Newsletter sign-up: 10 approaches

Do you have problems with persuading newsletter sign-up for people on your website because not enough people are subscribing? You can try to optimize your current approach or look at different ways of getting subscribers for your newsletter.

It’s extremely important to keep growing your email list because a study by Barilliance states that on average about 39,13% of a company’s revenue is generated through e-mail marketing.

This is because e-mail marketing is such a powerful tool that gets stronger depending on your email list.

This article will describe 10 different approaches that I have used to collect more subscribers for your email list. 

Newsletter sign-up approach #1: Exit-intent:

Newsletter sign-up exit-intent

A great way of collecting subscribers is right when the user is about to leave the page because then it won’t disturb the current conversion process. An exit-intent notification is triggered on desktop devices when users move their mouse outside the body of the browser. This means the header where you type in a web address. 

According to a study by Sumo, an exit-intent pop-up will have an average conversion rate of 3.1%. If you make yours well you can get up to 9.3%. Depending on your traffic you can grow your e-mail list very fast with this method.

Newsletter sign-up averages by Sumo

On mobile and tablet, you don’t have a mouse cursor so that works a little different. What most tools do is that when a user starts scrolling up again you trigger the exit-intent pop-up because the reason people might be scrolling up is that they are done the reading or haven’t found what they are looking for. Indicating that the user might leave the website.

In my experience, this is an extremely effective way of collecting subscribers because it will trigger on your website a lot! If you have a few clever marketers and developers in your arsenal you can try to only trigger the exit-intent notification for people that haven’t already signed up for the newsletter te circumvent frustration.

Don’t just straightforwardly ask for an email but emphasize what the user will get in return to entice them to sign-up because you need an even better reason as the user was just ready to leave your website!

Approach #2: Transaction

Newsletter sign-up thank you page

Another location on your website where you can approach visitors is the thank you page.  When visitors have finished their transaction on your website they will have a good standing towards your company. Then they will be far more likely to subscribe for your newsletter.

According to a study by Sumo about 1,95% of your website visitors will subscribe to your email. This means the thank you page should be higher than that. If this is not the case you should be looking at optimization opportunities.

You will have the trigger the notification immediately because most people will leave the website quickly after finishing their transaction. This way the amount of people that see the actual notification is a lot higher. Clearly communicate the extra goal to prevent them from leaving your website. 

You can also give the customer a discount code for their next transaction if they subscribe to persuade them to come back and make another purchase. This will also persuade your visitors that are sensitive to getting discounts to subscribe to your newsletter. This uses the Cialdini persuasion principle reciprocity. This has proven to increase opt-in rates on websites. Check out my article about the persuasion principles of Cialdini to learn more.

This one is a real game-changer because it focuses on the customer that have already bought a product or service. These customers are usually a lot more valuable because they are more likely to open and click on your newsletters.

Newsletter sign-up stats per session by Barilliance

A study by Barilliance shows that conversion rates for returning sessions are almost twice as high as new sessions. Emphasizing the need for this notification on your thank you page.

Newsletter sign-up approach #3: Checkout

Newsletter sign-up checkout

One more location the collect newsletter subscribers is through your check-form. You can place a checkbox on this page where people can opt-in to your newsletter by simply clicking the box.

This is a great location because people will have already filled in their email address for the checkout process and are about to buy something and become a customer.

You might be tempted to have this checkbox selected by default but this is against GDPR and should be avoided if you don’t want to risk a massive fine. These fines can range from thousands to millions depending on the size of the company. Check out the most recent fines here.

You can also split the checkboxes depending on what kind of mails the want to receive but I wouldn’t recommend that because it increases the number of forms in the check-out process.

According to a study by Marketing experiments, you will have a lower conversion rate when you have a longer form. In this example, the conversion rate dropped by an absolute number of 3.4% when adding 4 more options.

Form fields study

Make sure this opt-in method is tested so the way of implementation doesn’t impact your conversion rate too much.

Approach #4: Footer

Newsletter sign-up footer

A study by Gleam states that this kind of opt-in form will have an average conversion rate of about 0.5%.

Although not one of the most effective gatherers of subscribers, it is one that is easily implemented and shown on your whole site because it’s in your footer. Most websites will have this so visitors will expect to be able to subscribe to a newsletter in the footer.

Newsletter sign-up approach #5: Navigation bar

Newsletter sign-up navigation

If one of the main goals of your website is gathering subscribers you could consider adding a newsletter sign-up form in the navigation bar.

This would take up a lot of space and distract users from other goals so I would not recommend this for e-commerce websites.

Gleam says that this kind of opt-in form will have an average conversion rate between 0.5% and 5%. Another way of doing this is by making a floating notification above the navigation bar. You could choose to only show this to users that have not signed up for the newsletter.

Approach #6: In the article

Newsletter sign-up in-article

Another way of approaching your audience for newsletter sign-ups is by using in-article blocks. With in-article blocks, you put a form with the persuasion element within your text so the user will come across it when they are reading your page.

This can be done by embedding your forms or in the form of a scroll box that triggers at a certain percentage of scroll. This is a lot easier to implement because you can set the percentage instead of manually deciding per article where you want your sign-up form to appear.

Sumo states a scroll box has an average conversion rate of 1,90% and that it can go up to 4,90% because you are targeting engaged users.

Sumo Box Opt-in rates

This way you give the user some time to get acquainted with your content and approach them when they have scrolled far enough. If they are not interested they can just scroll past your block with ease so it isn’t too distracting. Usually, scroll-boxes are triggered near the end of the page or halfway down. Make sure to run your tests to see what works best for your website.

A great way of implementing this kind of form is by putting this at the end of a specific blog post and offering more information or extra tips about the blog they are reading. Imagine seeing a form at the end of this post saying there is a secret 11th newsletter sign-up form for subscribers. I recommend setting these kinds of super-specific forms manually so you know there are in the right place with the correct text instead of triggering them like a scroll box.

Newsletter sign-up approach #7: E-book

Ebook signup

You can use this kind of sign-up for strengthening your existing forms by using the persuasion principle reciprocity. You want to offer the users on your website an e-book or high-quality pdf with a lot of valuable information if they subscribe to your newsletter. This is a tried and tested way of getting subscribers and only requires you to write this once.

Setting on up with Mailchimp is easy using this guide.

This e-book can contain a bunch of related tips and tricks in your niche or research that nobody has done before. The main goal here is to make your content exclusive available at your website and not being able to google the answer in 2 seconds.

Approach #8: Exclusive content

Secret deal newsletter sign-up

With this newsletter sign-up, you want to approach your visitors with exclusive content when they opt-in. This is similar to giving away an e-book or a content-upgrade but the main difference is your communication. By using words like exclusive or secret you want to give the visitors the idea that this is especially for them. You could implement this as a scroll-box, exit-intent, welcome mat, or list builder.

Newsletter sign-up approach #9: Welcome mat

Welcome mat

Here we want to fill the screen with a massive “welcome” mat that immediately tries to persuade visitors to sign-up for the newsletter. In a study of Sumo, they state that this kind of newsletter sign-up form has an average opt-in rate of about 2.6%.

Welcome mat opt-in rates

You want to run these welcome mats on specific landing pages and tailor the content of that welcome mat to the target group of that page because then it will be even more relevant. You could go up to 6.3% if you do it right!

Study closely what kind of visitors and channels have a high bounce-rate and exclude those groups from your targeting because you don’t want people to land on your page and immediately leave because of the pop-up. 

Emphasize what you offer to your customer in a short and concise manner as the lower the cognitive load. A study by Reuters describes how too much information will have a negative effect on users’ tasks.

Try to make dismissing the notification less attractive by changing the text of the buttons to seem like “bad choice”. Imagine offering free knowledge about growing your business and having two options for your users to click on.

Welcome mat growthpenguin

People don’t want to say they don’t like their company (hopefully) and will be less inclined to click the button. It will probably feel a lot better by saying the correct choice here. Research by CXL shows that this does indeed increase your conversion rate.

CXL research table

Remember though that it’s different for every company so testing your results will always be the first step before implementing anything. I feel like I can’t emphasize this enough! It’s good to use best-practices as your starting point though because they are usually based on research already. You only have to test if it works for you as well. 

Approach #10: Discount

Discount sign-up

Another way of getting people to sign-up for your newsletter is by offering discounts codes. You can use this in any of the methods and will guarantee more people subscribing to your newsletter. Things to keep in mind are costs and misuse.

Most e-commerce systems will be able to see the total of codes that have been used on their website and the discount that comes from that. Do your extra leads justify the cost? You can try experimenting with absolute discounts like 2,50 or a discount based on a percentage. This way you can try to maximize the effectiveness of using discount codes and getting a lot of news users from it.

Imagine a scenario where you run a test using a 5% discount code and a 2,50.  About 1000 people have used your 2,50 and about 900 people have used 5% and both received 10000 sessions. If you want to calculate the difference in effectiveness you need to know the average order value. Let’s say this is 40 euro’s in this example. This means you will be paying 2 euro discount per order for the 5%. If both discounts have the same conversion rate this is an easy choice because 2 euro per subscriber is cheaper. 

But what if your conversion rate is a lot higher with the 2,50 version like in the example? The extra subscribers might justify the costs because these subscribers will also have a chance to convert as visitors. This can be calculated by getting the average value of e-mail subscribers and multiplying that by the extra subscribers the higher conversion rate variant gives over the lower conversion rate control.

In the above example, we have an e-mail value of 5 euro times 428 extra transactions per month. Giving you 2140 extra euros per month. It would cost you an extra 500 euro but the 2140 euro revenue makes up for that.

The main point here is that you need to figure out what code it the most cost-effective. Not saying this is the best way of calculating this. Figure out what works for you depending on the data you have available.


The key point here is that there are a lot of ways of approaching customers for growing your e-mail list. Choose the one that fits your website and test the effect on your sign-up and other goals.

I recommend setting up your welcome mat first because this probably has the most effect on your newsletter subscription because of the average conversion rate described by Sumo. Share this post with your fellow marketers if you liked it or pin it on Pinterest if you want to help out the blog.

What is your favorite way of approaching visitors for newsletter subscriptions? Leave your answer in the comments below.