Guest post – In support of pop-ups

Pop-ups have been part of the online landscape for decades. For much of that time they’ve had a pretty poor reputation – but is it justified? Is it time for detractors to reassess their relationship with the humble pop-up? Are they an unfairly maligned element of the web browsing experience? We caught up with Danielle Auerbach, RVP Customer Success at Wunderkind, to find out more.

In my opinion, pop-ups have had a rough ride, and they need a defender. It’s time to switch up the narrative and discuss the benefits of pop-ups, as well as how—and why—brands should make use of them.

What is a pop-up?

A pop-up is, quite simply, a small window that pops up when a visitor is on a webpage. They’re often used by brands to highlight something—a discount code or an opportunity to sign up to a newsletter, for example—or to provide additional information.

Some might suggest they interrupt the browsing experience, but if used properly, there’s no reason why they can’t actually enhance a visitor’s time on a website. In fact, when utilised effectively, pop-ups can kickstart a long-term relationship between customer and brand.

Why are they used?

Pop-ups are generally used by brands who have a very particular goal in mind. More often than not the pop-up’s role is to generate leads, which usually means capturing a consumer’s email address or a phone number. 

The key is to give the consumer a reason to hand over their personal information. This can be done in a number of ways, but the underlying concept is always the same – provide them with something they consider worthy of trading their email address for. Exactly what this is will differ from brand to brand. 

If you sell shoes the pop-up might offer a discount on shipping, while if you provide high-tech agricultural software, it might be best to go down the route of offering a research paper showcasing the product’s benefits. Whatever the offer, it needs to speak directly to your audience, and needs to offer them something they’ll find valuable.

Benefits for brands

Brands should consider pop-ups as prompts. They’re there to encourage or entice customers to do something, be it enter a competition or download a specific piece of content. 

Pop-ups are powerful because they offer a single point of focus; not only do they draw the eye, but they demand to be interacted with. If the pop-up’s message is alluring, and the benefits to the customer are made clear, they can be a great way to build a database of people who like what you do.

And, once you’ve captured a consumer’s data, you’re likely to gain value from them long into the future. That initial 5% discount on a hoodie is a small price for a retailer to pay for a loyal, dedicated customer.

Wunderkind data shows that, with the right strategy in place, brands can achieve a pop-up conversion rate of around 18%, which is absolutely not to be sniffed at.

Using pop-ups effectively

When deploying pop-ups on your site, there are a few key things to remember:

  • Be clear and concise. Pop-ups don’t give you a lot of space to work with, so get straight to the point, and make sure your message is accurate and tempting. 
  • Inject personality. Don’t be afraid to showcase your brand’s personality. This helps to build relationships and establish rapport. 
  • Offer value. If you’re not providing a tantalising benefit, or offering a tempting reason for a consumer to exchange their details, your pop-up won’t perform well. 
  • Don’t overwhelm. Don’t bombard consumers with pop-ups. Use them sparingly, and ensure that you have a very clear idea of what you’d like them to achieve. Once you’ve captured a visitor’s data, make sure they don’t receive introductory pop-ups. 
  • Get them before they leave. It seems like an obvious point, but make sure your pop-ups actually pop up. Exit pop-ups, designed to capture attention when a visitor is on the verge of leaving your site, can work well, but the offer needs to be attractive – a 10% discount, free delivery or free gift with purchase, for example. 

It’s important to realise that even the most carefully crafted pop-up won’t work every time. While it’s certainly valuable to let a campaign run so performance can be observed over time, it’s also worth trialling new concepts, copy and images, as well as different offers, to figure out the ideal formula.

Pop-ups are by no means the scourge they have historically been purported to be; they have a lot to offer brands and consumers alike when used appropriately, and can very quickly become a primary means of gathering first-party consumer data that will, once cookies disappear, be even more essential to a brand’s marketing efforts. 

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