What happens when you have plenty of sales opportunities—but no sales?
If you’ve noticed a high bounce rate on your landing pages, there may be plenty of elements to blame. But it may come down to one simple factor: you aren’t being persuasive enough. Here are some ways you can boost your persuasion and immediately make your landing pages more engaging:
Persuasion Technique #1: Reciprocation
Remember the “Double Date” episode of The Office, in which Dwight attempts to bring his colleagues bagels to get them to owe him a favor? His plans are thwarted when Andy “Do Not Test My Politeness” Bernard reciprocates every favor immediately.
That’s essentially what’s going on here. In Robert Cialdini’s seminal work on persuasion, Influence, he wrote about the power of reciprocation. Essentially, human beings don’t like feeling indebted to anyone very long. That’s one reason that personal loans can often ruin personal relationships. And it’s one reason that it’s the “oldest trick in the book” when it comes to online marketing in the 21st century.
Essentially, a business will grant you a favor for nothing. That might come in the form of a promotional code, a coupon, a free download—whatever you like. The smart companies make sure that this personal favor doesn’t cost them very much. If they can repeat it easily, they have a solid hook.
This creates a sense of “debt” and trustworthiness. After all, a company just gave you something for free. What are you going to do, ignore their sales pitch? Ignore their newsletter? Ignore that bright, attractive call to action button at the bottom of the page?
Reciprocation doesn’t have to be under-handed to be effective. You don’t even have to ask for your potential customers to return the favor. You simply have to give them something of value. This will accomplish a few things:
- It will create trust. When someone gives you something without requesting anything in return, what’s your first instinct? Sure, you may suspect they want something from you—but if you find out that there’s no obligation on your end, you’ll end up more likely to trust them.
- It will attest to a company’s value. If a company gives something of value away for free and it’s a high-quality product, the customer is left to only imagine what happens when they end up paying for it.
Persuasion Technique #2: Trust and Authority
When you walk into your lawyer’s office, you don’t want to find out that they wear sweat pants and munch Cheetos at their desk. You don’t want their walls to be bare of diplomas and accomplishments. You want their bookcases full of important-looking legal cases and historical insights, not magazines and spy novels.
This gets back to one of the core elements of a high-quality landing page: trust. In another word, authority. Do you trust the landing page you’re reading, and if so, why?
As it turns out, trust can be rather complicated, which is why it’s important to remember a few elements on your landing pages:
- Brand consistency. Brand consistency goes back to professionalism. Do you look like a website of a business they might want to buy from? Are the colors in your logo the same as the colors on your packaging? On your website? There’s a reason most of us are happy to drive in to any McDonald’s with a relatively high amount of trust; we’ve seen those golden arches again and again. Brand consistency helps create and foster trust.
- Authority. Remember our example of the unkempt lawyer? Even if they were talented at the law, you’d have no way of knowing it. However, if you were to walk into a lawyer’s office and found that they had a clean desk, plenty of appropriate books, and well-framed diplomas on the wall, you would have some direct evidence that you can engage their services and find the process well worth it. It’s the same with landing pages. Don’t hide your contact information or your social media. Instead, give your overall page the authority of a company that knows what it’s doing. Add terms and conditions, a contact page, and customer testimonials to help boost authority.
- Professionalism. It’s true; there are persuasive writers out there who understand how to make sales even if they rely on the most gimmicky-yet-effective tactics out there. But you don’t have to do this to be persuasive. Professionalism also builds trust. Don’t be afraid to avoid the gimmicks and stick to your professional tone. You can always weave in other persuasive elements without using capital letters to GET THEM TO BUY RIGHT NOW!
Persuasion Technique #3: Attention
According to Unbounce, you have about five seconds to earn someone’s attention.
Five seconds. That’s it.
In Steve Martin’s online course on comedy, he lamented over the fact that so many comedians waste their first lines with questions about how the audience is doing, or shout outs to the location venue. The first line, Martin argued, is a precious resource, never to be wasted.
The same is true in writing landing pages. What are you doing to gain attention?
Are you showing your prospects that you’re going to address their need?
Are you starting off with an attention-grabbing headline that’s sure to interrupt the rest of their internet surfing?
Are you writing anything worthy of giving you another five seconds of customer attention?
If not, now’s the time to re-think the way you begin your landing pages. With the right amount of attention, you won’t necessarily make the sale, but you’ll have done of the most important things any landing pages can do: rent some temporary real estate inside the mind of its potential customer.
If you do that, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to use the other techniques you’ve seen in this article. If you fail to do it, you’ll be left wondering why you can drive so much traffic to a landing page—only to see so many potential customers bounce away.