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Case Study #03 – 1 Email Pop-Up, 1 Month, 824 Email Opt-Ins Later

The email pop-up, who uses them and why, a case study on pop-ups, and some general takeaways on email capture.

Picture this.

You are walking down the street and meet a beautiful young lady for the first time. You strike up a conversation with an opening line. It wasn’t so cheesy, so she agrees to talk to you.

After a few minutes of introductory conversation, you ask her to come home with you.


You rake, you. How dare you?

You just met this girl and you are asking her to come home with you?!

Is e-Commerce really so different?

You don’t meet a buyer for the very first time and expect to get a sale out of them, do you?

Yes, it happens sometimes, but it’s certainly not the norm right?

What you should do in that situation is ask for her number. Start a relationship. Get to know one another. Meet her parents.

Therein lies a major problem.

Most are just are not asking for her phone number.

Their whole site is set up for the sale, optimized for the sale, it’s all about the sale. Thats the only # you care about or are looking at. But what about the girl that wants to get to know you?

Okay, let’s ditch the analogy and get to the point.

My argument is this: you need to set up your site to be optimized for email conversions. Email is one of the best ways to start a relationship with the folks that visit your website. So you need to be optimized to capture email addresses.

Okay, so let’s say you agree with me so far… What is one of the best ways to capture email addresses?



Perhaps you immediately think

Man I hate those things. I never put my email address into them. In fact I am so personally offended you would even ask I am going to write you an email telling you so.

It’s a sentiment I often hear expressed from those that have never given them a shot — I myself was on that list for years — but it is a valid sentiment. So let me come back to it later on in this post.

In the meantime, let’s understand that pretty much all of the top marketers as well as top art retailers and print studios out there are using them.

Take a look:






If they are all using them, it stands to reason that they work.

Easy enough to say, so let’s just see with some real numbers shall we? This is after all a case study.

ASF Case Studies

Here’s how it works. We generate an idea to test, contact an ASF customer (AKA “the guinea pig”), and pitch them on it.

We state the goals and the timeline, then we implement it. We report back here on the blog – whether it’s a failure or a success – with hard numbers and the actual steps taken.

This time, I got in touch with a photographer named Michael Winsor…again.

Artist Profile

Michael Winsor is a Newfoundland based fine art photographer. He’s a great candidate for this particular case study as Mike is really good at driving traffic from Facebook to his site, so I knew we would not have to wait long for some results.


The Idea

By adding an email pop-up on the homepage of his site, we will be able to drastically improve email capture. Specifically, I was hoping to see 50 emails added to his list a month.

How We Will Measure


For the measurement portion of this case study, we opted to create a goal in Google Analytics that would measure opt-ins. This requires a few extra steps but is way worth the extra time as I will go on to argue.

The Process

So we started by adding a pop-up to Mike’s homepage.

If you are new to pop-ups, aside from perhaps seeing them and being annoyed by them, then perhaps you might like to do a bit of extra reading to brush up on how they operate.

It’s absolutely amazing how sophisticated you can get with them. They can fire on a timer, if the guest is about to exit the page, if they scroll down 2/3 of the way, if they came from a Facebook link…The options are limitless.

For our study we opted for simplicity.

We set up a pop-up to fire on Mike’s homepage after a period of 1 second.



As you can see, in the text of the pop up Mike shows some tremendous respect for his audience. There is nothing offensive or annoying in his pop-up.

He asks you to join his community. If you want to, great. If not, no big deal, just close it.

If you do choose to opt-in, you get re-directed to his “Thank You” page.


There, he has an amazing video that shows some of his work being finished off and the ready-to-hang product.

This part is important, as it allows me to set up a Google Analytics goal to record every time somebody opts in to his list.

How to setup a confirmation page goal in Google Analytics

Okay, so now we have a pop-up running, one that sends them to a confirmation page if they opt in, and we are measuring that confirmation page in Google Analytics as a goal.

So let’s see how we did.

The Results

Below are the numbers for the entire month of November 2015.


824 Email addresses in 1 month. With 15.08% of visitors coming to his site opting into his email list.


I can honestly say my reaction was not far off from hers.

824 email addresses in one month for any business is a great number. For an artist that specializes in the niche of “Newfoundland and Labrador photography” it’s flat out, knock down, #fohgetaboutit, FANTASTIC.

Let’s noodle some numbers on this for a second…

    1. Let’s assume Mike’s average order size is $150.00 (made it up, I think it’s actually higher).


    1. Let’s assume his conversion rate is 2%.


  1. Let’s assume he keeps up his pace of 824 new subscribers each month.
824*12 months = 9,888 subscribers a year.

So Mike goes and sends an email to a list that size, with a 2% conversion rate, and average order value of $150.00.

197 sales x $150 average order = $29,550 in sales.

All from one pop-up.


Still think pop-ups are annoying?

If you would have asked Mike before this test started, he would have told you they sure are. He feels differently about them now.

Admittedly the #’s in this case study are crazy. His results blew our minds and likely will not be the case for all that start running pop-ups based on this case study.

All of which is AOK.

It’s the concept here that is important, and it’s important no matter if you are a print studio, art gallery, or artist.


So stop treating them all that way.

Start asking for their email. Start a relationship. Go on a few dates and nurture the relationship (send emails) and then get the sale.

Leave a Comment:

Cory Huff says

Great case study ASF! Do you have any particular recommendations for how to install a good pop up for your websites?

Dominique Hurley says

Great to hear you’re developing an ASF version. I learned all about pop-ups and the importance of offering bonus opt-ins when I did Marie Forleo’s B-School. I have opt-in forms and buttons on my main site, but hadn’t extended it to my shop site (which is on ASF).

Art Storefronts says

Thanks Cory. I would say it really depends on what your CMS is. There are great ones that are WordPress specific and there are great ones that work on all platforms that I have used.

They all pretty much do the same thing too so its really about picking one and start testing.

Art Storefronts says

@dominiquehurley:disqus Thanks for the comment Dominique. In your case Dom as you technically have two sites. You want to start by optimizing which site is getting all of the traffic. Which in your case is your main site. Once you get that one performing then I would get your ASF implementation geared up as well.

We have a whole lot more content on this coming soon.

Jamie Anderson says

I noticed that you can setup this type of popup with MailChimp, but I believe the email addresses would go straight into their system. Is there a way to sync Art Store Front’s contact email addresses with MailChimp’s? I would like to do that first.

PhoenixwmnSails says

My problem with this is, you will lose a percentage of visitors to your site by deluging them with annoying pop-ups. And even if they DO sign up for emails, over what average time-frame does that convert to sales ? I’m not looking to develop a long list of email addresses I have to send periodic bulletins out to, probably having to pay for an email service like Constant Contact or others to manage the list. Because you’re only citing ONE artist, not several, I can only view this as a questionable expenditure of valuable time not to mention a possible sales-killer for my site. I’m not seeing the math on this. Great that he got 824 new sign-ups, but at a 2% conversion rate, I think I can do better than that without annoying my visitors. You have an average 20 seconds or less after a visitor arrives at your landing page for them to decide whether they’re going to stay on your site & shop/potentially purchase…..I think those odds are greatly lessened by aggravating them with pop-ups that give the impression they’ll be further annoyed via their in-box. You’re citing one artist like it’s the Holy Grail…it’s one example, not many, not a significant number, not even a fraction of all the ASF artists. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to learn new marketing skills but your proof of concept is lacking. I’m nationally licensed and have learned a few things about marketing over the last 15 yrs; I make a living from my work and am grateful to be able to say that. I intend to do well with my not-yet-live ASF site, but would appreciate MUCH more data than just one example before I implement changes that from my perspective are risky.

Art Storefronts says

Fair enough and you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

As said in the post, I was squarely in your camp for a long time. I hated pop ups and they annoyed me incredibly. They still do on some sites.

I saw the light though.

I hope you and others see the light as well.

824 signups is a big deal. That’s 824 people in one month he is going to be able to market to again, and again, and again.

That’s 824 people he will start building a relationship with and nudging towards a purchase.

Whats more… In my experience the people you are worried about leaving and being pissed are NEVER going to buy from you. Its like worrying about people un-subscribing from your email list. They are not interested either, so let them go (keep the emails for Facbook custom audiences though :D).
They are not the ones you want to focus on anyway.

So as I see it your options are worry about a bunch of people that are never going to buy from you anyway or you can cater to a bunch of people that genuinely like what you do and believe in it. That just might purchase in the future.

Don’t take my word for it though. You feel strongly about your opinion, rest assured I feel strongly about mine, run a test for a few weeks. See what happens.

Lastly, I am not citing anything like its the holy grail. There is no such thing as the holy grail and that’s the biggest problem out there. There are so many that believe in one, that want to believe in one.

If you want to be successful it takes hard work like anything else. There is no shortcut.

A pop-up is not the holy grail. What it is though is a small incremental win. That’s what this blog is about. A bunch of small incremental wins, that when stacked up make for a big win.

So in reference to MUCH more data what I can say is I hope you will stick around and keep reading. I promise you will see MUCH more data but its all gonna be on small wins.


Art Storefronts says

Yes there is. I am not sure if they have released it yet or are about to release it. If its not live already its coming very soon.

I will follow up with the dev guys and find out.

PhoenixwmnSails says

Small wins are all well and good and I respect that. I work VERY hard at my career, otherwise I would not be getting those big-number checks each quarter as I do; it only took 16 years to accomplish. As for ppl not being legit buyers because they are run off by pop-ups, I’m guessing you have zero data to back that statement up. There are zillions of e-merchants selling Art online; far easier to go to one of them than try to shop on a site with pop-ups. There’s massive competition for online art buyer dollars. Instead of experimenting with my sales, I’d much prefer you coming up with more artists who are getting massive sign-ups that then convert to sales. THAT would be impressive. One guy having this happen, not so much. This isn’t an opinion but experience based on hard sales and taking the time to learn how e-shoppers function when it comes to buying art online. Not trying to hate on anybody, here…good for that guy ! And good on ASF, but I need to see more than one guy have that happen before I get enthusiastic about the idea of annoying pop-ups on my site. If it does catch on and produces even semi-reliable conversions to sales, I’m in.

Jamie Anderson says

Ok… Thanks!

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