Believe it or not, I am a big advocate of using pop-up windows on radio station websites. However, there's a right and a wrong way to use them. Pop-up windows are incredibly irritating when they are used to advertise something that has no relevance to a visitor. Under no circumstances should you allow your station's sales team to sell ads to be used in pop-up windows. The last thing your listeners want to see when they come to your station's site is pop-ups hawking discount mattresses or Horny Goat Weed.
However, if the pop-up offers your visitors something that they are actually interested in, they can be very effective. We use pop-ups here on the Jacobs Media website to invite people to join our email list, and it has been one of our best tools for doing so. Put a call to action that interests your visitors in a pop-up window and it is likely to perform very well.
How do you know what your website visitors are interested in? That's easy — just look at the content on the page beneath the pop-up window. If somebody clicked on a Dua Lipa interview, it's a pretty safe bet that they're into Dua Lipa. If they clicked on the bio for your morning show, they're probably a fan. The more closely related the call to action in the pop-up window is to the content on the page beneath it, the more likely the person is to take that action.
Here are five calls to action that your radio station should consider using pop-up windows for:
1. Email Database Signup
One of the most valuable things you can use your radio station's website to do is to capture contact information from listeners — especially email addresses. This enables you to reach those listeners again later any time you want. More importantly, your station's email campaigns are not subject to the whims of social networks altering their algorithms. For example, during the early days of the pandemic, as many listeners stopped commuting to work, email was a crucial tool for letting listeners know how they could listen to stations — via the web, Alexa, mobile apps, etc. — if they did not have radios in their homes.
How to Make It More Relevant: A pop-up that asks people to sign up for a generic one-size-fits-all email is likely to perform adequately, but if yourr radio station is running multiple targeted email campaigns, it's better to tailor the pop-up to the content below. For example, on the Contests page, the pop-up should ask visitors if they want to receive an email when the station runs a new contest; on the specialty show page, the pop-up should ask visitors if they want the playlist emailed to them every week; and on the morning show page, the pop-up should ask if visitors if they want to be emailed daily recaps.
2. Mobile App Download
Getting your station's mobile app installed on listeners' phones is another great way to stay connected with them. Set up a pop-up window inviting them to download the app.
How to Make It More Relevant: It doesn't make sense to ask people on a laptop or desktop computer to install a smartphone app, so this pop-up should only appear when people are viewing your website using a mobile browser. Take it a step further by using a pop-up window that detects the visitor's operating system and only links to the appropriate app store — iOS or Android.
3. Enter Contests
If your station is running a contest, you can use a pop-up window to attract more online entries.
How to Make It More Relevant: Use this pop-up above the Contests page, since visitors to that page are more likely to be interested. You can also correlate the prize to the content below the pop-up. For example, if you're giving away the new Foo Fighters album, have that pop-up appear on music news articles about the Foo Fighters.
4. Buy Stuff
Got merch? Use a pop-up to promote it. When concerts resume, you can also use pop-ups to sell tickets to events that your station profits from.
How to Make It Relevant: As with the contests, you can correlate the merch to the content below it. Tickets to see Lana Del Ray should appear above content about Lana Del Ray, while morning show swag should appear above the morning show pages.
5. Subscribe to the Podcast
Use pop-up windows to get more people to subscribe to your radio station's podcasts.
How to Make It More Relevant: As with mobile app pop-ups, podcast-pushing pop-ups should only appear on mobile phones. If visitors are on iOS, include a link to the podcast in the Apple app store, while Android users should be directed to a Google Podcasts link. Visitors on both operating systems should also be given the option to subscribe on Spotify.
As with all the other pop-ups, correlate the podcast you're directing people to with the content beneath it. For example, on the morning show webpages, send people to the morning show podcast.
Test Your Pop-Ups
Many pop-up windows plugins or programs enable you to run A/B tests with your ads. In other words, you can create a campaign that randomly shows one of two pop-up ads and, over time, you can see which one generates more clicks. Once you've settled on a winner, you can switch to the more effective ad.