You’re having a grand ol’ time, reading someone’s website, soaking up all the great info, and then BAM! A big popup jumps on your screen, begging for your email address, and interrupting what you were doing.
So annoying, right?
But if popups are so annoying, why does everyone still use them?
There’s no other reason except that they work. One of the major goals of your website is to get people to opt-in to your email list, so you can keep in touch with them, build a relationship, and offer them your services after they’ve gotten to know you better.
Email marketing increases sales. So that means getting people to opt-in also increases sales.
And that’s where popups pop up… they get more people to opt-in, because they make the offer front and center with no distractions.
Down the line, this, of course, leads to more sales, business revenue, impact for your clients, freedom for you, and on it goes. Plain and simple. Popups make all your dreams come true.
But, you know, this isn’t 2008 or anything. People are savvy to the popup now. They know exactly what it is and are just as inclined to be annoyed about an ill-timed one, or simply overlook it entirely, relegating it to background noise.
So what’s some 2020 etiquette so you can still get the benefits of the beloved popup, without annoying the ever-loving shit out of your website visitors?
1. Don’t let it pop up the second they arrive on the website
The most polite option for your popup is to set it so that it only popups when people are about to leave the site (generally this is a setting called “exit intent”).
This way you’re not actually interrupting them while they’re browsing. In this case, they’ve decided they’re done and about to leave… their mouse goes towards the x or the google bar to go elsewhere…. and that’s when you politely popup and say “Hey! What do you think about this free gift?”
Sure, they can still take it or leave it, but at least they aren’t annoyed you’ve rudely cut into their website meandering.
The second best method is to set the popup to pop up upon scroll. By scroll, I mean when the visitor has already scrolled down the page a certain percentage… maybe 60% of the page, and that’s when it shows up. And preferably you should set it to so that it only shows on the second page they’ve browsed.
This at least gives people time to browse your site a little and get to know you before you ask them for their email.
See, when popups are set to popup the second they arrive on the website, what the heck is the point? They don’t even know anything about you, how do they know if they want your shit yet? Give these poor people a chance!
2. Make your popup really freaking easy to close
There’s really no question – you need to have your popup’s X button very visible. Nothing drives you more crazy when you get a popup (especially with a video that autoplays), and the x is nowhere to be seen.
Basically, if people can’t click away from your popup really freaking easily, they’re going to be pissed off. Check your popup on various screens to ensure the X is always visible and is never cut off.
3. Don’t let your popup pop up more than once in a browsing session.
If your popup technology allows it, set it so that the popup only shows once on each browsing session. It’s really annoying if you click off a popup and then the next page you go to, there it is again. And again. And again.
And even better, if you can, also set it so it never shows again to them after they’ve opted in.
4. If possible, use a small pre-popup on mobile
So Google has said that they may start docking SEO (search engine optimization) points for popups on mobile that are invasive and disturb the browsing experience.
What they’re saying is that basically popups, by nature, are more annoying on mobile because they tend to take up the whole screen. Which can make them more jarring and confusing than on desktop, where they tend to be smaller in the middle of the screen and is obvious it’s a popup.
So, if your popup technology allows, consider for the mobile experience making it so that your popup appears as a small rectangular box in the corner of the screen at first.
This little box should have an enticing line of text that invites them to click on it to bring up the full screen popup, where they would get more information and enter their email address.
In this scenario, it’s a lot less annoying because it’s not disturbing their browsing, and if they want to know more, then it was their own free will.
Now go pop your way around the world – annoyance free!
Before you go, please note that what you can do with your popup depends on the settings offered in the website builder, email marketing service, or popup plugin you’re using.
The above info about a pre-popup on mobile is pretty new and my not have caught on yet with a lot of popup providers. And not all popup technology offers “exit intent” or “appear on scroll” options either, although most do now.
So just keep that in mind – if your popup technology is not all that, you’ll just have to do your best to annoy people the least with what you’ve got! Good luck!