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How to Increase Your Website Popup Conversion Rate by 1000%

Would you like to capture more emails? Want to get more out of your paid advertising?

How about converting 1 out of every 5 website visitors?

It may sound inconceivable. It might seem like catching lightning in a bottle. But Matcha has done it, and done it repeatedly. Lightning does strike the same place twice.

In this post, I share exactly how to optimize your website popup to maximize lead capture. At Matcha, we do this with content-powered popups.

Using content-powered popups, one Matcha customer saw an 1800% increase in their conversion rate. On our own site, we saw an 842% increase. Other Matcha customers have seen improvements in the 10-20x range.

Let’s get into it!

Regular Popups vs. Content-Powered Popups

Content-powered popups came from asking a very simple question: Can website popup performance be significantly improved by taking a different approach than what everyone else is doing?

There are two types of popups that everyone uses.

  • Sign up for my newsletter (because my content is great)
  • Get a discount code for sharing your email address

We’ve all seen these popups. And we’ve all dismissed hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. That’s why these type of popups typically convert less than 2% of visitors (and oftentimes, that conversion rate dips below a dismal 0.5%).

We discovered that content-powered popups could move a conversion rate from 0.5% to nearly 20%.

Content-powered popups’ success comes from:

  1. Providing a compelling, relevant, and timely offer
  2. Delivering that offer at the right time (i.e., in the right context)
  3. Aligning the offer to the right person or audience

Simply put, you need to deliver something of value to the right person at the right moment on your website.

The Matcha platform makes doing this a breeze. But even if you don’t use Matcha, you can still DIY. You just need a popup tool, a blog, and some elbow grease.

Matcha helps small and growing brands with ecommerce websites transform their blogs into lead and traffic magnets. The Matcha platform allows you to effortlessly publish professionally produced content, distribute those articles to the right people, capture leads with content-powered popups, and track and optimize results with a powerful analytics dashboard.

Create a Compelling, Relevant, and Timely Popup Offer

The #1 reason so many website popups fail? They don’t offer something that’s immediately valuable.

When we first launched our popup at Matcha, we offered people the ability to sign up for our newsletter. We promised great articles on ecommerce marketing, blogging, and more delivered to their inbox weekly! No surprise the conversion rate was a disappointing 0.9%.

After a lot of testing, we found that content-powered popups convert more website visitors than any other type of offer. That means the popup gives someone an article, guide, or another type of content in exchange for their email address.

Finally! We’d cracked the code.

Example of a high performing lead gen popup using content
An example of a content-powered popup that helped to increase conversion rates by 842% on the Matcha site

So, we brought our newfound knowledge to our customers.

At first, the brands we were testing this idea with were skeptical. They thought: How could a PDF or ebook be more compelling than a discount on my products?

But the data from our tests convinced them. We (and our customers) regularly saw a 10x improvement in conversion rates with a content offer.


For a new visitor, a discount isn’t relevant unless they’re already considering purchasing. A coupon isn’t something they’re immediately going to use. In fact, it can quickly devalue your product in the eyes of a new visitor because the first thing they see is essentially a sale. It can signal the wrong things about your product.

On the other hand, offering information (i.e., content) in exchange for a visitor’s email address provides immediate value. It also has the benefit of establishing your brand as an expert and a trustworthy source of information. And, you don’t have to give up any margin to get a lead.

With content-powered popups, you don’t have to sacrifice your margin to grow your email list. Click To Tweet

Deliver the Offer at the Right Time

This is also known as contextualizing your popup.

To ensure your popup performs well, you must understand and manage the context in which it’s being served. Consider:

  • Where did the visitor come from?
  • Are they new or returning?
  • Are they already on your newsletter list?
  • Are they already a customer?
  • What pages on your site are they visiting?

For example, if a new visitor lands on your homepage, this is not the time to offer them a discount for the reasons I discussed above. But if someone has added something to their cart and is about exit your site, that’s a different story. You may want to offer them a discount before they exit because they’re already in the buying mindset.

Unless someone is showing clear buying intent, you shouldn’t offer them a discount. You need to offer them valuable information instead.

Content-powered popups use your blog and the articles in it to determine the context. Let’s consider an example.

Let’s say you sell a backpack that is perfect as a carry-on for recreational travelers. Any growing business worth its salt knows that it needs a blog. In this case, you would likely be blogging about the leisure travel lifestyle: tantalizing places to visit, how to sleep on a plane, how to travel light, and so on. These articles all provide context for what your website visitors are interested in. With content-powered popups, you can deliver a guide to international travel to display to any new visitor to one of these travel posts.

Everly's content-powered popup targeting their keto audience
Everly’s content-powered popup targeting their keto audience

Compelling content offered in the right context is irresistible to visitors. Take a look at the screenshot above, featuring a guide to the keto diet. This popup appears on CPG brand Everly’s blog. It appears when people are reading articles about keto and low-carb diets, so it’s highly contextualized. With this approach, this popup converted 19% of readers to subscribers!

CPG brand Everly used content-powered popups to increase conversions from 1% to 19%! Click To Tweet

Being contextual means offering the right thing at the right time to the right person. You might consider having the above popup display on Keto product pages in addition to blog articles about Keto. Also, you could use discounts contextually to get better results. For example, you might set your popup to show a discount to anyone who is a return visitor on a product page showing exit intent. The key is to be relevant, timely, and compelling with your offer.

Align the Offer to the Right Audience

You might be wondering how to control which audiences see which popups. How can you control who goes to specific blog articles? Well, you can’t entirely, but you can proactively drive the right people to the right pages.

If you’re not using content ads on Facebook and Instagram, you’re missing a huge opportunity to attract new audiences and customers at a fraction of the price of your product ads.

Don’t take my word for it. Here is what Nik Sharma, Head of DTC at VaynerMedia and 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 said:

“There are three reasons this approach works. First, driving a paid click to a piece of content is only a few cents, compared to driving a click to a brand or landing page, which could be up to $5-6 per click. Second, with retargeting you’re able to immediately build qualified audiences. Third, great content doesn’t sell a product. It sells an opportunity to better an aspect of your life.”

Using targeted ads ensures you attract the right people, allows you to optimize audiences, and gives you insight into different niches within your audience. Audience insights from Facebook paired with conversion analytics from your popup provider give you incredibly rich information about your audience.

After you dial in your audience targeting, you can switch from the typical cost per click optimization to cost per lead targeting and really ramp up lead conversion and optimize down costs.

Matcha does this as part of our content-powered popups. Early users have seen a 50 to 75% decrease in cost per lead — and sometimes even more!

Other Important Website Popup Considerations

I have a few other small tips for you to keep in mind as you’re implementing your own content-powered popups:

  1. Popup timing
  2. Popup design
  3. Mobile vs. desktop

Popup Timing

Matcha ran a bunch of tests to see at what point should you serve a popup when someone is reading a blog article. We tested how well popups convert when they appear 3, 6, 15, and 30 seconds into a reader’s time on page. We also tested popups that appeared as soon as the visitor started scrolling down the page. We didn’t test exit intent because most of the traffic we were testing was from mobile.

Here are the results from our popup timing tests.

RuleConversion Rate
3-second delay14%
6-second delay17%
15-second delay15%
30-second delay21%
On scroll3%

In general, we recommend using a 6-second delay. Even though the 30-second delay converts at a higher rate, you’ll have fewer people who see the popup and end up with fewer leads overall.

Tip: Serve your blog popups at the 6-second mark for the highest conversion rate. Click To Tweet

Popup Design

It’s pretty simple. The more professionally designed your popup looks, the better it makes your site and brand look. If your design is poor, then people won’t trust your popup or your brand. You don’t necessarily need a graphic designer to build the popup because most tools provide templates and a visual builder. But, you should take a look at good popup designs and borrow from them.

Alternately, you can use sites like Fiverr, Upwork, or 99Designs to find affordable designers to do it for you.

Example of a well designed lead gen popup
A well designed popup should be interesting and clearly communicate your offer

Mobile vs. Desktop Popups

If your popup isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s hurting more than it’s helping Popups need to render just as beautifully and clearly on a phone or tablet as they do on a computer. Why? Because in all likelihood, you’re going to get a lot more traffic from mobile. A bad experience on mobile can result in a huge drop in your conversion rate.

You may need to create a separate design just for serving the popup on mobile — even if your tool says that you don’t need to. You should always manually test your popups on a mobile device because your tool may display it correctly but it might still appear small and unreadable on mobile.

Good luck with lead gen! If you’d like to have Matcha help you transform your blog into a lead gen magnet, just drop us a line.

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