I am not a cat person. I feel strongly that a pet is in violation of the pet-owner contract if it considers you its property—so cats really aren’t qualified to be pets at all.
Perhaps this is why I find the phenomenon of the Crazy Cat Lady so intriguing. (I assume you know what a Crazy Cat Lady is; if the picture above doesn’t make it clear, you may want to find a cave closer to more populated areas.)
Anyway, you may not think a Crazy Cat Lady would know much about conversion optimization —and you’re probably right. But that doesn’t mean there ain’t plenty she can teach us. Here are 3 lessons for CRO you can discover from her madness:
The Crazy Cat Lady has no dogs. She is not interested in rabbits or budgies or fish. There is only one thing on Crazy Cat Lady’s mind, and that is cats. How to get’em. How to feed’em. How to groom’em. How to lurv’em.
The same must be true of any good landing page, email sequence, sales page, phone script, face-to-face sales meeting—you name it. Assuming you have your numbers all figured out (see above), the only way to get maximum conversions is to know exactly who you are trying to convert, and focus exclusively on them.
No dogs. No rabbits. No budgies or fish. Just cats.
This is perhaps one of the most under-used strategies in the world for maximizing conversions. The number of businesses I see sending targeted prospects to their homepages, instead of to targeted landing pages, is staggering. Why spend all that money buying clicks from a specific prospect who is searching for a specific keyphrase…when you’re just gonna send them to a general page designed for general prospects?
For example, PetFood.com might have a homepage describing all the kinds of pet foods they make. Probably they have a big, ineffective slider that switches between “featured foods”—starting with one for dogs, then one for cats, one for rabbits and so on (all switching just too fast to finish reading the copy half-illegibly superimposed on the images, of course).
But Crazy Cat Lady is not googling for “pet food”. She is googling for “bulk venison schnitzel cat food”. So when she clicks PetFood.com’s ad and finds herself on their homepage, looking at a picture of a labradoodle scoffing dry chunks, she spits in disgust and immediately hits the back button. Sale lost. Meanwhile, FoodForPets.com is running a more focused ad campaign. When Crazy Cat Lady clicks on their ad, she is whisked straight to a page advertising their premium schnitzel strips for the ostentatious cat, which come in three flavors (venison, veal and pheasant), and can be bought in bulk for a sizable discount by selecting the number of meals from a drop-down menu next to the order button.
They now have a customer for life.
You already know I’m not a cat person, so it will come as no surprise that I think they’re loveless, fickle creatures with nary a loyal bone in their furry lil carcasses.
Yet they stick by Crazy Cat Lady through thick and thin. Why?
Food, obviously. Food and warmth. Probably food, warmth and belly-rubs. I don’t rightly know —I haven’t dared investigate too closely. But the point is, Crazy Cat Lady knows what they want, and she devotes herself to providing it for them.
This kind of loyalty and service is a rare quality in the world of business — so many companies focus on making money first, and caring for customers second. Which is odd since it is their customers who give them the money.
Be that as it may, loving your customers is key to long-term conversions. Because while it’s nice to have a big, fat number to represent your landing page conversion rate, it’s much nicer to have a big, fat number to represent your lead-to-sales closing ratio…and it’s EVEN better to have a big, fat number to represent your repeat-sales-to-single-sales ratio.
That’s what business is about: getting customers, right? People who make a habit of buying from you.
Well, the way to achieve that is not through fancy copywriting trickery or changing the color of your CTA buttons or using a new layout on your landing pages or any of those clever techniques. It is simply through cultivating an attitude of care and service toward your customers, knowing intimately what they want, and going out of your way to make it as easy and enjoyable for them to get as you can.
One way I do this is by asking my customers what troubles them. I use email marketing as a medium for creating a kind of “talk radio” where customers can write me about their problems, and I can offer quick solutions in an email campaign. It shows I’m genuinely interested in their situations, and it gives them genuinely helpful advice.
Of course, I also take note of the questions that crop up frequently so I can create products to solve those problems (which I then offer by email as well). Because a fully-developed product is a lot better than a quick email. I want to help my customers as much as I can. I’m sure you do too.
In conversion-rate optimization, our focus is typically on…well, optimizing our conversion-rate. Whatever action it is we’re asking people to take on a page, we want as many of them to take it as possible.
That’s why people boast about, you know, 80% opt-in rates to webinars and all that guru nonsense (8 out of 10 people signed up!)
But as the Crazy Cat Lady shows us, obsessing over numbers can be a sign of an unhealthy mind —or an unhealthy email list.
For example, I was recently helping one customer with a landing page designed to generate inquiries for auto insurance. The page wasn’t performing very well—and one of the first things I asked him was, “Do you need all 10 fields on the contact form? That’s a lot of friction. We can easily increase your conversion rate by removing some.”
His answer: “I know. We’ve tried that, and it does increase conversions. But the extra leads it generates are low quality. They don’t usually become customers.”
In his case, a sales person had to speak to each lead generated. So there was a fairly hard cap on the number of leads which could conceivably be handled per day. The objective was not to simply get more leads, but to get more high quality leads. People motivated enough to complete a 10-step form were much better leads than those who were only motivated enough to complete a 5-stage form.
The moral of the story is that conversion-rate optimization is something you have to do at a high level, as well as at the basic page level. If your landing page CR is 50% but you’re only turning 2% of those leads into actual customers, you ain’t got nothin’ to boast about next to someone with a mere 4% landing page CR who is persuading 50% of those leads to buy a similar-priced offering. They’re making twice as much revenue as you are — even though your short-term conversion rate is 10 times higher.
What other lessons can we learn from the Crazy Cat Lady? Share your insights in the comments below.