Here's a website usability and conversion optimization tip for you: Kill those pop-ups!
Have you seen those annoying pop-ups on websites? Some pop-up as soon as you arrive on the page and some will pop-up when you try to leave the page; both are very annoying.
As of today, here's an annoying example of a pop-up: http://www.reeds.com/
The REEDS Jewelers website shows an immediate message for "First Time Visitors" that says:
"First Time Here? REEDS would like to welcome you with an extra savings of $25 off any online purchase of $150 or more. Enter coupon code FTV25150* at checkout. *Excludes Roberta Z Ideal, REEDS Diamond, Chamilia, David Yurman, Everlon, Swiss Watches, and Swarovski. "
Sure, that's a great offer for a jewelry store, but the pop-up is so immediate and annoying that people will just close the box without even reading.
A random search consumer might not know what they are looking for, and they might not be in a buying mood today, yet this message is for first time visitors (tracked with a cookie no doubt) and unless they are committed to an immediate purchase they lose the opportunity.
Although, because of the annoying pop-up nature the user will probably close the window and lose the opportunity anyway. The better approach would be to offer a discount for "First Time Buyers" and then track a cookie for that instead.
Now take a look at this page: http://bridal.reeds.com/
That's another popular page on the Google SERP, yet they don't have the First Time Visitor pop-up. The poor visitor that entered through the wrong landing page now loses the $25 discount.
Zale Corporation is another offending pop-up company that needs some conversion rate testing.
Both Zales ( http://www.zales.com/ ) and Gordon's ( http://www.gordonsjewelers.com/ ) have immediate email sign-up pop-ups. Their message says:
"Sign Up for Special Offers. Receive a $50 Offer When You Sign Up for Email. *Valid for new registrations only. A welcome email will be sent with your offer information."
The Zale pop-up has a large "Sign UP" message that's easier to read than the REED logo and "First Time Visitors" message. The Zale offer of $50 seems better because you maybe you will get a coupon for $50 off a purchase...
Well, we tested it out, and honestly, we feel like total suckers to fall for their trap!
The home page pop-up looks like a simple email sign-up, in that they ask you for your email address only. But when you click the Sign Up button you are taken to a very complex page that requires all your personal information (full name, full address, gender) and also asks you for your birthday and anniversary. Although the special dates are not required, there's a message that says they will send the $50 for your birthday and anniversary.
Folks, this is not the way to earn the trust of your jewelry buying customers. Don't trick them from a simple email sign-up to something this complex. Just get their email and send them the $50 off. This is just the initial customer contact. If and when they spend the $50 you will get their contact information and can then more accurately target marketing.
Let's turn our attention back to the pop-ups and we'll tell you another pitfall of using them. The Google SERP shows preview images of most website pages now. The user is able to quickly view an image of your page without needing to click, but if you have an immediate pop-up, it will block the preview and may lower your SERP click through rate. Even worse, it could increase your bounce rate.
Take a look at this Google SERP for gordonsjewelers.com: http://bit.ly/mPGq4t
Click on one of the magnifying glasses next to the first SERP entry for Gordon's. You will see the pop-up window blocks the clear view of what's really on the page.
Hopefully, this Daily Golden Nugget has illustrated reasons not to use pop-ups on your website. If you insist on using them, then at least put it on a time delay of 45 to 60 seconds or trigger them on a clickable action other than leaving the site.