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Wait..Don’t Go!: 4 Ways to Use Exit-Intent Popups Effectively

By Erica Dube

Wait..Don’t Go!: 4 Ways to Use Exit-Intent Popups Effectively

tips-for-using-exit-intent-popups-effectively.jpgYou’ve definitely run into your fair share of exit-intent popups recently.

In the past few years, websites have used this strategy to increase lead generation and despite the controversial UX effects, most have seen great success.

The technology behind an exit-intent popup tracks a website visitor’s mouse and detects the exact moment when a user is about to leave your website.

It then uses a combination of data of the movement and speed of a visitor’s mouse to trigger a popup message before they can leave the site.

This strategy here is to re-engage visitors just when they are about to abandon your website and convince them to stick around a bit longer with a targeted, valuable offer.

This could include an eBook, whitepaper, coupon, newsletter, blog subscription, free trial, or just about anything else.

While this is definitely an opportunity for marketers, it can easily appear spammy or jeopardize a brand’s reputation if done incorrectly.

It’s important to consider strategic best practices in order to get the best results and avoid scaring away potential customers or returning site visitors.

Use Exit Intent Pop-Ups to Convert More Leads

1. Keep UX and the buyer’s journey in mind.


It’s important to consider the visitor and their experience when implementing an exit popup on your site. This mindset will not only allow for a better user experience but also help generate better, more qualified leads for your business.

What information did the visitor consume before seeing this popup? You may want to implement a specific popup based on the page the user is abandoning.

For example, if a visitor has spent time on your products and pricing page you may want to offer them a coupon or free trial within your popup on that page.

A subscription offer upon exiting the blog page, a video describing your company’s value upon exit on the about us page - these are both examples of relevant content to display based on the user’s past activity with your site.

I love this example from OkDork. After visiting Noah Kagen’s blog, I went to exit and this full overlay popup surprised me on the page.


I received this message and couldn’t help but smile. This is a perfect example of understanding of the user’s experience with your website and providing them with an offer (and delightful message) they cannot refuse.

2. When it comes to content, keep it clear and concise.

Remember, the people who see your popup were just about to leave your site -- so they’re not looking for a lengthy sales pitch.  

With this in mind, your popup isn’t meant to be a short landing page. The visitor needs to see something simple, to the point, and valuable in order to stay and convert.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when creating content for your popup: value, urgency and clarity.

Check out this example from Search Engine Journal.


Wow, 23,857 marketers and counting...that’s a lot of people. This is an impressive example of using social proof to grab your attention.

The use of “Don’t miss out” is a simple way to create urgency and offering a free eBook as an extra bonus for subscribing equals value.

SEJ also makes it very clear what you will receive after converting. There’s no surprises or false-advertising.

I like this example because it includes an image and bit more content than Noah Kagen’s above, but still conveys a simple, easy to understand message.

The popup below from Neil Patel is also a great example of how simple content can make a huge impact to conversions.

After reading just two blog articles on QuickSprout, I was presented with this popup upon exiting. The button here leads me to their website analysis tool which uses my location to personalize the message.


The use of “instantly” within the call-to-action is really what pops to me here -- it creates urgency without seeming “spammy.”  Plus, the value is presented right away within the quoted message -- “profitable traffic for your website.”

3. Design and contrast are key.

Take the time to design your exit popup with a clean, consistent look that matches your branding, but also remember that contrast is very important when it comes to conversions.

While we want to replicate the look and feel of your overall site to maintain a professional image, it’s important for the graphic in your popup to actually “POP” for the visitor.

Your popup should create visual interest and include contrasting elements that make the content easy-to-read and digestible for the user. It’s also a great way to grab your visitor’s attention.

This example from the site Optimonk shows how a simple design combined with engaging content can be effective.


Optimonk uses a humorous approach to re-engage the visitor upon exiting. They draw your attention to the offer image and download now call-to-action by using a contrasting color against the white background. Also, they added in a great stat under the headline to further convince the visitor to convert.

(Note: I didn’t see this exit pop-up until I viewed their homepage, pricing and how it works pages)

4.  Give visitors a choice.

It’s sad, but true; sometimes you have to let a lead go, so don’t forget to include an option to say “no” in your popup offer.

Many people believe a simple “X” to close button is sufficient, but using “yes” and “no” buttons within the popup is much more psychologically effective. With these options, users are much more likely to stop and read the content in the popup more closely and depending on your copy, you may be able to elicit a more positive response.

WisePops’s exit popup below uses “No thanks, I don’t want more conversions” as the opt-out option.


Maybe it’s a bit passive aggressive, but this type of statement makes users think twice before clicking to exit. Another piece of this popup I really love is the use of “+add me” as a submit button. It’s friendlier and creates less friction around the idea of converting.

KissMetrics uses a different strategy for giving a user choice with their exit popup. The key element here to notice is the color contrast of their “yes” and “no” buttons. The “yes” button stands out while the grey “no” button is easily ignored.


Wait...don’t leave yet

Just kidding! Go out and create awesome exit-intent popups and remember these key takeaways:

  • Consider user experience
  • Relevance is key
  • Simple content is the most effective content
  • Give people a choice to say no thanks
  • Design with your website style in mind
  • Use contrasting colors to make call to actions really POP
  • Get creative with content -- speak directly to the user and stay away from “salesy” or “spammy” wording

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Lead Generation
Published on January 13, 2016

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