Resources Hub » Blog » Exit Intent: How Does It Work?

Site visitors bring huge potential to your sales marketing funnel. 

You’ve sent dozens (maybe hundreds) of emails, posted on various social media channels relentlessly, and optimized your SEO and content to perfection. That’s all paid off by driving traffic to your website—traffic that can actually convert.

But what do you do when a visitor goes to leave the site without subscribing or taking action?

This is a golden opportunity to engage with your site visitor and turn them into an email subscriber.

Read on to discover how exit intent works, as well as some strategies and examples of exit intent popups in action.

How does exit intent work?

Getting visitors to your site takes time and resources—lots of resources. When they get to your site, you want to leverage every opportunity to convert them into paying customers or subscribers.

That means you need to analyze visitor behavior, like what pages get the most views and when people are most likely to make purchases.

One critical behavior you can take advantage of is exit intent. By reviewing certain visitor actions, you can determine when a potential customer is about to leave your site. The right digital marketing tools look at visitor actions like:

  • Where visitors move their cursor
  • How far a visitor scrolls through a page
  • How long a visitor remains idle
  • The activity level of a visitor
  • Previous site activity and history

Why is this information important? It gives you a chance to connect with your site visitor one more time, and it doesn’t cost a lot to implement in most cases.

What are exit intent popups?

You know when you’re browsing a website and, right before you close the browser or click on a different page, you get a popup asking you for your email address?

That’s an exit intent popup.

Creating a popup that drives traffic is more than just timing it correctly, though; you want to give your visitors a reason to become email subscribers. Better yet, you want them to become customers.

Common exit intent popup strategies include:

  • Offering a discount code or coupon
  • Creating a free eBook or guide to download
  • Encouraging visitors to read reviews or watch testimonials
  • Asking visitors to complete a survey
  • Directing them to a new site tool
  • Presenting them with items in their cart

The right strategy for your business depends on your goals. A survey can help you optimize your website and a discount code can inspire an immediate purchase.

Capture more email addresses on your website

Why are exit intent strategies important?

When a customer is ready to leave your website, you’ve lost an opportunity. Exit intent strategies help you capitalize on those last few seconds. Whether you want to capture emails for your entire website or just on a specific landing page, exit intent popups are an effective tool.

The most lucrative benefits to effective exit intent strategies are:

  • Email list growth: exit intent popups that ask for an email address can encourage 4% to 7% of your site visitors to join your list. That could lead to two new email addresses for every 100 site visitors.
  • Improved conversion rates: average conversion rates are 3.09%, but the best popups can have conversion rates from 10% to 60% if you optimize them properly.
  • Popup optimization: if you currently collect emails in a sidebar, consider switching to an exit intent popup to see an increase in your list growth as high as 1,375%.

Exit intent is an effective way to expand your email audience and increase your conversion rates. That means it can also improve your digital marketing ROI.

6 examples of effective exit intent popups from real ecommerce campaigns

While it might be tempting to avoid popups, it’s clear that you should use them in some capacity. These exit intent popup examples highlight best practices for collecting email addresses with popups.

1. Use creative language that engages your site visitors.

Phrases like “Before you go,” “Don’t leave yet,” or “Wait, we have something for you!” can catch your reader’s eye and encourage them to read through your offer. Keep the message concise and get straight to the value-add—you don’t want them to close your popup because it’s a novel. Use a clever opener write a short message and include a bold CTA.

Language with a sense of urgency can inspire action from your readers.

Source: Sumo

2. Consider the design of a popup when creating each campaign.

You don’t want popups that are blinding and intrusive. Think about how your logo will look on the popup, how other graphics might complement or clash with the colors, and what fonts you want to use to make the text captivating and easy to read. Consider how the popup is going to look against any animated graphics or videos playing on your site.

 Popup design is as critical as email and website design.

Source: WordStream

3. Add value that your site visitors can’t find with your competitors.

While discount codes and coupons can be an effective sales strategy, you might have other goals. By offering content like eBooks and industry updates, you can provide value to your potential customers and encourage them to convert. It also keeps them from unsubscribing to your email list and differentiates you from competitors that don’t focus on inbound content.

Your customers need to know what they get in exchange for their email address.

Source: AB Tasty

4. Make it easy for your site visitors to close the popup.

Although you obviously want your visitors to sign up for your email list, it’s a popup best practice to make it easy to close. Even the best exit intent strategies can be wrong about a visitor’s intentions, so you want to make it simple for people to get back to what they were doing. Design a popup with a clear “x” or “close” to give your customers an exit strategy of their own.

 A “close” option can keep from frustrating visitors that intend to purchase.

Source: Joann

5. Include a free gift to encourage visitors to convert.

If you sell physical products or want to encourage people to visit a brick-and-mortar store, you can use exit intent popups to offer a free gift with purchase. As with discounts and coupons, people are more likely to spend with a company that adds value to their purchase. Free gifts are a great way to increase conversions, but they can also provide an opportunity to give away promotional products.

Free gifts are one of many promotions you can use to grow your email list.

Source: Half Price Books

6. Ask for additional information if it makes sense.

Collecting email addresses is just one part of creating an email campaign. The more information you have about your potential customers, the more effective you can make your email personalization and list segmentation efforts. Don’t overwhelm your customers with a long form though. Limit it to two or three fields and don’t require your visitor to complete all of them.

Request additional information to complete your customer profiles.

Source: HomeGoods

How you can implement exit intent strategies that work

Implementing the right exit intent strategy takes a little bit of research and planning. You need to think about your audience, sales goals, and what value you can provide your site visitors. You also want to be able to communicate why people should sign up for your email list.

If you want to introduce an effective exit intent campaign, follow these simple steps:

  • Analyze your site heatmap: A heatmap will show you where your site visitors spend the most time and where they click most often. This can be incredibly useful for analyzing exit intent.
  • Determine the best offer: You’re asking for personal information, so add value to your exit intent popup. Your customers are a great place to start when you want to know what to offer.
  • Find the right marketing tools: The right marketing and analytics tools will help you assess your heatmap, analyze site traffic, and create a comprehensive marketing campaign.
  • Design a compelling popup: You don’t want to create an eyesore. Hire a designer or expert for whatever aspects you don’t feel confident in creating, like graphic design or analytics.
  • Optimize popup timing: Some popups will be more effective if you display them quickly, where others are more effective after an action-based trigger. Use A/B testing to decide.

Your exit intent strategy should be part of your marketing plan, not just a one-off strategy. That’ll help you figure out the best marketing channels for your business.

Learn to create a list with those email addresses

Wrap up

Knowing how exit intent works makes it easier to create a popup that complements your website. You can use marketing tools to find the right approach and implement an effective campaign. The following key takeaways are critical to implementing the right exit intent popups:

  • Your website is a goldmine of data for determining the right exit intent strategies.
  • Popups can be an effective way to collect email addresses if you time them properly.
  • Marketing tools will help you optimize your popup campaigns.

Find the right solution for your business by researching your visitor behavior and asking your current customers for feedback on ways to grow your list.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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