Using on screen pop-ups is a controversial lead generation tactic.
On one hand, many people find pop-ups annoying.
However, the research shows pop-ups are highly effective and have a high conversion rate.
For instance, the average pop-up converts at 3%, while a large number convert at around 10%. Some pop-ups convert as high as 50-60%.
This apparent discrepancy is why pop-ups are so controversial – they’re annoying and effective at the same time. How can this be?
The answer lies in the type of pop-up and how it’s presented.
Many people find most pop-ups annoying, but not all.
Some users just ignore pop-ups, while others see them as relevant and helpful.
For example, when a pop-up offer is interesting, visitors don’t experience the pop-up as annoying.
And if a pop-up isn’t too obnoxious, many users who aren’t interested have no problem closing the pop-up.
So, what makes some pop-ups annoying?
It all comes down to the way a pop-up is served and how easy it can (or can’t) be closed.
What makes pop-ups effective?
Since not all pop-ups are annoying, it’s important to identify the specific elements that make a pop-up annoying to website visitors. Once you identify these elements, you can avoid incorporating them into your pop-ups.
The following elements can make pop-ups annoying:
When a pop-up takes up the entire screen, visitors start to wonder if they’re in the right place. Full-screen pop-ups are seen as a barrier to your content rather than an option to get more content. Full-screen pop-ups are also perceived as spammy.
Pop-ups aren’t inherently successful – you have to make them work. Once you identify the elements that support conversions, you can incorporate them into your pop-ups.
The following elements make pop-ups successful:
A relevant, irresistible offer shown to the wrong market will fail. For example, if your offer is solid, but you’re targeting the wrong demographics, you won’t get many sign-ups. On the other hand, when your offer is solid and you’re targeting the right demographics, your conversion rate will soar.
Visitors want to know they are in control of their web browsing experience. When the “X” is immediately visible and obvious, visitors will know it’s just a pop-up and not one of those spammy ads that takes over the entire website and blocks access to the content.
On the flip side, a small, unobtrusive pop-up box positioned in the middle of your webpage will still allow visitors to see the general outline of your content. They’ll quickly know if they’re in the right place even when they can’t read the content on your page.
When visitors have an immediate, positive impression of your pop-up, they’re more likely to read your marketing message and sign up for your email list.
Exit intent pop-ups are time-delayed until the visitor is ready to leave. Instead of serving your pop-up after four seconds, you serve the exit intent pop-up when the visitor moves their mouse away from the browser window or tab.
This type of pop-up is effective because you’re not intruding on your visitor’s browsing session. Also, they’ll be more familiar with you and your content by the time they see your pop-up. If you’ve been able to build any amount of rapport with a visitor through your content, they’ll be a “warmer” lead than when they first arrived.
If you haven’t created an exit intent pop-up yet, now is a great time to get started. For ideas, check out Campaign Monitor’s list of 60 exit intent pop-ups that convert.
You might be wondering if pop-ups work, wouldn’t a static sign-up form also work? Why go through all the trouble of programming a pop-up and annoying some visitors just to get sign-ups, if a static sign-up form would do the trick?
The short answer is that pop-ups are more effective at generating conversions. However, you shouldn’t rely on pop-ups alone for your conversions. It’s important to have a variety of email capture strategies in play, including pop-ups, static sign-up forms, and any other method you’re using.
Even though you really need to use both, here’s why pop-ups are more effective than static sign-up forms.
It’s also worth noting that a large number of pop-ups convert at a rate between 10-60%. Exceptionally high conversion rates can be achieved by fine-tuning three things: your offer, the way your pop-up gets delivered, and your target audience. If you’re not sure how to accomplish these things, contact us at SEO.co and we’ll help you get your pop-up marketing on track as part of our landing page optimization services.
For example, you can make good use of influential imagery in a pop-up. Images increase conversions across all marketing channels, including pop-ups. In fact, Sleek Note performed a study looking at 20 million pop-up views and found that pop-ups with images converted 83.57% better than those without images.
If you created a sign-up form on your website using large images, it would be a distraction for visitors while browsing your website.
While there are plenty of benefits to using pop-ups that make them more effective than a static sign-up form, make sure to use both.
Any effective lead generation strategy is worth using. However, just because pop-ups can be effective doesn’t mean any pop-up will be effective. If you’re going to use pop-ups, they need to be designed in a specific way.
Do you want to create effective pop-ups that add hundreds or thousands of leads to your contact list every month? If so, you’ll need to do five things:
The first step to creating effective pop-ups is pinpointing exactly what action you want visitors to take through your pop-up. While there are plenty of different actions, these are the top 6:
Once you determine the action you want your visitors to take inside your pop-up, then you can begin crafting the appropriate marketing message to elicit that response. You’ll start by crafting a strong headline and then work on creating compelling copy.
Here’s a breakdown of each targeted user action with tips for writing headlines to elicit that specific user action.
This is where split-testing will come in handy. Split-testing is the ultimate tool for optimizing your conversion rate. By testing variables on your pop-ups, you’ll narrow down what elements work best, including offers and lead magnets.
For instance, some people want access to information immediately in the form of a free download, while others just want to be updated when you post new content. Which offer is right for you will depend on your content and audience. For example, your content exists for entertainment purposes only, you’ll have a hard time getting people to sign up to receive a free download.
If you’re going to offer a free download with helpful information, here are some sample headlines you can copy:
How a Newbie Marketer From California Accidentally Created a Million-Dollar Business From His Basement In Six Months
You Might Be New To PPC Ads, But You’ll Get A Flood Of Leads If You Sign Up For My Newsletter
Start Generating Leads Without Any Marketing Experience In The Next 30 Minutes – Guaranteed!
While the above headlines are powerful, only make promises you can keep. For example, if you can’t teach people to generate leads in 30 minutes, make a different promise. Write powerful headlines, but make sure your content delivers on your promises.
You also don’t always need to tell people “enter your email address.” Many of the world’s top marketers don’t waste space by telling visitors to enter their email address. They just write compelling headlines and copy and visitors know what to do.
Click to watch Sam Smith explain how to pressure can ground beef
Click to play the trailer for our new movie: Last Man Standing
When you need to encourage someone to visit another website, make sure it’s clear why you’re asking your visitors to leave your site.
To encourage people to connect with a live representative, use the following kind of message:
Click to connect with a live representative
Click for live support
Click to talk with a live representative
How would you rate our services from 1-10? Answer and get 20% off your next purchase!
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend? Answer and get free shipping on your next order!
Now that we’ve covered some ideas for creating effective headlines, let’s talk about the call-to-action (CTA). Your call-to-action is a phrase that inspires visitors to take your desired action. For example, “buy Widget X now,” “click to learn more,” “contact us for a free consultation,” and “get your free report” are all calls to action.
Writing a CTA sounds simple, but writing an effective CTA takes skill. Sometimes you can’t just tell your visitors to do something – you have to phrase it in a way that compels them to take the directed action. This requires extensive experience in the art of persuasion, which happens to be the foundation for marketing.
Here are some tips for writing a CTA to generate a specific action from your visitors.
For example, you’ll need to come up with a strong headline and some copy. However, your copy needs to inspire people to take a specific immediate action. For most business owners, that action will be signing up for their email list. For others, it might be signing up for a free download, which will also result in obtaining a person’s email address.
The key is to create the most enticing, irresistible offer you can craft. If you don’t have an amazing download to offer, don’t offer a download. If you have a popular, outstanding newsletter
Gary Halbert is considered one of the best, if not the best copywriter in the world. His copywriting skills are legendary. As one of the top direct mail marketers ever to walk this Earth, Gary Halbert’s copy can teach you plenty about how to inspire people to take action.
Check out his website – The Gary Halbert Letter – and you can read some of his newsletters for inspiration. His website is old school, but contains valuable information.
John Carlton studied under Gary Halbert for many years. John has written many successful ads for people in just about every business, including pro golfers, martial artists, and corporations. He teaches copywriting classes and has a blog called “The Rant” where he posts original content.
Dan Kennedy is a legend in the copywriting world. Although rumors surfaced of his passing in 2020, he actually made a miraculous recovery. If you want to learn how to inspire people to respond to your directions, you need to get familiar with Dan Kennedy’s work.
Dan Kennedy has published several books on marketing and his teachings can certainly help you create irresistible CTAs for your website.
Harlan Kilstein is one of the only A-list copywriters who includes NLP in copy. Although some people say NLP doesn’t translate to the written word, it really works. If you want to learn the art of persuasive copywriting, Harlan is your guy.
David Deutsch is a great copywriting resource for just about everyone, but his work will be especially helpful to those in the food or supplement industry. He’s one of few copywriters to master these challenging industries.
To use pop-ups on your website, you’ll need an application to serve your pop-ups to your visitors. While you can certainly find stand-alone solutions that you have to install and configure on your web server, it’s easier to use a plugin.
If you’re running a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, for example, you can find a good pop-up plugin right in your admin panel. Like all other plugins, installation will take one click and you’ll only need to perform a minimal amount of setup.
If you’re not using WordPress or another CMS that uses plugins, you may want to consider switching. There are plenty of benefits to using a CMS over plain HTML and CSS websites, so if you make the switch you’ll benefit greatly.
Here’s a list of the top applications and plugins people use to deliver pop-ups.
If you’re running WordPress on your website, you’ll love the Popup Builder plugin. While most plugins cover only the basics, this one has additional extensions and app integrations. For example, you can integrate with applications like Mailchimp, AWeber, and WooCommerce, and you can create exit intent pop-ups, serve video pop-ups, support chat pop-ups, and more.
Another WordPress plugin is Elementor Pro. This plugin will allow you to make completely customized plugins through a visual WYSIWYG editor.
Popup Smart is an online pop-up builder that has both free and paid plans. You can use Popup Smart on any website and it doesn’t require any coding skills. All you do is use the web interface to design your pop-ups and embed the generated code into your webpage.
Even though it’s not a WordPress plugin, you can still use it on a WordPress website when you use a plugin that allows you to insert header/footer code.
HubSpot offers pop-up forms to their customers that work on standard websites and content management systems like WordPress. If you haven’t signed up for a HubSpot account, you may want to check them out – they’re an amazing resource for marketing.
Once you’ve been generating leads for a short while, it’s important to start reviewing your data and create a plan to test various elements. This is primarily done through split testing, also known as A/B testing.
To split-test your pop-ups, you’ll want to test only one element at a time. For example, you’ll create two different versions of your pop-up with only one change between them. You might start by writing two different headlines or CTAs. However, only change one element at a time.
When split-testing your pop-ups, make sure to test the following elements:
There are other elements you can test over time, but these are the most important. Split-testing is a long-term, ongoing strategy that will help you discover what your visitors respond to best.
In direct marketing, this concept is known as “beating the control.” The idea is that your most effective marketing piece is considered your “control” piece and your job is to come up with new ways to beat the results of your control piece. Once you create something that outperforms your control piece, that becomes your new control and you start the process over again.
Effective pop-ups are essentially effective marketing messages wrapped in an aesthetically-pleasing package. The actual on-screen pop-up is just the delivery method for your marketing messages. If you can create a good marketing message, you can get sign-ups to your email list through pop-ups.
If you want effective pop-ups, you need effective marketing messages. Our marketing experts can help you craft powerful marketing messages that speak directly to your target market and inspire them to sign up for your email list.
At SEO.co, we have extensive experience helping our clients grow their email marketing list through advanced SEO marketing strategies.
When your goal is to increase conversions, you need to increase your traffic. Fully-managed SEO services are the best way to generate that traffic. Contact us today and we’ll help you get the targeted traffic you need to grow your list.