5 Ideas For Inbound-Friendly Pop-Ups

When was the last time you were happy to see a pop-up appear on a page?

Most of us groan internally when we see one.

Pop-ups have a bad reputation for being annoying, tough to exit or click out of, and spammy. They’re useful for marketers, and something to avoid for website visitors. In fact, Hubspot found that 81% of consumers have exited a webpage or closed a browser because of a pop-up. We believe the issue isn’t with pop-ups, but how they’re known for being used. 

Pop-ups have varying success. While the average pop-up has a conversion rate of 3.09%, the more successful pop-ups convert at a significant higher rate. Sumo found that out of those they surveyed, the top 10% highest-performing pop-ups had a 9.28% conversion rate on average. This means that marketers are incentivized to create an engaging and useful pop-up because they will have more value. 

There are five main types of pop-ups: click, scroll, timed, exit, and entry. Rushed pop-ups (think entry pop-ups) convert the least so the timing of the pop-up needs to be carefully considered. Regardless of which pop-up type best fits your business and purpose, it’s a good idea to follow some general guidelines. 

Pop-Ups Should:

1. Be low profile

If a pop-up appears on the screen too early or comes across as too assertive, it’s more likely that it will turn visitors off. Focus on simple wording, and being helpful by explaining the benefits of following the requested action (sign up for the newsletter, click on the link, etc.) in a concise way.

2. Pay attention to timing

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when a pop-up appears makes a difference as to whether the viewer converts or not. According to Sumo, of the top 10% performing pop-ups from their analysis, only 8% of the top 10% of pop-ups appear within 0-4 seconds of a visitor landing on a specific page.

Therefore, it’s important to catch the visitor’s attention with interesting content and offer value first, then create another layer of engagement with the pop-up. 

3. Have an opt-in mentality 

Give website visitors the choice to sign up for your product offering, update, or discount code. Create a pop-up that gives viewers a choice. Rather than schedule it to appear immediately, show the viewer why it’s worth receiving the updates. Rather than appear too pushy, let viewers make the choice by ensuring the pop-up is easy to exit and positive (for example, allow viewers to press a ‘No, thanks’ button, instead of having to click ‘No, I like being stupid’).

4. Choose words wisely 

Just as less is more when it comes to pop-ups, the copy should be written carefully. It’s important to be direct but not pushy, be genuine but not fake, and differentiate your brand and not sound like everyone else. Hubspot suggests making sure that your copy can pass three tests: 

  • It’s specific: Let visitors know exactly what they are signing up for, including what content you’ll be sending in return, what the discount code is good for, or how often they will receive newsletters from you. 

  • It’s actionable: Like Hubspot says, “Craft a compelling call-to-action (CTA) that will inspire visitors to take action.” Rather than using ‘Submit’ or ‘Click Here’, write your CTA so that they know what they’ll be receiving. For example, if it’s a pop-up with a game where visitors can win a gift card to your grocery store, then the CTA button could be ‘Spin to Win.’

  • It’s human: Write the text as if it’s a friend speaking to the visitor. Avoid formal language or too-direct copy. Keep that opt-in mentality in mind. 

Now that we’ve covered some best practices, read on for five ideas for your next pop-up. 

pop-up inbound content

5 Ideas For Inbound-Friendly Pop-Ups

For pop-ups to actually be useful, make them positive and interesting, and avoid coming across as aggressive or annoying. Here are five ideas of how to create pop-ups that draw visitors in rather than push them away. 

1. Ask for feedback as users leave your site

A simple way to gather information is by creating an exit pop-up that asks for feedback. Recently, one of our clients created an exit pop-up where they asked a few simple questions and received valuable feedback.

The three questions were:

  • Whether the visitor worked at a B2B (enterprise) or B2C (customer) company
  • Whether the visitor found what they were looking for
  • Did they have any feedback or suggestions

This worked so well because it was genuine and well-timed. In addition to asking the visitor’s thoughts, our client was also able to gather a data point on visitors: whether they worked for a B2B or B2C company. 

2. Use pop-ups as a fun fact feature

Rather than focus only on converting clients and gathering data, pop-ups can also be used as a loyalty builder. What interesting facts or information can be used in a pop-up to represent your business or branding? Beverage company Snapple has done this since 2002, although some of their facts’ validity have been called into question. Factual or not, the ‘Real Facts’ are an essential aspect of Snapple’s branding. 

3. Use gamification

Another way to engage website visitors is to place a game campaign within a pop-up builder. This produces a fun interaction while also giving a business the opportunity to learn more about their website visitors. For example, a business can create a luck game (such as a Slot Machine, Spin The Bottle, or a Scratchcard) and for visitors to receive the ‘gift’ or voucher, they need to fill in their email address or answer another valuable question that can be determined by the marketer.

4.  Avoid cart or site abandonment 

Use a pop-up as a conversation starter or check-in with a webpage visitor about to leave your website. This can appear once a visitor is moving his/her mouse towards the close button. 

For e-commerce or retailers, not having an exit pop-up is a huge missed opportunity. According to a Barclaycard survey, British shoppers abandon online baskets worth almost £30 a month, potentially resulting in more than £18bn in lost sales every year. 

5. Share more relevant content with site visitors 

This is especially useful for B2B companies that want to share recent product updates or interesting content with their audience. Businesses can offer a content piece such as an e-guide or webinar that is related to what the visitor is looking at or what persona they have been identified as. This can help ‘pull’ leads toward your business, product, or brand. 

Moving forward, marketers will benefit from putting themselves in the shoes of their site visitors, and deciding on how to best use pop-ups to engage rather than repel their audience. Prioritize providing value and creating opportunities that are mutually beneficial, where site visitors get access to information they want and marketers are able to learn more about their audience. This will help marketers better personalize their audience’s brand or business experience. As this happens more, pop-ups may start to lose their bad reputation.