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The Ecommerce Marketing Blog

The #1 resource for small and growing ecommerce brands

How to Use Pop Ups Without Devaluing Your Brand

By Kayla Lewkowicz
6 minute read

As business owners, there’s often a tug between the needs of your business—generating new contacts, driving sales, and meeting the bottom line—and that of your brand.

That’s because your brand encapsulates every single interaction a customer or potential customer has with your business, from following you on social media to engaging your customer support team to a seamless checkout experience. Your brand isn’t just what you do; it’s why you do it and who you are in the process.

Pop ups and other on-site campaigns get a bad rap because, done wrong, they can be annoying and intrusive. So we hear many of our customers ask us, "How can we use pop ups without devaluing our brands?"

The thing is, being annoying and intrusive sounds like any kind of marketing done wrong, not just on-site campaigns. Done right, your campaigns should deliver a relevant, contextual experience that can truly delight your customers.

Here’s how to do just that:

Send the Right Message at the Right Time

We often hear from customers that they don't want to bombard their visitors with messages. The best way to provide a great experience—and not to annoy your visitors—is to make the most out of the sophisticated targeting at your fingertips. That's because the best brands make sure that the people who see any message are the right people to see it.

With audience targeting, you can map out your campaigns based on the customer journey so that your customer sees the exact message that is the most relevant to them at that point in time. Just like you wouldn't say, "See ya real soon!" to people walking through the door of your brick-and-mortar shop or "Can I put this away for you?" before they've picked anything up, you want to make sure your messages match with where they are in their journey.

At a very basic level, here's what two different messages can look like using the same branding and imagery but for two different points in the customer journey: When visitors first come to the site and when they're about to leave.

That means you’re not saying the same thing to every single person that comes through your door, instead using what you know about them already—where they came from, what part of the world they’re in, or if they’ve visited your site before—to craft the right message.

Targeted Welcome Campaigns

Take the welcome campaign for example. You might want to welcome your visitors to your site with a 10% off offer for any first time buyers. Instead of showing that message to everyone, audience targeting allows you to pinpoint that message just to your first time buyers. 

To do this in Privy, choose "sessions count," is less than 2 sessions in audience targeting.

Another option whether or not you want to show to first time visitors is to segment your welcome message even further based on referral source. If you have a ton of YouTube fans that come to your site, welcome them with a specific video. They already know and love your brand, but may not have purchased from you, so don’t treat them the same as every other visitor that comes to your site.

To do this in Privy, use audience targeting to choose "referring URL" contains the domain name of the referral source you're looking to include. In this case, that would be "referring URL" contains "youtube.com."

Targeted Product Campaigns

Another example of targeting at work is by targeting different campaigns based on the pages or products that your visitor viewed in that session. If you know they’re browsing for golf clubs, don’t show them a picture of your tennis rackets when you present your offer—give them a reason to purchase instead of browse as they move through your product pages.

The key to this technique is setting your campaigns so that if someone browsing your product pages sees your golf club promotion, they don’t see your tennis racket promotion if they move on to that category and vice versa.

Target Repeat Visitors with No-Form Campaigns

For further down the funnel, you can use no-form campaigns to speak to customers who have already given their email address by promoting site-wide sales, free shipping, or other site news.

This is also a chance to find out more about your customers by asking additional questions, like their birthday or favorite color.

Or you can go with Nested Bean’s approach, a baby swaddle company, who asks for the baby’s age in their campaigns so they can send more relevant offers as the baby grows up—and increases their lifetime value.

Use Pop Ups to Promote More Than Just Discounts

We often hear from customers that they want to use on-site campaigns, but don't want to devalue their brand by constantly discounting items—or worse, train potential customers to always wait for a sale to purchase. That's because for most of us, when we think about pop ups, we think about discounts. And it’s true they’re a great tool to promote flash sales, offers, and other incentives to get your site visitors to become customers.

But if your brand isn’t the type that wants to offer discounts left and right, you can still use on-site campaigns to gather email addresses with a little creativity. You can:

Promote Pieces of Content

For your blog readers, after they read 2-3 posts or have scrolled down a certain percentage of a single post, ask them if they’d like more. If they like what they’re reading, they’ll probably want to subscribe to get the updates right in their inbox. Our customers at Bullet Journal do just that to give blog readers access to exclusive content.

Or, if someone is browsing a certain category of products, promote a maintenance manual or related piece of content that they’ll need if they’re interested in the topic, like our customers at Succulent Source.

Gather Social Media Followers

If you know many of your Instagram followers end up making a purchase, or you want your visitors to deepen their engagement with you, you can promote your social channels instead of email. 

This is a great campaign idea if you already have someone’s email address or if you’re looking to build up your organic following so you can have more accurate Lookalikes for your Facebook ads or that coveted “swipe up” functionality on Instagram.

Ask for Reviews

Reviews are the lifeblood of any small business. It’s how consumers make decisions on everything from what moisturizer to use to where to stay on their fabulous vacation in the Greek Isles. The best way to get a great review? Ask for one!

Target your repeat purchasers and ask them to leave a review on the platform that makes the most sense for your business, whether you’re a Shopify app looking for Shopify reviews or a restaurant itching for more Yelp stars.

Provide Incentives to Purchase

If you don’t want to discount your merchandise, you can still put together an offer to incentivize a purchase. Our customers at Honest Beef don’t discount, but will often include free samples—the quality of which speaks for itself and encourages buyers later—or free gifts for a certain purchase level.

While these kinds of offers can work well for visitors just arriving to your site, they may work even better further down the funnel. If you know your average cart order, use that as a base point. Then, create two different Cart Saver campaigns—one for carts with a lower than average value and one for a higher than average.

A free sample, free gift, or adding free shipping can help you save a cart before they abandon it, without necessarily needing to discount the merchandise.

Make Your Campaigns Work Together

The key to all this? Using a combination of targeting rules, segmented messaging, and a mix of form and no-form campaigns to pull everything together. Having different campaigns is like having different employees helping each customer find what they’re looking for on a show floor. You can speak directly to your customer and their specific needs rather than standing at the front of the store with a megaphone trying to talk to everyone at once.

Audience targeting is available on Privy Plus plans and above. Learn more about how targeting works with this comprehensive guide:

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