It’s a peculiar notion.
As a consumer you want the biggest selection available, right?
You want to walk into a store or log onto an e-commerce site and be amazed with a huge selection of products. You want to compare, contrast so you can choose the very best product for your needs.
It’s what you want and it’s what everyone else says they want, so it’s what you offer on your site and landing pages.
A huge, sometimes even overwhelming and messy selection.
I’m here to help show why you should care about optimizing your landing pages.
By providing more options for your audience there’s bound to be something in there that appeals to them, right?
But the sad truth is people are terrible at making decisions.
We think we want a lots of choice when really all we want is a product or service that’s going to help us.
Confusing your prospects with too many options causes two problems:
- It causes hesitation and can even prevent the decision from being made.
- Have you ever stood in a line at a fast food joint for ten minutes yet still can’t make up your mind by the time you’ve got to the counter?
- There’s a higher possibility for buyers remorse.
- If you present me with two options, I’ve got a 50% chance of making the best decision. Bombard me with 30 and my first thought after my purchase is going to be about whether I should have chosen a different product.
An oversized selection can actually act as a deterrent to your prospects. People go shopping to buy something they’ll enjoy or that’s going to solve a problem.
As the person selling the product or service, you want prospects to buy, so why not make that purchasing decision as easy as possible for them?
The Fabled Jam Study
Now you might argue that my little explanation and points are purely anecdotal and imaginary.
If that’s the case, prepare to be amazed and astounded as I once again quote one of the most used studies on choice ever conducted, The Fabled Jam Study!
Here’s a quick rundown of the famous Jam Study.
Psychologists offered two selections of jam in an upscale food market.
On day one, samples for 24 varieties of jam were offered with a $1 discount if purchasing.
On day two, shoppers were presented with a selection of just six jams.
Guess which day saw a higher volume of sales?
The six jam selection not only saw more sales but also a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Most likely because with fewer options customers didn’t second guess their choice after their purchase.
By reducing the options, the psychologists had minimized distractions and drastically reduced the potential for buyers remorse.
They’d achieved what all savvy marketers should aim for by creating a path of least resistance.
A path absent of sticking points or items that cause your prospect to stop and consider the usefulness of their product.
Unfortunately, reducing the number of products or distractions isn’t enough to make a huge difference in the complicated world of online marketing and optimization.
You need to examine and simplify multiple aspects across every stage of your funnel.
There’s a lot to consider, but follow these guidelines and you’ll be one step closer to a simple, effective and high converting campaign:
Sign Up Forms
Name, email, location, age range and any other number of fields are often included in various sign up forms.
Now I’m sure the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) is that every field is needed. Makes it easier to set up segments later, right?
I guess it does.
But ask for too much and your prospects are going to leave before taking any action. You’ll end up with an easily segmented, yet tiny list to work with.
Why is this important?
Because thanks to the internet’s ability to provide everything now, the average attention span has been reduced to a paltry 8.5 seconds according to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information.
Do you really think that someone is going to stay on your landing page filling in useless details for 30 seconds when they could be looking at cute pictures of cats?
Of course they’re not, cats are adorable.
They’re going to see your form, decide it’s too much and plan to fill it in later. But later never comes.
This is why making the most out of your opt-in forms on the first interaction is so vitally important. You need to collect as much user information as possible. But you can’t afford to be scaring users away either.
Have a look at the form below, do you really want to sit there and fill out all of those?
Of course you don’t. It’s a waste of valuable cat admiration time.
The question you need to ask yourself when creating a sign up for is, ‘is this detail relevant?’. And you need to be ruthless in cutting and cleaning everything that’s not relevant.
Will a phone number help increase conversions for an information product? Does a bakery offering popular recipes need to know audience location?
With 11% of US adults having abandoned an online purchase because they were asked for too much information, you owe it to yourself and your customers to cut down on what you require.
To clear the awful example above from your mind, here’s a little eye bleach from the popular video platform Vimeo.
Nothing fancy, just two fields and a button.
Whilst we don’t have the stats to back up any beliefs on this form, you can be pretty certain it works. Vimeo’s a big business and will be certain to test every element for the highest results.
But, before we move on to the next area, there’s one more point to address – mobile browsing.
Mobile optimization is one of those areas we all know about, but rarely act on.
It’s a stupid oversight as all statistics point to mobile devices soon becoming (if not already) one of the most popular mediums for browsing the internet.
According to this report from comScore, mobile internet users have already overtaken their desktop counterparts.
Does browsing device really make a difference for conversions? Of course it does.
Look at your desktop. Now look at your phone. What’s the first difference you notice.
The size, right?
Your phone is small. Now think about that first opt-in example we looked at and imagine it on your phone screen.
Would you want to fill in that form with your tiny little touch pad phone keyboard? Continually scrolling down, having to take each field as it comes?
Didn’t think so.
I guess the up side is if anyone does complete the form you can be pretty sure they’re super keen on what you have to offer.
Yet 99% of your traffic is going to look at that page, laugh, leave and never return.
Reducing your form fields isn’t just a best practice, it’s future proofing your landing page.
If you absolutely must have a ton of fields and/or forms, then consider using multi step landing pages instead.
Simplify the Conversion Journey
Did you ever read those “choose your own adventure” books?
I loved them as a kid. They kept me entertained for hours!
Is the ‘log’ in the water a log, or is it actually a crocodile?
Do you use it to cross the stream or take the long route via the bridge? (FYI it was a crocodile. I know that because I cheated and checked every option).
Whilst these were great for kids, they’re not exactly what your prospects are looking for on your landing page.
Your prospect doesn’t want to have to jump between different web pages trying to piece together your story and decide whether they want to make a purchase.
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s your job to create a path of least resistance to your final conversion goal.
The easiest way to do this is to cut out any non-vital steps to your funnel.
Evaluate every stage, see if you can combine some micro-conversions and remember that not every stage needs its own individual page.
Personally, I like the one-click to benefit approach.
You click once and you’re able to get exactly what you want. Take Crazy Egg’s opt-in banner for example:
The benefit of clicking the button is explicitly outlined.
You know that if you click that button, you’re one step closer to getting your heatmap, or in this case, a 30 day free trial of their heatmap service.
Now of course the offer outlined above isn’t Crazy Eggs final goal, they’re going to use that 30 day period to convince you that the paid service is worth it.
But having a free trial offered after your first click is a great way to get people to enter your funnel.
If you can include something of benefit at every stage your prospects will be racing through your funnel.
The longer and more complicated you make your funnel, the more potential drop off points you’re providing for your prospects. Also the more it costs your ppc management campaigns to send traffic to these pages.
The guys over at VWO.com conducted a great study attempting to simplify their funnel through the use of popup forms.
They introduced a signup popup which allowed them to eliminate their initial sign up page.
This helped keep prospects on the page where they’d decided to sign up which reduces distractions and makes the signup process extremely quick and easy.
The study was a resounding success and led to a 50% increase in conversions.
Keep your funnel short, direct and try to offer at least some reward at every stage where a click’s required.
One Page, One Purpose
Do you remember those really old school websites? The one’s when the internet was just getting to be really popular.
They were a mess. So much rubbish on one page I never knew where to look.
I swear I could visit a single web page 500 times and still find something new on the 501st visit.
The below is a prime example of the sort of page I’m talking about:
I really wish I could say I dug that out of an archive somewhere but that is a live website today.
It’s a real throwback to how 95% of websites were once designed. It’s also a valuable example of what to avoid when designing a site for high conversions.
Having such a cluttered, messy page throws up two issues.
- It’s difficult for your prospect to find the action you want them to take
- Your prospects are going to be easily distracted by everything else you’re putting in front of them (especially with an average 8.5 second attention span!)
It reminds me of the famous awareness test:
Whenever you’re creating a new page within your funnel, stop to ask yourself what the main purpose is.
Is it to sell the product, collect an email address, promote an affiliate product or simply to build trust? Identify your primary aim and don’t deviate from it, not even a little.
No unrelated CTAs and no links to random content.
It’s a lesson the marketing team at nameOn – Scandinavia’s leading supplier in personalized gifts – learned after a thorough split test of their site.
Turns out they actually had nine CTAs on their checkout page.
Even conversion rate optimization agencies with little to no experience would be able to point out that nine CTAs is excessive, especially when they all link to different products.
After reducing their CTAs down to two (both of which were directly related to making the sale) they saw an 11.4% increase in conversion with 99% statistical confidence.
That simple change led to an increase of over $100,000 per year. That’s a six figure increase after making the conversion path simpler.
Keep it simple.
It makes your job easier and brings more profit, there really is no down side.
Should You Also Reduce Your Products?
Short answer – No.
But there’s a catch.
By now I’m sure you’re getting the hang of this reducing options to increasing conversions approach.
It’s a relatively easy concept, right?
But we’re not actually reducing the number of options your prospect has, we’re just reducing the number of options we present to them.
For a SaaS business, you’ll probably do a lot better if you reduce your service plans down to three or five options.
Take Netflix as an example. As the largest video streaming service provider they’re obviously doing something right, take a guess at how many service tiers they provide.
It’s perfect for what they’re offering. There’s no confusion and you can quickly locate which tier is going to be best for you.
Adding other service plans into the mix isn’t necessary and only serves to complicate matters.
However, if you offer a large number of physical or informational products you shouldn’t aim to reduce the number of products on offer.
If a product turns a profit – no matter how small – it’s worth holding on to.
You might think that deleting the lower earning products will bring more attention to your more popular items, but that’s not guaranteed.
Let’s say Home Depot’s highest earning product is a wrench and their least profitable item a kitchen knife.
Do you really think that removing the knife from their product line and increasing wrench marketing will increase revenue?
Perhaps, but it’s not going to tempt those who need a sink to buy the glue.
There’s no guarantee that removing products will increase overall revenue. The only guarantee this action provides is the loss of revenue from the lower earning item.
So what can you do?
You could combine various products to reduce options. A feasible (yet unrecommended) idea with information products but a ludicrous plan for physical products.
wants needs a knife wrench.
So the negatives of combining physical products is obvious, but why shouldn’t you reduce your information product line?
Well, for one, you’re going to reduce your income.
If you have two products that you can sell for $100 each, mashing them together and charging $200 won’t work that well.
People don’t want super general advice with shallow analysis. Quality comes from in depth analysis and well explained insights and findings.
Combine your information products waters down their effectiveness and value.
A great alternative is to take the Amazon route of recommendations.
When you’re on Amazon and you’re looking at a product what sits just below the product description?
It’s that annoyingly persuasive ‘People who bought this also bought…” section.
It’s not too pushy and actually makes some awesome recommendations based on your own preferences.
Sure, Amazon has hundreds of thousands of products, but they know that recommending dozens is going to be too overwhelming for customers.
Instead they take the time to link to around three other products you might be interested in. You can do the same with upselling and cross-selling.
It’s an interesting tactic which we can assume works, as it’s been a staple of the site for a long time.
If you’re offering physical or information products, consider linking to three or five other complimentary products on your checkout page.
You don’t have to reduce your product line, and if you get your recommendations right, you could see a healthy increase in your conversions.
It looks as though more isn’t always better.
Always go back through your funnel and see if there’s any unnecessary points that could be acting as a sticking point for your prospects and clean up when necessary.
Remember, the aim is to make it simple and provide a path of least resistance for your prospects.
Do this, and you should see a decent increase in your conversions.
P.S. Enjoyed the read? Please share so we know what type of content you like!