Popups seem like annoying ads that unexpectedly appear when customers visit a page. In truth, when done effectively, they can help you score quality leads and a considerable amount of conversions. 

Neil Patel believes that popups can give customers one last chance to convert. In fact, one popup improved the conversion rates on his site by 17 percent! 

Now, how can you use popups to get quality leads? How can you use them to grow your business? Here’s what you need to know. 

1. Use Exit-Intent Popups 

Exit-intent popups are meant to win back site visitors by piquing their interest when they’re about to leave an e-commerce website. They show up exactly before a customer clicks the back button. 

The ideal exit trigger should have an overwhelming offer. It needs to draw people in and make them move along the buyer’s journey

For example, this popup from GQ appears as readers browse through the site. They encourage people to get annual releases of the magazine with a whopping 81 percent discount. 

If you’re interested in creating an exit-intent popup, here are some tips that you need to know:

  • Determine exit triggers: Identify mouse movement or scrolling behavior that signal that users are about to leave your website. 
  • Provide a relevant offer: Exit-intent popups should offer incentives that encourage people to subscribe or provide their email. 
  • Be straight to the point: Make copy clear and concise so readers can easily understand what you have to offer. 

2. Pay Attention to Design

The secret to a popups success may lie in its design. 

A popup design may appear at the right time with the right message, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work. That’s why you need aesthetically pleasing popups that can make readers stop and stare.

The design of Neil Patel’s popup is simple, but it is consistent with his brand’s main colors—orange and black. The popup fills up the entire screen so readers, either from mobile or desktop, will be able to view the message. 

The headline makes a compelling offer that’s highlighted in bold. The promise of more traffic and customized advice attracts audiences. Taking a quiz seems like a hassle, so they emphasize that it only takes three minutes under the CTA button. 

3. Let Users Exit the Popup

Some marketers choose to create a popup with no opt-out option because of desperation. They believe that it’s better to pressure customers to subscribe or purchase, so they remove the option to back out. 

This move could backfire in a lot of ways. Customers may be annoyed, close the tab, and leave your website. They likely won’t return because they refuse to be pressured into accepting an offer immediately. 

To avoid this, include a back or X button and make it visible for consumers. Otherwise, they will quickly leave your website. 

4. Create Eye-Catching CTA 

A call-to-action is a stimulus that provokes users to complete a specific action. Simply put, an effective CTA converts.

It could encourage users to download an ebook, subscribe to a service, or make the next step in the buyer’s journey. It is usually composed of powerful phrases and verbs that are meant to persuade. 

Here are some examples of call-to-action phrases:

  • Get XYZ now!
  • Add to cart 
  • Buy Today
  • Click Here
  • Download Now

The copy should highlight features or provide an actionable solution to your audience. How will they benefit from clicking the CTA? Why should they download your ebook or subscribe to your newsletter?  Be upfront about the benefits of purchasing the product. 

When it comes to color and design, the ideal call to action buttons possess the Von Restorff Effect, also known as “The Isolation Effect.”

According to this concept, when multiple elements are present on a page, the object that differs from the rest will most likely stand out. In other words, a call to action button should have contrasting colors, so it pops up from the page. 

For example, OptinMonster’s CTA button is blue, so it stands out against the white background of the page. 

You can also play with size by making the CTA button bigger than less important buttons or elements. In the example above, the opt-in button, “Yes, Show Me the Case Study!” is more prominent than the opt-out button, “No thanks, I have plenty of paying customers.”

5. Offer Content Upgrades 

Brian Dean has a technique called “The Content Upgrade.”

Unlike generic popups that encourage visitors to sign-up on every landing page, these offer page-specific content. 

In Brian Dean’s experiment, he created a page-specific popup that promoted his Free Google Ranking Factors Checklist. The result was a 65 percent increase in conversions when compared to a general popup promoting his newsletter. 

Imagine how much conversions would skyrocket if you created a page-specific popup offering ebooks, webinars, and case studies related to your landing page. You will likely boost your chances of conversions and get readers along the sales funnel.

For example, this popup from Sprout Social appears as customers scroll down an article related to social media marketing. They provide marketers with a “Free social media toolkit” that can turn historical data into actionable insights in 2020. 

6. Use Offers to Prevent Cart Abandonment

The average rate of shopping cart abandonment is 69.57percent

That means, around seven out of ten shoppers will buy an item, then back out at the last minute. 

The good news is you can bring this number down by using popups. A popup with a discount is an opportunity to encourage users to return to your online store and make a purchase. 

Shapescale encourages users to complete their order by giving them a 10 percent off discount. They also have a countdown timer to trigger FOMO and boost the sense of urgency. 

7. Create Mobile-Friendly Popups

Popups are great on desktop because you can easily click the buttons, but ensure that they’re user-friendly for mobile too! 

Google penalizes intrusive mobile interstitials because they tend to be a nuisance that results in poor user experience. Here are some examples of interstitials that interfere with a user’s experience:

  • A popup that blocks a user’s view of the page, immediately after they visit the website. 
  • An interstitial that a user has to dismiss before they can access the main content.
  • An interstitial placed in the above-the-fold portion of the page, while the original content is placed underneath the fold. 

To avoid this penalty, timing is a key factor. As a rule of thumb, show the mobile popup once users have scrolled down to the 2nd or 3rd page. This ensures that they are interested in the content before you offer a content upgrade. 

Also, consider displaying the popup after a period of inactivity. Use it when users are about to abandon your site, or when visitors have scrolled halfway along the page. 

Another tip is to ensure that the buttons are clickable for users. It should be easy for them to opt-out or click the download button on mobile. 

For example, Sleeknote has device specific-targeting rules. This lets users create mobile-friendly popups that help them engage with users at the right time. 

8. Update Popup Campaigns Regularly 

Popups may not generate high conversion rates at your first try. That’s why you need to conduct A/B tests to improve your results consistently.

You can update your ebooks, case studies, and other offerings to improve your results. For example, Wordstream’s popup is a simple “How To Make Landing Pages With Crazy High Conversion Rates,” plus a large download button. 

You could also consider seasonal popup like this Halloween popup from Cloudways, which helped convert exiting visitors. 

You can also use popups to highlight deals for your Black Friday sale. This way, customers will be encouraged to check out the deals before they leave your online store. 

To make a successful popup, consider the context and situation faced by the readers. Will a compelling offer or discount make them stay? Will they prefer an informative ebook? Experiment to find out which offers are more effective at increasing leads and conversions. 

How Will You Use Popups to Get Quality Leads?

When it comes to popups, it’s all about context and timing. 

As a last resort, you’ll need to entice potential leads with a compelling offer. Consider providing ebooks and valuable content that readers want. Make a page-specific offer to boost its relevance. 

Pay attention to the design of the popup. The copy must be clear and concise, while every button should be noticeable. Don’t forget to add an opt-out option so users can exit the popup, instead of leaving the page entirely. 

You can also use offers to prevent cart abandonment. Let them know that there’s a discount if they make a purchase. Update popups regularly to improve your results. Utilize it for seasonal campaigns like Halloween or Black Friday. 

What are your tips for using popups to generate quality leads? How do you design and utilize them? Let us know in the comments or via social media. 


Author Bio

Emil Kristensen is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote: a company that helps e-commerce brands turn their website browsers into buyers—without hurting the user experience.