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Pop-ups Work - Oh Yes They Do!

Pop-ups you hate them right? Not only that, but everybody you know hates them too right? So they dont work very well and you certainly shouldnt use them on your website right? Wrong (ish).

Pop-ups work wonderfully well if theyre used in the correct manner to advertise the correct product or service. Before you dismiss them out of hand, its worth taking a few moments to consider why they are so universally despised. Maybe then you might find an effective way to use them to promote your services.

So why, exactly, do you and the rest of the planet dislike pop-ups so much? Probably you havent thought about it much until now but have a look at the list below and see if any of these reasons ring true.

* They are intrusive.
* They stop you doing what youre doing and interrupt your train of thought.
* They appear at inappropriate times.
* You feel like youre being manipulated.
* They offer you nothing new.
* You dont want to see them you have a pop-up blocker set up but they still get through!

I could add to this list, but really, those are enough reasons. More than enough. Many other possible additions would simply be sub-sets of those main headings.

Heres an example of a typical pop-up experience:

Having just arrived at a website you start to read the copy BANG its pop-up time! You are now looking at a pop-up which is covering somewhere between a third and a half of the page (some of them are even bigger). You cant see very much of the original text however well written it is.

The pop-up contains information which is (and youre working from memory here) pretty much the same as the main page but points out that the price of whatever it is will rise at midnight tonight. There are millions of people surfing the web, so it makes sense that somewhere or other there is someone stupid enough to believe this.

However, since you have seen this same ploy and possibly this same ploy associated with the very same product so many times before, you realise youre being manipulated.

Before you can go back to reading the main site - and lets not forget you made a conscious decision to visit it and view the copy on it - you have to close down the pop-up.

You have been interrupted, you have learned nothing new and your intelligence has been insulted. I bet youre in just the right mood to buy something now.

Does that sum up your impression of pop-ups? Its probably a fairly accurate representation for many people. However, it is possible for you, as an advertiser, to use pop-ups intelligently, in a way which will not annoy your website visitors and which will lead to increased signups for you.

Have a quick look at the tips below:

Have a delay between your visitor arriving at the site and your pop-up appearing.
Allow them a few seconds to take in what your sites about.

Keep the size of your pop-up reasonable.
If it is filled with reams of information it wont be effective.

Arrange your pop-up so that it covers a graphic or an advert when it has landed.
Your visitor will still be able to read whatever is on the main page.

Provide a genuine extra incentive in your pop-up.
A signup bonus not mentioned on the main page - or at least not on the part of the main page thats currently visible when the pop-up is activated. Make this a good bonus and dont insult their intelligence with a time limited offer unless this is 100% genuine.

Never use multiple pop-ups. Never. Just don't do it.

You might also want to consider an exit pop-up. These can be very annoying but again, like anything else, they can also be effective when properly used. As a rule, when leaving a site, Ive already made my mind up. Exit pop-ups which ask me why Im leaving without purchasing dont often (by which I mean never) make me change my mind. Not even the prospect of a valuable free report can stop me in my tracks.

However, there is one example which could work. One well known marketer takes the opportunity to offer a cut-down version of the original product just in case the price was the problem. It is a genuine lite-version of the main product so the information is new and shouldnt insult anyone not even those who have bought the full spec item at the higher price. You might also want to try offering a completely different, but closely related, product or a newsletter subscription. Its worth a try.

So, if youre not already doing so, think about using pop-ups as part of your online marketing strategy. If you are already using them, then think about whether or not you could make them less annoying and therefore more effective. They can be a truly effective tool and could make a real difference to your results.

About the Author: Hamish Hayward

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