NEWSFLASH: President Obama Is Now Using A Popup (And Squeeze Page) . . . And You Should Too

Hello, everyone, my name is Clay Collins and welcome to this episode of the Marketing Show. In today’s episode we’re going to be talking about President Obama’s presidential pop-up at Yes it’s true, President Obama, the president of the United States of America is using a pop-up on to capture email addresses. We’re going to explore this.

So last weekend, I went to Colorado. And as I was going there on my flight, I saw this, a pop-up, no less a pop-up meant to capture email addresses from people visiting, in fact, this is the very first thing that you see when you got to and it goes to confirm a fact that every single direct sales marketer on the Internet knows which that the email address is the most important asset when it comes to marketing online. Now, the pop-up is incredibly controversial, incredibly.

But as we’ve seen in our own business and as others have seen, it is highly effective – we have a website called which currently gets about 1,000 opt-ins per week, that’s 52,000 email addresses added per year. And it’s remarkable. We do that because among other things we have a pop-up that captures email addresses. And a lot of people have both criticized and praised the use of pop-ups.

And I’m here to tell you if President Obama at the White House can use a pop-up, then so can you. And I’m going to be talking in a second on how to properly use pop-up in your business.

So back to today’s marketing lesson, as I said, pop-ups are extremely effective, in fact, as you can see here, this graph illustrates the use of pop-ups as recorded by my friend Mary Jaksch who runs And as you can see here, when she turned on the pop-up, opt-ins skyrocketed. When she turned it off, they decreased. When she turned it back on again, they skyrocketed; and when she turned it off, they decreased.

So given that the data shows that this works and given that the White House is currently using this to build their email list, shouldn’t you? I’m here to argue that you should. And here are four tips for doing this correctly. Pop-up guideline number, graphics are absolutely key. The difference between a spammy-looking website often and a professional-looking website often has nothing to do with tactics that are used on the website. As you can see, spammy websites often have pop-ups but so does the White House. The difference is presentation and graphics and, of course, what you do after you can capture the email address. So if you want to do this and still remain professional and still be viewed as a professional, you absolutely must have a beautiful well-designed pop-up on your website.

Point number two, when someone goes to your site, the pop-up should not appear immediately. Someone is going to your website to get some specific content, and when that pop-up comes up, immediately, it’s obstructing them from what they want to see. So I like to set the delay on my pop-up for about 30 seconds. At that point, folks have time to navigate around the website, see some different things, maybe begin reading an article and evaluate whether or not you have a helpful website; 30 seconds after they’ve been to your website, however, that’s when the pop-up appears. They’re much more likely to opt-in when you have a delay and they’re much more likely to be happier about their experience when you do it this way.

Point number three, the pop-up should never appear more than once per visit. If someone comes to your website, a pop-up appears, and they either enter their email address and move on or they click to make the pop-up disappear, they should not see that pop-up again while they’re navigating around your website.

Point number four is that you should make the pop-up easy to close. Folks shouldn’t have to search around for a long time to find out how to close your pop-up. That should happen easily and you should clearly indicate how to go about closing that pop-up.

Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed today’s show, I’d appreciate it if you donate a tweet or a Facebook share. Leave a comment below and if you’d like to get more marketing goodness sent to your inbox, subscribe to our email list on the right-hand side of the page.

Anyway, my name is Clay Collins and thank you so much for watching The Marketing Show. I’ll talk to you later.

  • Casey

    What wp theme are you using? It is very nice!

    • Hi Casey . . . it’s a custom wordpress theme that we made.  I’m glad that you like it.

  • Melaniewalls1

    Repeat popups can be annoying.  There are websites where I am already signed up to the mailing list and the popup keeps coming every time I visit it – I find this very annoying indeed.  I wonder if there is a technical way to prevent this (e.g. by only showing once to each IP address??)

    • Yup, there’s definitely a technical way to prevent that.  And I agree that they can be annoying if they come up over and over again.  Thanks for the input, Melanie. 

  • jameslepine

    I would say that I am FOR popups . . . if they meet the criteria listed here.  I want at least 30 seconds to consume some content from that page, and I want an easy way to close the window (in case I don’t want to subscribe).  But if I do want to subscribe, a popup actually makes it easier for me to do that.

  • I agree that pop-ups are a good thing -IF they are done correctly.  I hate the ones that you can’t easily close and that block the content.  Just seems really sleazy.  I’m also more likely to opt in if the pop up is done well.

    • Exactly.  A lot of marketing tactics are neither inherently good or bad . . . it’s all about how well (and how ethically) they’re implemented.

  • This is a hot-button issue for site viewers and designers alike.  You can’t argue with data when it comes to effectiveness and conversions.  But…

    I personally abhor full-screen pop-ups when I visit a site.  They’re the landmines of the Web.  At least with TV ads you know when you’ll hit so you can go make some popcorn.  Pop-ups just interrupt what could have been a perfectly good browsing experience.  Unless I have a VERY compelling reason to stay on the site, I tend to leave if hit with a pop-up.  No, you can’t have my email address.  How can I trust you to respect me inbox if you don’t respect my browsing experience?

    Perhaps a compromise between effectiveness and reader experience?  Maybe a pop-up that does not cover (much) content and leaves the page readable?

  • Sorry, one other thought:  how about a full-screen pop-up that only comes up after the user clicks through the first link, but without a delay?  They find your page, read a bit, click to learn more and get a pop-up asking them to get updates.  You know they’re interested in the site, since they didn’t bounce.  This would be a bit more technically complicated, but may improve user experience.  Even I wouldn’t mind it 😉

    • I love this idea.  And I just implemented it.  Thanks for adding to the discussion with some creative thinking.

      • Cool!  Any feedback or conversions data so far?

  • Elise

    Thanks for clarifying this. I am a newbie
     and got really annoyed with an Australian website pop-up. So I thought, I will never start using pop ups.30 sec seems soon to me, how about a 60sec delay?

  • Leonidt1985

    What are your thoughts about having a pop up and a Free membership on the same website? Should I choose one or use both?   Also, another point that a lot of people argue about is how engaged those subscribers are… Just putting in an email address doesn’t mean these folks will consume what we send them. Any thoughts?

  • I think you just talked me into creating a popup. I look forward to seeing what it does to my opt-in rate.