You’re doing everything right. You have the three pillars of marketing in place. Your website is mobile-first and responsive. You’re creating valuable insight-driven content, and you’re building an audience on LinkedIn. But the most undervalued asset in any business is that audience that you get to talk to directly, for free, whenever you want to. I’m talking about your email list.

Now that you’ve generated that interest and your LinkedIn connections are going to your website to read your content, you need to capture their emails. There are several ways to do that. Let’s talk about the difference between landing pages and pop-ups.

Landing Pages

A landing page Is another page on your website that doesn’t link back to all the other places you’d normally visit on the site. It is a simple call to action page and it is singularly focused on accomplishing one objective – asking for an email address in exchange for that high-value reward. It’s not a complicated page to create. I prefer to put them on the main website as a part of your core site, rather than hosting them someplace separately.

Landing pages are designed to get a commitment out of a visitor. In exchange for your valuable reward article, the visitor gives you their email. Landing pages are also less intrusive because the visitor chose to be directed to the page. On average, landing pages convert between 1% and 3%.

Companies that use more than one landing page – and tailor them to segments of their audience – can convert at an even higher rate: 5% – 10%.


A popup – also called a lightbox – is a small window that pops up over the webpage your visitor is on. It contains a call to action for the visitor to give us their email address in exchange for something valuable – a whitepaper or additional valuable information.

Pop-ups can be annoying, so doing them well is essential to successfully build an audience on your website. What we find is that pop-ups that are delayed a little bit work better. It gives someone time to dive into your site and spend enough time to get a better understanding of who you are. Then the popup comes up over whatever they’re looking at and that’s the point where you really drive home the value you have to deliver to them. When that is tied together well with your website, it can be very effective. If the timing is off or there is a big disconnect between the popup and the content they’re reading, then it just annoys the prospect and your conversion rate will be low. Pop-ups overall have a higher conversion rate of 3% – 9% because they’re much more visible and harder to ignore.

Pop-ups are more effective because if a visitor is already on your website reading an article, it’s easy to pop-up and say, “Hey, sign up and get a free whitepaper or download that goes with this article.” We will be more successful if we get to them when they’re at the peak of their interest on the site. If you tie that interest into offering them additional valuable information in exchange for their email address, you can get a good conversion rate. And there are always opportunities to increase that rate by following the data and making changes as needed.

Testing is Key?

You want to make sure that you are asking your visitors for their email address at the right time and in the right way. The only way to do that is to test it and see what works, then follow the data. pop-ups and landing pages are the perfect places to do A/B testing to see how slight changes in wording, placement, and timing affect your conversion rates.

  • Test the timing of the popup
    Pop-ups can be timed to popup following certain actions, or after a visitor has scrolled down a page a certain amount. You want to time your popup for when someone is the most interested. Test out a few variations to see what works best.
  • Test the location of the popup
    Where the popup is located on the page can have a huge effect on conversion. We’ve found that placing the popup further down the page, which gives the visitor time to read and really understand the value of what you’re providing.
  • Test where the Call to Action is on the landing page
    Just like a popup, where the Call to Action is located on the landing page can have a huge effect on conversion. Test out a few variations to see which location works best.
  • Test the headlines and copy
    How we talk about ourselves and our offering can have a huge effect. Testing out multiple iterations of the headline and copy can help you determine what works best.
  • Test different Calls to Action
    One call to action may be way more effective than another, even when everything else is the same. Try testing out at least 2 versions of the Call to Action to see if one drives more conversion.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Make it easy – Don’t assume your prospects know what to do. Help them make that first micro-commitment by only having one clear call to action that is easy to understand and follow.
  • Deliver what you promise – Make sure that whatever reward you have promised in exchange for a visitor’s email address is what they actually receive.
  • Visitor experience matters – Whether you’re working on a landing page or a pop-up, make sure that you take the time to evaluate the experience for the visitor. Chances are that if you’re annoyed by the timing of the pop-up, or are having problems finding the call to action on your landing page, so are your visitors.

Learn more by listening to our B2B Word of Mouth Marketing podcast episode, How to Build an Email List.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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