Before You Go: Optimizing Exit-Intent Popups

Not everyone loves exit popups. In fact, a lot of people absolutely despise them. Yes, they can be annoying, but they've stuck around for a very important reason: they work. People don't have long attention spans on the internet. Visitors arrive, read a post and often, they leave, maybe never to return. Bounce rates and cart abandonment rates are already high and there's literally nothing to lose by making one last attempt at getting your visitors' attention.

These people are already on their way to another site and their attention is waning. You could do nothing and probably never see them again or use an exit-intent popup and make a play at getting them interested again. It takes more than a call to action to get results. Your popups need to be every bit as optimized as the rest of your site if you want them to work. The following tips can help you to make your exit-intent popups more effective.

Relevant Messaging

You probably wouldn't start a marketing campaign without tailoring your message to your audience. The same rule applies to exit-intent popups. Your conversion rates will be much higher if you make sure that your popups are relevant to the page your visitors are leaving. For example, if your site has an ecommerce component, your popup might include a discount offer in exchange for the visitor's email address. If your visitor was reading a post on your blog, your popup's message should be related to that content.

The biggest mistake you can make here is to display a popup which is completely irrelevant. You're making one last pitch at a visitor who is already losing interest, so you'll have a much better chance if you make it relevant to what they were doing on your site in the first place.

Consistent Design

Your popup should match the branding on the rest of your website. Use the same color scheme and fonts and if you're using an image in your exit-intent popup, it should match the theme of your site. A consistent brand identity projects a professional image, which is exactly what you want.

You might want to experiment with the placement of the close button in your popup. Don't make it impossible to find, but if it takes a visitor a second to find it, that's another second that they're looking at your popup – and another second for them to potentially change their mind and sign up for your offer.

Tightly Focused Copy

There's not a lot of room to work with in an exit-intent popup, so make your copy count. Well written copy can make a big difference here, so much so that it can make up for some other mistakes along the way. Obviously, your copy has to be short and to the point. Your visitors are already starting to shift their attention elsewhere, so you have to communicate your message in as few words as possible.

The key is to focus on your offer and if at all possible, personalize your message by making it relevant to the section of your site that the visitor is leaving and giving it a conversational tone with personal pronouns. The first line of your popup should spell out your offer clearly enough that visitors don't have to read everything else to understand what it is and possibly, be interested enough to provide their email address.

Call to Action

If you've gotten this far in the process, your visitor is yours to lose. They've already been enticed by the offer in your popup and are ready to provide you with their contact information – don't make them have second thoughts about it. Your call to action should be short and absolutely clear. Keep your branding consistent through this final step, this isn't the time to start changing things up. It's actually not a bad idea to use more or less the same copy for your call to action that you used in the body of your popup.

Influencing Visitors

Ultimately, your visitors will decide whether or not they want to follow your call to action and convert, but you can give them a nudge in the right direction. One easy way to do this is to make the option you want them to choose easily visible. For instance, you could make your call to action all black and white, while giving the opt-in button a color which stands out while making the opt-out button blend into the scenery.

You can also use what is often called a negative call to action by implying that not converting is a negative for your visitors in some way. For instance, “no, I like being boring” or something to that effect – whatever you're offering visitors, make your negative call to action its opposite. Take a light tone here. A negative call to action should be humorous, not insulting to your visitors if you want to make the most of this last chance to convert your visitor before they leave your site.