It’s happened a hundred times. You’re browsing an online store when you realize it’s time for your favorite TV show. Or that you don’t love this brand’s aesthetic. Or that you’re overwhelmed and don’t even really want a new couch anymore.

You go to click away from the site and are suddenly bombarded by an exit pop-up: “Don’t go yet! Become a member today and get 10% off!”

Are you tempted by the offer or annoyed that this pop-up is interrupting you leaving the site?

An exit pop-up is one that appears when your user’s cursor reaches the top pixel of your landing page or blog. It stops them before they hit the back button, close the tab, or type in another URL.

The line between annoyance and conversion is thin with exit pop-ups. Some people loathe them. And who can blame them, since they stop them from navigating where they want?

But exit pop-ups can also rope a hesitant lead into your sphere of influence. To do that, your pop-ups must be smart, clever, and provide opportunity for your customer (if you want to convert them, anyway—and I know you do).

Here’s how.

Product-based websites

If you have a product-based website, your best exit pop-ups will be promotion-based.

These pop-ups are designed to communicate added value to an interested potential customer who hasn’t followed through to the buying stage, often by offering a discount code for your product(s) or highlight certain on-sale merchandise.

Easy enough, right? Providing a direct benefit for your customer immediately makes your exit pop-up less annoying and encourages more sales.

According to Statista, 32% of online shoppers abandoned their carts because the overall price was too expensive.

But imagine that those customers are on your site. They go to click away and get an exit pop-up offering 10% off their purchase. Suddenly that cart doesn’t feel as pricey, and you’ve just saved a sale—and maybe even earned yourself a loyal repeat customer.

But let’s go the next step.  

A deal is great, but your pop-up still needs to entice them back to buying, especially if they haven’t even reached the shopping cart stage yet.

To make your pop-up more effective, you can utilize some basic psychological principles.

Exclusivity and scarcity are surprisingly powerful motivators. People love feeling like they’ve been specifically picked to benefit from a deal, so use words that address your customers directly. Language that encourages them to act quickly is also effective; we’re way more likely to jump on an expiring deal than one we can come back to any time.

Service-based websites

Unlike product-based websites, companies that offer services usually design exit pop-ups that encourage newsletter sign-ups.

Newsletters establish deeper connections with readers who may or may not have converted into paying customers yet. Regular emails keep the target audience for your service engaged in your company’s mission and brand.

The key to newsletter sign-ups? Relevance and calls to action.

When potential customers sign up for your newsletter, they’re agreeing to receive consistent communication on a specific topic—which means your pop-up needs to be relevant. Address their unique interest or problem point in your pop-up, and you’re more likely to stop their cursor from clicking away.

Being relevant only goes so far, though, if visitors don’t know what to do once you’ve piqued their interest. A call to action (“Enter your email to receive marketing tips, industry information, and exclusive deals in your inbox weekly”) lets them know their next step—providing their email address—and what’s happening after that, which guides them to engagement and conversion.

Exit pop-ups can combat distraction or “inattention blindness,” which happens when readers are focused on something specific and don’t notice the obvious “ask” embedded in your content. Guiding your audience to your newsletter reminds them why they’re on your site in the first place and promotes meaningful connection.

All services want to achieve top-of-mind awareness in their niche so that customers associate their brand with that industry. You can do this with your newsletter pop-ups by offering a deliverable (e-books, checklists, printable guides, etc.) in exchange for initiating that relationship.

If your guidebook can solve one of your leads’ problem points, they begin to associate your brand with being a helpful and credible resource with expertise to offer. Why wouldn’t they take the leap to try your service? More importantly, why would they risk taking their business elsewhere?

The Bottom Line

We’ve all experienced annoying exit pop-ups that only frustrate us more as we click away from a site, but yours don’t have to be like that.

Creative language that targets human psychology and offering resources or discounts can make your exit pop-ups stand out from the rest—and, more importantly, convert your visitors to customers.

Like this post and looking for pop-up headline inspiration? Read 7 Ready-Made Exit Popup Headlines You Could Use Right Away.

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