I was at a conference a few days ago, watching Rand Fishkin speak about nudges, and it made think about all the nudges I’ve used in the past to convert visitors into customers. That’s when I realized that most people don’t use nudges with their online business.
Before I go into how you can use nudges, let’s first define what a nudge is:
To push against gently, especially in order to gain attention or give a signal.
Now that you know what a nudge is, here is an example of one:
It’s a simple message to encourage hotel guests to save water as it helps our planet. Can you guess how effective it is? It’s helped hotels to save on average 2,300 litres of water and 150 litres of detergent each month.
In essence, you are using simple cues – words or images – to help encourage people to take a specific action. That’s what a nudge is.
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Now, let’s dive into how you can use these simple cues to convert your visitors into customers:
The pen is mightier than the sword
Words have a lot of power. An addition of a word or a removal of one can drastically affect your conversion rates.
For example, 37Signals tested the call-to-action phrase “see pricing and plans” over the phrase “free trial”. They were able to boost signups by 200%, using the former. That’s right, the phrase “see pricing and plans” boosted signups three-fold.
On Quick Sprout, when I added a simple dollar value to the email opt-in box within the sidebar, I was able to increase conversions by 22%.
Don’t take my words for granted… adding or removing words can have a huge impact on your conversion rates. You just have to figure out which words your visitors are sensitive to and start leveraging them.
Design is the new marketing
Color and visual cues can have a major impact on conversion rates. Did you know the Hellobar on Quick Sprout accounts for 11% of all of my leads? It’s just a simple bar that scrolls with you as you read this blog post… but this one bar accounts for 11% of my revenue.
It’s not just me either. KimberlySnyder.net generates around 20% of its revenue through Hellobar as well.
The changes don’t have to drastic. One simple design tweak can dramatically increase conversions. MarketDialer decided to run an A/B test in which they added the cost of their solution to their homepage.
Here is the original version:
And here is the new version:
Can you guess which one converted better? By showcasing their price, they were able to generate 100% more leads.
If you are interested in adjusting your visual cues, you should first check out this infographic as it will break down the meaning of colors and the psychological effect they have on people.
What’s usable may not convert the best
I always thought that making things easier for the user would boost conversion rates. Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way.
Crazy Egg’s checkout process used to be one page until Conversion Rate Experts convinced us to test a two-step checkout process. The first step is for the user to put in his or her name and email, and the second is to check out.
Do you know what the results were? A 10% increase in conversions.
The Obama Administration saw similar results with this tactic. When Obama was running for President, his team tested a multiple-step checkout process.
The end result was a 5% increase in conversions. Not bad for a simple design tweak.
The reason I think a multiple-step checkout process works is because once buyers give you some of their information, they feel already committed and have no trouble completing the rest of the checkout.
Conversations sell themselves
One of the simplest nudges I’ve tested is creating a conversation with people. If you ever signup for the Quick Sprout newsletter, you will be placed in an email drip sequence. In one of the emails, I ask you to “hit the reply button and tell me what you think of the email”.
Whenever someone hits the reply button, I make sure I always respond to that person and thank him or her for his or her feedback. I am not asking the reader to buy anything, but 71% of those people who reply buy my Quick Sprout Traffic System.
Don’t underestimate the power of having a conversation with your visitors. Whether you connect to your customers through email or even LiveChat, the personal exchange helps because people like buying from people, not from robots. Building a connection with your visitors is a powerful way to nudge them into becoming customers.
One way to help increase the number of conversations you have is to create a warm and fuzzy feeling with your website design. If people feel your company has an open and transparent culture, they are more likely to reach out to you. We actually do this with Crazy Egg by leveraging a French character within our explainer video on the homepage.
Now, doesn’t that animated character make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? It actually is so effective that it drives an extra $21,000 in monthly income.
What’s the consequence?
If someone doesn’t buy your product or service, there is always a consequence. It could be that they don’t increase their revenue or that their life is a bit harder. Whatever it may be, you can actually nudge people to become customers by telling them what will happen if they don’t sign up or buy from you.
With Crazy Egg, people sign up for the service because they want to understand how their visitors engage with their sites. We are able to convert an extra 6% of our visitors into customers by showing them a message that says “No thanks, I treat all click behavior the same”.
Sometimes, you just have to tell people what they will be missing if they don’t become customers. You don’t have to do this through paragraphs of text; a short phrase usually does the trick. It works well with Crazy Egg because our visitors know that if they treat all of their click behavior the same, they’ll lose money.
Don’t put a kid in a candy store
When you put a kid in a candy store and tell her she can only buy one thing, what happens? She won’t know what to get because she will want it all.
Visitors are affected the same way: giving them too many options can potentially hurt your conversion rates. By reducing the number of choices, you can make it easier for people to decide what they should buy on your website.
On Quick Sprout, I only offer three social sharing options… Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. I recently did a test where I offered five options, in which I added LinkedIn and Pinterest. The end result was a decrease in social sharing by 29%.
This just goes to show that giving people more options doesn’t always help you convert more visitors into customers. For this reason I only try to ask my visitors to do one thing at a time. When you ask them to do too many things, they typically don’t do any of them.
What’s the incentive?
One of the simplest ways to nudge people is to incentivize them. When I worked with the Institute of Integrated Nutrition, they offered visitors a discounted price to their college program for a period of 48 hours. Every time they did this, they generated more money in that 48-hour period than they did in any week throughout the year.
Appsumo is known for using the same strategy, offering deals for a very limited amount of time.
They even have a countdown clock on their website that shows for how long the deal will be around. If you miss out on the deal, you won’t ever get it again at that price.
By using things like countdown clocks, coupon codes and even bonuses you can incentivize your visitors to convert into paying customers. You just have to go above and beyond by offering them more than they expected.
There are hundreds of ways you can nudge your visitors to become customers… you just have to get a bit creative. You can use some of the methods above or even ones from Rand’s presentation.
The most important thing for you to do is to try using some of these subtle cues as they can help boost your revenue. When doing so, make sure you run A/B tests on the changes as some will help and some won’t. But if you don’t test them, you may end up losing money.
What other nudges can you use to convert visitors into customers?