December 5, 2018 Julia 12 minutes to read

Case Study. How to build an email database using active popups

There is an opinion that popup windows for collecting emails annoy site visitors. However, if you use pop-up forms wisely, fine-tuning them, and not spamming them, but offering to subscribe to a useful newsletter or give valuable free content, they turn out to be a powerful tool for collecting emails.


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  • Founding year2010
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But due to the fact that many are afraid to annoy users, they hide the form somewhere in the footer, where few to none ever fill it out. The base grows very slowly and only at the expense of people who placed an order or somehow explicitly left their email. It does not grow well though at the expense of those who came in but are not ready to buy now — who, however, are loyal enough and can leave their contacts to buy later.

We tested various plugins for such visitors, but eventually settled on — a service for creating highly customized popup windows that appear at the right time.

1. A Welcome Mat popup

The first popup that a website visitor sees is the Welcome Mat. This is a large full-screen popup that appears the first time the site loads.

There were 3 versions of this window on In its first version, it worked with a conversion of 2%. That is, every 50th of those to whom it was shown left their email. Here is what it looked like:

Then we prepared a newsletter — a series of 7 letters on how to increase conversion and changed the call to “Want to increase conversion?”. We figured out what all the visitors of our site want: both Internet marketers and business owners. They all want to increase either sales, which is very broad, or conversions. Therefore, we changed the call to “Want to increase conversion?” and the conversion to this offer increased one and a half times, from 2 to 3%.

Then we removed the ability to automatically scroll through this popup window. All that was left was the down arrow and the “Already reading the newsletter” button, and the conversion jumped from 3 to 4%. This is how the popup window changed:

It turns out that conversion to the subscription increased twice when we found “where it hurts” and removed the ability to easily and automatically “get rid” of the form.

Scroll Popup

The second popup window at is a scroll popup.

It is activated by scrolling 50% of the page and appears at the bottom right. For example, a person has closed the Welcome Mat, looked through one page, wandered to the next one and looked at it halfway through. That is, the popup is aimed at those who are active and interested.

A/B testing of this popup text gave the following results:

  • The guy on the right knows about the high conversion rate. 1,55%
  • The man on the right is aware of the high conversion rate. 1,30%
  • How to increase conversion? 1,76%,
  • Want to increase conversion? 1,74%

3. Exit Popup

A third example of a popup window at is an exit popup.

When a person tries to send the mouse cursor towards closing the tab, they are offered this popup window.

A/B text testing conversion:

  • Don’t leave empty-handed. 1,46%
  • — Already leaving? 1,21%
  • I can’t let you go without a gift. 1,51%

4. Email Locker

On top of that, what also functions very well to actively collect emails is the email locker in the Opt-In Panda. This is a form that hides any selected piece of the page until you fill it out. It is a good option if there is specific valuable information for the sake of which the visitor will be ready to leave their contacts.

On, we hide useful links, transcripts, promotional codes and bonuses from guests in episodes of the PRODUCTIVE ROMAN podcast under it.

We have it set up via a shortcode in WordPress, which allows you to accurately determine the amount of text that needs to be hidden. For example:

Email Locker conversion also depends on the value of the material and the interest of the audience. For example:

  • Productive Roman #48 Books and Courses for the Internet Marketer. What should a beginner marketer know — 18,94%
  • Productive Roman #40 Special. PR in the media. How to publish for free? — 12,58%
  • Productive Roman #45 How to write compelling marketing reports? — 9,05%
  • Productive Roman #36 David Brown, CEO of TemplateMonster & Weblium: how to sell a business and start a new one. Analog WIX — 14,97%

How not to annoy visitors?

It is worth paying special attention to the display settings and logic:

  1. The popup window should be set up so that if a user has come from an email newsletter, this information will be saved on them in a cookie, and the windows will no longer pop up actively. That is, if a person has already visited the site via a link from an email on this browser or device, the pop-ups will not appear for them.
  2. Pop-ups should not be placed on key pages such as checkout, registration and application. Because here the form can distract the person from the target action.
  3. If the visitor has closed a specific popup window, it is worth adjusting the settings so that the pop-up appears to them again only after a specified time. Optimally, that would be from 7 to 14 days.
  4. The pop-up window should appear at the right time. For example, page scrolling by 50%, as well as transition to the next page both indicate that the person is interested in the site, which means this is a great reason to start a conversation with them.

What influences email collection conversion the most?

Judging by experience, if you find the visitor’ main “pain points”, you can collect email much more actively. What sells is, first of all, the offer and emphasis on the form, not the design.

No matter how many A/B tests we conducted on the form design: backgrounds, colors on the background, pictures — the result practically does not change at all. It is only copywriting that affects it. WHAT and WHEN you offer affects conversion and efficiency. If the offer is good, if people can relate to it and it is important to them, they subscribe regardless of the design. If the offer is weak, then even the coolest design will not help.

We had a case where a Client was testing an offer by indicating and not indicating the discount percentage on the first order. The difference in conversion was 33% more in the pop-up window indicating the discount percentage.

A second factor influencing the conversion is the “strictness” of the way the pop-ups are displayed: whether you let the person automatically close the window or whether they need to perform more actions. In the case of the Welcome Mat at, you need to think about how to close the pop-up and it’s easier to leave an email.

Checklist. What to consider when setting up the pop-up window mechanics:

  • When is it shown?
  • How often is it shown?
  • What pages does it show on? For example, it is better to turn the pop-ups off on the key pages (checkout, registration, application).
  • What devices support it?
  • What language versions are there?
  • Under what conditions does it appear (entering the page, scrolling to % of the page, clicking on an element)?
  • It is not shown if the user is already subscribed (get-parameter from the mailing list, application → cookie and recognition on the site and in the store → checking the cookie before showing the form).
  • How many days does the user have a rest from active popups if they close them? The optimal time is 7-14 days.
  • What is the popup format (a full screen welcome mat with or without scrolling, the lightbox is in the center or in the corner, the sticky bar is on top)?
  • Possibilities of A/B testing for the offer, design and conditions of appearance.

Examples of the popup windows we set up for our Clients

Scroll Popup for Intimo:

Scroll Popup for

Scroll Popup for


Collecting a database of email addresses using popup windows can bring 2-4% of subscriptions from traffic. On the website, in total, popup windows give up to 2% of the entire audience (including repeat visits).

Those Clients who had us set up “Active forms for capturing email” have seen up to 4% of conversion to the Welcome Mat from those visitors who saw it, that is, excluding those who have already subscribed.

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