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The most popular use for a website marketing with popup is to gain email subscribers. That’s because list building is an important element in any online business. It’s the key to growing your audience and staying connected with them, and it’s a sign that you’ve earned their trust. When someone visits your website some make their way back, but many don’t. If you collect their email address, though, you can continue to communicate with them.

Even though popups are one of the best ways to grow your email list, they can also be used to promote various services, new products, surveys, and more. They’re a really great marketing tool for a variety of things and shouldn’t be overlooked.

But there’s a problem: a lot of people complain about them.

Popups are often seen as super annoying, but they don’t have to be. The truth is, most big blogs and websites use them because they work. So really, popups aren’t annoying in general, but because they’re often poorly timed.

Marketing with Popups

Even though a lot of people complain about popups, they actually do work.

The reason popups work is that they are a very strong call to action. They get the information in front of your audience without having to go look for it. And if you’re offering your readers something they might want like a tip sheet, ebook or another useful freebie, then you could see a huge increase in signups from your popup alone.

You’re bound to see your conversion rate go up, but only if you implement the popup form the right way.

Disadvantages of Popups

There are some disadvantages to using popups, but mostly if you’re not using them correctly. Some people, like Beth from Copyblogger, actually received hate mail!

Don’t let that deter you though because she also said her opt-ins “soared.”

Since the biggest disadvantage to adding a popup to your website is potentially upsetting your audience, the best solution is to think like your audience. You have to imagine how they will see it, how it will benefit them, and if it’s enticing enough to click through, or simply click off the screen.

You can use a popup without disturbing your visitors. You just have to be careful in how you do it. Ideally, the best way is to create a well-timed popup to catch your visitor’s attention and keep him or her on your site.

Why Timing is Everything

There’s a good chance that the person who has landed on your website might be a first-time viewer. If they’re new to your website, they won’t know anything about you, your brand or your content.

That’s why you should give them some time to go over your content and digest your website before a giant popup interrupts their experience by asking for their personal information. You want to give them enough time to fall in love with what you have to offer, otherwise, you could scare them off.

At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long. They might be done on your website before the popup even shows. There’s a small window of opportunity to gain that conversion, which is why timing is everything.

When to Have a Popup

There are a number of different ways you can display your popup based on the different actions your audience takes. Each one has its own benefit and special features.

Time-based

Since timing is everything, creating a time-based popup might be the best solution. Most people choose to set it to about one minute, but that will greatly depend on what type of content you have to offer.

In order to figure out how long to set your time-based popup, go through your own content and estimate how long it would take someone to consume most of the information. You can also find out how long the majority of people remain on your website by looking at your site’s engagement.

You want them to have a good understanding of your website before you ask them for their name and email address. Ideally, you should allow enough time for them to consume 50% – 60% of the information before the popup shows.

After a Page Scrolls

By looking at your user engagement, you can estimate the best time to set your popup according to how far they scroll down the page.

Not everyone is going to take the time to read every line and might scroll faster than others. However, there is a point in your content when your visitor will slow down to view the content. It’s right at this moment that you should have your popup shared.

You can calculate this by analyzing web visitors scrolling behavior, because when page scrolls, it’s a clear sign that they are interested in what they are viewing and has begun to consume the content. It was discovered by Chartbeat that engagement peaks after the visitor scrolled below the fold. Knowing this information is helpful if you choose to use the scrolling option in the popup setup.

End of Content

Another great option for placing a well-timed popup is to have it shown when they reach the end of your content.

The reason this works is that it allows a reader to fully digest your content before you ask them to sign up. It’s also a good sign that they’ve taken the time to go through the entire page, which means they must have enjoyed it. You’re more likely to get subscribers from people who enjoy your content, than those who don’t.

When They Exit

Exit-intent popups come up right when a visitor is going to leave your website. This is done by using cursor tracking.

By tracking their cursor, the popup app can determine when they are about to click the back button or exit the screen, and that’s when it will show. It’s kind of a last attempt to get your information in front of them before they leave. According to OptinMonster, 70% of people will never return to your website once they leave.

This well-time popup is great because it means your visitor is clearly done on your website, so you won’t be interrupting them. It’s also a great way to thank them for visiting, and to offer them a way to get notifications for new content (i.e. through your newsletter).

It’s Your Turn!

Whether you’ve had a website for a while or you are learning how to make one through the many online WordPress guides available, adding a well-timed popup is an important way to catch your audience’s attention.

The best way to know what kind of timed popup is right for you is to try them out, play around with them, change the messaging and keep track of the data.

Like any part of running a successful business, you might have to test out a few different options. In the end, always do it with your audience’s best intentions in mind, and you’re sure to find success using popups.

Michael Pignataro
Co-Chief Executive Officer - Operations at 'corePHP'
Entrepreneur, family man and long-time magician, "Magic Man" Michael Pignataro is co-owner of 'corePHP' with his mirror-image twin brother, Steven. Michael is 'corePHP's Co-Chief Executive Officer - Operations. He's also got a wicked fast wrist at the foosball table.

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