More and more, when you land on a company’s website a message appears over the page trying to communicate with you prior to you having the ability to actually read the page content. Have you noticed it? That’s called an ‘overlay’. Get used to them. Well, for now, anyway. They are one of the inbound marketer’s newest strategies to grab your attention and get you to act immediately.
Typically, overlays promote a product or a service, but they’re also being used to make consumers aware of a cause. Others ask for feedback from the visitor, perhaps a short poll. The content of the overlay is generally framed around whatever action you, the marketer, want internet visitors to take. It’s a way of communicating an important message that we don’t want the visitor to miss. For example:
- Do you want to offer the visitor a ‘live chat’ salesperson when they first arrive on your site?
- Do you want to engage them in a charitable cause with which your company is involved?
- Do you want to tell them about an item on sale today only?
Perhaps you’d simply like to build upon your outbound marketing efforts and capture their email address, so you craft your overlay to get them to register as a preferred customer with a special offer. (This is why marketing is so exciting! Just think of the possibilities!)
How many overlays are too many? Well, consider that they tend to be like mosquitos at a barbecue. You can deal with one annoying little pest, but they tend to quickly become irritating and ruin the party. Too many and the guest will leave your site and party elsewhere.
What’s the best strategy? This is all fairly new. We’re evaluating this and making up ‘the rules’ as we go along. Overlays are a dynamic new way to tell your customer about the ONE thing you want them to know today. Let’s use some common sense and not ruin it for ourselves the way many of us did previously when we over-saturated the customer with ‘pop-ups’ and emails. Too many overlays and the web visitor is going to leave and look elsewhere.
The methods of marketing are changing daily. Keep up.