Optimizing Your Landing Page to Compensate for the Paradox of Choice
There is a psychological phenomenon that, when you leverage it, can produce outstanding improvements in the conversion rates for your landing pages. However in order to use it effectively, first you must understand how it works:
The Paradox of Choice reveals that humans who are confronted with too many options become paralyzed and are unable to make a decision. In the book that the phenomenon draws its name from, author Barry Schwartz (check out the video at the end for his TEDTalk on the Paradox of Choice) reveals that having too many choices is a problem for us because of indecision and buyer’s remorse. Simply put, the more choices you have, the more you worry about regretting your decision before you even make it. And the more options there are, the more you will worry about whether or not you are going to make the right purchase.
We’ve all been there. Do I buy the one that’s the most expensive but has the best features? Do I buy the one that’s cheaper but by an unknown company? Do I get the one that doesn’t have all the features I want but is made by the brand I trust? Plagued by these questions, we constantly go around in circles until we either give up and walk away or give in and buy whatever choice our impulse lands on at the moment when our patience finally caves in.
The most famous example of this is from a study by researchers from Columbia and Stanford, who set up a table at a food store and offered customers the ability to taste a variety of different jams and then gave them a coupon for $1.00 off. Half of the time they put 6 flavors of jam on the table, the other half of the time they put 24 flavors. The result? For the table with six options, 30% of the customers went on to purchase a jar. For the table with 24? Just 3% went on to purchase!
Adding more options reduced the purchase rate in the experiment by 90%!
So if more choices mean a lower conversion rate, why is there still so much stuff on your landing page? Like the grocery store study, sometimes all you have to do to increase your conversion rate is get rid of the distractions. Here are just some of the ways you can accomplish this:
- Remove your navigation bar: This should seem obvious to you now, but if you want people to complete the call to action on your landing page, don’t make it easy for them to leave the page! If they don’t have the link to your FAQ staring them in the face, making them wonder whether or not they missed something or if they should do more research before buying, then they’re more likely to do what your landing page intends for them to do instead. If you don’t want to trap people on your page by taking away all of the links, then include a single link that allows them to go back to your home page or another page that makes more sense instead.
- Only one call to action per page: Now that you know people have a hard time making decisions if they’re confronted with too many options, it’s your responsibility to make sure that they never have to choose. This means that there can only be one call to action per page, because if you ask people to do more than that almost all of them will either pick one and not the others, or worse won’t be able to make up their mind and will decide not to do any of them.
- Make sure the call to action is clear: This is not just about the language, but also the layout of the page. The action you want the visitor to take should by far be the largest element on the page, and if you followed the advice in the previous two bullets there shouldn’t be much, if anything, for visitors to do besides following your call to action. However, if you must have other things on the page that are not directly leading the visitor to executing your call to action, make sure that they are in out-of-the-way and even somewhat inconvenient locations.
- Provide a shortcut to the checkout page (Advanced): If your landing page has a lot of copy, and you’re positive that the length is both necessary and effective, then you need to provide a way for users to skip the long sales page and go right to making a purchase. First, this is an advanced tactic because most of the time a long sales page isn’t necessary, and in fact will hurt your conversions, so make sure you test whether or not it’s really helping you before you keep it. If it is, then make sure you have a buy button at the top of the page as well as the bottom, because chances are there will be people coming to buy your product who have already made up their mind that they want to purchase, and forcing them to scroll all the way to the bottom of your page will only make them annoyed and more likely to change their mind.
Have you improved your page’s conversion rate by removing distractions? If so help out your fellow online business owners and share what you did in the comments!
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