Nisa Neethling Content Writer

Dominate email list building: 5 Ways to use pop-ups that won’t annoy your visitors

Email Marketing
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Are pop-up ads useful?

Considering that 73% of consumers hate pop-up ads, another question remains; why do businesses still use them?

The thing is that pop-ups are useful and I’m not talking about the 90s “Lose weight while you’re sleeping” ads. I’m talking about pop-ups that’s placed in such a way that your website is used to its fullest.

Your main aim is to increase your conversion rate – in this case, build an email list. And a website optimizer’s aim is to reduce “friction” by making conversion easier.

This strategy allows you to buil an email list. But the trick is to use it at the right time.

Let’s unpack what type you should be using.

1. Use Click pop-ups

When visitors land on your website, they’re on your turf and that means that you’re in control. Click pop-ups give some of the control back to them and they can decide whether they’d like to take you up on your offer or not.

Click Pop Ups for email marketing

To create these, add a link (or a call-to-action) in your blog post. When the reader clicks on the link, they’ll trigger a pop-up that allows your reader to subscribe to your email list without leaving your article.

This is an ideal time to segment your audience by asking pertinent questions so that you can measure at which stage of their buying journey they’re at. Or you could segment according to demographics.

2. Create a timed pop-up

These appear when a visitor’s been on your site for a certain time. These convert the highest as they only appear when a visitor has shown some interest in you. 

Think of how annoying it is when you go to a brick and mortar store, and the moment you walk through the doors, you’re met with a sales assistant that wants to sell you something.

That’s why it’s important to time your offer when your visitor shows interest.

3. Scroll triggered /slide-ins

When a reader scrolls past a certain point on the page that they’re currently on, your pop-up appears.

Colorful moving elements catch your visitor’s eye because human nature’s attention is captured by movement and colors.

You must offer something related to what the person is reading.

When I was reading Hubspot’s article “The ultimate guide to SEO in 2019” – I instantly noticed a CTA asking me to download 6 Blog post templates. Just below it, a timer shows me how long the article will take me to read, so I can decide if I’m willing to continue or not.

Scroll Triggered pop ups for email marketing

As I scrolled down, a slide-in slithered in from the right – reminding me to download the blog templates.

You need to add a clickable CTA that sends people to a separate landing page ( or to a click pop-up). You can also ask people to subscribe to your blog or click on related content as to what they are reading.

4. Use Exit ad

eCommerce stores use these effectively. They appear when people are about to leave your website before they’ve completed the sale (or other types of conversions).

They work well as it often stops users from leaving your website and they give people a reason to engage.

exit intent pop up for email list building

But how do you get people to stay? You can’t just say “please stay” and expect it will happen. You need to provide value and offer them something worthwhile.

These suggestions show you how to do this:

  • Give people an incentive to go back by offering a free download or something of value to them.
  • You can also go as far as to use urgency to get them to stay.  Express the need to take action immediately because of a limited time offer.

5. Entry Pop-ups

Another effective pop-up is the overlay/welcome mat which appears as soon as visitors land on your page. The point is to deliver value to your visitor and it allows you to frame your conversion rate. Although they can be annoying because they block the visitor from seeing what they came for in the first place; entry pop-ups are effective if done correctly.


Here are a few ways that you can use this to increase conversion rates:

  • Offer your new visitors a discount or a freebie if they opt-in to your email list.
  • Segment your audience right off the bat so that you can communicate with what’s relevant to them.
  • Tell your visitor about any promotions that you’re currently running.
  • And, the best way to leverage this is by adding exclusivity to it. Adding time limits makes visitors feel glad that they landed on your website. Only offer to website users and don’t market your offering as you would other promotions.

Tips to make your pop-ups less annoying and work for you

  • Make a personalized pop up for each page and relevant to what your visitor is currently reading.
  • Add humor and personality. This allows you to capture your audience and engage them in your offering.
  • Instead of a generic “sign up”;  add value and words like “download”, “access”, “exclusive”, etc.
  • There’s no solid recipe as to what will work for you. Testing helps you find the right fit. Use Google Analytics to determine the time spent on your page as this lets you decide on the best time to trigger them.
  • Use an eye-catching design and a clear call-to-action. When things are easier for the visitor, conversion rates are higher.

Digital tools to create pop-ups

To get more ideas to get more email list-building strategies, learn about lead magnet ideas. 


Pop-ups allow you to use your website to the fullest to build your email list. Because most internet users find them downright annoying, use them strategically. When you use it as a tool to provide value and to segment your audience, you’ll generate high-quality leads.


What’s your biggest pain point when it comes to pop ups? Drop a comment below. 

Keep in mind that I may receive commissions (or credit) when you click some of the links and make purchases. However, this does not impact my reviews and comparisons. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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