As you ramp up your ecommerce game plan for Q4, consider one simple strategy that leaves a powerful impression: the website popup. Guest blogger Krista Krumina shares how one brand used pop-ups to build an email list that skyrocketed their back-to-school sales.

 

Whether or not retailers believe in the power of online pop-ups, studies show that they simply work.

In this post, I’ll reveal how an exit intent pop-up helped one brand grow their subscriber base by 30%, and how these new subscribers generated 2x more sales during the back-to-school season than their existing email list – which, spoiler alert – was 3.5x times larger.

 

From throwing money down the drain to regaining faith in pop-ups

VELOSOCK is a brand that sells indoor bike covers. Their nifty product helps bike owners keep their apartments clean from dirt and black tire marks.

As a brand offering a product most people are not familiar with, VELOSOCK weren’t relying on organic search traffic, and therefore spent a great deal of their marketing budget on paid advertising. However, most page visitors left their shop without a purchase, forgot about the brand and never returned.

Adding an exit-intent pop-up to collect the emails of people abandoning the shop seemed like a quick and cost-efficient fix. That way, we could stay in contact with people who had landed on their shop, who were interested enough to leave their emails, but weren’t ready to buy just yet.

In exchange for visitors’ emails, we offered a 10% discount on their first purchase. Because let’s face it: today our email address is a type of currency, too – people “buy” goods (discounts, ebooks, etc.) with their email addresses. In the online world that’s a conversion.

So, we collected a few hundred emails and with the back-to-school season around the corner, we were ready to put these emails to use. We decided to run a 10-day-long sales campaign and chose email marketing as our main tactic.

The result?

The new list, which had been gathered through the pop-up, generated 2x higher revenue than their existing list of subscribers who had joined through other opt-in forms. And it gets better: the new list also had more than a 2.5% better email click-through rate and nearly 5% higher conversion rate than the existing base. In other words, those who had subscribed through our exit-intent pop-up were generally more willing to engage with the brand.

 

3 lessons learned (and how to copy this success)

This campaign not only helped the team regain faith in pop-ups and email marketing, but also taught us valuable lessons for the future. Here’s what we learned:

1.New subscribers may be your most active buyers.

A study by Hubspot found that the longer subscribers are on your email list, the less engaged they become. Simply put, new subscribers are more likely to open your emails and click on links in their first months.

Why? For one, your existing subscriber base may simply already have your product, and don’t need another one that soon. This is something to keep in mind if you don’t sell everyday products that wear out or run out, and thus don’t need to be bought regularly.

And two: subscribers that are on your email list for a longer time already know your sales policies. That is, they know how often you give discounts and how big those discounts are. In comparison, subscribers who have joined recently don’t know what to expect from you. That explains why new subscribers may be more motivated to buy now – they don’t know if and when you may give better deals.

Lesson learned: Never stop growing your email list. Keeping your list fresh is especially important if you sell long-lasting products that people don’t buy regularly. Exit intent pop-ups are probably one of the most cost-efficient ways to grow your list, or you may also consider creating a lead magnet and combining it with paid advertising.

 

2. It’s all about perspectives.

There’s an old marketing saying that states: ”The best way to sell a $2,000 watch is to put it right next to a $10,000 watch.”

It’s called ”anchoring” – the cognitive bias that refers to the human tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information received when making decisions. Placing an expensive product next to a standard option makes customers see the lower priced option as a better bet in comparison.

When it comes to discounts, this trick works in a very similar way. Compared to the standard 10% off offer that people got when subscribing to the list, the 20% off deal looks 2x better. And people are more motivated to make that purchase.

Lesson learned: If you offer sales, give your customers an obviously better discount than your standard deal. That way your sales offer will look more valuable and be considered a great catch not to miss out on.

 

3. Segment your subscribers based on their campaign activity.

You’ve grown your email list; now it’s time to leverage it. Brands just starting with email marketing are often hesitant to send too many emails for fear of annoying their subscribers. But the truth is, if you do email marketing right, you shouldn’t be worried. And by ”right” I mean ”segmenting the daylights out of your list”.

If you segment your emails, people won’t get irritated because no one will be receiving ALL of your messages. Instead, your subscribers will get a selection of personalized, on-point emails.

During our back-to-school campaign, we segmented our lists based on campaign activity. That is, we sent the first campaign email, then filtered out subscribers who didn’t open the original email and sent these subscribers a personalized follow-up message. That way, we could address (and convert) subscribers who were undecided or simply missed our initial email.

The results speak for themselves: The follow-up email was responsible for 49% of all the revenue generated through email marketing.

Lesson learned: Never assume someone didn’t open or click through your email because he or she was not interested. We receive so many emails these days that one may have missed your email or simply didn’t have time for online-shopping at that exact moment. Keep segmenting your email lists no matter how big or small they are, and send re-promotional emails based on your subscriber’s campaign activity. First, to those who missed your first announcement, then to all subscribers who showed interest by opening your email, but didn’t land on your shop.

 

Exit-intent popups + re-promotional emails = a recipe for success

Exit intent pop-ups combined with strategic email marketing is probably the easiest and most efficient long-term marketing tactic. Therefore, they’re especially great for businesses with limited marketing budgets.

In the case of VELOSOCK, the implementation of a simple abandonment pop-up generated a ROI of 1011%! If that’s not a great result, I don’t know what is.

Now that you know exactly how we did it, go ahead and try for yourself!

Krista Krumina is a co-founder of Truesix.co, a content marketing agency that helps European startups access English speaking markets. She prefers learning by doing and loves sharing the lessons she has learned.