Interrupt Boldly with Your Pop Up and Get to the Point

The other night, I was on the rowing machine and a digital marketing parable happened right before my eyes.

My kids were having some video game time and one of them came down with an anecdote. He could tell I was sweating it out and concentrating, but he also knew that I love to hear about the cool stuff he does while playing the game.

He knows two conflicting truths.

  1. I’m already doing something that has my attention
  2. I want to hear anything important or interesting that he has to tell me

So what did he do? He approached with caution and spoke softly to me.

I barely knew he was talking to me. I thought maybe he was just walking around for a break and wanted to look at my rowing screen to see my progress.

He did it again, and I couldn’t understand him, so I stopped. He was a little timid, which is out of character for him, so I gave him my full attention.

“Are you telling me something? What’s up?”

We don’t want website pop-ups that are timid and unclear!

After we talked and I heard more about how cool my kid is, I went back to rowing and he went back to playing. It was just like a pop-up on a website.

When you’re scrolling down a page on a new website you found, you’re looking for whatever you Googled to get there, right? You don’t want a bunch of filler. Even worse, a bunch of timid low-key marketing that you can’t even understand.

While content-marketing classes love the loooooooong sales page that scrolls on like a CVS receipt, real-life humans like to get to the point of what they are looking for.

Even if it’s in a pop-up.

I’ve become completely blind to any text that comes after that awful phrase “But first…” If I’m looking for vacuum cleaner bag reviews, I don’t care about the history of home vacuum cleaners. If I’m looking for a corn bread recipe, I don’t want the story of how cast iron skillets were carried by pioneers.

And we wonder why so many people struggle with ADHD! We’re writing them into it with our content marketing and SEO!

screen shot of a pop-up add from my donut dictionary site

Interrupt me on purpose

So when you make a pop-up blast in front of me on your website, balance those two conflicting truths:

  1. I’m already doing something that has my attention
  2. I want to hear anything important or interesting that you have to tell me

Put useful content in that pop-up. If it’s a newsletter subscription don’t give it to me until I’ve gone down the page some. (Otherwise, it’s like telling me to like the video in the first 5 seconds. I hate this trend on YouTube videos. If I like it, I’ll like it. Don’t ask me to like it in your intro.)

If your pop-up has a call to action, be clear about that call. Is it a limited-time offer? Is it a special bundle of your product? Again, don’t give it to me too soon if I don’t know what you’re selling. I probably came to your site form a general Google search looking for information. Don’t assume I’m going to give up my information too fast.

I still can’t believe that pop-ups work

Google doesn’t like interstitial popups unless you use them wisely. Your visitors don’t like them unless you use them sympathetically. Judge your pop-up as if it were showing up over the most useful and important part of your web page. Is it like a person giving you a quarter in the Aldi parking lot, or is it more like your whispering kid in the middle of your workout?

People are already on your website. Give them what they want, in whatever form works best. Sometimes, that form is a pop-up.

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