Email Sign Up Idea

When site visitors encounter something expected they slow down and curiosity spikes.

Let’s say you’re looking for ways to drive up email signups. This example from Trumans.com could be an inspiration.

On the Truman’s homepage, the email signup is on top of the page. Below it is a countdown timer. Normally, email signup call-to-actions make an offer like “Give us your email and we’ll give an X% discount”.

Here there is no explanation for the countdown timer.

This is genius because now I’m 10x more interested (our brains are wired to detect anomalies). What happens once I signup? I’m dying to know. The only solution is to actually sign up.

Here is what I saw:

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Clever Discount Tactic for 2019 (that None of Your Competitors Know About)

10% discounts are everywhere. They are so pervasive most shoppers ignore them or yawn when they see them. Here is a discount offer on seabags.com:

Seabags.com popup message. 10% off.

So if shoppers are unimpressed by a 10% offer what is seabags.com to do? One idea is to give a bigger discount. That’s actually a terrible idea.

We have a better idea. What if we flipped the script?

While studying the site I noticed they have some really cool, eclectic pieces. From a Blue Lobster Print Ditty Bag . . .

. . . to this coaster:

The unifying theme is that everything is nautical.

Without even looking at their data (and based on data we’ve seen for many dozens of other sites) we know two things about user behavior:

1: When users are on your site they don’t notice 83% of what’s on the site. So most of your good stuff remains hidden.

2: There is an undeniable relationship between how much time a user spends on your site, the number of pages a user sees, and overall conversion rates. If you can get a user to spend 20% more time on your site, their conversion probability will go up. This is a fact.

So our big insight was: seabags.com has a lot of cool stuff and most new visitors will never stumble on those pages. If we could somehow get those users to stay a little longer and leisurely stroll the site (like a walk on the beach), they would notice someone they simply “have to have.”

So we took the 10% off bribe and converted it into a treasure hunt. Here is the concept:

New seabags.com popup message encourages users to explore the site. We don't give a bigger prize, we just message the prize differently.

Do you think this strategy can be applied to your site? This strategy works best for sites where there is an element of discovery. Where the user doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for but will know it when they see it.

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9 Year Journey: 3 Lessons

I’ve spent the last 2 months reflecting on everything I’ve thought about buyer psychology as it applies to ecommerce.

There is just too much information out there. Too many shiny items to chase down.

Too little time to do things.

Fortunately, there are a few principles that immediately come to mind.

So if you simply don’t have the time to test and experiment with every new idea don’t be disheartened.

We’ll distill the 3 big ideas that will help you see 20% growth.

Strategy 1: Focus on Mobile

There is one secular trend I’ve seen over the last 5 years that applies to the 40+ completely different ecommerce sites I’ve studied. And that’s this: the percentage of overall mobile traffic is growing (whether you like or not) every quarter. And it’s going to continue rising. But mobile revenue as a percentage of overall revenue is still garbage.

Mobile Traffic:

Graph showing mobile traffic vs desktop traffic

Mobile Conversion Rates:

Graph showing mobile conversion rates vs desktop conversion rates

We used to believe mobile visitors were in research mode. They did research on their phone and then completed a purchase on their desktop/laptop. That’s not true anymore. It was true for a long time but not any more. Shoppers take a long time to change their behavior, but once the spark is lit it spreads like wild fire.

Simple trick to know if you are thinking mobile first? In the last 30 days how many times did you see the mobile version of your site versus the desktop version?

To maximize conversions you need to see what your visitors see. Walk in their shoes. It will unlock amazing growth opportunities.

Strategy 2: Focus on First Time Buyers

Stop looking at monthly revenue numbers, they hide the truth. Instead, focus on first time purchases. Here are some questions worth thinking about:

— How much time are new users spending on the site? Is it going up or down?

— How many pages are new users seeing?

— Am I getting new orders for cities we’ve never shipped to? Is there an opportunity here?

— How many chat/calls are we getting from new users? Up or down? What could it mean?

— How many product reviews are we getting from first time buyers? Up or down? What could this mean?

— What’s the #1 reason why new users are exiting without buying?

First-time buyers are a crystal ball through which you can see the future of your business. Obsess over them.

Strategy 3: Leverage Your Strengths, Exploit Competitor Weaknesses

My favorite image:

Every disadvantage has a hidden advantage. Exploit that.

Some examples:

— You are a really small etailer. Your competitor is 10x the size. Let first-time buyers know how much harder you work. Learn from Avis’ genius marketing:

— If you are the leader of the space with the largest supplier base and warehouse talk about the number of customers you’ve served all over the country.

— If you don’t have a deep product line your messaging should be focused on your specialized focus on a narrow product line.

— If you are brand new talk about your vision to challenge the old guard.

— If you are a 2 person company focus on your origin story. What motivated you to start this business? Let me know why you decided to stay small (to keep the service personal).

— If your product is a low cost leader talk about how your goal is creating a product that’s accessible by all.

— If your product is 30% more expensive than alternatives talk about your singular focus on quality and craftsmanship.

That’s it. Focus on these 3 things and your marketing calendar is set for the next 12 months.

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Is TurboTax® Free Really Free?

Free is an amazing offer. A skeptical buyer might think, “that’s great but why is it free? What’s the catch?”

TurboTax uses Narrative Control to answer that.

Notice the “See why it’s free” message:

TurboTax Free offer seems too good to be true. Narrative Control to the rescue.
TurboTax Free offer seems too good to be true. Narrative Control to the rescue.

And this is part of the explanation given when “See why it’s free” is clicked:

Explanation for my TurboTax Free is $0 (zero dollars).
Explanation of FREE
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How to Write Product Description that Sells (with Example)

You spent money to attract a new visitor. This visitor was different. Unlike 91% of new visitors they didn’t bounce. They actually spent time reading the first page.

Oh, they’re really getting into this.

They then went a few steps further and looked at a few product pages to finally zero in on THE product page.

The only thing that matters at this point is making sure the product description does its job. If we fail now everything else that’s been nailed till this point will be lost.

There are many best practices for product descriptions:

“Focus on Benefits”

“Tell a Story”

“Use Power Words That Sell”

“Know your Audience”

“Scannability”

These strategies are great but they aren’t exactly rare. Marketers already use them. Your competitors already use them, which means in order to have an impact you need to work extra hard on “Tell a story” if you decide to go with that tactic.

Ready to hear about a tactic that is most definitely rare and also most definitely effective?

What if we flipped the way the product description was written? Instead of treating your product as an inanimate object what if we brought it to life and let it tell its own story?

That’s exactly what Ora.organic does on its organic probiotic product page:

Genius copywriting tactic.

Live page: https://www.ora.organic/products/organic-probiotic-and-prebiotics-powder

This is a genius tactic. I study online retailers 8 hours a day. Have been for the last 9 years. This is probably only the second time I’ve seen this tactic used.

Run an A/B test. Test this on your best selling product page and let me know how it did.

You’re welcome.

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Clever Mobile Site Tactic

On harryanddavid.com mobile product page there is a text option so the user can ask a question there and then.

Why this is a great idea: Shoppers sometimes often have last minute questions. If they can’t find it on the page they will delay the purchase (a nice way of saying never come back). But if there is a simple mechanism to get their answer right away they’ll end up buying.

Really clever way to convert shoppers with last minute questions.
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Conversion Rates Are a Pretty Crappy Metric

We have an unhealthy obsession with site conversion rates.

When they’re up we feel good. When they’re down we want to shoot someone.

As a former conversion addict I can tell you conversions aren’t the right only metric. Just like carat weight of an engagement ring isn’t the only measure of love.

When you focus on conversion rates you are telling yourself (and your team): people that buy are everything and those who don’t buy mean nothing.

And what you believe drives your team’s attention. When the big cheese says something (even if it’s presented as a possible idea) the team runs with it.

So, What’s the Trouble with Conversion Rates?

The single most valuable asset in the world is attention. So people navigating your site might not be paying with their credit card but they most certainly are paying with attention. And attention is $$.

When we focus on credit card digits we end up ignoring attention.

Why Focus on Attention?

Because getting credit card digits is the end result of attention. It’s impossible to succeed in the attention game and fail in the credit card game. But it’s very possible to succeed in the credit card game and fail in the attention game. And those who fail attention eventually die.

Framing the Question

Don’t ask: Why is our conversion rate 3.2%?

Ask: How come 24% of our visitors spend 4:10 minutes (which is an eternity online) but only 3.2% end up buying?

You’ll realize that the second question will take you down a completely different path.

How to Track Attention for Your Site

That’s going to vary from site to site. It can get complicated (because we’ll need to add markers at critical steps of the funnel). But one simple solution is to look at visitors who spend more than 2 minutes and view 4 or more important pages.

Thank you for investing time to read this post. If attention is something you want to explore further, just comment below and let’s talk.

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Product Reviews: Are More Always Better?

We know going from 0 reviews to 1 review improves conversion rates by 20%.

But there is a something I’m curious about. Here is the scenario–

Choice 1: 20 hours of effort to collect 343 reviews for your product page.

Choice 2: 200 hours of effort to collect 34,134 reviews for the same product page.

Given that 343 reviews is itself impressive which option would you pick? Choice 1 or 2?

This isn’t a trick question. We genuinely don’t know the answer.

What choice would you make. Comment by simply typing 1 or 2 below.

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