Higher Landing Page Conversions: Paradox of Choice

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Last week we talked about a simple problem with many landing pages: too many choices. It’s simple: despite what people think, that more choices are better, it generally proves to be completely incorrect.  Noted Psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote this in his book “The Paradox of Choice.” According to most economic situations, the Paradox of Choice basically says that at a certain point that too many choices is counterproductive. In direct response however, I believe that we need to take this to a totally different level and completely remove any choices in landing pages.

In Performance Based Marketing the idea is to drive a customer to a product and get them to buy that product immediately. There are no extra points given to how many people view your page and think about it, just on conversion rates. The payment is simple, as we all know: the more people who sign up or buy the product, the more money that is made. We only care about that conversion, that is the golden goose, that is the end-game.

However, when you drive a user to the website, and there is a “choice” often it will result in the user having to think about the product, have to consider if they really want the product.   This is especially important in PPC and email campaigns, where the person has already “made the choice” of clicking on the advertisement to get to that page. They are interested in the product, you’ve already done the hard part of sending them there, the next step is getting them to buy. If you give them another choice, they are going to question their initial choice of actually clicking on the advertisement.

For example, if you created an advertisement that said “Get a $5 Large Pizza” but then then landing page has a choice of 5 other pizzas of higher values, you’d think that perhaps people would say “hey, those are good deals too.” However, the very fact that you are presenting them with higher prices might make them reconsider the initial buy and they would go “Hmm.. maybe I want something else, maybe not a Pizza” while considering their buy.  If you want to sell something more expensive, you do the upsell after they have already bought the pizza and started the order. It’s simple, they start the order for the $5 Cheese pizza, start entering their info, then you offer them the additional choices of “perhaps you’d like for $1 more some Extra Cheese” or a “Coke for $2.50.”

In Education PPC campaigns, this actually is one of the biggest mistakes on conversions. I’ve cut and paste below two EDU PPC campaigns, both for criminal justice. One of them does much better, because of the lack of choice. The person has already chosen that they are interested in Criminal Justice, but for some reason one of the online universities thinks that it better for them to give them an additional choice. They feel incorrectly that “perhaps there are people who might want a different degree.” Maybe a small percentage will look over it and decide that they really want to go to nursing, but the vast majority were looking for criminal justice school because they were sincerely interested or were thinking about it as a possibility. The school might have created doubt in their mind that this was a good opportunity, because there are so many options and their next step may very well be to search for something else.

Next week I will bring up “fake choices” — where you basically make the user think they may have choices but really are only given them one choice. It may seem the opposite of what we just talked about, but its basically the same.

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