Play on

Play is a tactic where you employ an interactive element to subliminally communicate your marketing message. Why go through the trouble of constructing an interactive element to pitch your marketing message? Because we’re living in a world saturated with marketing messages.

I’m going to use a made up example to show how a dash of Play can boost conversions (especially for first-time buyers).

Here is my video–

Written explanation:

What is currently being shown on lower half of homepage:

Here is the default state of our concept (using Play):

Here is what the user sees when they make the wrong selection:

Here is what is revealed when the user guesses correct:

Getting More Recurring Plan Signups

Our objective is to get people to buy the monthly auto-ship plan (and not the one-time option).

Here is the control (what’s online now):

Everything is laid in front of the user. This can cause analysis paralysis (too many options). Also, the shopper is likely to pick the one-time option because they don’t want to get into a monthly membership.

I had an idea to make this better. This is what I would have done if I was working on this site.

We added a priming treatment. The idea is to activate System 2 for the shopper. Where System 1 cares about the short-term (impulsive emotional side), System 2 cares about the long-term (rational side).

Now when the user reaches the product page we show a welcome message and ask them to make a selection:

This activates System 2. We fully expect most shoppers to select, “I want to change my life for the long term” option. Who wouldn’t? When they do that we show them this screen (notice we’ve eliminated the one-time purchase option):

The user will be surprised but immediately remember, “Oh that’s right, I did say I wanted long-term benefits”. It’s now 7% more likely people will stick with this choice.

If the shopper had selected “I’m looking for benefits on the short term” they would have seen this:

Using Small Ask Trigger to Get Leads


Online shoppers (especially mobile) are intimidated by forms. They’re hard to fill out, take a long time, and often make the user give up information they don’t want to. A Small Ask is a good way to get the ball rolling. Definition: Small Ask is when you inspire the shopper to take a single action.

In the bottom right screenshot, “For whom do you need a hearing aid?” is the Small Ask. It’s an innocent and non-threatening question (that’s the key).

Once the user answers the Small Ask they are shown the rest of the form. At this point it’s likely they will continue (sunk cost syndrome). The user thinks, “I already answered this first question, might as well take a look at the next.” This is why the image on the right works so much better than the one on the left.

What Makes a Good Story?

Of the 7 conversion triggers Story is probably the most powerful. But, what is Story? Story is the emotion we evoke in the mind of the audience.

The difference between an average and good story is 512x.

Let me illustrate with a story.

A sales guy has been working at a mattress store for 5 years. Like most brick and mortar businesses his store is facing margin pressures and diminishing foot traffic. Finally, the store closes.

This sales guy needs a new job. There aren’t too many (or any) retail businesses that are hiring so he applies to for a sales job at a local software company that’s rapidly expanding.

He can tell his story in one of two ways:

Format 1: I’ve spent the last 5 years managing sales at a local mattress store. I was their top salesperson.

One important aspect of storytelling is managing the narrative. In format 1 the narrative wasn’t managed well because the hiring manager is thinking, “who the hell works for a dinosaur retail store? Is this guy aware the world is rapidly changing and shoppers are buying online? His current job represents the past. Our company represents the future. Do we really want a person like this leading our sales? I’m not sure …”

If you don’t manage the narrative the reader will manage it for you. And they will always manage it in a way that doesn’t make you look good.

Format 2 (512x better): I’ve spent the last 5 years managing sales at a local mattress store. I know what you’re thinking, “why did I work for a dying channel?” It was intentional. Yes, the online channel (where you guys excel) has all the advantages. But there is one sales skill only a retail store can offer, which is the ability to study and react to shopper facial expressions on a real-time basis. Because very few retail stores remain this aspect of sales training is a dying art. Was I a good sales student of sales? I was their top salesperson.

Always Let the Shopper Drive the Experience

Ana Ono Intimates is a store in Philadelphia that sells bras for women who’ve had breast reconstruction, breast surgery, or mastectomy.

On their site you’re greeted with this popup …

… where you can select your treatment stage:

This dropdown does something powerful: it changes the dynamics of the ask. Now the customer feels they are being heard because the retailer is asking them to describe themselves. Even if the email messages for each selection are the same it doesn’t matter. Why? Because the idea of choice is what makes all the difference.

Don’t Stack Vertical, Bro

Companies typically show pricing plans to desktop users as a table. This helps with Cognitive Ease.

Wait, what’s Cognitive Ease? It’s the measure of how easy it is for our brains to process information.

Anyway, back to the post. This is how sites typically show pricing plans to desktop users:

The challenge is, how do we show that pricing plan on the mobile page? Here is how it looks:

You can see on my phone I can only see the first 2 plans. I need to scroll down to see the 3rd plan, which means it’s impossible to compare the Max plan with the Beginner plan. seems to have solved this.

This is their desktop pricing plan:

This is their mobile plan. You will see plans are stacked side by site, thus minimizing cognitive load:

They display plan attributes in rows so it’s easier for the mobile users to compare their 3 plans side by side.

How is POWER a conversion trigger?

Definition: The idea behind Power trigger is giving the buyer the feeling that they (and not you) are driving the process. And even if the buyer doesn’t actually have full control, what matters is that they believe they do.

Watch this video to see how uses the Power trigger:

The default state of the homepage:

Dropdown selected:

Once the first selection is made:

Once second selection listing:

Result set: