In the world of short attention spans and internet noise, we’re all looking to go beyond the click-through. Attention is a precious commodity, and action is even more rare—55% of websites’ visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page.

You use exit pop-ups to break through the noise, grab your visitors for a bit longer, and encourage active engagement.

You’re fighting the beast of distraction, and your main weapons are headlines. They’ve got to be spot-on if you’re going to win the battle for the leads.

We’re breaking down two types of headlines to show why they’re serious assets to your strategic arsenal.

“Before You Go” Headlines

These headlines work because they’re simple, friendly, and guide your site’s visitors to what they want.

While your pop-ups pause your visitors’ navigation for a moment, your headlines remind them of your site’s value and urge them to reconsider why they’re leaving. Appeal to your audience’s purpose in visiting your site and you’re likely to see your newsletter sign-ups (and, in turn, your sales) skyrocket.

Question: What do these 5 headlines have in common?

1) “Leaving so soon?”

2) “Hey, before you go, I’ve got something for you.”

3) “Wait—don’t forget your ____________.”

4) “Don’t miss your FREE parting gift!”

5) “Don’t visit us every day? Never miss a beat when you join our list.”

Answer: they’re conversational. A Norwegian study found that headlines that reference the reader are most effective, so don’t be afraid to address your audience directly. It’s a smart move for capturing your visitors’ eyes—and their emails.

Bonus answer: they utilize basic selling psychology. People fear missing out on opportunities for free things and insider information. Offering a parting gift or the chance to gain more industry knowledge breaks through all that internet noise and meets people where they are.

Statistically Proven Methods Based on Sales Copy

The second type of pop-up headline hones in even more on that all-important selling psychology to focus not on where your visitors are, but where they want to be.

Effective selling (or asking for newsletter sign-ups) is all about building relationships based on trust.

If you’re asking, “But how can I possibly build trust using an exit pop-up? It’s not like I have room for testimonials or portfolio highlights!!” I hear you. You don’t have room for all that. But guess what? You don’t need it.

Establishing trust comes from a mix of demonstrating credibility and offering help that pinpoints a customer’s unique problems.

These 5 headlines do just that:

1) “Join (X amount) of Savvy Subscribers”

Subheading: “Don’t miss out on (insert benefit of your newsletter or product)”

Remember that fear of missing out? This headline attacks industry professionals’ internal need for information and tangible items that help them get ahead. Adding a subscriber count provides social proof of your trustworthiness and makes visitors feel like they should be a part of this elite group.

2) “Improve your XYZ by X%”

Subheading: A Yes button that says “Yes, I love free knowledge/info/etc.” and a No button that says “No, I don’t want to improve my XYZ”

This technique utilizes a “negative ask” that causes visitors hesitate even longer over your pop-up because it makes them think twice about saying no to your call to action. Having to actively choose the negative response calls them to question, “well, why wouldn’t I want to improve?”

And guess what? It’s a lot harder to actively choose to do worse when the choice to do better is simple and right in front of you.

3) “(Verb) XYZ from 10 Top Experts”

Examples: “Learn how to convert leads with better XYZ” or “Grab your FREE copy of…”

Verb-based headlines are natural calls to action. Specific instructions get readers’ attention and guide their focus, which is especially important if your visitors click away because they’re confused or overwhelmed by what to do next with the information on your site.

And don’t be afraid to go strong or dramatic. Dark verbs like “kill” and “attack” do well as blog headlines, so why not try them in your pop-ups? (When appropriate, of course.)

4) “Your Current Website Platform Will Be Useless in 2 Years”

Subheading: “Find out why from our free e-book/online course/etc.”

They say curiosity killed the cat, but it probably converted him too.

Fear, shock, and curiosity are a trifecta of fascination—especially when your warning is personal like this one. And this structure sets up your customer’s problem and offers your help as a solution, as any good exit pop-up should.

5) “Discover the One Financial Secret I Kept to Myself for Years”

Subheading: “My e-book details the one thing that took me from $20K to $2M in less than a year.”

If you’ve got impressive case studies or trade secrets like this one, flaunt them. The word “secret” is compelling and leaves your audience itching to know more, while the subheading uses numbers as a teaser for your tale. Business is all about the hustle, and ambitious professionals are always looking for the next success story in hopes of mimicking its outcome.

Tie Them Together

Want to be an exit pop-up pro? Combine a “before you go” line with more sales-copy-inspired language. It’s a one-two punch your site’s visitors won’t be able to resist.

  • wisepops