• What Your Parents Taught You About Conversion Rate Optimization

    While we don’t often think of them that way, calls-to-action are actually commands. “Buy Now” and “Get Started Today” literally command your visitor to take the action you want. The examples above are even bold enough to include a time stipulation. Do this and do it now.

    But most people don’t like being commanded to do anything, particularly on the spot. This is  likely a major reason why ecommerce and lead generation sites suffer such poor conversion rates compared to their bricks and mortar counterparts.

    Is there anyone out there who wants to “Submit” or “Purchase”?

    How Your Parents Got You to Follow Commands

    Simple: they gave you a benefit that outweighed your reluctance to follow the command.

    They did so using two main techniques:

    1. Offer a Bribe – “You’ll get extra dessert if you finish your dinner.”
    2. Outline Negative Consequences – “If you don’t finish your dinner, you don’t get dessert.”

    Now back to the world of conversion rates.

    If you want to improve your CTA click-throughs, and your business, then spare no resource in using the techniques of your parents:


    Imagine the spike in your conversion rates if you offered a new car with every purchase. The best part is you probably wouldn’t have to deliver because you’d be out of business before you had to.

    Typical infomercials offer a primer on bribing customers to convert:

    1. Take this TV offer and we’ll double your purchase (inflated shipping charges not included, of course)
    2. Buy in the next 60 minutes and get the unique Pineapple Paring Shears for free

    Ideas for Bribing Your Customers: Offer a discount on future purchases; include a no-charge accessory or complementary product; give them free shipping (high shipping costs are the leading reason for abandoning shopping carts – Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics)

    Outline the Negative Consequences

    Stating the consequences of not taking your CTA can be a little more difficult to do than simple bribery because it usually requires more subtlety. But it can be more effective.

    3M Results

    A classic example of a subtle but effective use of consequences comes from Michelin’s “Because so much is riding on your tires.” advertising campaign. The imagery of a baby securely seated in a Michelin tire implied that, by not choosing Michelins, you were not putting your family’s safety first.
    Conversion Rate Optimization
    Ideas for Using Consequences to Improve Conversion Rates: Ecommerce marketing budgets seldom have the resources to develop a campaign as crafty as Michelin’s, but that doesn’t me that consequences can’t be used in even the smallest budgets. The “Limited Time Offer” means if the customer doesn’t buy now, the consequence will be higher prices later.

    Highlighting the popularity of a “best seller” can imply to the buyer that he or she will be outside of the norm if they choose another product.

    Please let us know of any cases of bribery or using negative consequences that have worked for you.

    stop CRO frustrations


    You can read our conversion rate optimization guide to learn more.

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