Online Marketing Strategies - Money Journal

Exit Popups: The Complete Guide To Doubling Your Conversions

At some point, you’ve been slapped with one of these…


Some call them annoying and others think they’re downright obnoxious.

In the marketing world, people simply call them an exit pop up (also known as an exit intent pop-up or exit opt-in).


You’d be right to think that the above image looks like spam. But there are classier and more effective ways to use them to double your conversion rates.

And in today’s article, we are going to don our scuba gear and dive into the deep dark recesses of the exit pop up world.

I am going to reveal when to use them, hacks and tactics to improving their effectiveness, key mistakes to avoid, and even a few case studies to get your creative juices flowing.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a new secret weapon in your bag to convert more visitors into leads.

So slap on your rebreather and let’s get to it.

What is an Exit Pop Up?

An exit pop up is simply a message that is displayed to users who are attempting to leave your site.

Typically exit popups are used as a way to promote special offers, warn users about the potential loss of information, or collect leads.

To accomplish these goals, marketers use one of two types of exit popups.

Designed vs. System Exit-intent Popups

1. System Exit Pop Up

These are exit popups that you will frequently see whenever you try and leave a sales or checkout page.

They are triggered as soon as someone tries to exit out of a tab in their browser. There are minimal options for customization outside of the copy.


Yes, they can be used effectively in the hands of the right marketer.

However, because of their blatant overuse and misuse, they are typically viewed with disdain by the majority of the online marketing world and the majority of your audience.

For this reason, in this article, I will be focusing solely on designed exit popups.

2) Designed Exit pop up

These are the popups that you are going to notice anytime you surf or are surfing through a savvy marketer’s website.

Designed exit popups are more versatile, customizable, and effective than system popups and they provide the intelligent marketer with a whole slew of options for maximal optimization.

For example, compare the above system popup with this.


Now, despite the fact that they are more effective and allow you to increase conversions in a very unobtrusive manner, designed popups do have a weakness.

Unlike system popups, designed popups are triggered on-page whenever a viewer’s mouse moves outside of the web page.

This means that there is no guarantee that a user will actually see your message before they leave the site.

However, I will give show you a few nifty tricks later in this article that will help you mitigate this risk and ensure your messages have maximal exposure.

In the meantime, let’s talk about how you should use exit popups for the greatest possible effect.

When to Use Exit Popups for Maximal Effect

Like most great tactics in the internet marketing game, exit popups work great, if you know how to use them.

However, unless you educate yourself and create intentional and targeted exit intent campaigns, you run a very real risk of losing customers and damaging your business’s reputation.

The first step on your path to exit intent success is knowing when or for what purposes to use exit popups in the first place.

While there are countless ways that you could use exit popups, in my experience, there are three ways to use exit popups that outshine all the rest.

1. Use Exit popups to Generate and Grow Your Email List

Exit intent popups are one of the most powerful and effective ways to grow your email list.

With exit intent software, you can quickly turn otherwise lost audience members into qualified leads with ease.

However, the success of the pop-up is dependent almost entirely upon the offer and the copy within the pop-up.

This means that unlike using exit popups to recover abandoned carts (which we’ll cover later) the pop-up technology itself will not actually be the most significant factor in your success.

The rate at which you will be able to increase email opt-in conversions with exit popups is dependent on three things.

1. The Offer

Because of the copious amounts of unsolicited information, sales pitches, and just plain spam that most people receive on a daily basis, they are very protective of their email.

They aren’t going to give it to you just for saying please.

For your exit popup to work, you need to incentivize your audience with some sort of free offer (also known as a lead magnet) that will make them want, nay, beg to give you their email.

Typically this offer is in the form of an ebook, free video course, or some sort of other content-based freebies that solves a problem your viewers are facing.

Something like this:


While we are not going to focus on lead magnets in this particular article, I highly recommend that you do your research and create an epic lead magnet before you even consider using exit popups to capture emails.

A high-quality, compelling lead magnet will result in massive conversions, satisfied customers, and thousands of people vying to buy your premium product.

A poorly designed lead magnet, on the other hand, will damage your brand’s reputation and diminish your loyal fan base even if it grows your email list.

2. The Copy

This is the part that most entrepreneurs and marketers get wrong.

You see, over the years, online marketers have gotten used to writing rather verbose copy.

Whether it was for a sales page, a landing page, or just an article with a sales pitch at the end, when most of us write, we write a lot.

However, when you are writing copy for exit popups, less is more.

And when I say less is more, I really do mean that less is more.

Steer away from copy like this.


And try to write more like this.


Even if you are used to writing relatively concise copy that is so common in social media advertising, odds are, you will still need to cut your copy down.

You have to remember that whenever someone sees your pop up, they are already in the process of leaving your site.

This means that their attention is not on your website or content.

It’s on that little “x” sitting smugly in the corner of their browser like a little online devil tempting them to close out the tab.

Therefore, you need to keep your copy, short, to the point, and compelling.

Don’t try and use big words and fancy industry jargon to impress your visitors.


Make your unique value proposition clear, compelling, and leave the rest to the design.

3. The Design

The final key to successfully growing your email list with exit popups is design

Like I mentioned in the last section, if a user is seeing your pop-up, it means that they are already on their way out the door.

And your popup is your last chance to make a compelling offer and convert them into a lead before they are gone for good.

This means that your design must somehow stand out and grab their attention yet simultaneously be simple enough for them to process quickly.

A great example is this exit popup from Social Triggers.


And while the ideal popup design is going to be different for every website, there are a couple of axioms you should keep in mind.  

First and foremost, you should make sure that the colors and font of the popup are congruent with the rest of the visuals on your site.

This prevents confusion and promotes a feeling of continuity within your marketing.

You should also strive to keep your design as simple as possible while still sharing the necessary imagery.

Outside of these two points, the rest is up to you.

There isn’t “one way” to design a high performing popup.

Just test out different variations until you figure out what works best for you.

2. Use Exit popups to Recover Abandoned Carts

Here’s the dealio.

If someone abandons a cart online, odds are good that the primary cause was the price tag.

Most people are not going to go through the process that is required to get to the checkout page and then leave for any other reason.

This means that one of the absolute best ways that you can increase your sales for any product is by utilizing exit popups to offer last minutes deals and discounts.

And, while you might be a bit precautious about this method for fear of losing profit, I want you to consider one quick statistic.

According to Statista, the average cart abandonment rate in the U.S. is 75.6%!


That means for every four visitors who add one of your products to their cart, only one will actually complete their purchase.

However, by using exit popups that offer last minute discounts, you can reduce your number of abandoned carts significantly.

For example, online shoe retailer, used the following 15% coupon code to reduce cart abandonment by nearly 7%!


3. Use Exit popups to Redirect Traffic to Other Content

So maybe you have a user who has already visited your site.

They have already subscribed to your email list, are regular readers, and even though they haven’t purchased anything yet, have become very promising leads.

You no longer have any need to show them exit popups trying to capture their email.

And since they aren’t on your checkout page, there is no need to try and save an abandoned cart.

Now what?


Now, you have the opportunity to deepen your engagement with this lead by using exit popups to redirect them to your best content.

Even though all of your content should be good, we all have content on our sites that really takes the cake and blows everything else out of the water.

This is the kind of content that you want your readers to see and it’s the kind of content that creates lifelong loyalty and builds your company’s authority.

So, why not leverage exit popups to maximize your content’s visibility?

This is a powerful way to keep your best content front and center.

For example, this marketer used this tactic to redirect users away from their current content and towards his free seminar.


This will decrease bounce rate and boost public perception of your brand.

It doesn’t matter whether you have an epic 3,000+ word guide that users will love, an article detailing a TV appearance, or a killer tutorial with millions of views.

Use exit popups to promote your best work and your audience will never view you the same.

A Few Stealthy Hacks that Will Turn You into an Exit Popup Ninja

Ok, so you know what exit popups are and you understand when you should be using them…

Now, it’s time to get down and dirty and unveil a few stealthy little hacks that will turn you into an exit pop up ninja.

These are the tools and techniques that separate the good from the great and the mere mortals from the internet marketing gods.

So let’s get to it.

1. Use the Visitor’s Name in the Pop Up

Over the past decade or so, there have been a number of interesting studies regarding human’s response to our own names.

In fact, studies have found that hearing your own name activates your brain in a completely different way than hearing any other word.


And even if science didn’t back me up on this, any of you who have been involved in the marketing world for long enough know this is true.

So, why not take advantage of this hack when creating your exit popups?


Instead of presenting a bland and generic pop up, personalize them with user’s names so that they catch your viewer’s attention and increase engagement.

You can use this to increase engagement with existing subscribers viewing your content redirection popups.

Alternatively, you can ask for user’s names early in the checkout process and use this trick to further boost the success of your cart abandonment popups.

2. Include a Progress Bar in Your pop up

Look, I know that you might get sick of me constantly droning on about human psychology and how different variables affect the brain, but I want you to bear with me a moment.

In fact, there is a well recorded psychological occurrence called the Zeigarnik Effect that makes people feel uncomfortable if they leave something incomplete.

And with one simple addition to your popups, you can take advantage of this effect to increase your conversions even further.

All you need to do to leverage the Zeigarnik Effect is to add a progress bar to your popups (like the one featured below).


Then, you can sit back and watch your conversion rates soar to even greater heights.

3. Destroy Objections and Offer Discounts to Recover Abandoned Carts

So we already talked about how you can recover abandoned carts and boost your sales instantly by offering exit pop up discounts.

But, if you want to embrace your inner David Ogilvy, you can take things a step further by simultaneously destroying customer objections.

For example, Neil Patel absolutely obliterates all monetary objections in this exit pop up by offering both a money back guarantee and a massive discount.


If you aren’t sure what your customer’s biggest objections are, then you can always use the same exit intent technology to create an exit questionnaire.

While you will miss out on a few short-term sales by using this popup instead of offering a discount, the knowledge you will gain makes it worth it in the long run.

4. Run this One Split Test on Your Cart Abandonment Popups

Whenever you use exit popups to recover an abandoned cart, you have one of two options.

Option #1: Offer an immediate discount code requiring no email address


Option #2: Offer a discount requiring the user to input their email to receive the discount.


Both methods have their perks and their drawbacks.

If you turn off email capture, you will likely see an immediate increase in sales conversions.

Ideally, you want to add a sense of urgency to the purchase and set the discount codes to expire after 12-24 hours.

However, even with this added urgency, you will lose potential customers.

And unless the person checking out was already a member of your email list, you have no way to follow up on your lost lead.

If you decide to use a discount that utilizes email capture, then you will most likely have pretty stagnant conversion rates.

The plus is that you can follow up later and close the sale via. email or through a Facebook retargeting ad.

Split test these methods over several months and watch your sales closely.

Both are great options, however, one might work better for your particular business than the other.

The Biggest Exit Pop Up Mistakes

You are almost ready to go out into the big bad world and start creating exit popups of your own to double (or triple) your revenue, increase subscribers, and turn your business into an empire.

But first, let’s address a few of the common mistakes I see entrepreneurs making when they start down their path to exit pop up mastery.

1. Bad Triggering/Timing

Like I mentioned earlier in the article, timing is of the essence with designed exit popups.

If they display too soon, they will frustrate viewers, reduce your conversion rate, and ultimately damage your website’s reputation.

However, if they are triggered too late, no one will ever actually see them and your amazing message will be forever lost in the depths of cyberspace.


Therefore, one of the first orders of business to ensure your popups are optimized is making sure that the triggering and timing on the pop up is dialed in.

You have around 200 milliseconds from the moment that the viewer moves their mouse out of the window to the moment that they click the X and leave your page.

This means that you need to decrease the lag time on your pop up to roughly 50 milliseconds.

Luckily for you, achieving this feat, that would normally be a nightmarish technical challenge, is relatively easy.

First, make sure that you are using a high-quality pop up and opt in software like Optimonk, OptinMonster, Bounce Exchange, or Wishpond.

Then, eliminate any flashy animations or effects.

While they may look cool, they ultimately increase load time and increase time-to-comprehension for your visitors.

2. Using too Many Offers

I know this may sound a bit oxymoronic since I just finished telling you about the effectiveness of exit pop up offers, but hear me out.

Using offers to recover abandoned carts is highly effective, yes.

But it is also very costly.

So while I highly recommend that you use this tactic, you need to be selective.

Make sure that you are using discount offers on products with high-profit margins and only offering the minimal effective discount to incentivize leads.

If you get too trigger happy with this technique, you may find yourself with an excess in sales and a lack of cash.

3. Not Testing Enough

Look, I get it:

You are absolutely sick and tired of me talking about how important it is for you to “Test, test, test.”

And while I understand your frustration, it is my duty and responsibility to every single member of the Money Journal audience to continue my ranting.

Because quite frankly, testing is the single most important factors to your business success.

Just look at how the company below increased their conversion rates by 12% by changing only a few simple words.


Unless they had been committed to constantly testing and tracking their content to ensure the greatest possible results, they never would have found this simple fix.

While it might seem ridiculous to increase conversions by changing two words, it showcases what I love about testing.

The data never lies.

And if you want to create fully optimized pop up campaigns, then you are going to have to test and gather data of your own.

A whole lot of it.  

A Few Awesome Pop Up Case Studies

So now that you understand all the secrets of using exit intent popups in your business, let’s take a look at how other businesses are using them to achieve tremendous results and how you can emulate similar (or better) results.

1. Digital Marketer: How One of the Big Dogs Use Exit popups to Generate 2,500 Leads

Just about everyone in the online marketing community knows about the company Digital Marketer.

However, what you may not know is that this community of nearly half a million people was able to use exit popups to generate 2,689 leads using Optimonk’s on-site retargeting.

And this same campaign simultaneously reduced their bounce rate by 20%, increased average time on site by 54% and raised average page views by 26%.

Not too shabby huh?

And while Optimonk’s technology is great, and certainly contributed to Digital Marketer’s success, what I love most about this case study is the pop up itself.


The headline grabs you, the copy is short (borderline nonexistent) and the pop up relies almost entirely upon eye-catching visuals and a deep understanding of psychology.

The first thing I notice is that they employ the use of color psychology by using red letters to grab the user’s attention and direct it away from the “x” button and back to the site.

They then follow this up by keeping things incredibly simple and providing users with a choice.

They can either say yes and enter their email to get a load of free goodies or they can refuse the offer by admitting that their business is perfect.

And no such thing exists…

While it might seem simple, this pop up is pure gold and the results prove its merit.

2. Rich Page: How to Increase Your Subscribers by 225%

The next case study on our list is Mr. Rich Page, a conversion optimization expert with over a decade of experience in the web analytics industry.

Rich was in the process of launching a new product on his site and knew that he needed to create more opportunities for potential leads to subscribe pre-launch.

And, being the savvy marketer that he is, he also knew that exit popups were one of the best ways to accomplish his goals.

Rich used Optinmonster to create his exit intent popups and then began working his optimization wizardry.


Rich started split testing the headlines, benefits, and calls to action on his pop up before he finally optimized the pop up to achieve his desired results.


And what exactly were those results?

Well, before using OptinMonster, Rich’s conversion rate was around 1.4%.

After creating and optimizing his exit intent popups, Rich’s conversion rate jumped to 4.56%.

That’s a 225% increase!

And what’s more, is that after his great success with the first pop up, Rich decided to add that same pop up to a separate page on his website.

This increased the signup rate on the page from 12% to a jaw dropping 50%.

Not bad for a little white box, huh?

3. Boom! by Cindy Joseph: 18% Revenue Increase and 8,997 New Leads… In One Month

The final case study on our list, is also one of my favorites, courtesy of a partnership between Smart Marketer and Boom! by Cindy Joseph.

Ezra Firestone, the founder and creative director of Smart Marketer is also a partner in Boom! by Cindy Joseph and company’s marketing director.

Instead of taking the traditional approach and offering all users the exact same pop-up offer, Ezra based the pop-up offers on the user’s engagement level.

This meant that more engaged users, who were likely to buy, would receive exit popups offering discounts like you see below.


And less engaged users would receive offers like the one in this pop-up, with the goal of increasing engagement and boosting their intent to purchase.


The results?

Well other than the almost unheard of fact that nearly 40% of the visitors who saw the first pop up said “YES!”, this campaign generated some other, pretty phenomenal effects.

Namely, the campaign increased the company’s revenue by 18% and generated 8,997 new leads in only one month.

Are you starting to see the power that these little popups truly have?


Now, before I let you go, I want to make one last point.

I know that after reading this article, you might think that exit popups are “easy” or some sort of “conversion quick fix.”

They’re not.

Just like email, Facebook, SEO, and Instagram all take time to learn and master, exit popups are going to take time and effort.

You might see results immediately, and you might not.

But regardless of how long it takes you, stick with it and use this guide to help you navigate this new world.

If you can master it, the rewards are great and your business will never be the same.

So get out there and get to it, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Were there any other questions you had about exit-intent popups that I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments section and I will try and help you out!

Author: Sam Oh
top © All rights reserved.