Tom Benattar
January 17, 2019

The little marketing trick that drives 4% of our upgrades

If you’ve followed our journey, you must know that we love experiments.

In fact, that’s how we started PixelMe‍.

Today I’d like to share one of the experiments we did that had a sensible impact on our growth: using exit popups.

How we started experimenting with exit popups

Exit popups have been around for a few years. But I’d never had a chance to give them a try until I started PixelMe.

To be more specific, I’d never given them any attention until Greg, a friend who works for a popup solution, mentioned them. He insisted on the good results he was seeing and…he gave us a pretty good deal 😊.

That’s how we started testing their exit popup software.

But first things first, it’s probably worth explaining what an exit-intent popup is.

This is our own website exit popup:


(No, I’m not using Firefox on a daily basis – I just had to use it to record this demo because my Chrome is a mess 😇)

As you can see, the script detects that I’m moving my mouse upwards to close my browser and triggers the popup before I reach the top of the screen.

This kind of popup is pretty handy if you want to catch your visitors’ attention before they actually leave your website.

Our popup configuration

Before working on the exit popup itself, we sat with Greg and discussed how we could leverage this marketing tool.

Our problem is that only 5% of our new visitors register an account on PixelMe. The remaining 95% leave. And we risk losing them forever (of course, we retarget them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?)!

So we thought: How could we convince them to leave their email address so that we can contact them later and nurture them by email?

To be honest, we didn’t know. Should we send them an ebook? Share a discount code? Mention our newsletter? (We don’t have one yet, so that would have been a bold claim.)

As we really didn’t know what would be the best way to hook our visitors, we came up with the idea of mentioning a surprise.

That’s not because we’re lazy (even though we do love a long nap on Sunday afternoons). It was simply because it was difficult for us to anticipate what would work.

We then plugged in WisePops with Intercom to sync the new email addresses that we were capturing.


Next, we created a welcome sequence including a 20% off coupon to boost conversions to paid plans.

Then we sat back and relaxed.

The first results we got (4.3% CVR!)

That’s the beauty of exit overlays and a major difference with live chats, among other marketing tools.

Once it’s set up, you don’t have to do anything; it works even when you’re off.

And the popup started collecting emails right away.

After a few weeks, we were impressed by the results:


3.7% of the users who saw the popup joined our email list.

The stats of our welcome sequence were also quite impressive. The first email we were sending reached a 62% open rate and an 18% click-through-rate!

Fast forward to a few weeks later when we had enough data to measure the overall performance of the popup: 4.3% of the users who opened the email used the discount code and converted into paying users.


For something that took us about 1 hour to set up, we were positively surprised.

One extra element to consider is that our exit popup didn’t have any impact on our engagement stats. So it was a 100% winning situation.

How we went further

These good results convinced us to spend more time and fine tune our exit popup strategy.

Solving the Welcome Email Problem

When we set up our popup and welcome email, we didn’t know at all what our new subscribers were expecting.

In the first version of our email, we simply included a coupon. After a few weeks, we thought it was time to improve our email and understand what kind of content our new subscribers were after.

To do so, we sent the following message to our new subscribers:


And we got some replies:


Using this feedback, we updated our welcome email to include some educational resources:


The results: Our click-through-rate increased by 22.7%!

Solving the mobile problem

But that’s not all.

Since exit popups are based on a mouse tracking script, they don’t work on mobile devices.

So we created a mobile popup to complement our exit popup. We made sure to comply with Google’s recommendations (TL;DR: we designed a popup that doesn’t prevent the user from accessing the content of our page).

This is what it looks like.

We display a call-to-action in the lower-left part of the user’s screen. When the users click it, they see our popup:


As the call-to-action is not intrusive, we display it on every page of our website. And it turns out it works pretty well: 14% of the visitors who click the call-to-action leave their email address 🎣.


We now collect 7% of our emails on mobile.


  1. Don’t wait until one of your friends works for a popup solution to try installing one on your website. It turns out they’re an excellent addition to our other tools such as Intercom. And they’re pretty cheap too.
  2. Give your visitors a good reason to subscribe. If you can’t find any, try our “surprise” trick. 😇
  3. Don’t forget mobile visitors. Try using a mobile exit-intent script or create a call-to-action that your visitors can click to see your popup.
  4. Sync your new emails with your email marketing solution to welcome your new subscribers right away.

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