Why You Need a Pop-Up Window… and How to Make It Less Annoying

I’m a big believer in using a pop-up window to collect e-mail addresses of the people who visit your artist portfolio website. I mean, you go to so much effort to attract people to your site, and it’s awesome when people are intrigued with your artwork enough to come and check you out, right? And then you’re going to just let them walk away without inviting them to keep in touch? That’s crazy!

I know, I know. I can already hear you saying, “But Jennifer, everyone HATES pop-up windows.” That’s sort of true, but really, everyone hates annoying pop-up windows. Personally, I hate pop-ups when they’re the first thing that appears when I land on a website. I haven’t even had a chance to look around yet, so how can I know if I want to subscribe to your e-newsletter or whatever?

Yes, that’s annoying. So, let’s not do that.

How can we set up pop-up windows that aren’t annoying? Here are some ideas, but they may require you to use a pop-up window service like Privy that gives you a high level of control over your pop-up’s functionality:

1. Set it to appear 30 to 60 seconds after a person lands on your site. Your pop-up window doesn’t have to be the first thing people see when they arrive at your website. Give them a chance to look around first. If they’re interested in your work, they will stay awhile. And because they like what they see, they’ll be more inclined to subscribe when your pop-up window finally does appear.

2. Or set it to appear when they’re about to leave. Believe it or not, technology is available that senses when a person is about to exit your site, and you can set the pop-up window to appear just as the person is about to leave.

3. Allow them to opt out... or back in. Make sure your pop-up window allows the person to easily opt out with an X or a “no, thanks” button. Even better, provide some way for the person to retrieve the pop-up window. It’s possible that he or she simply needed a little more time to decide to subscribe, and you want to make it easy to opt back in.

4. Include a friendly message in your window. Another great thing about pop-up windows is that you can extend an inviting message explaining why you want to keep in touch. Personalize it, and let it be yet another expression of your brand.

So, before you reject the idea of a pop-up window, ask yourself why you find them so annoying. If you can identify what that is, chances are good that you can design a window that isn’t offensive and still allows you to build your e-mail address list. After all, marketing and selling your artwork relies on you nurturing relationships with fans of your art, and this is how it all begins.

What are your thoughts on pop-ups? Let’s connect!

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