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Try Telling Who It’s For instead of targeting everyone.

Are you targeting everyone or are you precise with your audience? This is a conversion idea where you could be explicit about who exactly your product or service is intended for. By communicating the qualifying criteria of your customers, you might be able to actually connect more with them while at the same time hinting at a feeling of exclusivity. The risk with this strategy of course is that you might be cutting yourself short and restricting potential customers. Then again, transparency builds trust.

Try Benefit Buttons instead of just task based ones.

 Imagine two simple buttons displayed on a page. One button tells you that it will “Save You Money”, while the other one asks you to “Sign Up”. I’d place my bets that the first one might have a higher chance of being acted on, as a sign up on it’s own has no inherent value. Instead, a sign up process takes effort and is often associated with lengthy forms of some sort. The hypothesis set here is that buttons which reinforce a benefit might lead to higher conversions. Alternatively, the benefit can also be placed closely to where the action button is in order to remind people why they are about to take that action. Surely, there is still room for task based actions buttons, but those can be reserved for interface areas that require less convincing and are more recurring in use.

Try Exposing Fields instead of creating extra pages.

 When creating landing pages that convey value, it can be beneficial to show the actual form fields on the conversion page itself. Merging the sign up form with the landing page comes with a number of benefits in comparison to creating separate multi-page sign ups. First, we are cutting out extra steps from the flow in general and the task at hand takes less time. Secondly, by showing the number of form fields right there, we are also providing the customer with a sense of how long the sign up actually is. This of course is a little easier when our forms are shorter in the first place (which of course they should be if possible).

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Try Urgency instead of timelessness.

Urgency is a persuasion tactic which can be applied in order to make people act now rather than later (or possibly never). It works because it often implies some degree of scarcity, as the thing which is available now might not be available tomorrow. It also works because it touches upon loss aversion in the same way – as we don’t like losing out on opportunities. Urgency might also be one of those strategies that some look down upon as a pushy and dirty way of getting people to act. Nevertheless it’s available as a strategy to use and as long as it’s honest it’s valid. Be careful of creating a false sense of urgency, since when your audience calls you on it, it will backfire.

Try Scarcity instead of abundance.

When there is less of anything, we tend to value it more. Scarcity suggests there was once more of something, today there is less of it, and tomorrow it might shrink yet even further. Think of a wholesale store vs. a boutique one and then look at how their pricing often compares. Then think back to the wholesaler and notice one scarcity strategy that they apply nevertheless, in light of having a wider product offering. Some wholesalers or mega retailers will actually do limited products that are only available until they are bought out, without replenishing the supply. In software, we often forget about scarcity because more often than not, bits and bytes can be so easily duplicated and there is so much abundance with the help of copy-paste. Nevertheless, in the world of UI, scarcity can still be used to show limits or bottlenecks that relate to the real world. Think of the limits behind the number of tickets you can sell to a webinar, the number of clients you can service in a month, or the number physical products you might have before the next batch is produced. All these things can be shown to the user to evoke action while being more informed. Think supply and demand. Think less is more.

Try Anchoring instead of starting with the price.

Humans come loaded with cognitive biases, and as Kahneman observed, anchoring is one such bias that is hard to resist. It suggests that our decision making is affected by the first quantities which come to our attention. When we start with a larger number and roll down towards a smaller price, all of a sudden that price doesn’t feel as large any longer. If I understand correctly, what many people miss however, is that the anchored number also doesn’t have to be a price. It can be a number which doesn’t need a dollar value. A common example of marketers exploiting the anchoring effect is showing the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price followed by a lower price.

Try Smaller Commitments instead of one big one.

Ask people to start off with a smaller upfront commitment followed by some larger ones down the road. Big commitments can scare people off. Borrowing from Robert Cialdini’s work, using commitment is a powerful persuasion strategy which taps into people’s desire to be seen as having a consistent self image. That quest for consistency suggests that generally people can climb a series of smaller and connected actions more easily than one larger one. An application stemming from this is known as the foot in the door technique which works by “getting a small ‘yes’ and then getting an even bigger ‘yes.’”. One example of this would be a dating site that is asking people to just look around, followed by an introduction task, followed by a couple ideas for a date, etc. This is opposite of course to asking the same users to lock into a marriage right away (nothing wrong with getting married). :) In the context of pricing, another example can be seen when we ask customers to pay a series of monthly fees instead of an annual one. A related tactic of lowering upfront commitment might also show a “no contract” messaging in order to make customers feel that they can leave anytime which further decreases the barrier to entry.

Try Natural Language instead of dry text.

Natural language is a more informal and conversational interaction style than just short, strict and formal words. This style is often associated with computers being able to understand (or seem like they understand) humans better, forgive where necessary, and vice versa. The expectation is two fold. First, a person types in a phrase which the computer would ideally comprehend the full meaning of. Second, the responses by the computer are also more conversational and friendly in return. Although we might not be fully there yet with the first part, there are some basic and promising examples such as: searching for “toronto weather” in Google, Ubiquity for Firefox and Siri commands. As for interfaces which display their messages as conversations there are some hints that they might convert just a bit better (some more testing required).

Try Curiosity instead of being reserved.

Stirring curiosity is a conversion tactic which tries to drive up desire for something by providing a bit of teasing information. It could be a sample chapter, a demo, a trial, or some free genuine content which leads up to a call to action sounding like “in order to see the rest, do XYZ”. Teasing your users, customers and/or leads with samples and hooks is a good way for people to want to continue on the path of action. As obvious as it sounds, another sure shot way to fail at stirring curiosity (aside of not having it at all in the first place) is of course by providing the complete range of information or offering upfront. Perhaps giving people a full trial, or all of X out of Y before they are customers, isn’t the best way to motivate them. Keep them hungry for more – at least for a bit. :)

Try Reassurances instead of assuming all is fine.

When you’re closing a sale, drop some reassurances. Throw in a guarantee, tell your customers that they will be satisfied, tell them that the payment is secure, that yes shipping is free, and yes that they can pull out at anytime without any risk. All is good and all will be fine. Don’t worry, be happy. Putting a positive spin on a close is definitely worth a try as a conversion tactic.

Try Price Illusions instead of just plain prices.

You can let people judge the value of your product completely on their own, or you can help to do it for them. If you decide to make use of human irrationality, you can show the price in a way so that your offering becomes perceived as more valuable. In the simplest way you can start off with framing words such as “only”, “affordable”, or “small fee of” alongside of the price. The price then can also be broken down into a per unit price (ex: 30¢ per page rather than $30 for a book, or $1 per day instead of $30 per month for a membership). Further, the infamous prices ending in a “9” instead of having a round number can also be used. Finally, prices can be shown with fewer digits ($30, instead of $30.00) for an additional effect of illusion.

Try Thanking instead of simply confirming completion.

 Thanking people can make you, your business, product or UI feel more human as it shows you’re appreciative and you care. Thanking of course happens during some sort of task completion and is bigger than just plain feedback. More so, making your UI thankful can be used as a way to induce further dialogue or action. So naturally, thank you screens are a perfect spot to suggest the next optional action for the customer or user to take. Thanks for reading this paragraph. :)

Try Reaffirming Freedom instead of implying it.

 People may be persuaded to act more often when their choice or free will is explicitly reaffirmed. There have been some studies done on the “But You Are Free” technique with cases where the effect to act sometimes even doubled. The idea is to call out an action or decision, followed by a simple statement suggesting that “it’s your choice”, or “you are free to refuse”, etc. The persuasive power of this technique seemed the strongest when the request was made face-to-face and/or the request to act and reaffirmation were closer together.

Try Variable Rewards instead of predictability.

 Variable rewards are great way to get users hooked. When we (or mice at least) press levers that spit out pellets unpredictably (as in sometimes not spitting out anything), then such a schedule of reinforcement has the highest rate of response in the shortest amount of time. If eating pellets isn’t your thing however, then please consider how addictive email checking can be as we never really know when those “rewarding ones” really do appear (assuming you receive more than just the same old email from Joe everyday).

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