What’s The Best Way To Capture Email Addresses?


The money is in the list.  That’s what all successful Internet marketers will tell you.  And what they are referring to is your mailing list; the email addresses you capture from visitors to your website.

But what’s the best way to capture these email addresses?  Is one way superior to another…or are they all generally the same?  To find these answers I ran a simple test.  It went like this.

Three popular methods for capturing email addresses were tested:



A. First we have the lightbox popup. It’s the popup you were probably hit with when you accessed this page.  With it, the background darkens and a window appears in the middle of your screen.  You have two choices; enter your email address or close the popup.

B. Header or Footer popups. These less intrusive popups will appear at either the top or bottom of a web page.  The visitor can ignore them and continue on the site, close them or enter their email address.

C. Sidebar Form. This is where a small opt-in form appears in the sidebar of a web page.  The visitor can ignore it and continue on the site or enter their email address in the form.

For the test, the criteria was simple and universal for all methods.  All  methods displayed the same headline, text and offer (give me your email address and I’ll give you 47 free video lessons).

Next, each method was rotated naturally over time, where ultimately each method was exposed to 20,000 unique visitors. That means over time, method A was shown to 20,000 unique visitors, method B was shown to 20,000 unique visitors and method C was shown to 20,000 unique visitors.

Got it? Good. Now onto the results.

Method A (Lightbox Popup) – 34% of visitors entered their email address

Method B (Header/Footer Popup) – 8% of visitors entered their email address

*Note – Header popups were shown to 10,000 visitors and footer popups to 10,000 visitors.  The header version slightly outperformed the footer version

Method C (Sidebar Form) – 3% of visitors entered their email address

*Note – A squeeze page style method was not tested since those are typically not used on content-rich sites

The numbers are pretty startling, aren’t they? But keep in mind there is a trade-off with Method A (Lightbox Popup).  And that trade-off is these style of popups can annoy visitors.  So it all depends what your bottom line is.

Finally, I’m sure people will want to know what particular brand of software is best for creating these types of popups. And the answer is…whatever works best for you.

They all do the same thing (more or less).  Remember, it’s the method that makes the difference,  not the software used for the method.  So just choose the software that works best (and doesn’t break) your web  pages.

Personally, I didn’t/don’t use anyone’s software to create my popups…they were all created/coded in-house.





  • Hey Dave,

    Would love to know how we could use the same coding you use to create the lightbox opt-in for our sites. Would you be willing to provide this to your current customers?

    Thanks for the tips!

    Dave Kettner

  • Really interesting results Dave… 34% is a solid number.

    Did you guys test any pure squeeze pages?

    I like the change of pace from just video tips!!!


  • Dave,
    I have tried several times and when clicking on the Video Of The Week the video never starts I am only able to read the text.
    Rich Lamkin

  • I would be interesting to see how engaged those subscribers are. In other words, does a subscriber that signs up on a sidebar engage more, on average? Interesting test, though.