How to Collect Phone Numbers on Your Website with Pop-ups

Our partners from Optimonk, a lead generation and pop-up builder, have prepared a very special blog article for us, giving you the ins and outs, do's and don'ts of pop-up creating. Read on to find out if your pop-ups are as optimized as they could be. And don't forget to benefit from our integration. 

SMS Marketing continues to grow as a viable marketing channel. According to studies, 48.7 million people will choose to receive SMS messages in 2020, increasing by over 23% since 2016.

A proven way to start and grow your SMS marketing program is by continually collecting phone numbers from your customers and website visitors.

Building a sustainable list of phone numbers has numerous benefits. You can:

  • Target and segment your marketing messages more effectively.

  • Send your customers relevant and personalized offers.

  • Increase sales.

As a SMSBump blog reader, you are already familiar with some or many of these benefits. So, what is a viable way to start collecting phone numbers and get started with SMS Marketing? A proven and time-tested method is to convert website visitors using pop-ups.

In this article, we will discuss what makes pop-ups effective and widely-adopted, but also why they are severely disregarded and sometimes controversial. We’ll also share best practices on how to collect phone numbers using pop-ups.


The Pop-up Controversy: Do Pop-ups Work?

Today, you will be hard-pressed to find a B2B website or an eCommerce store that doesn't show its visitors a pop-up form. Pop-ups are everywhere — the news site you visit daily, your favorite blogs, company websites, etc.

The consensus is that most consumers and website visitors don't always view pop-ups favorably. For instance, pop-up ads have a 73% disapproval rate amongst consumers, especially on mobile devices. Even Google tends to agree on pop-ups’ unpopularity, so starting 2021 Google will take into account page experience as a ranking factor for search results.

After working with more than 40,000 websites, we learned that the problem lies not in the use of pop-ups but when or how they are displayed to website visitors. The reasons could be one or more of the following:

  • They were not personalized. 

  • The timing of the pop-ups was not optimized.

  • The design experience was not optimal.

  • They were not optimized for mobile. 

When properly optimized and used — pop-ups can help convert more of your visitors into email and SMS subscribers, increase revenue opportunities, and win more customers.

Our internal research shows that the average opt-in (or conversion rate) for pop-ups is 4.78% (both desktop and mobile), and that has yielded our customers a collective 10 million new conversions every single day.

Here are just a few stories: 

  • Digital Marketer was able to generate an extra 2,689 leads in 2 weeks by testing five different pop-up campaigns. They were also able to reduce their bounce rate by 13% and increase the time-on-page by 54%. 

  • BitNinja, a server security SaaS startup, was able to increase their conversion rate by 114%, and increase leads by 65% by optimizing their pop-up.

We have seen numerous other case studies and stories about how eCommerce and B2B companies have managed to collect more email addresses, phone numbers, build Facebook Messenger lists, etc., using pop-ups.

By leveraging pop-ups at the right time and with the right message, you have an opportunity to capture more of those visitors, and turn them into leads and subscribers.

In addition to helping build lists, pop-ups can also be useful in increasing upsells and cross-sells, collecting surveys and feedback, and improving customer experience.

How do you ensure that the pop-ups on your website help you collect more phone numbers (and leads) from your visitors? We will discuss that in the next section.


10 Pop-up Best Practices to Skyrocket Your Lists

So far, we have learned why marketers and eCommerce store owners use pop-ups widely. Now, let's review some best practices (the do's and don'ts) to maximize your conversions.

Make it Easy to Close the Pop-up.

No matter what type of pop-up you use (overlay modals, top banners, in-line, slide-in boxes, nanobars, scratchcard, lucky wheel, etc. ) —  make it easy for your visitors to close it.

You can have a perfectly designed pop-up with excellent marketing copy, but if it interrupts their browsing experience, they will be annoyed. Make the "X" visible.  


Keep it Simple 

The more information you have on your pop-ups, the more likely it is for your visitors to be confused and overwhelmed.

Offer them one goal for each pop-up — download an ebook, get a 10% discount, or speak to sales. Also, ask for less information, meaning include fewer fields to fill out.

Having too many goals will confuse them and decrease the chances of them filling out the form. 

Add Value (Avoid Being Generic)

Phone numbers are part of your visitors’ personal information and are treated very carefully.  In many cases, the visitor might not be comfortable sharing their contact information on their first visit. Perhaps that visitor is leaving your website because they don't have time to read an entire article. Or they are just window shopping (with no intention to purchase today).

As much as possible, refrain from using offers like "subscribe to our newsletter," "Join our SMS list, " etc. They do work, but their conversation rates are significantly lower.

To build trust and add value — offering a lead magnet (ebooks, checklist, a free-email course, free shipping, discount for first-time visitors, etc.) would be a great option. You can also try extending a free 1-on-1 consultation or a demo for collecting their phone numbers.

For example: 

  • if you are selling mattresses — a mattress buying guide or a comparison tool will be a useful lead magnet.

  • If you are in residential real estate — then a guide on first-time home-buying will do the trick.

  • If you are selling software — then an instructional guide or case study will be compelling. 

No matter which industry you are in — you can create an educational piece of content and offer that to your prospects. Combine that content with email marketing and text messaging to drive them back to your store. 

Make the Pop-ups Relevant (Segmentation)

Each visitor is unique, and their intent of visiting your website or store is also different. Thanks to sophisticated tools in the marketplace (analytics, marketing automation platforms, etc.), it's relatively easy to learn a bit about them — their demographics, how many pages they have last visited, and which web page they are visiting, etc.

Make the offers relevant to them. For example, a first-time visitor might be more receptive to a lead magnet. However, if someone has already subscribed to your phone or email list, offer them something of more value (10% discount on their first order, free shipping, free upgrade, etc.)

Avoid Entry Pop-ups

One of the few reasons why pop-ups have gotten an unfavorable reputation is because most visitors find them interruptive. Imagine if a visitor found your page through search or social media, and within the first moments of them visiting the page, they are shown a pop-up. Their first instinct is to click the “X” and close it.

Don't display a pop-up as soon as they visit your website. Give them a few seconds to interact with your website. If they have scrolled far enough into your page, then it shows that they are a bit more engaged with your content/page. It would be an ideal time to show them a targeted offer (personalized to that page).

Set up scroll-based pop-ups, i.e., show a pop-up only after they scrolled through 75% of your content or have been on your web page for more than 15 seconds.  

Leverage Exit-intent Pop-ups

On average, 98% of your visitors will leave your website without buying, and 55% of them will leave your website within the first 15 seconds. In many cases, these are lost opportunities.

"Exit-intent" pop-ups are trendy and effective in the eCommerce space; they are less intrusive than entry pop-ups. Displaying a pop-up or showing a compelling offer as the visitor is about to leave will help capture and convert more of them into leads.

Here's an example from Provident, a leading loan provider in Hungary. After implementing this exit pop-up, they were able to collect 8,000+ leads, and these were all prospects who wanted a callback. 

A/B Testing

Most marketers (including us) have assumptions on the best design, copy, and format of a pop-up. However, the best way to gauge if our assumptions are right is to let your customers or visitors decide.

Using A/B testing, you can let your visitors tell you which variation is more effective, and which pop-up should be the real winner. Today, most pop-up services in the market, including OptiMonk, will give you the flexibility to test many variables — design, timing, scroll-based, user-intent, etc.

Take advantage of A/B testing and let the data help you make an informed decision. 

Regularly Update Your Pop-ups

Ensure that the pop-up offers are relevant to the time of the year. For example, Black Friday deals are appropriate and effective during that season. Once the season is over, it’s essential to update it with more relevant messages. Displaying the same pop-up throughout the year does not provide a personalized experience and might confuse your audience.  


Optimize Pop-ups for Mobile

Mobile commerce is on the rise. According to Statista, today, 50% of traffic is from mobile devices, up from 31% in 2015.

Still, almost anyone who has visited a website (including you) from a mobile device has experienced a poorly displayed pop-up, which compromises the user experience.

Tools such as OptiMonk allow you to preview your pop-ups and forms for all devices (desktop, tablet and mobile) to ensure that they are personalized for each device-type to maximize conversions. We recently released an updated and enhanced editor to help optimize pop-ups for mobile devices.

If a customer visits your store from a mobile device they are more likely to be receptive to receiving text messages. It’s a sign that they are comfortable shopping using their mobile device, and would be more open to receiving offers and information via SMS.

OptiMonk also allows you to create responsive mobile forms that will enable visitors to take action. In this case, provide their phone numbers.

Here’s an example where an eCommerce store Blendjet offers an incentive to its visitors for providing their phone number.


Use Compelling and Persuasive Language

Yes, the design (size, colors, typography) matters. However, your copy also plays a substantial factor in boosting conversions. Use persuasive, action-oriented language to motivate them to fill out the form.

Also, make the language more personal and human, i.e  there should be a clear value they will get by taking action on your pop-up. The more clarity you provide on what the offer is and how they can benefit from it, the higher the probability they will share their phone number.

For example, instead of saying "Click Here," say, "Download our 10-point SMS Marketing Checklist".

Leverage A/B Tests to find the best language or copy that converts better. Here’s an example of persuasive and action-oriented language in this example pop-up.

Final Words 

SMS Marketing continues to gain traction, and our partners at SMSBump have seen that over-and-over again with their customers. A proven method to start collecting phone numbers is with pop-ups, and a tool like OptiMonk can help you do that effectively.

In this article, we discussed why pop-ups work. We also shared some best practices on implementing this subscription tool on your website. We hope this guide has been a primer for you to start collecting phone numbers on your website using pop-ups and boost your revenues.

What type of pop-ups or opt-in forms have you used to boost your SMS Marketing? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author: 

Nissar Ahamed is a member of the Content Marketing team at OptiMonk. Nissar believes in continuous and never-ending improvement, and hence, he spends most of his time reading or watching Netflix documentaries.

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