Signup Forms (Part 2: Aggressive Acquisition)

I call “aggressive acquisition” to those forms that don’t sit pretty waiting for the visitor to take action but jump out of the screen to get you.

They tend to convert at higher rates for that reason.

BUT, as uncle Ben used to say… “with great power comes great responsibility”

  • You have to be careful about how they behave in front of visitors
  • You can’t let them come out and play all at the same time

Because they will frustrate people.

In this lesson, I will give you some options of aggressive forms, just don’t go out to get them all, yet.

Ready? Let’s do this!

1) Popup Forms

Pop-up Forms

When we started producing this lesson, I realized that there was too much to say in regards to popups, this is why we extracted that part and gave it its own lesson.

The following lesson is all about popup forms and how to set them up to be effective.

Let’s talk about the rest of the aggressive forms…

2) Homepage

The homepage?

Yes. Let me ask you something: Do you know which is the most visited page on your site or blog?

Even if most of your traffic comes in through blog posts share on social media, chances are the homepage is the hottest page on the site.

Care to double check? Go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Here is mine…

Homepage traffic

So, if the most important page on your site is the homepage, you should work on optimizing that page for conversions.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

3) Featured Box

I used the featured box for a while on my own blog and it was so successful, it was actually mentioned on several places, like on the GetResponse blog here.

This is the chart I published at the time to show my results:

Featured box socialmouths results

I stopped using for 2 reasons:

  1. I moved away from the Thesis framework, which made it very easy to implement it
  2. I started testing Pop ups and got even better results

Some things to consider when planning to use this option:


  • It is less intrusive than a popup
  • It is still a great attention grabber
  • It is positioned on the best spot on your site, always above the fold


  • Some people think that asking for a subscription as soon as visitors arrive to your site is a little pushy (consider that the popup can be delayed before it’s triggered)
  • It takes too much real estate

Let’s take a look at some examples of featured boxes:

The first one is from Marie Forleo:

Marie Forleo featured box

And this one is from Christian Karasiewicz:

Featured box

But the Featured Box has one problem: It’s not easy to set up.

Frameworks like Thesis or Genesis have made it easy for you access areas of your site, and even then you’ll need some basic skills to come up with something decent.

At the same time, there are very few themes out there that already include this option in their layout. The following image shows the theme GeneratePro from StudioPress but, as you can see, it’s not much…

Generate Pro

If you look for plugins, you’ll see that there aren’t any.

There is one plugin for WordPress…

The only known plugin out there is Plugmatter. Even super powerful plugins like Bloom don’t offer this.

Is it worth trying? I’ll give you 2 answers:

  1. Featured boxes work
  2. I’d be careful about how this will affect the layout and design of your site

4) Scrolling Box

I like scrolling boxes for a few reasons:

  • They are not as intrusive as popups
  • They don’t go cover your content whey they’re triggered
  • But they still get enough attention to be noticed

Scrolling boxes are also good in combination with other aggressive forms like the featured box, since it stays at the top as your visitor scrolls down.

Let’s look at some options:

5) Top Bar

There are 2 kinds of top bars:

  • the one that display the signup form right in the bar
  • and the one that simply links to another location

In this lesson, I’ll show you how to get both the SumoMe Smartbar and The Hello Bar running on your site.

SumoMe Smartbar

Hello Bar

The Hello Bar can be used on any kind of website or platform because it doesn’t rely on a plugin but on a piece of code you install in your HTML.

This is not really a signup form but a link to redirect traffic to another page inside or outside you website. In this case, that will be a landing page for email conversion.

One thing you should know is that, while they offer a free version, the cost will go up depending on the number of clicks on the bar, 100 clicks is only $4.95/month but 7,500 clicks is $49.95/month.

Here is the link I mentioned in the video, this article includes instructions on how to install the bar on Tumblr, Squarespace, Blogger, Weebly, Drupal and many more: Deploy Your Hello Bar Anywhere!

Which one?

When it comes to bars, you have to make the decision of:

  • Trying to convert right on the bar, where your entire pitch is a short phrase
  • Or going with a 2-step process of having people click through the landing page, where you’re not limited by a phrase

Are there other options?

Of course, here are some of them:

6) Content Upgrades

Content upgrades is one of the latest trends in lead generation, and the reason it got so popular is very simple:

They can get much higher conversion rates than the other forms.

And this is where my little nephew Nicolas will kindly say: “why?”

I would reply with: “because of relevancy”

And he will come back with… okay, you get the point.

Content upgrades are super effective because

  • They are relevant to the post the visitor is reading
  • They offer a free bonus
  • They give the impression of an insight (this is not for everybody, that’s why is not part of the “open” content and you need a key to get it)

As the “producer/publisher” of this content, you need to consider that:

  • You’re producing something specific for this blog post
  • But it doesn’t need to be a whole ebook or course

A content upgrade could be a:

  • Video tutorial
  • Expert interview
  • Worksheet
  • Swipe file
  • Photoshop file

Let’s take a look at how to set up a content upgrade, the best tool to do that is LeadBoxes (from LeadPages).

Other services offering similar features:

Buttons replacing forms

All this time, we’ve been talking about forms. But what if this is replaced by a simple button?

Sure, in the previous video we talked about content upgrades, but this could be used anywhere in your site.

What are the advantages?

  • You don’t have to deal with the code provided by your email service, which sometimes doesn’t behave as expected
  • You don’t have to deal with CSS styles to make your form look according to your branding
  • You don’t have to rely on a plugin
  • This is not just for WordPress, it can used on any platform or even a conventional site


I think we can all agree that there are some very powerful ideas here, but like I said at the beginning, this needs a little more planning and a good implementation in order to work. Remember…

  • They can be more effective than other form, which means you can grow your list faster
  • But they can’t all come out and play at the same time

So here is game plan:

  1. Line up the possibilities to see which ones you want to try
  2. Plan a good combination, for example, a popup and a scroll box together are probably not a good idea, but maybe a featured box and scroll box can play nice together
  3. Also plan a good strategy for lead generation in general, for example, you can plan to produce some resources to give away with content upgrades, in that case, strip down all the other CTAs in those posts, then run a popup on the homepage with your big freebie
  4. Don’t think of the tools, think strategy first, then you can see which tools make more sense
  5. Take the first step into implementation, get your first aggressive form in place
  6. Determine how you are going to track its performance
  7. Once you feel comfortable with one aggressive form, do the first test with your full strategy running

Ah… I wish I was there to see your face deploying all this into the wild!

One more thing before I let you go…

I’m aware that I just dumped a huge load of information, tools and all kinds of mumbo jumbo, but it is very important that you don’t loose sight of the main goal here:

Plan to be highly targeted. The combination of content with relevant CTAs are going to make a huge difference in your conversion rate.

Ask all the questions you need in the comments below.