Five Ways to Increase Your Popup's Conversion Rate

Seth's Popup Creator keeps track of how often your popup gets viewed and how often site visitors click the submit button. When a visitor clicks the submit button, we call that a conversion. You're converting an anonymous web site visitor into a person and, hopefully soon, a customer. If four site visitors view the popup and one of them clicks the submit button, then your conversion rate is:

1 submission / 4 views = 1/4 = 25%

You can see the real time conversion rate for all of your popups just by signing in to your account. You can also reset your popup's statistics on the Home tab in the popup editor.

What's a good conversion rate? It really depends on your web site, your offering, your business and your audience, but a good rate starts at 8% and can go as high as 25%.

I have the privilege of working with a hundreds of customers (web site designers and entrepreneurs like you) and their popups. There are five clear characteristics that make the successful popups and their creators stand out:

1. Choose Your Words Wisely

Most site visitors will only look at your popup for a few seconds, so you have to make the most of what you say. Consider this sentence:

"Submit your email address to subscribe to our list."

Site visitors can already tell that you're soliciting their email address, and they can imply that it will be added to a list of some kind. This sentence is a waste of those precious few seconds of attention you get from your visitors. Throw this sentence out and replace it with one that speaks to the value of subscribing; tell them what they will gain.

Also, make them smile! A lot of successful popups stand out with a touch of humor. If you can make your site visitors smile a little, then they'll be more likely to accept your offer and subscribe.

2. Give, Give, Give

Savvy marketing professionals like @JayBaer, @DerekHalpern and others will tell you over and over again: when you're approaching someone you don't know, don't ask them for something—give them something.

To increase your popup conversion rate, give them a reward or give them the "gift" of curiosity.

Giving your site visitors a reward usually means a discount of some kind, such as 15% off their next purchase. This is exactly what major retailers and restaurants do. At the time of this writing, Macy's was offering 15% off your next purchase of $100, and Chili's was offering a free appetizer. It's effective.

You can also give the gift of curiosity, such as the top 5 (or 10 or 20) tips to accomplish something or access to a special web page. If you can pique their curiosity, they'll be happy to trade their email address to satisfy it.

3. Timing is Tricky

Displaying your popup before site visitors get a chance to absorb your site is the surest way to lose subscribers. They'll close the popup immediately, and you might not get another chance to ask them to subscribe. I recommend 10 seconds as the absolute minimum delay, and 20-60 seconds gives them the time they need to asses what you're saying or doing before deciding whether to opt in.

Think about how you react when you see popups on other sites. How much time do you need before you're willing to read an email subscription offer?

Of course you can also lose subscribers by waiting too long, and that's what makes timing so tricky. How long is too long? Squarespace stats don't show the average length of time visitors spend on your pages, so you'll have to plug in to Google Analytics if you want to dive deep. (Start with Audience > Behavior > Engagement in Google Analytics.)

As of this writing, 50% of the site visitors to spend less than 10 seconds on the site. Those site visitors probably aren't interested in what I have to offer, so dropping the popup delay below 10 seconds to try to "catch" them before they leave wouldn't bear any fruit. Instead, I would target the 40% who are on the site for more than 30 seconds.

Try starting with a 20 second delay, and see what happens when you move it 5-10 seconds in either direction. Be sure to give each delay "test" a week or more, though, so you have enough data to draw conclusions.

4. Visuals Matter

Your popup is kind of like the front of a box of laundry detergent; it needs to be visually appealing and eye-catching to your would-be subscribers, or they'll quickly dismiss it.

The best popups are between 300-800 pixels wide with a clean, attractive appearance that either matches the underlying site or complements it well.

If graphic design isn't your forté, then consider getting some help with your popup's design and layout—especially if a healthy subscriber list is a key component of your business plan.

5. Think Big Picture

Your popup should be one component of a larger plan to build your subscriber list and build your business. Make sure you're giving plenty of attention to the other components of that plan, which might include:

  • Embedding email subscription forms on your site
  • Creating great content to attract organic site traffic
  • Running ads to attract paid site traffic
  • Making existing subscribers and customers happy to attract word-of-mouth traffic
  • Nurturing referral sources that are producing traffic (Click Activity (Stats) > Referrers in Squarespace)
  • Identifying characteristics of your subscribers so you can better target them

Finally, remember that big jumps in your popup's conversion rate won't happen overnight. It takes time. When you try something new, give it more than just a few days.

Good luck!