Are pop-ups an effective marketing tool?

The halfway step in finishing your website (as defined in my free report: Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers) is to choose your call to action. Pretty much, you have to figure out what you want your website visitors to do—then tell them in the best way possible.

Like in many of the other steps, the idea is to keep your CTAs simple. You can get creative with the design and placement (pop-ups anyone?). But, first, let’s figure out what we want our website visitors to do so we can lead them in the right direction.

Step #6: Choose Your Call to Action

Think carefully. What do you want people to do on your website?

  • Call you?
  • Fill out a form?
  • Sign up for something?
  • Buy something?

Also consider: What do they want to do?

My primary call to action is: Get my free report
My secondary call to action is: Let’s chat about working together

Where to put these CTAs?

Right now, I have my primary call to action (get my free report) at the very top and bottom of my site. I also have a standalone free gift page that is helpful for giving out a specific URL. These work—and I will probably keep them. According to my signup form tracking in MailChimp, I get the most subscribers through the free gift page, then the header.

I’m also considering pop-ups. Yup, I said it. Pop-ups.

Pop-ups have had a bad reputation. They were fairly icky in the early days of the web. But these days, when they’re done in a thoughtful way, they can be helpful, not intrusive. These days, they can also look great (like the rest of your site!) to provide a consistent user experience.

Here’s some beautifully designed pop-up eye candy for you:





For my website redesign, I’m considering these types of pop-ups and figuring out if/how they can help support my visitor’s journey:

  • Intention-based pop-ups: If a website user demonstrates intent to leave the site (exit-intent) a pop-up can be triggered that’s sort of like saying, “Hey, before you go, let’s stay in touch!” According to PopupAlly, exit-intent pop-ups can increase conversion by over 300%.
  • Timed pop-ups: These show up after a certain amount of time so they don’t bombard visitors. SumoMe says the best time to introduce a pop-up is after 5 seconds.

An important note about pop-ups. While they can be useful on larger screens, they should be disabled for smaller ones. Google does not like pop-ups on mobile devices. They call them intrusive interstitials since they block and cover up the content the visitor is trying to consume. Your site will get penalized accordingly on mobile search results (unless you simply disable pop-ups on smaller screens). Got it?

How can you implement pop-ups on your site?

My favorite pop-up plugins for WordPress are:

Want more info about CTAs?

Check out:

I’m exited to see what adding strategically placed pop-ups on my website does for my free report signups and if they work as an effective marketing tool. What do you think about pop-ups?

About Jill Anderson

Hi, I’m Jill, a WordPress WordPress designer/developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. I’m passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative WordPress websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences. Get my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers, and check out my Client Onboarding Toolkit, a simple 4-step digital course for converting prospects into a paying clients.


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