Let’s talk about exit-intent pop-ups.
What are exit-intent popups?
For those who are not aware, exit-intent popup, is a popup notification that you get, just when you are about to leave a particular website. This notification typically consists of a form, that intends to capture your contact information (name, email id, and so on), in exchange for a valuable(?) piece of content.
An example is this –
Just when I was about to leave the “Optin Monster” website, I was stopped by this form.
Do these opt-in forms work? Are they effective?
It seems as if the world is divided into 2 groups. One group believes that exit intent pop-ups are highly effective. Others find it pretty annoying.
Let us dig deeper into their effectiveness.
What is the main purpose of the exit-intent popup?
When a customer is leaving your website, there is a big chance that he will never come back. Now, this is risky for a brand. The brand is afraid of losing this user and the subsequent sale. In order to maintain a touchpoint with this user, the brand wants to capture his email id… so that they can still be able to reach them through email.
In other words, the primary function of the exit intent is to stop the customer in his tracks, interrupt him, and politely ask him for his contact details before he goes away. When the user is about to leave, you give him the option of accessing a guide or some e-book… basically some ‘carrot’ so that the user is tempted to leave behind his email id.
Makes complete sense, in a way right?
But then, why is it that the best marketers in the world currently hardly use exit-intent popup?
Who is your favorite marketer? Seth Godin? Gary Vaynerchuck? Andy Raskin? Mark Ritson? Bernadette Jiwa?
Yeah, none of these guys use an exit intent pop up on their website.
Why is that?
Well, because exit-intent popups are detrimental to a fruitful, long-lasting relationship.
Let’s talk a little about my college days. During college, there was this one guy, who had this big crush on a girl.
“If only I could get her number,” he would say.
I often pondered upon the worldview of this delusional guy.
How would getting the number of this girl help him?
Let’s say, by magic, if I could conjure her number… what would this guy do next?
Call her directly?
Wouldn’t that creep her out?
If you ever wish to build a deep, personal relationship with someone, the starting point of the relationship matters. In other words, how the relationship starts, plays a huge role.
Exit-intent popups are like my college friend asking for the girl’s phone number. How would things be, if instead of craving for her number, he focussed on being a guy who this girl would give her phone number to?
The context matters. The way in which you build a relationship matters.
Exit-intent popups are a tad desperate. Yes, in the short run, it might look like the number of leads is going up. But in the long-run, they are working against your brand. The foundation of this relationship is weak.
The exit-intent popup is yelling, “Please don’t go. Stay here. Let’s be friends. Let’s be connected.”
Whereas, if you give them an opt-in form (which is not an exit intent pop up) just so that the user can stay in touch, on the page itself, you are politely saying, “Hey, I am this kind of a brand, and I write this kind of stuff. If you would love to hear more from me, go ahead and sign up.”
How would it be, if we create such a brand experience that the user himself, can’t wait to find a form that he can fill, and voluntarily choose to connect with the brand?
All the legendary brands that you and I look up to – Apple, Airbnb, Slack, Microsoft – none of them ever used exit-intent popups for a reason.
If you are in the business of email marketing, to build relationships, exit intent pop-ups reek of desperation. Don’t even go there. If you are in the business of selling more products in the short run, then perhaps, it is an option that you can consider.