When it comes to capturing more emails, an optin form may be the first thing that pops into your head. We also write a lot about it.

If done right, email popups are a good way to grow your email list. But if not, they can be considered as aggressive and annoying. Said another way, you got nothing.

So, what could you do to collect emails while providing a good experience for your visitors?

This is where smart bars (a.k.a floating bars, announcement bars) come in.

And, the coolest part is that smart bars can do more than that.

In today’s article, we’ll show how you can use smart bars to satisfy your visitors and get them to take an exact action that you want them to do. No matter what the action is entering their email, clicking the link or downloading a free trial.

Let’s get started.

Oh, wait… what is a smart bar?

Simply put, a smart bar is a one- or two- sentence space at the very top or bottom of a website. It hangs out beautifully there and appears as the site loads, rather than being thrown in visitors’ face like popups.

This is a smart bar:

smart bar

And, this is a popup:

smart bar

The difference is very clear.

Like said earlier, one huge benefit of a smart bar is that it’s NOT intrusive. Also, it’s easy to update because it includes only a sentence or two! Using them, you can be more passive.

As such, smart bars are essential, right?

Depends. In reality, smart bars are useful in many cases (not all). For example, you can use them to remind visitors of joining your email list, checking out your new blog posts, following you on Twitter, etc.

Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for you to take advantage of a smart bar:

  • Showcase your free delivery (or return service) and signal a saving for customers. Or, you can highlight a free-shipping threshold to encourage customers to order more items to meet that limit and enjoy the offer. In this case, smart bars are often called free shipping bars.
  • Shout out customer service hours, new product launches, flash sales, seasonal sales, or any other information that you want to inform your visitors.
  • Give away free coupon codes or discounts. Hence, customers feel like they’re getting a bargain right at the beginning of their buying journey.
  • Show referral marketing. For example, “Refer a friend and get $20 off your next purchase”.
  • Link to your most recent blog post, FAQ, best sellers, or the customer of the month.
  • Show an optin form to encourage visitors to enter their email and join your subscription.
  • Drive people to follow you on social media and get updates about you instantly.

Sound great, huh?

Create a win-wheel popup for your website right now

So, should we replace all popups with smart bars?

If you think like this, (again) you lose. Let us tell you something.

The average conversion rate for smart bars is much lower than popups. In fact, it’s just (respectively) 0.5% compared to 3.09%.

With smart bars, your site can be more friendly with your visitors but you’ll probably get fewer opt-ins. Less aggressive but low chances to get more emails. That’s a trade-off.

The truth is popups still work well (this is proven). Therefore, a good strategy is to use both smart bars and popups on your site. Properly.

In the following parts of this article, we’ll show you some tweaks to raise your smart bar. Try them and see the different results in your conversion.

1. Use an action color for CTA button

You can’t convert a visitor into a customer or an email subscriber if they don’t notice your optin form.

To create a powerful smart bar, avoid using the predesigned template. Instead, set an eye-catching action color that draws your visitors eye up to the smart bar.

Here is a good example from Elegant Themes:

smart bar

There are some strong colors that you can use for your CTAs, such as pink, red, green, and yellow. Choose any of them to make your smart bar stand out from other elements on your page.

2. Make your smart bar sticky

When you set your smart bar static, it means that as soon as your visitors scroll down the page, they don’t see the smart bar.

And, let’s be real: (almost) no one will scroll back up to the top to find the smart bar. They are inevitably going to leave without converting.

All things considered, creating a sticky smart bar is a good idea. By doing so, it’ll stay with your visitors all the way down the page, like this:

Easy. And, cool.

3. Ask a question

Asking a question can draw your visitors in – especially if you’re asking a question you know is that it will propel them. This is a good way to trigger their curiosity and inspire them to click your call to action (CTA) button.

A good example comes from Pact. They show a smart bar with a question “Have you got a gift voucher or promotional code?”. It’s simple but enough attractive.

smart bar

When using this tactic, remember to ask a question that is relevant to most of your (potential and existing) visitors. In the case of Pact, they mention a gift voucher and promotional code which everyone loves. Try to do the same way!

4. Urge customers with a countdown timer

Procrastination is the nature of human beings.

We often don’t do something until the last minute.

That’s why if you can add some urgency to your smart bar, you can get your visitors to take action immediately. The best tactical example of that today is a countdown timer, and Curren is the master of this.

smart bar

Curren’s visitors see those little numbers clicking down, and their lizard brain goes into a panic. FOMO strikes. They’ll more likely make a purchase before the deal ends.


If you don’t want to add a countdown timer, you can use ‘urgent’ words like last day, last chance, last hour, etc. Those words are strong enough to move customers to action. See this:

smart bar

5. Add social proof

Social proof is an interesting psychological phenomenon that marketers use constantly. Clearly, if other people are doing it, it proves that it must be worthwhile. So you should try, too.

[This is also social proof 😀]

WPForms does a great job displaying raw quantity – a widely-used type of social proof.

smart bar

WPForms also adds the blue-highlighted See User Reviews button next to the main CTA. When visitors click this blue button, they’ll be directed to the WPForms Review page where shows all user reviews. Such a great strategy!

6. Remind an incoming holiday

Not everyone is good at remembering things. With so many tasks to finish every day, people are easy to forget eating lunch or drinking water, not to mention holidays.

That’s why if you can remind your customers of a holiday, do it!

smart bar

Key takeaways:

When designing your own smart bar, keep these in mind:

  • Don’t use a smart bar to just say hi. Instead, bring real value to your customers.
  • Say more with less. Don’t include a paragraph or make the smart bar half of your site. Stick to a quick message.
  • Update your content when necessary. If you continue to show the same announcement when the flash sales ended for a while, your visitors may feel annoyed.
  • Ensure your smart bar is responsive. Remember your mobile visitors are as valuable as your web visitors. Don’t treat them differently.

Over to you

Every small change you make can have a big impact on your conversion rates. This is a fact.

We’ve given you these 6 tweaks to design a compelling smart bar, so you can grow your email, increase your conversion, improve your brand awareness, etc. quickly.

But, don’t take our word for this – test it to see for yourself. You’ll be shocked by the results.

If you don’t know where to start, install SiteKit right now. It’s free!

Create a win-wheel popup for your website right now

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