So you hate pop-ups, right?
But what I told you that pop-ups increase sign-ups?
Would you still hate pop-ups?
And why would you stay away from pop-ups, despite their clear ability to increase sign-ups to your website or newsletter?
Imagine you're walking through the doors of your local mall You're whistling your happy tune. You're happy with the world, and for now at least, the world seems happy with you.
And then from nowhere, as you step through the doors of the mall, this salesperson steps into your face. Almost instantly you duck, and swerve away. In a fraction of a second you see that salesperson as an intrusion. And suddenly this salesperson has disrupted your peace.
Left a sense of distaste in your mouth right away.
Pop ups are like that salesperson
A single pop-up incident may not deter your visits to the website, but from now on you're on your guard. As far as possible, you want to avoid running into that ‘sales situation' at all cost.
But there's a grimier side to the pop-up
Most people never buy products or sevices on the first visit to your site. And this is more true online than anywhere else–unless the customer has actually been driven to your site (with a very strong referral to buy).
So they remember that ‘sales person'. They remember having to swerve and duck. And if they run into the same tactic on the second/third visit, they first avoid that door.
On the website, more often than not, your door is your home page (not always, but often enough).
And if the customer feels they have to avoid the door, then you're shutting down the ‘rest of the mall' as well.
The rest of the mall represents your future sales
Your back-end products.
All of them, are in jeopardy, because of this one infuriating salesperson.
Now, it's all yada, yada, yada, without sales figures and conversion figures
In testing online (not on the Psychotactics site, but others) studies have found that the pop-up increases sign ups. And hopefully (because I don't have figures on this) increases sales.
So knowing fully well that it does increase sign ups, why would you avoid the pop up?
Because there's no detailed understanding or track-through about how long the customer stays/purchases etc. There's zero-study on longevity.
So yes, you may snare the customer.
The customer may sign up, but that doesn't mean they'll buy
And that doesn't mean they'll buy chunkier products and services over the years. You see the pop up everywhere in real life:
1) The sales person trying to flog something as we walk down the street.
2) The Amway person who won't give up.
3) The ‘Where have you been all my life?' guy at the bar.
They all represent pop ups. And in real life get our attention, but drive us crazy.
So yes, the likeability factor is zero
Or pretty darned close to zero.
But that's only one side of the picture. The other side is trust.
Because as I mentioned before, the trust factor goes down the line. The customer is not just interested in one product. Or one service. Once you've gained their trust, you can sell them loads of other products/services and they'll be happy to buy.
At Psychotactics, the uptake on the subscriber is low (because we put barriers in the way of subscribing). And yet, look how the sequential model (the back-end products/services) move down the line.
The Website Masterclass is priced at $2500 a seat–and yet the event is filled to the brim. The Protege Program at almost $10,000 is overbooked year after year. The events, products, services are constantly in demand.
Part of the reason for the uptake is the deliverables and quality of content (ok, so that's a pat on our own back).
But an even bigger issue is trust and likeability
Because likeability is the attractor, trust is the converter and deliverables (what we give) is the consumption factor. So yeah, just like real life, you can pop up in your customer's face.
Or you may choose not to.
The ramifications of the pop up are clear in studies. They do get more sign ups.
But on the other hand, slow and steady does work just as well–if not better.
The decision is yours.
To pop-up or not: That is the question.
Technical Note: Yes, I know that most browsers block pop-ups. But for every block, there is someone who comes up with a better system. And ja, you can have pop-ups (in DHTML, I think) that beat the browsers, and pop-up anyway. So if you want that popping thing on your site, you can still have it, despite the barriers.
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Eddie Gear says
Nice article, I enjoyed reading it. To be honest I hate those pop up and today more and more bloggers are starting to use them and also recommend it to others and some in the process do get a good commission from the affiliate networks. Hmmm… I hope there is a way that pop ups do not distract the readers…. Its only a matter of time when bloggers drive customers away.
Complete agreement from me.
Oops. cont . . .
I think pop-ups are just plain rude – I won’t have one on my site.
The answer to this objection of mine is along the lines of: The figures don’t care, people must like them or they wouldn’t sign up. I find this dubious reasoning.
But people, quite rightly, won’t pay any attention to me as I have a low traffic site. It is great that someone as successful as you is saying the same thing. Thanks.
I couldn’t agree more, Sean, and thank you for giving your position on this. I refuse to have intrusive advertising on my website. When a website does that to me, I leave. Period. I agree with Evan – it’s just rude.
I’m often amazed by how many sites still use these tactics, and I assume they are run by people who’ve taken some high pressure website course taught by people who wear rather grey hats.
Another version of this I can’t stand for the same reasons is the popup that comes when you try to exit the site. Using your terrific analogy, it’s like the sales person who grabs your arm when you try to leave.
I also tend to avoid animated ads. It’s hard for me to concentrate on what I went to a website for when there’s stuff flashing in my face or in my peripheral vision. I can’t focus on what I’m reading and it ruins the experience for me.
Years ago I even paid money for a browser add-on that would suppress Flash, just so I could read what I came there to read. Now I use a browser that suppresses advertising and Flash, although I’ll take off the ad suppression if I like a site and they don’t flash stuff in my face.
Sorry for the long comment. This whole subject strikes a nerve! 🙂
Jef Menguin says
Thank you. I don’t like pop-ups.
This is why I do not have them in my website. This is plain common sense.
But common sense is rare nowadays.
I don’t like them either but have experimented with them during my course enrollment periods. Thanks for bringing up the point about the lack of evidence regarding conversion. I think that point is spot-on. Even if they opt in based on a pop-up, it doesn’t mean they will become customers/clients.
Wonder why there isn’t research on the conversion factor??
Good post, but I’d like to make one more counter-point. You said:
“Most people never buy products or sevices on the first visit to your site.”
The reason why so many marketers are aggressive in getting the email asap is because of this. They know that if they don’t get the email the reader may click off to never return.
And it’s not because they have a bad website, but because there are MILLIONS of good websites out there and a limit to the regular person’s time, energy and memory.
At the same time, I can totally empathize with your viewpoint – treating people like people and not like percentages.