How to Create an Exit Intent Popup That Instantly Converts

An exit popup displayed on

The idea behind exit popups is simple:

To stop and convert a visitor who intends to leave the site.

But I’m sure you’ll agree:

The execution is far from easy.

One by one, you launch exit popups only to see below-average conversion rates.

Visitors ignore your offer, disregard the call to action, and head straight for the close button…

…leaving you having to waste even more hours on testing, tweaking, and then, wondering what exactly is wrong with your popups.

And so, I decided to help. In this post, I’ll show you the 7 must-have elements of a perfect exit intent popup. And then, I’ll explain how to use every one of them to increase conversions.

Intrigued? Let’s not waste any more time then…

#1. The Offer

Let’s face it:

The offer makes or breaks a popup.

Your exit popup could feature engaging images, colors making it impossible to overlook and appear at the exact time to engage a visitor.

And yet, unless you make a promise they will not want to miss out on, your campaign will flop.

A popup offer explains what a visitor will get by acting on your call to action.

For example, you could offer a visitor a discount or a coupon code.




Invite them to receive your latest blog content.


Promote a last minute offer.


Or offer a free download.


But whatever offer you choose, you must remember that it has to be:

  • Relevant to your audience’s needs,
  • Something they crave enough to be willing to offer their email address in return, and
  • Easy to act on.

#2. The Headline

A headline plays a number of roles in a popup.

First, it needs to catch a visitor’s attention. Studies have confirmed that a headline would draw a user’s attention first.

But to keep them engaged, it needs to also:

Communicate your offer. To stop a visitor from leaving, a popup must make a bold promise, something the person will not want to pass. And you should use the headline to communicate it.

In other words, the headline should tell the visitor what’s in it for them. Otherwise, they’ll never want to read the rest of your popup.

Tell a visitor if the offer is for them. When building a list, it’s not the number of emails you collect but their quality that matters. After all, you only want signups from people who could become clients down the line, right?

A strong headline can help you attract only the best leads.

And finally, entice a person to read the rest of the popup. Headline plays a significant role in starting the conversion process. But it’s the rest of the copy, visuals, and the call to action that deliver the proof convincing someone to sign up.

And so, your headline should also sell them the idea of reading the rest of the popup.

Overall, not an easy task, don’t you agree?

Luckily, there are ways to write winning headlines. Check out this post with my 6 headline formulas you could use right away.

#3. The Visitor’s Intent

Sid Bharath wrote in this article on Crazy Egg:

“The worst thing you can do is display something that has nothing to do with a user’s session”

We’ve covered the importance visitor intents and segmentation already in this post.

So just to quickly recap:

Visitors end up on your site because they were looking for something.

It may have been information, products they desperately wanted, or they’ve been trying to figure out a solution for a problem they have.

And here’s the catch:

Their intent will affect how they respond to your content and in turn, your offer.

A mobile visitor, for example, may be less likely to act on a coupon right away. However, she might be willing to follow your brand on social media.

A returning visitor, on the other hand, might be more willing to listen to your sales message.

And so, by identifying your visitors’ intents and displaying offers matching that intent, you can increase your exit popup’s conversions.

Take a look at our post on visitor segmentation and sign up for Ben’s course. They’re well worth it.

#4. Placement

Most of us imagine popups as messages appearing right on the center of the screen, right?

After all, it’s the most common placement companies use on their sites.

But it’s not the only one.

In fact, other placements, like at the side of the screen, or bottom corner might work better for your audience.


For one, they don’t interrupt a visitor’s current activity. At least not as much as the center of the screen placement. At the same time, they provide enough engagement that a person would notice them anyway.

Plus, on a more psychological level, an uncommon placement might surprise a visitor. And as many studies have proved, we tend to pay close attention to things that have surprised us.



#5. Usability


Today’s web visitors loathe reading long copy.

They want you to tell them your offer in the quickest way possible.

And for that reason, you should always assume that visitors will give your copy no more than a short glance.

Therefore, keep your popups short.

As Erica Dube from IMPACT states in this post:

“Your popup isn’t meant to be a short landing page. The visitor needs to see something simple, to the point, and valuable in order to stay and convert.”

Take a look at these couple of examples for inspiration.

This popup advertises a contest. But the only copy it features is the headline, while the image and the call to action convey the rest of the message.


This popup uses slightly more text. However, a large image does the most of the communication, highlighting cues about the new product and telling a visitor who is the target audience (I wrote more about it in this post).


#6. Visuals

Although not required on a popup, visuals can play a significant role in its conversions.

For example, as I’ve shown you in the example above, they could reduce the amount of copy you need to communicate your message.

That’s because, by nature, we process visual information quicker than text. Over 50% of our brains’ activity is involved in visual processing.


(image source)

Also, it takes us 150ms to process a symbol and 100ms to understand it.

They could also help direct your visitors’ attention to the key element of your popup.

As one eye-tracking study discovered, most people will follow the gaze of a person on an image.

how images increase popup conversions

(image source)

Finally, visuals of people help build an emotional connection.

As two separate A/B tests discovered, replacing icons or other visuals with photos of people have increased conversions by 48% to 95%.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you must use visuals on a popup.

However, when you’re looking for ways to increase their engagement or shorten the copy, visuals might prove the much-needed solution.

#7. Call to Action

A Call to Action (I’ll refer to it CTA later in this section) is the 2nd most important element on your popup, after the offer.

The offer engages a person and makes them want to act on a popup.

The headline, images, and other elements communicate it to a visitor.

But a CTA tells them exactly what to do.

And I admit:

Creating compelling calls to action is an art in itself.

Almost every CTA element can affect its conversions, make more people to click it or deter them from acting on the offer.

But for the same reason, CTA is also the first element you should work on to increase conversions.

You should test different versions of the copy, from short to more explanative ones. Try writing CTA in the first or third person, and focus them more on the offer rather than the action.

Then test how placing the CTA in different sections of a popup would affect conversions. Most people put CTA underneath the form. But you could try having them both in line.

Experiment with a secondary, negative CTA that would work as a replacement for the “X” button providing a more visible way to close the popup. And again, experiment with its placement.

11 10

The ways to improve a call to action are many. And the key is to keep experimenting until you find the one option that engages your audience the most.

Ready to build your own exit popup? Sign up today (14-day free trial, no credit card required) and create your first exit campaign in less than 5 minutes.