Posts Tagged ‘friction and anxiety’

Conversion Optimization: How to reduce friction and anxiety in a checkout process you don’t control

March 3rd, 2017

Engaging in conversion optimization requires making a modification of some sort to improve conversion. But, what if there are steps in your customers’ buying journey that you can’t control?

For example, we often hear from marketers that they don’t really have the time or resources to change their shopping cart in significant ways to improve conversion. Or, if you’re in affiliate marketing, channel marketing, or simply have a go-to-market partner, you might control the beginning of the funnel but have no control over the final conversion. Perhaps you sell a product through third-party stores and distributors and have no control over that process.

I was recently in this boat myself. Not only am I a student in the University of Florida/MECLABS Institute Communicating Value and Web Conversion graduate certificate program, but I’ve been working on marketing it before the April 1st application deadline as well.

The Optimization Process

The first thing I did with the team was map out the customer journey — starting with not knowing anything about the program all the way to enrolling as a student in the program.

Now, here was the great irony. Session 2 of the MMC5436 Messaging Methodologies and the Practice of Conversion Optimization course in the program walks through the optimization process and the first, second and third steps you should take. The very first step is reducing friction and anxiety.

Reduce friction and anxiety

However, when we looked at the step in the customer buying journey with the most friction and anxiety, there was nothing we could do to reduce those elements because that step was the University of Florida application.

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Transparent Marketing: 3 tips to help build your online credibility

August 19th, 2013

Building credibility can be tough, both in your professional life and in your marketing.

At times, it can even feel a little like pushing a boulder uphill. It takes a lot of work to move a very small distance and the slightest mistake can wipe out all those hard-earned efforts.

Luckily for most of us, we don’t have to push the boulder of trust by ourselves. We have teams of peers willing to help and you have customers that can help if you empower them with the right tools.

So in today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to share with you three tips you can use to help others do your bragging for you.


Tip #1. Give customers real estate on your site to share their stories

Today’s customers are more than just a revenue stream …

They are brand advocates who write reviews on sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon that will ring louder than your marketing ever will. The savviest marketers understand offering customers a home to share those reviews and stories can add credibility to your products and services.

Take Volkswagen’s Stories page, for example, that pretty much turns customer testimonials into content marketing.


Another great example is Apple’s Support Communities page, where users help each other with tech support questions.


It’s all made possible simply by offering customers a little real estate on your website to share their stories and build communities.


Tip #2. Ask third-party supporters for endorsements

Another group of people that can do wonders for your credibility are third-party supporters.

You may ask, “Who are these people?”

Well, these are unbiased people or groups who endorse your products or services without a direct connection to you. That unbiased tip of the hat can carry some sway of merit with potential customers.

One classic example of third-party support would be the inclusion of a third-party rating system logo on your website, like the Better Business Bureau rating.

Published reviews mentioning your product or service in magazines like CNET or Fortune can also serve as third-party testimonials in addition to customer reviews.

Also, use security verifications in your sales funnel such as McAfee Secure or Symantec to mitigate customer anxiety and reduce friction.

A few simple changes and endorsements from trusted third parties can be worth much than what meets the eye!


Tip #3. Don’t forget to look to your data for answers

While customer testimonials and third-party endorsements offer support for right-brained consumers, quantified statistics provide support for the left-brained.

It is one thing to say your company has a high level of customer satisfaction, but if the customer satisfaction rating is more than 90%, your customers need to see it.

Have you sold more than a million units of your product or service? Show it!

As Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, says, “Clarity trumps persuasion.” One way to be clear is through quantification.

You want to communicate your credibility whether it is through expertise or another form of success. Let the numbers speak for you. In fact, a Research Partner of ours saw a 201% increase in sales leads after vague statements were replaced with quantitative statements based on their success, such as, “Trusted since 1972” and “210 million U.S. consumers.”

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Landing Page Optimization: 262% increase in lead rate

January 16th, 2013

Here is a test from our Landing Page Optimization online course

Background:  A B2B company offering business VoIP telephone services

Goal:  To increase the number of quote requests

Primary Research Question:  Which quote process will generate more total leads?

Approach: Multifactor split test



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Website Optimization: 3 quick win changes you can test right now

November 30th, 2012

Recently, one of our former students leveraged the power of social media to share his frustrations with the results of his optimization efforts in the Linkedin discussion group of our sister company, MarketingSherpa.

Joel Levitt, who works as a management consultant, is also the owner of a small online business that offers disk storage solutions. Joel attended our Landing Page Optimization and Value Proposition Development training sessions (links are to the online certification courses), and applied what he learned in the sessions to his homepage afterward.

The results he anticipated have been less than optimal because, according to Joel, the metrics he is tracking indicate that his treatment page is performing worse than his original.

“I must have missed something big, but I can’t figure out what it is,” Joel said in his comments on LinkedIn.

So today’s MarketingExperiments blog post is going to help Joel with a few optimization test ideas that he can add to his testing queue – a few quick wins to get his page on the right track. Our hope is that you can use this real-world example to help inspire test ideas for your own sites, as well.

So let’s look at the homepage for Joel’s site:


Click to enlarge


Joel sent us this screenshot of the site, which I took to a peer review session for test brainstorming. At the session, I asked Lauren Maki, Optimization Manager, MECLABS, if she could provide Joel with a few test ideas to add to his queue. Here were some of her suggestions:

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A/B Testing: Learn about testing hypotheses from a 200% increase in chocolate consumption

November 16th, 2012

Last year around Christmas, I decided to offer Hershey’s Kisses in a bowl at my desk to the people that regularly walked by my office and came in for calls. When the candy didn’t disappear too quickly, I felt like I needed a test to figure out what was going on. When I asked people, they didn’t really know why. They just either wanted it or didn’t.


Customer Theory Question: Why do people not take the candy? After all, it is the season of giving, and I want to give it away!

So, I started doing my research, and I came across our property manager, Mike W.  He had asked me where all the Hershey’s Kiss wrappers were coming from because he had been picking them up around the office.

Of course, I didn’t tell him it was me, but I then had a hypothesis:


Hypothesis #1: People do not take my candy because they fear the wrath of our property manager. Either that or there is just something about the Kiss’ packaging that gets on my prospects’ nerves.

Test #1: Hershey’s Kisses vs. Hershey’s Miniatures


Same chocolate — extremely similar servings — but the package of the Miniatures is easier to take off and throw away for some people. Will the packaging have an effect on how much chocolate disappears from my bowl?

FRICTION (difficult of wrapper), ANXIETY (wrath of property manager)

Results: More of my candy started to disappear! However, not a whole lot more (like 20% more). Thus, I could conclude that some people didn’t take candy because of the effect of the packaging (possibly due to anxiety) but there are still more people to reach.

So I then wondered … Now that I have the Miniatures up, why are they not taking more?

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Shopping Cart Abandonment: 7 simple steps to completing the sale

November 5th, 2012

You spent years creating a valuable email list that gets Kim Johnson to opt in. Then, you craft an amazing email that inspires Kim Johnson to click to the landing page, where your marketing prowess is again on display, and Kim Johnson adds your product to her cart. And then… And then… Nothing. But why? And, what can you do to avoid this scenario as much as possible?

Well, at least you’re not alone – 88% of consumers have abandoned an online shopping cart without completing their transaction, according to a Forrester study. While you cannot eliminate cart abandonment, and many factors are out of your control (some customers just weren’t ready to purchase), you do have the ability to reduce abandonment.


 If you want to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates, follow these seven simple steps:

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