Conversion rate optimization

Urgency: 4 Easy Ways to Convince Leaving Visitors to Stay and Sign Up

Do you struggle with converting leaving visitors into leads or subscribers?

Wondering if urgency could help you improve exit popups and give exiting customers a little push to act?
Urgency is a powerful strategy that helps motivate customers to make the decision about their next action faster.
It works because, for the most part, customers like to take their time, evaluate their options, and procrastinate, even if only to delay the dreaded moment of making a decision

Often the only way to entice them to make it is by giving them a reason to take action straight away.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about in this post.
I’ll show you how to use urgency on an exit popup to motivate more visitors to act on your offer.

And then, show you a couple of examples how other online stores already use urgency to convert leaving visitors.

But let’s start at the beginning.

What is Urgency?

As a sales technique, urgency aims to make potential buyers think differently about the purchase.
It helps suspend our natural behavior, like procrastination, and motivates us to act on impulse.

And as it turns out, this behavior is deeply rooted in our psychology.
When presented with an urgent situation, we suspend deliberate thought or judgment to act.

That’s one reason why we’re more productive when facing an imminent deadline but can procrastinate on tasks without a specific finish date.
The same rule applies to our online buying behavior. We jump from one online store to another, looking for the best deal, cheaper (or free) shipping, and other benefits, without a real goal of actually buying.

But the moment we face some form of limitation as to what we can get, we jump into action.
It could be a stock limit notification, like the below example from Zappos:
A product page on insisting on the limited stock for the item viewed.

Or a note of product being in high demand, like in a case of
A notification on insisting on the high demand

Companies also put a time limit on the offer, making it highly exclusive and restricted by a deadline at the same time. Here’s an example from Amazon:
A time-limited offer on Amazon
And what’s important, all these strategies work. In most cases, urgency helps to increase conversions and motivates buyers to act.

For example:
A study conducted at the University of Nebraska discovered that retail stores displaying various urgency strategies produced such psychological response in customers as the urgency to buy, and consumer competitiveness. (source)

And Marcus Taylor was able to increase the results of a promotional campaign by 332% just by using urgency.

But how do you use the same principles when displaying an exit popup?

Well, here are a couple of suggestions.

#1. Reward First Customers to Buy a New Product

Let’s face it:
Many visitors will skip your new product line when browsing the site.
They might be too busy looking at other items and just miss it.
Exit popups offer an opportunity to promote those new products to visitors.
A product notification exit popup could help you stop a leaving visitor and direct them to check out a particular item they could be interested in.

But when you couple it with an urgency strategy you pretty much double the likelihood of them acting on your popup.

How to do it?
For example, you could offer a discount or another reward to first people who’d buy it.
Many companies use this method to attract first-time customers to their online and brick and mortar stores.



And you could use the same principle on an exit popup, promoting a new product line along with a discount or another benefit for the first customers who buy it.

#2. Offer a Time-Based Discount

This is a similar strategy to the one we just discussed. However, instead of using exclusivity as an incentive, you target scarcity.

And you know, applying a time restriction to a sale or offer is an old trick in the sales book. Since most customers will not want to miss out on whatever incentive you offer, they’ll be compelled to act now.

Online stores have been exploiting this strategy in many ways:
Some display timers and time-limit discounts on product pages or homepages:


Others, like Amazon, merge it with exclusivity, creating membership only discounts via Prime:
Madbid displays a timer that simply binds customers to take action:

And here’s a proof showing the effect of time-limited offers on conversions.
WhichTestWon reports on a test between two transactional emails, with the sole difference between the two being the countdown timer.
The first version (featuring the timer) generated 226% more sales.

You can use the same principle when trying to convert leaving visitors.
For example, this exit popup advertises a flash sale and includes a handy timer clearly communicating how much time a person has left to avail of it.

#3. Limit the Stock

Time isn’t the only factor that could rush your visitors into action.
Limiting the stock or availability also help to communicate the loss of not making a buying decision right away.

After all, as Dr. Robert Cialdini states in his book, Influence:
We’re motivated into action when faced with a possibility of missing out on something.
This is called the Loss Aversion Theory. It states that the pain of losing out is psychologically almost two times as strong as the pleasure of gaining.
Yup, you heard me, twice as strong!

No surprise the moment someone tells us we can’t have something, we begin to want it.
Groupon based their entire business model on this principle, limiting the number of items to be sold for a specific discount.
A time-limite deal on

Zappos displays low stock notices to entice customers to buy.
And how to use this strategy on a popup?
Simply, display a low stock or limited availability notice on your exit popup to measure its effect on conversions.

#4. New Visitor Once-Off Deal

Finally, hit first-time visitors leaving your site hard with a once-off offer they will never see again (unless they visit your site from another computer or IP address, of course).

Diamond Candles uses this strategy for any new visitor a 10% coupon. However, they make it clear that they won’t offer it again.
So, unless a visitor acts now and signs up, they’ll miss out on the deal forever.

Since a person knows that they can’t get the offer ever again, they’re more likely to take action. After all, who wants to lose out on a discount like that, eh?

Pawel Grabowski Pawel is an SEO and content marketing consultant working exclusively with SaaS brands.

Lastest posts