emphasize pain

Emphasize the Pain Your Customers Have, Before Presenting Your Solution

If you are solving a problem of your customers, such as back pain, it’s sometimes very effective to emphasize the pain before presenting the solution.

You begin by stating the pain on your page “Do you have back pain?”. Then, before showing the solution, you should stick a knife in their pain, and keep twisting the knife until they scream. Well, figuratively speaking 🙂

Tell about everything they can’t do right now, because of their problem. They can’t sit normally, they can’t sleep and probably can’t lift anything due to back pain. Emphasize how big their problem is, and what they can’t do because of it (twisting the knife).

When your visitors are almost screaming of the pain, show them your solution. By now they’ll realize how big their problem is, so they are more likely to buy your solution because you understand them so well.

usp as gain or loss depending on risk

Phrase Your USP’s as Gain or Loss, Depending on the Risk

People are risk-averse when they have something to gain. When people have something to lose, they take more risks. People won’t take a lot of risks when they could win $100, but will definitely take more risk when about to lose $100. People are willing to take more risk to minimize the chance of losing it.

This effect is known as the reflection effect and was discovered by Nobel-prize winner Kahneman. When you want customers to make a risk-averse choice (such as buying from you), test by phrasing your USPs as gains. When you want customers to make a risk-seeking choice (such as switching to you), phrase your USPs as losses.

loss aversion

People Are More Afraid Of Losing Than Winning (Loss-Aversion)

The pain of losing is psychologically about twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining, known as the Loss Aversion principle.

When people win 100k they feel happy, but the emotional pain experienced when losing 100k is much stronger. This technique is widely used in marketing by offering a free trial and eliminating access so it feels like a loss.

On your site, you can apply this principle in many ways. Many sites use it to frame a headline from a loss aversion point of view. Instead of saying “receive weekly updates” you could say “don’t miss any updates”, which implies people will lose something.

job of a page

Your Page Has Only One Job

When creating a page, think about the main thing you want it to achieve. For a lead-gen page, it’s capturing people’s details. For a click-through page is getting people to, well, click through. The goal of a product page is to make people buy.

Each page should only have one goal. Not two, not three. Just one. Marketers sometimes squeeze several goals on one page, with the thought of “But if people don’t want to sign up, perhaps we can let them download a whitepaper as an alternative”. Nope! If that’s the case, your ads suck because you’re targeting the wrong audience. Please don’t go down that route. The whitepaper download will distract your users from what they should do: sign up.

Always have clarity about what the job of a page is. All other things you add will create friction and distraction.

check form field dropout

Find out Which Form Fields Cause Drop-outs

You know that people abandon your forms. But, do you know which form fields are causing people to stop and leave your site? Is it your password field, address field or perhaps the name field?

In a form analysis you can see the exact fields people are having trouble with. You can see which field take longer to complete, how many times people have to re-fill the field and even the drop-out rate per field. If your forms consist of two fields or more, then a form analysis is a must-have for collecting insights and improving conversion rates. A great tool for this is Hotjar.

On one site, I found that just the password field alone caused an 80% drop-out in the sign-up process. A huge conversion leak. On average it took people 69 seconds to complete the password field, with a refill rate of 87%. When I viewed the field it quickly became clear to me why this happened. The requirements were so insane, your password needed to look like a nuclear launch code. And they didn’t mention the requirements in the error message…

user testimonials

Add User Testimonials

Does your page contain testimonials? What would a landing page be without testimonials?

Visitors won’t trust your product if no one recommends it. You need customer testimonials on your landing page to win their trust. There are many methods to feature testimonials, or customer reviews, on your landing page.

There are a couple of ways to do this. First, you could shows logos of your clients. Another way is showing screenshots of social media responses or Twitter cards. But the plain old customer review quotes works great as well.

speed site loading time

Decrease Your Loading Time To Increase Conversions

Seconds and mini-seconds matter. Your website’s speed might have a bigger impact on your conversion rates than you might expect.

People will leave your site when it loads slowly. Most people are not patient at all when it comes to site speed. Three seconds, that’s all you have. According to a Google study in 2018, 53% of people expect your mobile site to load within 3 seconds. If that’s not the case, they leave. Every mini-second delay in your page response can result in a reduction in conversions. Instead of performing fancy experiments or running personalisations, make sure the site speed of your site is superb. It’s often overlooked.

The good news: it’s fairly easy to improve your site speed. So how can you improve your site speed? Run the Google Speedtest. It will give you a list of suggestions of what to improve, such as leveraging browser caching, reducing image sizes and bundling scripts.

contrasting cta

Make Your Form Stand Out From the Rest of the Page

It should be super clear what you want your visitors to do. If you look at your page through your eyelashes, is your form visible? Is it standing out from the crowd? You can make your sign up form ‘pop’ by using a good visual hierarchy: add a background color or apply a nice shadow effect. There should just be one primary action with a nice contrasting color.

consistency principle

Ask Something Small Before Asking Something Bigger

The foot-in-the-door technique is a widely used method in door-to-door sales. Someone who complies with a small initial request will be more likely to agree to a later, bigger, request. If the request had been asked outright, they would not have agreed. Humans want to stay consistent, so a small yes often leads to a bigger yes.

If you ask someone to bake a cake for you, most people would say no. If you first ask if they know which ingredients you’ll need, they will probably help you. If you ask a few more questions (“WIll you help me buy the ingredients?”) building up to the final question, people are more likely to say yes.

You can apply this principle by changing the order of your form fields. If you are collecting leads for solar panels, ask a few small questions first (roof size, material, e.g.), before asking personal details (bigger request).


Figure Out Where People Click With Heatmaps

Analytics software will tell you what links people clicked, but not where exactly. With a click map (or heatmap) you can exactly see where people clicked. It will reveal the things that are getting clicks, and sometimes elements that are not clickable, such as images. You will also see which links get the most clicks. Most tools generate scroll maps as well, so you can see how far people scroll down on your page.

You could use different tools for this, such as CrazyEgg or ClickTale, but my favorite is Hotjar.

You Versus We

Reframe ‘We’ and ‘Our’ Sentences With a ‘You’ and ‘Your’ Focus

Your visitors don’t care about you, frankly put. They quickly want to know what’s in it for them. Many websites are using an inside-out approach in their copywriting style. It’s all about the company itself, not about the customer.

What’s the most powerful word of the English language? It’s you. Try reframing all we-focussed sentences with you-focussed sentences. Make it about them and remove the words we, ours, me, and I. For instance, “We do X” would become something like “You can get X” and “We will review your landing page” would become “Get your landing page reviewed”.

survey thank you page

Run a Survey on Your Thank You Page Asking If People Had Any Issues

This is probably not the first thing you’ll think of when running surveys on your page, but you’ll be surprised how many insights you can get from this.

Try adding a survey to your confirmation (or thank you) page and ask “Did you face any difficulties during the sign-up process”?

For instance, with this survey, we found out that the text message verification didn’t work for one of our clients, an issue we wouldn’t have found ourselves. On a different site, we found out that people couldn’t enter their postal code, only because the field was set to ‘text-only’. Ouch! A great tool for adding surveys is Hotjar.

usp that are unique

Make Sure Your Unique Selling Points Are Actually Unique

I see this very often. A business writes down their unique selling points (USP’s), but doesn’t compare them with the competition.

When you offer free shipping, and your competitors do as well, your free shipping is not unique.

Your visitors will compare you with your competitors. If you offer the same benefits, you’re not really unique. Emphasize your unique differentiators, those that others don’t mention and, ideally, something they can’t compete with.

Don’t have a unique USP? Well, a great way is introducing a new benefit others don’t mention. For example, if you sell toothpaste you could say ‘It won’t hurt your gums’. Of course, other kinds of toothpaste won’t hurt gums either, otherwise, they won’t be legal to sell. But by saying this you are subtle implying that other brands might hurt someone’s gums, which makes you unique.

visual guides to draw attention

Use Visual Cues to Guide Visitor Attention to Your Call to Action

If someone points their finger to the left, you’ll probably look to the left as well. Humans are wired to follow visual and directional cues. Imagine an airport without cues… you’d be lost within seconds!

You can apply the same principle on your landing page. You can draw someone’s attention to your main CTA by adding (subtle!) visual cues. A very popular way is using arrows in your design. Another way is creating a tunnel vision by making elements point to each other.

facial distraction

Be Careful When Showing Faces, They Might Be Distracting

Humans can’t resist looking at faces. When we notice a face, we have a tendency to first scan those faces, before looking at anything else. When you show a face on your landing page it will (very likely) be the first thing people (subconsciously) look at.

This principle is called facial-distraction. Faces attract attention instantly, but because of this, they can distract attention from your content and offer. If you do use faces on your pages (that rhymes) apply the gaze cueing effect.

human gazing

Use the Gaze Cueing Effect, People Look Where Others Are Looking

Eyes are powerful and often reveal a lot of secrets about someone, such as the mental state, emotions, and beliefs. In a face-to-face conversation, eye contact accounts for roughly 55% of the information, research suggests.

When using faces on your website, make sure that they are looking toward the most important elements of your site. If you call to action is aligned right, make sure someone is looking at your CTA. People will automatically look at the thing others are looking at.

repeat your call to action

Repeat Your Call To Action Multiple Times on Long Landing Pages

If you have a long page, make sure your call to action is visible multiple times. If you want your visitors to take action, these three elements should always be on a page: motivation, ability, and triggers (based on the Fogg Behavioral Model). By showing your call to actions multiple times you enable users to take action. We do this here as well, did you notice we display the signup form a couple of times? A very effective position is at the end of your page. Repeat your offer and call to action at the bottom, when someone viewed your entire page.

most powerful english words

Use the Five Most Powerful Words of the English Language

Let’s start with a simple exercise. In the next 30 seconds, write down the first things that come to your mind when you think of the word “holiday”.

Finished? Great. What did you write down? Sun? Beach? Relaxing? Getting wasted? 5-star resorts? Hostels? Snowboarding? Backpacking? Swimming? Getting a tan – or getting burned? Hiking – or doing nothing at all? Now ask someone next to you to do the same. When you compare your associations of the word “holiday” with the other person, you’ll see that the other person probably came up with different things than you. A simple word such as ‘holiday’ makes it clear that everyone has different thoughts, interpretations, emotions, and motivations when hearing or reading a single word. Each word sets a particular tone and expectation.

The five most persuasive English words might seem a bit simple. Don’t be fooled, the power is in their simplicity and clarity. Scientific research revealed the effectiveness of the following five words over and over again. Memorize the following five words so you can use them the next time you’re writing.

Here we go: You, Because, Free, New & Instantly. Need a mnemonic? YBFNI. Memorize it. Use it.

match ads

Your Landing Page Should Match Your Ads

Chances are, most of your visitors come to your site via an ad. Make sure you match your visitors’ expectations by using the same message and branding on your landing page as you did in the ad. There should be a nice “scent” between your ads and page. Think about your headline, the images, styling, and wordings.

A few weeks ago I was looking for a flight from Amsterdam. I clicked on an ad saying “Fly to Cusco From Amsterdam”. So far, so good! But when I landed on the airline site, the headline said “Cheap Flights From Brussel to Cusco”. Epic fail! I wanted to fly from Amsterdam – not Brussel. I closed the site within 3 seconds. A classic example of not matching visitors’ expectations.

solve technical conversion issues

Ensure Your Landing Page Works on All Devices and Browsers

I know, I know. This tip is an open door. But many people leave this door right open 🙂

How certain are you that your site works well on all popular devices and browsers? The easiest way to get more sales is checking whether your site works well. I’d guess 99% of all sites I’ve optimized have had technical issues in certain devices and browsers. I’ve recovered so much revenue that was lost because someone rushed the QA testing part.

I often use Browserstack for QA testing. Checking it is boring as hell, finding issues sucks. Solving those issues and seeing the extra sales come in is fun.

features versus benefits

Talk About User Benefits, Not Product Features

On your landing page, try writing everything from your customers’ point of view. Although it might seem counterintuitive, consumers rarely want to buy things for the sake of buying them – they want to solve their problems. Talk about user benefits and not about the features of a product.

If you’re selling umbrellas you could talk about the unique fabric you’re using or the fact it can be used in windy weather. But the real benefit for your customers is that they won’t get wet. Apple did this great when launching the iPod. They didn’t say “1gb of storage” but they said “1000 songs in your pocket”. To turn your features into benefits, ask yourself the question: why does this feature matter?

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So who comes up with these tips, anyway?

Done&Tested shares conversion rate optimization tips with digital marketers, designers and business owners. Each week I add a conversion tip or insight I love, or just blows my mind. All tips are meant as inspiration and I recommend split-testing them because they might not work for your audience. I am a freelance conversion specialist and you can get in touch here.

Gijs Wierda

Gijs Wierda