3 Best Practices for Turning Website Visitors into Email Subscribers


Asking for your visitor’s email address is a delicate process. It requires reaching the right person at the right time with the right message. Unfortunately, a lot of website publishers and online businesses don’t take this approach, which makes for wasted efforts and lost opportunities. This is where website personalization comes into play.

AddThis offers a suite of data-driven marketing tools that can help you avoid this mistake, and we want to make sure you’re using them to the best of your ability, especially as it relates to your email marketing. So, we put together a list of three best practices to help you better convert your website visitors into email subscribers.

1. Give first-time visitors the special treatment they deserve.

While you can use AddThis Audience Targeting tools to target first-time visitors with a call to sign up for your email list, you can also use them to offer discounts on their first purchase or to point them to a page where they can get a free download (you can tailor this offer based on what your site offers). This way you’re providing value before asking them to subscribe. After you hook them, you can then target them with your email sign up when they return. This way you’re being respectful of where your visitors are in terms of their relationship with you and messaging appropriately. BONUS: You can also show your message when users display exit intent.

2. Pay attention to their interests and where they’re coming from.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a lot more likely to sign up for an email list if what they’re offering to send me is relevant to what I’m interested in following or learning about (or better yet – if I know they’ll send me future deals). What’s one way to personalize your messaging for different audiences? Paying attention to where they’re coming to your site from, such as social source (we list over 300) or a specific referring domain. This way, you can speak to visitors differently based on what drove them to your site.

You can also target visitors based on their interests. We recently spoke with Minneapolis Running about their use of our Audience Targeting tools, and they gave a great example of how they targeted visitors with family interests to promote an article of theirs about running with a baby jogger. Delivering relevant content to your visitors is a great way to increase the likelihood of them becoming an email subscriber.

3. Be aware of how many calls-to-action you’re using.

AddThis offers lots of different tools for website owners and marketers. We love them all – and we want you and your visitors to as well. One way to help make this happen is to be aware of how many calls-to-action you’re using on your site at the same time.

We design our tools to make your user’s experience more personal, which provides value for both the visitor and the site owner, but there are best practices to follow. When setting up different tools and Audience Targeting rules on your website, we suggest you check them out yourself to see what kind of experience you’ve created. Be sure to try it on different devices (our tools allow you to target mobile, tablet, and desktop). Once activated, track how your Audience Targeting rules are performing and adjust your strategy accordingly.

With these three tips in mind, you should be well on your way to growing your email list! Take it from us, website personalization gets results.

  • Thank you very much.

  • Mark

    Articles like this would be far more helpful if they described (somewhere) in the content what tools AddThis has to make these things happen. If you did and I didn’t see it or recognize it, well, I guess there is another issue. I read the whole article and no call to action or how to that was clear to me. I am unfamiliar with AddThis tools.

  • w3goodies

    I think it’s not good to through anything to user’s computer on their “First Visit”. When user first visits the page it’s obvious that they are looking for some specific information. It will be good to show the Discount Message or any other Special Message to the “repeating” visitors after some days.

  • Hi Mark, this is excellent feedback for how we can improve these types of blog posts, so we really appreciate you taking the time to comment. In terms of how you can do the above, what we described is possible with AddThis Custom Messages. Here are two additional posts that explain more: (what they are/what they can do for you) and (how to get started) Also, please feel free to email me at I’m more than happy to chat with you further about our tools.

  • Mark

    Thank you for responding! I will look further into these articles. I am in the process of starting a new project and would love to do most things from one place, like AddThis.

  • Mark

    Here is an example. In the headline, one of the keywords is “email subscribers.” Does AddThis have the ability to allow website visitors to subscribe to an email list and then send out a newsletter or update? Is this a third party solution, if so, what service do you recommend? The email subscribers is what caught my eye in the first place.

  • Another great question. Yes, with AddThis Custom Messages you have the ability to collect email addresses from your website visitors, which are then automatically fed into your email service provider that you use to send out campaigns. Currently, we have integrations with MailChimp, Aweber, Mad Mimi, and Campaign Monitor (all of which are excellent options – see more details here: In terms of the actual sending of your email campaigns, that would have to be done via third party. To best streamline the collection of email addresses via our tools and the actual sending of your campaign, we suggest using one of the services we’re integrated with.

  • Thank you for sharing, Very helpful.

  • Thank you

  • Rich

    Thanks for this. Echoing Mark’s comments, I’ve been on your site for 5 minutes and am still a bit unclear about the tools. Lots of links to follow. A concise “About Us” or “What we do” with specifics would be appreciated. To be fair, I’m just venturing into this area, so it may be clearer to savvier users.

  • Rich

    Thanks for this. Echoing Mark’s comments, I’ve been on your site for 5 minutes and am still a bit unclear about the tools. Lots of links to follow. A concise “About Us” or “What we do” with specifics would be appreciated. To be fair, I’m just venturing into this area, so it may be clearer to savvier users.

  • Hi Rich, thanks for your feedback. It’s helpful to hear as we try to improve our messaging. You can learn more about our website marketing tools here (, which covers Audience Targeting, Social Sharing Buttons, and Content Recommendation tools. Please let us know if you have specific questions about any of them. Thanks!

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  • jeng

    Yes, definitely agree especially with your item#2 to know your users best interest and where they come from.