There are no absolute truths. Just because a design or copy worked in one experience, doesn’t mean it will work in another, or across multiple iterations. “Best practices” have their place; as starting points. To understand why a winning test worked as well as it did, we need to additionally follow the journey and digest what the customer experienced before, during, and after the experiment to fully understand why the best practice was successful.
If we’re not testing, we’re not learning, which means we aren’t taking the time to truly care about our customers. It’s then about the CR+ alone, vs truly wanting to learn about the customer. If we are intentional about testing to learn about our customers first, the CR+ comes effortlessly. I appreciate each lesson in the course, but form optimization and design hierarchy stood out to me most.
Here are my favorite takeaways after week two of the CXL Institute Course on Best Conversion Practices.
One of the easiest and quickest wins in optimization can be form optimization. Forms are often tied to the closest part of a final conversion, which gives a high potential to have a large impact. Our team has worked hard on our form conversions this past year so I was excited about this course.
Intentionally increase friction to improve lead quality. One of my favorite parts of this discussion is knowing when to reduce friction and knowing when to add friction. By reducing friction on a form experience, it increases form completions. But by choosing to add strategic friction in some places, can give appropriate space and weed out people who aren’t fully ready to commit. Friction can allow a customer’s subconscious mind to spark, which can give just enough space for a customer to decide they aren’t ready. People will drop off. Users dropping off may seem like a negative, but it’s a necessity for a well-performing form. It doesn’t matter how perfect you set customers up–people who aren’t ready, simply aren’t ready. Instead of forcing customers to be something they aren’t, a better option and spend for resources/time could be spent positioning ourselves to find a way to still be accessible as a brand when our fans decide they ARE ready. That’s where the highest success lies. By weeding people out and by causing friction, we simply clean out people not yet ready, which increases form match rate. We then position ourselves to better serve our fans who are ready now; better, faster, and more intentionally.
I want to emphasize the importance of this lesson and how it explains the best order in which to test/optimize our forms. How important iterating after a test can be to gain quick insights. One call-out that sparked an idea for our specific team is testing form step order, automatic location picks up, to avoid captchas if and when possible, and place a secure icon to ensure the customer’s data is indeed safe.
By using color theory and contrast psychology, we can strategically choose what our customers see, digest and feel, first. Each design element should have a strategic thought behind why we choose that color or placement. It should all go back to the question of what we want our customers to digest first, and what content journey answers their questions best. How can we use design to position ourselves to solve their problems? The same problems that they specifically came to us needing to be solved. Along with Hierarchy, above the fold content should be thought of as the most important aspect of what we want the customer to digest because it’s the portion of a web page that people see without having to scroll. Page length and choosing how long your web pages is another big portion of optimization.
Persuasive design is how we can persuade someone to take action without using any words. Gary Vaynerchuk’s reference and the book by Daniel Kahneman on the active brain, vs. the crocodile brain was powerful. Our brain has two settings. Things we digest and act on quickly using our fast brain. And things we digest using our slow brain (crocodile brain). Our customers utilize both when deciding to buy a product. By learning how the brain works, and how our customers digest our content can give us a clear path to follow on how to convert a new white space user to a life long customer.
Here’s the clear path;
5 principles of persuasive design:
Speed and Website Optimization:
If your site is slow, it won’t matter how great your content or message is. People won’t wait around for a slow site to load and therefore won’t ever be served the content. Slow website speed is the number one reason for a high bounce rate percentage. Google page speed and Pingdom Speed Test are two helpful tools to test your website page speed. Top metrics to look at:
Pair the above best practices with proper post-test analysis and you have a sure way to start making positive conversions and learning more about our customers. By adding best practices with data, at heat maps, bounce rates, all on a multi-experience level where the experiment lived….and that’s how we can then start adding intuition pulls with the data. By practicing empathy, showing we understand what customers are going through, then solving for a solution to being that problem is our job as the marketplace leader. There is an order in which to do this most successfully. Starts with the journey, and where the test lives. And a proper post-analysis of the test. A failed test is only a failure if we don’t learn anything from it. Which we have an opportunity to make that never be the case.