I have been optimizing websites from a business/sales perspective for about 8 years, and about a month ago, I finally made that “Magic Bullet” change most people look for when optimizing their sites. Its rare to change a word and double your conversion rate.
I’ve done it on landing pages, emails, and micro-sites, as well as for site “micro conversions” (improving one piece of a larger process, such as a form) but to increase end conversions on a complex eCommerce site with a single word change, without spending a dime or increasing targeted (paid) traffic, this was rare and worth sharing.
The Magic Bullet
“I’m sure you know by now that there are no magic bullets to success online”. This is normally the 1st thing I say when starting a new project, before any client retainer is signed. Yet once in a while, a magic Bullet is there to be found. In this case, it was a word presented on the right column of every page of the site. Any word online can hold power, especially if it taps into the emotion the site visitor is feeling, but a word that is present on every page of the site (i.e. Top Header, Footer etc) can have tons of “sway”.
The word I changed was “Satisfaction” to “Money-Back “.
The result was a 162% increase in sales. I was blown away, but then, they are selling used auto parts, so the guarantee means a lot more than if they were selling new non-unique products that ooze trust, like wooden toddler bikes from Germany.
Leverage Emotion, Handle Fear
The story behind this change is not trivial, but illustrates a larger technique in optimizing a website, that of delivering emotional answers. In any site visitor, at anytime, there is emotion when looking for a product, service or solution online. If you know what that emotion is likely to be, you can service it.
Commonly used tactics are offering assurances, guarantees, testimonials, case studies, client lists and so on.
The strongest sales emotion online is fear. Handling any customer emotional objection is important, but handling objections based on fear will pay off bigger than any. “Money-Back Guarantee” addresses the customer’s fear head-on and is one of the most established and powerful techniques used to sell online. We all know why. But lets dig a bit deeper into the reality of buying online.
I’ve had the good fortune to work for some great sales people. In the corporate world, your objectives are set by your boss, and when your boss’ are sales people, you learn to sell online, quick!
Ask a “sales guy” how he sells and you soon hear the makings of a great website (“Listen to the customer”, “provide solutions”, “be genuine”, “handle objections”, “build a relationship” etc etc). I firmly believe that online is just another sales channel and the mental and emotional process people go through to buy has not changed. What has changed is that people now serve themselves and have competitive product info at their fingertips, so businesses must now serve people the information they look for, every last piece of information they need to make the buying decision.
The good news is that the knowledge of what a customer wants is available from anyone who has contact with them, and giving people what they want (mostly information) is straightforward online. The bad news is you have to set up mechanisms and processes to listen to your customer, because alternatives to you are just a click away (Grrrrrrr, I swore to myself I wouldn’t use the “click away” speech!).