I often get this feeling. The feeling that many people think – “conversion focused websites and landing pages are about a bunch of secret surface level magic tricks”. But the foundations of a conversion focused website is what really matters.
For example, tricks like
- A secret ordering of elements on the page that will mind-control your visitor and make them click the buy button
- Perhaps copywriting secrets and use of certain words
- Magic button colours that are going to dramatically change your opt-in rate
And there is definitely some truth to this. These type of optimisations can increase your sales / conversions.
But this increase conversions ≠ create conversions.
Huh? Read that again. Increase does not equal create.
- Its your first funnel.
- The funnel hasn’t made any sales yet.
- Funnel does attract email signups, but no one seems to even open the second emails.
Then none of these magic tricks will solve your problem. The problem is deeper. The problem is at the foundational level. And all the above examples are surface level tricks.
Somethings can be overlooked by anyone. In case of the button example, if you don’t have enough contrast between rest of the page and your call to action, the conversion will be lower. It can seem like common sense. But when we are too into it, it can be hard to get an outside perspective. So any colour which distinctly stands out is better, even if its ugly.
So coming to the foundational problem I mentioned. What could be some of them
- Not enough research
- About target persona
- About segments in the market
- Assuming wrongly about what the customer wants (not needs)
- Trying to appeal to too many segments of people
- Complicated messaging, which makes the visitors think and burn unwanted calories.
I am going to expand on these points a little bit
Clients who have been successful have always, always, always spent time talking, researching their audience. They speak to real people, many of them and seek out patterns, common pains etc. Or they research online – through Skype calls, questionnaires, surveys. Some research also happens on forums, facebook groups, comments on amazon books (Ramit Sethi’s tip) and even youtube comments. They research their competition and its buyers. And oh, if you don’t have competition 90% of times its not a good sign apparently. Over the years this advice has made sense. And it also means that people have no idea what your new service or product even means, so a lot of time has to be spent educating them.
But even if you have no competition, if you focus on your target audience problems, aspirations, dreams and hopes and show how your no-competition service/product can help it, they will buy. Never assume your audience can make the connection between their wants/pains and how your business can solve it for them. They ≠ You. You need to explicitly convey that.
There is a difference between what people need and what they want. They know what they want. They don’t know what they need. If you give them what they need, they won’t buy. Often times many product makers might seem like they are lying in their marketing, but they are simply showing that they understand what their audience needs.
For instance Sarah from Introverted Alpha talks all about introverted men finding relationships, girlfriend, sex. And she reports saying she is extremely successful on Ramit’s student showcase. A journey with her begins with her demonstrating extreme empathy towards what “introverted” men think about themselves.
But only by showing she understands them, and establishing trust, she can begin to help them. If she starts her pitch saying “Introvert is just a label and its not a real thing” and follows with perfectly logical arguments. People would simply leave as they would feel she doesn’t know what she is talking about or doesn’t understand them. Therefore, can’t help them.
If you try to please too many segments of people, you will end of pleasing no one. Every great brand has fans and haters. A recent client even went to the extent of saying they have a love-hate map of who they would be hated by.
To make this clear, if you cannot convey your uniqueness with value in 1-2 sentences its going to cost you sales. The book that opened the pandoras box in this aspect was StoryBrand by Donald Miller. (affiliate link)
I highly recommend the book. Thanks to Rafal Tomal and a recent client for the recommendation/nudge.
Another free lesson I recommend
- This recorded webinar from ConvertEdu (Its a talk titled “Identifying your Brand to sell more” and no it has nothing to do with visual, logo, colours etc.)