The 2017 Ultimate Guide To Exit Modal Pop Ups

How much time and money have you invested in driving traffic to your website?

You sell a product or service that you know will benefit others, and you make a living in doing so. Knowing that you only have a few seconds to capture your new visitor’s attention before they bounce, how would you like an effective, proven way to increase newsletter sign-ups, reduce abandoned shopping carts, and convert more of your traffic – for every single new visitor?


Enter the exit popup, a visual engagement on your website, specifically designed to slow the abandonment process for your rightfully-earned new visitor. As a visitor scrolls to leave, an exit pop up intervenes to give them a single, simple offer that they can say “yes” to with minimal fuss.

For some, exit pop ups are the path to exponential growth for their brand, requiring next-to-no work on their end while costing less than the monthly spend of almost all the marketing tools they aren’t using.

It’s your last stand, but it can also be your most effective because it keeps people on your site and makes them pause to consider what you’re offering.



Here’s what exit popups can do for sites like yours:

  • Increase email marketing lists and newsletter growth by 200% to 400%.
  • Reduce abandoned carts by up to 10%, helping you avoid the 70% abandonment rate that your competitors are facing.
  • Decrease in bounce rate and improving other KPIs
  • Enable coupon discretion, only giving a discount to those not willing to pay full-price – not everyone.
  • Increase the average time on your site by more than 50%.
  • Promote your best-converting content, with no competition, to increase brand awareness.


Implementing exit popups enable your marketing spend and content development to go the furthest by opening up 80% more opportunities to convert a new customer. You reduce the number of visitors who only arrive once and increase the spend and focus on customers who are willing to stay and content they want to see.

It’s your solution to generating consistent conversion revenue from more of your website visitors, and it’s worth a look.


What Are Exit Modal Popups?

Copy of Copy of Copy of EtailPro Pitch Deck

You’ve probably encountered exit modal pop-ups when you scroll to leave a website. You begin moving your mouse towards the little “x” to close the window when you are thrown off.

The message that takes over the screen is an exit pop-up! Now, before you think you know what an exit pop up looks like – let’s clarify. Some exit pop ups look as if they were created in an ECOM 101 classroom, but that’s okay because they are probably converting better than your entrance pop-up. 

The brands who are doing it right are converting up to 20% of their bouncing visitors into customers and email subscribers. Combining graphic masterpieces with the right message as a visitor scrolls to leave, these brands not only enjoy immediate benefits from extra revenue – they make an exceptional first impression and benefit from a long-term, quality customer base.

Exit popups look for “exit intent” that follows a pattern people take when they’re ready to leave a site, which is usually navigating toward the “x,” the back button, or the navigation bar on your browser. Exit popups appear to give the user an offer, such as a percentage off of their first purchase and contain a call-to-action. Some full-service firms will actually implement strategic campaigns to specifically target certain visitors who take certain actions, leading to can’t-miss offers for the visitor and ultra-high conversion rates for the brand. Showing the right offer at the right time benefit you, your new customer, and your bottom line.

Smarter popups have also started including “yes” and “no” options that encourage the bouncing visitor to make a decision, leading to re-engagement. This gives the user a place to provide information such as an email address while also asking them to click on a “No” link to close the popup. (Tip: I recommend always keeping an “x” out option, as nobody enjoys feeling trapped – but that’s up to you.)

Clicking breaks the abandonment, even when the visitor is saying “No”, it increases the chances of keeping them on your website. The longer they stay, the greater the chance your content or offers can convert these visitors. Most visitors who scroll to leave will still bounce.

However, it’s the visitors who click “Yes” that we are going after. There IS value in bouncing traffic as long as you have something in place to re-engage them and give yourself that chance. How many of your bouncing visitors would convert on an exit pop up you implement next week, and subscribe to your emails for many years to come? You know how valuable a quality subscriber can – so why not use a strategy to specifically engage them into customer-hood.

That’s the ultimate goal of these popups: presenting your best offer, at the best time to get them to take a preferred action, from immediate purchases to joining a mailing list and entering a larger funnel. The better the presentation of the popup, the more likely you are to achieve these results and start making the most of every, single potential customer.

So, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand what we have seen work, what we haven’t seen work, and what you should consider for exit pop ups to work for you. You deserve a tool that will enable more opportunities for your business – and your website visitors alike.


Why Should E-Commerce and Lead Gen Companies Use Exit Modal Popups?

Industry reports show that 70% of people who leave an ecommerce website will never come back. If you offer a professional service and use your website to capture more leads – the odds are even less in your favor.

Seventy percent! So for every 10,000 visitors who leave, that’s 7,000 different people that you could have asked:


As we were saying, 7,000 missed opportunities. It’s 7,000 possible customers that were a direct result of all the time and money that you invested in getting them there. For most, driving traffic to their website is priority #1, so when your hard work and big money pay-off, you must do everything you can to keep them on your site.

Exit intent detection, also known as exit popup advertising, is a key method to keep website visitors engaged and move them closer to a qualified lead or sale. Popups hit directly on the “pattern interrupt” neuro-linguistic programming technique that, simply put, says if you interrupt what someone was planning to do or is used to doing, you get their attention. We have found that it makes a lot more sense, and a lot more money, by interrupting someone as they are leaving your site, rather than interrupting their first impression of your life’s work.

So, now that you know second chances do exist, and how to get the second chance, let’s look at how it works so you can see if it needs to be in your arsenal (it does).


If Converting You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

Let’s take a hypothetical walk in one of your customer’s shoes, using a real-life scenario, as a metaphor for your ecommerce shop.

While browsing Pinterest for the better half of your Saturday morning, you decide that instead of buying a new couch, you’re just going to give new life to your current one! After all, it’s been with you since college and the pictures on Pinterest made reupholstering look so easy. Plus, despite what everyone else says it doesn’t make your back hurt and the holes in the cloth aren’t bothering your dog.

So you drive to your local fabric store, greet the nice lady behind the counter, tell her “I’ve got this!” when she asks if she can help, and head into the jungle of fabric to find your perfect fit. Noticing all this little store has to offer, you see the pictures on the wall, the different arts and crafts, and best yet – you see the fabric that you had imagined. “THIS STORE IS AWESOME!”

Yikes… the price. “Maybe I’ll try my luck at the big department store down the road”, Shrugging your shoulders as you put down the perfect matching fabric and head toward the door. But before you make it, the nice shop owner you blew past five minutes ago reappears!

She can hear the disappointment in your voice as only a savvy business owner could. She knows you weren’t just looking around, that you wanted to leave with something in-hand. You were in her store because you were hoping something would jump out at you – and it did! Unfortunately, the price was the only thing holding you back from the impulse buy.

“I haven’t seen you in here before” she says as she pulls out a golden piece of paper from her pocket. “You know our first time customers receive a 20% discount on their first purchase, don’t you?”

So, you use the 20% off golden coupon for first time customers, save a little money, and don’t have to go anywhere else and settle for something cheaper.

You win. The fabric store wins. Everybody wins. You’ll even know where to go in 14 years when it’s time to replace this new couch fabric – unless you see the next must-have in their newsletter you’ll receive in the mail each week.

As great or terrible as this example may be, remember that this fabric store adventure is an example of presenting the right offer, at the right time. As you were ready to abandon the store, the shop owner was able to read your specific situation based on your intent, and presented an offer that would benefit both parties. Exit pop ups enable online brands to do the same. Even if there had been no monetary incentive offered by the shop owner, you would be much more likely to sign-up for anything after you’d spend some time noticing what the company offered.

Use your personas and these referral sources to determine what a useful offer might be to get someone to change their mind. Marry it with each funnel point, and you’ll have a clear and simple path to maximizing the effectiveness of these popups.


Relevant, useful offers can include:

  • Instant coupon codes: Visitors won’t need to wait for a coupon code in their inbox, increasing the chance they will use it during the current session – never having to leave your website
  • A newsletter or email signup: Want more help determining which tools will help you find the right abandonment offer? Enter your email for our weekly tips.
  • Highlight a decreasing inventory/access: Only 12 seats left at our Early Bird Rate. Register now before the price goes up!
  • Remove a hassle: Click to get free two-day shipping no matter where you live.
  • Establish trust: Now that we know each other, sign-up to hear from us with special offers
  • Ask a question the visitor is going to ask: Ready to see how you can increase lead generation by 200%?
  • Small freebies: Get your free consultation kit/30-minute phone call with just an email. Get it now.
  • Direct them to your best-performing channels: Follow us on Facebook for free marketing and website advice.


To be successful in CRO, you must address a soon-to-be-customer with RELEVANCE. Relevant offers benefit the consumer, as they want to be sold, and the seller who generates revenue from the sale.

A very common practice that hinders conversion rate optimization is the indirect messaging that many brands choose to use – simply because they’ve seen someone else using it, rather than making it their own. Any of these sound familiar?

“Be the FIRST to know!”

“Sign-up for special offers!”

“Enjoy a discount for first purchase!”

If you’re using one of these, that’s okay! So is everyone else. But maybe it’s time to branch out and give your visitors the personality that is the entire reason they are on your website.

Take a straightforward, yet on-brand approach to the messaging you present. Think about what would engage you as captain of your own ship. The reader should know exactly what you’re offering and what their next steps will be. A straightforward play still allows you to be creative.

Want to know which of your ideas are converting the most shopping carts? Or growing your email marketing lists the fastest?

Cool, then let’s talk about split-testing.

Split-Test Your Way To The Top

For exit pop-ups, or any conversion overlays for that matter, A/B testing provides you with a clear way to see what’s converting YOUR visitors. Even if your banners and messaging look great on their own, you WILL BE surprised when you see what your visitors are converting on, and what they are not.

A/B testing is, without a doubt, the most direct way to learn what’s working and what isn’t with your exit pop ups. You can A/B test just about any element of your popup, and it’s often a good idea to try things you might not think can have a direct impact.

The importance of split-testing really hit home for me when our lead graphic designer learned an interesting lesson about what you think you know versus what you DON’T know during a workshop a few years back. The graphic designers attending the invite-only course were handed a single sheet of paper that pictured eight different pop-ups beside eight redesigned pop-ups that were actual split-tests, conducted for eight separate ecommerce companies. The objective was to circle which offer was thought to have performed better over the other one. Piece of cake…

Everyone failed. In a packed auditorium, with some of the best graphic designers in the world, everyone failed an eight question, true-or-false test and were unable to distinguish which offer converted at a higher rate than the other.

The reason for this, and the ultimate point in the lesson?

Nobody knows for certain what resonates best with an online audience, within reason, without sufficient split-testing to prove it. If you are not split-testing your marketing strategies, then you will not know if you are reaching your full potential, or if you’re even close to it.

With an open-mind, you may realize that your ceiling is not as short as you once thought. Give yourself some credit – you’ve made it this far… In business and this ultimate guide!

Other split-testing options you can use include:

  • The incentive you are offering – coupons, giveaways, contests, e-books, etc.
  • Headline of the call-to-action – Will your messaging invoke interest? Or act as another cliche?
  • Images – Images are powerful, you know this. Include brand imaging in your offers.
  • Length of submission forms – general rule of thumb is shorter equals better.
  • Overall style and theme – Is your pop up on-brand with the rest of your website?
  • Are the CTAs easy to locate and clear to understand within the pop up?
  • The sense of urgency you create – Would a countdown timer lead to more conversions?


You Keep Showing Up Early, When You Need To Be On-Time.

A/B testing is not limited to just your messaging – nor should it be. Open the door to website wide growth by testing different display strategies, like when and where targeted pop ups are presented and the criteria used in doing so. If you’re planning on offering a steep discount that you want only to show to people who are very interested in your product line, you may want to set a timer so that your exit popup will only be seen by those whom are actively abandoning their shopping cart. Or those who spend several minutes on a product page, but aren’t ready to pull the trigger – yet. You’d be surprised at how well-received discounts can be after a visitor has had time to browse your site, and learn about all you have to offer.

A Sumo analysis of 1.75 billion popups found that the lowest converting pages and popups were those that felt rushed — i.e. appeared too soon, so the user didn’t have any context and couldn’t be ready to commit. Subscriber rates for email sign-ups on entrance vary from .5% to 2.5%, depending on the industry of business, incentive of offer, etc., while rates for email sign-ups on exit jump to 8%-10% by simply giving the visitor more time to learn what they are subscribing to.


A Healthy A/B Reminder

Once you see how easy it is to test your marketing strategy with pop-up overlays that don’t require physical changes to your website, you’ll be hooked on finding the next area of improvement.

Ask yourself these questions to overcome some common industry bottlenecks when implementing new campaigns:

  • Are you looking to grow your email marketing lists with incentives, strategy, or both? Take a walk in your target customer’s shoes. What would you want to see?
  • During what stage of your sales funnel are your visitors dropping off? Could you re-engage them with the right message to continue the process?
  • What would decrease your shopping cart abandonment and lead to more on-site purchases?
  • What percentage of your monthly visitors are mobile users? Are you showing mobile traffic the same offer as those using a desktop? What would mobile users want to see?
  • Would presenting an informational e-book on exit help sell more of your high AOV products?
  • How are you going to split-test your way to the top?

Thanks to automation marketing tools and services, you can easily adjust messaging, timing, and presentation of campaigns to find what resonates best with YOUR audience.

Remember when testing wasn’t fun, and didn’t make you more money?

Recovery, Anchor, and Reminder Bars: Adding Fuel To Your New Conversion Engine

I’m scrolling to leave your website when something interrupts my path to the “x”. An attractive offer, bright colors and a great, feel-good image in the background offering 10% off of my first purchase… why not!? I’ve seen your products and learned a bit about you… thank you!

I’d prefer not to wait for the email, plus I may get distracted and abandon the whole process altogether, so is there anything else that would increase the chances of earning my business?

Smart reminder bars are the answer. These are a perfect compliment to exit intent and popup advertising because they are non-invasive and encourage visitors to take advantage of your generous coupon.

The reminder bar will anchor to the top of your page — without getting in the way of the address bar or your navbar — and display the promo code available after your visitor opt-ins. This type of reminder is like a sticky note for your soon-to-be-customer – and it can double your conversion rate.

This is an effective way to improve your shopping cart abandonment rates.

Now enters reminder bar’s cousin, the smart recovery bar, a notification bar that you can stick to the top or bottom of your site. Instead of coupons, these bars trade content for an email address and significantly increase lead captures without disrupting the experience.

If your recovery bar has successfully captured an email address, then you have multiple options to reach out when the customer leaves your page. You can use exit popup strategy to provide a coupon instead of an educational offer, or you can follow up via email with an accelerated version of your traditional sales funnel – or you can A/B test both to see what works best for your audience.

The Greatest Success Might Come from A Third-Party 

Third-party partners vary far and wide when it comes to ROI, service, contracts, etc. However it’s 2017, and that means unicorns do exist – with flexible and reasonable payment options, stellar service, and actually deliver on the promises they make during the sales process. They integrate with the existing platforms you use, optimize your funnel, track useful data, and power your CRM in a way that’s useful and doesn’t take up your time.

Integrating with third-party services can have a variety of benefits:

  • Expertise in email list-growth, shopping cart abandonment, and bounce rate resolutions
  • Handle time-consuming and tricky projects that are required for CRO and exit pop up campaigns so you can focus on growing your business
  • Streamline communication between client and third-party with an Account Manager, making it easy to collaborate back-and-forth and implement new ideas
  • Manage on-boarding and implementation, making it very simple to get started
  • Offer feedback on what they have learned, and continue to learn about what works and what doesn’t in the email marketing industry.
  • They know what works for brands similar to you, with an audience that is similar to yours


Capture emails with your exit pop ups and send them directly to their respective lists within your ESP or CRM. This way there are no missing steps between a sign-up and your funnel.

When evaluating platforms, look for those that keep a separate record of sign-ups for each subscriber and conversion, helping you understand A/B testing results. Common newsletter and messaging services include, but not limited to:

  • MailChimp
  • Klaviyo
  • Bronto
  • GetResponse
  • Campaign Monitor
  • EMMA
  • Listrak
  • InfusionSoft


Once a visitor is subscribed to your email list, you have information on who will be interested in new product announcements, sales, special offers, and much more.

Integrate with your e-commerce platform, and you’ll be able to create a direct data trail that follows the customer from first navigation through lead capture and sales to repeat sales. You learn who the right people to target are and get a chance at understanding, and growing, your average customer lifetime value.

Big e-commerce platforms to look for integration support include:

  • Shopify
  • Shopify Plus
  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • BIGCommerce
  • WordPress popup plugins and tools
  • And custom work in Drupal


If you’re already using Google Analytics or Tag Manager to understand the traffic on your page, adding performance and traffic tracking for your exit popups is the natural next step. Keep your reporting simple and add in information on each popup option so that the performance can be easily tracked.

Power your growth efforts by studying your advanced analytics, and consider that your audience may prefer something different from what you’ve seen work in the past. To help you determine their desired experience, look through your analytics and data to  hear what your visitors are telling you.


If you’ve got a WordPress site, you should consider a WordPress popup plugin. Not only will they make it easy to create your exit pop ups and perform split testing, but you can also measure other analytics based on the partner you include.

One thing to make sure of is that you have strict control over how these plugins operate for mobile devices. Demand something more than just a dynamic window that resizes to stay on the good side of Google’s mobile content access rules.

One Single Platform

Integrating all of your services in a piecemeal fashion requires many hours (more than you plan for), and typically leads to limitations for the data you can collect and use, especially when custom APIs are involved.

Plus, Does it make sense to consider a third-party partner that will provide experience and guidance, helping you to hit the ground running?

YES. Your best option may be to work with a partner that handles the integration with your different tools in a single dashboard, allowing you to use all your data but not spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars away from other projects, trying to get everything to work right.

It’s just as important to choose the right exit modal popup tool as it is to display the right popup itself when it comes to long-term viability of your website, customer base, and efforts to grow. Think carefully about your goals and look for a partner who offers a specific path for helping you achieve these goals, not looping you in with everyone else’s marketing strategies.

See what an e-commerce conversion optimization service can do for your brand, your visitors, and your bottom-line.