In Defense of Popups

It is no secret that we tout the modal popup as the ultimate tool for building your email subscriber base, and we have the research to prove why. There are still those, however, who avoid using this time-tested tactic for fear that they will annoy – and potentially lose – prospective customers. 

Recently, while discussing the effectiveness of exit popups, Listrak Senior Solution Consultant Joe Devine met with the popular popup objection. We thought his response was worth sharing:

The best strategies surrounding pop-ups, side bars, footer overlays, or any other sort of whirligigs are often hotly contested by marketers. Some folks see them as the utter dissolution of all brand integrity, while some of us see them as a necessary engagement tool when trying to achieve revenue goals. 

The truth is engagement KPIs are lifted when you strategically increase acquisition. However, with such a broad spectrum of sentiments, one thing is clear: One size will not fit all and testing is key to driving adoption.  After years of deploying and testing these technologies, it may seem brash, but the simple fact is, these tools work and work well. For every naysayer, I would challenge you to prove that the revenue results are not achievable or that any detriment to your brand or UX can’t be overcome. 

I have said many times, for each member of your audience who abhors the technology, there are 100 more who will engage and interact with it. Marketers and brand strategists can take their windfall of profits from the 100 shoppers who convert at significantly higher levels and send flowers requesting forgiveness from every disgruntled website visitor, leaving plenty of profit for the bottom line (literally, a beautiful spring bouquet of fresh flowers!). With the right strategy, you can win your audience over. 

Some retailers seem to have missed or dismissed the concept of “selling.” I believe that many audience members, on some level, want to be engaged during their shopping experience. Just as a sales rep on the floor of your stores should be greeting and interacting with patrons, so too should your website. Will you please everyone? No. But who is out there today pleasing everyone?  If we make marketing decisions based upon the small audience we can rarely please, we miss the opportunity to please the audience that is ready, willing, and able to engage with us.

Gmail Grid View


In case you’re not aware Gmail is currently doing a field trial that allows you to view image previews of promotional emails. It’s referred to as the grid view. I signed up for the field trial and it’s definitely something retailers will want to take advantage of. There was however an issue I noticed. Some of the emails did not have an image preview. With a little research I discovered there are a few things that can cause this problem. This article at FreshInbox provides some helpful information about fixes for the issue.


Listrak Client Naturopathica Receives Award for Best Beauty Email Message Campaign

Listrak client Naturopathica was recently recognized by the Web Marketing Association as a winner in the 2014 Internet Advertising Competition Awards. The manufacturer and retailer of professional skin care was honored in the category of Best Fashion or Beauty Email Message Campaign.

The email campaign that earned Naturopathica the prestigious honor was a series of welcome emails created by Naturopathica Director of Direct Marketing and Sales Sarah Falcon, Marketing Associate for Digital Content and Creative Suzie Morgan and Creative Director Eon Kim, in conjunction with Listrak, the company’s Email Service Provider.

Sarah Falcon describes the winning campaign. “The series of three emails serves to introduce new subscribers to the Naturopathica brand and features gorgeous branded photography to set the stone for the Naturopathica experience. The first email welcomes the new subscriber and offers a discount on her next order;

the second provides insight into the brand with a note from our company founder and CEO Barbara Close;

and the third highlights the products that make Naturopathica the spa industry’s best-kept secret.”

The automated welcome series of emails is triggered through the Listrak platform when a new subscriber signs up through a modal window on the Naturopathica homepage and results in exceptional engagement and conversion rates. Falcon shares, “The winning campaign has more than a 48% open rate, a more than 10% click through rate and a more than 24% conversion rate – the highest overall engagement of any of our email campaigns. “

She continues, “Since it launched, sales from our Welcome Series alone has lifted our total eCommerce sales by more than 6% and total web traffic by more than 12%. In addition, new customer sales have lifted more than 107% year over year.”

Listrak CEO Ross Kramer comments, “We are thrilled that Naturopathica has received this well-deserved honor that puts them in company with some major world-class brand marketers.  We recommend that any client follow a new email signup with a series of welcome emails, because they come at a time when the subscriber is particularly engaged with the brand and therefore typically return some of the best results of any email campaign. For Naturopathica, this, along with exceptionally well-crafted messages and stunning photography, is clearly a winning combination.”

 About the Award

Each year the Web Marketing Association’s IAC Award Competition names the Best Email Message Campaign. The winners are selected by judging the entered creative using seven criteria – design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation and content.

 About Naturopathica

Nearly two decades ago, clinical esthetician, aromatherapist and herbalist Barbara Close realized that clients at her Healing Arts Center & Spa struggled to find the ideal anti-aging skin care solutions. At the same time, medical studies were proving that chronic inflammation and irritation are at the heart of aging and weakened skin. In response, Barbara created NATUROPATHICA—a breakthrough line of

professional skin care that delivered real results and yet was safe enough even for sensitized skin. Today, NATUROPATHICA is trusted and recommended by professionals in over 350 of the most renowned spas across the USA and Canada.

Last week, we introduced our Strategic Thinking series with a blog post from Listrak Senior Solutions Consultant Julie Wahl on maximizing your modal popup. Today, Julie shares additional tips for acquiring new subscribers.


While our experience with hundreds of retailers clearly shows that there is no single better way to acquire new subscribers than a modal popup or lightbox, there are several other tactics that should be considered to complement your modal efforts.


Sweepstakes work best if promoted via your modal popup, and if done correctly, can work well across the board for many types of brands. It’s important to note that your prize should be something from your brand or a complementary brand to ensure that you attract subscribers that are most likely to remain engaged long-term.  

Be sure to take advantage of the viral potential of a sweepstakes by encouraging subscribers to share details with friends and family in exchange for additional entries. In addition, we’ve seen many clients have great success by partnering with like brands to drive engagement and to get access to additional subscribers.

Point of Sale acquisition

This is an amazing opportunity for any brand with brick and mortar locations. In fact POS acquisition can be up to two times that of website signup.

To be successful, however, it is crucial that you train sales associates to ask for email addresses. We recommend giving them a reason (offering e-receipts is a great one) because incentivizing them instead can often lead to inaccurate entries.  

Be sure to follow up each POS acquisition with a welcome series email campaign that verifies the address and tries to get the shopper to convert in more than one channel by introducing her to your brand’s online shopping experience.

Here are a few other tactics to round out your acquisition strategy:

Social signup - Integrate with the Twitter Lead Generation Card and leverage your Facebook presence by offering signup on your page.

Online Checkout – Optimize this prime opportunity to capture email opt-ins from your valuable customers. Consider how your can maximize this part of the funnel for email acquisition, then build a strategy around it.

SMS – Mobile acquisition - Post signs in-store to text for a special offer and collect mobile and email signup together.

Paid search – Consider including signup in paid search results (this feature must be turned on by Google).

Back in Stock Alerts – Email acquisition is a bonus of offering this solution. Find out how Back in Stock Alerts work in Listrak’s latest whitepaper.

Always On: Connecting with Mobile Shoppers

Your customers are always connected through their mobile devices, and more than half of all emails are being opened on smartphones. Studies show that if your emails are opened on a mobile device and aren’t optimized to render and perform well, however, the majority of your customers will delete them.

In a webinar scheduled for April 16, 1 p.m. ET, Listrak design expert Aaron Pearson will join Listrak CEO Ross Kramer to discuss trends and best practices for responsive email design so you can be sure your emails work on every device. You’ll see real campaigns from retailers that have tested and mastered this tactic.

Registration is open

Listrak to present session on Profiting from Personalization at Demandware XChange

If you’re attending Demandware XChange ‘14 in Miami, be sure to catch Ross Kramer and clients Paul Voorheis of and Shawna Hausman of Giggle as they present the session Profiting from Personalization: Using Personalized, Automated Emails to Increase Sales and Boost Profit Margin. The session will take place on Tuesday, April 8, at 2:30 p.m. 


Welcome to the debut of Listrak’s Strategic Thinking series of blog posts. Check back on a regular basis and look for this heading to find posts that share proven retail strategies offered by members of Listrak’s experienced Account Management team. 

Also keep your eyes open for the debut of our Partner Perspectives series, which will feature helpful blog posts shared by our valued omnichannel marketing partners.

Today’s strategic thoughts come courtesy of Listrak’s Julie Wahl, a senior solutions consultant. 


In order to optimize all of your email marketing solutions, you must continually add new subscribers to your list, and we’ve found no single better tactic than featuring a lightbox or modal popup on your website’s homepage.  

Hopefully you’re already using a modal popup and reaping the benefit, but there’s always room to make it work even harder for you. Here are some ideas we recommend that Listrak clients use to maximize their modal acquisition results:  

  • Always, always TEST to find out what works best for your brand. Even if something’s already working for you, it’s very likely it can work even better.
  • Bolder may very well be better. There is a definite trend towards larger popups, but of course, this is something that should be tested for each brand.
  • Realize that prospective subscribers expect that you will provide some type of value in exchange for their email address.
  • There are many ways to incentivize potential new subscribers, so test what works best for your brand. Some clients even find that it works best to offer a choice, i.e., enjoy 10% off your first order or free shipping.
  • If it’s not appropriate for your brand to offer an incentive like a discount, gift with purchase or free shipping, be creative. For example, one client offers a bag of free sample products, which promotes the breadth of product they carry at little cost to them. Exclusivity is often incentive enough, i.e. “Be the first to know about new products and special sales.” 
  • A gift with purchase is an effective incentive and doesn’t have to be expensive.  Many clients opt for something small and light (and preferably branded to keep you top-of-mind) that can easily be dropped in with an order without adding to shipping costs. 
  • If you offer an incentive to new subscribers on your modal popup, be sure to promote it on your static onsite signup as well for those potential subscribers who may close out of the popup but then realize that they’d like to take advantage of the offer.
  • If you offer a discount via promo code and a new subscriber doesn’t use it right away, be sure to offer it again in welcome series emails to prompt a purchase.
  • To keep potential purchasers from leaving your site to get a promo code promised in your popup, include the code in the popup confirmation and allow then to keep on shopping.
  • While you have a subscriber’s attention, take the opportunity to build your social media following, too. Make sure your modal features the option to follow your brand on Twitter, like it on Facebook, etc. with a simple click.
  • Consider using the modal signup as an opportunity to gather some preference information (i.e., categories interested in) as well that will help you to immediately begin personalizing email messages. Don’t request too much info at this point, however, or you risk losing potential subscribers.
  • It is imperative that you follow up all new signups with a series of welcome emails. We suggest a minimum of three and even have clients who successfully send eight or more. Don’t be shy – welcome emails reach subscribers when they’re particularly engaged with your brand and therefore enjoy particularly high open and click-through rates.
  • Don’t forget, if you’re a Listrak client, an invaluable added bonus to growing your list with a modal popup is that each new address obtained increases your reachable rate for other solutions, which in turn increases your email revenue.  

Ross Kramer and client The Grommet to present at IRCE

Registration is open for this year’s IRCE, being held June 10-13 once again at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

On Wednesday, June 11, 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Listrak CEO Ross Kramer and client Katherine Klinger of The Grommet will present an informative session, Minor adjustment, major impact: Refining your e-mail marketing program to optimize results. Join them to learn how to supercharge the results of your existing email marketing program with small refinements.

Then at 2:15-2:45, be sure to attend Fueling E-Mail Marketing Results with More Products, Not Discounts being presented by Listrak client Marvin Toller, business marketing analyst for Attend to to learn how displaying more products in emails can result in higher open rates and clicks than emails featuring discount offers.  

Key Takeaways from Today’s Retargeting Webinar

Today, Ross presented the webinar The One That (Almost) Got Away: Remarketing Trends to Recoup Revenue. Below are some of the key takeaways that were tweeted during the session. Check back soon for a link to the webinar on demand. 

  • Forrester reports that last year 63% of retailers surveyed spent more on remarketing/retargeting than in 2012.
  • More than 52% of today’s webinar attendees send shopping cart recovery campaigns.
  • We recommend a series of three or more shopping cart recovery emails sent over a tested time period - often with a tested offer. 
  • Reachable rate is key - You can’t retarget to addresses you don’t have. Increase the rate with a modal popup to increase revenue.
  • We’ve found that the first shopping cart recovery email should be sent 3 hours post abandonment rather than immediately for highest revenue.
  • We recommend NOT including an offer in the first retargeting email. Many are successful without any in the email series.
  • The wait step between emails in the retargeting email series should be tested as well.
  • If an offer is used, single-use coupons are highly recommended for retargeting emails.
  • Subject lines are one of the most under-appreciated aspects of email marketing. Testing them is paramount to maximize conversions.
  • We recommend suppressing batch and blast campaigns from anyone receiving retargeting emails to avoid over-sending.
  •  Best practice - if the last email in a retargeting series still has a double digit conversion rate, consider adding another message.
  • Opt-out rate for shopping cart abandonment emails is on average only half as high as batch and blast emails. 
  • Consider using social proof (i.e. ratings and reviews) into retargeting campaigns to increase engagement and conversions. 
  • Of webinar participants responding to our poll, nearly 69% are running retargeting ads. 
  • Email marketers can pair Listrak data and Facebook Custom Audiences to achieve audience extension
  • Back in Stock Alerts may also be used as a retargeting solution - Also a great email acquisition and inventory planning tool.