Popups don’t suck. Your strategy does. Time to change that!

The ongoing debate around popups is something that I have been a part of for years now. I was one of those people who cursed businesses that implemented popups on their website.

I would land up on a business’s website and immediately be targeted with a welcome campaign. While that was acceptable, I would after that be targeted with other messages one after the other — now that’s not acceptable!

Imagine getting up every morning by email notifications from a business you interacted with 6 months ago. One mail every few hours and you’re done with it — hit un-subscribe and get yourself out of the emss.

That’s exactly what being targeted with irrelevant and untimely popups on a website results in — the visitor getting bugged to the core, cursing the business a few times and then pushing off it without really taking a look at what the business has to offer.

So whose fault is it really?

The popups in general or the person behind the implementation of them?

Think about it for a second. There are websites that encourage you to subscribe to their newsletter after you’re done reading the blog post your were directed to.

Did you mind that approach? No. Rather you felt compelled to subscribe to it because you saw value in the same.

The answer to my question as to who is to blame, is the latter — the person who is behind the strategizing and implementation of the popups on their business website.

No one likes annoying popups!

An effective marketer is one who knows that he needs to find a common ground between product promotions and user experience. Clearly, the websites that have been bugging us with popups lack this marketer or lack a strategic approach to conversion.

Here’s taking a look at what the impact of popups is in reality on the bounce rates as well as subscription rates:

Now observe what I meant. All the marketers who think that popups are hampering their website bounce rates and subscription rates — notice that the bounce rates with or without popups barely have a difference. Although, the subscription rates with popups implemented is considerably higher than without.

Why did this happen?

Because the attention span of an average internet user is less than a minute and sometimes they need to be nudged in a direction to make them convert. And that too, before they get distracted by the other things available to them on the internet.

So what did the business website that gained more subscribers do with the popup? They strategised it well.

Right from the message shown to the visitors, to the call to action, design of the popup and its timing, the marketer planned it thoroughly. It was kept in mind that the reading or browsing experience of the visitor was not being compromised on just to promote something.

And that is strategy.

The golden rules for creating popups that don’t suck

By making the user experience your primary goal and using the right technology to implement it.

But before I begin, here’s a small disclaimer: everything that I share in this post was actually shown to me by Pavlos Linos, the Founder of Exit Bee. A bit skeptical about popups in the beginning, but after a demo and long discussions with him, I truly understand the scope and possibilities that popups bring in for a business website!

I now work with him and get to try the bounce prevention technology first hand on various business websites — eCommerce, content based and others. We have worked on various campaign concepts across B2B and B2C companies, and noticed some really promising results. You can view them all here — Case studies.

Now for the golden rules (which you have probably heard before):

Don’t get too excited — Time it right

First and foremost important thing while implementing popups is to not make them intrusive in nature. If you’re bombarding a first time visitor just as he lands on your website with a popup, he is not likely at all to convert on it. Like we mentioned before, he might just leave your website or ignore the offer you’re making.

With Exit Bee you can time your popups to get triggered just when a visitor is about to leave your website. Timing it with his exit intent ensures that you have given the visitor enough time to consume the content offered on your website and that you’re not interrupting his on-site experience.

For instance, this eCommerce website targets a leaving visitor with a message to subscribe to their newsletter for great offers. By then the visitor has already browsed through the products and made up his mind around a purchase.

Another way Exit Bee lets you time your popup campaign is based on the user behavior or interaction on your website. For instance, a visitor has spent approximately 10 seconds on your homepage — you know he has browsed through the content he wanted and now is the chance to give him the slight nudge to conversion.

For example, he spent a considerable amount of time on your t-shirts section but hasn’t made a purchase yet. You could target him with a campaign that recommends him a popular range on your store before he leaves!

Don’t give bullshit — Offer value always

Let’s face it, there are hundreds of businesses out there who are targeting the same target market as you. Some even might be offering products and services that are similar to yours. The only way you’re going to acquire customers from that target market, is by offering value to the website visitors.

Your advertisement, website and popup copy should remain consistent. It should offer the prospect some value — what he is going to gain by engaging with your business and not the others. Sticking to contextual messages even while personalization, helps you create an effective omni channel experience for your visitors. Thereby, converting more people.

With Exit Bee’s personalization capabilities, you can practically target the different segments of your target market with different campaigns. (Something I was personally not aware of before working with the technology!)

For instance, a visitor has landed on your website via a Facebook advertisement that promised him a combo deal. You could target this visitor with a popup that reminds him of the same just before he is leaving the website.

And another visitor who reached your website via a Google search, could be targeted with a message to participate in a contest to win something that interests him.

The more you personalize your campaign and at the same time, add value to the user, the more likely he is to convert on it.

Don’t ever settle on one approach — Optimize campaigns consistently

Apart from the timing and the context of copy, it is also important to ensure that your campaign is optimized to perform consistently. This includes the design of the campaign and the consistent A/B testing that you will have to conduct on its different aspects.

A/B testing will help you understand what your website visitors interact with the most. Be it a small change in the CTA copy, the value proposition or simply the overall design of the popup, include A/B tests in your on-site retargeting strategy.

Before you go..

Bounce prevention technology should be an important component of your conversion optimization strategy. It is important to not leave any loopholes for a visitor to not convert. Every chance you get, should be made the most out of!

If you are convinced to give popups with a great technology behind it a shot, all you need to do is visit www.exitbee.com to get a FREE trial or simply give me a shoutout on Twitter! :)

Ps. If you think a friend of yours could actually use this technology to grow his business, don’t forget to share the post with him!