Email Marketing

6 Ways to Convert New Visitors to Email Subscribers

Many online merchants have experienced traffic surges due to the pandemic. Converting that new traffic to immediate purchases can be challenging. The next best option is enticing visitors to subscribe to your email communications.

In this post, I’ll offer tips for converting new visitors into email subscribers.

Converting Visitors to Subscribers

Find the source of current subscribers. Email subscribers come from dozens of sources. The first objective is to identify the top referring channels.

To do this, create a conversion goal in Google Analytics (Conversions > Goals) for your email sign-up or confirmation page. Check the sources of the most subscribers and the most purchases — they may be different.

Once you’ve identified the referring channels, look at the paths of those visitors on your site that led to the sign-up. Knowing those behaviors can help focus your optimization efforts.

Typical sources of new subscribers include:

  • Social media posts,
  • Articles and other free content,
  • Organic search traffic,
  • Paid search traffic,
  • Display ads,
  • Affiliate sites,
  • Contests or promotions.

Target the sources that produce the most subscribers.

Provide an incentive. Email subscribers are valuable. Thus offering an incentive can be worth the effort and expense. Strong incentives, in my experience, are:

  • Contests or giveaways,
  • Gift or cart starter,
  • Exclusive subscriber-only content,
  • Discounts and free shipping,
  • Rewards program.

Feedback and notifications. Requesting feedback such as surveys, product reviews, or quizzes can encourage sign-ups, as can notifications, as in:

  • Availability of out-of-stock items,
  • New product launches,
  • Nearby store openings,
  • Holiday shipping deadlines.

Increase sign-up locations. Adding more opportunities for a visitor to sign up will ultimately help conversions. Email sign up boxes should be easy to locate on every page of your site. Shoppers know to scroll to the bottom of a page to access info such as “about us,” shipping, and customer service. It’s a good place for an email sign-up, too.

Wayfair includes an email sign-up on the lower portion of each page.

Wayfair includes an email sign-up on the lower portion of each page.

Use pop-ups. Capturing email addresses via pop-ups is popular because it works. To maximize effectiveness, however, consider the following.


  • Do place pop-ups at the end of content or page exit.
  • Do present a clear call to action with creative imagery.
  • Do request feedback or engagement.
  • Do test! What works for one site may not work for others. Optimize sign-ups with non-stop testing.


  • Don’t throw a pop-up immediately when a visitor lands on a page.
  • Don’t take up the entire screen with the pop-up.
  • Don’t block device-controlled autofill as it streamlines the process for the user.
  • Don’t ask for too much information.

This example below, from Salt Strong, an online fishing club, is a pop-up that engages the visitor with a quiz before requesting an email address.

The pop-up for Salt Strong engages visitors with a quiz before requesting an email address. <em>Source: Optinmonster.</em>

The pop-up for Salt Strong engages visitors with a quiz before requesting an email address. Source: Optinmonster.

Find partners. Look for opportunities to partner with your affiliates, sites with complementary content or products, and co-registration options. Opt-Intelligence and AddShoppers, for example, can promote your email sign-up to a network of potential partners.


It’s important to grow email sign-ups. But the key is quality, relevant subscribers that will not unsubscribe. Check your analytics to understand the sources of unsubscribes. (An unsubscribe confirmation page can facilitate.)

A critical data point is comparing the subscribe and unsubscribe dates. If the dates are close, try to determine where the subscriber came from. He could be taking advantage of a lucrative offer — not long-term engagement.

Carolyn Nye
Carolyn Nye
Bio   •   RSS Feed