Why Aren't More Nonprofits Using Pop-Ups on Their Websites?

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“I think they’re annoying, and people say they’re annoying. Hence, annoying.”

Source: SumoMe

If you are a new visitor to my website you probably saw my "welcome mat" that drops down and asks you to join my email newsletter list. (I hope you joined because I send out an AWESOME newsletter every Wednesday morning.)

But it's annoying, right? You just want to get to what you are looking for. That's why you are thinking, "Why would I want a welcome mat or pop-up on my website. It's irritating!"

Well, there are a couple reasons why you would still want to use a pop-up.

First, having someone's email address is one of the best things you can have. It gives you a one-to-one connection with supporters, and everyone from Baby Boomers to Gen Z read their email. So, if email is so valuable, it's worth prioritizing and asking website visitors for theirs.

Grudgingly, you may agree with me. But you may be thinking: "Isn't there a better way to get someone's email than from an annoying pop-up on my website."

Short answer: NO. This leads to my second point.

Are pop-ups annoying? Yes. Do they work? YES!

Having a pop-up is one of the best ways to get someone's email address. It wasn't until I added pop-ups to my own site that I really started collecting a lot of emails. Now, over 5% of visitors to Selfish Giving sign up for my email newsletter through my pop-up.

Just for reference, that percentage is pretty good. According to SumoMe, which has analyzed the effectiveness of two billion pop-ups (I use SumoMe products on my site.)...

  • The top 10% highest-performing pop-ups averaged a 9.28% conversion rate. And, by conversion rate, we mean someone who saw a pop-up and took action.
  • Only 3 out of 100 people ever have pop-ups with conversion rates over 11%.
  • The average conversion rate for all pop-ups is 3.09%.
Pop-Up Conversion Rates

I also collect email addresses on the sidebar of my blog and I embed a signup form at the bottom of each blog post.

SumoMe has some great tips in this article on what the PERFECT popup should look like, but here are my top three lessons.

  1. Test, test, test. The only way to know if your pop-up is working well is to try something and analyze the results. If you're not hitting at least 3% on signups, try something else. SumoMe makes A/B testing easy!
  2. Don't stop asking people for their emails. If I host a webinar, I ask people to sign up for my newsletter. (Usually in exchange for a checklist, case study or ebook. Incentives work! But that's another blog post 😀.) I have a newsletter signup link at the bottom of my email signature and in my Twitter profile!
  3. Make sure your pop-up has a quick and easy way for people to close it. On my welcome mat, I have a button that essentially says NO THANKS. You can also add an "X" in the corner so visitors can close the box. I truly HATE IT when people hide these things so you have to figure out how to get around the pop-up. Don't do that!

So, will you give pop-ups a try? Let me know how I can help and what your results are! Oh, and if you haven't already given me your email....

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