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    10 CRO Tips to Intuitively Boost Conversions

    Last updated: February 4th, 2015

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    If you weren’t at our InboundTO meetup last month, you missed out on some great advice and a chance to network with Toronto’s awesome digital marketing community.

    Tiffany Da Silva, our Director of Digital Strategy gave a fantastic CRO talk titled Your Clients are Irrational – 10 CRO Tips to Intuitively Boost Conversions. For everyone who couldn’t make it to the event, Tiffany has recorded a special webinar-style version of her talk. Be sure to check it out below if you’re interested in increasing your conversion rates.

    Don’t forget that we’re hosting InboundTO 23: Converting Leads with Email Marketing – a Human Approach on February 19, 6:00 PM at 106 Front Street East, Suite 200. RSVP now, seating is limited.



    Hey, there. My name is Tiffany Da Silva. I’m the Director of Digital Strategy at Powered by Search. Last week I did a talk called “Your Clients are Irrational! – 10 CRO Tips to Intuitively Boost Conversions”. For those of you that missed it, I wanted to redo it in a little bit of a webinar format so that you can learn some of the stuff that our inbound TO people learned last week.

    So, in the beginning, we love our customers — we think they’re the most amazing people in the world.

    Every time we see a lead come in, we get super excited and we want those leads to keep coming and everything about our customers like the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen. But then something kind of happens. We start to see a different side of our customers and they start to look a little bit like this.


    I have the option of Era, 106 which doesn’t make any sense. Slip-ons, makes sense. And Old Skool, but spelled wrong. There’s a whole lot of words and I don’t feel like reading it, so I’m going to press “close”. Why the fuck are they giving me colors? I don’t care about their color schemes. I want to have my own. Like fuck them — they don’t know me. Oh, I like that as I’m scrolling it changes the color for me, and it even gives me designs. I don’t like them, but it’s fucking cool that they do it.


    So for those of you who haven’t seen that before, it’s called Cocktails and Customization. Basically this company got some people a little bit tipsy before they did user testing just to see what would happen. Really, when you kind of look at some of the stuff that she said, she was saying a lot of important points that you might miss out by people who just aren’t thinking about it when they’re a little bit more composed. And some of those things where she liked the fact that you could change patterns but she didn’t like the patterns, so little stuff like that.

    Even though it comes off in a kind of crass manner and there is a little bit of swearing — I like to start everything with a little bit of a punch — you can kind of see how someone might watch this and think that she’s completely irrational for some of the thoughts that she might have. So we start to think and get this idea that our customers are a little bit on the irrational side.

    What I wanted to base this talk today on was the book Thinking Fast and Slow.

    What Daniel Kahneman talks about is he talks about these two sides of the brain. There’s System 1 and there’s System 2. On the System 1 side, that’s that fast, automatic, intuitive side of your brain that constantly comes up with something very quickly. Like the 2 + 2, you automatically know it’s 4. Then there’s this other side of the brain, the slow, the deliberate, the analytical side, the one that you can’t quite come up with 17 x 8 on the flash. You have to stop and think about it.

    Now, when we’re going through this, I’m going to be focusing on that System 1 side, that really fast side, the things that happen to your user when they come onto your site in the first 10 seconds. The reason why I’m not doing System 2 was because you guys are great at System 2. You’ve been looking at your website this whole time. You know exactly what information’s there and you’re constantly getting better at that and you’re constantly testing new items on that side. So System 2’s kind of figured out.

    But what we forget when we start a company and start getting used to what our web pages look like, what our copy looks like, is that we are looking at it in a System 2 way. We stop looking at it in that fast intuitive way and we assume now that everyone who looks at our site is also in System 2 mode, but that’s just not the case.

    So, why are we focusing on System 1?

    It’s because there are these amazing stats out there like a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions, or you only have 8 seconds to make a compelling headline, or a 20% increase in decision simplicity actually results in a 96% increase in customer loyalty and 86% increase in likelihood to purchase and 115% increase in likelihood to recommend. That’s insane. And that’s only because you’ve created a website that is so intuitive, or at least that first step that your customer has to do is so intuitive, that people can go in, make a quick decision, get all the information that they need, and bust it out.

    So let’s talk about that a little bit more.

    So, some things to remember when you’re thinking about that is, number one, your customers are really needy. We will talk a little bit about the emotional triggers that are kind of happening in that first 5 to 10 seconds a customer sees your website.

    Number two, your customers are busy.

    We always say that we don’t have enough time to do anything, but really we just don’t have time to wait or we don’t have time to figure it out. We want you to kind of give that everything kind of packaged in a way that we can understand it quickly or else we’re just like, “We’ll wait. We ain’t got no time for that,” pretty much.

    Related: Boring, unsexy, incredibly effective: How to improve your SaaS landing page conversion rate

    Number three, your customers want to buy but don’t want to be sold.

    Number four, your customers just want to be happy.

    They just want a nice experience. I mean, with all the trolls in the Internet, we always assume that people just want to like come in and talk trash about your product. But at the end of the day, we don’t. We just want a happy experience. We want to buy the things that we want to buy. We want to tell friends about it, but we have to have it done for us in a very easy way and in a very intuitive way so that we can go out and tell our friends. At the end of the day, you are just as irrational as your customer is for different ways and you can’t forget that.

    So first, your customers are needy. I bet you didn’t think you would ever have to look at this after university or your college class, but here we are again, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But I want you to take a second and I want you to think about how your website, the way it is, how it actually fits into this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I mean, what are you offering in your landing pages or your website that is going to tick off some of these areas or some of these needs to kind of get you higher up on the funnel.

    If you think about it, for example, if you’re asking someone to fill out a form so they can buy your widget, and your widget is offering them let’s say a wrinkle-free cream, so offering them the esteem, the confidence to go outside and be happy go lucky, whatever the case may be, however look at all these steps that you have to get up there in order to get the confidence that you need.

    So let’s look at safety.

    Is your product safe? I mean, are you telling me on your landing page, okay, not only is your information safe but this product is safe, and there’s doctors that have recommended it, all of these little triggers that will tell me, okay, I think this product’s safe? Will this bring on friendships for me? Will this make me feel like I can go out into the world? Or are my friends using it? Do I have social proof that there’s 350 people that actually like this product and three of them are in my network? Those type of things can be triggered in the love and belongings side.

    Then if you have these things, and now you can get on to the esteem, which is buying your product and getting the confidence that you need. This is just one example of how you can work up Maslow’s hierarchy and make sure that your landing pages are everything that someone needs to convert.

    So what can you do? Again, it’s outline the emotional triggers affecting your customer and then test them. I love this test. This was done by Brian Massey. He talks about it at the Call to Action conference from Unbounce. What he was doing was he was testing out different calls to action for an addiction treatment center and he wanted to see which call to action generated the most phone calls.

    So as you can see, B and D had probably the biggest effect.

    When you look at it, you look at, okay, so this addiction treatment center, first of all, let’s go back to your hierarchy of needs. That’s probably in the achievement, the esteem, the self-actualization side of things. So we’re trying to get up to that side. So what do we need to do?

    “Speak with a compassionate rehab specialist.”

    Oh, wow. Right away you can see that that’s in kind of that love and belonging side of things. Someone is right there to give you the love that you need in order to get the help that you deserve.

    Then the last one, which I love, it’s kind of a different approach to it, “Ready to Stop Lying? If so, we can help.” So if you go back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that’s right there in that esteem side of things where if you’re lying to yourself, you’re probably not very confident. You probably don’t have the esteem and that feeling of achievement. So in order to get this, you should probably call this number.

    So, you can see how, “Ready to Start Healing?” doesn’t have that same effect. And, “We can help,” while it’s a normal call to action that everyone would use, it doesn’t have those emotional triggers that would push someone over the edge. So these are a little bit of things to think about when you’re coming up with a call to action.

    They want to solve a problem, so that’s like right at the top of your hierarchy of needs. Let’s go back and just have a look at that again. You have that self-actualization, that’s that problem solving, acceptance of facts.

    So let’s look at this page. Let’s say you want to get an education. You have this major problem, you need a job, you need to figure out your life, and you land on Grand Canyon University. What is helping you on this page? Absolutely nothing. If you look at it, you have to really look deep to find out, okay, there’s a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing. Those are all words, but they don’t really tell you what exactly you’re getting from this marketing degree and it doesn’t give you the next step either. It doesn’t make me feel good.

    So let’s look at what Sheridan College offers. So right now you’re getting “Gain the skills you need to excel in a fast-paced marketing organization.” Okay, you’re trying to solve my problem. I love this one line that says 84% of our marketing program graduates found employment in their field within six months of graduation.

    Okay, not only are you talking about a group of people — and those are the kind of people that I want to be, the people with a job, so you’re giving me that kind of social proof — but that’s amazing to know. That’s solving my problem in such a unique way, and you’re not hiding anything. You’re telling me exactly when the classes start, you’re telling me that it’s three years. You’re kind of almost there. You can just hit “Apply” and go from there.

    Here, on the Grand Canyon University, you still have to request more information, you have to go through all these things. And, mind you, it’s a difference between a university and a college, but still you can see how you can get much more excited and a lot of emotional triggers are going to come to play. The feeling of friendship in there in the picture, the people that are in the background there, his happiness, which is he’s self-actualized, you could say, in the picture, all these things make it a better landing page than Grand Canyon University. The only thing it’s really offering you on that page is 1,500 faculty members and a 15 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Awesome, that doesn’t really tell me anything.

    I wanted to take a moment and I wanted to kind of trick your System 1 and System 2 brain. So right away I want you to look at this picture and tell me or tell yourself what do you see? Do you see a young woman or do you see an old lady? So for those of you that see the old lady, I want you to take a moment and try to see the young woman. And for those of you that see the young woman, I want you to try to see the old lady.

    That thing that’s happening in your brain right now, when you first looked at it you saw whatever you saw, and that was your system brain, your intuitive, your fast side of your brain working. Now, when you switched it, that was the System 2 working. I wanted you to kind of feel that uncomfortable feeling that you get from going to System 1 and System 2 on purpose. So we’re going to kind of touch on this a little later.

    Next, your customers are “busy”.

    You know this feeling. You’re so busy, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You’re so busy. You have so much stuff to do. You ask a person, you’re like, “Oh, hi, hey. I haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?” What’s the first thing they say? “I am so busy, I am so busy. I am busy, busy, busy, busy.” That’s all – that’s all people say when you see them.

    Yet, we say we’re busy but we’re spending every day 40 minutes on Facebook, 33 minutes outside of our work emails on personal emails. We’re spending 39 minutes with our animals, and yes, that is my dog, Zoe. And for those Netflix subscribers, we’re spending 92 minutes a night watching Netflix, which means you can finish Breaking Bad in 31 days. So busy might not be the right way of thinking about it. Our customers aren’t busy; they just don’t have time for you.

    So what can you do about that? Making your onboarding experience seamless is an amazing way to make people not feel time when they’re on your website, and that’s really important. They need to feel like their experience is seamless, that you’re answering all the questions they have in their head, and that it’s a fast moving process, even if it’s not fast.

    Number two, I’m not really going to go into this, but your page speed has a lot to do with not only SEO factors, PPC factors, but just the converting aspect, if your site takes a really long time to load, you’re probably not going to convert as well. If you think about it — I’m going to throw out this example, please don’t quote me — let’s say that it takes seven seconds for someone to not really convert to your site but know enough information that they want to convert to your site. Let’s say it takes seven seconds, and let’s say your page load is four seconds to get into your site.

    By second four, that means they only have three seconds before their attention span is gone and they’re off of your site. Did you give them enough time to really scan the page? No. Let’s say in fact your page takes a second and a half to load. Now you have five and a half seconds or six seconds to go through and scan the page and see if that’s enough information for you to convert or not. That’s such a better place to put your customers than just giving them a really, to be honest, shitty process of coming in, waiting a long time, and then hoping that they’re going to convert even though your site just is slow and clunky to begin with.

    So that’s probably all I’m going to talk about that.

    I’ll give you some tools a little later, but we’ll kind of end it at that. Then taking control of time, and I have pretty neat examples of how you can actually take control of your users’ time on your website.

    Here’s some seamless onboarding. If you haven’t checked, I definitely say go on it, look through it. If you haven’t seen this website before, it’s called User Onboard and it’s one of my favorite sites because it kind of breaks down the onboarding process of some of your favorite websites. One of my most favorite things that he does, and he does it in some of his earlier work, is he’ll actually show you the breakdown of every step of your onboarding process.

    When you go through, let’s say, OkCupid’s Onboarding process, you see that you’d have to sign up, add some photos, fill out your profile, answer match questions and rate people. Every step of the way, you’re doing something that’s going to make your experience better. Of course it helps OkCupid if you can get down through this list of items and do each one of them. It makes you a more engaged customer at the end of the day. But really, if you add your photos right in the beginning and you complete that, you’re probably going to get put into the system and you’re probably going to start getting results right away.

    So they did that quickly for a reason so that even if you stopped there and left, you would probably come back and fill out your profile if you started receiving some views or you got an email that said that someone was interested in talking to you. So it really, every step of the way, will make your customer experience that much better.

    When you look at Netflix, you also get the same thing. You go from your homepage to your start trial. You set it up and get started. But the getting started and the personalization, that’s an amazing step because you know that you’re going to get an experience based on your likes. So while it helps them make sure that you stay engaged and that you have all the stuff that you need, I guess it’s a process that you’re feeling a little bit more excited about and you don’t really feel it when you’re going through it.

    Personalizing, it almost feels like a game.

    You get to rate all the things that you like and you get to look back at all the movies that you used to watch, so it’s actually a fun experience for you. So having that onboarding experience that’s kind of fun, exciting, and an experience where you don’t really think about time, is really important and it makes your customers not really think that it’s a waste of time to be on your site.

    Checking your page speed, again, I said I wasn’t really going to go over it. These are two websites that you can go on to kind of get an idea of where you compare and it also gives you some things that you should fix. PageSpeed Insights by Google is amazing. It tells you exactly what you should fix, consider fixing, and some of the rules that you passed on mobile and desktop, so I would suggest that you just check it every once in a while, make sure you’re doing all the things that are on the “should fix” side and call it a day.

    Now, taking control of time is just as important as making sure your page is fast and making sure your onboarding experience is great. This is an amazing example of if there’s a certain point in your onboarding process that takes a long time, then tell your customers. There’s nothing worse than you fill out a form, you press “Enter”, and of course something I guess is happening in the background but you don’t know. So what’s your instant reaction? You click on it, okay, you click “OK” again, you click “OK”, now who knows what’s happening in the back end — you’re just screwing up everything.

    But if you had just known that it was going to take a couple seconds and to calm yourself, then you probably would get a faster experience at the end of the day and you actually have time to sit down and maybe learn something about the product that you’re about to get. So this is a perfect opportunity to tell you your hotel deal. This is Priceline. They’re negotiating exactly what you were looking for, the check in, the check out, all those things. But you can use that time to say, “Did you know that our product has sold all over the world? Did you know that you can reduce your time by 25%?” All these little things that you can teach someone during that time is really important to making them a more engaged customer at the end of the experience.

    This is another favorite of mine. Maybe it doesn’t take that long once you fill out a form or go through the process. But what if you slowed down time? What if you made someone so interested in what you did that you actually just stop them and kind of hypnotize them for a bit? Let me show you how that’s kind of used in Neil Patel’s way of doing things.

    If you look here, you put in your website. One error found, okay stop. Stop again. And you’re done. Your website needs work, you fill out a form, you call it a day. I mean what did you just do five seconds ago? All you did was stare at that little thing load and you were kind of hypnotized. He found a way of making you actually wait ten seconds before something loaded even though it probably took three seconds and those errors are fake.

    It’s an amazing thing.

    Even though you kind of know it’s fake, you still kind of believe it in this weird kind of way. So making people wait for emphasis is just a great tool to have them learn a little bit about you, maybe become a little bit more invested in you because they’re just taking the time. So that’s a great way of maybe kind of taking hold of your customer’s busy schedule and getting them a little bit more interested in what you do.

    So I want to take another minute and have you go through another System 1, System 2 check. For some of you, you’re going to be looking at this woman and she’s going to be turning clockwise. For another half of you, it’s going to be moving counterclockwise. Now my question to you is can you make her spin the other way? I’ll give you some time.

    Now when we did this in front of a group, it took a couple seconds and then you started hearing people say, “I see it, I see it.” And other people were getting upset. For me, I’ve never seen her turn the other way. I don’t know why. I’ve seen this a bunch of times, never been able to do it. But for those of you, you can see how long it kind of takes and how much concentration it takes. That’s a great metaphor for moving from that System 1 and System 2 and really stopping your brain in the middle of what it’s doing to take hold and take control of a different action that you might be seeing.

    Next up I want to talk about how your customers want to buy but don’t want to be sold. If you’ve ever been in a store and you’ve made eye contact with a salesperson, this might be you. I know it’s me. I always try to hide from them every chance I get.

    I wanted to kind of talk about the mouse experience, and this is a little bit of storytelling. If you know me, you know that I’m a bit of a storyteller. But this is kind of what happened to me the other day. It was about here again that we have Boxing Day. So it was a little past Boxing Day, all the sales were gone, so Best Buy was a little bit empty, and I really needed the mouse for something, like a magic mouse from a Mac, like the Bluetooth kind. I thought, “Okay, I have an hour to spend. I’m just going to go to Best Buy, I’m going to pick up this mouse, it’s going to be easy and fast and whatever and I’m going to go.”

    I go and pick up the mouse. I walk into Best Buy, go grab the mouse, go to the cash register, everything’s going smoothly. I go to pay for it, and as soon as I do, the woman tells me, “I’m sorry. You can’t pay for this. That’s actually a demo version. But let me go and get help from one of the Best Buy employees.” So I was like, “Okay, great.” This guy comes up to me, instantly tells me, “You know, you should probably get a tracking pad instead.” And I look at him and I’m like, “Nope, I came here for a mouse, so I just want a mouse, like thank you.” He’s like, “Okay, cool. I’ll just have to go to the back and see if we have one.” I’m like, “Okay, that sounds great.”

    He turns around and then someone talks to him like a second later, like a customer and he starts talking to the customer. So I’m sitting there at the checkout, I’m holding the double mouse, watching this guy helping other customers, and kind of losing their shit. He comes back again and he’s like, “Oh, aren’t you waiting for something?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Oh, tracking pad, right?” I’m like, “Nope, I’m waiting for the mouse.” He’s like, “Okay,” and then he turns around, “Are you sure you don’t want the tracking pad?” I’m like, “Nope, I just want the mouse.”

    This happens, he gets distracted again by another customer and here we are again. So this takes up 15 minutes and I’m totally losing my mind. I’m like, “Oh my god, I don’t even care anymore. I don’t want this, let me just get out of here.” The woman that had helped me was feeling really bad about the situation, so finally she tells the guy, “You’ve got to go in the back and just get it right now.” So the guy goes to the back, comes back, and he’s like, “I’m sorry, we don’t even have any” and he left.

    So here it was. I’m already like 25 minutes in the hole and I’m pissed. I can’t even pretend I was having a good experience. I walked out and I was super angry, but I still needed the mouse. When I was driving back, I noticed I was right beside an Apple store, so I’m like, okay, I’m going to go into Apple and I’m just going to see if they have it.” I’m like, “If they don’t, I will just leave and it won’t be a big deal.”

    So I walk into Apple and I’m looking at the mouse thing, and again, the demo version was out because it’s right after Christmas so there’s nothing there. I’m about to give up when I turn around and there’s like the woman there and she’s like, “Hey, I noticed that you’re looking at the magic mouse. Do you want one? Do you want to purchase it?” I was like, “Oh, yeah, I would. That would be great.” She’s like, “Okay, well, while I go, it might take a little bit, so why don’t you go to the mouse pad section and feel free to look and see if you want one and I’ll be right back.” So I’m like, “Okay, fine.”

    I wasn’t even thinking about getting a mouse pad, but whatever, I went. So I go to the mouse pad section, I see one I want, and it’s like she knew I was going to pick a mouse pad, so she kind of waited, and as soon as I picked the one I want and had it in my hand, I turn around and she’s like right there. She’s appeared out of nowhere and she’s telling me. . .the funny thing was she told me that this mouse pad that I picked was the most popular mouse pad and she doesn’t know why, which I totally know she’s a little bit full of crap, but it still made me feel good. I still felt like I had done well picking the 1 out of 60 mouse pads there. But I picked it. She had the register right with her and she paid for it right away. I didn’t even have to think about it.

    I think the whole process, it could have taken no more than ten minutes, probably just a little bit over five, and it was so quick that I walked out going like, “Wow. That was an experience,” and I wanted to tell everyone about it, obviously, if I’m sitting here telling you.

    So what could have been done in this situation?

    In the situation, I walked into both places and I didn’t want to be sold to. There wasn’t a single part of me . . . I just wanted to grab my thing and I wanted to leave and I didn’t want to bug anyone. Because you ultimately think that you’re bugging other people, too. You don’t really want to spend a ton of money or a ton of time, you just want to get what you want.

    How can you stop that from happening to people that go on your website? One of the things, don’t tell people. Show them. When the guy told me that the tracking pad was better, I didn’t care. I didn’t want his opinion on anything. Instead, I wanted to be shown.

    Just like when it came to a mouse pad, I didn’t walk in there wanting a mouse pad, but she turned and said, “While you wait, why don’t you check out a mouse pad?” That’s like a nice, easy add-on. I totally fell for it, I purchased a mouse pad that I wasn’t planning on purchasing. So because I didn’t feel like she was selling it to me, I had much more trust and I was able to kind of pick the one I wanted and call it a day.

    Offering help at the right time. Obviously if I had known when I was in Best Buy and I was in that picking up a demo copy, I probably wanted to know then if I was going to go through like 25 minutes of hell. But I didn’t, whereas in the Apple store I was offered help exactly when I wanted to be helped, which was so perfect because it made that seamless onboarding experience I was talking about earlier. It made me feel like, okay, this is like steps in the process — it’s nice and smooth. I will admit, obviously, you can’t go into a store during busy hours and expect that kind of service. But it just so happened that I did get that kind of service and it felt great.

    Gathering information without asking, she could have, when I walked into the Apple Store and I was looking at the magic mouse, she could have stopped and looked at me and wasted time saying, “Are you looking for a mouse?” But instead, she said, “Are you ready to purchase the mouse?” Just kind of skipping to end was able to like, “Let’s stop all the small talk and get right to the point.” I was obviously in a rush and you could sense that, but she was able to gather that information without really thinking and just kind of give me what I needed, which I thought was like an amazing experience all around.

    I wanted to show an example where you’re not really selling to someone, you’re just showing them. If you look at this page, they’re selling some kind of wrinkle face cream, it’s actually like a Hydroderm cream of some sort. So there’s a bunch of areas here where they’re kind of showing you that it’s a great product without actually trying to sell it to you.

    First, they’re telling you Dr. Oz likes it so it’s obviously a big deal. Then they’re giving you social proof in a testimonial on this other side. You’re getting a before and after shot so we could see that it obviously works. Oprah’s selling it — that’s huge. It’s being featured everywhere, so you’re getting the kind of proof that you need, another kind of testimonial. And then my favorite, it’s making it look like it’s actually coming from Shape magazine, but really, if you look at the source on the bottom left, it’s actually coming from a whole different site called Natura Skin.

    I’m sure this is probably not very moral, but it was enough that gave me, okay, this is obviously a big deal. Shape magazine is showing it and there’s all this stuff to show me that this is an amazing product. At the end of the day, the offer expires in 14 minutes. So I can’t really take that much time to look into it or else I’m going to miss out. Look at all the stuff that’s happening here. It’s giving you the timespan that you need to make the decision, and then it’s giving you all these authority and social proof points.

    Offering help at the right time, this happened when I was purchasing something the other day on Indigo and I noticed that there was a nice “Questions? We can help!” on the bottom right, here underneath the checkout. The location of this is really important because when you are thinking about the fact that, “Okay, I want to purchase something and I just want to get out,” you just want to go into your checkout mode and that’s really easy. It’s kind of all in one line, you see if you have everything that you need, you go to begin checkout with PayPal and you leave and that’s great.

    But if you needed help, you would probably start looking elsewhere on the page and you would probably look across and see all your different items in your shopping cart, look across to the “Begin Checkout”, have a question, and then look down, and right there is where you’re going to see the question. So this is the perfect place to offer help at the right time.

    Another example, I was about to purchase this console the other day and realized that I couldn’t buy it in Canada. So I knew I had to call someone, so I just kind of left it in the cart and walked away distracted because obviously there’s like a ton of Netflix to watch. So I didn’t really go back to it.

    Then I received an email that not only told me that I left something in my cart, which was good to know because I kind of forgot about it, but it also gave me a little message here to give customer service a call at this number. So if that didn’t help, now I have everything I need to finish this sale and I obviously have to call customer service because I can’t really do what I need to do without it. Every time I actually enter a West Elm site, I also keep getting this email. While normally you would be bothered by getting a lot of emails, this is just like a nice little reminder, so I don’t even feel bothered by it.

    Gathering information without asking.

    Now, I love geo-targeting in different sites, and I’ve seen some amazing examples where websites or ecommerce sites have used the weather or location to really help in the way that they sell some products. For example, one that I saw recently was, let’s say that it’s raining outside and an ecommerce store sells raincoats, as you enter the site on a rainy day, the raincoats would be on the front page and says, “I know it’s a rainy day. Do you have a raincoat?” and it shows all the different raincoats that they have.

    You’re probably not thinking about buying a raincoat any other day, on a sunny day or a snowy day, but it’s great to have something like that because it’s top of mind and it’s probably exactly what you’re thinking. Also, what else are you doing on a rainy day? You’re sitting at home and probably thinking about how you would like to go out if only you had a raincoat. So it’s just like a perfect way of using geo-targeting and gathering information without asking from people.

    Now, this is another thing that I found, Timothy Sykes, The Millionaire Challenge. He uses geo-targeting to kind of add this feeling of urgency. So he says, “I’m Determined To Create A Millionaire Trader in Downtown Toronto. My Only Question Is Will It Be You?” You click “I Want to Work With Tim Sykes” and when you get in there he tells you a little bit more of how he’s only hiring one person or kind of bringing in one person. Neil Patel does the same thing.

    Even though it’s complete BS, it still makes you feel like you have to do it.

    I don’t know, I feel like everyone might know that’s kind of not true, but you never know. I mean, people might just feel really unique and it kind of makes you feel good about the fact that you might be the only person this person gets. So I think it’s a great way to really personalize the experience for someone and make them feel special and give them that user experience that they’re really looking for.

    Another way you can do this, and we’ve seen a lot of marketing automation tools do this, first time you enter a site you can have something like a learn about inbound because you’re top of the funnel, you’re just trying to see what things are about and you haven’t really converted to a lead yet. But let’s say you do convert into a lead and you return to the site. You might at that point get a different call to action that says, “Start your project today.” So they’re just kind of bringing you right through the funnel and trying to get you a little bit deeper every time.

    I think that’s a great way that you can use that gathering information, whether you’re a returning user, whether you’re a lead, to really get you the user experience that you need because when you’re coming in for the second time, you’re probably not looking at things like learning about the different areas. You’re probably just there to actually use the service.

    I’ve been showing every step of the way the different kind of illusions that kind of bring our System 1 brain and our System 2 brain and kind of show how they work. I wanted to also share this Dan Ariely talk that he did where he kind of explained how this is such a great metaphor, these illusions are such a great metaphor for decision making. So let me play that right now.


    Here’s another one. This is one from my favorite illusion. What do you see the color that the top arrow is pointing to?




    Brown, thank you. The bottom one?




    Yellow? Turns out their identical. Can anybody see them as identical? Very, very hard. I can cover the rest of the cube up and if I cover the rest of the cube you can see that they’re identical, and if you don’t believe me, you can get the slide later and do some arts and craft and see that they’re identical. But, again, it’s the same story. If we take the background away, the illusion comes back. There’s no way for us not to see this illusion. I guess maybe if you’re color blind I don’t think you can see that.

    I want you to think about the illusion as a metaphor. Vision is one of the best things we do. We have a huge part of our brain dedicated to vision, bigger than dedicated to anything else. We do more vision more hours of the day than we do anything else, and we’re evolutionarily designed to do vision.

    If we have these predictable, repeatable mistakes in vision, in which we’re so good at, what’s the chance that we don’t make even more mistake in something we’re not as good at, for example, financial decision making? Something we don’t have an evolutionary reason to do, we don’t have a specialized part of the brain and we don’t do that many hours of the day. The argument is that in those cases it might be the issue that we actually make many more mistakes and, worse, not have an easy way to see them. Because in visual illusions, we could easily demonstrate the mistakes, in cognitive illusion it’s much, much harder to demonstrate to people the mistakes.


    This is a great way of thinking about it. When someone’s entering your site for the first time, it’s not that they know anything about your product, but one thing that they do know and the one thing that they already intuitively do is look for visual cues because they’re really good at finding visual cues and figuring out if that matches their intent. So I want you to think of it that way.

    Whatever you’re selling is kind of like that financial management, something a little bit harder to digest type of thing. And someone’s coming at it to try to figure out, “Okay, is this a good idea for me? Does this make sense? Is this easy enough to understand? Is this going to be a smooth process or a difficult process?” those type of things, and that’s all they’re trying to check off. They’re just trying to check off these little things. “Is this going to be what I need, these ten things?”

    Then if the ten things are checked off, then they’re able to kind of move on to the second set, which is that System 2 side of the brain that says, “Okay, because all these things are set, now I’m going to make sure that this is the kind of product I’m looking for. It’s the price I want, it’s this.” That’s how you can kind of think about this System 1 versus System 2 thinking when someone’s coming into your website.

    The next part is your customers just want to be happy. Now, if you’ve ever seen that slow smile come from your customer, you know how important that feeling of happiness could be. That’s what everyone really wants when they create a company. They want happy customers. They want people that are willing to tell people about you. So what could we do to help that?

    Number one is limiting choice.

    Sometimes we create so many choices for our users that we don’t even really help them make a decision. We’re going to talk about this a little bit more. And also focus on the experience. We thought about me going into this Best Buy that was practically empty, there weren’t that many customers in there but I wasn’t getting helped versus the beautiful look of Apple Store going in with people willing to help you and come up to you as soon as you kind of find something you want.

    These are two very different experiences and one of them made me really happy. So really focus on what are our happiest customers, how are they feeling, what are they doing and how can we optimize every experience to get that same feeling?

    One of the problems with too many choices is that we end up escalating our expectations. We start making them a little bit higher, we start expecting more, and that’s not really helpful to our customers or ourselves. This is a great talk by Barry Schwartz about that paradox of choice and kind of what happens when we have too many choices.


    Third, escalation of expectations. This hit me when I went to replace my jeans. I wear jeans almost all the time and there was a time when jeans came in one flavor and you bought it and they fit like crap and they were incredibly uncomfortable and if you wore them long enough and washed them enough times, they started to feel okay.

    I went to replace my jeans after years and years of wearing these old ones, and I said, “I want a pair of jeans, here’s my size.” The shopkeeper said, “Do you want slim fit, easy fit, relaxed fit? Do you want button fly or zipper fly? You want stonewashed or acid washed? Do you want them distressed? Do you want boot cut? Do you want tapered?” Blah, blah, blah, on and on. My jaw dropped.

    And after I recovered I said, “I want the kind that used to be the only kind.” He had no idea what that was. So I spent an hour trying on all these damn jeans and I walked out of the store, truth, with the best fitting jeans I had ever had. I did better. All this choice made it possible for me to do better, but I felt worse. Why? I wrote a whole book to try to explain this to myself.

    The reason I felt worse is that with all of these options available, my expectations about how good a pair of jeans should be went up. I had very low . . . I had no particular expectations when they only came in one flavor. When they came in 100 flavors, dammit, one of them should have been perfect. What I got was good but it wasn’t perfect. So I compared what I got to what I expected, and what I got was disappointing in comparison to what I expected.

    Adding options to people’s lives can’t help but increase the expectations people have about how good those options will be, and what that’s going to produce is less satisfaction with results even when they’re good results.


    So imagine your customer going through that. Here you are creating all these amazing different products or this one product with all these features, and at the end of the day they are just so overwhelmed by the choices that they have, they don’t even really like the experience.

    When you think about that, we really have to think about the decision making process that we’re offering our clients and how can we make it a bit easier for them. This was a great example that I found when I was kind of looking around for the different choices that we can chose from.

    Now, Kobo actually offers six different Kobos, but we just wanted to make it easy so I picked these four. If you notice, they give you these four options but then they give you one line, the one big feature, that when you’re kind of thinking about whether or not you want to buy it you’ll be thinking about.

    So you have Kobo Mini, small is a big deal, so it’s a smaller one. You have Kobo Touch, which is their base. Then you have Kobo Glo which is their base, plus the fact that you can use it at night. Then you have Kobo Aura which is more nicer looking, I think probably an HD screen or something, version of the baseline that you have.

    So here they are — they all range in different prices. Let’s say that you would compare these devices. They let you choose three different ones. Immediately you go from what would have been six choices and there’s four here, and let’s look at three different ones.

    For me, I tend to not like to even have that much choice, so I’ll pick up two different options. Let’s say I put two different options up there in these little areas here. Now I can choose. I chose the smallest one and I chose the best one to kind of view and see how do they compare.

    Now, I’m being offered all the different features that they have side by side so then I can make a better choice. So when you look at it and you see, okay, storage it’s 2 gigabyte versus 4 gigabyte, battery life is one month versus over two months. Now you can start seeing, okay, this is why you would pay $149 instead of $49. Then you start to make your, “This is what I want,” and those expectations. So the hope is if you’re choosing between two products and you choose one, then you’re not really unhappy with the decisions that you have because you’ve ultimately gone through the different features and decided what’s more important than the other.

    This is something to think about.

    If you do offer a lot of different options, how can you bring people, allow them to see the different options available but then work their way through the funnel but only choosing one or two and ultimately making a decision from there?

    Mac does this also. They show all their different computers that they offer, but then they give you our most affordable notebook, our most advanced, the thinnest, the ultimate all-in-one computer and then the fastest, most powerful Mac ever. So they give you all the different prices right there so you can kind of decide. Then once you click, you’re kind of in it, you’ve decided, you’re in this funnel, and then they’re going to try to persuasively sell you on whichever one that you chose.

    This is an amazing way of doing it because you could go back and do all those things, but by then you’ve kind of decided already that you’re okay with the price, the $1,499. You really want the thinnest and lightest Mac, let’s say, and you’re going to go through the whole process from there. So it’s kind of thinking about the choice architecture of your product and how your customers made those decisions and maybe go out and ask them or see the user testing around how they make decisions to just understand how you can simplify that process for them.

    If we go back to the mouse experience, like I said, I went from having a really bad experience to a really happy experience, and here I am telling you guys about my happy experience that I had with Apple. What does that say? That obviously, at the end of the day, I didn’t want to have this really bad experience at Best Buy. I wanted to just buy a mouse and I was happy that I did and I was happy that I was able to find another ten minutes and go through the process. So ultimately, because I didn’t have a big decision to make and I had this happy experience, I came out being a happy customer.

    This is the last section and I think that even though our customers are irrational and they’re trying to come up with stuff in less than five seconds to decide whether or not they like you or not, the fact that we think that they should be spending more time on us and now we’re that important, and we’re more important than Netflix or whatever else that they have planned for their day, that makes us a little bit irrational. Your widget that you’re selling and the product that you’re selling might really change their lives, but at the end of the day, you’re irrational for thinking that they’re going to spend more than five minutes working with you that day or every time they come to your website.

    This what you really want, right? You really want that happy go lucky customer. You want to work with them hand in hand and you want to create this experience where you’re kind of dancing along happily together — irrational.

    So what can you do?

    Remember confirmation bias. We’re going to talk about that a little bit in a bit. Do the “Take a Step Back” test which is a really important test that sometimes I even forget to do, and use “Five Second Test” or other products out there that might make sure that you’re understanding the System 1 thinking even though you’re stuck in System 2. It’s these little ways that you can kind of get an idea of what System 1 thinking is like when it comes to your product.

    Confirmation bias — this is something you need to remind yourself constantly when you have a product. Just because you made it and your mom loves it doesn’t make it awesome. This is like #Realtalks for you. You need to take a step back and know that your product isn’t perfect. There’s always going to be ways to test and there’s always going to be a better seamless way and a happier experience out there. You need to just be willing to constantly try and constantly test and experiment in order to get to that. You’ll never be done.

    Here’s one way you can do it, and that’s the “Take a Step Back” test. One way of doing that is to go to your URL, that’s whatever landing page or website that you want to look at. Literally get out of your seat, take four steps back, and then try to tell yourself, ask yourself, “What do I see here?” If you look, I tried to blurry up this page — I obviously didn’t do a very good job, but imagine that you’re sitting far away from this Unbounced Landing Page Conversion Course. What would you see four steps back? You would definitely see this headline, the Landing Page Conversion Course, which is great. What is it? It’s a landing page conversion course. You’re answering that question.

    Then you probably see this red box, which that might not be the best call to action because it says, “Start page 1 of the conversion course,” but you ultimately know that you’re going to start something in that call to action. Other things that are probably least important, you can see the logo pretty clearly. That’s important because that gives you where you’re going.

    Then what’s in this course? That’s stuff just a little bit pulled back. It’s just not as noticeable, and for the people that need the answer to that question, it’s there for them in a way that’s easy to see and easy to find. So think about that and take that step back and do that test for yourself and see what pops out for you. Are you answering the questions “who we are”, “what we do, and “what’s next?”?

    If you still think you’re awesome, let me give you another test to try. Go on, post up your website, and then ask people after five seconds the following questions: Did the brand appear trustworthy? What product do you think this company sells? And which element on the page do you focus on most?

    I actually feel bad because I went through the five second test and because I was so worried about getting the screen capture of everything, I failed to actually look at the test. So my answer to what element on the page did you focus on most, I had to put the pink parts because I literally didn’t even know what I looked at. So if whoever’s out there, if this is you, I apologize for screwing up your user testing.

    So there you have it. This is the end. I wanted to make sure that I kind of gave you a list of things that you can try on your own site, on your own landing page, to really make sure you try to conquer that first five to ten seconds that someone’s on your website, and this is where you can start.

    I would say right at number one, see what your customers think about you. If you haven’t done that yet, please do. User onboarding. If your site’s there, if you’re big enough to be on there, check out Five Second Test. Go to Check out all those products like Usability Hub that offer ways to get to know your customer.

    Emotional triggers, list the triggers your customers need and test them on your landing pages. Again, do you need to offer them a privacy policy of some sort? Do you need to make them feel safe? Do you need to make them feel like they’re part of a community in order to fulfill the feeling of love that they need or belonging? Those type of things are really important.

    Create that seamless onboarding flow. Take Post-Its, put it across your wall with all the different steps that it takes to be an onboard experience, and try to see if you can get rid of any, or you could add. Sometimes you have to add stuff to make it a more seamless process. Make sure that every step makes sense and make sure they not only make sense, that they make sense to you as an engagement way, but they mostly are helping the customer get deeper into your product and learn more about your product. That’s the most important thing.

    Check your page speed. Just make those fixes where you can.

    Control time, is there areas that you can slow down or maybe remove time distractions anywhere? Do you have places that people might be hitting “OK” or checking on the forum a couple of times? Do you need to tell them maybe to calm down a little bit or show them a different page screen just to make them feel like they’re getting somewhere?

    Get social proof and testimonials on your website. Just do that. That’s really important and that really helps in that emotional trigger way, but really just allows you to sell to someone without feeling that creepy commissions-based salesperson that’s hanging off your shoulder.

    Offering help where you need it, find the areas in your process. If someone’s hitting back in certain areas, can you have a popup that says “Need help?” Are there areas where you can offer your customer support or ask people to call you for questions? Find out all those areas where there might be questions or where people might drop off and see if there’s a way that you can add your support or number for them to contact. Or even do it through email like you saw in the West Elm example.

    Gathering information through tracking codes where you can, this is great. Whether or not these people are leads and they’re coming back, if they’re a new or returning visitor, showing them different things, or even targeting their location or the weather outside or doing all these weird and little things to personalize the experience to make them feel very unique. Because, like we saw, even though sometimes it feels kind of slimy and you know that it’s really fake, you still have that feeling it was a unique personalized experience made for me. It’s this weird kind of feeling that you get that you know you’re being sold to but you’re kind of okay with it.

    Limiting choice, so if you’re offering a lot of different products or a lot of different features, just try to find a way to make it a little bit more digestible for your users.

    Then do the “Take a Step Back” test. The areas that you notice more five feet away, are they the right areas, or are you giving off the wrong information? If you’re stepping back five steps and you have some kind of marketing jargon that says something like, “The ultimate next step” or, “The ultimate service for you”, is that really telling them what you do? No, it’s just marketing speak — it’s just words, words, words. So try to get rid of that and try to make that “Take a Step Back Test” really easy for anyone to be able to assess your website.

    So, again, thank you so much for listening to my Conversion Rate Optimization talk. If you have any feedback or anything, please feel free to check out my Twitter handle and send me any questions that you have, and please come out to the next #InboundTO meeting if you’re in Toronto. Thank you so much. Bye-bye.

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