Before you choose your display format, it's important to understand what each is and how they work.
What are they? Popups, also known as lightboxes, typically display in the center of the website.
Why use them? While some people may think of pop-ups as a dirty word, we’re not talking about the annoying third party ads that block the entire screen when you attempt to read an article on someone’s website. Adding pop-ups to your own website give you a more interactive way of engaging your visitors at key points in the browse-and-buy process. A popup may be a surprising pause in someone navigating your website, but they are incredibly effective and make it easy for subscribers to join your list without having to look around for a subscription form.
Plus, you’ll capture interested shoppers who wouldn’t otherwise have considered joining your email list without being prompted to do so. Pairing a popup with clever verbiage or a specific campaign, like a discount or a unique piece of content, might be more than enough to gather that email address.
For example, The Clever Travel Companion, a clothing company that makes theft-proof clothing for world travelers, uses a delayed popup on their site that offers visitors a $10 gift card to sign up for their “infrequent newsletter.” The pop-up does not block the whole screen and is designed to provide something of value without making it impossible to see what they are all about. Even better, this simple signup form has delivered hundreds and hundreds of sign ups for the company with minimal effort.
What are they? Bars provide a fullwidth message that typically sits either on top of your site, or at the bottom.
Why use them? If you want a more subtle email collection form, a bar sitting at the top or bottom of the page may do the trick. Plus, these stick around longer than a popup, which can be quickly closed down. Bars are great for capturing emails but also for subtly promoting things like free shipping, customer satisfaction guarantees, and new products.
What are they? Banners provide a more subtle interaction that sits at the top or bottom of a site, but starts in a "hidden" state until triggered, then rolls into sight at the desired time.
Why use them? With attention-grabbing movement, a banner offers a different approach to a traditional popup. Taking up only part of the page, it’s less invasive than a popup, but harder to ignore than its smaller counterpart, the bar.
What are they? Flyouts appear in the bottom right or left of a screen and are a bit more subtle than a pop-up, but more likely to draw the attention than a banner or embed form because they include movement.
Why use them? Flyouts are particularly great for visitors who are in the middle of executing a task or reading a long-form page, like in the blog section of your site. Flyouts are also great because they draw attention but also allow your visitor to continue what they are doing. For example, if they like the blog post they are reading, a well-timed flyout letting them know they can subscribe for more blogs or related topics is a perfect opportunity to capture their email.
What are they? Embedded forms let you place a static sign-up form on your website to capture email addresses and other relevant information.
Why use them? Embedded forms are a great complimentary piece to your other campaigns and make for an excellent permanent installation in your footer or sidebar. This is a great backup for viewers who clicked out of a popup, or if you want the most subtle alternative if you find that bars or banners aren’t working for you. A simple solution would be to add an embedded sign-up form in the footer of your site; if viewers are looking around your site and investigating other footer links, it’s likely they are interested in learning more about your business.
Let the subscribers know how frequently they will receive communications from you to set clear expectations, and to increase the chance you will acquire only the most engaged subscribers.