Conversion Rate Optimization

Why It’s Time to Ditch Your Free Email Pop-Up Builder

August 1, 2023
Rene Emery

Is your free email pop-up builder holding you back? Learn about the benefits of advanced email acquisition pop-ups and the tools you need to achieve them.

Email Service Providers (ESP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Content Management System (CMS) tools often provide a free email capture pop-up.

Unfortunately, email acquisition campaigns that rely on these free services:

  • Offer limited features
  • Require you to follow strict rules and conditions
  • Lack advanced design customization
  • Lead to lower sign-up rates

It's awesome that they include email capture as a feature and it's a great place to start! But if you're looking to create more fun, interactive experiences on your website—like quizzes, surveys, personalized pop-ups, dynamic banners, and gamification elements—then you should also take advantage of advanced email and SMS acquisition tools that come with it.

Grow your list faster with features like integration into your tech stack, coupon codes, A/B testing, two-step SMS signup, and other advanced features.

What Makes a Good Email Pop-Up?

Email is one of the leading forms of marketing because email’s return on investment (ROI) is $36 for every $1 spent. One of the leading ways to get people to sign up for your newsletter or mailing list is through email pop-ups.

example of a two step email pop-up that also captures a mobile number
Haute Hijab's two-step email acquisition pop-up also grows their SMS list by capturing a mobile number on the second page.

Pop-ups often contain:

  • Sharp visuals that catch the user’s attention
  • An offer for signing up, such as receiving an eBook, discount, or free shipping (niche dependent)
  • A single email form field
  • A strong call to action

Advanced two-step pop-ups allow you to capture email and SMS.

Browse through our 20 examples of the best email pop-ups to get a better idea of what email pop-ups are and what they look like.

Why Pop-Ups are Key for Email Acquisition

If you have a sign-up form on your site’s sidebar or menu, you may wonder: why switch to pop-ups? Email acquisition pop-ups get in front of the user and don’t rely on the user navigating to your sidebar for a conversion.

We helped Hershey’s (yes, the delicious chocolate company):

  • Capture 531 emails in a single day
  • Convert 7.79% of first-time mobile users

Email pop-ups were the core of this strategy. 

Interested in reading the full case study? Click here.

The best email pop-ups offer:

  • Higher email sign-up rates
  • Impossible-to-miss sign-up options
  • Mobile- and desktop-friendly options
  • Increased revenue
  • Good first impressions
  • Zero-party data capture

If you’re struggling to turn website visitors into customers, you can benefit from better email pop-ups. Ditching your ESP’s free email pop-ups benefits your businesses beyond just an increase in conversion rates.

The Benefits of Better Pop-Up Builders

Businesses just dipping their toes into email acquisition often start with free options from their ESP, CRM, or website builder. You can try these free solutions when you’re trying to minimize cash outflows, but you’ll outgrow them as your business grows.

Advanced pop-up solutions offer an array of benefits, including:

1. Flexible Email Pop-Up Design

Staying on-brand is crucial to your marketing efforts. Your solution should offer a flexible design editor with the freedom to:

  • Launch drag-and-drop elements
  • Choose from 100s of customizable templates
  • Add custom fonts
  • Add conditional logic
  • Input custom code

Your brand isn’t generic, so your email pop-up design shouldn’t be either.

2. SMS Capture

SMS messages have a read rate of 42% and an open rate of nearly 98%. If you use SMS marketing, it’s crucial that your pop-up provider allows you to capture a visitor’s mobile number too.

3. A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing

A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing empower you to test your way to higher conversions. You can test different pop-ups or templates, and even monitor KPIs to understand how each version performs.

Advanced solutions will even automatically deploy the winning test for you to improve conversions.

4. Detailed Performance Reporting

Performance reports provide insight into how your acquisition strategy is working – or not working. Free pop-up builders are unlikely to provide the in-depth reporting that you need to make key changes to your campaign to increase sign-ups and revenue.

5. One-time Use Coupon Codes

What is one of the most powerful motivators for getting someone to take any action online? Something free. Digioh offers the option to provide one-time use coupon codes to new subscribers that skyrocket sign-up rates.

6. Ability to Display Dynamic Personalized Messages, Images, and Offers

Dynamic items give you the power to:

  • Show specific coupons to users
  • Show free shipping offers
  • Customize offers based on user action
  • Show personalized messages

Dynamic text replacement allows you to create personalized sign-ups that routinely outperform generic options.

7. Zero-Party Data Capture

Zero-party data is consented data shared between the sign-up and you. Obtaining this type of data allows you to circumvent third-party data restrictions and build authentic relationships with customers.

8. Display Rules and Conditions

Rules and Conditions shouldn’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Most ESPs do not offer you the freedom of who you show a pop-up to and when you show it to them.

9. Teasers That Let Users Re-Open The Pop-Up

Does your lightbox stay closed once a user hits “X?” With a pop-up teaser, users can re-open the lightbox and potentially sign up for your list later.

10. Integrations with Your Entire Tech Stack 

Connect your tech stack together and begin sharing data across solutions to personalize your site, pass emails to your sales team, and more.

examples of pop-up integrations available with advanced pop-up builders
With the integrations available from advanced pop-up builders, you can pass data to your ESP, CRM, CDP, or business intelligence platform.

If you’re not sure whether it’s time to change to a new email pop-up provider or if your conversion rates are low, ask yourself the questions below.

9 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Current Pop-Ups

  1. Is your Welcome Pop-up converting?
  2. Are you including an offer to entice visitors to sign up?
  3. When was the last time you A/B tested offers?
  4. Are you collecting both email and SMS?
  5. Is your email pop-up dynamic?
  6. What data are you collecting other than email addresses or mobile numbers?
  7. Do you show the pop-up to repeat visitors?
  8. Does your pop-up show up to visitors who already signed up? 
  9. When did you last refresh the copy, graphics, or offer?

If you know your email pop-up could do better, it may be time to switch to an advanced solution with powerful tools for increasing conversions and subscribers.

Ways to Increase Conversions and Subscribers

Out-of-the-box solutions may not offer the tools and features you need to increase conversions and subscribers. 

Digioh supplies you with a suite of tools that allow you to:

  • Create one-time-use offers, like discount codes, free shipping, guides, and more. These offers prevent coupon sharing while boosting sign-ups at the same time.
  • Use tools like the Digioh AI headline generator to create better headlines that convert.
  • Create teasers, so users can re-open offers if they’ve closed them.
  • Use A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing to test different offers, headlines, images and more.
  • Create dynamic offers based on user data and behavior. Show different products, headlines, or offers based on the user’s interest in your products or categories, their location, or referring websites. Here’s a great example of a dynamic offer:
example of a personalized pop-up with dynamic text replacement
With a dynamic pop-up, you can tailor pop-up copy based on visitor behavior.

Increase Revenue with SMS Subscribers

An off-the-shelf solution may not give you the option to capture mobile numbers and pass them to your mobile marketing platform, which means that you’ll be leaving money on the table.

SMS subscribers are high revenue drivers. In fact, text messages have a 98% open rate compared to email rates, which sit at 21%.

Digioh empowers you to create multi-step forms that capture both email addresses and mobile numbers. And even if the user quits at the SMS stage, you’ll still collect their email address.

Here’s an example of a 2-step form that captures the mobile number after collecting an email address on the first page:

example of a two-step form that captures a mobile number
Two-step forms will help you grow your email and SMS list.

Set Up Rules & Conditions

Free email pop-up builders offer very limited (if any) rules and conditions.

With Digioh, you make the rules. Simply adjust your conditions to show your boxes when you want to who you want.

You can set rules and conditions for how often visitors see your pop-ups, so you can keep bounce rates low with targeted messages. 

What kind of rules and conditions can you set?

  • Limits on how often someone sees your pop-up. Display a pop-up only once per session, or choose not to display a pop-up for 10 days after it’s closed by a user.
  • Only display welcome boxes to new visitors who haven’t subscribed to your list. Once they’ve submitted their email, they’ll never see your welcome box again. In fact, you can adjust your rules and conditions to never display your welcome box to anyone on your email list – even if they didn’t sign up through your pop-up.
  • Personalization and targeting. For example, ask returning customers to refer a friend, or present a more enticing offer to visitors who haven’t signed up yet.

Setting rules and conditions gives you more control and allows you to provide a better overall customer experience. 

Collect More Than a Name and Email Address

Some pop-up builders allow you to collect names and email addresses, but little else.

Names and email addresses are a great place to start, but what if you could capture more information to better personalize your marketing messages? Digioh helps you collect more than just a name and email address. You can also:

Pass Cookie User Data

Passing cookie user data provides you with valuable and useful information about your potential customers, such as:

  • The pages they’ve viewed, so you can learn about the products or categories they may be interested in
  • Referring websites, so you can learn more about their behaviors, habits, and interests
  • Their geolocation, so you can provide location-based messages 

The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to create experiences that convert, both on and off your site.

Ask Direction Questions to Gain Insight

Digioh gives you more customization options and the ability to think outside of the box when it comes to data capture.

For example, you can ask a direct question to get more information about the lead when they sign up for your list, such as:

  • Who are you shopping for?
  • What is your favorite brand?
  • What occasion are you shopping for? 

Here’s a great example:

screenshot of an interactive pop-up that asks a question
Interactive pop-ups, like this one-question quiz, can increase engagement while also helping you learn about your visitors.

Questions are a simple way to gain valuable data, and most will be happy to answer your question in exchange for something worthwhile (discount, free item, etc.).

The more zero-party data points you collect, the better. Why? Because they help your brand build strong, direct relationships with consumers and personalize your marketing.

Zero-party data is information that’s shared deliberately and voluntarily with you, so you can base your marketing strategies on actual data and not assumptions. How can you leverage this data?

  • Offer dynamic coupons that are hyper-personalized
  • Create more personalized SMS and email campaigns based on actual user data
  • Reshape your offers and products to align with customer needs and fill gaps
  • Create more effective retargeting ads

Understanding your customer is the key to success, and zero-party data helps you do just that.

Test and Iterate Often

Testing and comparing the results of different pop-up creatives is crucial to your email acquisition success. Some pop-ups will perform better than others. Knowing which one offers the highest conversions will help maximize your results.

Free pop-up creation tools typically don’t offer things like A/B testing, generative AI tools, or more advanced features to help improve conversions. 

When you ditch free pop-up builders and use a solution like Digioh, you can test and iterate more often and with greater ease. 

With Digioh, you can:

  • Use A/B testing to experiment with copy, CTAs, and creatives to see which combination maximizes conversions. A/B testing gives you data-driven insights that you can use to make smarter decisions.
  • Change your Welcome pop-up every three months to keep your content fresh and prevent pop-up blindness.
  • Use our AI Headline Generator to create and test new headlines and offers.

And if you’re struggling with the design of your pop-up, email acquisition strategies, or setting up the conditions, our team is here to help.

Are You Ready to Make the Switch?

Free pop-up form builders are a great place to start, but they’ll only get you so far. A robust solution like Digioh is the better solution for email and SMS capture, arming you with the tools you need to generate personalized, targeted pop-ups and test creatives to ensure you’re always maximizing conversions. Plus, Digioh integrates with your existing tech stack (including hundreds of SMS marketing tools, ESPs, and custom integrations), making the transition virtually seamless. Every day, 4 billion people check their email. Marketers focus heavily on email acquisition because it gives them a direct connection to a highly targeted lead. If someone signs up for your newsletter or list, you can nurture them and turn them into long-term customers.

Rene Emery
Contributing Writer
Emery is a B2B/Finance/SaaS writer who focuses on clear, concise, and optimized content. Leveraging 12+ years of experience, she relies on her work with hundreds of companies worldwide to create content that speaks to readers and makes difficult topics easy to understand.

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