Research released this year shows the importance of the work done by marketers and IT professionals in driving prospects to your website and converting them into customers. A large number of studies as well as actual experience reveal a way to increase conversion rates and sales with those who visit your site. This method involves good marketing communication strategies and skillful IT work.
Commitment is the Key
Well over 1,000 studies by social scientists have established the fact that the commitments we make can actually change how we feel. One outstanding example was reported by renowned influence expert Robert Cialdini, PhD and his coauthors. Social psychologists Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser had a research assistant call a number of homeowners to ask them to participate in a remarkably intrusive survey. Here’s what he said:
The survey will involve five or six men from our staff coming into your home some morning for about 2 hours to enumerate and classify all the household products that you have. They will have to have full freedom in your house to go through the cupboards and storage places. Then all this information will be used in the writing of the reports for our public service publication, “The Guide.”
It’s incredible that anyone agreed to this marketing equivalent of a search warrant, but 22% actually did. But researchers got a far bigger response with a second group by using a different strategy. First, the assistant called representing “The Guide” and asked householders to answer a few questions about which products they preferred. Most agreed to participate. Three days later he called back asking them to consent to the “marketing search warrant.” Amazingly, 53% agreed!
An abundance of research has documented what psychologists now call The Foot-in-the-Door effect. If we make a small commitment to a cause or shopping alternative, we often tend to justify it by feeling a greater attraction to that cause or alternative.
This is a major reason why marketers are always told to include a call to action in every campaign. If it’s done right, answering such a call can increase prospective clients’ interest in your product or service. One example of this comes from the The Allied Group’s work in lead generation methods used by colleges. Quinnipiac University found that students who requested a customized brochure on their website, revealing their contact information and interests (a commitment), were 69% more likely to apply and some 50% more likely to enroll than similar prospects who had not. A few years ago, Franklin University found that a full 48% of adult learners (a much tougher audience) who requested an eBrochure with a similar commitment applied to the school. Typically, some 75-80% of adults who apply will enroll.
Commercial websites that help visitors easily find what they want make it more likely they will return. But those that ask for the right kind of commitment will increase the chances that they will buy.