5 Website Popup Types and Examples to Increase Conversions in 2020
The landscape of digital marketing has changed dramatically in recent years.
But does that mean that traditional channels like email marketing are dead? Absolutely not.
Here are some notable email marketing statistics:
- More than 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened 
- Email works best when it’s used to serve up the kind of relevant content and offers consumers have come to expect from brands. 
- According to eMarketer, 39% of email marketers that practice list segmentation sees better open rates. 
So, it’s clear that email marketing is still making a strong impact on the bottom line for most digital marketers. And the question we’re going to answer in this post is this:
“How do you capture more email subscribers without having to use your advertising budget?”
More specifically, we’re going to focus on website popups and popup types. Sure, popups get a lot of flack from the design community.
They can be intrusive and borderline annoying, but that’s not the approach we are taking with this post.
We’ll be looking at website popup types that are both seamless but also rewarding for your visitors.
Incentives are easily the most prominent way of capturing more subscribers, and we’ll be looking at this technique in-depth.
But first, let’s make a stronger case for popups and why they are a superior method for capturing more subscribers for your email list.
Newsletter Signup Forms are Important
So, you are probably already using a newsletter form on your website. At the very least, you’ll have seen it being used on other sites you visit.
This is the most popular type of newsletter form used by both marketing experts and bloggers alike.
You’ll find these forms on homepages, below blog post content, and other areas of a site where there are a lot of visitors.
The problem is that conversion rates for such forms tend to gravitate towards the lower end of the spectrum.
If your site has 10,000 monthly visitors, you’d be lucky to get even 5% of those visitors turned into email subscribers.
Whereas popups have shown not only a 500% increase in signups but also a decrease in cart abandonment rates by up to 17%.
Why are website popups so good at capturing more email subscribers?
One of the main reasons why website pop-ups are so successful is because every single site visitor will be presented with your offer.
Of course, users have the choice to close the popup window, but not before they have seen what you have to offer.
And if you make a strong offer/incentive, you’re much more likely to double, even triple your opt-in rates.
Popups are one of the most commonly used strategies for eCommerce conversion optimization.
This is an example of a popup that offers new customers up to 10% off from their first order in exchange for their email address.
A simple, yet very impactful technique.
Offers can come in many different ways. Some sites offer discounts, while others prefer to offer a free eBook for example.
We’ll be looking at the different ways you can customize your popups all throughout this article.
So, whether you’re someone who has never used popups or you simply want to get better results, get your notepad out and ready — because there’s going to be a lot of things to learn and take away.
Let’s get the ball rolling.
1. Ouch, that’s exit-intent
The first popup type we’re going to explore is called exit-intent.
This is a website popup that you will present to your visitors upon them leaving your site.
For example, a customer visits your store and spends roughly 30 seconds looking at a product.
Unfortunately, they’re either not interested or not incentivized enough to continue shopping.
So, naturally, they navigate their mouse button to the [X] (Close Tab) button.
And exactly at this moment, you can trigger an exit-intent popup to try getting their attention one last time.
Here is an example:
A user tried leaving the site but got presented with a one-time offer.
A sitewide $10 discount will get anyone’s attention, even if they don’t plan to finish their shopping right away.
And as such, the incentive is worth subscribing for.
Many first-time visitors simply browse a site, but a generous offer in the form of a discount might entice them to visit the site at a later date.
The best part is that they’ll have already subscribed.
So, you can continue on-boarding them through your email campaigns.
Another way to use exit-intent website popups is to gather user feedback.
Here is an example:
This method won’t capture subscribers directly, but what it will do is provide you with succinct feedback.
The survey asks what was the purpose of their visit, but also asks whether users found that they were looking for.
Over time you’re going to accumulate enough answers that it will give you a clear picture of what is working and what isn’t.
Chances are, many people leave your site because they’re not finding what they need.
And if you can find out what it is they need, your sales will naturally see a boost.
Moving on. If you are going to implement the exit-intent popup type, you’ll need to remember a few important things.
Let’s be honest. Design plays an important role in decision making. We all have abandoned a website at some point because the design wasn’t up to par.
Upon entering your site, users will immediately look upon the overall design style to understand how your site works.
Web design is a form of branding, and branding should portray strong business ethics and earn the trust of your users.
Likewise, designing your exit-intent popups around your overall design scheme is a must-do!
Things to look out for are bold fonts, high-contrast buttons, and creative elements such as photography.
Users should be able to understand the entirety of your offer within a single glance of an eye.
Optimize your copy
Popups provide a very tiny real estate for your content. In fact, you have so little space to work with that every single word counts!
To make the most of it, focus on creating a simple and self-explanatory copy that doesn’t create any confusion.
Remember, you’re not writing for search engines but for real people.
A little bit of empathy and emotional connection will go a long way in encouraging more signups!
Make it easy to close the popup
There is never going to be a situation where you want to deliberately block your users from closing the popup modal.
Instead, let users close the popup as effortlessly as possible.
Always show a [X] button in the corner of the modal, and letting users click outside of the popup area to close it is also a recommended solution.
Most email marketing tools provide this feature out of the box.
And that should be about it for all your exit-intent popup needs.
A lot of this comes down to practice and trying out different variations. Once you find a variation that works, stick to it and enjoy the results.
Let’s continue with the next popup type.
2. Gamify your website popups
Gamification is a relatively new technique used for garnering email subscribers.
But, rest assured, it’s an extremely potent technique, not only because of the fun factor but also because people love to be in for a chance to win something!
Here’s an example of a “Lucky Wheel” popup, also known as “Spin the Wheel to Win!”:
So, you’re probably wondering how to add this gamified popup to your site? Fortunately, it’s extremely simple.
All you need is OptiMonk and a little bit of creative inspiration to get started.
The wheel itself is based on a simple concept of “reward in exchange for subscribing”.
Some people like to include a “you didn’t win anything option”, but if you truly wish to maximize your email list growth, then making every wheelspin a “win” is the way to go.
Here are some examples of things you can offer as a reward:
- Free shipping for the first order.
- Specific % or $ discount.
- A free taster of your most popular products.
- Free subscription to your service if you operate a digital product.
- And anything else you can come up with!
The best part is that you can configure specific winning ratios for each of the rewards.
This will help to prevent everyone from winning the best prize, and it certainly adds to the fun of it all.
Neil Patel, who is world-renowned marketer, has also started using this gamification technique on his website.
That should tell you all there is to know about the effectiveness of this popup type.
Even if you don’t operate an eCommerce store per se, you can still use this gamification technique to offer other incentives.
E.g. Users could potentially win a chance to have a mentoring session with you.
You could even include things like “Win my Book” or “Learn my secret marketing techniques!” — giving people a chance to win something they wouldn’t usually get access to is a great way to encourage participation.
And participation means more subscribers for your email list.
There are so many different ways to use this method, so don’t hold yourself back to try it out and see the results for yourself.
3. Use multi-step website popups
A multi-step popup works similarly to an onboarding process.
Basically, rather than displaying a single popup, you’ll be presenting 2 or more in an attempt to get users to proceed to the next step.
Here’s an example of a two-step popup:
So, the first window on the left side is presenting users with an offer. And users can choose between a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’.
Since most people are interested in special deals, expect them to click ‘Yes’.
And once they do, they’re going to be greeted with the popup displayed on the right.
This one you can configure to be anything you like. But, in most cases, it is going to be a popup that you use to collect people’s email address with.
Of course, in exchange for an offer since that is the reason why people clicked the ‘Yes’ button.
Let’s take a look at another example.
This one is from Copy Hackers. Their approach is to present a full-page popup overlay whenever a user triggers exit-intent.
A full-page layout gives you a lot more design options to work with, as is evident in this example.
First, Copy Hackers are able to list slightly more details about their free offer.
But, also have decided to include a full portfolio photo of their founder.
This further promotes tactics such as marketing psychology.
If a user clicks on the ‘Yes please!’ button, they’ll be presented with a simple email box. Like so:
There are no page transitions or anything. Everything happens in the same layout and is very efficient at giving the user what they want.
Multi-step campaigns are a fairly advanced technique for getting more conversions.
On some sites, it might not work as well because of how your brand is seen as a whole.
Whereas if you work with a lot of products and other offers, this might be the one technique to drastically improve your subscriber rates.
4. Offer a free eBook
Free content has a lot of appeals, and not necessarily because it’s labeled as free.
Who doesn’t want to know the latest happenings in their specific field for an entire year?
A lot of research data we see online often comes from such papers, and those papers are almost always walled behind a subscription form.
It’s a time-tested technique to exponentially grow your email list.
This is what it would look like on your site:
So, rather than asking for an email address directly, you can incentivize an eBook offer instead.
Depending on your niche, you can come up with a ton of eBook ideas, and use them as a means to build your list.
It’s no surprise that professional marketers like Brian Dean from Backlinko have chosen this exact method for their email marketing promotion.
Whenever you signup for Brian’s newsletter, he’s going to send you out juicy SEO tips and tricks in the form of email articles.
It might not be exactly an eBook strictly speaking, but it’s still information that’s only available to subscribers.
Here’s how WP Engine tackles this technique:
Their Resources page includes numerous papers and eBooks on critical topics within their niche.
But, notice the panel on the right-hand side. Rather than asking only for an email address, WP Engine is actually collecting a lot more data than just email.
You yourself can apply this technique within your website popups.
Find out as much information as you can about your readers, and it will be much easier to market to them at a later time.
Here are some important tips to remember about eBook offers.
Share your secrets
Anyone can write an eBook, probably in less than a few hours if they like.
But not everyone is willing to give up their industry secrets.
If you truly wish to attract attention, be willing to share stuff that people would otherwise need to invest money in.
Go all out on the presentation
If I am to give someone my email address, I expect that what I get in return is polished and pleasant to use.
So, with that in mind, invest in your eBook design and presentation. Make it an irresistible offer.
Something that people will share with their friends or even better, link back to from their website.
Make it scannable
Likewise, make your eBooks (or papers) easily scannable.
Let users find the information they need as quickly as possible.
At the end of the day, users have already given you their email address.
Promote your eBook
Write blog posts, reference it internally, and ensure that your website popups are triggered at the right time.
The more people you can get interested in your eBook, the more subscribers you’re going to get in the long run.
It’s all about providing value, so focus on that.
5. Provide discounts and incentives
We touched on this briefly, but let’s discuss it more in-depth.
How come that offers and incentives work so well with popups?
Well, for one, they are discounts after all.
If users have a choice to pay less for their purchase, they will do it 100% of the time.
I’m sure you’ve come across a similar popup dialog before:
This is a traditional discount offer used by hundreds of thousands of eCommerce sites.
The question is, how generous are you willing to be with your offers without breaking the bank?
A modest 10-20% discount generally works really well. But, what about other offer types?
Here are some for your inspiration.
1. Free shipping for all orders
If the items you sell have a substantial profit margin, you can go ahead and offer free shipping for every order.
This is going to guarantee a monumental increase in your email subscribers.
2. Free shipping on first-time orders
This is a similar offer but focuses mostly on customers who are making their first purchase with you.
3. Free shipping for orders above $X amount
So, for example, if a user spends $100 in your store, they’re able to get a free shipping offer in exchange for their email address.
4. $X gift card on all orders
Hit two birds with one stone. Offers customers a set amount gift card whenever they finalize an order.
This might incentive for existing customers to share the gift card with their friends.
It all comes down to how comfortable you feel with offering discounts.
And for some stores, different offers might produce different results.
In this case, try out multiple popup variations and monitor what returns the best result for your campaigns.
So, there you have it. A solid list of 5 unique popup types that will boost your email subscriber rates.
You can use a different type of popup for different scenarios, as well.
Don’t just stick to one method.
Instead, focus on implementing as many of these popup types as you can for the best result.
Here is a summary of everything we learned:
- Exit-intent technology helps you collect subscribers from people who are about to leave your site. Use offers as a way to entice users to subscribe.
- Gamification is an emerging pop-up type that promotes various offers that users have a chance of winning. The better the offers, the more people will participate.
- Use multi-step website popups to entice users in an offer they might otherwise have overlooked.
- eBooks, papers, and documents are a great way to share knowledge and information in exchange for a subscription. Focus on value!
- Discounts and incentives come in many unique forms. Find a sweet spot for your business and let users collect their offer in exchange for their email.