The exit-intent popup is a great tool for reaching out to the user as they are leaving your site. As they move their mouse to close the window/tab or navigate to another site, the exit-intent dialog box is magically activated. This might seem like an odd concept as they have already decided to leave, but this popup gives you one last chance to re-engage with your visitor.

How can i use an exit-intent popup to increase visitor engagement on my website?

Popups aren’t all bad

Ok, so I know what you are thinking, “popup windows are the bain of my existence.” The humble popup has kind of a bad wrap. We have all been to that site where you are bombarded by popups that obscure the content you are trying to read whilst offering you a lifetime supply of umbrellas for $2.99, but let’s pause here and recognize that:

  1. That is an amazing price for a lifetime supply of umbrellas.
  2. The popup really does grab your attention.

The key to taking the cringe out of popup use is to avoid abusing this capture of your user’s attention. Your messaging should be short, to the point, compelling, and ideally only appear once per session as they are leaving the site.

Remember, all popups are not created equal. The exit-intent popup is often received much more positively than its sometimes perceived annoying cousin, the immediate popup – which often interrupts the user’s journey through your site. The exit popup on the other hand, is the perfect tool to reel users back in as they are leaving your site.

  • Email newsletter sign-ups
  • Time sensitive offers/deadlines:
    • registration for an upcoming webinar
    • fast approaching cut-off date for program eligibility
    • competitions and entries
    • e-commerce special offers – % off goods and services, or free shipping/coupon etc.
  • Free offerings:
    • ebook
    • downloadable white paper or any other attractive downloadable resource
    • consultations, demos, and reports
  • Awareness of important information:
    • mission statement
    • informative blog posts
    • an engaging video
    • industry or current affair alerts
    • introduce a forum or discussion group
  • Social media links
  • Exit survey – why they are leaving the site

Effective use of exit-intent popups

There are many ways a user can enter your site, they may get to it from a social media post, an email, a link from another site, etc. The key here is that they do not always enter through your home page, and more importantly they are probably not going to visit every page on your site. Maybe they will check out a couple of pages and then decide to leave…then, in comes the exit popup. This is where you can highlight an important takeaway you need them to know before they leave.

Example of newsletter signup exit popup for Manex Consulting

Manex Consulting wanted to remind site visitors to subscribe to their newsletter before navigating away. We created an exit popup which is activated (once per user session) as visitors move their mouse into the browser bar.

Example of exit popup for CALED that promotes free download of guidebook

After publishing the Rural Infrastructure Financing Guidebook, CALED wanted to make sure that nobody missed out on getting a copy when visiting their website. We created an exit popup that takes visitors to the guidebook download page.

The big picture

Along with good site design, effective calls-to-action, and clear navigation, exit-intent popups are a great tool that can help boost conversion rates or highlight important information on your site. Feel free to drop us a line to discuss what type of exit popup might work to make your site perform better.

About the Author:

I’m Jannah Lyon, the creative director and graphic designer for Placemaking Group with a focus on Website and Interactive Design.  I keep my pulse on all things design that relates to small business marketing.

For more design ideas and a sample of projects I’ve completed visit our portfolio page, or connect with me on LinkedIn.