Conversion rate optimization

6 Copywriting Tricks That Will Help Skyrocket Your Popups’ Conversions

With practically every website out there using popups, the competition for a visitor’s attention has never been so fierce.

Tens of discounts, offers, eBooks, and other lead magnets pop up on your screen every day.

And what’s worse, these companies get smarter and smarter with optimizing their popups for higher conversions.
So how do you stand out from all this competition?
How do you create a popup that can grab someone’s attention and convince them into signing up?

It’s quite simple – with a stronger copy!

You see:
Good copywriting can touch your visitors emotionally, and make them feel the benefits of taking you up on your offer.
But contrary to common belief, you don’t have to be a professional writer to create a popup copy that can achieve it.
And that’s exactly what I’ll show you in this post. You’ll learn the 6 copywriting tricks that will help skyrocket your popup’s conversion rate.

Intrigued? So let’s get cracking…

Trick #1. Make Your Copy Sound Positive

I’m sure you’re aware of this already:
Most of your visitors don’t actually read the popup.

They skim it, scanning the words and phrases, in case if anything stands out for them.
And as Steve Lodge from Oxygen, a marketing communications agency, points out:
“[…] if readers pick up on negative words such as ‘no’, ‘nothing’, ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’ they’ll decide to give it a miss.”
On the other hand, using positive words will make the copy friendlier and enjoyable for them to read.

Why is that? Because words affect our brains. Positive words improve our mood.

As Andrew Newberg, and Mark Robert Waldman wrote in their fantastic book, Words Can Change Your Brain:
“A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
Negative ones immediately activate our amygdala, releasing stress-producing hormones that disrupt our brains functioning.

So, when writing your popup, make it sound positive.
Add humor or include positive words that indicate happiness.
Some of these words include:

  • Like
  • Up
  • Great
  • Yes
  • Good
  • Awesome
  • Sweet
  • Reward
  • Perfect
  • Boost
  • Yeah

A popup example featuring a positive word in the headline

A popup featuring a humorous headline
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Trick #2. Use the Word “You” to Connect with Your Visitors

One of the conversion rules states that:
To convert a visitor, you need to build a connection with them first.
Yeah…it’s just that with less than 200 milliseconds at your disposal to present a visitor with your message, making that connection seems quite… impossible, no?
True, unless you address them directly with the word “YOU”.

The word “you” is one of the most powerful words in sales. Heck, it’s also the most commonly used word in online advertising.
And for a reason.
You see as it turns out, “You” works as a substitute for a person’s name.
And since we naturally build a connection with people speaking our names, it immediately helps to build a connection with whoever you’re talking to.

To make your popup stand out, address the visitor directly. Use “You” in the headline, description or on the call to action.
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#3. Write a Direct Call to Action

A call to action is the 2nd most important element of any popup (after the headline).
A headline grabs the attention and communicates the offer.
But it’s the Call to Action that tells them what to do.

And as Jeremy Smith, a conversion consultant, says in his fantastic article on Crazy Egg:
“If you get your CTA right, your conversions will go up. It’s just that simple.”

But here’s the catch:
People are more likely to click a button that tells the next action directly, rather than beat around the bush about it.
But what does the “direct” mean?
In simple terms, it means communicating the message clearly. No fancy catchphrases, no wordplay, no complex metaphors.
Just a direct action.

For example, if you want visitors to download a lead magnet, tell them to do just that.
A popup on sitepoint.com featuring a straightforward call-to-action

Want to offer them the knowledge they seek, reference it in the CTA.
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Want them to grab a coupon? Then tell them to do that.
A popup featuring a "Get my coupon" call-to-action

#4. Use Flattery

Look, there’s no point in denying:
We love being complimented.

Be it a gentle pat on the back or a full-blown award, being recognized makes you feel good about yourself, right?
And you’re not alone.

Many of us exhibit what’s known as the above-average effect – holding ourselves in high esteem.
Having said that, we tend to dismiss blatant flattery accompanies by ulterior motives.
It’s just…
…it has an effect on us nonetheless.

As a recent study by Elaine Chan and Jaideep Sengupta from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology discovered:
Flattery works, even if we openly dismiss it as dishonest.
In other words, even if someone’s flattering words make you just roll your eyes… subconsciously, you still fall for it.
So if you can, pat your visitors on the back and make them feel good about themselves.
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#5. Use Numbers in the Copy

Using numbers on your popup helps you accomplish a number of things:

Attract visitors’ attention. We associate numbers with important data and as a result, spot them much quicker than text.
For example, according to Conductor, readers prefer headlines that include numbers.
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Denote key information. Numbers stand out in blocks of copy and readers tend to notice them when scanning the copy.
Back up your claims. Again, because we associate numbers with data, we tend to believe numbers and graphs more than the text that explains them.

But I agree:
Using numbers on a popup is easy if you’re offering a discount or other monetary reward.

It can be a bit trickier to incorporate them on popups offering lead magnets or other non-monetary promotions.
Here are a couple of ideas how to do it:

Offer social proof.
A popup including social proof

Make specific claims.
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Be clear about what you’re offering.         
A popup including a specific claim

#6. Use Copy Formatting to Highlight Key Information

You know:
Sometimes you don’t have to rewrite your copy to improve it.
You just have to make it look more exciting for a reader.
And in this context, exciting means making it scannable.
That’s because most people don’t read the entire copy.
According to Normal Nielsen Group, for example, they typically go through only about 20% of it.
And according to Gerry McGovern, most readers can’t find information on the page, unless it’s easy to locate by just scanning the copy.
So, to make your copy more engaging, use formatting to help them locate the most important information. Here are a couple of ideas how:

  • Bold or change the color of the most important words.
  • Use very short sentences.
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists.
  • Have a strong contrast between text and the background.
  • Use underline to highlight key elements.

an email popup on webpage fx


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Pawel Grabowski Pawel is Hubspot-certified content marketer and a popup marketing expert.

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