When to Irritate your visitors with Popups
Can you relate? You're searching for a product or information online and you find the perfect website. As you begin to access the content, you are rudely interrupted by a window that invites you to do something else entirely—distracting your train of thought. Now, you either have to close the window so you can continue reading, or you have to sign up for their email list to win the "limited time only" promotion (or whatever they are marketing).
This annoying little interruption is commonly known as a popup.
Now, there are certainly situations where a popup is useful, but there is definitely a fine-line between being useful and irritating and there doesn't seem to be a middle ground.
Buyers often lead with their emotions and the last thing a brand should ever do is create a negative emotion in their audience's mind. Placing a popup at the wrong location in the buyers journey can almost certainly do this. This is why it is critical to be extra careful when setting up your popup marketing strategy.
Should I even use popups at all?
The short answer is: Yes. We may not always like them but the fact of the matter is they work. Popups collect useful information, generate valuable leads, and—when used in conjunction with the right marketing strategy—lead to real results. In fact, in one study a user saw her email subscriptions increase nearly 14x by utilizing the right popup!
That said, it's important to match your popup marketing goals to your markets' expectations. The challenge is that there are a lot of different options.
What do you recommend?
Its hard to recommend any marketing strategy carte blanche, however, we have been helping eCommerce companies succeed for several years and based on our partners experiences we have a couple preferences, namely:
The Exit Intent Popup
Exit intent popups track a users mouse to determine whether they are about to close a tab, click "back" from a landing page or open a new tab. Once this action is confirmed (generally a sign of a visitor losing interest and bouncing) a popup is generated to interrupt them before they can leave.
Why do you recommend exit popups?
In eCommerce (and in general) when you have a users attention, its best to keep it that way. If a potential customer is in the process of researching a product on your site and then is rudely interrupted by a timed or scroll popup, you may never get that attention back. This isn't to say that popups don't have their place and we certainly aren't recommending you throw the baby out with the bath water and say goodbye to popups all together. Instead, we recommend utilizing a less intrusive manner to gather information. Timing is key here, and catching a user that was likely going to leave anyway, is a great way to increase conversions. When a user is navigating away from your site, you have likely lost their attention. Taking action now could mean the difference between them coming back and converting later on or losing them forever.
In a perfect world a visitor would never see an exit intent popup because your sales funnel is so well optimized that they always complete your conversion goal. The fact is, though, website visitors leave more often than they covert. This may not be for negative reasons, we all lead busy lives, and we often leave a site with intentions of coming back but never do. A well designed exit intent popup gives them one last chance to provide necessary information, putting the onus on you to follow up, rather than on them to remember.
OK, great, how do you recommend I use exit intent popups?
Our clients have seen the best results by using exit intent popups to provide a special offer or discount in exchange for an email. Research has found that exit popups need to contain a overwhelmingly good offer in order to convert. From our experience, it is not uncommon for our clients to see an increase in conversion rates (especially related to email) when implementing a well designed exit popup with an attractive message and offer.
The Interaction or Click Popup
There is a fine line between click popups and landing pages. This popup is actually the only type that is not passive, meaning the user has to take an action (such as click on a link or hover over an image) in order for the popup to occur. This makes it the least intrusive type of popup and generally favored.
Why should I utilize this over a landing page in eCommerce?
Maybe you shouldn't. Don't just take our word for it. Do some research, test it for yourself and implement what works best for your business. When you want a user to do something simple, like sign up for a newsletter, read a contract, or provide basic information to enhance their buying experience—a click popup might be your best bet. In an industry where lost seconds means lost sales the click popup is a quicker option than sending someone to a separate landing page. Additionally, a click popup quickly gathers or provides information and is gone, leaving the buyer in the same place in their journey. Testing proves that bounce rates increase when a user has to navigate additional pages. It makes sense, then, to try to keep navigation to a minimum and this is where the click popup excels.
What about the other popups?
Depending on who you ask there are a handful of other popup types. Most of them are a bit more invasive but, for your businesses goals, they may be just right. Highlighted below is a little information about the various (more popular) popup options. Be sure to discuss these in detail with your marketing team or partner prior to implementing them.
The Entrance Popup
Entry popups work just like the name suggests. When a visitor enters your website, they are immediately inundated with a popup message before they can further access the site. These certainly have their place—like announcing a limited time offer—but are typically the most disliked of popups and, for some people, a genuine reason not to continue browsing. We recommend proceeding with caution with entry popups, especially as it pertains to eCommerce.
The Timed Popup
The thought behind a timed popup is that if a visitor has been on your site for a prescribed amount of time (such as 60 or 90 secs), they are ripe to be marketed to. The logic here is to catch them after they've had enough time to generate interest but before they typically* leave (*based on your site analytics). Timing is very important here and this type of popup always feels a little too homogeneous to us. Some business, though, have seen great success in using them for media with consistent time increments, like blog articles. That said, if you are simply trying to catch a user once they've become invested in your content, scroll popups may provide a better solution.
The Scroll Popup
Scroll popups are extremely popular in blogs and only appear once the visitor has scrolled to a predetermined spot in the content (such as 75% of the article). Scroll popups still distract the user in the middle of their journey but, you can generally rest assured that if somebody has made it through that much content, you've genuinely captured their interest. On a personal level, they are still annoying and one of the lower performing popups in terms of opt-in.
Points to remember
- There is no one-size fits all solution for your business. Popups may or may not be a good fit for you. We have helped numerous businesses with their marketing strategy and would love to set up a free consultation to see how we can help you.
- Timing is everything. The key is to think about how people will interact with your website. A correctly timed popup on your site leads visitors through your sales funnel and ultimately converts them to customers. The wrong timing will usually drive them away. It's also important that once they've seen a pop-up, they don't see it again. Nothing is more annoying than getting the same popup after we've already closed it—Respect the (x). Ultimately, don't be afraid to experiment and rely on the wisdom of those with real world experience.
- Message and design are incredibly important. Lets face it, most users click (x) almost immediately after seeing a popup. Creating a simple, actionable message with the right value proposition is extremely important if you want to catch their attention. Important considerations when designing a popup are: That it is simple and human; eye catching but not inflammatory; matches your brand and CTA (call to action); and mobile responsive.
To sum up: Popups work. You should probably use them. We can help.
If you are new to eCommerce or looking for a partner that will grow with you, AltiSuite offers the latest and greatest in marketing integration for your business. We have helped numerous companies create success in their eCommerce business and are just getting started. So, whether you are looking for a multi-channel solution for your Amazon FBA business or you want to create an online presence for your brick and mortar warehouse, we are here to help you graduate. Feel free to contact us today.