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A Guide on Email Popups

Thoughts by Gracija Atanasovska • Writer Bento

If you want to know the basics of email popups, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, you’ll find out what email popups are, why they are effective, and how to make one, alongside examples from famous brands.

So stick around!

TLDR: Email popups are small windows that open on a particular website and can be used for a variety of marketing purposes. You can collect email addresses, offer discounts and giveaways, promote sales, remind customers of abandoned carts, and also as social proof — there’s no end to their versatility. Email popups consist of a headline, a body (copy), and a CTA button. All of these elements should be concise and straightforward, reflecting the core of your offer. When crafting an email popup, you should consider the type of template you’re using, the copy you’re providing, and the timing of the popup. You’ll also need to have in mind who gets to see the popup.

What Are Email Popups?

Email popups are small windows that appear when a visitor lands on a particular website. They usually ask for email registration and offer newsletters in return, as well as gifts, vouchers, giveaways, and discounts, among other things.

You may think of popups as something from the earlier days of the internet, but that’s not the case, especially when it comes to email popups.

Are Email Popups Effective?

Email popups are definitely an effective marketing strategy.

They’re effective for several reasons:

  • They can be pretty helpful when it comes to developing your inbound strategy, aka the way you attract new customers and subscribers in the first place;

  • They can help you get new leads fairly simply;

  • They can help guide your visitors and make them do the desired action;

  • A simple way to spread your newsletter to your users;

  • A simple way to get customer feedback.

You must know that not all email popups are created equal. In order for them to be effective, you should keep a couple of things in mind.

The way a popup is constructed can make a world of difference. The headline, the CTA button, the body, and the design of the popup are all very important elements you should never take for granted.

Types of Email Popups

There are different email popups for different sales opportunities. These are some popular general types (aka forms) of email popups:

  • Lightbox (standard) email popups
  • Fullscreen popups
  • Side messages
  • Sticky/floating bars
  • On-click popups

And these are popups that are usually categorized by a marketing goal:

  • Product recommendations
  • Cart abandonment
  • Countdown timer
  • Newsletter
  • Giveaway

These are just a selection of what you can do with email popups. The options are endless! Let’s take a look at the ones noted here in a bit more detail.

Lightbox (Standard) Email Popup

You’ve most likely seen this everywhere. It’s the classic email popup that - pops up! - on almost every page of the internet.

It’s a small window that opens within the website (usually the landing page) that you’re browsing at the moment. To catch viewers’ attention and make them focus on the small window before them, when the lightbox popup emerges from the rest of the website, the background looks darker than before.

Lightbox popups are standard for a reason - they can be used for basically any purpose. Most of the time, however, they’re used as a means to grow your email list, but you can also use them to offer discounts, free shipping, current holiday offers, etc.

Fullscreen Popups

As their name says, these popups take up the entire screen and overshadow the page visitors are currently on. They’re designed to get their full attention, as they’re basically popups in the form of landing pages.

These popup types can be used for a variety of reasons. However, since they make a pretty big impact, it’s wise to use them for an offer you really want to stand out with your visitors, like a limited-time offer, a really big discount, or an important sales promotion.

Side Messages

The side message is a less intrusive way to introduce your popup to your website visitors. As you might’ve guessed from the name, these popups show up on the side of the screen, instead of the center or taking the whole screen.

The side message popups are a good way to grow your mailing list, get people to sign up for your newsletter, or join a loyalty club. They’re not recommended for more standout offers, however.

Sticky/Floating Bars

The sticky or floating bars are less common types of email popups. You’ve probably seen them more on the top or bottom parts of websites as campaigns, advertising a limited-time offer, a discount sale, a Black Friday sale, a holiday sale, or a giveaway.

But since you can tailor them as you please, you can also use them as email popups. Like the side message, they’re great at being unintrusive for the visitor and can stay on top or bottom of the page without interrupting the browsing experience.

Also, if you don’t want them to be there all the time, you can make them show up at certain intervals while the visitor is browsing your page.

You can use them for everything - from newsletters to free shipping, or sales that are time-sensitive.

On-click Popups

These popups show up only to people who are interested in something you offer on your site. It means that the popups appear to warm leads and consequently, you may expect more conversions than with regular popups.

How do they work? Well, you need to embed a popup campaign trigger within an anchored text of your choosing. You can do this through an email marketing platform, so that the on-click popup will emerge whenever a user clicks on an offer, service, or product you have on your site.

Email Popups by Goals

Now let’s look at the way email popups can be used to achieve a certain goal.

User Login

You may not think of this often, but the process of logging in takes several steps and redirection that are usually not necessary.

A user login email popup can make the process of logging in much simpler and less time-consuming for your users and subscribers. That way your subscribers can log in (or visitors can sign up, alternatively) with just one simple step through the popup, and without any redirections.

Product Recommendations

Product recommendations drive conversions. A good idea to use the magic of these popups is to have them recommend different products your visitors and customers will most likely be interested in, depending on the product or service they’re currently looking at.

For example, if you’re selling clothes, and the customer is considering a particular hat, you can have a scarf or a shawl as a product recommendation to go alongside it. To incentivize the shopper, it’s a good idea to include some kind of a deal or promotion if the two items are bought at the same time.

Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is something that every online business is trying to tackle in all possible ways, email popups being one.

Cart abandonment popups can do wonders when it comes to this issue and they’re so easy to implement. Whenever you notice a customer has left their shopping cart full, just have a popup emerge telling them how the cart awaits them with all the wonders inside and how you can give them a nice deal (10, 15, 20% off) by using a coupon to have them come back.

Countdown Timer

Countdown timers are used as a FOMO (fear of missing out) strategy. They’re great at making your visitors and customers feel like the offer is urgent and they simply cannot miss this fantastic limited opportunity.

These popups are particularly good for buyers who are more hesitant and less inclined to make fast purchasing decisions.

Countdown popups usually come in the form of floating (sticky) bars.


This is the most classic popup goal there is - making visitors sign up for your newsletter. Basically, for this, you can use any type of email popup, whichever fits your campaign best. The most common ones used are the lightbox and the side message popup forms.


A giveaway popup is a great way to lure in new customers or remind existing customers why they like your brand.

All you need to do is make a lightbox or fullscreen popup and have the visitor enter their email address to get a free item. If they’re new, it’s a great way to encourage them to subscribe.

Elements of Email Popups

Email popups usually have three parts — the title or the headline, the body, and the CTA button. I’ll give you a couple of examples and walk you through why all of these parts are so important.

The Popup Headline

The headline is your “way in,” so it must be short, catchy, and fun. Take a look at this example from the London Review of Books.

Their title is “Fresh Thinking” — it’s a straightforward and clever way to connect a subscription offer for a literary magazine with a beloved season. The title works perfectly with the body of the text alongside the visual design. The art and copy tie together a feeling of summer and blue skies where you can sit down and enjoy a good book. London Review of Books Popup

The Popup Body

The body of your email popup should also be short and cut straight to the point. Take a look at this popup from Electric Literature, an independent publisher and online magazine. Electric Literature Popup I just love how they immediately draw you in with their body - what kind of bookworm doesn’t want to become the person who everybody asks for book recommendations?

This popup body is catchy, concise, and cuts straight to the chase.

Another example is Adidas, with its popup body/title, which is also pretty short and simple and tells you that you’re going to get a discount if you join their club. Who wouldn’t want to belong to such a club?

Also, the design is nice and sleek, it corresponds with the Adidas logo, making it instantly relatable for Adidas fans, but it also stands out for those new to the brand. Adidas Popup

The Popup CTA Button

The CTA button (call to action button) in your email popup is something that must be there. Otherwise, the whole popup is just there to block the user from seeing your website.

The CTA copy should be only a few words and must use a verb to tell people what action they should take. It all depends on what your popup is about. You can use “Join now,” “Subscribe,” “Sign up,” “Shop now,” “Get in touch,” “Save _,” etc.

Things to Have in Mind When Creating an Email Popup

As I mentioned earlier, email popups are not created equal. Their effectiveness depends on the target audience, the design, the well-crafted message, and some other factors.

Next, I’ll tell you a little about what to consider when crafting the perfect email popup.

Choose the Right Template

The template you choose for your popups should be based on the goal you’re chasing. It could be about collecting new users’ email addresses or attempting to increase your sales. Whatever it is, choose a template that will fit your goal.

Ask yourself what you can offer them in the email popup to get them excited and ready to enter their email address. A 10% or 15% discount might do the trick if you’re doing a sale.

Pay Attention to the Copy

I’ve mentioned this earlier, but yes, the copy is critical, even though it’s pretty short. The copy should concisely and straightforwardly reflect what you’re offering to your users.

So, if your title is “30% off all Swimwear,” you can write something like this in the copy:

“Spend the rest of the summer looking chic and fresh with our summer collection, now on sale — 30% off all designs!

We’ll promptly send you the discount code once you sign up.”

Choose Who Can See the Offer and When

Not everyone needs to see the offer. If, for example, you’re going after new email addresses and new subscribers, existing subscribers are not the ones you’re chasing after, so they don’t need to see this particular popup. You can easily adjust this by turning off the popup for newsletter subscribers.

Also, it’s a good idea to think about when you want the popup to show up. Generally speaking, it’s recommended you do this after 6-8 seconds once the person opens the website.


Email popups are an easy, fun, and pretty straightforward way to attract new subscribers and guide your visitors towards taking a particular action.

Email popups are so versatile that you can use them for whatever incentive you want. As an indelible part of any marketing campaign, don’t hesitate to start crafting them as soon as possible!