Discover how to create top converting registration forms for your website or landing pages. Don’t let the design of your form hurt your conversion rate.

Are your forms stopping your visitors from converting on your site? Follow these guide and create the highest converting registration forms ever. Of course, this will not preclude you from testing what works and what doesn’t work on your site and with your audience. Read on!

Steps for Creating Top Converting Registration Forms

I recently went to a website to buy a new keyboard for a laptop. I found the site with the right price and delivery and put the keyboard in my cart.

When I went to checkout, the first question on the billing form was Gender.

Gender?

Why does an electronics part manufacturer need to know if I’m a man or woman?

It introduced enough doubt in my process that I left — I abandoned my order.

The unfortunate statistic is that 86% of visitors abandon forms of all kinds.

It’s doubly heartbreaking when they do so in their cart, because that costs you ready buyers.

How to Create the Highest Converting Registration Forms: 13 Key Tips

The thirteen recommendations made here will set you on a path to reduce your abandonment rates. My favorites are:

  • What am I signing up for? Use a title that explains why the user needs to sign up. Keep this intro short, sweet and simple. Make sure your call to action matches the title. Be more creative than a “Submit” button.
  • Show them their password (who said invisible passwords was a good idea?) Let them pick if they want to see it or not.
  • Put errors in an obvious place and make them visible. Make sure to read the last section on how to use error messages as a conversion opportunity.
How to create top converting registration forms: informational messages make for a smoother conversion path when they are located close to the corresponding field. Easy to notice and to understand.

How to create top converting registration forms: informational messages make for a smoother conversion path when they are located close to the corresponding field. Easy to notice and to understand.

Here’s the rest of the recommendations for creating top converting registration forms.

  • A social signup option can speed up the form filling process and help you create the best conversion registrations forms.
  • Leverage Autofill whenever possible or offer preset options. This is especially true on mobile devices. Nothing more annoying than fumbling around with a form.
  • Make the most of mobile devices. Enable only relevant keypads as required on the field. Make it easy for your visitors. Don’t make them switch to a numeric keypad or keyboard to enter the zip code or phone. Use specific HTML input types. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll avoid friction in this crucial conversion moment.
  • Explain why you need the information and what you expect them to enter. Just because it’s evident to you, does not mean it’s clear to everybody. The same applies to mandatory fields.
  • Limit the number of fields in your form. Don’t drive your prospects away at the mere sight of the longest form ever.
  • Billing address same as shipping address? One checkmark will take care of filling up the fields – internally, of course.
  • Multi-step forms. Split. Split. Split. Research shows that multi-step forms outperform their single-step registration forms. Especially when asking for sensitive information (such as phone) or when the form is too long. Adding a progress bar will entice your prospects to keep going as they are almost done.
  • Google’s UX researchers found that aligning labels top-left of the fields increased form completion time. This is because it requires fewer ‘visual fixations’. Basically, your eyes scan downwards faster. You are forced to scan in a zig-zag motion when the labels are placed to the left of the fields. The exception is when you are using always visible inline form field labels.
  • Did I mention speed? You can make your website as fast as possible, but slowing down like molasses at the time of filling out a form is unacceptable. Make sure your forms load fast and don’t slow down your page speed to increase conversions.
  • Make sure you are GDPR compliant. You have to ask permission for each and every opt-in.

Ready to AB Test? Read on!

UX Design Guide for Form Validation to Lift your Conversion Rates

Forms are a key component of Landing Pages (in addition to Offer, Image, Trust and Proof). When a visitor considers completing a form — for lead gen, to subscribe or to purchase — it is the moment of truth.

So, it is sad that so many forms work to chase these ready customers and prospects away. Forms are meant to have a conversation with the user. One that guides them all the way to the conversion with the best UX possible.

Form validation used to be a “developer” thing and we need to make it a marketing thing. Forms are placed at your sales funnel’s most crucial moment, the conversion. Therefore, it is only logical that improving the UX would help lift conversion rates.

Here are four elements to consider as you guide development of your website forms in these areas to avoid confusion:

1. When to Show Validation Errors: The right time to inform  the user about problems or success

Consider the two main types of form validation: Inline validation and Post-Submit validation.

Inline validation checks field entries as the information is entered.

Post-submit validation validates entries after submitting the entire form. The visitor doesn’t know if the username they chose was already taken or if their email address was entered incorrectly until after they click the button.

If mistakes were made and the form re-loads, the visitor must manually search for the incomplete fields, and correct them. This adds friction to a shopping cart checkout process or a newsletter signup. This hurts completion rates.

Post-submit validation also suffers from scroll confusion. When the page reloads, the error messages often appear off-screen. The visitor may not know that there’s even a problem with their entry until they scroll around. This is a bigger problem on mobile devices where screens are smaller.

Our recommendation is to use inline validation so users can adjust, learn, and correct as they move from field to field. Inline validation is especially effective for the username and password fields, or any field with strict input requirements.

Instagram makes good use of "always visible inline field labels." Discover how to create top converting registration forms for your website or landing pages. Don’t let the design of your form hurt your conversion rate.

Instagram makes good use of “always visible inline field labels.”

Don’t limit messages to errors. Success validation messages are always helpful and encouraging. For example, a simple check mark by the field can let the user know their username was accepted and it’s unique.

2. Where to Display Validation Errors: Right place for validation messages

When messages are located close to the corresponding “failing” field, they lead to a smoother path for conversion. They become easier to notice and to understand.

You may be tempted to add the error messages by the Submit button. But there are only two occasions where you can display the error or validation message next to the Submit button.

The first is  when you perform an post-submit validation and there was no page reload.

The second is when the error affects the whole form, as may happen with a dropped mobile connection, and the page was not reloaded.

In any case, if there was a reload of the page, display the validation errors at the top of the page.

Wave accounting software registration form. Great location for the informational password field. Their social proof is very persuasive.

Wave accounting software registration form. Great location for the informational password field. Their social proof is very persuasive.

3. Right color or Right Graphic Representation

Did you know that 1 in 12 men have some degree of color blindness? Source: Color Blindness

Color blindness is more prevalent among males than females, because the most common form of color vision deficiency is encoded on the X sex chromosome. Source.

In spite of this, if you follow the rules (blue is informational, green is success, red is an error and yellow as a warning) even color-blind visitors will understand the meaning.

If red-green color blindness is the most prevalent - one in twelve men are color blind - should you rely solely on color to get your message across in your registration forms? Image source: Pinterest.

If red-green color blindness is the most prevalent – one in twelve men are color blind – should you rely solely on color to get your message across in your registration forms? Image source: Pinterest.

I recall asking a friend of mine – yes, he was color-blind – how could he tell the traffic signals apart. His answer was, “I know where they are placed.”

We don’t have specific placements on forms, but we can take advantage of icons. And these have rules as well: X for error, checkmark for success, exclamation point for warning and “i” for informational messages.

4. Clear and persuasive language for error messages

A red symbol notifying you that there is an error and no explanation of what it is or how to fix it can lead to form abandonment. It becomes extremely frustrating for users that may be trying to register for your demo or buy from your online store when they don’t know what they did wrong.

Instagram's sign up form error messages are not helpful to the user. There is no clear explanation on how to fix them.

Instagram’s sign up form error messages are not helpful to the user. There is no clear explanation on how to fix them.

If all problems are opportunities, then error messages and error pages are generally missed opportunities. Marketing should be policing the errors reported on their website, messages that have traditionally been written by a techie in IT.

Clear and persuasive language for error messages can actually work in your favor, improving the user experience and increasing conversions.

I’ll give you an example. A few months ago I had to make a doctor’s appointment. The receptionist scheduled me for the following day with the nurse practitioner. I asked if I could see the doctor – best dermatologist in this neck of the woods – and her answer was “No, you will have to wait until she comes back from vacation.” Which happened to be 3 days later.

What do you think would have happened if she would have said, “Of course. She will be back from vacation on this date. But we can get you in tomorrow if you’d like to see her nurse practitioner”. She could have probably have persuaded me to see the NP.

Wayfair's newsletter sign up form has a confusing call to action button text. What will happen after I press continue?

Wayfair’s newsletter sign up form has a confusing call to action button text. What will happen after I press continue?

Related Reading: Why is my Conversion Rate Dropping? 8 Common Reasons

How to Write Great Error Messages

Follow these guidelines to write error message that won’t have your visitor feel like an idiot.

  1. Get rid of IT jargon. Say goodbye to “Submit”, “Send” or “Error”, not only do they have different meanings in English language, they have a negative connotation putting the blame on the user.
  2. Clearly and simply identify the error and give the user a solution.
  3. Never blame the user. Rephrase your error messages or better yet, provide your website visitors with informational messages so they know what to enter in the first place.
  4. Provide a way to contact you, be it chat, email or a customer service number, in case the user needs your help to solve the issue.

Every business wants to know their customers better. Yet many businesses are inward looking. What has to change?

When you want to save a file in your favorite application, which icon do most apps offer up?

Why it’s the image of a 3.5″ floppy disc, of course.

The Save Icon is typically a 3.5" Floppy Disk. Find out why.

The Save Icon is typically a 3.5″ Floppy Disk

Why is it that the universal icon for saving a file is an image of a technology that breathed its last breath sometime in 2007? This is a technology that most users today have never even seen.

The reason is that Apple burned the 3.5″ floppy “Save” icon into our brains with the release of the Macintosh in 1998. Adobe, Microsoft and other software manufacturers followed suit.

By the time the 3.5″ floppy started being phased out just a few years later, the most primitive part of our brain had solidified this as the easiest to recognize icon when we didn’t want to lose our work.

Every time we clicked it, and got confirmation that our work was saved, we got a feeling of relief — and a squirt of dopamine. This cemented it in our mind and made it instantly available.

The image could have been a picture of a flying pig and we would still be using it today.

The save icon could have been a flying pig. Learn why this would work.

The save icon could have been a flying pig

Primal Brain with Tim Ash

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This is the behavior of our limbic brain, called “System 1” by Danny Kahnemann in the seminal book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s been called our lizard brain and our monkey brain. It’s the knee-jerk decision maker, fight or flight.

My guest, Tim Ash, calls it the Primal Brain.

Why not something more intuitive? Like a file folder?

Or even a cloud?

Because, when our lizard brain doesn’t have a quick answer, it turns to our Executive brain. This part of our brain analyzes things to make decisions. And when this happens, it creates cognitive load.

This makes our applications harder to use and less satisfying.

We make few decisions with our Executive brain. It’s our Primal Brain — our emotional, fear-based brain — that gets the first shot.

So why are we using logic and rational thinking so much in our marketing?

Tim Ash started his career in the ‘interwebs’ back in 1995. He and I have a lot in common. For one, we both built web companies back in the ‘OG’ internet days.

On top of leading his CRO company SiteTuners, Tim is a digital marketing keynote speaker, founder of the Digital Growth Unleashed conference, and author of the book Landing Page Optimization. It’s still one of the first books I recommend to anyone who wants to get up on the learning curve when it comes to LPO….And back in the day, I learned quite a bit from it myself.

To begin to understand how our visitors think, Tim suggests we stop looking inside  our companies, and start looking outside.

Listen in as Tim explains why you should always work backwards when it comes to a redesign. Start with your end users. Understand your audience. Then build.

Warning: Tim doesn’t pull any punches.

Digital Growth Unleashed Conference

Las Vegas – June 17- 19

For more information, head over to digitalgrowthunleased.com

Intended Consequences listeners will receive 15 percent off your registration for the conference by using the code ST15 

Interview with Tim Ash: Which part of your visitors' brains makes the decisions. Listen to the podcast.

Interview with Tim Ash: Which part of your visitors’ brains makes the decisions.

When you get back to the office…

You team has data, insights into your visitors, prospects and customers. It’s time to let this data out into the open.

Invite your PPC team to talk about what ads work and which don’t.

Invite your email marketing team to talk about what subject lines are killing it and which are not.

Ask your sales department to tell you which customers buy the most, and which products are most popular.

This is the beginning of understanding your audience from THEIR point of view.

Resources and links from the Podcast

You can visit TimAsh.com for more information on Tim’s new book and to join his pre-announcement mailing list.

Unleashing the Primal Brain by Tim Ash. Book coming soon. Make sure to bookmark this page..

Unleashing the Primal Brain by Tim Ash

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How do you bring a data-driven approach to your website redesign? BigCommerce hired Chris Nolan to do just that. Here’s how he used data to drive a Market-first redesign.

When we lose an employee to another company, I feel a mix of pride and saltiness. I’m proud that working here turns otherwise ordinary men and women into highly valuable data-driven performance marketers.

But I hate getting my employees poached.

In 2018, it was time for one of our employees to step into a bigger role. After working with us for years, Chris Nolan (not the Batman director) stepped into a big role in a company with Big in its name.

Chris was tapped to be the cornerstone hire for the growth team at BigCommerce. We miss him, but have enjoyed seeing how a Conversion Scientist takes on a big organization like BigCommerce.

His challenge is the same challenge that “woke” marketers are facing in every industry. How do I get an entrenched culture to adopt data and testing.

“Market-First” Strategies with Chris Nolan

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You might say that Chris jumped out of his lab coat and into the fire with BigCommerce, as they recently redesigned their entire site. There is no bigger challenge to a growth marketer than an “all in” redesign.

BigCommerce homepage before the website redesign

BigCommerce homepage before the website redesign.

BigCommerce homepage after the website redesign

BigCommerce homepage after the website redesign

I invited Chris to come onto the podcast to share the challenges and triumphs of a new hire nudging a culture from the bottom during a website relaunch.

Buckle up.

Chris is the Senior Growth Strategy Manager at BigCommerce. Businesses build their e-commerce websites on BigCommerce technology. They recently completed a website redesign.

Chris started his marketing journey because he had a passion for human behavior. This episode is jam-packed as he walks us through agency relationships, differentiating mobile from desktop sites and how to think ‘market-first’ to get the right site experience for your next redesign.

Self Care Tip

Championing change in an organization is a long journey, but the victories come all along the way. So, when you get back to the office, do something to take care of yourself. Book a massage. Put a meditation session on your calendar. Invite a close friend to your favorite restaurant. Get a jog or workout in.

These are scientifically proven ways we make ourselves better marketers, too.

Resources and links discussed

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What is the role of data within a digital agency? Should you collect data if you’re redesigning a website? We discuss these issues on Intended Consequences.

When we redesign our website, we are given a rare opportunity to change the bones we build it on.

Imagine that your website is a doll. You start with a generic, human-shaped form and begin to turn it into something. You choose the clothes, the hats, the shoes, the shades for it. Some you buy. Some you make yourself.

Your website is similar. You rent server space from a host and drop a content management system on it. This is a generic website-shaped form that you can begin dressing. Lest you think you can do anything with this digital doll you’ve purchased, be careful.

You can’t put Barbie clothes on an American Girl doll. You can’t put GI Joe clothes on your Star Wars action figures. Likewise, the host you choose forms the bones of your site, and limits what you can make of it.

Data in Digital Design with David Vogelpohl

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And this is why we often find ourselves frustrated that our Mr. Potatohead host can’t deliver a chic Bratz website.

If you want your website to fit into WordPress clothes, my guest today has the host for you. WPEngine is a host dedicated to WordPress websites. David Vogelpohl is responsible for marketing these hosted services.

David Vogelpohl WPEngine Intended Consequences Podcast Featured Image

David Vogelpohl WPEngine Intended Consequences Podcast Featured Image

David is the VP of Web Strategy at WPEngine. This conversation builds off the conversation Joel and I had on the last episode about website redesigns.

I’ve known him for a long time. I knew him in a previous life when he founded and built a design agency here in Austin. I’ve spoken at the meetup he founded called AUSome. So it’s rather ingracious for David to come on my podcast and counter what we preach here about Website redesigns.

David says that data doesn’t really matter for him and his team when it comes to website redesigns. He says no matter what, an agency has to use data to show customers the results – and as an agency, you have to live with the good – and the bad. Listen in as he explains…

Data-driven Design Tip

We don’t always get to research our campaign and website designs. That’s just the way it is. But every launch is an experiment.

When you get back to the office, think back to some of the campaigns or web pages you launched. Take the time to drill in on how that effort performed. Not just the results graphs you presented to the team. Ask yourself what you can learn from it.

Did your emails have different open rates? The ones with higher open rates may have had more relevant subject lines.

That service description page you launched… is it a factor in getting more demo requests from your visitors? Analytics can tell you.

The change you made to your home page, did it reduce the scroll rate? Your heatmapping software can tell you.

If you don’t know the answers to any of the questions you have, you get to figure out how to collect that data next time, on the campaign or page design you’re doing right now.

You’ll gain some insights. But more importantly, you’ll learn how to learn from everything you do.

Then get back to work, scientists.

Resources and links discussed

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How is conversion optimization ensuring that website redesigns always deliver an improvement in performance? Brian Massey and Joel Harvey can tell you. And they do.

Poker is one of those games that, like digital marketing, requires a left-brain/right-brain approach. To begin with, good poker players know the percentages. They know that the two four’s in their hand gives them a 12% chance of winning in a typical game. That’s their left-brain, data-driven knowledge.

Then you add in all of the right-brain stuff. Emotion. Reading the other players’ faces. Controlling your own face. Tells. And past behaviors.

Yep, that’s digital marketing. But there’s one move that throws all of that out the window.

Taking the Risk out of Website Redesigns with Joel Harvey

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You may have seen it in the World Series of Poker on TV, or in a James Bond movie. One player pushes his entire stack of chips into the center of the table and says, “All in”. What he’s saying is, if he loses this hand, he loses everything. All of the other players have to ask themselves, “WIll I match his entire stack?” or should I get out now.

Going all in smashes everything. It may mean that you’re ignoring the data in one big high-stakes bluff. Or it may mean that you’re trying to ratchet up the emotion, scaring the rest of the table into making a bad decision.

There is an equivalent to “going all in” in digital marketing as well. It’s called a website redesign.

This is one of the biggest budgeted projects a company will do. When someone throws a lot of money at the marketing department, it can be hard to resist.

Sure, it could have a huge impact on the financial prospects of the firm. It can also cause you to lose everything.

Poker players have one advantage over digital marketers when going all in: They can see their cards. They know their percentage. Digital marketers? Well, they have past performance from the current site..

But do they use it?

Joel Harvey and Brian Massey Intended Consequences The new way to redesign

Joel Harvey and Brian Massey Intended Consequences The new way to redesign

On today’s show, I’m pulling in Joel Harvey – Chief Operating Officer at Conversion Sciences. Joel’s role is to make sure we live up to our company motto: “Always deliver remarkable results.”

Check out our conversion-centered website redesign method that guarantees results in weeks, not months.

Joel and I are talking website redesigns today. And we’re going to tell you something that may blow your mind. Website redesigns don’t have to be an all or nothing hand. You don’t have to push all of your budget in and wait 3, or 6 or even 12 months later.

Listen to find out how we stack the odds in our favor, guaranteeing a winning hand.

  • The website redesign needs to be profitable – not pretty.
  • Users tell you what they think you want to hear.
  • Slow and steady wins the [website redesign] race.
  • Demand data.

When an agency comes to you and asks you to pick something, that’s an opportunity for you to say, “Wait a minute! You guys go off and collect some data and tell me which one of these is going to be victorious.” You shouldn’t be guessing. They shouldn’t be guessing.

Website Redesign Tip

The all-in approach isn’t just limited to website redesigns. Individual campaigns are usually all-in affairs as well.

When you get back to the office, open a spreadsheet and start writing out the assumptions that you’re making when designing that email, social media ad, or landing page.

You should quickly have a few dozen.

  • “We need to be clever in our headline”
  • “We need to have a picture on the page”
  • “We need icons on our website.”
  • “Video is required.”

Many of these may be well supported by past experience or best practices.

For each, you should ask, “Do I have a way of finding out if this assumption is a good one.”

You may be able to look at the performance of past pages. You may be able to see which email subject lines worked best in the past. You may create different versions of ads and see which delivers the best result.

Now you’re looking at your cards, and you’ll rarely win a hand if you don’t.

Resources and links discussed

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Think you should be getting more from your digital marketing agencies? Find out how to work with, negotiate with and make your digital agency relationships more profitable.

We’ve trained our agencies to work against us.

The pitch meeting is the culprit.

The pitch meeting is when an agency comes to their client — or their client comes to them — and they present the creative that they’ve prepared. It may be well-researched creative, based on data both qualitative and quantitative.

During the pitch meeting, the agency asks a small group of people — company executives typically — to review, choose, modify or reject the creative. There are no clients in this meeting. The people in this room are supposed to represent the customer that the creative is designed for.

The people making these decisions may know their customers well, but this setting is designed to bring out our biases.

Agency Relationships with Garrett Mehrguth

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The personal preferences of each executive drives confirmation bias. The emotion of past wins and past failures drives availability bias. The love of cool designs drives novelty bias.

And the highest ranking executive in the room gets deferential treatment. I’m not sure if there is an official deference bias, but there should be.

The pitch meeting is a tough time for the agency. Regardless of what the research done, if the executives don’t like the creative, it puts the relationship at risk. So, the pitch meeting becomes about pleasing the client, not the client’s customers.

This is how failed campaigns get launched, how website redesigns reduce revenue, how agencies get canned for decisions made by this small group of executives.

The oppression of the pitch meeting can only be broken by the client. Or so I thought.

Managing agency relationships with Garrett Mehrguth on Intended Consequences podcast

Managing agency relationships with Garrett Mehrguth on Intended Consequences podcast

Garrett Mehrguth runs an agency called Directive, and he’s taking some unusual approaches toward his client relationships. Today on Intended Consequences, we’ll learn how Garrett is using transparency, data, branding and hard decisions to help shape the culture of his clients.

He believes, as I do, that this is in the best interest of a clients’ customers, which will ultimately serve the brands we work with.

On today’s show we talk all about agency management – how to leverage the relationship, how to think about the relationship, and how content (the written word) is not dead – with the CEO of Directive Consulting.

Digital Agency Management Tip

There will be a moment that first re-shapes the pitch meeting dynamic.

For me it was when an agency gave me three mockups of a new design and asked me to choose the one I wanted to proceed with. I said, “I don’t know. Go collect some data and tell me which one I should pick.”

When you get back to the office, try a little experiment.

Pull up some of the creative that your agency or internal team has delivered. Instead of considering what you think of it, ask yourself, “How could the agency collect some data to help us make this better?”

If you listen to this podcast, you’ll be familiar with several tools that can be used.

In your next agency meeting, ask the question, “How could we collect some data that helps us get this right?” Their response may be unsatisfying at first, but you’ve taken the first step toward changing their focus, from your preferences back to your customers’ preferences.

Repeat after me: “Go get us some data to tell us what will work.”

They’ll probably call me, and that’s OK too.

Resources and links from the Podcast

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Discover how to identify what keeps visitors from converting on your site. Five factors you MUST look into to improve online conversions right now.

There’s one thing, one thing that’s keeping your visitors from converting on your site.

It may not be the only thing, but it is the primary thing that your online business isn’t delivering the results you expect. It’s where you start when you optimize your website.

So, traffic but not conversions? It’s one of these five things:

  1. The Value Proposition and Messaging isn’t clear.
  2. They perceive risk when considering taking an action.
  3. You aren’t showing up as credible and authoritative.
  4. They want to know if others have benefited from you.
  5. Your design and layout aren’t helping them digest the buffet of content you’re presenting.

Find out what keeps visitors from converting on your site and start testing to increase your conversions right now.

How to identify what keeps visitors from converting on your site.

How to identify what keeps visitors from converting on your site.

Value Proposition & Messaging

Do you think your value proposition is the one thing that keeps visitors from converting on your site? Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a value proposition. Your value proposition is composed of all of the things you do to solve a problem and is communicated by:

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Content and Copy
  3. Images
  4. Pricing
  5. Shipping policy
  6. Words used in your navigation
  7. Design elements

All of these website elements are used to let your visitors know how you solve a set of problems, and why your solution is the best choice. The one that will save the most time and money, or that will deliver the most satisfaction.

But your value proposition doesn’t have to be communicated through words and images alone. Video, audio and animations are proven ways to communicate your value to a prospect.

And herein lies the rub.

Digital media gives us the amazing ability to put anything onto a landing page that our hearts desire. And if you can do anything, how do you know which is the right element to use? Here lies the conundrum.

How to know if your value proposition is what keeps visitors from converting on your site

A high bounce rate is a sign of three things:

  1. You’re bringing the wrong traffic
  2. Your lead isn’t hitting the mark
  3. You’ve been attacked by bots

If your landing page suffers from a high bounce rate, look at the source of your traffic. Does the page keep the specific offer made in the paid ad, email, or organic search query that enticed the visitors to click on your site? If it’s your homepage, the answer is most certainly, “No.”

If you feel that your traffic is good, and is coming to a relevant page, then we should ask if the lead is hitting the mark. By “lead” I am referring to the headline + hero image.

Often, hero images are wasted on something non-concrete. The headline should act as the caption for the image it accompanies.

Don’t show a city skyline. Don’t show a person smiling at a computer. These things don’t scream for meaningful captions and don’t help conversions either.

You should also look at the words you use in your main navigation. These should communicate what your site is about in the words of the visitor, not just the structure of your website.

Still don’t know what’s keeping them from converting? Ask your visitors

If you still don’t know what is keeping visitors from converting on your site, consider using an exit-intent popup that asks one open-ended question: “What were you looking for when you came to our site?” or “Why didn’t you purchase?”

We are also big fans of putting an open-ended question on your thank-you page or receipt page: “What almost kept you from buying?” or “What almost kept you from signing up?”

Discover How Our Conversion Rate Optimization Analysis Services Work

You May Be Scaring Visitors Away: Use and Misuse of Risk Reversal

In general, more people make decisions based on fear than on opportunity. So, your amazing value proposition is destined to die in the minds of many of your prospects because of fear.

  • What if I don’t like the product?
  • What if my identity gets stolen?
  • Will a pushy salesman call?
  • Will I have to deal with tons of email?

At the heart of it all is, “Will I feel stupid if I take action right now?”

Risk reversal (and most of the following) is a set of tactics that puts the visitor’s fears at rest. It consists of things like:

  • Guarantees
  • Warranties
  • Privacy policies
  • Explicit permissions
  • Return policies

Placing these items in clear view near a call to action can do wonders for your conversion rates.

Don’t put fears into their mind

There is a potential danger. Your risk reversal tactics can actually put fear into their mind.

For example, stating, “We will never spam you.” can actually place the concept in the mind of someone who wasn’t concerned about it. You might say instead, “We respect your privacy.” with a link to your privacy policy.

Traffic but not Conversions? Help Visitors Convert on your Site with Social Proof

Social proof demonstrates that others have had a positive experience with your brand. These take the form of:

  • Testimonials
  • On-site ratings and reviews
  • Third party reviews
  • Case studies
  • Social media shares, likes and comments
  • Comments

If social proof is your one problem that keeps visitors from converting on your site, customers don’t feel that you’re right for someone like them. Make sure you show them that they are in the group of people that benefit from you.

Negative Reviews Help

Ironically, it also serves to answer the question, “Just how bad was a bad experience with this company?” This is why negative reviews have proven to increase conversion rates on eCommerce sites. Cleaning your reviews or only posting good reviews can shoot you in the foot.

Is it Lack of Credibility & Authority What Keeps Visitors from Converting on your Site?

If you are in an industry with lots of competition, or with “bad actors” who manipulate to get sales, your one problem may be credibility and authority.

The design of your website is one of the first things that communicate credibility. But be careful. A fancy, overly-designed site may communicate the wrong idea to visitors. It may convey that you’re expensive or too big for your prospects.

Credibility can be established by emphasizing things about your company, and by borrowing credibility from other sources such as, your clients. your payment methods, you media appearances and the like.

Brand Credibility

You gain credibility by building confidence with your brand and value proposition. How long have you been in business? How many customers have you served? How many products have you sold? How many dollars have you saved?

Brand credibility generally takes the form of implied proof.

Borrowed Credibility

Your website or landing page can borrow credibility and authority from third-party sources. Placing symbols and logos on your website borrows from these credible sources. Ask yourself:

  • Have you been interviewed or reviewed in well-know publications?
  • Have you been interviewed on broadcast media outlets?
  • What associations are you a member of?
  • What awards have you been nominated for or won?
  • Has your business been rated by consumer organizations like Consumer Reports or the Better Business Bureau?
  • Have your products been reported on by analysts such as Forrester?

Place proof of your associations on your site’s landing pages to borrow authority and credibility from them.

User Interface & User Experience: Factors that Keep Visitors from Converting on your Site

Nothing works if your visitors eyes aren’t guided through your pages.

No value proposition, no risk reversal, no social proof, no credibility stands a chance if the layout and user experience don’t help the reader understand where they’ve landed or where to go from there.

Long load time equals poor experience

The first thing to look at is site performance. If your pages load slowly, you visitors may be bouncing away. If any element requires a loading icon of any sort, you are probably providing a poor user experience.

Clutter means bad visual hierarchy

When a visitor looks at a page, it should be very obvious what is most important element and what can be looked at later. This is called a visual hierarchy.

For example, we like to make call to action buttons highly visible, so that it is clear to the reader that they are being asked to do something.

Designers use their knowledge of whitespace, negative space, font, font size, color, and placement to design an experience that is easy for the visitors’ eyes to digest.

Don’t add surprises

A good user experience has little place for novelty. Arbitrarily adding animations, fades, parallax images or scroll-triggered effects are generally unnecessary, can cause technical glitches and may actually hurt conversion rates.

How to Know “what” is Hurting your Conversion Rate

We recommend this process to determine the primary problem that keeps visitors from converting on your website.

1. Gather all of your conversion optimization ideas

Begin recording all of the ideas you have for improving the site in the spreadsheet. Sources for these ideas:

  1. Ask your team
  2. Read your customer reviews
  3. Read your customer surveys
  4. Pull from your marketing reports
  5. Read your live chat transcripts
  6. Generate heatmap reports for your key pages
  7. Watch recorded sessions

Don’t be surprised to have dozens of ideas for a website or landing page.

2. Categorize each of your ideas

The ROI Prioritized Hypothesis List spreadsheet has a column for classifying each idea.

  1. Messaging
  2. Layout/UX
  3. Social Proof
  4. Risk Reversal
  5. Credibility

There will also be some things that you just want to fix.

3. Count your conversion optimization ideas

Count out how many ideas you have for each category. The category with the most ideas is probably the one problem you should address first. We use a pie chart to illustrate the different issues.

What Keeps Visitors from Converting on your Site? This site's one problem is Value Proposition and Messaging followed by Layout and UX

This site’s one problem is Value Proposition and Messaging followed by Layout and UX

4. Start working

Begin working on the ideas in the category with the most ideas.

This is a great time to start AB testing to see which of your ideas really are important to your visitors.

Your search traffic will demonstrate their approval through more sales, more leads and higher conversion rates overall.

This sounds like a lot of work

It is a lot of work. But you could consider hiring us to identify what keeps visitors from converting on your site and we will test our way to your success.

You can request a free consultation with us.

This article is an updated and revised version of our original article published on Search Engine Land.

Brian Massey

Running a business website is no different from a Monopoly game. You have scarce resources to spend building the site and attracting traffic. Find out how to optimize for scarcity and win the game!

Monopoly is the quintessential game of American capitalism. For better or worse, it focuses the player on one goal: maximizing the number of dollars in your pile. Everyone has their own strategy and their preferred properties to own and build. Your little sister may only buy properties if she likes the color.

Excellent monopoly players learn their opponents’ strategy and then adapt to respond to the environment they are in.

If you look beyond the “greed is good” focus on money, you will realize that playing the game teaches the principles of scarcity and optimization.

The number dollars you start with is scarce. You must make the most of your limited resources.

You want to be ready when lady luck glances your way. When a dog, a car, or a hat finally lands your property, you better be ready.

Running a business website is no different. You inevitably have scarce resources to spend building the site and attracting traffic.

And when those visitors finally land on your site, you better be ready. This is the job of optimization.

If you viewed your web page as a Monopoly board, would it change your priorities and behavior?

Like houses and hotels, would the right elements be on your page be there?

Too often, we don’t think about our web pages as scarce resources that have to be optimized. Too often, we use our little sister’s “pretty property” strategy. Trust me. She still hates to lose.

Monopoly game board. Discover how to optimize for scarcity and grow your business.

Discover how to optimize for scarcity and grow your business.

What is Scarcity

Scarcity means having less resources than needed to achieve a goal. In Monopoly, we can’t own all the properties and have hotels on all properties. We have to deal with scarcity. Our money supply is limited, as is our opportunity to buy properties. The desire to compete brings out our analytical nature and we scheme to make the most of the resources we have as opposed to the resources we want. We do this because we know we have an opponent that is actively working to undo us. Again, do we think about our web page the same way?

Examples of Scarcity on our Web Pages

In reality, we do have opponents in our web strategy. Not just one, but many. In fact, we usually have more opponents than competitors. Some of these opponents include:

  • Limited attention span
  • Lack of common reference and knowledge base
  • Low-resolution computer monitors
  • Negative emotional association with specific words or images
  • Slow connection speeds

As you think about the opponents listed above, you will recognize scarcity working against your ultimate goal. Vigorously compete against these opponents on your site with the same vigor you compete in Monopoly, and you’ll be more likely to “pass GO and collect $200.”

How to Optimize for Scarcity

Something amazing happens on the Monopoly board that doesn’t naturally happen on our web page.

In Monopoly, we quit caring about how glamorous a property is and instead focus on how much money it will make for us.

In contrast, it is the very rare individual who walks into a web planning meeting without being focused on making the most beautiful page possible. If we played Monopoly the same way, we would focus on acquiring and building hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place and be done. If you try this approach, either in Monopoly or on your website, you lose.

If you don’t pull your weight, you’re gone!

Without emotion, we require properties to pay their way. They have a job to do and we expect them to do it well. The properties’ job is generating revenue.

Is there an element on your web page that isn’t pulling its weight? As optimizers, our job is to identify the converting elements on a page and remove the non-converting elements.

How to Optimize for Scarcity: Testing to see which properties are performing

Such was the case for one client’s site, when we set out to improve the home page. We followed this process to find out which elements led to conversions:

  1. We set up Google to score on bounce rate while watching conversions.
  2. We used click-tracking software heat mapping to identify content that was not getting clicked. This website has 4 clickable icons that take the user to additional content. We found that the 2 outer icons had low activity and decided to test them against alternate icons.
  3. The experiment executed quickly with the following results:
    • 10% improvement in bounce rate
    • 56% improvement in conversions
Small changes have a big impact on conversions.

Fig 1. Small changes have a big impact on conversions.

That felt good – let’s do it again

After experiencing success, it seemed like a good idea to try again. This time we identified one icon that was under-performing, so we replaced it with another one that led to a converting page. The result here is interesting. Looking at the heat map alone indicates the replaced icon is more desirable. But looking at the numbers reveals it was not the right choice.

More clicks do not necessarily mean more conversions.

Fig 2. More clicks do not necessarily mean more conversions.

As shown on the heat map above, replacing the 3rd icon attracted many more clicks on the “B” version of the page. However, both the bounce rate and the conversion rate took a hit.

  • Bounce rate degraded 4%
  • Conversion rate decreased 56%

This experiment shows why it is essential to test and scrutinize the results. Two nearly identical hypotheses with two nearly identical changes led to opposite results. My initial inclination was to ignore the results and push the change through. But I put on my Monopoly head and determined the measurable results of the change should trump how I felt about the change.

No Experiment is a Failure

It would be easy to walk away from the second experiment and view it as a total loss. In the same way that losses are our teachers in Monopoly, losses should be our teachers in web optimization experiments. Just as every Monopoly opponent is unique, our clients and website visitors are unique.

To better understand the behavior we observed, we sought to learn more by asking some basic questions:

  • Why did higher clicks on the replaced icon also correspond to a higher bounce rate? (Hint:  something else didn’t get clicked as much!)
  • What was appealing about the new icon?
  • Why did the site conversion rate drop?
  • What was the net gain/loss of each individual conversion metric?
  • Did the new copy corresponding to the new icon have a negative impact?
  • Would alternate copy change the site performance?
  • Did the new icon and copy add clarity and relevance?
  • Did the new icon and copy add anxiety or distraction?

It is important to learn from each experiment regardless of the results. Applying this discipline is critical in understanding the unique functionality of your website and what increases or decreases conversions.

Failing to learn from a “failed” experiment is like failing to learn the tactics of your Monopoly opponent. You will face them again, and you want to be prepared when you do.

So What Should You Do?

Like many 12-step programs, the first step is to acknowledge you have a problem. Say out loud, “I care more about how pretty my web page is than how much money it makes.” Let that sink in and prepare to change. Make a personal commitment to website profitability based on hard data. Then approach your web pages with the kind of profit-focused attention to scarcity and optimization that wins Monopoly games.

  • Make a list of the individual components on your web page – especially above the fold.
  • Write the purpose of each component next to it.
  • Ask yourself if each component contributes to profit – and eliminate those that don’t.
  • Ask yourself if there is anything that could replace the existing components that would drive more profit.
  • Test, test, test.

Nobody is immune to personal biases and individual favorites. If you want to maximize the functionality of your website, you need to put a structure in place that always tests and always trusts data over opinion. When you earn how to optimize for scarcity, you win. When you make a habit of doing that, you will be the same formidable opponent that you are in Monopoly.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
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Lead generation is the lifeblood of online business and most lead generation is done via email collection.
If you grow a list of prospects who’re interested in your promotions, your business grows too. However, before you make money from your list you’ve got to get people on it. Whether you want people to download your lead magnet, sign up for your latest webinar or volunteer to test your product, you first need to persuade them to part with their highly guarded personal details – that’s no small feat.
No wonder the average opt-in rate across industries is hovering around a mere 2%. After investing a fortune in Facebook advertising, PPC ads, outsourced content, content management software, site design, and more, you only net two leads per 100 visitors. Two leads… NOT customers mind you.
Surely, your business deserves better.
Today, we’re going to cover the eight elements of a high converting opt-in page so you can boost your opt-in conversion rates and get a better return on your content marketing investment.
Ready to dive in?

Element #1: A short pre-headline to draw them in

When your prospect arrives on your opt-in page she wants to know if she’s in the right place. If she feels lost, she’ll click away. Use the apex of your page to make her stick around.
And, depending on who you ask, you have five seconds or less to do that. But how do you do it? Here’s three ways to instantly attract your reader when she lands on your page so she stays on.
#1. Name the target audience
For example, Attention dog owners, Attention Content Marketers etc.
When you name your audience you get a nod from the prospect, “Yep that’s me.” Handled correctly, this small first yes will ultimately lead to the big yes of a signup later on.
#2. Name the type of lead magnet
For example, Free Special Report, Free Training Webinar etc.
The specificity of your offer increases desire and the likelihood of the prospect staying on so as to get it.
#3. Name the referral site
For example,wh Welcome Entrepreneur Readers
Naming the referral site on your page makes your prospect feel like a diva and warm up to you and your offer.
Amy Harrison rolls out a red carpet for her Copyblogger readers. She makes them feel the love by welcoming them: specifically, heartily, personally.

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                                 Source

Your pre-headline has four main purposes:
#1. To help your prospects understand your offer…fast.
#2. To alienate those who are not a good fit for your offer.
#3. To attract those who are perfectly suited to your offer.
#4. To build rapport with your audience in an instant.
A great pre-head will keep readers on your signup page.

Element #2: A benefit-rich headline to make them want to read more

Once your prospect hangs around, use your headline to show her how your offer will benefit her and improve her life. Promptly address her concerns so she lingers on the page or you’ll lose her by the door. Quickly address her pain, paint the desired future for her, or pique her curiosity so she can’t help herself but read on.
In short, tell your prospect what’s in it for her.
Jacob McMillen’s headline is ultra-specific and has a solution that’s tailor-made for cash-strapped businesses – that’s a big benefit that’ll keep his target audience glued to the page.

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                           Source
Not only that. Your headline must also tie in nicely to the traffic source. That way the prospect’s conversion journey becomes smoother thus generating better results for your business. Jacob McMillen does this superbly as the source page to the above landing page shows:

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Notice how his CTA, the last words in his bio, are the first words on the landing page? This way the byline is perfectly coupled to the landing page thus increasing conversions. When a reader clicks his bio and lands on the landing page she smoothly continues her conversion journey – because of harmony between the two pages, conversions are likely to be higher.
On the flip side, a copy mismatch between the source page and the signup page tanks conversions.

Element #3: A few lines of crisp copy to pull them further down the page

You’ve done well if your prospect is still on your page thus far.
Your next few lines should give specific points about your offer. Show her how your offer will scratch her itch or push her towards her dream. Do that and she’s more likely to give you her details.
Use bullet points or short paragraphs. Your bullets should be:

  • Clear- use simple direct language so the prospect easily grasps your offer.
  • Crisp- keep your points brief and to the point to keep the prospect engaged.
  • Catchy- use attention-getting words to give details about your offer.

Smartblogger nails their bullet copy on this sign-up page for an upcoming webinar.

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Source

The three bullets tell you exactly what you’ll get on the webinar in a simple engaging way without laboring the point. If you’re going for the minimalist approach even a single line will do. The amount of copy on the body of your opt-in page depends on three key factors.
#1. How aware is your prospect about you and your offer? The more aware she is about you and what you do the less copy you need and vice versa.
#2. What works best for your niche? Study the most successful signup pages in your niche and do likewise.
#3. How complex is the problem you’re trying to solve for the prospect? The more complex the problem, the more copy required to convince prospects to sign up.

Element #4: A pro-looking image to help them visualize what they’ll get

Our brains process images up to 60,000 times faster than text.
To woo your prospect so she says yes to your proposal (offer), show her what she’ll get. Use a picture of the product or of people expressing the feeling you’re targeting. Pictures of animals work well too if your context allows it.
John Nemo’s book shot dominates his opt-in page on purpose. You can almost smell the LinkedIn cash splashed on the cover ☺.

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                              Source

A word of warning about pics: don’t just include a picture because you like it…that won’t help your cause. Only include a picture if it’s relevant to your offer.

Element #5: A signup field(s) to capture their personal details

You’re almost there now… your prospects cursor is hovering over the signup field. Now comes the big question…how much info do you want from her?
Numerous tests show that, in most cases, the fewer the signup fields, the higher the conversion rates. That’s why most sites simply ask for an email address and/or name only as shown in the Marketing Sherpa lead generation graphic below.

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   Source

Of course, you can ask for more than that if you want a more targeted list. Although your conversions may dip, the quality of your list will improve. Ask for what you need and no more. This makes filling the fields more desirable. You can always ask for more details later.
But, as with everything digital, conduct split tests to see what works for you and your audience instead of blindingly jumping on the bandwagon. In many cases, tests have shown that increasing the number of fields actually raised conversions.

Element #6: A bit of social proof to earn their trust

It’s natural. No one wants to go first. People do what they see other people do. That’s why social proof is a vital ingredient to the success of your page. Here are some three quick-and-easy ways of incorporating social proof into your signup page:
#1. Display your list numbers if they’re substantial
To nudge people over the sign-up line, you can use big numbers associated with your following. However, be careful as numbers can be a double-edged sword. If your numbers are small, social proof will still work, but against you! No-one wants to be a part of something small and insignificant.
Social Media Examiner uses their massive list to good effect to inspire people to join their list.

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Source

Surely, on seeing the 620 000+ social media marketing peers on Social Media Examiner’s list, a prospect will be enticed to sign up.
#2. Splash customer testimonials generously on the page
Testimonials multiply your clout score thus making it easy for people to take up your offer. Henneke Duistermaat, of Enchanting Marketing, does a neat job.

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Source

Not only does she head the page with a rich list of big sites she’s been featured on, she sandwiches her offer between two testimonials from heavyweights in her niche. Prospects are more likely to trust her word and gobble up her course.
#3. Point to influencer endorsements and press mentions
To get prospects to sign-up for a free trial, Get Response leads with an imposing figure of their current users and then they underline their authority in their space by quoting two influencers.

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This is likely to cause more people to take their software for a spin.

Element #7: A privacy statement to assure them their info is safe

        
Because cyber-crime is rampant, your prospect is uneasy. Hardly a day goes by without someone being scammed or spammed online. Allay her fears…wrap your arm around her and let her know you’re not one of the bad guys. Tell her you won’t peddle her email address nor send the alien stuff she didn’t ask for.
A brief statement such as ‘We respect your privacy and will never share your infois enough as Neil Patel does.

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      Source

Feel free to get creative with the phrasing. Or, if you’re not feeling inspired, simply write ‘privacy policy’ and link to your full-blown privacy policy. And, oh, a privacy statement also serves a more personal and practical purpose: failure to include one might land you in trouble with the law. ☺
Basically, your privacy statement should assure your visitors that their info is safe. Only when they feel you’re trustworthy will they be swayed to give you their personal information.

Element #8: A strong call to action (CTA) to compel them to click

Your call to action marks the finishing line of the sign-up race. Give it some thought.
Your button copy should be specific, simple and reader-focused. Tell the prospect exactly what she’ll get if she signs up. Don’t try to be cute, clever, or cryptic, or you’ll lose out.  And please, don’t make the rookie mistake made by many content marketers – using the dismal default CTA copy e.g. signup, subscribe, or download.
Don’t leave your visitors wondering what they are clicking the button for.
Sign up. For what?
Subscribe. To what?
Download. What?
A simple formula, coined by Joanna Wiebe, will help you ace your button copy. Just fill in the blank: I want my reader to __________________.
Your answer becomes your CTA. For example:
I want my reader to:

  • Book a free call…becomes…Book my free call.
  • Get a free quote…becomes…Get my free quote.
  • Reserve a spot on webinar…becomes…Reserve my webinar spot.

Here’s a great example of powerful button copy pulled from this very site’s homepage:

Book a Consultaion Now is a proper Call to Action, or CTA

Book a Consultaion Now is a proper Call to Action, or CTA

The CTA is clear, simple, direct, benefit-focused, and urgent – all the hallmarks of a powerful call to action that converts.
Make the desired action simple and easy smoothly guiding the prospect towards your goal without much work or resistance. Use energetic verbs and the first or second person to make the CTA personal and bump up your conversions. Once your reader clicks on your button, you’ve won and now have a precious lead in your funnel.
Opt-in pages are crucial to the overall success of your business that you should seriously consider outsourcing the task if you don’t have the time or the expertise to craft them yourself.
Conclusion
Getting signups is an essential bridge in your inbound digital marketing efforts. It’s the magic link that turns browsers into subscribers, subscribers into buyers, and buyers into brand evangelists. In short, it’s the gateway into your funnel. As a serious growth-focused business owner, take time to work all these elements into your page so you increase the likelihood of success. Then you’ll hear the sound of clicks not crickets for a change.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

Note: The following conversion copywriting tricks are reprinted from the ebook 21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions.

You just lost some potential revenue.

There goes some more.

A poor conversion rate will pick your pocket day after day. That’s why you’ll love these 7 conversion copywriting hacks. They’re quick and easy. And you can start using them today.

REPEAT YOUR CUSTOMERS/PROSPECTS

You may have heard that you should write like your customers speak. It builds rapport and credibility. Readers are more likely to think to themselves, “This company gets me and my issue.”

But rather than just guess what your target audience would say, use their actual words.

That’s what Sarah Peterson did when promoting her Etsy course.

The highlighted phrase stood out among responses to a survey she sent to prospects.

A key phrase from survey response

A key phrase from survey response

She used that exact phrase to resonate with prospects in her sales email.

The key phrase inserted into marketing email

The key phrase inserted into marketing email

There are several ways you can do this same thing.

  1. Speak with your customers and prospects. Pick up the phone and have a quick chat. Do more listening than speaking, and write down what they say. Or, if the person gives you permission, record it so you can transcribe it later.
  2. Survey your audience. This could even be as simple as a one question survey that you put on your website. Make sure that it’s open-ended.
  3. Search reviews and forums. See what people are saying not just about your offering, but your competitors as well. This can be a great way to uncover pain points.

SWAP YOUR HEADLINE AND SUBHEAD

It’s amazing how many times I see a landing page where the subhead is stronger than the headline. Maybe the writer is trying to be clever or creative. Perhaps they think the headline shouldn’t be more than a few words long.

Whatever the reason, it’s killing conversions. If it’s not immediately clear what you’re offering me, why should I read on?

Fortunately, the subheads usually have this information. So an easy fix is to just make the subhead your headline.

Here’s a good example:

The subheading is the value proposition

The subheading is the value proposition

A stronger converting headline

A stronger converting headline

See how much clearer this page is when the subhead and headline are switched?

CUT YOUR FIRST PARAGRAPH

This is a hack that goes back to the heyday of direct mail. It’s designed to help you get right to the point.

Getting to the point quickly sounds pretty obvious. But you’d be surprised how many marketing pieces waste words trying to introduce themselves or state the obvious.

People don’t care about that. They care about themselves. What is it your offer is going to do for them? Tell them right away why they should care.

If your first paragraph doesn’t do this, scrap it and start with the next one.

ADD ASSUMPTIVE PHRASING

Here’s a nifty little psychological hack.

Write your copy as if the conversion is a foregone conclusion.

Simply look through your copy and add phasing like this to some of your statements:

“When you start your trial…”

“You’ll love how…”

“As you’ll see…”

The power of this hack lies with the endowment effect, a phenomenon where we value what we already own more than something we never had. By writing as if your prospect already owns what you’re selling, he or she imagines that situation.

Presuppositions are another type of assumptive phrasing you can use to add persuasive power to your copy. These statements infer something else is true. For instance, if I ask, “Which of these copywriting hacks are you going to use first?” that infers that you are indeed going to use them.

You must accept the inference to be true in order to avoid incongruence within the sentence. We’re wired to avoid incongruence because it requires more brain power.

Use this to your advantage by creating presuppositions with words such as:

Finally. “You can finally get in shape without spending hours in the gym.” (Presupposes that you had to spend hours in the gym to get in shape.)

Start. “Start earning the income you deserve.” (Presupposes that you aren’t currently earning what you deserve.)

Stop. “Stop wasting time on diets that don’t work.” (Presupposes that you are wasting your time.)

Again. “This car makes driving fun again.” (Presupposes that you once enjoyed driving but now find it to be a chore.)

Anymore. “Getting your kids to do their homework won’t be a battle anymore.” (Presupposes that getting your kids to do their homework is a battle.)

How will you use assumptive language in your marketing? (See what I did there?)

USE THE WORD “BECAUSE”

We like to think that we’re rational. That’s why we like to have a reason for doing things people ask of us. But here’s the interesting part. Simply having a reason is often more important than the reason itself.

Consider this famous social experiment:

In 1978, researchers approached people in line for the copier machine and asked to cut in front. They tested the effectiveness of three different phrases.

  1. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” was successful 60% of the time
  2. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” was successful 94% of the time
  3. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” was successful 93% of the time

It’s not surprising that people let the researchers cut in line more often when a reason was given. What is surprising is that whether that reason was valid or bogus had no significant impact.

Look at that third phrasing again. Of course, they had to make copies. So did everyone else in line. That’s what a copier is for.

So why did that excuse work?

Often with small requests, we take a mental shortcut. Instead of processing the actual request and reason, we recognize that a reason was given, and we comply.

It’s important to note that the reason for the request becomes more important as the request gets larger.

When the researchers repeated the experiment with 20 pages instead of 5, giving a bogus reason had the same effect as giving no reason. Both were successful only 24% of the time compared to 42% when a valid reason was given.

To use this in your marketing, look for areas where you want the reader to do something and add a “because.”

“Act now because this offer expires in 10 days.”

Because you’re the type of person who…”

“We’re giving away free samples because we want you to see for yourself.”

USE PATTERN INTERRUPTS

Attention spans are short these days. Even if your copy is great, most readers will start to lose interest if you don’t shake things up a bit. Pattern Interrupts are a great way to do just that.

Pattern Interrupts are a neuro-linguistic programming technique designed to break the expected pattern of thoughts or behaviors. There are a couple of ways to use it in your marketing.

The first is to keep readers engaged. In a long-form piece of marketing, the reader expects paragraphs to follow paragraphs and on. This familiar pattern allows the brain to go on autopilot. You don’t want this. You want readers’ attention.

Break the pattern by adding testimonials, sidebars, callouts and other devices that temporarily interrupt the narrative of your text. Take a look at these examples.

Interrupting the pattern and flow

Interrupting the pattern and flow

Interrupting the pattern and flow

Interrupting the pattern and flow

You can also use a Pattern Interrupt to disarm readers or refocus their attention. People don’t like to be sold to. As a result, they reflexively put their guards up when they expect a sales pitch.

But what if your copy doesn’t start off as expected?

Use a Pattern Interrupt to disarm readers or refocus their attention.

Readers expecting a typical sales pitch will probably have a different mindset when they read something like this:

Shift the mindset

Shift the mindset

REMIND READERS OF THEIR FREE WILL

A team in France first proved how effective the “But You Are Free (BYOF)” technique is with this social experiment.

One of the experimenters would stop people in a mall and ask for change to ride the bus. In half of the instances, he or she added the phrase, “But you are free to accept or to refuse.”

Significantly more people gave money when the BYOF technique was used. Not only that, but the amount they gave was twice as much.

Follow-up studies have proved BYOF effective in requests for donations to a tsunami relief fund, participation in a survey, and many other situations.

It works by combating something called psychological reactance. Wikipedia describes it this way:

“Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away his or her choices or limiting the range of alternatives.

Reactances can occur when someone is heavily pressured to accept a certain view or attitude. Reactance can cause the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended, and also increases resistance to persuasion.

With this one simple phrase, you remove reactance and open your prospect’s mind to your persuasion. “

Note: The specific wording doesn’t matter as much as the sentiment. You can also use variations such as:

  • The choice is yours
  • It’s completely up to you
  • You may do as you wish
  • But obviously do not feel obliged

When you see how well these techniques work you’ll wish you started using them sooner.

Download the full ebook for all 21 copywriting hacks.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
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