This is part of my marketing cocaine series. Quick hitting tactics that I'm seeing from the front lines. Note: I write these posts stream-of-conscious with no editing (like cocaine!)
I've found that more often than not, small marketing wins are staring at you right in the face. An example of this is when my team at Kettle & Fire was tasked to determine how to optimize one of our direct response landing pages.
We were already sending boat loads of ad traffic to this landing page. The page was converting insanely well and hit all of our performance KPI's. In a series of earlier split tests, we focused our efforts on optimizing the offer tiers. We played around with the cart sizes, discount rates etc. and saw decent gains. But we were feening for a bigger win.
So we decided to take a page out of Robert Cialdini's playbook and social proof the hell out of the page.
If you aren't familiar with Cialidini's 6 principles of influence, here they are:
- reciprocity - people are obliged to give back to others the form of a behavior, gift, or service that they have received first.
- scarcity - people want more of those things they can have less of.
- authority - people follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.
- consistency - People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.
- liking - People prefer to say yes to those that they like.
- social proof - people will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.
Pretty straight forward stuff. But let's break it down further into an order of operations:
Step 1: the main goal involves cultivating a positive association, as people are more favorable to a communication if they are favorable to the communicator. Two principles of influence, reciprocity and liking, seem particularly appropriate to the task.
Step 2: Reducing uncertainty becomes a priority. A positive relationship with a communicator doesn’t ensure persuasive success. Before people are likely to change, they want to see any decision as wise. Under these circumstances, the principles of social proof and authority offer the best match.
Step 3: Motivating action is the main objective. That is, a well-liked friend might show me sufficient proof that experts recommend (and almost all my peers believe) that daily exercise is a good thing, but that might not be enough to get me to do it. The friend would do well to include in his appeal the principles of consistency and scarcity by reminding me of what I’ve said publicly in the past about the importance of my health and the unique enjoyments I would miss if I lost it. That’s the message that would most likely get me up in the morning and off to the gym.
So our goal was to layer in these core motives of influence on the landing page following the steps above.
The first step we took was to list out all the levers we had at our disposal for each principle. I won't go line by line but here's an overview of our brainstorming process.
- Use testimonials specific to the customer avatar we're targeting
- Product reviews with photos and five stars
- Social media reviews - screenshot IG and facebook
- Trust Icons - accepted credit cards, paypal, norton security badge etc
- Data points - # of cartons sold, # of five-star reviews, satisfaction rating
- Press mentions
- Activity social proof - how frequently orders are made on our site, notifications
- Recommendations from authoritative figures - In our case, wellness and nutrition experts
- Our production and qualitative process
- Lean into nutritional callouts - paleo, keto, certified gluten free
- Limited quantities available - This was actually true during the time period
- Limited time special offer
- Leverage 3rd party domain information - We knew at the time from our grocery contacts that there was a surge in demand for storable foods at the time
- Note that there were no shipping delays currently
- Incorporate our founding story, include photos
- Talk in terms of their interests
- Congratulate folks on visiting the landing page and taking action
For consistency and reciprocity we kept a few things in mind when build the landing page:
- labeling technique - involves assigning a trait, attitude, belief, or other label to a person, and then making a request of that person consistent with that label.
- Get people to agree to small requests that are aligned with their beliefs
- Make favor doing "no strings attached" - Tell our visitors they're already getting free ebooks or whatever when they order
Now that we laid out all the info, our team moved forward with collecting the assets. This included pulling selected product reviews, UGC, expert testimonials etc.
To showcase the changes we made, I'll do a before and after on each section with comments.
Changes We Made:
- Added 1.4 million customers data point in main navigation
- Added "we are back in stock with free delivery" callout
- Added satisfaction rating after our 20k review callout
- Changed vague "Customers Love Kettle & Fire" to "A Product Is Sold Every 46 seconds
The hero section already had decent persuasive elements, we just loaded up on social proof to twist the knife.
Changes We Made:
- Added founding story section with pretty photo of co-founders
- Added PR callout section with selected quotes from each article
- Added health expert recommendation section
Note: Not pictured here is an additional social proof section, see below:
Aside from the obvious social proofing, we added the founding story section to fulfill the "liking" principle.
What influences liking you ask?
- Physical attractiveness - Attractive people have an easier time persuading others.
- Similarity - We like people who are like us.
- Familiarity with someone (based on last name, appearance, etc.) plays a role in our decision making.
- Talk in terms of other people's interests
Not to get all gushy, but our co-founders do resemble the epitome of good health - young, fit, good looks etc. We also tied in the personal story with their mom to evoke feelings of similarity. And since people consider buying our stuff for the health benefits, we made sure to talk in terms of their interests by going over our quality standards (which also applies to the authority principle).
Changes We Made:
- Added 2nd Press Mention Callout Section
- Added "Your Kit Includes..." Section underneath offer tiers
- Added Facebook reviews next to existing 5-star product reviews
For the most part, a lot of the persuasion elements we had already baked in prior to the new version:
- The money back guarantee (which is cut off from the 'after' screenshot) fulfills the no-strings attached reciprocity principle.
- We had already added elements of scarcity in the offer headline and supporting copy.
- Trust badge icons underneath each pricing tier was a no brainer
So it was just a matter of proofing this a bit more to really drive the offer home.
We ran this split test for a few days to get statistical significance. The results were astounding:
A few notes:
- this was a very high ticket offer so CVR expectations weren't super high. During this time period, our CPM's were dirt cheap so even our control CVR was blowing out our ROAS targets
- While the before screenshot showed a different offer tier setup, this split test ran to identical offer tiers
Overall, the cialdini version of the landing page mopped the floor on all our landing page metrics. Win, win, win win.
- Invest resources into systemizing all your social proof so it's easy to reference and incorporate into your landing pages
- ALWAYS be on the lookout for opportunities to leverage persuasion principles. This was all low hanging fruit that didn't require any dev work or massive changes to our current landing page design.
- Lean into qualitative feedback loops for additional gainz - We typically run a simple Hotjar feedback poll asking folks what the #1 reason for them not purchasing. We then review the common responses and bake those learnings into our page iterations.
- If you don't have any social proof, figure out how to get it. Assuming you have product/market fit, it's relatively easy to incentivize your customers to leave reviews, give testimonials etc.
I'll walk through the entire campaign concept in a separate post since there were a lot of learnings there (hint: this campaign broke monthly sales records). But for now, take action and "cialdinize" your landing pages. I guarantee you'll see improved results.