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pop-ups, The Marketing GP

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Do Website Pop-ups Work?

Pop-ups on websites began as a Frankenstein experiment of sorts, where it would either entice or scare away future customers. Over time, however, pop-ups have become a rather important and beneficial experiential brand extension worth investing in.

Something we get asked a lot about is pop-ups on websites and whether they work. We also get asked if you get penalised by Google for having them.

And these are actually two different questions.


So, how exactly do we make pop-ups work?

In terms of pop-ups working, they are only going to work if you are offering value to someone, at a time when they are interested in receiving that value. Make sure you remember the word value!

This is where ‘lead magnets’ come into action. A lead magnet is an offer that will often pop-up on a website, just as you’ve entered it, and will ask for an email address in hopes that you ‘sign up’ for more information on that particular offer.

A good example of this can be found on news service websites. A lead magnet will pop up on the screen, inviting you to ‘Subscribe To Our Mailing List’ – it offers YOU (the customer) a chance to regularly be updated on news from that provider and it offers THE COMPANY with a more frequent visitor to their site, which boosts engagement and reigns in more money. Win, win!

It is worth noting that there are many examples of lead magnets out there and you have a lot of creative licence to do as you wish to make it work for your brand.

The key to success in this approach is its simplicity.

In our modern age, no one has the time to be taken to multiple website browsers and mess around with long and repetitive online forms. By simply providing an email address, users can quickly fill it out and proceed with their original quest.

As we will discuss in more detail later, with regards to cranky Google chucking hissy-fits, the crack-down of pop-ups has also meant pop-ups need to be savvier and more strategic in their approach.

This means quick and enticing information that is not only of relevance to the audience but is also interesting. If you’re not tapping into the desires of your client base, they are going to dismiss the pop-up altogether.

Make sure you have frequency rules turned on for your pop-ups so that if they are a frequent visitor, they don’t keep getting the same pop-up!

There’s nothing worse than being repeatedly given the same information. It’s tiresome and will often be ignored. By recognising frequent visitors to your website, you keep people happy and interested. You don’t want angry, bored or annoyed customers staying away from your website as revenge. The whole ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’ concept doesn’t work here so avoid it at all costs.

Pop-us are a really great way to grow your email list but it’s vital to make sure you do something with the contact information you are collecting.

If someone has taken the time to ‘sign up’ to a mailing list, you better believe they will be checking their inbox for updates. Therefore, you should be taking the time to really sell your brand and its services through this means, otherwise it will just be a waste of time for you and future customers/clients.

What types of pop-ups are there?

The traditional pop-up is one that appears in the middle of the page, has a call-to-action which offers something of value in return for your email address. But you can also have things like sticky bars, side pop-outs, exit-intent pop-ups, modal pop-ups, notification bars, timed-pop ups, etc. There are so many choices out there, which makes it easier to find a pop-up that will avoid aggravation and benefit your brand. The point is to choose a pop-up that provides a win-win situation.

Will Google get cranky at our website for having a pop-up?

In terms of Google punishing you, back in 2016 the search engine giant made the announcement that they would penalise websites that used intrusive pop-ups.

pop-ups, The Marketing GP

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Clearly, they didn’t say ALL pop-ups! But as with every Google change, there was a little bit of hysteria and mis-information that went around.

So long as your pop-up still allows the user to view your page easily and get rid of the pop-up, you should be fine. And make sure this is applied for mobile search. Because it’s a smaller screen, what works on a desktop is not the same as what works on a mobile phone.

The best way to use pop-ups on a mobile screen instead of a desktop is all about not aggravating Google. – this can be done by following the rules of having no pop-up advertisements, no oversized modals (sign-ups that pop-up over main content and restrict webpage usage), and no pop-ups on the first page. Also, making sure your pop-up is easy to opt out of and isn’t identical to the desktop web-interface is another helpful tip.

So, should we have a pop-up on our website?

We tend to steer clear of straight yes/no answers to marketing questions – because every business is different!

But as a general rule, if you have something of value to offer your target market, a lead magnet is an excellent way to move the user further along the marketing funnel.

pop-ups, The Marketing GPOur advice? Pop-ups, with a valuable lead magnet, are a great way to develop your funnel, so long as they are presented in an unobtrusive manner!

If you would like to have a chat to us about your overall marketing strategy, please get in touch.

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