposed to do? What to choose: high conversion or visitors happiness? It’s up to you but here are few reasons why you pop-ups deserve at least to be considered.

NNGroup published a study on the most annoying types of advertising, which involved 452 adult respondents from the United States. They were shown 23 variants of advertising for computers and mobile devices. The survey participants had to answer which options they liked and which did not.

What are the secrets of successful popups - 5 secrets with examples:

Secret #1 - Make a special pop-up for different pages

The popup should be connected to the published content. Let’s say, you have an article How to pick a humidifier - 35 tips and tricks. The effective popup would contain a description connected to the content:

Hey, you want a checklist of choosing humidifiers + 34 hidden humidifier functions you never thought of? Leave your email and we are sending checklist and guide right away.

I am not saying this is a perfect text for the popup. But you got the idea - it has to play along with the text on the page.

Like here:

good pop-up examples

The text on the page is about venture activity in Ohio. The popup offers you to get a related information

Secret #2 - Give files and templates

We already talked about giving subscribers checklists and white papers. However, not every target audience likes reading a lot. Try free templates instead. The secret of this secret is to offer as many files as you can. Compare the effect:

We have something else for you - 3 free mockup templates PSD

Just drop your email here and we will send it to you


We have something else for you - 33 free mockup templates PSD

Just drop your email here and we will send it to you

Don’t hurry up to make a popup if you don’t have enough material. Better gather a more significant number of templates and then make an offer.

Traditionally, example:

templates pop-ups

Secret #3 - No-one-likes-popups insights

I hesitated whether I should mention this method but decided to go for it. Everyone knows that popups suck and you can play this card. However, I would recommend to use it only as a temporary solution while you prepare the templates or write a white paper.


Because it is boring and everyone uses it. I was randomly looking into the pictures of popups and I found lots of such examples.

no one likes popups

And so on and so forth. On the other hand, it is still working - so maybe you should give it a try.

Secret #4 - Use questions

Most pop-ups call to actions right away. Stand out and start with the question. Why?

  • You won’t seem an annoying guy who orders to do something
  • People are subconsciously prone to answer questions
  • It creates a dialog between you and your visitor which is a natural form of communication
  • Make your question friendly and creative, even tricky. If a user has to spend a while to think on the question, he will spend more time on your site and become eager to find out the answer:

pop-up call to action examples

This is a perfect example of creative text on the popup. A tricky question, an intriguing offer

Secret #5 - Respect your visitors

Are you familiar with super-annoying popups which show up dozens of times no matter how often you close them? Avoid that or you can lose a visitor.

How to stop the popup from showing?

  • Control the number of times it shows. All the software where you are making pop-ups has the setting where you can regulate how many times you want your banner to be shown. I recommend going with: no more than 2 times per visitor.
  • Regulate the frequency. If you set 2 times possible, control also the time frame. You should wait for 1-2 days and if visitors come to you again in 2 days, you can repeat the popup if you want to.

popup frequency

Pop-ups are not a bad thing even if your site visitors think so. But it’s not like site owners don’t have a right to show some annoying ads or subscribe CTAs since there is a lot of work done on the website and most of it for free. It’s okay if your users don’t like something if it works.

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