5 Exit Overlay Strategies That Actually Work

5 Exit Overlay Strategies That Actually Work

An exit overlay (or exit-intent overlay) is a screen or pop-up designed to win back a reader’s interest before they abandon your website. Did your visitor spend most of their time looking at pricing? Why do these exit overlays work so well? By providing a piece of free content or a resource your visitor can use immediately (without having to fork over any money), you make it easy for visitors to trust you and return to your website when they are ready to purchase. It ensures that the end result is happiness and convinces visitors that they are making a choice they can feel good about. “Did you mean to leave this in your cart?” “Did you forget to check out?” “We don’t want you to miss out!” Framed as a polite nudge or question (and often coupled with an incentive), these reminders can create the extra opportunity it takes to hook your visitor back in to complete the transaction. Notification overlays are the shiny, helpful objects that catch your visitor’s eye: 63% of potentially lost revenue from abandoned carts is recoverable. An exit overlay is a perfect opportunity to present additional information, discounts or products that will provide more value to your visitor and create another potential conversion for you. Throw in a discount, like this e-commerce site did, and you’ll likely save the original sale and upsell it to boot. With online conversion rates hovering around 1-2%, you simply must find new ways to collect information and to keep engaging with your audience until they eventually buy from you.

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best exit overlay strategies

You only have seven seconds to grab a visitor’s attention on your website. Seven measly seconds to relay your message, hook your reader, and convince prospects to trust you.

No matter how brilliant the web content, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is tough. A recent Hubspot study reports that only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.

Are you in that happy 22% or in the outside 78% looking in?

Consumer attention spans are short and digital competition is fierce.

We all want to keep our visitors happy and engaged. So how do you keep them from abandoning ship?

Thankfully, there are some proven strategies to keep your web traffic engaged and interested in what you have to say.

I’m going to show you five exit-overlay strategies to convert bored visitors into loyal customers.

But first, you need to understand what constitutes a great (or not-so-great) exit overlay.

Why aren’t your current exit-overlay strategies working?

Over three-quarters of abandoning visitors intend to return to your site to continue the purchasing process, but less than one-third of those visitors actually come back.

That’s a lot of lost conversions and revenue.

Converting leads to customers continues to be one of the most challenging, yet most crucial goals for marketers, according to this Hubspot survey:

This is where exit overlays come in.

An exit overlay (or exit-intent overlay) is a screen or pop-up designed to win back a reader’s interest before they abandon your website.

They show up in the nick of time — just before your visitor closes your page and you’ve lost them forever. Here is an example:

Done right, they create conversions.

Done wrong, they annoy people.

So what’s the secret sauce to an exit-overlay strategy that pulls people in instead of repelling them?

  • Know the right exit triggers. When does your user’s scrolling behavior or mouse movement signal the exit overlay to appear?
  • Understand your buyer’s journey. Make sure your exit overlays are sophisticated enough to adjust to the right information. Did your visitor spend most of their time looking at pricing? Display a well-timed discount pop-up.
  • Use context to provide an authentic experience. New visitors may need an informational pop-up. Returning visitors will know about your brand already, so it’s time to pull out a meatier exit overlay to keep them interested.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t try to write a book. The best exit overlays are concise and give the visitor a quick way to “x” out of the pop-up.

Now that we’ve covered the basic building blocks, here are five proven exit overlay strategies you can start building for better conversion rates.

1. Make them an offer they can’t refuse

People love free stuff.

Whether it’s a free e-book, a coupon or the chance to win a prize, your visitor is more likely to stick around if you offer them something to make it worth their while.

Like this download offer from an OptinMonster client.

Coupon and giveaway exit overlays act in similar ways. One offers a discount and the other offers something for free.

You can also entice visitors with the possibility of winning something through a contest entry or create a discount/coupon/giveaway combination. There is no wrong formula.

Why do these exit overlays work so well?

One of the top reasons visitors leave a website is a simple matter of money. They might not want to pay for shipping or pay full price or pay at all, for that matter.

It’s your job to overcome objections like these and prove your value.

A coupon or giveaway reduces cost objections and doubles as a foot in the door for future interactions.

By providing a piece of free content or a resource your visitor can use immediately (without having to fork over any money), you make it easy for visitors to trust you and return to your website when they are ready to purchase.

Brand loyalty is built one brick at a time. Be patient and trust the process.

Check out this example from Quick Sprout:

An 83% discount is hard for even the most fiscally-conscious visitor to pass up.

It’s also a low-risk offer for Quick Sprout to make. They not only get revenue from the immediate sale, but they also build goodwill and a higher likelihood of future sales.

Picreel, a CRO software provider, helped one of their customers boost conversions by over 13% by using a coupon exit overlay with a twist:

In addition to a visible call to action, this savvy advertiser added an element of urgency with a “don’t run out of time” counter.

Visitors must act fast, or pay full price. It creates the kind of mental justification that can nudge cost-aware visitors over the conversion line, turning them into customers.

Not an e-commerce site? Giveaway overlays aren’t just for physical products.

If it’s email subscribers you’re after, a giveaway could be just the ticket.

WPBeginner boosted their sign-up list 600% by offering a free WordPress toolkit.

One, polite little exit overlay. One repeatable resource giveaway. 600% more subscribers.

Ready to try it out?

First, you need to find the right exit overlay formula for you.

For example, if you’re interested in building your email list, take this example from Invision:

For the price of one t-shirt (which, coincidentally, is free marketing from whoever wears it), they can collect dozens of email addresses for their subscriber list.

That means dozens more potential customers — all for the price of a t-shirt.

Companies like Wishpond can help you build out a simple contest overlay like this one so you can start collecting the email addresses that are slipping through your lead funnel.

2. Create an emotional appeal

Let’s face it. It’s hard to make digital connections.

How do you build relationships with a nameless, faceless reader?

First, you need to gain their trust through an emotional connection.

The easiest way to build that bond is by solving a problem for your web visitors.

If they feel like their needs aren’t being met, the shopping process is too complicated, or they aren’t finding what they need right away, they won’t stick around long.

This is when an emotional exit overlay swoops in like a superhero, solving your visitor’s problem…

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