How to Create a “Welcome Back” Website Popup for Returning Visitors

Are you making the most of returning visitors to your site? If not, maybe it’s time to create a website popup campaign to get their attention.

If someone’s come back to your site a second or third time, they already like your content. That means it’s more likely that they’ll be happy to join your email list. All you have to do is ask.

Why get them on your email list? So you can form a connection with them, and encourage them to visit even more. The stats show that people who return to your site are most likely to engage and buy. That means engaging repeat visitors is good for business.

Here at OptinMonster, we often talk about segmentation and personalization in marketing. Differentiating between new and returning visitors is one of the easiest ways to get started with both.

And it’s easy to do with OptinMonster. When new visitors land on your site, their browser collects a small file called a cookie. If that’s there when they come back, OptinMonster immediately knows they’re a returning visitor.

That makes it simple to target a website popup campaign specifically to these visitors, and it can really pay off. uses cookie detection to target returning users, and adds tens of thousands of new members to its site every month.

You can use this same functionality to grow your email list simply by welcoming back returning visitors with a website popup, and asking them to join. We’re going to show you just how to do that.

Here’s the campaign we’re going to create.

welcome back website popup final

First, you’ll need to get OptinMonster to use this campaign to get more leads and subscribers. Then follow these steps to start engaging returning visitors.

1. Create a Campaign

Login to your OptinMonster account, and press the green Create Campaign button.

om create campaign new

Choose a campaign type. We’ll use the Lightbox campaign, an attention-grabbing campaign that converts well for OptinMonster customers.

choose mobile popup after inactivity

Choose a theme. We’ll use Entice.

choose optinmonster's entice theme for your welcome back website popup

Next, give your campaign a name that’ll help you to recognize it later. You can also add the website where you plan to use the campaign at this stage.

name welcome back website popup

Press Start Building. This’ll take you to the OptinMonster campaign builder where you’ll see the default Entice campaign.

default entice theme

2. Edit the Campaign

The first step is to replace the default image with an image that relates to your campaign. To do this, click on the Modify button on the image.

modify image entice theme

You’ll go to the image gallery, where you can choose an image you’ve already uploaded.

choose replacement image new

If you don’t have a suitable image, check out our list of Creative Commons image sites, and grab one from there.

image inserted entice theme

Next, click on the default headline text, and change it to something welcoming.

We’ll use “Welcome back – can we keep in touch?”. Use the popup editing toolbar to change font size and formatting if you wish.

edit the headline for the website popup message

It’s a good idea to save your campaign at regular intervals. You can do that with Save button at the top of the screen.

4 save your wordpress popup form on click with optinmonster

Repeat this process for the body text.

when you add the popup to a website, edit the body text

The next step is to edit your email signup form. First, click on the email field. That’ll take you to the Email Placeholder menu item, where you can edit the placeholder text.

website popups - email placeholder editing field

Click on the Join Now button to go to the Submit Placeholder. As before, you can edit the text and the button color.

submit placeholder

Consider adding a visual display effect so your website popup gets more attention. Go to Design Fields » Display Effect, and choose one of the available options.

optinmonster display animation effects

Here’s an example of the Rubber Band display effect in action:

om rubber band display effect

You can also scroll down to Sound Effect, and choose one of those to provide an audible alert when your website popup shows. It’s a great way to make sure visitors don’t miss your popup.

om choose sound effect

3. Set Display Rules

Next, it’s time to set display rules. These will control when your website popup shows and who sees it. By default the After ‘X’ seconds display rule is enabled. If you want to wait a little longer before you show the popup, increase this time slightly. We’re leaving it at 5 seconds, which is the default.


Now it’s time to make sure only returning visitors see your website popup. OptinMonster’s advanced targeting makes this easy.

Go to Display Rules » Who should see the campaign » Visitors who are new vs. returning.

show your website popup to new  or returningvisitors

Click the toggle to enable this display rule.

new vs returning options

In the dropdown area, you’ll see the words “Show when the visitor”. In the box next to it, select is returning.

display rule returning enabled

Now, only returning visitors will see your welcome back popup.

4. Add an Email Integration

You’ll need to add an email integration if you want to grow your list. OptinMonster integrates with all major email marketing services. Here’s how you add MailChimp. To do this, go to Integrations » New Integration » Email Provider. Choose MailChimp.


Next, add your MailChimp API key. Name your integration, then click Connect with MailChimp.


Then, go to Email Provider Account. Choose the MailChimp email list you want to add subscribers to. If you wish, enable double opt-in so subscribers have to confirm that they really want to be on your list.


If you’re using another email marketing service, check out these instructions for other OptinMonster integrations.

5. Publish the Campaign

Once you’re finished, it’s time to publish the campaign. To do this, click the Publish button at the top of the screen.

campaign publish om

On the next screen, you’ll see a toggle. Click it to make the campaign live in the OptinMonster app. You can also add your website now, if you haven’t done it yet.

choose your website for your popup after inactivity

Scroll down the page. OptinMonster offers a range of publishing options. For instance, you can publish campaigns to WordPress or Shopify.

om publishing options all

Here’s some more guidance on embedding OptinMonster on your site.

How to Boost Signups With Exit-Intent®

Here’s a fact of marketing life: not everyone’s going to opt in to your first campaign. But you can improve your chances of getting signups from returning visitors by running another version of the same campaign just before they leave your site. This uses OptinMonster’s advanced Exit-Intent® technology which is proven to work.

Here’s how you do that in a couple of easy steps.

First, go back to the OptinMonster dashboard, and click the three-dot menu next to the campaign you just created. Click Duplicate to create an exact copy of the campaign. We’re just going to make a couple of tweaks.


Then, go to Yes/No in the campaign builder and click the toggle to enable this feature.

Yes/No forms use the Zeigarnik effect. This means when people click yes, they’re much more likely to subscribe.

When you enable Yes/No, you’ll see two buttons where the email form and submit buttons were.

om yes no enabled

Next, choose what the buttons do. By default, your visitors will see your campaign with the email signup form after clicking Yes. Another popular option is to use the Yes button to redirect users to a new page, but we’re going to leave the default setting in place.

The next step is to go to the Display Rules. Disable the other rules, and enable On Exit-Intent®. This will show the campaign when people are about to leave your site.

om exit intent popup shopify

You also want to make sure you’re not annoying visitors who’ve already opted in to your welcome back website popup. To do this, Go to Display Rules » Who should see the campaign? Enable Visitor has interacted with a campaign. There are two boxes that affect what will happen.

visitor has interacted off

In the first, change the options to Visitor has not opted into.

visitor has interacted on

In the second, choose the name of your original campaign from the other dropdown box. Here’s an example of how that looks.

visitor has not opted into

That’s it! You now have a slightly different version of your campaign to show to returning visitors who don’t opt in to your original campaign.

Now you know how to get the attention of returning visitors with a “Welcome Back” website popup. Next, learn now to target mobile users with a popup after inactivity. You can also get inside your visitors’ minds with a WordPress survey popup.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tutorials, tips, and in-depth guides.

Sharon Hurley Hall has been a professional writer for more than 25 years, and is certified in content marketing and email marketing. Her career has included stints as a journalist, blogger, university lecturer, and ghost writer.


  1. Thomas Griffin May 31, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for reading this article – I hope you found it helpful.

    I wanted to let you know about our powerful Exit Intent® technology that converts abandoning website visitors into email subscribers and customers. Typically 70% of the people who visit your website will leave and never return, meaning all those marketing efforts to reach them have gone to waste.

    OptinMonster’s Exit Intent® technology detects user behavior and prompts them with a targeted campaign at the precise moment they are about to leave.

    You can unlock this powerful technology 100% free when you purchase our OptinMonster Pro plan.

    Get started with OptinMonster today and see why 1,000,000+ choose OptinMonster to get more subscribers and customers.

    Thomas Griffin
    President of OptinMonster

  2. Hey Sharon,
    Thanks for another tutorial.
    I just followed the steps and got a Welcome Back lightbox setup on my blog.

    Though OptinMonster is quite easy to use, Sometimes we just can’t think how to apply it 😉

    Hope you are set for a wonderful week ahead

Add a Comment

We're glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our privacy policy, and all links are nofollow. Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.