This is How Your Favorite Businesses Use Website Popups to Grow (and You Can, Too!)

This is How Your Favorite Businesses Use Website Popups to Grow (and You Can, Too!)
Nina De la Cruz
Nina De la Cruz Apr 2, 2020 — 12 min read
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There are two types of people.

Those who love website popups, and those who hate them.

The first group knows how ridiculously effective website popups can be. The second group finds them ridiculously annoying.

But what’s the real difference between a good website popup and a bad one?

By looking through hundreds of them, we’ve concluded the following. It all boils down to three things:

  • How these popups look

  • What value they deliver

  • When exactly they appear

I mean, yes, some popups are annoying, obnoxious, ugly experience interrupters.

But that’s because they have been set up the wrong way.

For instance, take a look at this stunning popup on the Nike website:

Website popup on the Nike website announces a sitewide sale

Would anyone ever call it obnoxious or annoying?

I thought as much.

The Nike popup looks elegant and delivers value (discounts auto-applied at checkout, yay!). And it surely doesn’t interrupt the experience either. If anything – it’s an integral part of it.

There are thousands of big, well-known companies successfully using website popups to collect emails, announce sales, and display calls to action. Take The New York Times, Adidas, The Guardian, Century 21, or Slack as an example – and the list can go on and on!

So, why not learn from the best and apply their approach to grow your business?

You probably think you need a developer or these large companies’ budgets for adding a professional-looking popup to your website. Well, that’s not true.

In this blog post, we’ll show you 15 examples of website popups used by some of the most well-known businesses in various niches. We’ll also break it down to you why each popup is so effective.

The best part? We’ll show you exactly how to recreate them on your website within minutes using Getsitecontrol.

To help you navigate, we’ve divided the list into 3 categories. You are about to see website popups that help:

Feel free to jump to the category you’re interested in the most.

Website popups that help brands build email lists

Everyone is crazy about growing their email lists right now. And you should be too!

In case you’ve missed it, email has a whopping $44 ROI per every dollar spent.

Having people on your email list means you own that exclusive permission to meet them right in their inboxes, develop a relationship, and turn them into recurrent customers.

Wait, but what’s the best way to grow an email list? I bet you know the answer already.

It’s website popups.

Let’s see how the brands you’ve surely heard of (and probably even purchased from) use popups to collect email addresses.

1. The New York Times store – 10% OFF your first order

The New York Times was among the first to have evolved into a paid subscription online media.

Today, this is the most visited newspaper site. And they use website popups for various purposes.

For instance, look at this minimalistic email subscription form that appears as soon as you land on The New York Times online store.

The New York Times store uses a website popup to collect emails

Here is what makes this website popup great:

  • Cohesive design
    The popup has the same color theme and the same font as the rest of The NYT Store. It appears as an integral, credible part of the website.

  • Lead magnet
    You aren’t just offered to subscribe to new offers, you also get a 10% discount for your first order if you join the list.

  • Instant appearance
    It’s always unclear whether website popups should appear at once or after a visitor spends some time on a page. In this case, displaying the form instantly is certainly better than after a potential customer makes a purchase, isn’t it?

Want to add a similar subscription popup to your website?

We’ve followed The New York Times’ creative spirit to build a similar subscription form. Click on the website popup below to see it in action. Then follow the simple instructions that will appear on the right-hand side of the page.

The live preview template will be added directly to your Getsitecontrol dashboard. From there, you’ll be able to tweak the details like the discount percentage, the headline, and the color theme to make it a perfect match for your website.

Then, you’ll be able to use the Targeting settings to specify the page where you want the popup to appear.

2. Century 21 – unlock $25 OFF or pay full price

Century 21, the off-price fashion retail giant went online a few years ago and has also stepped into the email list building game. Check out the popup displayed a few seconds after you arrive at their website.

Century 21 uses a negative opt-out button on their popup

Here is what’s great about this website popup:

  • Email format microcopy
    Century 21 chose to specify what an email address should look like to make sure customers get it right. Knowing that their audience is very broad and includes people who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy, this is a great decision.

  • Negative opt-out button
    Sure, you don’t have to sign up if you don’t want to. But that means you’re willing to pay the full price, right? The opt-out button is a tiny detail that makes you think twice before declining the offer.

  • Smart choice of colors
    Notice, not only do the colors of this popup correlate with the website’s theme, but the “Continue” button is also emphasized with red. Meanwhile the opt-out button just blends with the background.

Want a popup with an opt-out button for your website?

If you like this website popup, recreating it is as easy as 1-2-3. Just click on the template below and follow the instructions.

Once you get to the dashboard, go through the Content settings to adjust the copy and the color theme if you need to. Following the example of Century 21, you may also want to add your logo to the top.

3. Marie Claire – the FOMO effect in action

If you think negative opt-out buttons may work for online stores only, think again.

When you’re offering high-quality content via email, you might as well remind people about the consequences of not subscribing. Just look at how the Marie Claire magazine uses the FOMO effect on their opt-out button.

Marie Claire offers a lead magnet in exchange for subscription

Here is what we like about this website popup:

  • The negative opt-out button
    Apart from the FOMO effect, notice how Marie Claire turned the opt-out button into a self-love statement.

  • The email signup CTA copy
    There are so many incentivizing calls to action you can place on the signup button instead of just “Subscribe”. “Show me what’s in!” is one of them.

  • The choice of an image
    And in this case, it’s not just any image. It’s a photo of Saoirse Ronan, a talented actress most readers will surely recognize.

Why is the image so important here?

Having a visual that correlates with your subscribers’ expectations is crucial for increasing the email signup rate. Because they aren’t just subscribing to some hair trends. They’re subscribing to receive the recipe for looking like a Hollywood star on the red carpet.

Think you might want a website popup like this one?

The Getsitecontrol popup builder has a template that will help you easily recreate the example above. Check it out below.

Once you add it to your dashboard, you’ll be able to easily replace the image with your visual or choose an alternative picture from the gallery.

4. Adidas – get 15% OFF in exchange for email subscription

Adidas offers a 15% discount for new subscribers with a popup that appears after you spend some time on their website.

Website popup from Adidas featuring a consent checkbox

Now, here is what’s especially great about the Adidas website popup:

  • The microcopy at the bottom To alleviate the fear of being spammed with irrelevant emails, Adidas specified exactly what you’re subscribing for.

  • The age confirmation checkbox Following the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), each subscriber is required to confirm that they’re over 13 y.o. This checkbox could also be used for collecting explicit consent to receive marketing emails.

  • Gender-based segmentation Based on your response, Adidas will later apply segmentation rules to send you the most relevant content. However, it’s also smart to set this field as optional given how many gender-neutral items Adidas produces.

  • Subscription confirmation Once you sign up, you see a so-called “submission success message” telling you what to expect.

Form submission success message on the Adidas website

An alternative option here would be to display the discount code for people to copy and paste at checkout. This way, they would be able to continue shopping without leaving the store to open their email.

5. Ahrefs – don’t miss the next article

Let’s move on to the world of IT.

Ahrefs, a well-known developer of SEO software uses this cute slide-in to suggest subscribing to their newsletter once you reach the end of a blog post.

Ahrefs uses a tiny side slide-in to display an email signup form

Here is what’s so great about it:

  • A different format
    Unlike modal popups, slide-ins are less obtrusive yet catchy enough to get noticed. They can be a perfect choice for content projects where you want to keep the reading experience as smooth as possible.

  • On-page behavior trigger
    The form only appears when you reach the end of a blog post. It’s the perfect moment to suggest subscribing because the engagement level is high.

  • The FOMO principle
    If you made it to the end of one of Ahref’s longreads, chances are high that you enjoyed it. And you don’t want to miss another great piece like this one.

Want to add a similar slide-in to your website?

Recreating this subscription form is easy. We’ve built a similar right-hand side slide-in, so you could quickly install it to your website.

Click on the widget to see it in action and follow the instructions.

Once ready, use the Targeting settings to select specific pages on your website where you want the slide-in to appear as well as the conditions for when it should appear.

6. Product Hunt – subscribe to daily newsletter

Product Hunt is one of the largest online communities where amazing tech products are launched every day. Those who have no time to go and check the website daily can get roundups of the most important updates via email subscription.

To increase the number of subscriptions, Product Hunt features a floating email signup bar at the bottom of the page.

Product Hunt uses a floating email opt-in bar to collect emails

Here is what’s great about this subscription form:

  • Minimal distraction
    Floating bars are the least obtrusive of all website popups. They stay at the top or bottom of a webpage while you’re scrolling the content and patiently wait until you’re ready to subscribe.

  • Newsletter frequency
    The copy tells you exactly how often you’ll be receiving emails from Product Hunt.

  • Authentic design
    The emoji and the button color are the signature elements of Product Hunt. It’s a great decision to use them in the form.

Want a floating email signup bar of your own?

You can add a similar widget to your website and display it sitewide or on specific pages. Use the ready-made template below to start.

The template’s copy and design are quite versatile, so feel free to use it on your website right as it is.

Website popups to display your call to action

Time to move on to the next category!

The second big reason companies use website popups is to encourage visitors to grab a discount, check out a new blog post, participate in a giveaway – in other words, take action.

Let’s see how real-life businesses are doing it.

7. Century 21 – grab a discount before you go

If you start browsing the Century 21 online store, you need to have an immense amount of willpower and resist the urge to grab special offers that are waiting for you at every corner.

First, they’re asking you to subscribe in exchange for a $25 OFF coupon. And then, if you’re trying to leave without making a purchase, you see this website popup:

Century 21 uses the exit-intent technology to offer a discount

If you hit the “Yes, Please!” button, the coupon code is displayed right on the popup. You can copy the code and paste it at checkout. Simple. Effective.

Here is why the exit-intent approach works so well:

  • Attention guaranteed
    There is just no way to miss a discount offer that pops up in front of your eyes when you’re navigating to exit.

  • Last resort
    Exit-intent popups practically give you that unique chance to convert people who were about to leave. Sure, not every abandoning visitor will respond. But some of them will – and every effort counts, right?

Want to place an exit-intent popup to your website?

Check out the template below. It’s already set-up to appear right when your visitors start navigating to exit the page.

Place it to your website within a few clicks, then go to the Targeting settings to specify the page where it’s supposed to pop up. For instance, you may want to place it on product pages, category pages, or even at checkout to prevent shopping cart abandonment.

8. Skillshare – referral program promo

Skillshare, an online learning platform, is running a referral program allowing you to earn free months of classes by inviting friends. Notice the floating bar they’ve placed at the top of every page.

Skillshare uses a top floating bar to promote their referral program

What Skillshare did right here:

  • Contrasting color
    Skillshare chose white because it attracts attention given the dark blue website color theme.

  • Just enough details
    Despite the lack of space, the copy provides sufficient information for you to decide whether you are interested or not.

  • Clear CTA button
    The “Invite friends” button sets clear expectations. It takes you to the dedicated page where you can learn the details and get your referral link.

9. The New York Times – read important updates now

If your project is focused on content, you may use popups for promoting the latest piece on the blog, important updates on selected topics, or just relevant materials.

For example, this is how The New York Times were driving their readers’ attention to live updates on the COVID-19 outbreak.

The New York Times installed a floating bar to drive attention to the important news

Call-to-action bars at the bottom of a webpage are used by various media outlets for various purposes. Just check out our next example featuring a similarly looking popup.

10. The Guardian – support the Guardian today

Unlike The New York Times, The Guardian chose to keep all their materials in open access, while the readers can participate in funding the newspaper in a form of donations. See how they communicate this message using a popup at the bottom of the page.

The Guardian uses a yellow sticky bar to encourage visitors to make donations

Want to use a similar popup on your website?

When you want to put emphasis on the message, clearly, these sticky bars are perfect attention grabbers. Check out the template below if you’d like to add one to your website.

Once you add it to the Getsitecontrol dashboard, go to the Content tab and open the button settings to place the link to the desired page.

Website popups to make sitewide announcements

The last category of website popups is aimed at informing visitors rather than encouraging them to take action.

If you want to keep your audience up to date with the news and current terms, website popups are just perfect.

You can use them to spread the word about the business operation changes, current offers, or new policies – like the cookie consent policy, for example.

Let’s have a look at how Reebok, Tiffany, Nespresso, Intercom, and Slack handle that type of communication.

11. Reebok – sitewide sale announcement

To ensure everyone who lands on their website is informed about the sitewide sale, Reebok have placed a floating announcement bar at the top of a webpage.

Reebok announces a sitewide sale using a black sticky bar at the top of the page

This announcement doesn’t require any action from the website visitor. You can think about it as a nice surprise and the incentive to continue browsing the store.

12. Tiffany & Co. – complimentary service reminder

Here is how Tiffany & Co. informs the online store visitors that shipping and returns are free for all orders. They are using a signature Tiffany blue floating bar at the top of a webpage.

Tiffany & Co chooses their signature color for the sticky announcement bar

If you have the color codes for your website theme, you can use them in the popup Appearance / CSS settings to create a perfectly matching announcement bar, just like the Tiffany’s.

13. Nespresso – possible delivery delay announcement

The last floating bar example belongs to the Nespresso website. They’re giving online customers a heads up by notifying them about the delayed delivery.

Nespresso notifies customers about delivery delays using a sticky par

Again, you may have noticed that the color for the floating bar hasn’t been chosen randomly – it makes a perfect match with the “Search” button below.

Want to recreate these website popups?

For reaching your audience with a brief but important message, floating bars are great. To add one to your website, just make a click on the template below and then edit the copy.

Feel free to change the color to the one that might look better on your website. The color theme is available in the Appearance tab of the Getsitecontrol dashboard.

The last two examples on our list are cookie banners.

As you probably know, starting 2018, every website receiving visitors from the EU needs to obtain their informed consent to use cookies that track user data.

This is what the cookie message on the Slack website looks like.

Slack uses a website popup to display the cookie consent message

Slack chose to use a right-hand side slide-in that links to the cookie consent policy and closes upon click.

If you want to place a similar one, use the template below.

You can add this popup to your website as it is, or you can insert a link to your Cookie Policy page to the widget copy, just like Slack did.

Intercom, a popular messaging platform developer opted for a less obtrusive sticky bar at the top of a webpage to notify their visitors about the cookie policy.

Intercom chose to display the cookie notification on a floating bar

If you prefer this option, go ahead and click here to check the Getsitecontrol template for a cookie consent bar.

Ready to use website popups to grow your business?

If you’ve always been curious whether website popups may help grow your business – today is the day to find out.

Don’t know what to start with?

Here are our top 3 most popular website popups:

Pick the most relevant one for your business (or add all of them to your website at once) using Getsitecontrol and give it a spin for free.

Tips for your marketing strategy