Pop ups design tips that drive conversions and not your customers crazy

pop ups design
pop-ups design
Pop-ups design

Pop up design is an important part of creating a successful eCommerce website. Yet, many marketers and business owners get this seemingly simple tool totally wrong.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when a pop-up window covers that article you were reading? I guess it’s something like, “Now, where’s the exit button?” 😤 Yeah, pop-ups can be really annoying, but they don’t have to be this way. In this article, I’ll try to go over the ways a good pop up design can turn the most annoying thing on the web into a conversion goldmine.

Pop-ups scare off website visitors. It’s a known fact that the creator of pop-ups Ethan Zuckerman publicly apologized for inventing those pesky culprits of customer annoyance. Yet, pop-ups are still super relevant. Here is why?

Evidently: pop-ups actually work. As of 2022, the average pop-up conversion rate is around 11%. It’s not as high as dedicated landing pages, emails or chatbots, but it’s definitely not zero.

Behavioral principles that make a good pop-up design so efficient:

  • Pop ups boost the FOMO effect. There is this special offer deadline that urges your potential customer to take action. An old trick but it gets the job done. I bet you fell for it as well when Christmas shopping.
  • Pop ups promise instant gratification. Customers that follow the call to action—immediately receive a promised discount or free shipping, or whatever you want to motivate them with.
  • Smart pop ups design catches the eye. You literally can not ignore a pop-up if you want to continue reading that article or browsing those t-shirts on sale. Provide some value in your pop up and customers will interact with it.

Most people hate pop ups because they appear when they’ve barely landed on the website, what do they do? They bounce, and I can’t blame them. There is a way to make your pop ups design less annoying and more productive.

Think about time when designing pop ups

You are tearing me apart, Lisa! (pop-up) I feel like Johnny when a pop-up jumps out right after I land on a website. I just straight out leave the page.

What I mean is let your potential customers look around and get accustomed to your website before showing your special offer pop-up. How to find that perfect moment?

Maybe consult your website’s Google Analytics. First, you have to find out how long the average session lasts. Next, set the display time halfway through that time.

Let’s say the average session lasts a minute, so the customer will be happier to see your pop-up 25 seconds after they enter the page.

There are platforms that provide smart pop-ups. These are the pop-ups that you can set up to appear under over 20 different conditions. Multiple user actions and conditions can trigger a pop-up.

Design pop-ups with value in mind

This sets your pop-up aside from annoying and useless pop-ups that get mercilessly shut down. Yes, it still is that annoying pop-up, but being polite and useful can turn the tables in your favour.

Be attentive to the tone and message of your pop-up to avoid being rude or overbearing. Even if you opt for a more light-hearted tone of voice, always stay professional. Don’t use explicit words, and always be friendly to your customers. 

Also, make sure your pop-up offers value for the user. When it comes to eCommerce, it’s a no-brainer: just offer a discount or free shipping. For other industries, think about what your customer will appreciate: a small gift, a checklist, or free access to your online course for those who follow the CTA on the pop-up and complete the required action.

A good idea would be to add a countdown timer to your pop-up. The FOMO effect is a sure-fire way to nudge the customer to take action.

Think about the design of your pop-ups

It’s not very obvious. I’m not talking only about the colours. It’s about the place, shape, sounds, fonts, content — loads of factors. 

Stick to the most appropriate format for your pop-up for the best performance. Let’s say, new visitors, will be happy to see the welcome pop-up promising a special offer to those who sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase.

Try to skip on flashy colors and visual or sound effects that can take your customers by surprise. Always test your pop-ups!! This way you’ll make sure your pop-up is on par with the best practices. See if it’s responsive, or if there’s an exit button.

Don’t go for full-screen overlapping pop-ups. Site visitors often cannot tell the difference between the page content and the pop-up and just leave the page quickly because it’s so confusing.

Some no-nos in pop-up design

Pop up chaos

You’ve probably been in a situation when you are basically swarmed with annoying pop-ups the moment you entered the website. 2 or 3 pop-ups at a time. Or maybe one ginormous mega pop-up overlapping the whole page?

Multiple pop-ups at a time can only mean one thing—the website owner wants to scare off any potential website visitors. Or maybe it’s pure incompetence in running basic digital marketing for a business online.

Terrible design

Here we can have several pitfalls. Numerous input fields, negative CTA copywriting, pop ups that can’t be closed, overlapping.

What’s wrong with each of them?

Usually, a pop-up can either sink or swim when appearing in front of your customer’s eyes. It can convert and deliver your subscriber’s contact information, nudge your customer to purchase, or simply gets closed. 

Sometimes despite the fact that you bring a seemingly nice offer in your pop-ups, like a discount or free shipping or a lead magnet but use numerous input fields, your pop-up will probably fail. Stick to this simple rule, one action—one input field. Fewer fields don’t mean fewer conversions. 

Limit input fields in your pop up design
Limit input fields in your pop up design

Stats show that 2 fields are your max — an email address and a name, that’s it.

When it comes to pop-up copywriting, you definitely want to avoid negativity in your message.

Sometimes, you may stumble upon something like this: “No, thanks, I hate discounts” when I’m not interested in that 10% off on their overpriced wine glasses.

Negative copywriting in pop up design
pop ups design mistakes
Negative copywriting in pop up design

The smartest way to avoid negativity in your CTAs is to incorporate a simple exit button! Simply make sure your pop-up is easy to close. Avoid user frustration and leave a way for them to opt out. Use a visible close button and incorporate it into the pop-up design. Also, test your pop-up design on mobile devices. It shouldn’t look oversized on smaller screens.

 Close button in pop up design
pop-ups design tips
Use close button in pop up design

Poor targeting 

Showing wrong pop-ups to the wrong customers at the wrong time. Popping up the same message again and again. Pitching irrelevant content in your pop-up. 

Once you use a tool with versatile targeting options, the issue might be resolved in no time. You can preset when and where your pop-up will appear and assign display conditions.

Why not create various pop-ups designed specifically for different occasions like holidays or other notable events? Users might happen to be looking for pop-up notifications that contain coupons or discount codes.

If you happen to offer the first-order discount in exchange for a newsletter subscription, don’t show the same pop-up again to the customer that completed the purchase.

In case you have an international audience, target specific domains or browser language when you set up your pop-ups.

Map out a customer journey, as it will help you decide which pop-ups are relevant to users at different stages of interaction with your business.

Let’s pop up

Incorporating a decent pop-up into your eCommerce website design is an important step if lead generation and future interaction with your customers mean anything to you. Pop-ups may be a nuisance for some people, but they also a helpful tool for marketers and business owners looking to build a long term relationship with their customers.





5 responses to “Pop ups design tips that drive conversions and not your customers crazy”

  1. getto Avatar

    Your article helped me a lot, thanks for the information.

  2. Marketing research Avatar
    Marketing research

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  3. Paid media Avatar
    Paid media

    Have you viewed James Jernigan’s recent video on YouTube?

  4. preço ccar Avatar
    preço ccar

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  5. SMM Manager Avatar
    SMM Manager

    Thank you for being of assistance to me. I really loved this article.

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