Earlier today, one of my coaching clients asked me if I used exit popups on my website. Which is a great question!
The answer is "no" - but before I get into my reasons for that, let's back up a little....
If you're not sure what an exit popup is, it's a script which makes a little confirmation box appear on your web page when your prospects try to close it.
We're not talking about about a window that sometimes appears when you move the mouse towards the top of the window - those are different (and a lot more ethical).
Here, we're talking about the confirmation box that appears when you physically click the "close" button to close the web page, which usually ask if you want to leave while bribing you to stay.
The typical message is usually something like, "hey, don't go! The terrorists will win and you'll miss out on this awesome thing!". You get the idea.
As recently as 2013, I was using them in my business because everyone else was. Fatal mistake!
Because after looking at my website analytics, I had to stop using them.
From a marketing perspective, the logic behind an exit popup is that the majority of people who land on your web pages don't take any kind of action at all.
When people visit your sales page, over 90-95% of people won't buy.
When people visit your squeeze page, around 30-60% of people won't opt-in for your free content (or "lead magnet").
So the exit popup is there to convert as many people as possible before that chance is over.
Obviously the more people you can get taking the action you want them to take, the higher your results will be, right?
See, when people try to leave your web page, they've already shown you they're not interested.
Maybe it's not the right topic for them. Maybe they're not in the mood. Or maybe they just don't have time at that specific moment.
In other words, those people are "less than ideal" prospects at that point.
If you DO persuade them to opt-in, they're not going to have the same enthusiasm as the people who did so without being pushed into it.
They won't pay attention to your offers, they won't consume your content and definitely won't open your emails - because they'll see you as "that marketer who forced me to opt-in".
Would you open emails from a friend who wouldn't leave you alone until you became friends with them?
The same principle applies here.
Oh, and if you DO persuade them to buy through an exit popup, they'll either refund, cause problems with your support desk and/or don't convert as well through the upsell process as the customers who bought without being hard-sold into it.
From my own experience, back in 2013, I showed an exit popup to half of my visitors to offer a $1 trial when people closed the window of my Six Figure Shortcut blueprint. The extra trial sales started pouring in. "This is great!", I thought.
But looking closer at my analytics, around 10% of those people refunded their $1 (yes, true story!), and around half of them cancelled before the 7-day trial was over and they were re-billed at $27.
As for the people who left the page without seeing the exit popup...
They came back to the same page a few days later after receiving some emails from my automated follow-up sequence, and converted at full price without any issues - AND they were better customers - because at that point, they had realised it was right for them (instead of buying based on curiosity).
So I switched off the exit popup and my total profit went up.
Another downside is that the people who still don't take action after seeing the exit popup see you as a pushy "snake oil salesperson", so you have even LESS chance of getting them to take action in the future.
Plus, aside from attracting the wrong people in the wrong mindset into your business, the other major downside is that most PPC networks (such as Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, etc) will ban your account if you repeatedly advertise a page with an exit popup. No exceptions.
The way they see it, you're being unethical because you're interfering with the prospect's browsing experience.
So treading on thin ice like that definitely isn't a great way to run your business.
Instead, I've found a much better way to increase your conversions is to let your follow-up sequence do the persuading.
That way, they'll be enthusiastic about taking the action you want them to take and be a much better customer, in terms of their satisfaction and what they buy afterwards.
And of course, you can't follow up with them if they don't opt-in via your squeeze page in the first place, right?
Well that's what retargeting is for.
Set up a simple ad that says, "Not interested in [topic]? Here's a different guide which reveals [benefits of another piece of free content]...", sending them to a different squeeze page for that different piece of free content, then show that ad ONLY to the people who visited your squeeze page but didn't opt-in.
This way, you still appeal to your prospects' natural desires, instead of forcing them to take action through annoyance - which never ends well.
Have a great day!
- James Francis.
Founder & CEO, Digital Prosperity.