Email marketing is vital for your business. It gives you a warm audience to market to and you get more eyeballs on your content than you do with social media. Most email open rates are on average 30% of your list, whereas social media can be a measly 10% on a really good day. So you can see there’s real benefit in a strong mailing list.

With email marketing, you get to choose when you send it, what you send and how you present it. No trying to beat the algorithm ninjas hell bent on sending your post to the bottom of the food chain. Your email sits nicely in your recipients inbox until they choose to read it.

Sounds all pretty positive doesn’t it?

But what if I was to tell you that I recently read a social media post that was contrary to what I, and most web designers, will tell you about lead generation? To the point that they told their client that email opt-ins are bad for SEO among other reasons!

Say what?

Yep, I read a post from a business owner who was asking advice from the group if it was new practice and bad for SEO to not have email marketing leads on your website!

When I read this, I was bemused and then a little angry. Why on earth would you discourage a business from building their remarketable audience by advising them against a sign-up option for their visitors?

And bad for SEO? An email opt-in is hardly bad for SEO. There’s only one small way that an email opt-in could affect your SEO and I’ll share that with you in a little bit.

Thankfully, the comments on this post (most from fellow designers and developers) were all in favour of email marketing and questioned the integrity of the business owner’s developer. My personal opinion is they probably just didn’t want to do it. But if they truly believe this, then I fear for their customers down the track.

But what if this business owner didn’t question this?

Lesson one, if you think something sounds a little off and outside the norm – ask around.

So we’ll ask the question…

Are email opt-ins bad for SEO?


Short answer, no.

Your website is your number one marketing tool. It’s the lead generator, sales converter and overall business employee who works 24/7. Your business website is the one place where everything needs to be tickety-boo. Humming along. Generating leads.

So why would you hinder that with eliminating the one key factor that will build your marketing list?

Good web design practices actually include an email opt-in somewhere on your homepage. There can be several places you can put it and you can have one or a few options. It depends on what your goals are and how your site is designed.

There’s only one thing that could affect your SEO when it comes to email opt-ins.

An instant pop-up.


Why is an instant pop-up bad for your site?


Pop-ups are very effective in delivering a message or getting the attention of your site visitor. Most businesses use them to advertise their lead generator, exclusive discount or freebie to encourage email sign ups. And these work great, I have one on my site.

However, you need to be wary of having your pop-up appear the second someone lands on your site. This can have the opposite effect and turn your visitor away.

You may be thinking of all the times you’ve been annoyed at the constant pop-ups in your face when you just want to look at a website. And then you just turn around and bail because it’s all too hard.

This is called “bounce rate” and people bailing seconds after landing on your site will be causing your bounce rate to skyrocket. A high bounce rate can affect your SEO because Google thinks your site isn’t helping people or they aren’t interested.

Pop-ups in your face also affect UX, or user experience, which is also a part of the Google algorithms so we’ve heard.

As a rule, I usually set pop-ups to appear on a 30 second delay or on exit. Which means it will show when someone is about to leave your site, or after they’ve had a good length of time to look around.

Another tip is to make sure your pop-up is giving the visitor a reason to stay and join. A pop-up that simply states “Sign Up Now” isn’t going to entice – so make it catchy.


Where to put your email opt-ins


There are 3 places I usually put email opt-ins when building client websites and they are:

1. Topbar. As the name suggests, this is placed along the top of the website above the navigation menu. It’s a topbar that is visible without hindering view of the page.


email optin top bar

Along the topbar


2. Static opt-in. I usually place these in one of 3 places depending on the business, their website goals and overall user experience. I either place a static sign up:

    • Just below the fold below the hero image – this works well for an eBook freebie or handy informational guide.
    • About half way down the homepage so as not to distract from important information
    • Or down in the footer if it’s more of a simple email subscribe with no freebie offer attached.


Below the hero image

Strategically placed on the homepage part way down

In the footer


3. Pop-up. As I mentioned, I do use pop-ups a bit, but I am careful about when I have them trigger. You can have them pop up after a length of time (allow at least 30 seconds), on exit so you’re grabbing them before you go or on a click. I find this works well in a topbar or as a button to click to sign up. It removes the email sign up fields and the person has invited the pop-up so it’s not affecting UX.


As a pop-up on delay


Where ever you put your email opt-in, make sure it flows with the site and isn’t too distracting from the other important content on your site.


So how do you build your email marketing list?


As we’ve pretty much just covered, one of the most efficient and easiest ways is through your website. Social media is good for sending leads to your website, but then what? If they leave after 2 minutes, how do you target them again? Another paid ad?

That becomes expensive and counterproductive.

By leading potential customers to your email list, you can market to them in a warm, targeted way and at little to no expense depending on your list size.

So in summary, your website is your biggest employee and lead generator, so you most definitely want your email marketing lead magnet in there doing its thing!