This is the fourth in a series of articles on growth hacking, which I'm going deep into with a minidegree in Growth Marketing from the CXL Institute. Read more: What is growth hacking? | How to run a successful growth marketing experiment in six steps | How to identify the best channels for your next growth marketing campaign.
When it comes to conversion optimization, and marketing in general, clarity is everything. We have to be clear about what we're selling and for whom, as well as what that specific segment will get from our product/service. And it's not just the features they'll get, it's the benefits delivered and the emotions felt.
Everything we do should be filtered through that lens: the call-to-action, the web copy, should all be centered on the customer. Here's one approach to getting into the mind of your customer for effective engagement: address their fears, doubts and uncertainties in your user experience and give them what matters when they need to hear it most.
As we research ways to improve our website and thus optimize conversion, we must address the fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUD) of our customers. These are powerful feelings that can lead people to act, to pull away, to leave your site, or to tell friends about your brand. These are the types of feelings that can make or break your brand building and product marketing.
Because let's be real: No one really cares about your product.
At least, not about its features. They care about how they've offered product makes them feel, solves their problems, eliminates a worry.
We're all inundated with so much noise these days, but everyone is looking for a reason to say no. Simply listing out a bunch of features isn't going to cut it. We need every page on your website, every message, to give people a reason to say yes. To click, to buy, to share their email.
That's what the FUD is up!
Fear is one of the most powerful human motivators. It's kind of an on/off, yes/no thing. It can trigger action and encourage retreat. The same situation could likely result in two different options for different people. Fear is incredibly personal -- and so if you can relate to your customer by acknowledging and addressing their fears, you have a chance at a deeper emotional connection that lasts.
To really understand the fears of your target customers, you need to get out there and talk to them. You have to ask them directly and gain a thorough understanding of the major human motivator and the ways it both positively and negatively impacts them. Then, armed with that understanding, you can develop a brand story (and down the funnel, with direct response copy and advertising) that talks directly to your audience in an honest and real way. In a way that shows them that you get them and that we're all in this together.
"A series of product attributes it's not the same thing as a good story. To cut through and be remembered, you must extract from those attributes a narrative that exceeds the sum of its parts. "
Andrew Essex, Fast Company
You also need to ask them directly for feedback, as close to the action as possible, So you can begin to understand why they react in a particular manner. The main example of this and growth marketing is "click fear." This is a behavior in which someone on the website doesn't want to quick such as submitting a form because they don't know what will happen once they click. They fear the unkown and so they don't click and leave. You've lost a potential conversion.
To prevent that, it can be as simple as running a single question survey on that page to ask them "why" they're leaving. The pop-up could say: "Anything holding you back from buying right now?" Gaining that knowledge from a direct ask can help you streamline your user experience and identify friction that reduces conversion.
Uncertainties are a little less powerful than fear but are nonetheless important to understand. While fear can force an immediate reaction, uncertainties simmer for longer periods of times. Uncertainties are also mostly related to external factors, and are a more focused way that consumers find a "reason to say no" when considering a product.
Uncertainty can be things such as whether or not this product will last a long time or if there's enough money in the bank account to justify that expense. It can also be questions around product fit, like whether or not this is the right product for a specific circumstance. Or whether this is a good deal or not.
There are far more levers for brands to control uncertainty than fear or doubt. That's because uncertainty is more linear, a scale that can be moved in one direction or the other. You can actively write copy and create a user experience that reduces uncertainty.
Whereas uncertainties mostly relate to external factors, doubts correlate more closely with internal narratives in each customer. Doubts can linger and are more insidious to the mental state. Fear might drive you to action and uncertainty may cause you to waver (or make a deicison one way or another) but doubt can break you apart or paralyze you.
Doubt is much more insidious than fear or uncertainty because it's tough to measure. It's tough to predict. And it's one of the most challenging human emotions.
As a brand marketer, you must really try to avoid letting doubts creep in -- and address existing doubts that are barriers to conversion.
For instance, a doubt around a product like a new treadmill could be, "I'm too lazy there's no way that I'm going to use this." That type of doubt is a steep hurdle for a brand because you need to deliver messaging, consistently and across pages, that allays this doubt.
And whatever you do, never write copy that adds in a doubt that your customer didn't have before. You can really paralyze your customer with poor copy that doesn't resonate with target segments!
We know it's a bit challenging to understand the nuances between fear, uncertainty and doubt. And that's OK. The psychology of selling is a messy human thing. You've just got to keep it top-of-mind as you craft a user experience that addresses FUD effectively.
Remember that FUD evolves with time and isn't static. You'll always want to revisit your customer research to maintain a current view. The way you address FUD can also change throughout the user experience to address how mindset shifts across the buyer's journey.
So when evaluating your website and brainstorming growth marketing experiments, keep the FUD top of mind. The better you can dial each page -- and each call to action -- into a specific FUD, you'll improve your conversions while nurturing long-term relationships.