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Popups Galore! Everyone Hates Them - Use Them Wisely and And Avoid "Popup Hell" (Here's How)

Let's face it: we hate popups. You hate popups, and so do I.  But, let's also acknowledge that they are necessary for business, and, can also lead to some good things:

  • For you as a business owner, more email addresses in your list, the ability to market to people, a quick and noticeable way to reach your customers, and a way to promote things (discount codes, sales, free downloads, and so-on).  
  • For the customer, a way to get stuff: a discount, free downloads, exclusive access, and so-on.

With those 'good things' acknowledged: Why do most of us hate popups?

THE ANSWER: Because most Shopify websites don't think about how to use them.  They just 'slap' a popup on there using an app or an email marketing platform like MailChimp or Klaviyo, and then... they immediately show the popup to everybody who comes to the website, straight away

This is not the way to go.  

It's like trying to sleep with someone on the first date.

If you're new to the website -- and even worse, if you've come from an Ad on Facebook or Google Ads looking for something specific -- there's nothing more annoying that being hit with an instant popup.

If that instant popup is combined with other popups -- "Give us your email" -- "Leave us a review" -- "Don't miss our special deal" -- "Live Chat with us here" -- then it can feel like popup hell

Let's look at an example: I have been on this website for just a few seconds, and I haven't scrolled. See the screenshot below, and you'll notice:

1. The first popup takes over the screen, and has a close button that is hard to find (it should be up the top right or top left; not 3/4 way down in the middle); THEN
2. Once I close that OTHER popup, guess what's waiting for me behind it... that's right, ANOTHER popup!


This is what I call popup hell, and I think it turns away visitors faster than anything else. If they were to stagger these popups based on users' behaviour, I believe their drop-off rates ("bounce rate") would drop dramatically... with a 5-minute change.

How to Avoid Popup Hell And Still Collect Email Addresses

The good news is, there is an answer.  There's a nice way to still collect email addresses and get all the 'good things' we acknowledged above, without p*ssing your customers off and making them want to leave your website.

At least in my experience, working with over 500 Shopify stores, working at Shopify Plus for two years, and running 4 of my own Shopify businesses, here is what I suggest:  FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE STAGGER YOUR POPUPS.

Think long and hard about how visitors use your website, and how long they stay for. Then implement one or all of the following (it takes 5 minutes):

  • TIMING: Show the popup only after 30 seconds (or 45, or 60); and/or
  • PAGES: Show the popup only after they've viewed 3 pages; and/or
  • SCROLLING: Show the popup only after they've scrolled 50% of the page.

This means we are only asking people for an email address:

A) After they've been on the website for a little while and gotten to know you; and
B) We know that they are actually interested.

Which combination of these is best?
The boring answer is, it depends on your business. What I generally go for is half the average view time -- so if the average user spends 1:30 on your website, pop it after 45 seconds; and 50% scrolling.  But you could get more or less detailed with it, depending on your users' behaviour (check your analytics). 

How to do it?
Most apps, software and marketing platforms have options for this built-in.  Some are more comprehensive than others. If yours doesn't have it, consider switching.  Here's an example of what Klaviyo offers:

 The takeaway: If you're launching your popup to every visitor straight away, take 5 minutes to think about how your users behave (how long they spend on the site, what they look for, where they come from, etc.), and 5 minutes to update your settings.  Your customers will thank you, and I believe you'll strike more of a balance between collecting email addresses, which we want as business owners, and not being bombarded, which we want as customers.

Want video walkthroughs of this technique and others that will help you make more money, save time, and reduce stress on your Shopify store?

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