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Do popups still work?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday September 17, 2008 )

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Hell yeah. Regardless of what you read on forums and blogs about popups being evil – they still get results.

It’s all in the implementation.

A few times every year I get the opportunity to try a popup on a site that’s never had one before; usually to advertise a special deal or in an attempt to boost subscriptions. Each and every time it works and I haven’t noticed any “fatigue” over the years. People simply use them.

The latest example was on a site that was getting a handful of subscriptions a day through a form in their header area. After adding a popup, it skyrocketed to between 50 – 70 subscriptions a day. These were double opt in subscribes as well – the best kind.

The key is to:

a) Make the popup a clean design – keep it simple

b) Have an attractive offer. For example, not just “Newsletter”, but “Free newsletter”. Offer an additional bonus such as a free report or similar.

c) Include a link to a page with further details to satisfy the more wary (in the case of newsletter subscriptions)

d) Make it unobtrusive and don’t allow it to pop up on every page, or every visit for that matter

e) Popups of old will get blocked left, right and center, so you’ll need to use the “hover ad” variety written in DHTML.

You can learn more about boosting subscriptions with popups here and if you want to give them a whirl, here’s my free popup generator which produces DHTML code.

The next time you read people in the industry damning popups, keep this quote from master of marketing Seth Godin in mind:

“The market is astonishingly quick at responding to what consumers do (and incredibly slow at reacting to what we say).”

If the idea of popups still doesn’t sit well with you for whatever reason, perhaps consider using a page peel script – also very effective.


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