Imagine you just visited a website and saw this email opt-in:

Email Opt-in Tips

Let us guess.

You’re more likely to click the Activate 15% Off button even when you don’t plan to buy. 

Why do we know?

It’s because you don’t want to feel a pang of guilt for clicking the ‘No Thanks, I’ll Pay Full Price’ button. You know the site is trying to force you to admit something that isn’t true. You end up thinking, “Well, okay. Why not?” and click the call to action (CTA) button anyway.

The tactic works, just as intended. 

And, when we say “the tactic”, we mean the awful confirmshaming practice

Awful? Yes! It can help you get some email addresses, but it’ll sink your conversion rate shortly. 

Why? Because using confirmshaming means you’re insulting your potential customers. People become aware of that. 

Our advice is to apply only best practice conversion tactics, which we’ll walk you through in this post. No confirmshaming related, 100% for sure.

Ready? Let’s jump in.  

1. Make your CTA match your offer

If you don’t know what you’ll get after taking action, will you do that action? 

The chance is you won’t.

Your potential customers act in the same way. 

So, when creating an email opt-in or an exit-intent popup, you should let your visitors know exactly what they’ll get after they enter their email, as CafePress did: 

Email Opt-in Tips

You, basically, just need to use a few words to confirm your offer, like these:

#1 If you’re offering a discount, use phrases like “Get Your Discount”, or “Take X% Off”. Sometimes, use the first person in CTA, say, “Get My X% Off” can increase CTR by 90%

#2 If you’re offering a content upgrade, use phrases like “Download Now”, “Get My (Whatever)”, “Get the Free (Whatever)”, or “Get It Now”. 

#3 If you’re asking for blog signups, use phrases like “Subscribe Now”, “Join Our Community”, or “Get Updates”. 

2. Write an action-triggering description

Never write a popup description that is for describing things only.

Never do that. 

Your visitors don’t have time to read a full-of-text description. They prefer a straightforward and clear popup text which tells them what they should do, why they should, and what they’ll get. Period. 

Look at British Corner Shop’s email opt-in:

Email Opt-in Tips

First-time visitors with orders over £75 can enter their email in exchange for a discount code. Clear, huh?

When you write a product description, all you have to do is specify the following: 

#1 What you want your visitors to do. Do you want them to enter their email address? Click a button?? Or download an ebook? Give them something actionable, so they don’t guess. 

#2 Why they should. Give a compelling reason to follow through with your action. Prove the value of your offer. Keep this in a sentence if possible. 

#3 What they get. What do your visitors will get when they opt in? Make it explicit. 

3. Make people feel they’re special by adding exclusivity 

Let’s see a 10-second discount popup from Leesa

Email Opt-in Tips

Enter your email to unlock your exclusive discount.

There is nothing better than the ‘just-for-me’ feeling that a shopper can get from Leesa. 

That exclusive discount makes them feel special – like they’re a part of Leesa’s community. It sets them apart from the crowd who seemingly don’t get a discount from the brand. 

Exclusivity drives purchases. This is true

Here are some tips you can use to make use of exclusivity in your popup:

#1 Add exclusive words. Using words like ‘exclusive’ or ‘unique’ can make all the difference.

#2 Give your subscribers a nickname. You can group your visitors together through a nickname. For example, consider how effective nicknaming Star Trek fans ‘Trekkies’. These identifiers set them apart from other people. 

4. Show social proof to prove you’re trustworthy

If hundreds or thousands or millions of people are doing something (subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product), then it’s probably a good thing to do.

It’s not right, and it’s not wrong – it’s just how we human beings are wired. 

That’s why you should add social proof of any kind to your popup. Reviews, testimonials, badges, endorsements, etc. – they’re all good to build trust with your visitors. Growth Supply Blog applied this so well. 

Email Opt-in Tips

61,147 people have joined the Growth Supply Blog – the CTA is compelling, right? If you want to know how to create a CTA like this blog, read 18 Best Call to Action Button Tactics.

5. Make your offer match where your visitors are

Let’s say you’ve created a blog for your online store. You published a lot of well-written posts which are useful for your customers. 

Then, you wanted to get visitors to subscribe to your blog. You used a tool, say, SiteKit, to design a beautiful email opt-in and set it to be shown on the homepage of your store. 

You thought you have a perfect popup, and it would help you get many subscribers. 

Unfortunately, you’ve got a few emails. 

The reason is simple: You put your best offer in front of the wrong audience. It appears in the wrong place. 

The first time someone visits your store, do you want to distract them from your products with a popup to sign up for your blog? They’re not on your blog! They might even have no idea you own a blog!

It’s time to pay attention to where you’ll show your popup. It’s as crucial as how your popup looks. 

We have two tips for you:

#1 If your popup is meant for growing subscribers, show the popup on the blog. Don’t show it on the homepage of your site or your store. See how Instapage did:

Email Opt-in Tips

#2 If your popup offers a discount for customers who buy a product category, show the popup on that category page. Tailor it to the right customers. 

6. Apply the ‘foot in the door’ technique 

Most people don’t buy or sign up for a newsletter right off the bat. They decided to do that only after careful consideration. 

‘Why do I need to enter my email address?’

‘Why do I need to subscribe to this blog? Is it worthy?’

There are several barriers you must overcome to increase your conversion. 

This is where the foot in the door marketing technique comes in. 

It’s all about asking for something small before asking for something bigger. In other words, you first get them to make a small request, then get them to comply with a more significant request. 

TOMS is the master of doing that. Instead of asking right away, they used a three-step opt-in process to have their visitors pick their stand to bring up an email form.

The smaller request: picking your stand.

Email Opt-in Tips

The more significant request: Signing up for a discount.

Email Opt-in Tips

TOMS even included step 3 to make visitors easier to use the discount to shop on their store instantly. 

Email Opt-in Tips

Such an attention-grabbing popup!

7. Ask for an email address only to keep your popup simple

People may not put their name in, even if you require it, let alone their phone and location. They prefer to leave your site rather than give their personal information to you. 

Adding an extra field to popups reduces opt-ins. You could hurt your conversion rates. 

Hence you should keep your popup super simple and only ask for an email address.

We took this approach in our content upgrade popup on Gymshark growth story as well.

Email Opt-in Tips 

The result was amazing. 

8. Add visual to make your popup compelling 

You may have heard this: a picture tells a thousand words. 

It’s true. 

In fact, visual can drive engagement to your content, up to 80%

So, if you don’t add some visuals to your opt-in forms, you lose a big chance to get more emails. 

Here are some tips you can apply:

#1 Use an image which is relevant to your brand to attract customers’attention as Code 8 Beauty did:

Email Opt-in Tips

#2 Show the image of the offer your customers will get after entering their email, like this from Hermo:

Email Opt-in Tips

#3 Use a background image to create a visual impact, like this from Bike Exchange

Email Opt-in Tips

9. Wait seconds before showing your popup

When doing research for this post, we visited a bunch of websites to check how they were using popups. We noticed that on many sites, right when the page loads, a popup is there.

Some reasons why that isn’t great:

  • You make your site less accessible to visitors. When someone taps a result on the search result pages, they want to access the content that they’re expecting quickly. 
  • Google penalizes any website that shows popups as soon as the page loads. As a result, your site falls down in rankings.   

So, how could you deal with that problem? 

The solution is simple: setting your popup to appear later. Hence your customers have time to see your site, and Google has no reasons to penalize you.

ZENGER Bracelets has applied this tactic for years. 

Email Opt-in Tips

A worthy note that you don’t need to wait an hour or even a minute. A 10-second delay is enough.

Over to you  

Confirmshaming isn’t good as you think. 

At first, it can help you get some conversions. But this ‘little happy’ moment doesn’t last forever. 

Never insult your customers. NEVER. 

Instead, apply the best 9 tactics above to make your popup look good. The more friendly your popup is, the better off you’ll be. 

Do you have any best practices not mentioned in this post? Share with us in the comments below. 

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