Website pop-ups can be used for good as well as evil

While talking to a businesswoman during a complimentary choc and chat session she asked me what I thought of her website. This is not something I take lightly because she had created the website herself and she had contacted me about a specific issue which we had already discussed. This almost came under the banner of "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all". However, with my Toastmasters training, I knew I could find something good to say. There was one major thing that bugged me. On every page on her website, the same pop-up window appeared. Every. Single. Page.

woman frustrated with website

Most pop-ups you can close down and it will register that you've closed it and will not pop up again for a set period of time that you set.

As I went from one page to another I got this popup on every page. It came up quickly so that it popped up before I had time to read what was on the page. If I hadn't been on the website to help her I would have left the website from the home page never to return.

I know that there is evidence that pop-ups work. I've read the articles. Pop-ups may work in certain circumstances. I asked this businesswoman why she had these pop-ups on every page. She replied that she'd heard that people have to see something 7 times or more for it to register so she'd set up her pop-up for every page. She was referring to the marketing rule of 7 which says that a potential customer (a prospect) needs to see or hear your information at least 7 times before they buy. However, that is over different mediums and not just on a website. She didn't feel that it was annoying and so decided to keep it. If I hadn't been asked to look at her website I would have left since I found it extremely annoying.

For me, as a customer here's where a pop-up work:

  1. When I'm reading an interesting article and towards the bottom of the article (maybe even halfway through) a pop-up comes up either offering me a report on the same topic in exchange for my email address or a sign up for the newsletter.
  2. I'm about to leave a website (technically it's called exit intent) and a pop-up appears offering a newsletter or a report. It's a before you leave did you know.... or before you leave have you seen...? More often than not I'll sign up if I've enjoyed what I've read.
  3. Offer me a discount but again let me find out what you're offering first.

For me, as a customer, pop-ups do NOT work in the following situations:

  • I've just landed on your website and I'm not sure if you're what I'm looking for yet. If I don't know you, your services/products I'm not giving you my email address or I'm giving you a Gmail account that I never check or a made-up Gmail account. Fake email accounts are not going to work for you.
  • I've just landed on your website and you're trying to sell me something through a pop-up. You're not offering a discount, you're trying to get me to part with my money and I don't know who you are yet!

Maybe I'm an old-fashioned woman but if you want a relationship with me then we need to get to know each other first. A lot of websites feel like they want a one-night stand rather than a relationship. With some websites that's fine, I don't want a relationship with vertical blind hangars (the last thing I looked for online) but if you're a service provider then yes you'll want to build a relationship. Whether the service is a plumber or a kinesiologist you want to build a relationship so you get repeat services and also referrals. Spotlight or Bunnings (again the last 2 websites I was on - I do lead an exciting life!) offer products more than services and they know that they have a massive advertising budget so frankly my dear they don't give a damn if I go back to them or not. Your business is probably not in the same situation.

Pop-ups can be used for good as well as evil as long as you use them wisely and know why you are using them.

Do you want a relationship or a one-night stand? Use your website pop-ups in line with whatever strategy you're using. Remember to create content with your ideal client in mind. Maybe that businesswoman's ideal client would not have been annoyed by a popup on every single page of her website. You need to know your ideal clients to know how to attract them and then how to keep them.

If you're not sure if your website is working for you or against you then book a complimentary 30 minute chocolate and a chat session (one per client) where we can look at your website and make suggestions for improvements:

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