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5 Times that Exit-Intent Offers Dramatically Increased Email Acquisition

Published by Nathan Hill

Lots of marketers and fundraisers are deathly afraid of pop-ups like exit-intent offers. I myself used to be afraid of them. And if I’m really being honest, even though internet pop-up ads have come a long, long way in terms of quality and effectiveness, most that I see are either irrelevant or try to guilt me to sign up for their email list.

Take this pop-up ad on for example…

Exit-Intent Ad Example

They give you two options: you can give them your email to get $10 off, or you can say “I prefer to pay full price.” They essentially make you say “Hey, I’m a complete idiot” if you want to close out of the ad. And this is one of the nice ones.

Luckily this one has an “X” to close it, but many guilt-trip ads like this will force you to click their button of shame.

It’s bad marketing like this that has created a fear (and a hatred in many cases) around using slide-outs, pop-ups, and exit-intent offers.

But today I’m hoping to help set you free from this fear – as long as you use them to provide helpful and relevant content, they can be one of the most powerful tools on your site to acquire new email addresses.

5 Exit-Intents that Acquired Tons of Emails and Didn’t Make People Mad

To Use Exit Intent Offers, or Not…That is the Experiment

In this experiment, ADF wanted to see if they could use a tool like an exit-intent offer on their News and Press Release pages to capture emails of people that had completed reading an article or browsing the headlines. On the original pages, you had to scroll to the footer to find an opportunity to sign up for an email list if you were so inclined.

They tested adding an exit-intent pop-up that asked the visitor if they wanted to “Stay informed of changes to your religious freedom.” Since this site provided news related to that topic, it was a relevant offer placed at time when the reader could very well be interested in knowing when there is more, relevant news.

By using a relevant offer, they saw a 297% increase in emails acquired.

Should it Slide-Out? Or Should it Pop-Up?

This same organization had a slide-out offer running on their blog post pages. When the reader scrolled a certain amount down the page, this ad would slide-out and interrupt the reader with an offer.

While this tactic saw some success, it interrupted the eye-path and flow of the reader. They wondered if an exit-intent ad, placed when someone was finished reading and ready to leave, would get a higher conversion rate.

The exit-intent didn’t interrupt the flow of the content, but rather only displayed when someone showed signs of exiting. By implementing the exit-intent, they saw a 228% increase in emails acquired. You can see all the details here.

Ok, But What About Mobile Devices?

That’s a great question. It’s nearly impossible to tell when someone is about to exit on a mobile device. So Illinois Policy Institute developed a different type of pop-up offer specifically for people reading on their phones.

The original offer was a small lower-third overlay that offered a free eBook. But this type of overlay didn’t really force the user to make a decision – you could keep scrolling while it clung to the bottom of the screen.

So they tested a new style of offer that looked much more like an exit-intent (although, technically, it was still a slide-out). The new offer placed more of an overlay on the screen so that the reader had to decide whether or not to accept the offer.

By making the offer more prominent, they saw a 91.6% increase in emails acquired. There are still ways to make these kinds of offers work on a phone. You just need to get creative in how they’re displayed.

I already have an offer on my page. Do I really need an exit-intent?

Harvest Ministries had an email capture offer placed in a fairly prominent position on their homepage. The original hope was that readers would naturally find the offer to sign up for a devotional, fill out the form, and be on their way.

But they wondered if an exit-intent offer could actually lift their conversion rates by placing an opportunity to get more content from Harvest right as they were about to exit.

When they ran the experiment, Harvest saw a 94% increase in emails acquired by using the exit-intent offer over just the in-line offer.

Acquisition pages are different though, right?

In this last experiment, the Texas State Historical Association used an exit-intent offer in a slightly different way. The experiments above all show exit-intents showing a generic offer across home pages and article pages. But THSA thought they could increase conversion rates on a high-traffic email acquisition page by using an exit-intent to show a secondary offer.

The original acquisition page was offering a free eBook. Someone who visited the page either got the eBook, or they bounced. But the treatment used an exit-intent offer, hypothesizing that someone who would abandon the eBook page might still be interested in getting a Texas history update each week.

After running the experiment, they saw a 37% increase in emails acquired. Interestingly enough, the exit-intent drove a significant increase in conversion from the original offer – meaning that the exit-intent captured their attention and actually drove them back to reconsider getting the eBook.

How have you used exit-intents and other acquisition tools?

There are a lot more ways you can use exit-intent offers. In fact, we use one on all of our webinar registration pages to offer a free recording if you can’t attend. These kinds of offers give the visitor something relevant and helpful, without being a nuisance and causing additional frustration.

Have you used exit-intent offers on your site? If so, have you tested it against other types? I’d love to hear more, and even help you log it in our research library so you can share your learnings with others.

Published by Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill is Vice President, NextAfter Institute.