7 Ways To Increase Email Opt-ins From Your Website Visitors

Do you have a strategy to effectively convert your website visitors into email subscribers? Does your website need to be optimized to convert more of your visitors into subscribers?

Having an e-mail newsletter or autoresponder is not enough to effectively convert visitors into e-mail subscribers. Far too many websites set up an email opt-in form then simply let it go. This is a critical error – you should constantly work to improve your email opt in offer and form to convert more visitors into email subscribers.

How to convert more of your website visitors into email subscribers:

1) Offer a free gift
To effectively convert visitors into subscribers, you need to entice them with something they want. In some cases, you may be able to simply describe the valuable features of your newsletter. In most cases, though, the most effective strategy is to offer a free gift such as an e-book or e-course.

Here’s an example of a free gift from www.rypmarketing.com, our website:

2) Test different free gift offers
If you are already offering newsletter subscribers a free gift, but your offer is still not converting well, you should probably test different gifts. You need to find a gift that appeals to and is highly valued by a broad portion of your website visitors.

In general, a very specific gift converts better than a less specific gift. For example, a free e-book titled “How to drive traffic to your website” may not be very enticing – there are probably thousands of e-books and articles available on the internet with similar titles. If this was your free gift, you might want to try offering an e-book titled “137 Ways To Get More Sales From Your eCommerce Website” for example – it’s a much more specific and appealing free gift.

3) Use a squeeze page
For some websites, you may want to try launching a campaign using a squeeze page – a special landing page designed solely to capture the visitor’s e-mail address. Squeeze pages typically only offer the visitor one option (entering their name and e-mail to get the free gift), so they typically get a noticeably higher e-mail opt in rate.

4) Split test variations in your opt in offer
Never underestimate the power of effective copy to get visitors to do what you want them to do. Running a series of split tests is a must-do strategy to optimize your e-mail opt-in offer to increase subscribers. Here some of the items you should test:

  • Headline
  • Free gift description
  • Text description versus e-book cover graphic
  • Form design
  • Submit button text/design

5) Find the optimal location
If your e-mail opt in offer/form is “below the fold” on your webpage, your first step should be to move it closer to the top of the page. Next, you can test different locations on the page to see which one works best – header, right sidebar, left sidebar, etc.

Ensure your opt-in form is above the fold on your website, as shown in this example:

6) Create an an unobtrusive pop-up
Many website visitors hate pop-up windows, as they are rather annoying. When determining if and how to implement a pop-up your e-mail opt in offer, there are three items you should consider:

Pop-ups work. Implementing your offer as a pop-up will very likely increase your opt-in rate.

Balance your goals. If your website is an e-commerce site, a popup may distract users from making a purchase. If your website is a free content website, you may not be as concerned about the possibility of distracting users.

Be unobtrusive. There are some great pop-ups and similar options you can implement that are far less annoying than a typical pop-up. These options include things such as a bar which floats at the bottom of the browser or a peel back corner of the website.

An example of a popup bar from www.dpopup.com (great popup creation software, by the way):

7) Add subscribe options
If you have other forms on your website (such as a request a quote form or shopping cart checkout), adding an e-mail subscription option to them is a fast and easy way to get more e-mail opt-ins. Depending on the form, you can either subscribe users to your newsletter by default, or you can add a checkbox for them to choose to subscribe.

Don’t make the mistake of setting up your e-mail opt-in then ignoring it. Make it a priority each month to convert more website visitors into e-mail subscribers. Increasing your e-mail opt in conversion rate allows you to get more e-mail subscribers without spending any more money on marketing or advertising.

Many of the strategies listed in this article can be implemented immediately. Others take time or ongoing testing. I recommend creating a strategy to implement at least one new experiment or split test every month to continually be improving your opt in conversion rate.

I would love to hear your input – what have you done to increase your e-mail opt in conversion rate?

Adam Thompson

Adam Thompson is the founder of RYP Marketing, where he specialized in Google Analytics consulting and conversion rate optimization.


  1. I’m all about increasing my email subscriptions, but not at the cost of disrupting my readers’ experience. I don’t really think there’s any way to implement pop-ups without being immensely annoying.

    One option that I do agree with that I’m trying to get implemented on my site is to include an option for subscribing to the newsletter whenever people fill out another form on my site – I envision having it as an option for people who comment on my site. It’s in the works, but I think that’s one of the best and most unobtrusive ways of increasing sign-up rates.

  2. Emory Rowland

    I like your idea. I tend to prefer soft selling with the hope of retaining a visitor long term rather than using popups. I think it’s possible to create an unobtrusive popup, but most of them seem to be too much of a hard sell. I definitely don’t ever want anyone to close out their browser in anger after getting a pop-up on my site.

    This post helped me realize how much work I have to do in the area email marketing, something I’ve put aside too long.

  3. Alex

    Great post Adam!

    Personally I use PopUp Dom and it gets me an average of 15 or so signups a day, which is a lot better than it was when I did not have the pop up.
    I do still get the occasional hate mail because of it though.
    Really timely too because I just posted on a similar topic but did not cover this aspect of email marketing. In fact this post ties really nicely with mine so I think you should come over and comment on it and let commentluv bring them back to you LOL!
    Thanks for sharing it at Blokube too btw.

    • Emory Rowland

      Dittos on Adam’s post. Thanks for dropping by and weighing in Alex. I’ll check out your post!

  4. Sathishkumar

    I am new to email marketing and I am planning to use the pop up domination plugin. Well it seems they are providing the best readers to email subscribers conversion rate. Anyway, thanks for this useful article.

  5. Emory Rowland

    Sathishkumar, please let us know how pop up domination works out. Thanks for stopping in. I enjoy reading TechieMania btw–lots of topics in common with CF.

  6. Web Programming 101

    Once I added my basic Javascript code I was able to have a tiny non-annoying pop up come up once per visitor for life. I also have a slick looking sign-up form on the right sidebar of my blog.

    PS: I use MailChimp

  7. Emory Rowland

    I just ran across this quote today…

    “My BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER… was to not start building an email list on every website/blog I own.” – Jim Kukral

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