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How to use Exit Surveys to Improve Lead Generation

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While visitor session recordings and heatmaps are great at telling you how many visitors visited your website, how long they took, and where specifically they visited, they sadly cannot tell you why they left.

There are many reasons why people leave your website. For example, you overwhelm them with advertisements. Online advertisements have always been a tricky business.

In a study to understand the level of trust that online users had to advertisements, the Nielsen company revealed that people trust traditional forms of advertising such as TV commercials and newspaper ads more than they trust online banner ads.

The image below shows us a clear breakdown of the findings.

Exit survey 1


Source: Hubspot

What this study showed is that online banner ads develop distrust with your site’s visitors. So, how do you figure out which types of ads your audience actually wants to see? How can you find out why they leave your website? The usual answer is market research, but that’s a tricky topic.

Different avenues such as email surveys have been used but their use is getting complicated especially after the establishment of new email laws and technologies in North America. In Canada particularly, there is the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) whose anti-spam regulations affect email surveys.

Fortunately, there’s a better tool. We can use  website exit surveys to know the exact and specific reasons why people are leaving your website.

Here is what we’ll discuss in this post:

  1. What are exit surveys?
  2. How to use exit surveys to improve lead generation
  3. How To design your exit survey
  4. Sample exit survey tool

Let’s get started…

What are exit surveys?

While there are many reasons why people leave a website, exit surveys eliminate the need to rely on speculation and comparisons, instead offering first-hand, business-specific information. Exit surveys are a type of intercept survey that asks people leaving your site why they are leaving.

Usually, most businesses like displaying this survey as a pop-up window as illustrated below.

exit survey 2

Source: Getsitecontrol

While these surveys can be your gateway to understanding what your clients need as well as generating leads, it is important to know many of your visitors will not respond to your survey. But this is okay.

As Ted S, a community user at Sitepoint puts it, exit surveys are about getting sample traffic to make judgements.

Here is what he says:

exit survey 3

Source: Sitepoint


How to use exit surveys to improve lead generation

The biggest challenge for B2B marketers is generating high-quality leads, as shown in the image below.

exit survey 4

Source: Slideshare

To improve their leads, 78% of these businesses turn to email marketing, 73% to event marketing and 67% to content marketing. Frustratingly, marketers still struggle when it comes to the effectiveness of content marketing in their business.

To add to this, lead generation efforts are stifled by lack of resources, with 46% citing lack of time, staff and budget. The image below shows us this and more of greatest barriers to lead generation.

exit survey 5

Source: Slideshare

[tweetthis]The biggest challenge for B2B marketers is generating high-quality leads[/tweetthis]

While these avenues for lead generation are popular and most common, we should not rule out the power of exit surveys in generating quality leads.

After all, 59% of companies aim to improve the quality of their generated leads and 49% want to increase the number of their generated leads.

exit survey 6

Source: Capterra

Now that you understand the struggles of lead generation and agree that improving them should be a priority, let’s see how you can use exit surveys to improve the quantity and quality of your leads.

  1. Use problems your visitors might be facing as bait

Sometimes, people perceive exit surveys as a nuisance. Take for example what Alex Dawson, a Sitepoint user says about exit surveys.

exit survey 7

Source: Sitepoint

He strongly advises against usage of exit surveys. But, see this:

Alex says that these surveys interrupt a user. While he could be right, I say that this is your chance to go for the kill.


To capture a response from someone that isn’t predisposed to answering surveys, you need to ask questions they’re willing to answer. And what better way to do this than use problems you think could be affecting them?

Marketizator understood this point and wittily used its exit survey to generate more leads. The business asked 4 key questions that indirectly made the respondent feel that the business was concerned.

The screenshot below shows us the 4 targeted questions.

exit survey 8

Source: Marketizator

As you can see, these questions were aimed at getting the site visitor to talk about his or her problem and business satisfaction levels. After these 4 questions, the person surveyed was prepped enough to continue with further questions.

This is where Marketizator cashed in on. Question 5 asked the respondents to state how much they were willing to spend to increase their conversion rate. If you are keen enough, you will notice that the questions were a build up to number 5, but the business did not bombard its visitors with the core question. They softened them up first.

The result was that Marketizator was able to get 5.7% lead rate out of the visitors who were leaving the site, as illustrated below:

exit survey 9

Source: Marketizator

  1. Use Branch Logic

On average, 10 to 15 percent of lost visitors can be “saved” with exit intent technology. One of the ways of doing this and generating leads is by using branch logic in your exit surveys.

Branch logic is useful when you need to send survey participants down different paths. Usually, participants are redirected based on their answers in the survey.

Let’s see how this is done:

exit survey 10

Source: Marketizator

From the above image, you can see that the site visitor was asked why s/he did not complete the order. When the price was cited as the reason, branch logic was used to send the visitor to a page offering 5% discount, specific to the user.

Of course, this would entice the site visitor to buy and fill out the lead generation form as part of the checkout process.

  1. Keep the exit survey short

By use of common sense, anyone trying to exit your website has no intentions of staying there longer than they actually want to. Therefore, an exit survey should be designed to be as short as possible.

This means that our survey should collect as much relevant data as possible. If you don’t know how to do this, it is important to learn how to design short but effective survey forms.

How to design your exit survey to increase response rate

Your exit survey design has a significant relationship to your response rate. So, how do you design your exit survey to increase your chances of a high response rate?

  • Have an engaging introduction

We have all seen the “why are you leaving” pop-up window. Yes, such a headline would attract my attention but I need to know why you had to stop me.

This is where the engaging introduction comes in handy. Let’s see how Papercut uses an engaging survey introduction.

exit survey 11

Source: Cloudfront

From the illustration above, the business informed the site visitor that this was a survey and gave a brief introduction why responding was necessary.

  • Be transparent about length

You understand the need to keep your survey short. But, let me ask you. Suppose you had 9 questions spread across 3 pages, how will you ensure that your respondents don’t leave the survey halfway?

I have an answer for you:

Be transparent about length. Tell your respondents that they are on page 2/3 for example, to motivate them to keep filling the form. Otherwise, one could assume that the survey is longer than it actually is, and opt out.

Alternatively, you can use a progress bar:

Let’s see how Network magic was transparent about length in one of their surveys:

exit survey 12

Source: Cloudfront

  • Offer an Incentive

Dental Art Implant Clinic used an incentive in its exit survey to generate leads. Instead of asking why people were leaving, the business simply offered a free check-up and a better incentive of free panoramic X-ray valued at 75 GBP.

Here is how the business did this:

exit survey 13

Source: Maxtraffic

Basically, the business offered a special deal in exchange for an email address and phone contacts.

Let’s see how a different business, Startup Vitamins used incentives to generate leads. In exchange for a newsletter signup, the business offered a discount of $5 for the first purchase.

exit survey 14

Source: Maxtraffic

  • Use Your brand colour

Did you know that colour increases brand recognition? Better yet, ads in colour are read up to 42% more often than the same ads in black and white. Jon Loomer understood this point, hence created an exit pop-up that used its brand colour as illustrated below:

exit survey 15

Source: Amazonaws

[tweetthis]Your exit survey design has a significant relationship to your response rate[/tweetthis]

Sample Exit Survey Tool

We have discussed how to create exit surveys and use them. Well, what you now need to know is that you require a tool that will help you create an optimized survey in terms of design and other features. Truconversion is focused on offering all-in-one web analytics, featuring exit surveys.

You get to decide how many site visitors should have access to the survey, select the types of visitors that can see it, and even decide at what point your exit survey should be displayed. To increase your response rate, the tool also gives you the opportunity to display incentives which you can offer your site visitors.

Final Thoughts

Exit surveys are important when you need to retarget your traffic or get insight on what could be causing people to leave your site. It is imperative that you understand that exit surveys are about the insight you get and the quality of leads you generate.

It is better to have a few quality leads than generate many useless leads. While you do this, remember to design your exit survey in an effective manner, keeping it short, attractive and transparent.

Additionally, select a good survey tool, which will offer all your desired features that will help customize your survey as much as possible.

Have you used an exit survey tool before? How was the experience and what would you improve? Please talk to us in the comments section below.

Landing Pages Designer

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