9 Ways to Increase Conversions

Posted on by Todd Terwillegar | Updated:
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There are a ton of articles that offer technical tips for conversion rate optimization. This is not one of them. This is how eCommerce store owners can increase conversions by simply caring about people.

The reality is you’ll improve conversions when you care more, and in better ways, for people. It’s about being human.

When you care more about your customers, they’ll buy more.

Remember the People

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the fact that people have problems they need to solve. It’s easy to be so focused on selling our expertise that we don’t focus on solving the problem.

If someone is hungry, they don’t want a course on how to fish. They just want some food.

Recognizing the real problem and helping people solve it isn’t about technical solutions or other optimizations. It’s simply being aware that we’re selling to humans.

Conversion is about caring for people that are on the other end of the screen.

What People Want

So it’s important to know what people want. But here’s the challenge:

People will tell you what they want, but what they want isn’t always what they are truly looking for.

If people visit a travel site and shop for plane tickets, you might think they want plane tickets. But that’s not exactly what they want. Maybe they want to visit family or are looking for a weekend getaway, or perhaps they have a business trip or need to attend a funeral. They may require plane tickets to do each of those things, but the plane tickets are not what they really want.

Understanding this subtle difference in motivation is key to caring more deeply about people.

And it can be pretty hard to do. An online checkout interface doesn’t understand that kind of nuance.

So it’s up to you to show care for your customers through your marketing and process. That’s why we came up with 9 great ways to care about people, and as a result of those actions, your store will increase conversions.

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Nine Ways to Increase Conversions

Here are nine ways to care more deeply about people and increase conversions as a result.

1. Sell the Destination

You should always sell the final destination and not the work that goes into it.

  • For travel: Sell the destination, not the seat on the plane.
  • For books: Sell the insight the book offers, don’t describe the book.
  • For mattresses: Sell a good night’s sleep, not how the mattress is made.

People don’t want to focus on the work. Care for them by helping them skip to the final destination.

This is part of understanding what people are really asking for. Yes, they need a seat on the plane and that’s what they’re asking for. But what they’re really asking for is a few days away from work on a sandy beach.

See the difference?

2. Eliminate Pain & Satisfy Deep Desires

More often than not, we try to go with the upside. But most of us are motivated by the downside. People have an aversion to loss.

Any time you can remove pain or difficulty, it’s a win.

There are a lot of online mattress companies that sell foam models they can ship to your house. It makes for fun unboxing videos of the expanding foam mattress, but there’s still the pain of disposing of your old mattress.

Smart companies offer a solution to that problem with a service that delivers and sets up the new mattress and carts off the old mattress. They make the entire experience seamless, eliminating the pain and hassle of finding, hiring, and coordinating a separate company to remove the old mattress. This is a powerful way to care for people because it’s so tangible.

You can also appeal to people’s deepest desires.

MasterClass offers educational videos taught by famous people. But in addition to buying access to a single course, they offer an all-access option. They’re tapping into the aspirational ambition to learn new things.

What better way to care for people than to help them improve?

3. Give Clarity on Value

You need to clearly define the value that’s being delivered. Too often we focus narrowly on the value of the product. But the broader value is often what’s more important.

  • For luxury goods: People pay for the status symbol. That’s what has real value.
  • For online courses: The value is often in collecting and curating the information. The knowledge itself is freely available online, but the real value is delivering a focused process.
  • For T-shirts: The value of a nerdy T-shirt isn’t the quality or comfort of the shirt, it’s associating with a tribe.
  • For a high-end shirt: A $100 shirt from Mizzen and Main isn’t worth the money because of the superior quality, materials, or fit, but because it never needs ironing and saves you time when you travel. You’re not paying $100 for a shirt—you’re paying $100 for the freedom to travel and not worry about a wrinkled shirt.

It’s important to communicate the real value up front. Make the first impression about that real value.

4. Sell Time Savings

If you sell savings, sell saving time over saving money.

People will pay to accelerate things, whether it’s Amazon’s shipping, skipping lines at Disney World, or MasterClass accelerating the learning process.

  • For software: Tracking mileage for tax purposes may save somebody a specific amount of money, but the time savings of doing it automatically is way more important.
  • For birthday parties: Parents don’t enjoy the loud noise or the subpar pizza at Chuck E. Cheese, but they’re easily sold on the time savings of an all-inclusive birthday party.
  • For hosting: The best hosts pitch getting your site up quickly—not necessarily a cheaper price.

Care about people by valuing their time.

5. Sell Your Community

If you can, sell more than your product. Sell your community.

Sometimes the community surrounding a product can be a powerful selling point. Knowing you’re not alone, that other folks have made the decision, that there are people who can answer questions, and that there are related products—these are all benefits of the community.

The WordPress community works that way. Often the strength of the community is more important than any specific feature.

Sometimes caring about people means it’s not all about you. Instead of endlessly touting your own features, talk up what the community is doing. It’s a win-win.

6. Don’t Try to Sell Everything at Once

Selling people everything at once is overwhelming. Too many options can create analysis paralysis. People walk away because it’s too much work to make a decision.

Don’t try to sell everything you offer all at once. Just sell the first thing.

It’s about building trust. If people trust you with one purchase, they’re more likely to trust you with a second, third, etc.

Make sure you have an introductory product and then scaffold your offerings. Once they buy that first thing, have something else they can buy. Continue to offer more things for people who keep coming back. Leverage the trust you build over time.

MasterClass does this with gift cards. They don’t offer it up front but make it available to members down the road. It’s an ideal way for them to tap into happy customers who want to share what they’ve learned.

7. Be Ridiculous With Your Guarantee

A guarantee is a good opportunity to show customers that you care. But for it to really work, it needs to be over-the-top impressive. Make it something so unbelievable that people have to pay attention and they’ll talk about it.

JanSport offers a lifetime guarantee on backpacks. You can return a backpack 20 years later and they’ll send you a new one.

One store offered a 120% money-back guarantee. Not only would you get your money back, but they’d give you more money.

These kinds of guarantees take away the anxiety people have over their choice. If they know they can return it with no strings or questions asked, it’s much easier to say yes. You’ve just made their decision easier.

8. Share Stories About Your Customers

Remember that we’re selling to humans. Humans like stories.

We like to hear stories, we like to see ourselves in stories, we like to tell stories. So your sales process should include stories about people using your product.

Make sure you’re collecting those stories and then using them.

JanSport should have some amazing stories with that backpack guarantee. They should be capturing and featuring those stories.

The Ritz Carlton hotel chain has a program where managers collect stories and send them to the main office. Every day the headquarters picks the best five stories and sends them out to managers, who share them with their team each day. They’re simply telling stories internally, but it still has a powerful impact. It inspires, equips, and empowers their employees to offer incredible service.

You can care about people by telling their stories.

9. Always Sell Multiple Options

When you give people options, you can shift the decision dynamics. Being able to compare options can help people make a better choice.

When you offer A, B, and C side by side, customers can see the differences and it informs their decision.

A classic example of a newspaper subscription model offered three choices:

  • Digital subscription for $59
  • Print subscription for $125
  • Print & digital subscription for $125

Most people bought the combo of print and digital. Very few people bought the print-only option. So why not remove it? They tried that, offering only two options—digital only and the print and digital together. The result? Most people bought the digital only.

The print-only option—which didn’t sell well by itself—made the print and digital option seem like an incredible value and more people bought it.

When you give people options, it’s a lot easier to say yes to something. Help people make better decisions by giving them options that point to the best choice.

Increase Conversions by Understanding People

All of this comes down to understanding the psychology of purchasing decisions. If you address the worries, concerns, and frustrations people have, you can remove roadblocks and close more sales. That’s good for the bottom line, but it’s also a good way to care for people.

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About the Author

Todd Terwillegar

Todd has been published with several global brands on the topics of marketing, SEO, and blogging, including Nexcess & Uberflip. You can follow Todd on LinkedIn.

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