Ecommerce industry

Email pop-up forms: sign-up ideas for email marketing

Ott Niggulis, May 24th 2017
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Pop-up forms are becoming popular for digital marketing because they offer a way to convert website traffic that is anonymous to an actual lead that can then to be converted into a sale. 

Pop-up forms embedded onto a website can be used in different ways. Done correctly, they increase the effectiveness of email campaigns, paid retargeting and ultimately, drive conversions. 

There are various types of sign-up forms that capture visitor emails in the digital world. You can use embedded email forms, overlays, popups, exit-intent offers (those are popups that open the second that the visitor is leaving) and more.

Email marketing automation platforms as a customer data platform

Email marketing automation platforms offer pop-up form capability on your website that helps create a personalized experience for the visitor once the lead is captured. The users get what they require on the website and brands get a new user. There is no downside.

The way email marketing platforms work, is that they provide the database services, which capture the form fields within the pop-up form to collect the visitor information. The data is automatically available in the backend allowing marketers to then create custom segments that can allow the user to be targeted in a very personalized manner. 

The advantage of using email platforms is that can use pre-made templates and customize them for your brand. Once online, you capture the analytics and can understand the impact the pop-up has on converting visitors into leads. Using the data you can fine tune the conversion paths ensuing you maximize the opportunity per visitor.

The building blocks of a successful email pop-up

What all do you need to build a great pop-up and begin capturing zero-party and first-party data? Let’s dive in.

What is the offer on the sign-up form?

The first thing you need to think about when designing a killer email popup is the offer — what are you promising in return for your visitor’s email address?

There are numerous things that you can offer, from a set percentage or dollars off to free shipping, different buying guides, and more.

Looking at data on email popups, the offer itself doesn’t seem to play a big role in the effectiveness of the popup. Merchants utilizing pop-ups on mobile phones for email capture have found success using discount offers, by organizing competitions as well as simply saying “learn about sales, promos, and new products.”

What will be the timing of the pop-up form on the website?

Your next big decision is about timing. When should the popup be displayed? Do you display the offer the second that a visitor lands on your page? Do you wait 5-10 seconds to give them time to browse around a little? Create different offers depending on which sections of your store they are on?

Your best bet is to test this out yourself. Set up A/B tests whereby the offer is displayed at different times and on different pages and then analyze and use that data to come up with a ”winning” time and offer.

Set up the form and then keep editing the design, look, and feel 

Generally speaking, an email popup/overlay consists of three elements:

  • A headline and/or body copy -> that’s the offer!
  • An email field
  • A clickable CTA

It takes those three elements working together to make an email popup work. On its own, a killer headline/copy is no guarantee for success. Neither is the best CTA in the industry. Everything on the popup has to make sense for the intended audience.

There is no best or worst way to design the popup or a list of keywords that are proven to convert every single time. It all depends on what you sell and who your audience is. There’s no getting around doing your own testing to see what works best for you.

You can play around with colors, dimensions, use of imagery, different fonts and font sizes, the copy of the CTA button (“Submit”, “Download Now”, “Sign Me Up”, “Get The Code”, “Enter To Win” etc), form field label placement (inline, above the field, left, right) and more.

Successful pop up form design examples

Now that we know what goes into an email popup, let’s take a look at examples from around the web that different merchants are using to capture emails.


Simple, clean and branded perfectly, Graza’s pop-up shows up when you are about half way down the page, which helps to make sure that it is bing shown to more engaged users.

Doe Lashes:

Doe Lashes uses several pop-up forms to capture leads. The first is a more standard one, similar to the Graza example above:

The second is their quiz pop-up that they serve primarily to an audience coming from TikTok. With this form, which they setup in Klaviyo with partner OctaneAI, has driven 3x more subscriptions than any other form on their site. Their welcome series behind it also at a 20% click.

Ecommerce quizzes are some of the most effective forms in the industry right now.

Success with email pop-ups

Success with email popups can be achieved in more than one way. There’s no standard that is guaranteed to work or the best time to display it. It all comes down to you putting in the work and coming up with a solution that for your store with your audience.

Design, test, iterate.

One thing I’d keep an eye on when using popups with different offers is to see if the type of offer makes a difference in the customer’s lifetime value (LTV) and future buying behavior. That’s something that could play a role in deciding what’s the best strategy to follow. The version with the most new sign-ups might very well end up drawing in potential customers with the lowest LTV and vice versa.

Our platform offers signup and popup forms with a CDP built in.
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Ott Niggulis
Ott Niggulis
Ott Niggulis is a freelance writer who focuses on business, marketing and CRO. Marketing is a numbers game, and he loves numbers.