- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 1, 2015
Too many choices confuse us.
In fact, if you give your website visitors more choice they will actually buy less.
In a 1995 experiment a Columbia University professor gave shoppers a choice of jams. In one time period shoppers could taste 2 of 24 jams on display. In another time period shoppers could taste 2 of only 6 jams on display. When 24 jams were on display 3% of consumers bought one. When only 6 jams were on display 30% of consumers bought one. An increase in “conversion” of 10 times.
This effect is called the “paradox of choice” (it’s also the name of a book explaining this phenomenon by psychologist Barry Schwartz). The more choices we have the harder we find it to choose. The research suggests we become fatigued by the effort of sorting through all the options.
The same effect can be seen on the Internet. Web pages can be thought of as your “storefront in the virtual world”. Today your potential customers often arrive at your business for the first time via a page on your website.
Traditional website pages, especially home pages are designed to give visitors an array of choices. They feature menus that often feature sub-menus. They have hyperlinks to other parts of the site in the body of the page. They may have multiple graphical “call to action” boxes on the page as well. It’s not unusual for a typical website home page to have 20-30 different links for you to click on. A lot of choices.
Landing pages and simpler
Landing pages strip away choices. Landing pages focus on converting visitors by removing choices.
You can have many landing pages on your website (and over time you probably will need many landing pages.) Each landing page should be synchronized with one campaign you are running. If a visitor comes to you from one particular ad you should have a landing page that specifically reflects that ad, using the same images and introductory text as the ad for example. If a visitor comes to you from an email, even it is about the same product, you probably will need a second landing page that is synchronized to this email rather than the ad.
- A key best practice with a landing page is to remove the page’s menu. By doing this you strip away a lot of choices.
- Then make sure you have a clear call to action on the page. This can be a button to learn more or a form to sign up directly for an offer. This call to action needs to stand out visually on the page so the user sees it instantly (research at MIT has shown it takes us about 13 milliseconds to understand an image)
- Keep your copy simple and easy to read
These days you usually need to offer something of value on your landing page even to get a visitor’s contact information.
We’re becoming less likely to give up even our email address without something in exchange. This offer can take the form of content, like an ebook, or can be some form of special offer like a discount coupon or contest entry.
It’s getting more and more competitive on the Internet so try to think of offers that you think it will be hard for your visitors to refuse.
Keep in mind giving a good offer will work out for your business in the long as email addresses are a key asset. Opt-in email addresses like these give you the opportunity to stay-in-touch with your website visitors through email marketing and nurture them to the point where they may be ready to buy.
Without converting visitors this way the vast majority of your website visitors will visit your site and you will never know who they are.
One of the beauties of landing pages is that it’s possible to test different elements on the page and measure the change in conversion efficiency. The results can be quite tangible with minor changes to the words or images on a page causing 100% variations in conversion rates.
So once you have landing pages and you have some decent traffic going to each one it will be time to start testing. You could end up with significantly more customer emails and significantly more customers for your local business.