Exit Intent Popup: Set Up Yours in Under 5 Mins With These 9 Tips

An exit intent popup could provide you with a massive increase in leads, more revenue, and an insane amount of information about your target audience. Don’t believe me? You should probably read this article.

When marketers hear the word “popup,” they get tense. It’s understandable. We’ve all seen bad execution when it comes to popups.

exit intent popup

We’ve all heard of fad diets, too, right? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat healthy foods. It just means you shouldn’t overdo it.

What is a Popup?

A popup is a window that appears over your existing site. These days, it’s usually not a separate window — if you’re using the right software — but an overlay that provides some sort of announcement.

Popups can be any size. You’ve likely seen the small popups — sometimes called modals or sliders — that appear on a website soon after you visit.

They usually want you to do something, such as take a quiz or activate a discount. Many ask you to sign up for the website’s email newsletter, often in exchange for a lead magnet.

What is An Exit Intent Popup?

An exit intent popup is a special form of popup that appears on a website when the visitor tries to leave. The mouse moves up to that little “X” in the browser, and suddenly, the exit popup appears.

It’s also called a page takeover popup because it consumes the entire screen. Here’s the exit intent popup from Hello Bar:

What is An Exit Intent Popup?

Exit Intent Popups: Statistics and Curious Facts

According to recent research, most exit intent popups are used to either collect leads or offer special discounts.

Exit Intent Popups: Statistics and Curious Facts

It’s also interesting to note that they’re used across nearly all industries.

Exit Intent Popups: Statistics and Curious Facts

Fashion is the most common industry, but travel and SaaS and B2B websites also use a lot of exit intent popups.

Why Are Exit Intent Popups Different From Regular Popups?

Think about how you use a website. You’re looking for information, interested in buying a product, or just surfing around. Either way, you click on a web page because you want something from it.

Non-exit intent popups usually appear as soon as you arrive on the web page or soon after. You haven’t really gotten your bearings yet.

That doesn’t mean other popups can’t work — they can — but they’re often ineffective because they irritate the viewer. The reader thinks, “All I wanted to do was check out this site.” It’s an interruption.

Exit intent popups, by contrast, appear when the visitor is ready to leave. That’s the key distinguishing feature. The fact that they take over the entire page provides another differentiation. They’re more likely to capture the viewer’s attention as long as they’re well-designed and contain good copy (but more on that later).

Why Should You Use an Exit Intent Popup on Your Website?

Here’s a more important question: What do you have to lose?

Visitors who bounce — in other words, they leave your site after visiting one page — don’t have much value for your business. They might remember your site later, but that’s about it.

If you can reduce bounce rate, or at least get the visitor’s attention, you’ll have created a win for your business. Even if the visitor doesn’t interact with your exit intent popup, at least you tried.

It’s kind of like the products stock near their brick-and-mortar exits. Maybe a consumer is leaving the store without buying anything, but look! There’s a bin full of discounted products!

Exit intent popups attempt to capture visitors who are going to leave anyway. Even if the popup would annoy them in other circumstances, they’ll either interact with the exit intent or leave anyway. You haven’t lost anything.

9 Actionable Tips to Set Up Amazing Exit Intent Popups That Will Highly Increase Conversions

There are ways to make your exit intent popups more effective. Maybe you’ve used them in the past, but they didn’t generate positive results.

It happens more often than you think.

In most cases, it’s because the marketer misused the exit intent popups. This is a nuanced marketing practice that deserves careful consideration.

1. Use Specific Exit Intent Popups for Specific Website Pages

Sure, you can push exit intent popups live across your entire site, but you’ll invariably leave money on the table. Why? Consumer intent.

People visit specific web pages for different reasons.

Visitor A finds one of your informative blog posts via Google search. He or she wants to solve a specific problem.

Visitor B lands on one of your sales pages via a Facebook post. He or she is looking for the product you’re selling.

Completely different intentions, right? If they go to click away, they need completely different exit intent popups.

Visitor A might appreciate an invitation to join your email list with a free gift from you.

Visitor B might like a discount on the product he or she was viewing.

2. Design Exit Intent Popups That Match Your Website Style

Exit intent popups should capture your viewers’ attention, but they need to match your website’s brand. Otherwise, people will wonder if they’ve accidentally clicked on someone else’s page.

That’s never a good thing.

Try to tie your exit intent popup’s design to the rest of your website via at least one feature. It could be color, unique and fancy font choice, imagery, a logo, or something else entirely.

3. When Using Pictures on Your Exit Intent Popups, Select High-Quality Professional Photos

We’ll talk about using Hello Bar to insert images into your exit intent popups later on, but first, I want to impress upon you the importance of quality. A low-resolution, poorly composed photograph will turn off visitors no matter how compelling your copywriting is.

Stock photographs work fine. If you have a pro photographer on site at your business, ask him or her to capture a few frames for use on your website. Either way, make sure they’re clear, relevant to the popup’s offer, and pleasant to look at.

4. Use Powerful Words in You Exit Intent Popup Headlines

Words matter. In fact, they can mean the difference between a conversion and a miss.

Check out these two headlines:

  • Sign up for my mailing list and free access to my next webinar.
  • Snag a spot in my next webinar and join my extremely popular email newsletter.

See the difference? In the second headline, I’ve used unusual verbs and adjectives to create excitement and describe why the visitor will benefit from signing up.

5. Use The Right Copywriting Techniques

Brush up on copywriting tips and best practices if you want your exit intent popups to convert visitors. As I said, words matter, and you want your visitors to feel compelled to act.

Persuasion is the name of the game. You have to paint an irresistible picture for your audience so they won’t want to click away.

Let’s look at a couple of examples. Here’s a bland, fairly generic exit intent popup.

Use The Right Copywriting Techniques

I’m going to change up a thing using only my best copywriting tricks. Let’s see how it transforms the exit intent.

Use The Right Copywriting Techniques

Which one is more enticing?

I didn’t add an image, change the colors, or adjust the fonts. I changed only the copy.

Like I said, words matter.

6. Use Strong Verbs in Your Exit Intent Popups’ Calls To Action

Using the example above, I could improve it even further by focusing on the call to action. That’s the orange button people will click to sign up.

The call-to-action phrases you choose can have a huge impact on conversions. A bland or irrelevant CTA will just irritate your visitors.

Let’s add a strong verb to the exit intent and see how it looks.

Use Strong Verbs in Your Exit Intent Popups’ Calls To Action

Instead of saying “I want discounts,” I’m saying, “Send me free discounts!” That’s a big change because it uses a verb that puts the onus on me, the marketer, to do the heavy lifting.

7. Make Your Exit Intent Popup Call To Action Button Impossible to Miss

Contrast is essential when creating your calls to action. You want them to pop — pardon the pun — on the screen.

Use color, drop shadows, display fonts, and other visual elements to make your CTA distinctive. The more it shines, the more clicks you’ll get.

8. Help Your Visitors Decide Using 2 Options: An Awesome Option and a Clearly Not-Great Option

A little psychology goes a long way. Everyone knows that a button on an exit intent popup doesn’t actually consistute a life choice. However, you’d be surprised how well this trick works.

Present your audience with an awesome option — for example, a lead magnet that promises to solve a huge problem.

But don’t stop there. Offer them another option. Perhaps one that makes them uncomfortable.

My business partner, Neil Patel, uses this tactic on his exit intent popup on his personal site.

Help Your Visitors Decide Using 2 Options: An Awesome Option and a Clearly Not-Great Option

See that underlined URL at the bottom of the screen. It says, “No thanks, I don’t want more traffic.”

This creates a disconnect between what readers of Neil’s blog really want (more traffic) and what the button says. They have to stop and think about it.

9. Use a Sense of Scarcity and/or Urgency in Your Exit Intent Popups

Another psychological tactic that works extremely well is scarcity and urgency. If people feel anxiety about missing out on a great opportunity, they’ll likely click.

For instance, let’s say you’re holding a webinar in two weeks. You’re offering free registration, but only for 48 hours. People will want to register now rather than miss the opportunity for free admission and regret it later.

Do You Want to Use the Best Exit Intent Popup Software?

I might be a little biased, but I’m pretty sure Hello Bar is the best exit intent popup software available. We focus specifically on helping our customers improve conversions through effective popups.

It might sound like a little thing, but it can mean huge boosts in revenue.

You don’t even have to take a risk. Sign up for free, test out the software, and decide whether it meets your needs. I’m confident you’ll want to keep it going on your site, especially since we’ve built in free tools like automatic A/B testing.

But what about the time commitment? Marketing does take time, but you can get your own exit intent popup up and running in five minutes or less. Here’s how.

How to Set Up Your Own Amazing Hello Bar Exit Intent Popup In Under 5 Minutes

Let’s get an exit intent popup set up in less than five minutes.

First, sign into your Hello Bar account.

How to Set Up Your Own Amazing Hello Bar Exit Intent Popup In Under 5 Minutes

On the screen that appears, choose your goal. For the purposes of this example, we’ll use the “Grow Your Mailing List” goal.

How to Set Up Your Own Amazing Hello Bar Exit Intent Popup In Under 5 Minutes

From there, just fill in your headline and CTA. You might have to think about the wording for a few seconds, but it shouldn’t take long.

How to Set Up Your Own Amazing Hello Bar Exit Intent Popup In Under 5 Minutes

You then get to customize your page takeover. If it doesn’t appear as a page takeover at first, just select “change type” on the left side of your screen and select the page takeover option.

You can choose from a bunch of different styles, then customize them to your liking. Use your brand’s colors, fonts, and other specifics to make it recognizable.

How to Set Up Your Own Amazing Hello Bar Exit Intent Popup In Under 5 Minutes

When you’re done, click “Save and Publish.”

If you haven’t already, you’ll install the Hello Bar script on your website. It’s just a line of code that goes in the <head> portion of your website.

And you’re done! I timed myself. Even with taking screenshots, I set up this exit intent popup in 4 minutes and 38 seconds. Not bad for a slam-dunk marketing tactic.

4 Awesome Exit Popup Headlines That Are Proven To Help Increase Conversions

If you’re struggling with headline writing, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. It’s tough to come up with a unique, persuasive headline, especially on the fly.

Fortunately, writing headlines doesn’t have to be such a slog if you have a formula you can use to make the progress go faster. The following four formulas are excellent for boosting conversions.

1. Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get X% Discount (or Free Shipping) on Your Next Purchase

Use this headline formula when you know that your audience is motivated by saving money. You have a budget-conscious consumer on your hands, so you want him or her to sign up for your mailing list and get instant savings.

You can also use this strategy for compelling instant purchases. Instead of saying “Sign up for our newsletter….”, you could say, “Buy within the next 24 hours and get…”. It works just as well.

2. Grab This Free [Your Lead Magnet] And Get Rolling With [Desired Outcome]

I love this formula because it has built-in unusual language and allows you to communicate both a current benefit and a future benefit.

Not only does the consumer get your lead magnet, but he or she can expect specific results from using your lead magnet. It’s an incredible way to boost conversions.

3. Want “Desired Outcome” in “Desired Time Frame”?

Here’s that urgency we talked about above. You don’t have to offer something for a limited time to create urgency. You can use your target customers’ urgent desires to persuade them.

  • Want to lose five pounds in one week?
  • Want to 10X your sales in six months?
  • Want to learn to speak a foreign language in five weeks?

See how that works? Just make sure you can deliver on the promise.

4. Join Thousands/Hundreds/Millions of [Your Niche Community]

If you have a large mailing list, use that asset to your advantage. People like to join their peers — they don’t want to feel like they’re “the first.” Consequently, you can eliminate an obstacle by demonstrating that lots of their peers already have joined your mailing list.

It might look like this:

Join Thousands/Hundreds/Millions of [Your Niche Community]

It’s a very simple thing, but it can make people think twice about clicking that “X.”

Best Uses of Exit Intent Popups With Examples

Let’s look at some exit intent popups in action. I’ll show you how to create each one with Hello Bar so you can create your own desired marketing asset.

Newsletter Subscription

If you just want people to sign up for your email newsletter, an exit intent popup will get it done. You can decide whether to offer an incentive or use social proof to persuade visitors.

Newsletter Subscription

Cart Abandonment

Another great use of exit popups is to remind consumers they have items in their shopping carts. You can reduce cart abandonment rates with this reminder because, in many cases, they’ll go back to complete the checkout process.

Cart Abandonment

Lead Magnet

Let’s say you have a small email list. Have no fear! Instead of using social proof, incentivize signups with a lead magnet. If people want to get your insanely valuable asset, they’ll have to fork over their email addresses.

Lead Magnet

Free Shipping or Discount For Ecommerce Stores

If you run an ecommerce store, you don’t want to miss out on sales because people click away too quickly. Maybe your customer isn’t sure about the price. Offer a discount to bring him or her back around.

Free Shipping or Discount For E-commerce Stores

Ask Visitors to Take a Survey Or Quiz

Surveys and quizzes provide valuable insights into your audience’s wants, needs, and pain points. Use your exit intent popups to direct visitors to your survey or quiz. To get more participants, include an incentive, as well.

Ask Visitors to Take a Survey Or Quiz

Social Media Follow Buttons

I talk a lot on this blog about how to leverage existing traffic to direct consumers to different platforms. If someone visits your website, you probably want them to follow you on social, too.

The more immersed a consumer gets in your brand, the more likely he or she becomes to buy from you. Plus, social likes can spread your brand message to hundreds of other audiences depending on how many people click.

Use an exit intent popup to encourage Facebook likes. On Hello Bar, you can fill in which URL you want the visitor to like.

Social Media Follow Buttons

As you can see, it’s very simple. Plus, everyone recognizes that little icon, so they’re likely to click. People who are active on social have become conditioned to recognize those social icons and engage with them.

Content Upgrade

A content upgrade is an opportunity for a website visitor to download or otherwise access an extended form of the content on the page. There’s a great example over on BuzzBlogger.

The author lists the top 10 Fiverr gigs in the article. That’s great value, right?

But here’s the kicker. She included a content upgrade at the end.

Content Upgrade

If you click on the CTA, you’ll get a popup that allows you to input your email address and receive the entire article. In other words, you get double the content — for free.

Content Upgrade

You can use an exit intent popup to achieve the same results. Write a value-driven article on your site, but only offer half (or some other portion) on the site itself.

If readers want the full monty, they have to provide their email addresses and get it by direct download.


That’s a lot of information, right? You probably never expected you could do so much with something as simple as an exit popup.

It’s a great way to supercharge your conversion rate optimization strategy and get more leads, sales, and brand advocates. After all, you have nothing to lose. The visitor is ready to leave.

If you present the right offer at the right time, you’ll convince those visitors to stick around.

Use exit intent popups for ecommerce optimization, list building, lead generation, audience feedback, and more. Most importantly, A/B test your offers to see which ones have the greatest impact on your audience.

You might be surprised by the results.

What’s your best tip for creating slam-dunk exit intent popups? Inquiring minds want to know.

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