We’ve proven over and over through A/B testing that using exit intent technology to trigger an overlay can be an extremely effective way of salvaging abandoning visitors. Examples of triggered content include the proposition of discount codes or newsletter sign-up prompts. Some might argue these interruptions diminish the customer experience. Keeping this in mind, below are a few tactics that may help you counteract this effect when running exit intent campaigns.

Tactic #1 – Segment, Segment, Segment

There are numerous advantages to focusing your exit intent messaging to specific subsets of your visitor base. You’re not going to want to just hand out discount codes willy-nilly to every visitor out there. The proposition of discounts codes can damage your brand and drive non-loyal shoppers. A more powerful strategy is to reward your top customers – your most loyal visitor base – with discounts to maintain that ever-important high level of customer retention in a saturated and highly competitive market.

With one of our airline customers, we’ve recently leveraged a combination of offline customer-centric data, real-time in-session data and historical browsing/purchase behaviour in order to only target high-value, high-loyalty segments with discounts. This resulted in a very focused exit intent offering that generated lifts in bookings of 16 to 20 percent across three individual segments.

On the acquisition side of things, you’re only going to want to prompt a newsletter sign-up if you recognize that the visitor is new.

The point is that it’s important to be focused with your campaign and think about segmentation logic that makes sense and works around your project’s intent (pun intended).

Tactic #2 – Be Like Water

Your tactic doesn’t have to be an overlay. Think outside the box (pun once again intended). Expand your horizons (like Bruce Lee suggests) and consider the presentation of your content in a different form that may be less intrusive and enhance the customer experience, while attracting the visitor back to the page.

Try triggering a ‘hello bar’ (such as a message at the top of the screen, which a user can dismiss) instead of the typical brash overlay that might disrupt browsing on the page. Or focus in on some specific content of interest, like the fact an item might be low stock or low availability and introduce a little cue:

To create a cue like this, you need segmentation to identify that there are flights with five or fewer seats left. In many ways, everything always comes back to Tactic #1 (as you’ll see again in the final tip below).

Tactic #3 – Be Helpful

You don’t have to thrust a loud discount or “sign-up here” message in front of the visitor. You can simply offer timely help to a visitor in need.

In a ‘baseline’ we ran for a customer selling home insurance, we collected numerous visitor attributes through their various inputs as they journeyed through the funnel – title (to obtain gender), date of birth (to create age range groupings) and more (refer to Tactic #1 again). Ultimately, tying these dimensions to step-by-step conversion rates and engagement along each page of the application funnel allowed us to understand several points of friction based on the visitor. One learning was that visitors in the highest age range bracket converted at a far lower rate once they reached a particular stage of the funnel. The solution? To target these visitors with the offer of chat assistance if they had been idle for a specific length of time and exhibited an intent to exit. The results showed improved engagement and customer experience, as well as applications salvaged by the customer call centre team.

Please Don’t Go (Don’t Go Away)

Leveraging these tactics in your exit intent strategies can not only drive an increase in your campaign’s performance, but ensure you are not pushing visitors away because of the sometimes obnoxious ways that exit intent overlays are presented. Ultimately, these customer experiences still need to be tested, and continuously tested at that, so that you’re sure they work for your visitors. But the point is you can politely attract the visitor back to your site instead of “beggin’ please, please, please don’t go.”