Clever Way to Increase Lead Submissions

Businesses are constantly trying to reduce the amount of friction on their lead capture forms by asking fewer and fewer questions to get more signups. Take this form from gblawyers.com as an example:

Notice that there are only 4 fields the user has to worry about—Name, Phone Number, Email, and case type.

This strategy works for a specific type of end user—the end user that doesn’t want to go through the cumbersome process of filling out a lot of information.

However, this isn’t the only type of end user that could be viewing your form. There’s another group of users who are much more skeptical about what happens after the form has been completed. Will they get bombarded with phone calls and emails? This concern is definitely warranted because plenty of businesses spam their customers after they’ve completed a form.

Reducing the number of form fields does nothing for this second type of user. Their concern isn’t being addressed for the sake of a more streamlined lead capture form.

What this means is that we need to do something that may seem counterintuitive at first, especially when trying to increase conversions. We need to add a little friction.

To show you what we mean, we mocked up a concept for the above gblawyers.com form. Take a look:

Here is a zoom view of what we added:

There is psychology behind this move and it’s targeted squarely at the visitor who thinks, “I’m scared if I give my info I’ll get bombarded with emails.”

Here is what happens: This user is concerned so the story they tell themselves is that this company is going to make registration easy so they can bombard them later.

Now, when this user sees the question “What Comes After Monday?” it doesn’t fit this story. Why would someone add an extra question if their only goal is to capture my email?

What would have been seen as a negative (a super simple form which might have a hook) is now being seen in positive light.

By adding that one question the business has clearly demonstrated that they don’t want to get just any email address.

Warning: This idea is going to increase your email signups. But it should only be used only if you don’t have an aggressive email practice. If you do, then shame on you.

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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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Your Most Important Conversion Goal

Many businesses are developing different strategies to get shoppers to stay on their sites. The problem is not many of these strategies are working because marketers are making the wrong assumptions about shoppers.

For example, when a shopper arrives at Kittyhawk.com—the online store for Kitty Hawk Kites—this popup appears after a few seconds:

Kitty Hawk Kites is making the assumption that shoppers will immediately stop what they’re doing to read a popup.

But shoppers hate popups. They’ve been conditioned to because of how intrusive they’ve been in the past. However, that doesn’t mean we should avoid popups. Instead, that means we need to rethink how we’re using them.

The goal of this popup on Kittyhawk.com is to generate email signups and encourage shoppers to make a purchase after receiving their 10% off coupon code. That’s a great deal, especially if you’re really considering a new kite.

But I highly doubt most shoppers are reading beyond the first two words of this popup before clicking the ‘close’ button.

Today, this is a shopper’s instinct.

We’ve developed a concept to slow the shopper down and increase the chances they’ll read our popup message.

Here’s our idea:

Popup message reads:

WE’VE GOT A SPECIAL MESSAGE WAITING FOR YOU

Spend 10 minutes exploring our unforgettable kites, wind spinners, and more, and we’ll give you a special offer that you don’t want to miss out on.

Your time starts now: 9:59

There are 3 major changes we’ve made that will result in higher conversions:

1: The Popup Design

Instead of a conventional square or rectangular popup, we designed a circular popup. This is unconventional and unexpected, which will naturally slow shoppers down.

Additionally, the ‘close’ button is detached from the popup, which forces the shopper to take an additional couple seconds to find the ‘close’ button, providing more time for them to notice our messaging.

Lastly, we’ve added design accents to make the popup truly “pop”. There isn’t anything visually interesting about the popup on the control (the current site).

2: The Messaging

Instead of asking shoppers to immediately provide their email address, we’re using our Challenge tactic to encourage the shopper to look around on the site for 10 minutes. After doing so, we’ll give them a “special offer” that they won’t want to miss out on.

Humans are a naturally curious species. When you hide something from them, they’ll want to know what it is. Our concept is taking advantage of that instinct.

We’re also achieving another goal with this challenge. If shoppers stay on the site for 10 minutes, they’ll likely see a number of products that may suit their wants or needs. Instead of just adding a single kite to their shopping cart, they may find 2 kites and a wind spinner that they just got to have.

After they spend 10 minutes on the site and receive their 10% off coupon code, they’ll be able to convince themselves more easily to add the 2 kites and wind spinner to their cart.

3: The Countdown Timer

At the bottom of the popup is a bright green countdown timer. This isn’t here to just let shoppers know their challenge has begun and they’ll soon see our special offer.

The true purpose comes before shoppers even read the popup.

Since this is a countdown timer, the numbers change every second. This changing element will grab the shoppers attention immediately. They’ll want to know what the heck this countdown is for. Then they’ll read the whole popup and see our challenge.

These are the types of assumptions we should be making.

Shoppers, like you and I, have short attention spans. We don’t always want to admit it, but it’s true. Because of this, we need to think deeper about strategies to keep shoppers on our sites.

One school of thought insists that we need to make the shopping process as quick as possible. But as you can see in our popup concept, sometimes it’s better to slow a shopper down or else they’ll entirely miss some compelling information.

How can you apply this to your site?

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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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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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Without Narrative Control Amazing Offers Suffer

First, a definition. Narrative Control: Making positive something that is or will be perceived as negative.

If you have an unexpectedly good offer (for example, your product does something most products can’t, or you’re giving a discount that’s way better than most) then you need Narrative Control.

To illustrate I’ll show an example where Narrative Control isn’t used.

On CNN.com I saw this giant top of homepage banner (translation: it’s super expensive):

CNN Banner Ad

On click I was taken to this landing page:

Skylux Ad

77% off is an incredible deal (see headline). 30% of the people on this page will see this ad and say:

“Hey, that’s amazing. I’m so happy I clicked the ad”.

70% would say:

“I don’t buy it”

If the page also included a message to explain a little about how they achieve this 77% saving it would have an incredible impact on the skeptical shoppers:

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Don’t Let Amazon Eat Your Lunch

We can’t force shoppers but we can certainly gently nudge them.

If a visitor to your site leaves for your Amazon page you are basically paying an affiliate tax that was yours to keep.

Can this be prevented? Let’s look at a product page on Headsets.com:

They have an impossible to miss Buy from Amazon.com button. On click, you are taken to their Amazon page. Goodbye margins.

Here is what we would have done if headsets.com was a client. When a shopper clicks Buy from Amazon.com we’ll show this popup:

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#1 Way to Turn Interested Browsers into Buyers

I was listening to a really interesting story about Charity: Water. Turns out, a big reason people don’t donate is that they don’t trust how their donations will be used. Charity: Water grew because they convincingly addressed this concern.

Addressing these types of resistances is one of the 16 tactics in our toolbox. We call it Narrative Control and use it to convert interested browsers into buyers.

Our definition of Narrative Control: Making positive something that is or will be perceived as negative.

Think about your product’s sales pitch. You are likely listing a whole bunch of benefits targeted to a whole set of buyer types. Here is one example (see red box):

This line was added to appeal to people concerned about crashes. Simply stating “crash-resistant design” might work on a few people concerned about crashes. It will not work on the rest of the group. When the larger group sees “crash-resistant design,” they’re thinking, “yeah, but what makes it not crash?? I don’t buy it.”

If we don’t address this larger group we’re missing out on sales.

And this is just one claim.

Your site probably makes dozens of claims. Ranging from promises about quality, special discounts, popularity, etc. Each of these could benefit from some Narrative Control treatment. It’s a little bit of work but it makes the sales pitch watertight and converts people who are definitely interested but just not 100% convinced yet.

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