Warning: Use of undefined constant DATABASE_SERVER - assumed 'DATABASE_SERVER' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/customer/www/im-rebels.com/public_html/wp-config.php on line 38
Do Website Pop Ups Actually Work?

Do Website Pop Ups Actually Work?

If you’re looking for a way to drastically increase the number of leads and sales that your site is generating, then you should seriously consider using website pop-ups.

Pop-ups of course are those windows that appear over the top of the websites you’re reading and that normally ask you if you want to sign up to a mailing list. Sometimes they’ll appear on top of the page you’re reading and cause the background to go dark, or in other cases they may open in a new window. Either way, pop-ups are very effective at drawing attention to themselves and force the user to interact with them.

Now of course this has a danger of being irritating and if you’re like most users then you may have been annoyed by them in the past. In fact, you may even have a somewhat bitter feeling towards them…

So why would you use them?

Well, what you really have to ask yourself is why so many other sites use them. Visit pretty much any big blog online and at some point you’re likely to see a website pop-up. What does this tell you? That they must work.

And work they do according to the statistics. According to a study reported by Shopify, pop-ups can increase email captures by a whopping 1,357%. So if you’re currently getting 10 leads a day from your website, that could be increased to as much as 1,000 or more.

And as every digital marketer or business owner should know by now, collecting e-mails is incredibly valuable. On a website, the vast majority of your visitors will leave and then never come back.

On the other hand, if you manage to collect their e-mail addresses you’ll be able to continually market to them long into the future giving you more and more chances to make conversions. Email marketing allows you to strengthen your brand, to build your relationship and in short it’s generally considered to be one of the most powerful tools in any blogger or webmaster’s arsenal.

What’s more is that a pop-up doesn’t have to be irritating. In fact, if you use it correctly, it can actually add to the experience for your visitors. That’s where this e-book comes in – here we’ll go over everything you need to know to start using pop-ups effectively so that you maximize your conversions and minimize frustration. Time to take a highly effective tool and turn it up to the max!

Types of Pop-ups

The term ‘pop-up’ is actually quite a broad term and can mean several things. An in fact, the term ‘pop-up’ can even be considered a bit of a misnomer…

Often you see, when we use the term ‘pop-up’ we are actually talking about a ‘pop-over’. A pop-up normally opens in a separate window that hovers above the browser. A lot of browsers block these now however and they are generally considered an irritant for users. You want to avoid this type of ‘pop-up’.

Generally then, when we say pop-up we are talking more specifically about ‘pop-overs’ which are also known as ‘lightboxes’. These pop-ups do not open in separate windows but rather open over the top of the page inside that browser window. They’re called lightboxes because they will normally make the rest of the site darker while they remain light. This brings even more attention to them.

Not only do these sorts of pop-ups not get blocked by browsers but they’re also less annoying (because the user doesn’t have to hunt them down to close them) and they actually are even more effective at forcing interaction – if the user wants to see your content, they need to acknowledge and close the pop-up.

Even then, you can still categorize your pop-ups further by when and how they appear. Here are some more distinctions:

Pop-up ‘On Load’: This pop-up appears as soon as the page loads and acts almost as a gateway to your content.

Delayed Pop-up: This pop-up appears when the user has been reading for a few minutes. These are very effective because they allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and value before they appear. Why would someone want to sign up to your email list before they even know what you have to say and whether or not you have anything to offer?

Smart Delayed Pop-up: This is a pop-up that only appears once for each visitor and that uses cookies to avoid the same message to users time and again.

Exit Pop-up: This pop-up appears when someone tries to leave your site. This is another smarter way to use pop-ups because now the user’s experience isn’t being interrupted as they try to interact with your content. Look at this way: you’re losing this customer now anyway, so what can it hurt?

Intelligent Exit Pop-up: This type of pop-up appears before the user tries to leave by looking at mouse position, timing and other factors.

More Types of Pop-ups And Choosing the Right One

Click Pop-Ups: A click pop-up is a pop-up that appears when someone clicks on it, as the name suggests. This is a great way to engage with readers that are already showing an active interest in your content and according to split tests conducted by the likes of WishPond, it’s more successful than using separate landing pages.

To use these, consider adding a banner to the bottom of your best articles that launches a pop-up to collect e-mails/make sales. Make it eye catching!

Scroll Pop-Ups: Scroll pop-ups work very similarly to timed pop-ups but with one major difference – they look at how far the user has scrolled, versus how long they have been on the page. These are more effective because they don’t appear when the user has, for example, left to make a cup of tea. Now only those who are engaged in your content will see the pop-up. And you can even orchestrate the pop-up to appear at an opportunity point doing your content.

Pop-Under: Remember how we mentioned that ‘pop-overs’ were more effective than opening in separate windows? An interesting ‘compromise’ option is the ‘pop-under’. This is a pop-up that opens in a separate window but instead of going ontop of the browser, it goes underneath. These are less obtrusive because they don’t get in the way and often will go unnoticed until the end of the user’s browsing session. This gives them a similar potential use to exit pop-ups.

Choosing Your Pop-up Type

So now you know what types of pop-up, popover and popunder are available, the next step is to decide which one you actually want to use.

Of course there’s no right and wrong answer here and there’s no single type of pop-up that is ‘better’ than the rest. The answer is going to depend instead on the type of website you own and what your goals are for your business.

For instance, if you’re making affiliate sales and you don’t care as much about building trust for your brand, then you can afford to be a little more forceful with your ads – perhaps showing a pop-up ‘on load’ will work best.

On the other hand, if you’re a trusted blogger and you want to maintain a good relationship with your readers, you might consider something a little more subtle such as a scroll pop-up that only appears once for each user.

The best way to decide if you’re unsure is to run an ‘A/B test’. That means trying two different types of pop-up for a short while and then recording the results. Which option brings the most leads while deterring the least traffic? Now you just adopt that choice!

And remember: there’s no harm in combining multiple pop-ups on a single site!

Uses of Pop-ups

So far we have looked at pop-ups largely in the context of e-mail marketing. This is indeed one of the very most powerful and effective uses for pop-ups and it’s what a lot of the top bloggers rely on them for.

But then again, there are also many other uses for pop-ups. For instance…

Market Research

A great use for products is to conduct market research. If you want to conduct a survey of your visitors, get user feedback or otherwise try and engage with your audience, then you can place a quick survey here to grab their thoughts and to hear what they have to say. This way, you can now change your web design or your marketing strategy to be more effective for future users.


Of course you can also use your pop-ups to directly sell your best products. If you have an ecommerce store, then you can use this to show off your top products. If you have an e-book, then you can use an exit pop-up to tell people about that after they’re done with your content. Again, they’re leaving anyway so why not take one last stab at converting them into paying customers?


Upselling is the process of taking someone who is buying a product and getting them to buy another product. This is a highly effective strategy because it targets people who have already opted to become paying customers. This is a key point because it means they’ve already overcome the psychological barriers to sale and are more likely to be willing to increase their order.

What’s another $10 to them? It’s a lot to you when multiplied by the number of visitors you’re receiving!


Even if you don’t make direct sales, you can use a pop-up just to raise awareness for a product, service or special offer that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Visitor Retention

Sometimes a simple but effective use for an exit pop-up is just to say ‘don’t leave’. Show a reader something else they may be interested and you might be able to hang onto them a little longer.


Another option available with the IM Rebels WP Pop plugin, is to have a popover that completely covers the page. This then allows you to use impressive multimedia or more in-depth design to make conversions.

‘Thank You’

One of the big challenges with pop-ups is that people are getting too used to seeing them (we’ll talk more about this later). Owing to their obvious effectiveness, more and more people are now starting to use pop-ups in their marketing and as such, some users are becoming cynical.

How about bucking the trend then and giving your visitors a nice message simply saying ‘goodbye and thanks for reading’? This is the sort of nice little touch that can make a real lasting impression on your traffic and which can help to build brand loyalty.

How to Use Pop-ups Without Annoying People

As we mentioned right at the start of this e-book, one of the most difficult things about pop-ups is trying not to be irritating. Most of us have been irritated by pop-ups in the past and as such, the last thing we want to do is to create similar annoyance for our own visitors.

Fortunately, it is possible to create pop-ups that are effective without being disruptive. Here are some key pointers:

Make it Easy to Close

We’ve all been to sites with popovers that make it impossible to close them and get on with the content. This can be incredibly frustrating when you think you’ve found the blog post you were looking for and then poor design means that you can’t actually read it. Anger is one emotion you don’t want your site to illicit.

Make sure then that your pop-up is very easy to close and that the cross button is large and obvious for easy access.

Test on Mobile

This goes double for mobile devices. Every website owner by now should have a website that uses a ‘responsive design’. This means that it should alter its shape, size and layout in accordance with the dimensions of the screen it’s being viewed on. That way, it will be optimized for desktop users but also for mobile users.

Once you’ve gone to all this effort then, make sure you don’t drop the ball by forgetting the fact that your pop-up also needs to be mobile-friendly! Having a popover that’s too large for the screen doesn’t only look unprofessional, it might make the cross button inaccessible.

You may even decide that your mobile visitors are less likely to enter their email in which case you might turn the pop-up off for those users. Either way, just ensure that you check how it looks on mobile.

Don’t Put Words in the User’s Mouth

This is an example of the kind of pop-up text you will actually encounter sometimes online:

Hey You! Want to Learn How to Lose Weight and Get that Six Pack You Always Dreamed Of?? Sign Up!

  • Yes Please, I’d Love to Have Six Pack Abs
  • No Thank You, I’m Happy Being Overweight and Unhealthy

It’s clear what the logic here is: the hope is that no one would want to click the second option and as such, they’ll sign up to your mailing list even when they don’t really want to.

There are two problems with this:

  1. You don’t actually want people to sign up who aren’t interested
  2. Most people aren’t that stupid and you’ll just end up making your visitors angry and losing their trust

How to Make Your Pop-up Stand Out

Follow the above tips and at the same time, ensure that the way it pops up isn’t too intrusive by choosing the right pop-up. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a solution that isn’t enraging your visitors…

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to do its job of making conversions.

So what can you do?

Here are a few exciting options…

Have a Video Background

The Stakk plugin is a particularly powerful plugin for creating pop-ups that we’ll look at more in a moment. One of the great advanced features it offers though, is the ability to create full-page overlay pop-ups. And what’s more, these pop-ups can also feature videos in the background via the magic of HTML5. This is a very cool option because it means that your page will now look modern, HD and much more attractive. It really grabs attention and because it’s unusual and pretty, it’s something that actually adds to the experience for your visitors rather than detracting from it.

Add a Video

Alternatively, you can simply feature a video within your pop-up. Now, instead of having a pop-up with some static text, you have a pop-up where you’re talking and telling your visitors what a great product it is that you’re selling.

This is huge because it’s so much more personal and engaging than some text. Many of us find it almost impossible to turn off a video of something talking halfway through – just think about how you stare at the TV whenever one is on in the room! You’ll then have their attention and you’ll be able to persuade them with your enthusiasm, your bodylanguage, music and more.


If you don’t have the means to create a high quality video (try Fiverr…), then another option is to just use a crisp and attention-grabbing image.

Add a Countdown

Adding time pressure and/or scarcity is a great way to make any product more appealing and that applies even if you’re only talking about a mailing list.

Really though, this will work best when you have something like a discount running on an e-book.


Another pointer is to try incentivizing your mailing list or your product. For instance, you could say that users who subscribe to your mailing list will get a free e-book or a discount on their next purchase. Now they’re getting something for nothing and this is enough to motivate most people to hand over their e-mail.

Persuasive Writing: A Brief Primer

Something else that can help you with your popover is to use persuasive writing. In other words, how do you add the text to your pop-up to quickly convey your message and trigger the right response?

At the same time, how can you combine this with smart copywriting on your landing page to warm people up ready for the pop-up?

The Value Proposition

The most important thing to understand here is what is known as the ‘value proposition’. This is effective what you’re offering the user in real terms – in terms of what they get from using your product and service.

The saying goes that people don’t buy hats – they buy warm heads. Thus, the emotional selling point for hats is the idea that your head will be warm, that you’ll feel cozy and that you’ll look great all at the same time. You don’t necessarily even need to talk about the hat itself that much.

Likewise, if you’re selling an e-book on getting great abs, you aren’t really selling a book – you’re selling abs.

The key is to focus on this value proposition and to find the emotional hook in it. This means painting a picture of what it would be like to have amazing abs and it means explaining how great it feels to be confident whenever you take your top off.

Narrative Structure

If your script is going to be a little longer, then a good tip is to frame it as a narrative. This works well because we’re accustomed to reading stories to the end and because we find it easy to sympathize when we’re told something in this manner. Tell the story of how you got your amazing abs and your readers will be engaged and moved and they’ll be more likely to feel the emotion as though it were happening to them.

Time Pressure

So now you have them moved and excited for your product… that’s when you apply the pressure. This might mean time pressure or it might mean scarcity. Either way, you want to create the feeling that if they go away now, the offer may not be here when they get back or that they’ll miss out.

This is important because it encourages snap decisions and impulsive purchases/sign-ups. In turn, that is important because we actually make most purchases and actions impulsively and based on emotion more than logic. If they go away and think about it, they will often come to the conclusion that they don’t need what you’re offering. Prime them and then convert them while you have the chance.

Case Studies: Tim Ferriss and Shopify

Still not sure whether you need a lightbox? Whether you need a mailing list?

Still not sure how you would go about implementing one if you did?

Here are a few case studies and stories from bloggers and marketers around the net that might hopefully be able to inspire you…

Here is what popular blogger Tim Ferriss had to say when he recently ‘re-examined’ e-mail…

See, when I sketched out the original 4-Hour Workweek site in 2006 (sorely in need of a redesign), I included an email capture field, as thats what friends said I should do:

Then I promptly forgot all about it. I hated email, so I didnt want to send you email. Simple as that. Do unto others, right?

But things have changed.

Now, with Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and hundreds of clones, the Internet and mobile are a battlefield of noise. Even if you like my Facebook fan page, my updates will rarely reach more than 10% of you.

For years now, thousands of you have complained that Feedburner delivers time-sensitive blog posts days or WEEKS too late. This means missed giveaways, meetups, competitions, Q&As, parties, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Needless to say, this sucks.

So I reluctantly decided to re-examine email. In a world where people change email addresses less often than physical addresses, it just made sense.

My first step was to dust off the keyboard and log into AWeber, which Id decided was best for me eight years prior. What I found shocked me. I had nearly 300,000 email addresses from sign-ups! Holy negligence, Batman!

The moral of the story? Pay attention to your e-mail! Tim now uses popovers that appear to be timed or scroll-based. In the past, Tim had also explained how he was initially resistant to using pop-ups for fear of upsetting visitors, but found that the results were simply too impressive to ignore out of hand.

Shopify a Study

In a study conducted by Shopify meanwhile, it was found that sites that were previously getting 10-15 subscribers a day (with 44,000+ unique visitors) could increase their emails to 100-150 when they started using pop-ups. They used a 60 second delay, which shows that you don’t necessarily need an ‘in your face’ approach with an on-load pop-up.

You can read more on their site.

More Case Studies: Pat Flynn and Testimonials

Meanwhile, Pat Flynn, owner of SmartPassiveIncome.com also uses a pop-up. Specifically, he recommends click pop-ups which he explains below:

Ever since the redesign of the SPI blog, Ive been building my list here on the site with a two-step opt-in process, and the numbers dont lie. Even though I have less opt-in forms throughout the site (I dont even have one above the fold on the homepage), my conversions into my email list have increased by over 25%.

If you are unfamiliar with a two-step opt-in process, it works like this:

Instead of showing an email and/or name field directly on your webpage, you instead show a button. When that button is pressed, a small pop-up box (or lead box) appears, which then asks for the visitors information.

You can even see it being used at the very bottom of this post.

This goes against most conventional Internet Marketing wisdom, which says the more steps involved, the lower your conversions will be. But there are 3 reasons why this particular sequence works so well:

1.When a visitors lands on the page, youre not directly and immediately asking for that persons information. You go from looking like a taking page, to a giving page one that gives off the notion that you have something to offer first, instead of wanting an email address first.

2.When the button is clicked, thats one action that your visitor has already taken. Its like a virtual yes ladder, which is a scientifically-proven persuasion technique that helps one close. Theyve already said yes by clicking the button, and are likely to say yes again by filling out the form. If you just show the form right away, theres a lot more to do before getting to that first yes in the ladder, and youre less likely to close.

3.When the pop-up appears, the visitor has only two actions they can take: fill out the form and submit, or click the (x) to leave. Since they are in yes mode and the distractions are gone, youre likely to capture that email address.

This is a great way to create a pop-up that won’t annoy your visitors. Start with this if you’re nervous about upsetting your visitors.


According to Michael Stelzner for instance who founded one of the top media blogs, a pop-up form managed to increase their subscriptions by 70%.

Likewise, Dan Zarella (of Danzarrella.com) says:

Between late January and early May of 2011 the pop-up on my site was temporarily disabled. I found that my signup rate doubled with the pop-up enabled and there was no noticeable change in bounce rates.

Finally, Mauro D Andrea of Unbounce.com (someone who knows a thing or two about bounce rates) says pop-ups are the best way to increase subscribers.

So if you take only one thing from this book – let it be that you need to start using pop-ups to max out your conversions!

Getting Started and Last Notes

Now you know why pop-ups are so important, you know what all the options are and you know how to tweak them for the best results. Likewise, you’ve seen them work for some of the top bloggers and heard stories of huge success.

The next step then is implementing a pop-up on your own site. SO how do you go about that?

Introducing IM Rebels WP Pop…

IM Rebels WP Pop

IM Rebels WP Pop is a fantastic plugin for WordPress that offers a lot more than the competition when it comes to pop-ups, making it really the only choice for effective campaigns.

As a WordPress plugin, any WordPress site owner can make use of this plugin with zero coding knowledge and no technical expertise. At the same time, you’ll get to benefit from advanced features including:

  • Timers
  • Surveys
  • Overlays
  • Exit pop-ups
  • Popunders
  • Click pop-ups
  • Timed pop-ups
  • Scroll pop-ups
  • 2 step e-mail opt-ins
  • Support for videos and images
  • Video backgrounds
  • And more!

It’s only by using this software that you can easily implement some of the more advanced features we’ve talked about, so check it out!

Setting Up

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the plugin, the rest couldn’t be easier. Simply create a pop-up by entering options like the title, the trigger action, the text/image/video etc. Then you select the style of pop-up you want, choose backgrounds and dynamic animations if you want them and click publish! From there you’ll be able to control all your pop-ups conveniently from a single dashboard.

Some Final Notes

So there you go: everything you need to get up and running. Hopefully you’ll be raring at this point to get started but before you set off, just remember these pointers:

  • Pop-ups are fantastic for generating leads. They are used by almost all the top bloggers and for good reason.
  • But can also be used for numerous other things…
  • Timed popups and exit pop-ups can be less disruptive for users
  • Don’t be afraid to strategically combine your pop-ups for maximum effect
  • You can use split tests to check which pop-ups work best
  • Ensure your pop-up can be easily dismissed
  • Pop-ups should always be checked for mobile-friendliness
  • A video, video background or countdown can help your pop-up to stand out from the crowd
  • Remember: you are fighting the cynicism of web-weary visitors
  • Offer incentives to sign up like free e-books
  • Use persuasive text basics to encourage action
  • Use IM Rebels WP Pop for the best user interface and largest selection of features, settings and options

Good luck and happy converting! Check out what IM Rebels WP Pop can do for your business here…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *