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You’ve probably heard that popups are super effective ways to grow your email list.
There are so many different kinds. Welcome mats take over literally the entire screen when someone gets to your site. Delayed popups appear after a given amount of time. Exit-intent popups that appear when someone gestures like they’re about to leave your page.
No matter what type of popup, there’s one thing that pretty much everyone agrees on: they’re super annoying.
Okay, so there’s one type of popup that isn’t: on-click popups, which appear after you click on a button. But more on those later.
So, what do you do when you’re morally opposed to popups, but still want to grow your email list? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of options! Here’s where to put opt-ins when you really don’t like popups.
1 | In your sidebar
Depending on your blog’s layout, a sidebar is a great option for an opt-in form. I use Mailchimp Forms by Mailmunch for my current form (though it’s about to be updated, so by the time you see this, it may look entirely different). It’s free, it’s easy, and it matches my branding.
The biggest thing: make sure it’s high enough in your sidebar that people will notice it, even if they don’t scroll down that far. It’s especially helpful if you can include an image of the freebie they’ll receive for signing up for you email list.
2 | Within a post
One of my favorite ways to grow your email list is to have content upgrades within your post. You have some sort of freebie (worksheet, template, image, etc) and to download it, your visitor has to subscribe to your email list.
To do this, you need an opt-in within the post. You can embed an opt-in form right into your post if you’d like. Conversely, you can do what I do: add a button that brings up a popup when your visitor clicks on it.
This is what I was referring to above about the only popup that’s acceptable: an on-click popup. It’s nicer than taking you to a new window, because you can simply click off the popup when you’re done and continue reading the post.
3 | On a landing page
If you’re promoting your blog on an outside source (a guest post or a Facebook ad campaign, for example), a landing page might be your best bet. Rather than directing them to a page on your blog, you can direct them to a page with one thing on it: an opt-in form.
This is going to have a really high conversion rate, because they would only click if they were already interested. So make the process easy for them; don’t make them search around your blog to find out what they want!
To set one up, I recommend heading over to Marianne’s blog for a tutorial. The best part about it: it’s free! It also uses the on-click popup, but you could use an embedded form if you’d prefer.
4 | In your header and / or footer
And finally, you can add opt-in forms to your header and footer like I have! I created one for each using the Slider Revolution plugin.
If your WordPress theme doesn’t have a header or footer widget, check out this tutorial from XOSarah on how to add one. (Her instructions are for adding it to your header, but you can add the same thing to your footer by adding it to footer.php instead of header.php.)
I really like having an opt-in in both the header and footer because they capture different people. Some people need to see the opt-in at the top of the page to grab their attention, while others need it at the bottom, once they’ve read your entire blog post and know you’re legit.
This is especially a great option if you theme doesn’t have a sidebar! Just make sure it’s not getting buried with everything else you’d have to store down in your footer.
While popups can convert really well, they can be obnoxious to say the least. But I promise, you can grow your list without them! Just be creative with where to put opt-ins, push out awesome content on your blog and in your newsletters, and you’re sure to see growth — with or without popups.
Randi Shaffer says
I love this advice! One of the easiest ways to guarantee I leave your website right away is with a giant popup that covers all of the content I’m trying to read. It’s especially annoying on mobile cause trying to hit that little “X” with my giant thumb is basically a carnival game. I love the suggestion for the Slider Revolution plugin — I’ll have to check it out!
Yesss it’s seriously the worst. And I hate when you can’t just click outside of the popup to close it—they make you look for the tiny X or the “No thanks” text to close out of it.