Bad Practice: “Are You Sure You Want To Leave Before Reading This Post?”
By Rebekah Henson July 8, 2013
It’s the last-minute sales pitch: “Wait! Don’t go! Don’t leave without signing up!”
And it often shows up on sign up forms – that pop up in a new window when you try to leave a website.
If you’ve encountered the needy exit pop up, you already know how annoying it is. Here’s why you shouldn’t use this tactic on your own list, and what you can do instead.
Exit Popups = Bad Last Impression
Nothing heats up a discussion like pop ups – marketers love them, consumers hate them and they’re known to convert amazingly well when used appropriately.
But an exit pop up that blocks a visitor from leaving your page leaves a bad impression of your business.
Think about it – you’ve browsed a website and decided that a product just isn’t for you. You click your browser’s “back” button – BUT WAIT! Are you sure you want to leave without signing up for our newsletter?
Yes, you’re very sure. If you’re not interested in their product, why would you want their newsletter? Can they please let you go and check Facebook now?
That’s the problem with exit pop ups. People leaving your site have already made up their minds – either they bought something from you and decided they want your emails, or they decided they’re not interested. And a pop up asking them to reconsider before they leave won’t change their minds.
Even if they give in and surrender an email address to leave your site, people who sign up from a pop up form tend to be less engaged with your emails.
But Aren’t Popups Effective?
They can be, when used appropriately. Even back in 2003, Inc observed that consumers didn’t mind pop ups in the right context.
Some of our own customers have seen explosive list growth by using pop ups on their sites.
Here’s the right way to try a popup form:
Use A Delay
Don’t display a popup right away. Let people get to know your site first. When they’ve warmed up to your content, they’ll be less bothered by your popup interruption.
Watch Your Wording
There’s a fine line between inviting and badgering. Don’t harass people with a hard sell for your newsletter. Explain the benefits with a gentler approach and test your wording to see what people respond to best.
Don’t Be Annoying
You don’t need a pop up on every page to grow your list effectively. You don’t even need to display your pop up every time someone visits your page.
Nikki McGonigal, an Etsy crafter, uses a pop up that only displays once every 60 days to people who visit her site. When a visitor closes the pop up instead of signing up, they won’t see it again until 60 days later. And judging from our case study on her, it’s been pretty effective.
How do you feel about pop ups? Are you guilty of any pop up mistakes – like the exit form – yourself? Share your story in the comments!