How to Create MailChimp Popups That Convert

You’ve set up your MailChimp account.
You’re ready to send emails and attract tons of traffic to your website.

But your contact base is empty. Who will you send your emails to?

That’s when MailChimp popup forms come into play.
With a 5.7% subscription rate (that’s our internal average), they’re the most powerful way to capture emails and turn your visitors into subscribers. Let’s see how you can make the most of them.


Step 1: Identify your segments

Before trying to capture more contacts, it’s important to set your strategy first.

As with emails, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy possible. You need to tailor your MailChimp popups to your audience.

To do so, these questions can help:

Do I have different segments of visitors? (If you already created multiple lists or groups in MailChimp, the answer is probably yes)

What defines these segments?

  • Your visitors’ interests? For example if you’re a SaaS, you might want to segment your visitors by the type of product they’re interested in
  • Their country? If you’re working for an international ecommerce website, you might want to segment by country.
  • Their language? Most of the time, you need to adapt to the local language.
  • Their gender? If you’re selling shoes or clothes, it would make a lot of sense to segment by gender.


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Step 2: Prepare your offer

To convince your users to fill in your popup form, you’ll have to find a convincing offer.

Offers can be:

A discount coupon:

Coupons are still one of the best ways to seduce a customer. According to research, 39% of customers use them.

A free shipping coupon:

Free shipping offers can be very convincing as well. Actually, 9 out of 10 consumers say it’s the most convincing incentive to shop more online.


Kate Spade's email popup

A chance to win something:

See this example below? 13.4% of the users who saw it entered their email to participate in the giveaway.

A sweepstake popup example

A freebie:

Sometimes the best reward is knowledge in the form of a PDF or a spreadsheet which will save you time or teach you something. That’s what the famous paleo cook Michelle Tam does on her website.
MailChimp makes it very easy to send a welcome email containing that kind of freebie. In other words, it’s easy to implement and given the results, it’s worth trying this kind of offer.

A popup synced with MailChimp on NomNomPaleo

The promise to receive great content:

Sometimes, it’s best to keep it simple. To turn a visitor into a MailChimp subscriber can be as easy as describing the content of your future newsletters.

A "simple" MailChimp popup

Whatever the offer you picked, it’s important to tailor it to your different segments (remember step 1?).
Let’s say you’re an online marketing agency and decided to go for a white-book. You’ll need to prepare different white-books for your different solutions. For example, to convince visitors interested in your SEO services, you could offer a white-book dedicated to the latest SEO trends.

Step 3: Craft the perfect MailChimp popup


Start by picking the right headline. It will be key to getting your visitor’s attention.
In short:

  • Make sure it highlights a benefit of subscribing to your newsletter
  • Use power words to make it more appealing
  • Keep it short, its aim is to drive your user’s attention to the popup in itself


A catchy headline example

A catchy headline example(source)

You can also draw inspiration from the 6 popup headline formulas we shared earlier.

Once your headline is ready, let’s focus on your optin popup main content:

  • Make sure it’s easy and quick to understand
  • Detail the benefits of subscribing (“exclusive offers”, “10% off your next order”, etc)
  • Use words which reflect your brand’s tone of voice

If you want to take it further, you can read our 8 tips to write popup copy that convert.


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Step 4: Prepare a stunning design

When designing your popups, we recommend you to keep the following rules in mind:

First rule: don’t forget mobile

Prepare two designs, one for mobile and the second for tablets and desktops. It will display better on each type of device and will prevent an SEO penalty.

a mobile popup example on SchottNYC

A mobile popup on


Second rule: keep your design coherent with your website

Work on a design that matches your website style and your brand. The visitor must feel like the popup is part of the navigation experience.
You can draw some inspiration from your MailChimp email templates: what colors do you use in your newsletters? What kind of visuals? Call-to-actions? Can you reuse some of these elements? optin popup

A popup example on (we added comments to insist on its strengths)


Third rule: use visuals

A modal without visuals is like an email without pictures… It’s boring!
Plus, they’ll help get your visitors’ attention. See how Oberlo illustrates their popup and how it contributes to helping focus on their message?


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Step 5: Prepare your target

I’ve got good news for you: you’re getting close to the final step of this guide! Let’s prepare your targeting.

As for newsletters, popups require some targeting: you don’t want everyone to see your popup on every page of your website.

The first option you’ll have to think about when preparing your display scenario will be the popup trigger. Here are some of the most common options:

  • On landing: as soon as the user loads the page (often you can add a delay)
  • On exit: when the user is about to leave your website
  • After X pages: when the user has browsed through more than X pages
  • On scroll: when the user has read X% of your page
  • On click: when the user clicks a specific link or call-to-action


There’s no universal rule for triggers. The results you’ll see will depend a lot on your type of business. To make sure you pick the right option, we recommend you AB test the different triggers.

Once you’ve chosen a trigger, you can select who should see your popup. Remember when we discussed your segments at the first step? Well, let’s use them now.


To make sure your popups reach the right visitor segment, you can rely on the following targeting options:

  • Visitor type: you could distinguish between new visitors and returning visitors
  • Pages viewed: you can trigger a different popup depending on the category of your website the user visits
  • Device: this option will help you serve a different popup to mobile users
  • Geo-location: if you’re an international business and want to target users from a specific country or region, etc.


Let’s get back to the online marketing agency example. They could choose to display the White-paper download popup form on the pages related to SEO to the visitors located in their geographical area and on exit to catch them just before they leave.

Create your own MailChimp popup in under a minute
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Step 6: Configure MailChimp

Get ready to roll!

You’ve built your list-building machine. Now we need to configure MailChimp properly so you can make the most of these new subscribers and adapt the emails they’ll receive to the segment they belong to.

Segment your lists

MailChimp provides a few options to segment your lists:

  • Lists: MailChimp lists are the highest level of segmentation available in MailChimp. Usually they group contacts from the same country, or those interested in the same product, etc. A given email can be only sent to a given list or a subset of a list.
  • Groups: Groups allow you to create subsets of subscribers inside a given list. They’re useful when you have recurring segmentation needs
  • Other segmentation options: You’ll find tons of other segmentation options.

In general, we recommend keeping things simple and starting with a unique list that you later segment using groups or field values.

Once you’ve chosen a structure for your account, it’s time to prepare the automations.

Set up your automations

By default, MailChimp offers a welcome email option. Once activated, this option will trigger an email for any new subscriber you get, whether it comes from a signup form or an opt-in popup.

This email is a good opportunity to:

  • Share a welcome coupon or a freebie if you advertised one in your opt-in popup
  • Drive your visitors back to your store:  to do so, it can be as simple as adding links to your main website categories. Or featuring your best sellers.
  • Reinforce your branding: the welcome email can also be a good opportunity to communicate on your brand’s story or on your main services (free returns, money-back guarantees, etc.)


a welcome email example from loveknitting

A welcome email example

But this default welcome email might not be adapted if you have different segments of subscribers and need a different welcome email for each.

Let’s get back to the online marketing agency example. They provide SEO services, paid advertising services and conversion optimization consulting services. They have created 3 groups in MailChimp inside the main list called ‘Newsletter subscriber’. For each group, they want to send a unique welcome email containing specific information connected to the group’s interests. The default welcome email won’t work.

If you’re in the same situation, you’ll need to deactivate the default welcome email and create a specific welcome email for each group.

To do so:

1/ Create a new MailChimp campaign

2/ Select “Create an Email”

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3/ Select ‘Automated’ and “Welcome new subscribers”

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4/ Name your campaign and select a list

5/ Click ‘Edit segment’

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6/ Check “Choose segmentation conditions” and select “Subscribers match the following conditions”

7/ Select the appropriate group and save

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8/ Design your welcome email.

You could also prepare a welcome sequence containing a series of emails.

Set up a notification email (optional)

MailChimp can send you a notification each time someone subscribes to your list. This is especially useful when you prefer sending a manual email to new subscribers or simply if you want to keep track of your subscriber base growth.
Here’s how to do it.

MailChimp x Wisepops

MailChimp default popup forms are quite limited.

With Wisepops, you could:

  • Easily design unique and beautiful pop-ups which match your brand identity.
  • Reach the perfect audience for your campaigns thanks to 30+ targeting options
  • Track the impact of your campaign on your sales and revenue
  • Integrate your popups easily on Shopify, WordPress, Magento and any other kind of website

Start your free trial today.