How popups can help you increase conversions and make more money

Garret Cunningham

Popups are a common tool used by e-commerce websites to increase conversions and serve as a value exchange to collect visitor information, especially email addresses. They can also incentivise visitors not to leave your site and guide visitors along their site journey.

There are pros and cons to using popups that you should be aware of as you plan your conversion strategies. The biggest benefit of popups is that they can boost conversions substantially if they’re done right. This is why popups are so popular. And since popups don’t cost anything, they offer huge ROI potential. In addition, popups demand the attention of site visitors and focus on one message and a singular call to action (CTA).

The biggest drawback of popups (surprise!) is that they can be annoying, especially if they aren’t planned carefully. Obviously, popups block content, forcing visitors to make an extra click to get back to what they were reading. Popups can also increase bounce rates and have a negative impact on SEO.

Here are some tips for using popups effectively in order to boost conversions and keep customers coming back to your site.

Make it a true value exchange

You must offer visitors something of value if you want them to respond to your offer and not get annoyed by the popup. Discount codes are a common and generally effective offer. But be careful not to offer an unnecessary discount code, or to give away “money for nothing,” which can eat into your profit margins.

Place popups strategically

One e-commerce site featured three separate popups within the first few seconds of arrival: one right away welcoming the visitor, another with a discount code and another offering to send product notifications.

Instead of hitting visitors with a popup immediately, give them a little time to settle in and get comfortable. Popups don’t need to be on every page of your website. Your goal is to surprise and delight visitors with the right popup to the right customer, in the right place and at the right time.

Just as important, don’t use popups on key areas of the site like the shopping basket or checkout, unless you can identify that something has gone array and you want to nudge the customer along. Doing so could distract the customer and jeopardize the sale.

Use triggers for popups

For example, a popup could appear when a product is added to basket, when a visitor has looked at products but not added any to basket, or when a visitor is getting ready to leave a page. This helps build engagement with visitors before giving them an offer.

Recognize your visitors

Make sure you know if a visitor is a returning customer so your popup can encourage him or her to make a repeat purchase. Remember: It costs less to make a sale to an existing customer than it does to attract a new customer.

Also make sure your popups target visitors accurately. For example, if a visitor is browsing pages for products targeted to men, don’t have an offer pop up that’s targeted to women.

Ensure that popups are mobile-friendly

Most e-commerce traffic in the UK is now mobile so your popups must be designed to display correctly on mobile devices. There’s no faster way to lose visitors than for them to encounter a buggy and intrusive popup when visiting your site on a mobile device.

Place time limits on popup offers

This will create a sense of urgency and motivate visitors to act on the offer before leaving the site. For example, the popup could state that the offer expires in an hour or two or by the end of the day.

Test, test, test!

To improve your chances of success in using popups, you must test different popup variables such as timing, design, content, offer and placement. We ran a series of tests for a client that compared these and other variables to using no popups at all. It took seven different popup variations before we found one that boosted conversions. The first six variations all had a negative effect on conversions.

There’s no getting around the fact that popups will likely cost you some leads and increase your bounce rate with certain visitors. So you must test in order to determine whether the pros of popups — mainly higher conversion rates and captured email addresses — outweigh the cons. If you don’t, popups could end up doing more harm than good.

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