For companies focused on providing a personalised experience to their customers - which let’s face it should be all of us - obtaining the website visitor’s email address is crucial. A shoppers’ digital ID opens up a communication line directly to the consumer. It’s also a key identifier that joins up previous online behaviour, enabling you to be more targeted in your marketing across devices and channels.

Website pop-ups or banners are an effective way to approach data collection. Shoppers browsing the site are invited to enter their details, most commonly email address and interests, to help you build a more comprehensive picture of their preferences and continue to engage with them once they’ve left the website.

This sounds like a straightforward approach. However, at some point the popover that comes up the minute someone lands on your website (with the obligatory 10% off offer), will stop delivering email addresses ㄧ if it ever did to begin with. It might even be deterring customers from offering that information.

To serve as a powerful tool to grow your subscriber base, data capture pop-ups and banners need to be deployed in a smart way. We have outlined key considerations around timing, context and design to make your strategy more effective.

Timing is everything
Much like everything in marketing, timing is crucial to effective data capture. Shoppers tend to avoid pop-ups and banners that appear the moment they land on a website, which means they are more likely to click the “X” button.
Allowing a short amount of time for them to browse the site, rather than pouncing on them immediately by displaying the pop-up window, is likely to be more fruitful. We experimented with pop-up timing and found that a dwell time of 30 seconds on a single webpage is the optimal amount of time to give a first-time visitor before displaying a sign-up window.

Focus on behaviour and context
The best way to get the timing right is to serve popovers in response to the browser’s behaviour. To work out when to use a popover – and what content to include – consider the shopper’s interests, lifecycle stage, and place in the buying journey.

Popovers based on exit intent are a great tactic to keep shoppers engaged. By monitoring cursor activity to recognise when a shopper is about to leave the website, these popovers can’t push a visitor away from your website (they’re already on their way out), but might just persuade them to stay in touch.

Taken one step further, you can show a cart abandonment popover to leaving visitors who have added items to their shopping cart. An image of the product reminds shoppers of what they wanted, along with the offer to summarise the carted items in an email.

Do you carry a brand that is particularly popular? Place your banner or popup when someone looks at those specific products, offering them to be the first to learn when new products from that brand are released. Does the customer look at an item that has sold out in their size? Why not display a pop-up or banner encouraging them to share their details so they can receive a notification when this particular range is back in stock.

Keeping design in mind
Don’t let design be an afterthought. A great popover makes your brand look professional and trustworthy. To maximize engagement, include a compelling call to action and clearly show the value you’re offering. Don’t put shoppers off by asking for too much information – once you have a visitor’s email address, you can get to know them better.

Also consider the format of your data capture device. One way to increase effectiveness is to use a banner that doesn’t pop up over the content. It sits at the top of the page waiting for the shopper to get to know the product offering and then look for a way to sign up for emails. This avoids the problem that shoppers often encounter: The point where they are willing to share their email address (perhaps to get a discount, or just because they like what they are seeing), they can’t find the spot to sign up for the newsletter.

Another option that is underutilized: A pop-up to banner approach. When the customer closes the pop-up, the information stays on the page in a banner or footer position and travels, discreetly, with the customer as they shop.
To give shoppers a personalised experience across web and email, it’s important to identify as many visitors as possible. As we’ve seen, that doesn’t mean harassing visitors with obtrusive data capture devices. Popovers can be used to enhance consumers’ shopping experience, all the while growing your subscriber base and recovering revenue.


Written by By Mike Austin, co-founder and CEO of Fresh Relevance

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