How to Collect Phone Numbers with Website Popups
← Back to Blog Emil Kristensen

How to Collect Phone Numbers with Website Popups

How to Collect Phone Numbers with Website Popups [Wordpress]

SMS marketing has exploded in recent years. 

By the end of 2020, nearly 49 million people will choose to receive SMS messages from businesses. And the open rate? A whopping 98 percent.

Couple that with the fact that 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes, and they “have a 209 percent higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook,” and it’s easy to see why this marketing strategy has piqued the interest of so many brands. 

Text is fast becoming one of the most effective ways to connect with shoppers and get them interested in your products. And when it comes to conversions, shoppers who receive SMS messages are 40 percent more likely to convert than those who don’t. 

But this raises one critical question. How do you effectively collect phone numbers without disrupting the shopping experience? The answer is simple—website popups

Here’s everything you need to know on how to collect phone numbers with website popups to massively boost your SMS opt-in rate. 


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Table of Contents

1. First, Give Them a Reason to Sign Up

2. Highlight the Other Perks of Signing Up

3. Feature a Drool-Worthy Image

4. Write Clear, Compelling Copy

5. Be Hyper-Specific With Your CTA

6. Auto Format the Phone Number

7. Don’t Pester Shoppers

8. Let Shoppers Know How to Opt Out

9. One Final Point

1. First, Give Them a Reason to Sign Up

Often, getting someone to opt-in just boils down to giving them the right incentive. 

Sure, there are some cases where shoppers will want to receive texts from you just because they want to know what’s happening with your brand. 

But many times, you’ll need to sweeten the deal by proving an enticing incentive. In fact, that’s pretty much the norm with most brands that use website popups to collect phone numbers. 

That’s exactly what women’s fashion, clothing, swimwear, and lingerie company Venus does in this example.

1 Venus

It’s really straightforward. Shoppers can enter a contest to win $100 by signing up for texts from Venus. 

That’s all there is to it. 

Another good example of an enticing offer is this one from Good American—a company that specializes in jeans, activewear, and clothing. 

2 Good American

Here they offer shoppers who sign up 15 percent off their order of $99 or more. Someone may only be lukewarm on the idea of giving out their phone number if they’ll only receive updates, notifications, etc. 

But when they know they’re getting something great like $100 off or 15 percent off, the chances of them signing up skyrockets.

That’s why this tends to be the single most effective way to boost your SMS optin rate. It just boils down to coming up with an attractive offer that still keeps your profit margins healthy.  

2. Highlight the Other Perks of Signing Up

Besides the initial incentive to grab a shopper’s attention, it’s important to explain the other perks they’ll get. 

For instance, women’s clothing and dress company Dressbarn, let’s shoppers know they’ll be the first to find out about exciting new offers and huge discounts. 

3 Dressbarn

And Nine West, a brand that sells women’s shoes and handbags let shoppers know they’ll receive the latest info on new arrivals, trends, sales, and exclusive offers. 

4 Nine West

Offering a great incentive like a discount followed by highlighting other perks like these should make for a great one-two punch and is often just the ticket for revving up your SMS optin rate. 

3. Feature a Drool-Worthy Image

Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.”

So naturally, one of the best ways to grab a shopper’s initial attention and get them to seriously check out your popup in detail is to hit them with an eye-catching image. 

Something that instantly resonates with shoppers and makes them want to engage with your offer rather than just exiting the popup. 

Now there’s obviously a lot of subjectivity as to what makes for a good photo, but I usually recommend featuring one of your top products. 

I also suggest going for a clean, uncluttered look with plenty of negative space. And of course, you’ll want to use a style that meshes with your overall brand identity.

Take this popup image from California-inspired modern wardrobe brand Jenni Kayne, for example. 

5 Jenni Kayne

It features a wardrobe set of some of their best selling clothing and shoes. It’s not “too busy” and instead has an uncomplicated aesthetic with ample negative space. 

And the light-colored, minimalist look jives perfectly with the Jenni Kayne brand. 


6 Home JK

4. Write Clear, Compelling Copy

Next, let’s talk about copywriting

Most experts agree that less is best when it comes to writing copy for SMS optin popups. 

“To make a popup work the visitor has to understand what they gain from it the moment it appears,” explains SMSBump.

“This is the only way for the customer to consider leaving their phone number and subscribing to your marketing content.”

That’s why I suggest keeping it as simple as possible and paring down to the absolute essential information shoppers need.

In other words, don’t overthink it. 

This popup from Kylie Jenner’s skincare company Kylie Skin does a great job at this and quickly lets shoppers know what the offer is using straightforward copy. 

7 KylieSkin

So with just a glance, shoppers know what’s up and can instantly decide whether or not it’s something they’re interested in. 

5. Be Hyper-Specific With Your CTA

As you’re probably already aware, a CTA can often make or break an offer. This is true for regular email optin popups and landing pages.

And it’s also true when it comes to collecting phone numbers with website popups. So you need to get your CTA just right. 

The best way to do that is to be hyper-specific, letting shoppers know exactly what you want them to do. 

I think MyPillow does a good job of doing this with their CTA. 

Here they succinctly tell shoppers they’ll get $10 off by signing up for texts. 

8 My Pillow

On top of that, they create urgency by saying “now”—a tactic that definitely doesn’t hurt for motivating leads to take action right away. 

6. Auto Format the Phone Number

A small but important part of making the optin process smooth and seamless is to not force shoppers to figure out what type of format you want when they’re entering their phone number. 

For example, there are three main formats that could potentially be entered:

  • 555-555-5555
  • (555) 555-5555
  • 5555555555

You don’t want to make someone play a guessing game when they’re trying to optin because that’s only going to create frustration, which can result in them exiting.

That’s why it’s important to auto-format the phone number so they don’t have to think about it. 

Going back to the example from Jenni Kayne, they auto format it for shoppers using dashes so they don’t have to worry about it. 

9 Add Phone Number

And they take it one step further by automatically identifying the country a shopper is located in through their ISP and inputting it here with an icon of the country’s flag. 

10 Area Code

That way shoppers don’t have to input their country code—something that’s important if a good portion of your shoppers are international. 

It’s little things like these that make for an enjoyable customer experience and keep your optin rate as high as it can be. 

7. Don’t Pester Shoppers

I briefly mentioned in the intro that an important part of collecting phone numbers with website popups tactfully is to not disrupt the customer experience. And that’s something I’d like to go into a bit more detail about. 

At Sleeknote, our goal is to help you create the popups your visitors deserve to see and get more lead and sales without annoying your visitors. 

This is a mindset that marketers should always have, especially when attempting to boost an SMS optin rate. So, how can you make sure that you don’t pester shoppers?

First, it’s smart to wait until a shopper has scrolled through 60 percent of a page’s content or has been on your site for a little while. Some experts suggest waiting for at least 15 seconds before hitting them with a popup.

However, even waiting just five seconds is often sufficient. This should ensure that visitors have enough time to catch their breath and get their bearings. 

Next, you’ll want to make it simple for shoppers who aren’t interested in opting in to exit the popup without any friction. 

Empathy Wines built their SMS optin with two clearly marked exit routes, including the classic “X” icon at the top right-hand corner and the “No Thanks” optin at the bottom. 

11 No Thanks x

Or, a shopper can simply click anywhere outside of the popup to exit as well. It’s really easy. 

And finally, it’s a good idea to use a teaser for visitors who have exited out of a popup or who are returning visitors. For example, Venus places this teaser at the bottom left-hand corner.

12 Venus Small Box

If a shopper is interested, all they have to do is click on it, and they can then enter their phone number here. 

13 Mobile Number

Otherwise, they can exit out with no hassle. This is actually the exact same approach Good American takes as well. 

However, they use different wording in their teaser, saying “Be the first to know when you sign up for texts.”

14 Teaser
15 Expanded Mobile

Using this strategy gives shoppers the chance to sign up if they change their minds later on. But you’re doing it in a way that’s non-obtrusive.

This brings me to my next point. 

8. Let Shoppers Know How to Opt Out

I think most of us have gotten a taste of annoying SMS messages at some point. Maybe a brand overdoes it and floods your phone with excessive messages. 

Or maybe you get spammed by a company you never even signed up for. Whatever the case may be, it’s super irritating. 

One of the quickest ways to drive a wedge between you and your shoppers and sour the relationship you’ve worked so hard to build is to make them jump through a bunch of hoops to opt-out. 

So my last piece of advice is to let shoppers know how to opt out right from the start when they’re opting in. 

This popup from Williams Sonoma, a brand that sells gourmet foods and professional-quality cookware is a great example. 

16 Williams Sonoma

At the bottom, it clearly states that all a subscriber has to do is text “STOP” to cancel at any time, and they won’t receive any more messages. 

Not only will this prevent things from potentially getting ugly with subscribers, it should make shoppers more willing to opt in because they’re not dealing with a long-term commitment that they can’t get out of. 

All they have to do is text “STOP” and they’re out. No sweat. 

9. One Final Point

There aren’t a lot of elements on an SMS optin popup. That said, there are still multiple variables, and a big part of having success is finding the right combination. 

So I suggest getting in the habit of experimenting with the different elements until you find the optimal formula that works best for your brand. 

For instance, you may want to test different types of offers, such as:

  • 10 percent off
  • 15 percent off
  • 20 percent off
  • $5 off
  • $10 off

You may want to try out different images, including:

  • A photo with one of your products
  • A person using or modeling your products
  • A light-colored background
  • A dark-colored background 

You may want to test different CTAs like:

  • Sign up
  • Subscribe for SMS
  • Get $10 off now

And so on. Leave no stone unturned. 

The more data you have, the more you’ll be able to refine your campaign so you’ll eventually know how to collect phone numbers with website popups like a champ. 


Want More Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?

Get access to our free CRO toolkit and skyrocket your organic traffic, on-page conversion rate and more (includes resources not found in the blog post).

Download CRO Toolkit Now →


Nearly six billion people worldwide will be able to send and receive text messages by 2025.” This makes SMS marketing a medium that can put you in touch with a massive amount of targeted leads.

And get this. 

Sixty-four percent of consumers think businesses should contact them via text messages more often.”

Email is still the go-to channel for nurturing leads, and that probably won’t change any time soon. But it’s clear that SMS is hot on its heels. And with a mindblowing open and response rate that’s unparalleled, it’s definitely a strategy worth exploring.

When it comes to maximizing your optin rate, collecting phone numbers with website popups is one of the best ways to go about it. It just comes down to putting yourself in your shoppers’ shoes and building a popup that fires on all cylinders. 

Do you enjoy receiving SMS messages from brands?

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