Do Opt-In Pop-Ups Work for You or Against You?

opt in pop upsSo, you want website visitors to subscribe to something of yours like an offer or list. To really grab a visitor’s attention, you wonder if you should use an opt-in pop-up. Hmmm… dilemma.

Everyone finds opt-in pop-ups annoying and wants to click them out of the way, but the word is they can be really effective in marketing. Quite a pickle.

Are they effective, really? Well, there’s definitely a chance that opt-in pop-ups can actually help you as part of your inbound marketing. The choice to use them (or not) is yours. But getting professional marketing advice is a good idea.

Do People Even Look?

One recurring question is if opt-in pop-ups actually get looked at properly. It’s hard to tell. You can track how many pop-ups get shown and how many people opt in, but there’s no way to tell how many people actually read them before clicking them away. The only solid information you can go by is the number of pop-ups shown vs how many opt-ins occur. A conversion rate of under 30% means change is definitely needed.

Don’t Be Obnoxious

It’s pretty universally agreed that opt-in pop-ups are annoying. All pop-ups, really. The problem isn’t the pop-ups themselves, or even their offers. It’s how often they’re used! If you’re going to use pop-ups, use them sparingly and strategically – like on the landing page. If they appear on every page click or at regular time increments, you’ll definitely lose visitors.

Make It Mean Something

Here’s the thing: an opt-in pop-up can work! The problem is the tendency to offer people something they don’t want or need, so it gets ignored. In online marketing, that’s just spinning your wheels wasting time. Make your offer count. People are savvier today, so marketing “30-Day Guarantee” stuff no longer works. You need a different idea behind “call to action” advertising.

Choose the Right Pop-Up

The idea that there could possibly be a “right” pop-up may seem ridiculous, but bear with me. Traditional pop-ups show up when entering a site or visiting a page. Some may be timed or keyed to certain cookies. The bottom line is… they’re annoying. But opt-in pop-ups that are known as “smart lightbox pop-ups” are beginning to track favorably. They are targeted messages shown when the user is leaving the page. The visitor has already viewed your content and now can decide if they want what you’re offering.

Pros and Cons: The Quick List


  • Pop-ups are not liked by many.
  • Special software add-ons get rid of them – just like a virus. That should tell you something.
  • By presenting you as being “pushy”, your brand can suffer.
  • Repeat visitors have seen them already and may stop coming.
  • They can interfere with the natural flow of reading your content.


  • Opt-in pop-ups help you get your message to the masses and create cool newsletters and offers.
  • A forced call-to-action.
  • Increased e-mail subscriptions.
  • Easy to test for conversion increases.
  • Easy to use – just set one time and let it run.

The choice is yours! Still not sure? Contact online design and marketing professionals for a third-party opinion tailored to your unique business.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Results Professional Marketing and a clickable link back to this page.

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