How To Drive More Conversions With Exit-Intent Popups
How To Drive More Conversions With Exit-Intent Popups

How To Drive More Conversions With Exit-Intent Popups

Love them or hate them, exit-intent pop-ups are here to stay. When designed and implemented correctly, popups are an extremely effective tool in extracting value from each and every visit.

This is especially true in eCommerce, where many online retailers are pursuing market growth through paid channels like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. It’s more important than ever to make every interaction count.

But with the widespread adoption of exit-intent popups, their impact is beginning to diminish.

In order to stand out from the crowd, it’s crucial that you consider some important rules when designing exit-intent popups – rules that will help you leverage this conversion optimization tool to its full potential.

1. Make your Exit Popups unique

Popups are everywhere. That’s because they can be an effective means of keeping visitors engaged, even as they demonstrate bounce-like behavior.

However, their very popularity means that retailers need to work harder to distinguish themselves from the pack. This starts with the design of the popup itself.

In the below example, the offer itself is compelling, however, the effectiveness of this popup is compromised by the design of the box, which together with some low-rent branding, makes the popup complicated to signup.

Source: HelloBar

1.1 What’s so bad about it?

If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

  • Design: Bad. The first thing I saw looks like a big mistake. The green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.
  • Clarity: Bad. And what on earth does the headline mean? click.click.click. Upon deeper exploration, it’s the name of the newsletter, but that’s not apparent at all on the first load.
  • Clarity: worse. Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.
  • Design: Bad. Also, that background is gnarly.

Popups need to look like they belong on the page; they need to fit in with the overall branding of the website. An inconsistent design can make visitors think that your popup is spam, rather than something that could potentially provide value. Matching the branding with the color scheme and font of the website creates a seamless experience while staying unique in a world full of ‘me-too’ popup designs.

The below popup from SwissWatchExpo is a great example of consistent design in action, with a color scheme and overall branding firmly in sync with that of the website.

2. CTA  Is Relevant, Concise, and Instantly Redeemable?

Less is more when it comes to the design of your CTA (call-to-action). Two key reasons why visitors often skip popups is because the CTA simply lacks concise relevance (i.e. perceived value), or doesn’t provide any sort of instant gratification.

In the case of exit popups, the user has already made a decision that the landing page lacks relevancy, either through brand or product-specific cues.

Therefore, the exit popup is your last shot of demonstrating meaningful relevancy and should be short, concise, and instantly redeemable.

In other words, it should answer questions relating to the ‘what’ (is the offer?), the ‘why’ (is this valuable?), and the ‘when’ (can I get it now?).

OptiMonk - Create a forever free account offer
OptiMonk – Create a forever free account offer

This next popup from Pura Vida Bracelets is a perfect example of an effective CTA. Here, not only is the offer concise and visually appealing, but the ‘Get Free Bracelet’ button conveys how the offer will be fulfilled, and the text beneath it provides further reinforcement of instant gratification.

3. Always Follow The ‘F-Shape’ Rule

The ‘F-shaped’ rule is a well-established rule of thumb in the conversion rate optimization world. It assumes that when visitors first encounter a new website, they study the landing page in an ‘F-shaped’ pattern.

When it comes to designing an exit popup (or any popup, for that matter), you should adopt a similar approach – place your key messaging in an F-shape. This is especially true if your popup is larger than three-quarters of the overall screen size.

In the example below, the left side of the popup is prime screen real estate, as this where the user’s eye line will naturally gravitate to.

As such, the left side is where you should place the key textual elements of your CTA, reserving the right side for your main imagery. This will draw more attention to your key message, thereby increasing the possibility of keeping prospective customers engaged.

4. Don’t Make All Your Exit Popups The Same

A common mistake among retailers is to employ the same exit popup for each and every page. This fundamentally ignores the context of the ‘exit’ action (the specific reason why people choose to exit a given page). Understanding this context presents a significant opportunity to tailor your popups with personalized offers.

For example, cart abandonment is a major issue for growing and established retailers alike. The cost of shipping is commonly seen as a key trigger of cart abandonment, or perhaps more specifically, the added cost to the order which is only disclosed immediately prior to checkout.

This can be a major issue for customers who may feel that the shipping charge is excessive, and therefore look to shop around for a better deal. So your ‘standard’ exit popup, in this case, is unlikely to be effective in persuading the user to continue to checkout, unless it offers some form of transactional discount.

And if you’ve spent a lot of time, money or effort in attracting customers to your site, only to see them fall at the final hurdle, you might want to consider triggering a customised popup where the CTA offers free shipping (or some form of shipping discount) in order to win the initial sale.

Exit popup: Discount + Free shipping
Exit popup: Discount + Free shipping

Yes, you’re sacrificing margin, but this one trick can work wonders for your overall conversion rate!

5. Don’t Convey a False Sense of Urgency

Conveying some sense of urgency through a limited time offer is an oft-used tactic amongst sophisticated retailers. However, doing this right does not look like this:

Bad urgency Popups
Bad urgency Popups

Your customers are smart. Reducing your price in such an overly-dramatic manner (and just as your prospective customers are heading for the exit door) can also quickly diminish the perceived value of your product and your credibility.

In other words, this may prompt the user to think ‘is this actually a one-time-only deal or can I come back some other time and see the same popup?’.

The issue here isn’t the reduction in price. Instead, the mistake lies in how this reduction in price is communicated.

A better way to execute this tactic is to follow the below example, and add a time-specific countdown to claim the offer.

This popup doesn’t fake urgency. Instead, it gives the user a personalized, and time-sensitive, offer.

So how do you get started?

6. Popup Tools to get started

The great news is that there are lots of tools out there to transform the effectiveness of your popups.

Here are just a few to get you started:

6.1 OptinMonster [20% Off Deal] [SaaS]

OptinMonster Coupon Code
OptinMonster Coupon Code

OptinMonster is possibly the most feature-rich popup tool at its price point. Their signature exit-intent technology promises to convert an additional 2-4% of visitors.

6.2 ConvertPro [10% Off Deal] [WP Plugin]

ConvertPro Discount Code
ConvertPro Discount Code

Convert Pro is an effective WordPress popup plugin that can be used by everyone that wishes to increase conversions on their websites. It is made with non-techies and normal WordPress users in mind being one of the best plugins that will help you build email lists with exit-intent technology. There are 62 templates you can choose from or design one as you wish using the visual editor that comes with this plugin.

6.3 Picreel [SaaS]


Picreel optimizes offers on your website by tracking visitors’ digital footprint and click behavior in real-time and then serves up the most relevant offer as they navigate around your valuable content Picreel is easy to integrate and has a particularly strong A / B testing feature, which allows retailers to test the performance of different buttons, styles, colors, and texts.

6.4 WisePops [SaaS]


WisePops enables you to easily create awesome-looking popups in minutes. They provide a robust solution to design, targeting, and analytics. Better still, they offer a free 14-day trial.

6.5 OptiMonk [SaaS]

OptiMink - Exit Popups
OptiMink – Exit Popups

These guys specialize in exit popups. Easy to use, yet feature-rich, it’s definitely one of the better popup tools on the market.

6.6 Layered Popups [WPPlugin] [$21]

Layered Popups example
Layered Popups example

Layered Popups is a WordPress plugin that takes care of all your popup needs. It integrates well with 90 email marketing systems (the list is really impressive) and supports all kind of popups and actions (Onload, onExit, onScroll, OnIdle, OnClick, Inline Form, Sidebar Widget, Non-WP Pages, Link Locker, AdBlock Detector, Content Start, Content End)

Besides that, have over 100 popup designs that can be easily changed and customized according to your needs. We use Layered Popups here on Monetize.info. Oh and one feature that I couldn’t find in other popup solutions is that visitors can signup with their Google or Facebook account without having to enter their email address and name.

7. Conclusion

If you’re a frequent reader of Monetize.info you know that I always aim for conversions. (encourage the visitor purchase, leave their email address, subscribe to notifications, share on social media, etc).

Exit popups are great for this and I’m an advocate of using them. But enough about me. You know now why you should use them and what tools help you.

What about you? What are your results with exit-intent popups?

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About Stephan Monetize.info

Stephan J is the founder of Monetize.info and is making a living exclusively online since 2004. He tried and managed to make good profits on everything from Forex trading, options, website flipping, adsense, affiliate websites.His passions are cycling, fitness and he is spending a small fortune on watches and fine cigars

One comment

  1. Stephan,

    Great pitch. Above all, your sample images are inspiring. ‘Don’t go empty handed’ – sure this will compel user to take action before closing the exit pop-up. ‘F-shaped’ analogy will work well as you explained. The content & CTA decides the conversion rates again.

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