Pop-up ads have notoriously earned a bad reputation in the past.
The boxes that appear and block some or all of the website you’re viewing are annoying. They’re invasive. They’re distracting. You’ve probably thought so as well at one point (or currently).
In fact, the original creator of pop-up ads actually apologized for doing so.
However, pop-up ads have grown up a little bit from what they used to be. Not only are they now in-browser (meaning that they won’t open up an entirely new window and keep you on the website itself), they now can be an extremely effective lead generation tool.
According to Sumo, who tested almost 2 billion pop-up ads, the average pop-up converted at 3.09%, while the best was at 9.28%.
Consider if you get about 100 website visitors per day, averaging 3,000 per month. That’s a potential of 93 to 278 new leads per month.
So, why are “annoying” pop-up ads so effective?
First, they show to all visitors. They also can capitalize on the moment a visitor is most engaged with the right message and/or right value proposition. Truly, they’re hard to ignore (even if for only a few seconds. A few seconds can be long enough).
If you’re currently using a sidebar opt-in form, know that converting to a pop-up ad can lead to a 1,375 percent increase in leads.
Here are eight tips for creating pop-ups that engage website visitors and get more leads for your business.
Determine your goals
As with any other marketing tactic, strategy or tool, the first step is to decide what you want to accomplish.
Most pop-up ads these days are all about collecting the coveted email addresses of visitors so that businesses can stay in touch. This isn’t the only thing you can do with a pop-up ad.
For example, an e-commerce website could have a pop-up ad about the clearance section of its website with a button to send visitors there. This can still be a smart move if that same website has a retargeting pixel installed that will allow them to target those same visitors with ads elsewhere.
But again, most see value in collecting email addresses and any other contact information. Just decide what your goal should be.
Make the opt-out clear and obvious
Counterintuitive, right? Well, this isn’t just about manners.
Google actually will devalue your overall SEO (search engine optimization) ranking if your pop-ups are difficult to dismiss.
Content should be relevant and specific
While obvious, it’s important to put yourself in your website visitor’s shoes. You’re on your website for what reason? You’re reading what blog?
You would less likely be interested in a free ebook about social media marketing when reading a blog about SEO targeting, for example. There’s always the chance, of course, but it just doesn’t go together.
The more specific and relevant your pop-up ads, the more leads you can generate from them.
Feature the value proposition
There’s the saying, “Don’t bury the lead.” Your value proposition (whether it’s a discount or a free ebook, etc.) is why visitors should not only care but should give you their contact information.
Don’t hide it. In fact, overemphasize it.
But more than anything, you should offer something. Maybe you just want more subscribers to your newsletter, but is there a perk (like exclusive content) you can send to new subscribers? Ecommerce websites often give a first-time buyer discount. Others can offer a free demo of their product or services.
Consider who you’re trying to convince and what fits your business when deciding on an offer.
Just keep in mind that while 92 percent of your website visitors likely aren’t yet ready to buy, that doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in learning more.
Timing is everything
No one wants to experience a pop-up the moment they land on a website. Your website visitors are no different.
You’ll want to give a little bit of time for a user to browse or read your blog before the pop-up appears.
Recommendations on the exact timing obviously differ. Consider this, a good place to start could be 60 percent of the average amount of time spent on your website. For example, if the average time spent on your website is 60 seconds. Give a lag time of 36 seconds for your pop-up to appear.
However, before committing and writing this in stone, test, test and test again. You may find more success with less or more time. But the 60 percent gauge is a good place to start.
Segment when and where you can
You don’t want to go overboard. However, you can design and implement different pop-up ads for different pages of your website.
For example, on an e-commerce site, a “get sneak peeks of new arrivals” pop-up might appear on the homepage, but a specific “buy-one-get-one” pop-up for dresses could appear on the women’s dresses webpage.
There is power in being as specific and targeted as possible. Audit your website for different opportunities that could engage browsing visitors. Just remember: Overkill equals spam.
Creativity goes a long way
This is more than just a quippy one-liner. From the colors and design to the writing itself, you want to give every visitor a reason to not exit in the first half-second of seeing your pop-up ad.
On the flip side, you also want to stay true to your brand. Make sure that your creativity doesn’t take your pop-up so far that it looks like it doesn’t belong on your website. That’s an immediate flag to visitors that they’re probably seeing spam.
Deliver what you’ll say you’ll deliver. This isn’t just about user experience. It’s also about building a relationship with a new lead.
The foundation of any relationship is trust.
Don’t lose a new lead immediately by failing to hold true to what you promised them.