Modern website popups are a powerful tool which blazed onto the internet marketing stage last year, and haven’t slowed down.
Initially we saw a significant push-back by traditional marketers who knew them of old as, well… this:
This is what comes to mind when a lot of marketers think “popups.” Except that they’re behind the times.
Popups are now more targeted, more contextual, more timely and substantially easier to create than they ever have been. And as a result they’re changing the way we market online.
This article will dive into the five primary ways popups are being utilized online (and why). I’ll also show you how I’ve used them on my own site to double blog subscription and increase the number of people sent to our signup page by 33% since early December.
Let’s get into it.
5 Ways to Keep your Website Visitors from Hating your Popups (Best Practices)
Firstly, let’s acknowledge that popups can be super annoying. They stop you from doing whatever you were doing and interrupt your web-browsing flow.
Here are 5 ways to make them as painless (and optimized for your desired conversion) as possible:
- Make it obvious how a viewer can exit. Do not hide the “X.” Most 3rd-party popup tools make it possible simply to click away the popup to make it go away. This is best practice.
- Make them contextually relevant to the page and content at hand. This is the main difference between a popup of old and a modern, optimized popup strategy.
- Match your popup design with the page that popup is on. This is not just more professional, but also less shocking to the viewer.
- If using a scroll or timed popup, ensure you set your popup to appear after they’ve already gotten value from your content. I like between 30 and 50%.
- Make the value of your popup’s ask clear. Use large headlines. If offering a discount or coupon (perhaps on an entry popup) make the dollar value or percentage-off super obvious.
#1. The Click Popup
Click popups are, officially, my favorite marketing strategy of the past 12 months.
And here’s why…
By replacing our email-gated landing pages with click popups directly on our blog articles, I’ve doubled the rate at which people convert on email-gated content.
Take a look:
That graph shows the different conversion rates of click popups vs landing pages. Click popup conversion rates are hovering around 55%, while landing pages convert around 27.5%. This means that our click popups are converting almost exactly 100% more than landing pages.
Why do click popups convert so much better?
There’s a couple primary reasons: Firstly, they’re fast. Secondly, they’re not as disruptive.
A blog visitor can engage with your site’s click popups without having their browser open a new tab or window. Opening a new tab causes what conversion optimizers call “friction” – namely anything that gets in the way of a conversion goal.
And they can convert quickly, without having to think overmuch. They’ve received valuable knowledge in the article, and the click popup allows them to either take action on that knowledge (through signing up for your tool) or add to it (through downloading a “bonus” content upgrade).
To learn more about how click popups are doubling my blog lead generation, check out my article “How We Doubled Blog Lead Generation with Click Popups.”
#2. The Entry Popup
Entry popups can yield a huge return, but only if you implement them correctly.
I mean think about it: imagine coming to a website expecting to read things, see things and learn more about a company and your first experience is a popup.
How would that make you feel?
The answer is probably “annoyed, frustrated, pissed off,” and you’d be right.
That said, there is one way you can use entry popups and not annoy your visitors (and actually yield an awesome return from them as well).
Here’s how it works:
- Run an online-exclusive, limited-time promotion (50% off the first month’s subscription or free shipping on your ecommerce products).
- Don’t trigger your entry popup until your visitor arrives on your pricing or product page.
- As soon as they arrive on the page, trigger your entry popup.
- Communicate the value of your promotion with language like “Available until midnight! Get 50% off your first month’s subscription” or “Exclusive deal! Get free shipping on products valued over $10. Now until Midnight!” with a “Click here to get your discount” call-to-action button beneath the headline.
Here’s an example:
#3. The Exit Popup
Exit popups are the most common type of popup. They use “exit-tracking” software to determine when a visitor is planning on leaving your website. They do this through either mouse-tracking (measuring the directionality and velocity of a visitor’s mouse towards the “back” or “close tab” button) or through top-of-page measurement (triggering the exit popup when a cursor goes over the top pixel of a page).
And it stops that action.
The primary reason I recommend exit popups is because of something you may have heard of: banner blindness.
Banner blindness occurs because modern internet users have images, headlines, colors and sounds assailing them at any given time. In order to stay sane and get to what they want to get to, they have to ignore some of it.
Banner blindness is the reason that your Facebook and display ads have to be so optimized. If they’re not, people may genuinely not even see them.
Because of banner blindness, your website visitors may not even be seeing that offer you’re promoting on the side of a page. They may not even see that blog subscription is possible. So it’s not necessarily that they aren’t interested in your promotions, they just didn’t see them fully.
So an exit popup ensures they see you.
If you need a bit of popup inspiration, check out these examples to see how to create a good exit popup in “5 Exit Popups You Need to Know About“.
#4. The Scroll Popup
In early December I was reading a Quicksprout article in which guest author George Matthew talked about how what he called “lightboxes” were increasing blog opt-in rates between 1200 and 1500% for many bloggers. They’re popups, who are we kidding…
Always down to test a new strategy, I added scroll popups to our blog in December of 2015.
However, instead of driving blog subscribers, I created 10 subject-focused scroll popups which drove readers to sign up for our platform (free) instead.
Because you can place popups so specifically – on individual URLs or by regular expression (meaning you can add them to every article with specific words in their URL) – they’re doing very well.
A scroll popup, placed on all of our blog articles with “popup” in the URL, is currently sending about 8% of the people who visit those pages to our signup page:
Another one, which is placed on an individual (though popular) article is being split tested, and has already sent more than 60 blog visitors to our signup page – in less than a week!:
Needless to say I’m very happy with the results. And so is my boss.
Be sure your popups look great on mobile as well as desktop and tablet.
Using a system of content columns to house data on your page, some popup builders (like Wishpond) automatically adjust your popup depending on the size of the viewing screen.
Since all content is stored inside of these content columns, the integrity of text, images and videos can be preserved while scaling down the screen size and resolution.
Here’s how a column system works to stack content which was previously placed side by side:
Wrapping it Up
Hopefully that’s given you some inspiration (and justification) for trying popups. Tell your boss, tell your friends. They’re not annoying anymore and they can seriously maximize the ROI of your inbound marketing as well as improve your conversion funnel.
You can try Wishpond pop-ups HERE for free.
Let me know if you have any popup questions on Twitter at @JDScherer
Wishpond is one of the easiest ways to generate, manage and nurture your leads. Our popup tool optimizes your site for conversion and reduces your bounce rate. Sign up free today!