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6 Exit Overlays That Convert More Than Others

by Julia Borgini

Quick, think of all the reasons you leave a website. You probably came up with at least five, right?

  • You didn’t think the content on the site was useful enough for you.
  • The navigation on the site was confusing and you didn’t know where to go next.
  • You got distracted by something else and just never came back.

Abandoning visitors can be frustrating for website owners, especially since you’re probably trying to capture leads, signups, and sales with your site. Well over three-quarters of abandoning visitors intend to return to your site to continue the purchasing process, yet less than one-third of them actually do.

So how can you get the sale before users leave your site in the first place? With an exit overlay.

They help you capture those lost conversions and increase your lead gen and sales numbers. Exit overlays are lightboxes that use exit intent technology to track specific user behaviors on your website. They’re triggered when an abandoning visitor is detected, and they attempt to capture a lost conversion for you, usually with a form or offer for them.

Let’s take a look at a few different exit overlay types that convert well for website owners.

1. Coupon overlays

Mainly used to tempt visitors on consumer sites, they’re also great for triggering FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. Marketers use this to give visitors a last-minute chance to take advantage of a discount and convert to a paying customer.

One of Picreel’s customers noticed a 13% conversion rate increased, earning them almost 2,500 conversions in a month! While PureVPN saw a 10.57% conversion rate with their exit-intent messages..

Coupon Overlay example - exit intent

Types to try:

  • Discounts on your products or services for ordering immediately.
  • Free shipping on your products. (Especially useful for those international web visitors)

Note: Be careful with your coupons and discounts, however, as you don’t want to undervalue your products with your discounts.

2. Giveaway overlays

While it may not gain you outright customers, a giveaway overlay is an easy way to increase your email subscriber base. It gives you a simple way to increase your chances of an immediate sale, while establishing a relationship with your visitor through email that you can use for future sales.

Incentivibe used a giveaway overlay to increase their email subscriber list by 700%.

Contest overlay - Incentivibe

Entrepreneur On Fire makes his offer unique by offering two gifts: a free resource download after signing up to be part of the online community.

Giveaway exit overlay

Types to try:

  • Give away the most basic version of your product or service for visitors to try out.
  • If your products are bundled together, offer one of them individually for them to try out.
  • Combo offers of products and services, like a basic product and a one-month subscription to your services.

3. Notification overlays

Best used by ecommerce sites, this overlay advises visitors when they’re about to abandon a shopping cart with an item in it. The Baymard Institute found that almost 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.

Website owners like to think it’s because of a breakdown in their purchasing process, like the shopping cart software taking too long to process additions/deletions from the cart, or that the shopper got distracted and left their computer.

In fact, it might just be that we’re “shopping for fun and gratification” rather than actually shopping. In psychology circles, this is known as hedonic shopping.

Think about all those times when you went cruising online to find that crazy expensive item that you’ve always wanted but never would buy. You find it, put it in your shopping cart, and then leave the website. You never had any intention of buying it, but you got an emotional boost from the process.

While hedonic shoppers are artificially inflating those abandoned shopping cart numbers, you can be sure that a good portion of your abandonments are true and valid. The notification overlay can help recapture the true shoppers on your site and gain you a quick sale.

BabyAge offers to help visitors make their purchase now.

Types to try:

  • A straightforward “You have something in your cart” is always good, but test out different wording to see what works best.
  • Change the CTA on the button, as well as the button color.

4. Time-delayed overlays

Knowing when to trigger the overlay can increase conversions dramatically. We’re so used to dealing with them immediately when arriving on a site that opening them on a time-delay is a refreshing change. Many tools track a visitor’s mouse behavior and trigger the overlay just as they’re about to leave or navigate to a different page.

The time-delayed overlay is especially useful for complex products and services. It gives visitors a chance to review some or all of the webpage before you make them an offer. Conversion rates for this kind of overlay are high because users don’t view them as a nuisance.

Our instinct to close pop-ups and lightboxes are laser sharp, honed over the years of bad website designs and spammers who used them in the early days of the Internet. Put your overlay on a time delay, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at your conversion rates.

Time delay exit overlay - MichaelHyatt.com

Michael Hyatt has about a 15-second delay on his and he doubled his subscription rates.

Types to try:

  • Timing is going to be critical here, and testing will help you find the right amount of time that’s best for your audience.
  • At a minimum, delay the overlay by 10 seconds.

5. Emotional overlays

This type of overlay derives it’s power from the copy in the overlay rather than the timing of when it’s triggered. It’s used best to help remove the risk of purchase for visitors.

Minimize it for them, and they’ll take a step towards trusting you and your products, and be more likely to purchase. Targeting your visitor’s emotions creates another layer of trust and deepens the relationship between you.

Consider this example from Cloudaways that offers a double money-back guarantee on their free trial. With so many options and price points available, prospects may be confused and be frustrated with the whole process.

Cloudaways realizes this and so focuses their overlay on the emotional reaction to these objections in their copy. They offer both happiness and a money-back guarantee (a double one, at that.)

Emotional exit overlay - Cloudaways

Types to try:

  • On a landing page, use words that evoke jealousy or the fear of missing out.
  • On a shopping cart overlay, use words that convey the ease of finalizing the purchase.
  • On a giveaway overlay, describe the happiness they’ll feel if they take advantage of the offer.

6. Cross-Selling Overlays

Another classic of the Internet is the cross-sale. Suggestions from the website about other products, pages, or information that you might be interested in based on your current site activity.

  • When shopping, you’re shown products in the same category as the one you just bought, or ones that are a good complement to your recently purchased product.
  • On a landing page, you might be shown a list of related pages from the same website.
  • Blogs may show a list of other posts in the same category as the one the visitor just commented on.

These overlays are best used for social media traffic, and should be placed on your blog pages and company pages (About Us, Our Team, etc.)

Types to try:

  • Suggest related or similar products to the one they’re looking at or may have just purchased.
  • Let them know about a webinar on the topic they’re reading about.
  • Invite them to your next event.

Convert More of Your Abandoning Users with Exit Overlays

Exit overlay methods and technology are just one of the many tools online marketers can use to increase conversions and decrease abandon visitor rates. They’re a versatile marketing tool that can be used for so many of your marketing programs, like increasing email and blog subscriber rates, generating more leads, qualifying better leads, and making more sales.

Where you place them on your website depends on your goal for the overlay, but they work best on landing pages and pages targeted to specific segments of your sales funnel. Use them wisely and deliver lots of value to your visitors and you’ll notice a difference in your bottom line.

Have you used any of these types of exit overlays on your site? How did they work for you? Let us know in the comments.

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Julia Borgini.

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Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini helps Geeks sell their stuff. A self-proclaimed Geek & writer, she works with B2B technology & sports companies, creating helpful content & copy for their lead generation and content marketing programs. Follow her on Twitter @spacebarpress to see what she's writing about now.

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  1. Annabel says:
    February 16, 2016 at 3:28 am

    Whenever shopping, you’re indicated items in the same classification as the one you just purchased, or ones that are a decent supplement to your as of late acquired item.

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