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The Good

Pop-ups are many things, but above all, they’re fantastic marketing tools. By their sheer power, pop-ups can help you grow your email or mobile marketing list, gain valuable feedback from your customers or introduce your business to new visitors.

Here are some examples of how to use them correctly:

• List Sign Up

Whether it is on your main website page or a directed landing page, employ a pop-up that automatically loads each time a visitor comes to your site. In that, sell them on the values of your email or text marketing, such as, they’d be the first to hear about a new sale before anyone else or entitled to “friends’ only” information (eBooks or white papers).

Make sure that your pop-up box contains at least two ways for them to “x” or “close” out the box.

• Account Sign Up

Though the function of this sort of pop-up is similar to that of list sign up, it is different. For example, if you’re a member’s only website, then you may require new customers to sign up for an account before they can access the website. Accounts may also help you better target customers in certain demographics.

The Bad and the Horrifying

If you’re considering using pop-ups for marketing, this is what you’re not supposed to do:

• Be Complicated

This “bad” tactic applies to all sorts of pop-ups, including the aforementioned. Essentially, you don’t want to overwhelm your customer with too much information crammed into such a small space. Further, its distracting – not only are you derailing your customers from their purpose (visiting your website), you’re making their lives difficult. If they were thinking about signing up for your emails, they may not now.

• What’s the Point?

What’s the point of your pop-up? Account sign up? Mobile marketing? Whatever it is, you need to make sure your point is clear and concise. If it takes longer than, say, 5 seconds for them to understand what you’re after, you’ve lost them.

Opt for Wacky

We’re not going to beat around the bush: subscription forms are a boring, yet necessary fact of marketing life. Because they’re so boring and predictable, that means – if you’re brave – you can be a little wacky with the design.

• Change up your standard web-based font for something that looks like handwriting.

• Offer up interesting facts about your customers, like, “You’re the 100th person from this zip code that hears from us!”

• “On average, it takes 4.5 seconds to fill out this form. Can you beat it? Those who type fast automatically join our illustrious leader board and win prizes.”

• Animation always makes mundane tasks all the more fun.

Keep it Painfully Short

Take some time to really figure out what you need from your customers in order to fill their subscription needs and get rid of the excess. What’s excess? Anything that you require as “optional” is the first to go. Down the road, you can always collect that information.

So, for any subscription – email, fax or mobile marketing – all you really need is their name and contact information – email address, fax number or mobile number. Beyond that, you can ask about how often they’d like to hear from you. That’s it.