This is a guest post from Ben Johnson at Proof.
Top marketers know how to create tasteful, targeted, and genuinely useful exit intent popups that capture a user’s interest at the moment they’re going to leave the site. That said, great exit intent popups have been shown, time and again, to help businesses of all kinds massively increase their conversion rates.
But how do you go about creating high-converting exit intent popups? Read on to discover everything you need to know about crafting one yourself.
What exactly is an exit popup?
Often, you’ll drive your visitors to a page via paid ads or SEO. You’ve created great content strategy on a page, but at some point, you’ll lose your reader.
Exit popups monitor a user’s mouse behavior and fire exactly when a visitor scrolls to the corner of a page to exit the window, navigate to another page, or return to their previous page. By crafting a relevant lead capture popup for your visitors, you can maintain that you’re putting the right offer in front of the right visitor at the right moment.
Below are 6 things that make a great popup, and over 15 examples you can use for inspiration for your e-commerce platform.
How to create a great exit popup
Focus on the CTA.
All the bells and whistles of an exit intent popup don’t mean anything if the user doesn’t actually do anything. Your CTA should be clear and compelling. Usually, this means offering a free service, a discount, a free download, or access to some sort of exclusive upgrade.
If you know that you get higher conversions when you offer coupons, focus on that offering. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple, such as the way e-commerce site, Revolve, makes it clear that you’ll immediately get the chance to save money when you click the button.
It’s even better if you can personalize the offer to the page, making the CTA relevant to the user intent. For example, Pique Tea, in an article about gut health, offers a handy cheat sheet available for download.
Grubhub also does a great job of being bold and to the point. They add a nice touch by offering a not-so-often used number as their discount: $12 off.
This is eye-catching because it’s unusual. It’s an odd number that our brains don’t expect. And, by switching up the messaging in this subtle way, they keep us on our toes and capture our attention.
Write a great headline.
A good exit intent popup will capture our attention with a good headline, right off the bat, as people are naturally going to read the headline first. It’s just how we’re wired.
WordStream provides a quality example. “Know more, waste less” is simple, bold, and to the point. And anything promising to increase knowledge while reducing pain points should have readers’ full attention.
Refinery29 also comes out swinging with this aggressive but interesting headline. It’s just provocative enough to make readers want to stop and consider the ad, which is difficult when creating an exit intent popup.
The popup proclaims, “You could have read this in your inbox. (But you playing.)” This encourages people to subscribe, and at the very least, it makes visitors stop and pay attention.
Similarly, Banana Republic caught our attention right away with their direct and provocative headline. It taps into human psychology, making readers stop and think, “For me? Cool!”
This popup isn’t technically personalized and it’s pretty generic, but the whole point is to attract readers. And it works.
Write standout copy.
If someone takes the time to read the copy on your popup, it’s probably because they were initially intrigued by the headline and interested in buying. You’ve hooked them, so now’s the time to take it home.
Be as informative as possible while still being concise. Exit intent popups don’t give you much space to write, so you have to be succinct.
Sujan Patel fills out his exit intent popup by offering proof that he should be taken seriously as a thought leader.
Check out this other great example from Adam Enfroy, who grew his blog from 0 to 75k readers/month and over $20k in monthly recurring revenue in under six months.
His tactics promise to help others do the same through his free 7-day email course for new bloggers:
Noah Kagan takes a similar approach with his gated lead magnet, but he adds in even more of his own personal flair.
Forbes cleverly uses copy to create FOMO by offering views “for the C-Suite.” That phrase implies they produce an email newsletter with tips and tricks specifically for industry titans, and it makes it seem like those aspiring to be in the C-suite will be missing out if they don’t sign up.
The addition of that C-suite line makes their copy pack a punch in a limited amount of words, which is what creating good copy for an exit intent popup is all about.
Clarity is important when crafting an effective popup. You often only have a second or two to convince someone that the offer is important before they click away and keep reading the post, so getting to the point quickly can be a good way to lift conversions.
Wordable’s “free editorial calendar” offer doesn’t try anything clever or confusing: It just tells readers what they’ll get:
Be aesthetically interesting.
Women’s fashion brand AYR clearly put some designer oomph into their exit intent popup creation. The framing, the dreamy blue sky, and the gorgeous sand dunes all make for an image that you can’t help but enjoy.
We could all benefit from putting serious thought into creating more artful popups that make us feel relaxed rather than sold to.
Similarly, the exit intent popup from Lems shoes makes us want to shut our computers and go on a hike (after providing our email addresses for their mailing list first, of course.)
Casper Labs uses funky and colorful type in their popup. Even if you have no idea what Casper Labs is (it’s the research wing of the mattress company Casper), the unique and compelling style catches your eye.
Highlight your credentials.
You might be a well-known tech investor or an accomplished writer, but someone who stumbles across your blog post might not realize that.
That’s why it’s important to establish credibility by listing some of the top-tier publications and businesses you’ve worked with.
People are much more likely to sign up for a newsletter from someone who’s been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Name dropping in an exit intent popup is similar to how SaaS companies often use prime homepage real estate to prominently display social proof in the form of logos of their top customers.
Make it personal (even if it’s not).
Visitors of Thrillist are often looking for something fun to do in their respective cities. So it’s smart that, in their exit intent popup, they try to drill in on exactly where visitors are so they can give the best possible recommendations. Plus, anyone who takes the time to manually enter a zip code has the potential to be a high-value user.
On a different but similar note, Tim Ferriss understands that personalization and authenticity often go hand in hand. If he’s going to gain newsletter subscribers, he’d better make it seem like the user is getting a bespoke set of tips straight from his brain to theirs.
That’s exactly the trusting vibe he creates with his use of the phrase “Sent directly by me.”
Strive to make your popup seem as soulful and non-automated as possible.
While there are endless ways you can put together an exit intent popup, an overarching theme emerges when you look at how the best do it: They’re never boring.
Whether it’s through targeting or a non-traditional headline or a beautiful image, they catch the eye and capture your attention. Nail that aspect, and the rest of your exit intent popup will fall into place.
Ben Johnson is the Head of Content at Proof, a Y Combinator-backed startup that provides real-time social proof and personalization software. Over 18,000 sites trust Proof to help increase their conversion rates.