Revenue Optimization

How To Grow Your Email List & Revenue Using Popups The Right Way

In today’s digital world, leveraging the traffic that comes to your site is one of the biggest keys to business success. If you profit from hosting ads on your site, it’s especially important to leverage the traffic that you work so hard to receive.

A whopping 98% of visitors to your site will leave without taking action – that means you’re pouring time and money into driving hundreds or thousands of people to your site, but very few of them are actively engaging with your content. The more traffic you get on your site and the better the engagement rates you receive, the more you can charge for ad placements on your site. More traffic and higher engagement = higher ROI. But how?

Whether you’re a big or small business, growing your email list is the solution to this dilemma. By collecting the email addresses of your visitors, you can stay in touch with them and nurture them, reeling them back into your site, and encouraging them to engage with your content. It’s much harder to find new readers for your site than it is to encourage existing readers who already love your content to come back and read some more. Thus, the power of the email list.

As a business, how can you leverage this powerful tactic of email list building? In this post, we’ll discuss numerous tactics and share real case studies of web companies that successfully grew their email lists and revenue.

What is an Email List? Why Is It So Important To Your Business?

An email list is a live record of email addresses that a business obtains through different email collection campaigns. This list contains email addresses from past, current, and future customers that you are nurturing to strengthen your relationship with, and ultimately, push towards making a purchase on your site.

Through time, the actual count on email lists can shrink due to subscriber opt-out and/or non-valid email addresses due to individuals changing their email. Conversely, email lists can also grow as the business grows – this is what all businesses are after. Growth, growth, and more growth.

When you grow your email list and make use of it with clever email marketing campaigns, you invoke growth in other areas of your company, too. For example, email marketing is a great way to nurture leads into customers. It’s also a great way to stay top-of-mind. In fact, crafting compelling emails with the right message can actually lead to customer acquisition and excellent ROI:

For the last 10 years, email marketing has proven to be the most profitable marketing channel.

Our tool of choice to collect emails in this battle for growth? Pop-ups.

What Are Pop-ups?

Yes, pop-ups are annoying (sometimes). Yes, they tend to appear at inopportune times (sometimes). Yes, they have a negative connotation (sometimes).

But these pop-ups are ones that are used incorrectly. Pop-ups are also excellent lead generation tools. Pop-ups can be programmed to appear at the just the right time to place the right message in front of the exact customer who would find it valuable. When used correctly, pop-ups can grow your email list faster than any other aspect of your website.

But first, what exactly is a pop-up?

A website pop-up is an opt-in form that pops out of your site to dangle in front of a site visitor, often covering a certain part of a page or appearing in an animated way that draws attention. Chances are that if you’ve spent any time online, you’ve seen them before – both the good and the bad ones.

Good pop-ups entice site visitors to read them, fill them out, or click on a button to take a certain action on a site. They often offer something in exchange for taking that action – otherwise known as a lead magnet (more on that later).

Bad pop-ups, the ones responsible for pop-ups’ poor reputation, hover in front of site content and offer nothing in exchange. They don’t tell you what your email address will be used for, they appear out of nowhere as soon as you click into a site, and ultimately, they just aren’t relevant. These often aren’t successful in collecting emails – meaning your email list won’t grow.

In terms of pop-up forms, there are a few that you have likely seen:

  1. Modal: These pop-ups appear in the center of the page.

    modal pop up
    Modal Popup
  2. Top bar: Instead of popping off of the page, these lead generation forms rest at the top of your page where the best real estate is for gaining views on your site. You can also adjust these to rest at the bottom of your site, should you prefer.

    top bar pop-up example
    Top bar (via HelloBar)
  3. Slider: These pop-ups, as their name suggests, slide in from the side of your site to offer a special deal or share a custom message.

    Designmodo slide form example
    Slide form (via Designmodo)
  4. Page takeover: These pop-ups take over the entire page momentarily, making it so that all eyes are on your offer.

    Page Takeover Example
    Page Takeover

Knowing the forms is just the basics – once you’ve decided upon a pop-up form style for your site, there is much more to explore when it comes to how to grow your email list.

Grow An Email List For Marketing And Increase Revenue by Using Pop-ups The Right Way

Long gone are the days where people want to be “sold to.” Now, it’s all about creating trust and adding value. Creating the right message to display to the right person at the right time will allow for increased trust, resulting in more sales and revenue. There are plenty of authentic ways to do that.

1. Content Is King: Create Amazing Content to Attract More Visitors to Your Website

While content doesn’t produce growth overnight, developing a content marketing strategy is the best way to increase traffic to your website long-term. Quality content using keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for will help your content to be shared throughout the internet, thus creating backlinks, which drive organize traffic and increases SERP rankings.

In fact, research from SearchEngineWatch indicates that results shown on the first page of Google receive 92% of all traffic. Create amazing content, dangle a lead magnet on that content through the use of pop-ups, and you’ll attract more website visitors.

2. Create A High Value Lead Magnet To Offer Your Audience and Grow Your Email List

In addition to creating amazing content, it’s important to incorporate a lead magnet into your digital marketing strategy. Lead magnets are incentives offered to visitors in exchange for their email addresses or other information.

Lead magnets are perfect for when a person wouldn’t typically sign up for your site, as they provide an offer with value that the person can benefit from directly. Since the person only has to enter in an email address to collect this awesome offer, he or she oftentimes is more willing to make this minor commitment to your email list.

Below are examples of different kinds of downloadable content that make great lead magnets, all of which will help to catch your audience’s interest, and ultimately grow your email list.

  1. EBook: As digital publications, eBooks can range from 10 pages up to hundreds of pages, depending upon the subject. Typically, eBooks hover around 10,000 words. The beauty of eBooks is their portability – they can be read on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers, meaning that printing isn’t necessary (this saves a lot in printing and shipping costs!).
  2. Cheat Sheets: Similar to a checklist, cheat sheets are a simple 1-2 page downloadable PDF that help to solve a specific problem. Using cheat sheets, people can quickly learn how to improve their blog through an easy to digest, note by note cheat sheet. People love information that’s easy to read, making cheat sheets extremely valuable to them.
  3. Tutorials and Case Studies: Tutorials and case studies provide a more in-depth study of your product or service, including information about the problem, the solution, and why it was successful. This allows potential customers to see the direct benefit of your product or service – when it’s spelled out in front of them, it’s much easier to envision the same results and successes for themselves.
  4. Webinar: Webinars are online seminars hosted by an expert in a particular field that anyone can attend in order to learn more and ask any questions they may have. Many businesses use these webinars to educate their communities about their products or services and how best to implement them – there is often more than just purchasing a product that goes into being successful.
    Webinars are great ways to collect email addresses and entice people, as you can ask people to register ahead of time using their email address.
  5. Special Offer: Special offers make for great lead magnets, as it is easy to see how they benefit the visitor directly. The lifestyle blogging site Wellness Mama utilizes the concept of a special offer on the homepage, where access to a unique VIP community is offered.
    Wellness Mama Special Offer
    via Wellness Mama

    VIP communities are a great way to build interest and an audience. People like to feel involved, and offering them a chance to join in and communicate with others in your audience can really catch their attention.

  6. Templates: Templates are documents that users can download and fill in as they see fit. They are super helpful as visitors will often want to create something, but not know how exactly to structure it. By creating a template, you give them the outline they need and the ability to customize it on their own – easing the entire process for them. utilizes this strategy by providing templates for Facebook image sizing to help his community better format their social media posts and grow his email list and database of subscribers at the same time. Template Pop-up
  7. Quizzes and Challenges: For a fun way to collect email addresses, you can use an interactive quiz. Interactive quizzes are awesome lead magnets, as people love to learn more about themselves and see how they personally relate to a product or service. People love being asked about themselves, making quizzes a real winner when it comes to gathering their attention.

Why are all of these 7 lead magnet ideas so successful in growing an email list? They provide instant gratification, thus increasing the value of your brand. Additionally, they provide an incentive to your audience who isn’t ready to take the plunge just yet. Lead magnets offer great value for a minimum commitment – and enable you to follow up later to secure further engagement on your site.

3. Use Great Popups to Promote Your Lead Magnets and Grow Your Email List

Creating effective pop-ups is the sweet sauce to online success. Below are some best practices to incorporate into your pop-up strategy so you won’t annoy your viewers and be one of those “bad” pop-up users.

  1. Use a Strong Headline and Call To Action

    There is true power in short, attention-grabbing headlines and CTAs that create urgency for your audience. When crafting this pop-up copy, think about the page and mindset that your audience will be in when this pop-up appears. Also be aware that you’ll only have about 1-2 seconds to grab their attention before they click off the pop-up and your email capture opportunity is lost.

    Here are some simple tips to follow:

    • What is the biggest problem your audience is facing? Address that specific problem in your headline.
    • Be clear with your intentions. Why are you asking someone to enter in their information? What will their email address be used for? (Pro tip: Hello Bar is GDPR compliant). No one likes to be spammed. Your pop-up needs to state what communications you’ll be sending to them.
    • Provide a deeper incentive to increase sign-ups – think lead magnets!
    • Remove the fluff and be direct. You’re already working with limited attention spans. Creating a headline with just a few words will capture attention more than a longer headline
  2. Focus On Only One Goal: Get The Email!

    Don’t overwhelm your visitors. Having too much copy or visual design in your pop-up will do just that. Focus on one goal – getting their email – and make sure that goal is directly communicated to them.

  3. Segment Your Visitors – Show the Right Popups to The Right People

    Not everyone who comes to your site will be in the same mindset or stage in the visitor’s journey. This means that the same messaging won’t work for everyone. We suggest creating at least two different pop-ups: one for current subscribers to your site (example: start off with a welcome back message) and one for prospects (example: include verbiage surrounding a deal or special offer).

  4. Short Form = More Leads

    Pop-ups, to some, can already be irritating. Having a long form to sign-up can be a major deterrent. Sticking to a minimalistic approach and only collecting the necessary information (email address) can help produce more leads.

  5. Constantly AB Test Your Popups to Get More Leads – One Variable At a Time

    It all comes down to the A/B test. This is the best way to see what headline, call to action, and design style works best for your audience, one variable at a time. For example, headlines attract attention and convince a person to sign-up. Communicating the same offer in two different ways can help you to determine what tone or specific wording leads to more email collections.

    While something may seem like the perfect pop-up while you are crafting it, it might not convert visitors as well as a totally different option. The only way to know that you really have your pop-up strategy down is to use A/B testing.

How QuickSprout and Nutrition Secrets Grew Their Email Lists and Revenue Using Powerful Popups

Utilizing the above pop-up strategy to grow an email list can be very successful! For example, QuickSprout has had great conversion success with popups.

With the use of both exit intent and slider pop-ups, combined with killer lead magnets that spoke to their audience’s interests, QuickSprout was able to successfully zchieve a 305% increase in leads and 140% increase in sales. Additionally, QuickSprout increased their email collections by 36.5%. That’s a pretty huge increase, especially when you realize that it’s all traced back to just one tool – Hello Bar!

Quicksprout popup example
Quicksprout popup

Utilizing a similar pop-up strategy, Nutrition Secrets achieved a 310% increase in leads and 56% increase in sales through the use of an exit intent pop-up and a pop-up featuring a quiz as its lead magnet.

Nutrition Secrets Popup example
Nutrition Secrets Popup

Pop-ups may seem like a small addition to your site, but they can produce major results – the studies prove it!


All in all, using pop-ups in the right way by following this guide will help to convert more visitors to your site into returning readers who will interact with your content.

Pop-ups may seem like a small piece of the marketing strategy, but they can truly be used to optimize your process. You don’t want to pour time, sweat, and money into developing a marketing strategy just to see visitors leave your site without taking action.

Pop-ups fill the holes in your sales funnel, meaning that anyone you drive to your website has a much higher chance of becoming a loyal member of your community. Nurturing your leads, once you have their email address, is the road to success.

Should you choose to give pop-ups a try, here’s a FREE 30 day trial of Hello Bar. Just for the AdPushup community!

This is a guest post by Mike Kamo, CEO and co-founder of Hello Bar and Neil Patel Digital. He is a renowned digital marketing and conversion optimization expert.