7 Formulas for Exit Popup Headlines that Convert


Are your website exit popups giving you the conversions you need?

Exit popups are one of the best ways of generating qualified emails, increasing your blog subscriptions and even getting potential customers to try out your free trial.

But many online marketers still fail when it comes to using a website popup to keep traffic on their site and lure the leaving visitor to convert.

In this article, I’m going to give you seven persuasive formulas to write website exit popup headlines you wish you’d already used.

#1. Use The Yes/No Question

What’s a way to keep your website visitor engaged just as they’re about to bounce? Ask a question that requires a yes, no or exit response.

Whether your reader is cognizant of it or not, questions trigger a response. Add it to an exit pop up and you’ve got a formula to prime your visitor for conversions.

Social Triggers uses a question in their exit popup:

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Just as a visitor is about to leave (most good popup providers integrate mouse tracking software that can predict viewer’s exit behaviour) the popup gives the potential bounce a need to act, with a yes/no question.

The most effective yes/no questions in exit popup headlines are ones that are relevant to the website page content and keep the customer’s needs in mind.

The question “Want to learn how to get 5,000 subscribers for free?” is an enticing ask that solves a readers’ problem. Social Trigger’s target demographic is content, digital, online and affiliate marketers and, if they’re like me, we’re always looking at ways to increase blog subscribers, right?  

Here’s a few more examples of a yes/no question for your exit popup headline:

  • Want to learn how to [your subject matter]?
  • Need more [your industry offer]?
  • Did you like this article?

#2. Get Noticed with Exact, Odd Numbers (Use 11, Not 10)

Using numbers in a headline  – whether it’s a blog title, landing page, popup, or really any kind of marketing material – tends to grab your readers attention. It visually breaks up the letters in your headline copy.

Take this tactic further by using exact, odd and even random sounding numbers and include it in your exit popup headline. Generally speaking, the more precise a number you use, the more believable it tends to be with your potential leads.

Search Engine Journal uses this strategy in their blog exit popup:

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The headline to “join 23,857 marketers and counting…” makes me believe that there are that exact number of people, just like me, who have already subscribed to the SEJ blog. The headline is both eye-catching and appealing and stands out more than if they had used a headline like “join 24,000 marketers” or even worse “join thousands of others like you”.  

While not part of the exact, odd number formula, I also like the use of ellipses (…). It’s an oldy but a goody from the heydays of email marketing. It may seem like a small detail, but it still works to gets viewers to read on and take further action.

Here’s a few more examples of exact, odd number formulas for your exit popup headline:

  • What do 78,962 [people like you] already know?
  • 8,734 [people like you] have downloaded the book…
  • Don’t leave yet! Join our 34,098-strong tribe of [profession name]

Looking to add popups to your website? Check out Wishpond’s Free Shopify Popup Builder App and Free WordPress Popup Builder App.

#3. Put Action into Your Call To Action

A good popup headline includes a clear, concise and simple Call to Action (CTA). The clearer and easier you make your ask, the more likely a visitor will be to convert.

A great headline includes an action oriented verb at the front of your offer.

The Duct Tape Marketing blog uses this tactic in their exit pop up:


Their headline, “Grab a copy of – 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success. Your Free!” tells the potential bounced traffic to take action before they leave. By including a simple and actionable verb, conversion rates tend to increase.

A clear, concise and simple verb that invokes immediate action works. Like it or not, people tend to follow instructions. If you are clear about what you want and state the ask to your readers (in a friendly tone, of course), your exit popup will get higher conversions. Try it out for yourself.

And check out these CTA formulas to improve your exit popup conversion rate.

Here’s a few more examples of actionable CTA formulas for your exit popup headline:

  • Get your free trial – start improving [your benefits] today!
  • Learn how to [your offer top benefit]
  • Seize the opportunity to [your offer benefits]

#4. Make Your Offer Clear and Large

Another winner is to keep your exit pop up headline consistent with the offer you’re giving. This keeps the offer clear, and when a visitor converts they get exactly the thing that you promised them.

Take this one step further by making your headline large and obvious to see when your popup shows in your readers’ browsers.

Conversion XL uses the clear and large formula:

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The headline is exactly what the download is – the title of the persuasive web design guide. Now, the offer is also to sign up for a regular newsletter too – but the emails sent are all related to conversions, which is relevant to web design persuasion.

The headline is designed to drive the eye immediately to the title. The font size is about six times the size of the subheading text and uses a short six word and one number copy. It also uses two contrasting colors – again to draw attention to their potentially bounced traffic.

The best clear and large headlines are short – in the range of 20 – 40 characters.

Here’s a few more examples of clear and large formulas for your exit popup headline:

  • [Title of your book]
  • Get your risk-free trial
  • Free ebook! [title of book]

#5. Shock Them

Make your abandoning traffic stop by adding shock value to your headlines.

Your bouncing visitor is already bombarded with millions of pieces of information, visuals and asks on a daily basis. Make your message stand out with shocking copy. Use headlines that dispel a common myth and make your traffic want to read your copy twice – and convert.

Newspapers and journalists are pros are writing the shock value headline. Take a page from the old school writers to increase conversions on your website popup.

KISSmetrics uses this strategy to give bouncing traffic pause:

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For those of you who don’t know, KISSmetrics is a web analytics solution that compiles data from your marketing channels.

Their headline “Aggregate Data is Kinda Worthless” is a bold statement that contradicts what many of their targeted demographic groups believe. As someone is exiting the site, this popup would give them pause and give them a tug of the leash.  

Shock value works best when you make a statement that contradicts the worldview of your readership, but is still highly relevant to what they want.

Here’s a few more examples of shock value formulas for your exit pop up headline:

  • [Fact your reader thinks is correct] is useless.
  • Pigs can’t fly, but our ebook will tell you how to learn [topic].
  • Your [revenues/ social life/ tech device] suck.

#6. Tease Them

There’s nothing quite like classic marketing than the tease. Show your soon to be bounced traffic an offer they can’t refuse – without revealing exactly what it is.

The tease formula piques a reader’s interest, puts a question in their mind and compels them to want your offer.

Shoemoney is an affiliate marketing site that uses this tactic expertly:

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The headline of “Facebook, Amazon, & Zappos hired me to teach them these 3 things” is a name dropping tease that drives future millionaires to want to learn more.

Shoemoney doesn’t list out the three conversion tactics. He doesn’t simply sell his case studies as being “free”. Rather, he seduces his potentially lost traffic by showing results, implying success and giving away his million dollar secrets for a name and email.

The tease formula works best when you can explicitly show the value of something, without telling its details.

Here’s a few more examples of the tease formula for your exit pop up headline:

[Relevant celebrity names] all use this secret diet. We’ll reveal how you can do it too.
– Here’s the 1 thing you need to [offer benefit].
– I made [Specific dollar amount] dollars last month doing these 3 things.

#7. Ask a Question from a Friend

One of the biggest trends in online marketing these days is the friendly, open and transparent marketing approach. The better a company can brand itself as a person, the deeper a connection its loyal website traffic has.

If someone is exiting your website, remind them of that connection. Treat your abandoning visitor like you would treat someone leaving your party (or really cool store). Ask them to stick around or try your offer in a friendly toned question.

I love the way Post Planneruses this tactic:

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They use the causal question of “Hey leaving so soon?” as the headline in their blog exit popup.

Yeah, it may not be grammatically correct, but it’s written in a tone that speaks to their readership of smart Facebook marketers. It’s also cool that they segment their exit popups to acknowledge the fact that it is shown to people attempting to leave the site. It makes it a very personal and personalized bit of marketing.

Even if someone doesn’t convert – the ask here is to sign up for a free trial – anyone leaving the site will be left with the impression that Post Planner speaks to them like a friend. The connection is made, and the chances of that person returning to the site just increased.

Here’s a few more examples of the question from a friend formula for your exit pop up headline:

  • Thanks for visiting, why not get our free [topic] guide before you go?
  • Hey, wait! There’s more to see. Check out [this page].
  • Sorry to see you go! Come back and visit soon!


Exit popups can bring back lost visitors, start to build an ongoing relationship, and increase your conversions and leads. Try out these headline formulas and watch your success rate grow.

Test what works for your website – you might just be thrilled with the results.

Want to learn more about website popups? Check out these informative articles:

If you have Shopify or use WordPress, check out Wishpond’s Free Shopify Popup Builder App and Free WordPress Popup Builder App.


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