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“Sign-Up To Email” Pop-Ups

You’ve seen this, undoubtedly experienced it and – the chances are – been frustrated by it. We’re talking about sign-up to email pop-ups. Usually ones that hit you a few seconds after visiting a new website. In this blog post, we cover the pros and cons for implementing this feature and why it can often do more damage than good for small businesses and startups.

Reasons for implementing a email pop-up 

Data has become a key resource, with the five most valuable companies in the world being tech and centred around data collection. While this may seem irrelevant for a small business or startup, data is essential for business growth. One of the most valuable forms of data collection for businesses operating on a smaller scale is email – especially if they are an ecommerce business. Therefore, the desire to maximise email signups in exchange for a discount makes sense and unless you interrupt the user with the value exchange, it will often go unnoticed. This is the main thought process for many considering an email pop-up, validated by the prompts and ease of setup from out-of-the-box website design templates such as Shopify or Wix.

However, there are some problems with this theory:

  • New customers probably don’t know about your business yet or have a high propensity to purchase
  • New customers have no experience of your content yet or know how relevant it is going to be
  • Social media and search marketing, key channels for most businesses, are often mobile centric – the device that makes it the most difficult to exit an annoying pop-up

It may seem like a good idea to welcome visitors with a pop-up and subscribe to newsletter straight away but sometimes it can be more counter-productive.

How can you measure email pop-up effectiveness?

Pop-ups probably do seem to work, in the sense that you’re getting sign ups than if you didn’t have a pop-up at all. However, are you measuring the number of people who click off straight away because they aren’t interested? Consider instead these measurements as a guide for the pop-up effectiveness:

  • Page Bounce rates (this would make a good A/B test)
  • Heat maps of user experience
  • Ratio of sign ups to impressions

We would recommend taking a moment to test the user experience of the pop up yourself across a range of devices and really check how valuable your pop-up is to a new customer. We focus on a new customer because these prospects are the hardest to convert and you probably already have the details of an existing customer.

How can you improve the email pop-up user experience?

A bad user experience won’t just affect your current visitors but long-term, it can affect your potential visitors with a negative effect on SEO due to increased bounce rates, bad mobile experience and longer load times. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to smooth out the user experience and strengthen your inbound marketing. The most essential part is to simply allow your web visitor to use the site before aggressively start serving them marketing messages.

  • Segment your audience so that only new visitors are served the pop-up
  • Move your pop-up trigger to the second or third page or after a longer browsing time
  • Review the design of your pop-up; is your value exchange actually valuable and is it easy to exit if not?
  • Check that your pop-up works smoothly from different devices


Email pop-ups are a useful way to collect data but it’s very important to check that they are doing more good than harm. Often we focus on the handful of positives rather than the much larger impact of lost leads that are less visible unless you’re looking in the right places. We have specialist User Experience software to help identify these silent herds to help create a more complete picture of what is going on on your website. For more information, please get in touch.


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