Growing your online business – opt-in popups

By , last updated September 28, 2019

One of our ventures at Studiofreya is to make high resolution textures. This type of business was once very profitable, but the market became extremely over-saturated pretty fast. Thus, we are experiencing huge competition from both huge established stock websites and totally free ones like DevianArt.

Exploring Google trends for keyword “texture” shows an explosion of interest for textures from 2011. This trend is decreasing now.

texture google trends

The easiest way would be to cut the losses and give everything away for free or close down. But the problem is that we actually like to take pictures and make textures. In addition, we use them in our games.

Growing your business is always hard. Even harder than to start one. But we don’t give up (just yet).

There are many ways to try and grow your online business. They change so rapidly and work so differently that we won’t explore all the possibilities here. In this article we are going to talk about one of the ways of doing it – opt-in popups for email subscriptions and newsletters.

subscribe form

Do popups work?

We can see a lot of them lately on the web. Many people hate them and leave the page immediately. These popups are mostly irritating, but business is not about being nice.

Most marketers (Neil Patel, for example) and other people who use them are indicating that they get good results. Internet is full of success stories about increasing the conversion rate by 100x with the introduction of popup opt-ins:

The general rule of thumb is that anything that forces a decision performs best. A full screen popup, for example, will force you to act. This is followed by anything that moves.

Popups work incredibly well in practice. Most people close them, but many people fill it out. Very few leave because of them.

Popups are also becoming more and more often and thus more effective as people become comfortable giving out their email address if sites create quality content/value.


Remember though that search engines like Google strive to make user experience better rather than worrying about your business. As of July 2015 Google has started to punish mobile websites that show full page popups. Always think of user experience when implementing something on your website.

Popups done right

Every idea can both bring something to you and take it. This is the same with popups. As they are mostly annoying, you need to follow some basic guidelines in order to not hurt your website.

ADVICE 1 : Timing your pop-up is the most crucial aspect to get the results you want. The best time to show a pop-up is 30-60 seconds after your visitors enter your site. If you time your pop-up before 60 seconds, there will be a significant drop off in conversion rates. However, if you wait too long, your pop-up will miss a large number of visitors.

ADVICE 2 : Notice that some visitors will open multiple pages within a few seconds upon their arrival (in order to verify if they found what they’re searching or not). Keep both page views and time as filters: in this way only people who read your content will see your pop-ups.

ADVICE 3 : Like landing pages, your pop-up needs a powerful headline to make people provide their emails. Your headline must grab the attention of your visitors. Use your headline to make an offer that your visitors can’t refuse. And remember to test them to see which gather more subscribers.

ADVICE 4 : Don’t show your pop-up too often otherwise it will annoy your visitors and they will leave without ever coming back.

ADVICE 5 : Do not ask for too much information. Pop-ups work like opt-in forms: if you ask for too much information your conversion rate will decrease. Ask for name and email – or even just the email.

Bad ass techniques

Now that we know these things work, we can take action and implement some real bad ass techniques that will grow your subscription list 10x or ever 100x and 1000x times.

All over the place : has tripled their email list by placing popups all over and around main content: in the header, sidebars, footer, in the beginning, middle and the end of each post. Overkill? Maybe. But it worked for them.

Do not click : A test made by showed that their “Do not Click here” action button generated 46% more clicks than “click here”. A cheap technique, but it’s working.

You have to move it move it : Place your opt-in form in the sidebar or corner and make it scroll with the user. Make it wiggle. It draws attention and generates more relevant leads as you are drawing attention along with a visitor exploring your content.

Remove calls to action : Remove your calls to action, buy buttons or place to cart buttons. Add an opt-in to get notified. Potential customers will sign up to get updates about the products. Removing calls to action can potentially have a reverse effect on people who may want something they can’t have.

Try it

All websites are different (at least a little bit). You need to experiment with different types of popups for a period of time to see results. Some work better than others – choose wisely!

BUT! A simple look at the most popular blogs like TechCrunch, Mashable and Huffington Post show hat they don’t use popups, but rather sidebar subscription boxes. Maybe because popups are considered annoying.


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