7 Best Practices for Using Exit-Intent Popovers, Popups

Imagine that your website could detect when a visitor was just about to leave. What what could your business do with that information? Would you beg them to stay? Would you sweeten the deal? Would you ask them why they are leaving?

Right now, exit-intent technologies can detect when your visitors are about to hit the back button, close their browser, or navigate away. Then popup dialog is presented to them, a last-ditch message to get their business.

Are you using exit-intent popups? If not, you are leaving money on the table—quite a lot of money, actually. Exit-intent popups are the current hot topic of conversion optimization.

If you haven’t heard of exit-intent popups, don’t worry. They are only now becoming mainstream, although the technology has been available for several years.

So what are exit-intent popups?

They are the popups/popovers that appear the very moment you move your mouse to leave a page. They are “overlay popups,” and cannot be blocked by popup blockers.

Here is an example:

This exit-intent popover teases a free informational offer.
This exit-intent popover teases a free informational offer.


Why Should You Use Exit-Intent Popups?

Exit-intent popups give you a “second chance” at communicating something important to your visitors before they leave your site. According to data, 10 to 15 percent of lost visitors can be “saved” by using exit-intent popups . In other words, between 10 to 15 percent of visitors leaving your site will respond to a well-crafted message.

Exit-intent popups are the most customer-friendly approach to communicate a special message to your visitors. They are superior to normal popups because they don’t interrupt your visitors while browsing or scanning your site; they only appear when your visitors start to leave your site altogether or switch to another window.

So how can you maximize the ROI of your exit-intent popups?

1. Email List Generation

One of their most effective uses is to grab email addresses by offering an incentive to subscribe. Naturally, the conversion success of email collecting popups depends upon the effectiveness of the copy and the offer.

Exit-intent popovers can be used to grow your email list.
Exit-intent popovers can be used to grow your email list.

According to data from Optimonk, a simple popup like this converts between three and five percent on an average content or ecommerce site. To achieve this level of performance requires no preparation, and you can install the popup on any page.

You can increase a popup’s effectiveness significantly by offering an ebook or other “hook” as an incentive. In such cases, this popup converts at 9.7 percent:

Informational offers can turn 10% of abandoners into leads.
Informational offers can turn 10% of abandoners into leads.

2. Recover Abandoned Cart Instantly

E-commerce sites should use exit-intent popups for instant cart-recovery. Since cart abandonment is about 70 percent, exit-intent popups can potentially save a lot of lost revenue. The best method of conversion during checkout is to offer visitors an incentive to finish the order on the spot, such as a price discount or free shipping.

Exit-intent popovers can sweeten an offer and save a sale.
Exit-intent popovers can sweeten an offer and save a sale.

This type of popup usually converts around 10 percent, and you can increase that number to 15 percent, if you turn off the email capture, though you should follow up with these users later by email, since only about 5 to 15 percent will use their coupons immediately.

3. Redirect Traffic to Other Content

The most common usage of exit-intent popups is to redirect traffic to other content on your site. In effect, it responds to your visitors attempts to leave by saying, “You find this content boring or irrelevant? No problem. Check this out, instead.”

You can even use it on landing pages, to give yourself a second chance to hook visitors who are not converting on your landing page.

In this example, the site owner promotes a seminar on his content site:

Redirect visitors who are about to leave to something that may be more relevant.
Redirect visitors who are about to leave to something that may be more relevant.

E-commerce sites can use this method by showing alternative offers to visitors not interested in buying the current products. Content sites can use it to promote other content the reader may prefer.

Content redirection popups can convert up to 25 percent. In fact, at one of our client’s sites, we recorded a 26 percent conversion rate, although the average is around 10 percent.

4. Keep It Simple

The most important rule of every exit-intent popup is to keep it simple. Don’t try to stuff too much content into one popup. Less is more. People leaving your site are often already overwhelmed by its contents; they may be unable (or unwilling) to understand complex messages.

One large tagline, one sub-headline, and some visual reinforcement of the offer should be enough, 99 percent of the time.

5. Speed Matters

When we say that an exit-intent popup appears at the very moment the visitor moves the mouse out of the window, this means that the popup appears a few milliseconds later—and the amount of time, no matter how miniscule, does matter. You have less than 200 milliseconds to show the visitors your message before they actually click on the X button. In fact, you should decrease this lag to less than 50 milliseconds.

How can your popup respond so quickly? First, it is important to preload the popup content. Loading in real-time takes longer than 200 milliseconds. Preloading takes technical know-how, but the best exit-intent popup software has already solved this issue.

You should refrain from using special effects on these types of popups. Such displays look cool, but they increase the amount of time required to display the popup, as well as the time needed for visitors  to comprehend the message.

6. Always Test Copy

The same rules apply to exit-intent popups as to any other webpage or landing page—always test the copy. For example, in this test, changing only the tagline of the offer resulted in a 47 percent increase in conversions.

Test your copy to get even more lift from exit-intent popovers.
Test your copy to get even more lift from exit-intent popovers.

7. Start Today

My last piece of advice is to start NOW. You are losing customers every minute.

The easiest way is to register at www.OptiMonk.com, and learn about our exit-intent popup solution. We can help you create effective exit-intent popup campaigns as easy as ABC.

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About the Author

Csaba Zajdo is the founder of OptiMonk and other projects that specialize in conversion. OptiMonk, one of the leading providers of exit-intent popup technology, helps small- and medium-sized businesses leverage the power of exit-intent popups.

Blog: http://www.optimonk.com/blog/

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Twitter: @OptiMonk1