7 Magical Trick & Treats for Increased Conversion Optimization (inspired by Harry Houdini)

By , October 27th, 2010 in Conversion | 4 comments

Harry Houdini - The world's greatest escape artist and also a pretty fine marketer!

The world’s greatest escape artist and illusionist Harry Houdini passed away on the day of Halloween, 1926. Now we all know that Houdini was the best magician of his time, what you may not know is he was also one of the best marketers.

Houdini famously performed spectacular escapes in public places for free, attracting huge audiences and generating buzz for his upcoming paid performances.

In today’s modern world you can imagine a Digital Age Houdini mastering online marketing and lead generation techniques to develop an audience and increase ticket sales for his paid performances, by offering free videos of his shows online, uncovering the elusive secrets of social media conversion, and causing mass controversy for buzz.


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In this post we explore 7 Harry Houdini inspired landing page conversion optimization tricks to increase your bottom line.

1. Offer Free Samples

Houdini drummed up publicity and ticket sales for his theatre shows by organizing free demonstrations of his ‘escape acts’ in public places. This winning strategy is still practiced to this day by David Blaine with great effect.

For increasing conversion rates on your landing pages, you can use this strategy yourself by providing value upfront in the shape of risk free 30 day trials, access to training videos, upcoming webinars, or downloadable content that offers in-depth information on how to solve your prospects problem. Squeeze pages work best for these kind of incentivized offers.

2. Know Your Audience

It was said that Houdini had an amazing ability to read his crowds. He performed his stage act so many times that he knew exactly what would happen and how long it would take. By prolonging his magical effects, his assistants and the musicians worked the crowd into a fever pitch.

Get to know your market – understand what your audiences’ hot-buttons are, and what turns them on. Use Google’s Adplanner for audience targeting and profiling and get valuable feedback from your visitors using KISSinsights.

3. Add Credibility

To increase credibility, Houdini would include printed copies of letters from Chief’s of police in his advertising and promotional content. These letters declared Houdini did indeed escape after being stripped nude, searched, handcuffed and manacled, from an absolutely burglar proofed cell. This endorsement added credibility to Houdinis’ shows, selling more tickets, making Houdini a wealthy man.

For your landing pages use trust signals and credibility elements to increase your conversions. Make sure your privacy protection statement is present and avoid typographical errors and broken links. Be sure to review, bookmark and save Stanford’s Guidelines for Web Credibility to your landing pages swipe file.

4. Explore New Markets

Instead of competing with a new crop of upcoming ‘escape artists’ in the U.S, Houdini decided to take a gamble and move to a completely new market. In 1900 he launched his European tour. Without a single booking, without an agent, he had faith enough in his promotional wizardry, that he knew that he would succeed in Europe.

Unbounce landing pages enable you to explore new markets quickly. Now you don’t have to fly to Europe to explore a new market now – you can start with experimenting with different traffic sources and exploring new keyword opportunities for your landing page offers.

5. Expose Your Competitors Weaknesses

During a European performance Houdini’s credibility was threatened by a German contemporary E. Hilmars’, public declaration that Houdini was a fraud. Houdini responded by snapping a pair of handcuffs on the German’s wrists and challenged him to escape, which he could not.

Lesson learned – don’t be afraid to expose your competitors by showing your strength, remember your prospects decision making process. During ‘the evaluation stage’, your prospect chooses between alternative brands, products and services on offer. Help them with this decision: include comparison charts of your features on your landing pages and convince your audience your product is the right one. A great example of this in action is getclicky’s analytics feature comparison guide.

6. Be Persistent

Houdini capitalized on the advent of a new medium, the motion picture. Houdini would widely visit the theatres promoting his pictures, increasing their popularity. He converted more movie goers into tickets buyers for his film by simply being there. Ask for the Sale!

For your landing page experiment with a persistent call to action. A good example of this in action is the Elite Retreats landing page.

7. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

Houdini’s career took-off thanks to a trick he developed called “Metamorphosis.” This mystery was a twist on a trick developed a few years earlier by a British magician.

Like Houdini, analyze your industry peers. Study their landing pages and traffic sources with tools such as KeywordSpy and SEMRush. Analyze keywords they are bidding on, duration of their campaigns, and even their estimated daily Ad spend. Armed with this data, you can understand winning converting offers and add your own unique twist just like Houdini to take your business to the next level.

Further Reading: Houdini – Magician and Master of Marketing

Sean McColgan

About The Author

Photo of Sean McColgan

Sean is a Co-Founder & Digital Strategist at Acquisition Engine. Into Search, Social Computing, Viral Loops, and Web Analytics. Aspiring Digital Nomad.
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Comments

  1. Oli Gardner says:

    Great post Sean. Always love applying marketing concepts back to old tales like this.

  2. you will find in which,Although many persons generally reside according to the dream of which ordinary expertise and methods continues to participating important and vital character in customers’ lifetime, an evergrowing evidences reveal that it happens to be much less advantageous as opposed to fella

  3. Sandra says:

    thx for this steps/informations :)

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