All posts by David Rosenfeld


Ethical Urgency: The Conversion Optimizer’s Secret Weapon

Read that tweet one more time. The desire we want to instill in customers and the value we want to assign our products: it all comes down to urgency.

But that’s nothing new. Urgency is one of the core conversion principles relied on by marketers for more than a century. Claude Hopkins was testing it in A/B tests since the 1800s. And it still works.

Bottom line, if you’re not leveraging urgency effectively, you should start now. It’s low-hanging fruit for lifting your conversion rates.

What is urgency?

There are several definitions of urgency. Let’s look at two:

definition of urgency

According to these definitions, urgency can be created in several ways. In particular:

  1. Urgency starts with importance.

Something can’t be urgent if it’s not important.

  1. Urgency deals with time.

Every play for urgency has a time limit. Act before that limit, and you get the goods. Procrastinate, and you lose. This is important because people tend to put off difficult decisions — and that, in itself, is a decision.

  1. Urgency deals with quantities.

Urgency results when people must act now (the time element) or lose something valuable. Your sales copy should raise the value of your product/service, then create a need to act now.

People are incredibly motivated by loss avoidance. By all means, use it.

How to put it to work

Here’s the good news. Urgency is a variable that your copywriters and designers can control to a high degree. Your sales copy, calls to action (CTAs), and images can all be used to create a sense of urgency. You simply need to decide on the tactics that fit your particular promotion.

To help, we’re going to review some of the top urgency plays available today, all of them capable of raising desire and driving action.

Ethical Urgency: The Conversion Optimizer’s Secret Weapon
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But first, let’s review the rules.

Rule 1: Use Genuine Urgency

Urgency can be either genuine or implied.

An offer that expires in 24 hours or so is genuine urgency. If you consumer does not take care of it NOW, they won’t be able to.

Implied urgency is where you use words such as now or today to hint to readers that they ought to take action sooner than later. There’s no genuine urgency, but the language used implies that there is.

Of these two types of urgency, real urgency is more effective than implied urgency since it is attached to something tangible — namely, a time deadline or limited quantity. To get your best results, only use implied urgency if you’ve no other option.

Rule 2: Handle with Care

Consumers can spot promotional urgency (read, fake urgency) from a mile way. How many stores have you noticed that have closing down sales, yet never actually close down? After a while, it becomes a joke, doesn’t it?

Continually using implied urgency without ever delivering is one surefire way to lose credibility. People will grow tired if you promising “50% off for 24 hours” every couple of days.

Why should they act now if the same conditions will arise in a day or two? Trust your value proposition to generate sales rather than habitually using urgency gimmicks.

Continually using implied urgency without ever delivering is one sure-fire way to lose credibility
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You need to approach urgency in a subtle manner. Consumers are too savvy to fall for obvious sales tricks.

Fortunately, you only need a dash of urgency for it be effective, and if you do it right, it will strengthen your brand and add value to the items you sell.

Here Are the Urgency Plays that Work Today

Remind customers of the pain of NOT buying (loss aversion)

As reported by the New York Times, people often buy products or service because they have a problem that’s causing them pain, and they want a solution that will bring about a desired result.

For nearly all people, pain is a greater motivator than pleasure. (Impending loss seems more devastating than the possibility of pleasure or benefits.)

Some tactics you could implement:

  1. Remind people of the discomfort of continuing to live with their pain or problem, and that it can be solved if they only take action.
  2. Remind them how embarrassing it is to have that pain or problem, and that it can be solved.
  3. Remind them about the future insecurity and consequences of not dealing with this pain or problem right now.
  4. Expose the un-confrontable issue most people have about this pain or problem.

You can remind them about these areas anywhere throughout your copy.

A good place to start is in your headline to instantly grab their attention and suck them into reading the next line… and then the next line… and then the next line… until they get to the ‘Add To Cart’ button and buy!

Example 1: Carphone Warehouse’s Site below makes an effective use of loss aversion to create a sense of urgency to entice users to make a purchase.


Example 2: Queen of Free makes effective use of loss aversion (image courtesy VWO)


Example 3: DC Finder implemented a loss aversion tactic to increase urgency and increased conversions by 68% over the former benefit-based copywriting.


Example 4: Terminix’s use of loss aversion is effective.


Raise customers’ fear of price increase

Since price is a major conversion influencer for most products, tactics that offer a reduced price for fast action can significantly increase conversion.

Nobody wants to feel like they were ripped off because they could’ve got the item cheaper, so this plays on a strong psychological chord.

Example: Fast growing Australian retailer Kogan, has created a price-bump model called LivePrice, where the price slowly creeps up every second.


How LivePrice works:

Use action words in CTA buttons

You can create a sense of urgency by using action words in your CTA like “Now,” “Today,” “Immediately,” “Instantly,” etc.

Leading marketers know how to gain followers and influence people through words. So do the best converting websites. According to Neil Patel, there are 12 time-related words that are known to increase conversions through urgency.

They are:

  • Now
  • Fast
  • Quick
  • Hurry
  • Rapidly
  • Close
  • Approaching
  • Never
  • Seconds
  • Again
  • Over
  • Instant

Example 1: Organizing for America (image courtesy Smashing Magazine)


Example 2:



Example 3:



Example 4:


Example 5: Demonstrates this idea of adding urgency to a call for action.


In this example, the “Buy Now” call-to-action button has “Intro Price” stamped over it, subtly suggesting that the longer the user waits to take action, the higher the risk of having to pay more later.

A few more tips for your CTA

Put your CTA at the top of the page

Move your call to action above the fold. If visitors can’t see your CTA, they won’t be able to take the conversion goal you wish them to take.

Repeat your CTA several times

If your page is long, repeat your CTA multiple times throughout your copy. Visitors should be able to take action at whatever point they make up their mind.

There’s actually a psychological reason for doing this: Studies have shown that the more often we’re exposed to a stimulus, the more appealing we find it.

By repeating your CTA, you allow decisive people to easily take action right away, and less decisive people to be exposed to the stimulus of your CTA multiple times. It’s a win-win.

Create scarcity

Pressure makes people act. If they think an item will soon become unavailable, they are more likely to buy it. This ‘limited availability’ tactic is driven by either deadlines or supplies, and works well either way.

People simply do not like loss, and are more likely to act excessively, even if they know they haven’t given the matter as much thought as they should. It’s better for them to do that than risk missing out altogether.

You can put limits on anything. As a business decision-maker, you have every right to do so.

If you are a consultant, this is easy. You only have so many hours in the day, so many slots for meetings, and so much energy to expend.


Similarly, if you sell physical products, you can easily run out.


Example: Notice the small print, “Only 500 available”


For digital products, you may need to create scarcity. To do that, you can make the item “rare” or difficult to achieve.

Position it as a rare opportunity

When something is rare, its value exponentially increases. You can leverage this by limiting access.

A coach, for example, may ask prospects to fill out a long form before being considered as a client. A consultant may ask prospects to read his book or manifesto. By restricting access to their services, they make their services seem more elite.

Or what about the webinar you attended because the expert said he would only present it once, and there would be no recording. You might have blown off the webinar if it wasn’t a one-time opportunity,

Example: With events, this is relatively easy, as you can see in this Anthony Robbins ‘Date With Destiny’ seminar, “Held only twice anywhere in the world this year!”


Free shipping

An E-tailing Group study revealed that unconditional free shipping is the #1 criteria for making a purchase (73% listed it as ‘critical’). In another study 93% of respondents indicated that free shipping on orders would encourage them to purchase more products.

This quote from Wharton professor David Bell sums up just how enticing free shipping is:

“For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10.”

Ironically, you could get higher conversions — even if you made the product more expensive — simply by offering free shipping.

Example: Free postage is offered just above the “Shop Now” button. Once customers have made the purchase decision, they typically want it in their hands ASAP.


Next day shipping

Offering ‘Same Day’ or ‘Next Day’ shipping will help you capitalize on this psychological trigger and thus increase conversions. Of course for digital products, you can emphasize how customer will gain immediate access to the product.



Explain the product won’t be FREE/CHEAP forever

By revealing the product will cost $XX-XXX in the not too distant future, it instantly adds tangible value but will motivate people to sign up or buy now to avoid paying more later.

Introductory offers

When you launch a new offer, new product, or a revised edition of an existing product, having some sort of discounted introductory offer for the first couple of days/weeks or for first-time users of the online e-commerce store can generate a spike in sales.



Use Promotions

When conversion rates have dropped due to slow-downs in the market, consider running a short promotion. Just be careful not to do this too often. If people believe you will reduce your prices soon, they won’t buy at your regular rates.



Use holiday promotions

Sometimes, all you need is a reason for the promotion. Holidays and major events definitely qualify. Since holiday seasons are short term, these promotions have built-in urgency.

If you haven’t been running holiday promotions, give it some thought. 55% of consumers say they expect retailers to use purchasing and behavioral data to offer relevant promotions, according to IBM’s Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report.



Use topical promotions

But you don’t have to wait for holidays. You can also strengthen your brand image by supporting relevant events (e.g., earth day).

What kind of topical events could work? Sporting events, special days/months, or birthday/anniversaries all make great reasons for a special promotion.

Example: Image Courtesy of PRLog


Show how much time left until offer expires

Use a ticking count script to show visitors exactly how much time there is left to take advantage of an offer.



If a user stands idle for 10 minutes on a page, there’s a high chance you’re losing them as a client. A way to bring them back is to create a pop-up offering a discount code (it can be minimal, such as 5% or $5 off)

Use promotional codes for unlogged idle users.

Automate follow-up

When you’re about to leave a website, an exit pop-up will appear asking if you’re sure you really want to leave – and will usually give you a special offer if you decide to stay. To see it in action, check out

Whilst this tactic does increase conversions, I don’t recommend it because it can damage your brand image by looking desperate in trying to close people on their first visit. After all, most people need to see the offer 7 times before they will buy.

A better strategy is to collect prospect contact details, and use an automated follow-up sequence. This will allow you to get more sales at full price, before resorting to price discounting late in the follow-up sequence. AdWords remarketing is another good strategy to remind prospects about your offer.

If anything, use an exit pop-up simply to collect visitors contact details — and let your follow up sequence take care of the selling.

Use testimonials to create social pressure

A study published in the Washington Post revealed that social proof is one of the most powerful ways to create urgency.

In the study, researchers examined the way in which signs could be used to persuade customers to use less energy in the summer months by relying on fans as opposed to air conditioning.

These are the four signs that were tested:

  • Sign #1: You can save $54 a month on your utilities bill
  • Sign #2: You can prevent the release of 262 pounds of greenhouse gasses each month
  • Sign #3: Be socially responsible — save energy
  • Sign #4: 77% of your neighbors are already using fans as a means of saving energy

The sign that performed best was number four, which was the one that relied on social proof to persuade.

In this instance, positive social proof was more effective than

  • saving money (sign one)
  • saving the environment (sign 2)
  • making responsible choices (sign three)

All three of these are positive behaviours, but none of them could match the power of peer influence.

This is hardly a revelation, and it ties in closely with this study concerning related pricing research on savings, and in particular a Wharton study that reveals that customers today often feel time is a much more precious commodity than money.

The bottom line is that positive social proof should be placed upon your most crucial landing and sales pages. Use social proof at the point at which your customers are close to completing a purchase.

Example: Image Courtesy of KissMetrics


Add micro-donations on checkout

To entice users to make purchase decision is to give more meaning to their action.

For example, you could donate $2 to a charity for each purchase. (Imagine adding a time limit to that offer. That could significantly impact people’s sense of urgency.)




This could also work for product or membership trials.  For example, you could donate $5 for each trial signup within a certain period.


Allow them to see their competition

Think Black Friday mayhem or an Ebay bidding war.

Once people realize that they are competing with other people for limited quantities of [something], their desire to win escalates. That translates into extreme urgency.

As an example, if you are looking to make a booking via, you’ll see red text telling you exactly how many people are checking out the same room, in real time.

You can learn more about this here.

image054 even gives you information about how many people are viewing properties in a particular city. A modal box pops opens and shows you your virtual competition/companions.


Urgency Drives Action

Urgency has almost a primal quality. It inspires an unreserved desire to act. As long as you act ethically, it’s foolish to ignore it when creating your promotions.

The key is to understand why people need your offer. How will it benefit them? What do they lose if they don’t act now?

Once you understand what’s at stake, you can select the best urgency tactic(s) for your promotion.

So what are you waiting for? Go back to that low-performing promotion and look for the urgency opportunity that awaits.

Do you leverage urgency in your promotions? What works best for you?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by David Rosenfeld.


Ethical Urgency: The Conversion Optimizer’s Secret Weapon


39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales

Many sites lose conversions due to unnecessary friction on their website.

Friction is defined by Marketing Experiments as “a psychological resistance to a given element in the sales or sign-up process.”


That’s a somewhat abstract definition. Put more concretely, friction frustrates potential customers and causes a decrease in revenues and conversions.

It’s important to note that the definition is widely contested. Optimizers aren’t uniform in their definition. Chris Goward puts it succinctly when he says,

‘…the word ‘friction’ for conversion optimization is unclear and confusing. It’s hard to tell what it really means. I think the underlying problems some refer to as friction are more related to Anxiety-causing elements, or perhaps lack of Clarity, or Distraction-producers…Maximizing the Clarity of your communication, reducing Distraction from peripheral messages and design, and eliminating Anxiety-causing elements can produce massive business improvements in your marketing.’

Oli Garnder of Unbounce says,

“the psychological resistance that your visitors experience when trying to complete an action. Friction is a conversion killer usually caused by unclear messaging, lack of information, or poor layout.”

In other words, if your landing page is—or is simply seen or perceived to be—too overwhelming to complete, you can be sure there’s too much friction on your page. Your landing page’s sole objective is to get someone to make a purchase, offer their information, or optin—then get out of the way.

Reducing friction means making it easy for visitors to take action.

4 Types of Friction

Visitors will experience friction in one of 4 ways:

Information Friction: Information that you omit or commit can bring about friction.

Complexity Friction: This type of friction is making things more complicated than they need to be. The more complexity, the higher your risk of friction.

Time Friction: Time is crucial when considering your conversion optimization. This deals with things such as speed or load time.

Visual Friction: There are many varieties of visual elements that can either bring about or reduce friction: font kerning, video placement, background patterns, button color.

In your efforts to reduce friction, you must be able to identify elements on your website that create friction in any of these 4 areas. Then come up with a plan for reducing that friction.

Of course, your solutions are merely hypotheses at this stage.

You must test to know whether your assumptions were correct. And don’t forget your Crazy Egg heatmaps. They can help you figure out whether the elements on your web pages generate the behavior you expect (e.g., Are people clicking on the button or on something else?).

Start with the 5-Second Test

When analyzing sites for unnecessary friction from a qualitative point of view for, I typically employ the 5-second test.

If your site doesn’t pass the “5-second test,” your site is likely to have friction and thus a high bounce rate.

So what’s the five-second test?

The “5-second test” involves showing your website to someone for 5 seconds. Once the 5 seconds are over, if they’re able tell you what the site’s about, then you’ve passed the test.

Alternatively, if they can’t clearly articulate what it is you do, your website fails the test. A typical problem, amongst others, with sites that fail the 5-second test is that there’s unnecessary friction on the site.

Hence, it’s clear that a site that passes this “5-second test” is more likely to generate higher conversions.

This article is all about making your site as friction-free as possible so it passes this test, and making it pleasant experience, so users come back again and again.

We’ve identified 39 common points of friction, giving you a great place to start your optimization efforts. Ready? Let’s dig in.

39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales
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1. Remove navigation and extra elements

Type of Friction: Complexity

Unnecessary navigation or any redundant elements on your site can cause friction for users, and thus distract them from the primary goal you have for them: making a purchase, opting in or subscribing.

Ideally, on every landing page you want to force the decision between 3 options:

  • Becoming a conversion
  • Looking for further information (but still remaining interested)
  • Providing their email, so you can contact them in the future

Removing the navigation bar clarifies the purpose of that webpage better, and makes it easier for visitors to focus on the task at hand.

Example: MECLAB’s Experiment for Online Retailer.


Removing the top navigation and side navigation allowed this retailer to see a 10% increase in checkout competitions.

You might do better to put non-necessary elements (say, a privacy policy or a cookies policy) in the footer or even in another page.

2. One CTA per page

Type of Friction: Visual

A general principle in conversion rate optimization is only having one call to action per page.

Ideally, you don’t want to want to give the visitor too many options creates overwhelm and often causes them to bounce.

Example: Netflix


3. Improve your pricing page (for multiple packages)

Type of Friction: Information

A poorly set-out pricing page can cause a serious decrease in sales. Here are several ways to improve the layout of various price points and features in order to reduce friction.

Make a comparison table for various features available across packages

Example 1:


Example 2: groupspaces


Show features that are available to all users

Example: groupspaces


Accent aspect of your product or service that matter most:

Users are usually interested in several things: what package is right for me? how much does it cost? can I cancel if I am not happy? and can I try it for free?

Example: See how approaches this:


4. Remove “wish list,” particularly if it’s a feature customers don’t need

Type of Friction: Information

When an online store does not sell commodity products (e.g., books or consumer electronics), it’s unlikely that offering a wish list will increase sales. It’s more likely that it will create a sense of “I can just come back later,” which usually doesn’t happen.

By removing the “wish list” function, the store can be more focused on sales, and there is no super-simple way for customers to postpone the purchase decision.

Reduce Friction: Don’t make it easy for customers to postpone purchase.
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5. Disable copy/paste or remove the “Retype e-mail address” field in signup forms

Type of Friction: Complexity

Some signup form contains a “Retype e-mail address” field. According to Smashing Magazine, “this allows for greater error, because it forces users to type more. They can’t see the characters they’re inputting, making it difficult to know whether they’re typing the right password each time.”

They recommend, instead, asking users to type their password in once, then allowing them to unmask the password to verify they typed it correctly.


6. Make “add to cart” button bigger

Type of Friction: Visual

The “add to cart” button should be the dominant button on the product page; your button should fluidly guide the user toward to the next step — clicking the ‘add to cart’ button.

Example: Betabrand (image courtesy of


Example 2:


7. Make the “view cart” link more prominent

Type of Friction: Visual

People are used to finding the shopping cart link at the top-right corner of the web page. So that’s where yours needs to be. Don’t try to be creative. This link reminds users that they’ve added a product to their basket.

Example 1: Amazon. Here’s the link they use in the top-right corner of their design.


Example 2: Flipkart


8. Add a prominent “checkout” link to all shop pages

Type of Friction: Visual

Visitors should have no trouble completing a purchase once they’re ready to check out.

As with the shopping cart, people are used to finding the link to the checkout process in the top-right corner. The link should be right next to the “shopping cart” link and should be perpetual in its visibility.

Example: Here’s how Kogan displays the checkout button. My only recommendation would be to test a brighter color.


9. Website Loading Speed & Conversions

Type of Friction: Time

Page Load Speed is an important part of conversion rate optimization. There are several formal studies that recognize this connection.

  • A study at Amazon showed a 1% decrease in sales for every 0.1 second decrease in response times. (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007)
  • According to studies by the Aberdeen Research Group, the average impact of a 1-second delay meant a 7% reduction in conversions.

Slow web pages are perceived as less credible (BJ Fogg) and quality. To reduce friction, your page load times should be below tolerable attention thresholds—ideally less than 3 seconds. Friction will be reduced, and you should enjoy higher conversion rates.

10. Break your paragraphs up into chunks containing no more than 3 lines per paragraph

Type of Friction: Visual

Readability studies show that on the internet, to ensure maximum comprehension and the appearance of simplicity, line lengths of 50-60 characters per line, or 500-600 pixels wide, are read faster & more consistently by visitors.

Also, people have a tendency to read through to completion when chunks of copy are broken up into segments of three lines.


  1. Break the current paragraphs up into chunks containing no more than 3 lines per paragraph.
  2. Implement copy that does not exceed 50-60 characters per line, or 500-600 pixels per line.

11. Put the relevant content on the left

Type of Friction: Visual

Since we read left to right, it makes sense to put relevant content on the left and less relevant content on the right or below the fold.

As you can see in this heatmap, most visitors attend to the upper left of the page. That’s where your most important messaging should go.


Google Golden Triangle by Amit Agarwal, on Flickr,

12. Make your competitive advantage clearer

Type of Friction: Information

Returning visitors are likely to be familiar with your brand. But what about new users? To get them engaged quickly, you need to help them understand what your website is about.

Your tagline takes care of this. Making the tagline (or the whole logo) bigger makes it easier for visitors to orient themselves.

Example: Carelogger increased their conversions 55% after changing their tagline from “affordable, easy-to-use web-based contact manager” to “the quickest & easiest way to organize your contacts.”


13. Make your logo clickable back to the home page

Type of Friction: Visual

It is usability standard that the logo in the upper left-hand corner of your website links to the home page. If visitors can’t navigate, they usually bounce.

Don’t make your users think. Make it easy for them to navigate your site.

14. Improve product customization process

Type of Friction: Information

The biggest challenge in selling online is that visitors can’t touch or try on the merchandise. Users are essentially ”in the dark.” Do everything you can to showcase the product visually.

Rather than just putting color boxes, include images of the product in all colors.



15. Offer instant gratification

Type of Friction: Information

Your customers are busy, so you can often reduce friction by offering instant gratification.

If you’re a retailer with more of a bricks-and-mortar presence, you can offer the convenience of ordering online with in-store pickup. Talk about the best of both worlds! Customers can eliminate the shipping period but avoid long lines at checkout.

Example: (courtesy


16. Show products in use

Type of Friction: Visual

By showing the products in use, it becomes easier for visitors to imagine using the products. Emphasize your product’s ease of use, beauty or the end result people will get, and place your image next to the call to action.

Example: Amazon


17. Make order history available for signed-in users only

Type of Friction: Information

Too much information is often distracting, which creates friction.

One way to avoid this is to require users to sign in before being able to see customer-only information such as the customer’s order history. It can be a part your customer drop-down menu when they sign in.

On a side note, this also encourages new customers to register with your site.

Example: see drop-down menu for signed in users on Amazon.


18. Provide the experience your customers want

Type of Friction: Information

Be “human,” not “corporate” when dealing with customers.

Create a “brand promise” that is completely customer-centric. Then publish it where customers can see it.




19. Add links to detailed product pages

Type of Friction: Visual

Sometimes people don’t buy because they need more information. If you rely on short product descriptions to do the selling, you may need to test dedicated product pages with longer descriptions, more images, and even testimonials.

Example: morgan


20. Make reviews a clickable link

Type of Friction: Visual

You may or may not show reviews on the product page. If you choose not to show them, make sure you make it easy to find them.



21. Make navigation menu simpler

Type of Friction: Complexity

Some navigation menus show so many options that the visitor is easily overwhelmed.

Example: Unidentified (courtesy Kissmetrics)


Rather than showing dozens of options, only show the top-level options to make the selection easier for the user.

Put your most important parent pages in your primary navigation bar. Other pages may be shown as child pages or linked to from other pages.

Example 1: Smith Brothers


Example 2: Sweat Vac


22. Increase font size to make the site more user-friendly

Type of Friction: Visual

The smallest font size you should ever use for text 12px. 14 pixels is often better. Anything smaller than that will make many visitors struggle to see the text.

Even the visitors who can read the current text without struggling will appreciate a larger font (without consciously noticing it).

Example: ran a CRO test for Numara Software testing font.


The test font (the variation) was larger and had increased line spacing. This simple font change reduced their bounce rate by 10%, dropped the exit rate by 19, and boosted the form conversion rate by 133%. No bad, don’t you think?!

Example 2: whoacceptsamex (image courtesy vwo).



Variation: with a 18 px font size, as opposed to 12 px.

This variation resulted in 32.68% more clicks. See the case study here.


23. Check the speed of the home page slider

Type of Friction: Visual

If you use a slider on your home page, you may be frustrating visitors. Don’t allow the slider to transition so quickly that it’s difficult to read. Allow enough time for visitors to read and click if interested.

But remember, using a slider at all is questionable. People get impatient waiting on sliders and are likely to skip over them. The slider also makes the page unfocused since there is no longer one clear primary message.

If you use a slider, test carefully to be sure they’re optimized for your users’ preferences.

24. Don’t use the same image for multiple products

Type of Friction: Visual

Using same pictures for different products can create a lot of confusion. Visitors typically “read” images before text. Seeing the same image will likely indicate that the message is being repeated as well.

Use different pictures to indicate different ideas and messages.

25. Remove vertical navigation

Type of Friction: Information

For some users, scrolling may cause friction. They want to be able to see immediately what the page is about. Removing vertical navigation allows more above-the-fold space to present your core message. It also makes the page look cleaner and more intuitive.


26. Avoid inconsistencies in your site’s design

Type of Friction: Visual

Inconsistencies make the site feel poorly maintained, which can cause questions about the overall believability of the information.

When the site’s design changes, it creates friction in the customer’s mind. It may be subtle, but any amount of friction can make people leave your site.

Use same overall design on your site’s design to provide a consistent experience across the website. Also ensure those your design is consistent across web, email, mobile devices, online chat.

Example: Jetblue’s Homepage (courtesy NNGroup)


Jetblue email:


Jetblue mobile site:


27. Make your checkout pages’ design similar to main site and don’t redirect checkout

Type of Friction: Visual

About 67% of the people who put a product in your shopping cart will change their mind during the checkout process.

One way to get more people to complete their purchase is to make the design of your checkout page similar to the main site. (Remember the previous point, that design changes create friction?)

Copy the design from the main site to the checkout pages with no sidebar and the navigation bar from the design.

In addition, don’t redirect the checkout page to a new URL. A URL like creates doubts about where you are taking them.

28. Remove optional, irrelevant or multiple calls to action

Type of Friction: Visual

A guiding principle in conversion rate optimization is to have only one call to action per page.

Make the primary button the only logical next step to take.

Website Conversion Tip: Make the primary button the only logical next step to take.
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29. Make your search bar larger

Type of Friction: Visual

One obvious source of friction is visitors’ inability to easily find what they’re looking for.

To help your visitors find the information or product they want, make your search bar more noticeable. You should offset your search bar with a different color from your site’s color scheme. It should also be more prominent.

Example: This is neatly accomplished in the search bar at theiconic, where the search bar is in the center of the navigation bar.


30. Use intuitive names for navigation tabs

Type of Friction: Information

If people can’t figure out your site, they leave. Period. So don’t be cute with your nav-bar tabs.

Can you figure out what this site is about?


Think about what visitors are used to seeing on websites—both in your industry and around the web in general.

If they’re used to seeing a particular word or phrase, it’s a good idea to use it on your site as well.

For example, many visitors are accustomed to seeing language relating to “Tour” or “How It Works,” when looking to explore more details about a site/product. That being the case, don’t call it “Wrks.”

31. Avoid too much white space in the page

Type of Friction: Visual

White space is good. But too much white space may be confusing.

Too much whitespace between the supporting content and your actionable area can bring about a sense of friction and cause users to see the call-to-action as a distinct and separate element, rather than a continuation for the text. Check this article out for more information.

32. Don’t ask people to see prices before they’ve seen the products

Type of Friction: Time

It is too early to start talking about prices on the home page. You should first let visitors explore the site, review their options and understand the benefits of your products. Only after the visitor wants the product should you start talking about buying (and prices).


33. But DO show your prices

Type of Friction: Information

To avoid people being scared off by your pricing, you may be tempted to hide it altogether. But when visitors don’t see your pricing schedule, they may lose trust.

If you don’t want to link to your prices from the navigation bar, at least put a link in the footer.

34. Allow forward and backward movement in checkout

Type of Friction: Complexity

In your shopping cart, the process  steps  at the top of the page should  also  function  as  navigational  links  for  the  checkout process. Customers often naturally expect to be taken back to the respective step when clicking it, in order to go back and edit previously entered data. (visual)


35. Make it easy to complete checkout

Type of Friction: Complexity

To avoid cart abandonment, make checkout as fast and easy as possible.

On your Cart Review page, put a “Proceed to Checkout” button above the product table as well as below. This will ensure that users will understand what to do next without having to scroll.

Example: Original


Variation: After (“Update” and “Checkout” buttons added)


36. Don’t be too aggressive in cross-selling

Type of Friction: Information

If you cross-sell in the cart, then at least place the extra products below the cart and primary button, and make the products as relevant to the cart’s content as possible


37. Simplify your contact form

Type of Friction: Complexity

Inputting information creates friction. So the longer your optin forms, the more friction you create. What is the least amount of information that still allows you to market effectively? Remove unnecessary fields to make the contact easier and more likely.

Current form:


Suggested form:


Example 2: Obama’s Online Campaign. Shortening the form led to an increase in donations of 5%.


38. Make trust seals prominent during checkout

Type of Friction: Information

Generally you want to place trust seals prominently on your purchase page.


39. Integrate email capture on your homepage as well

Type of Friction: Information

Visitors should not have to click to another page to be able to join your email list. Every additional page-load tends to create friction.

A two-step optin box (a lightbox that appear when a visitor clicks) or embedding the email opt-in form on the homepage itself eliminates extra steps.


Make your site as friction-free as possible

Our list, while relatively comprehensive, it’s by no means complete. The thing to remember is that any element on your website can create friction—and if they do, they likely reduce conversions.

If you want to improve your conversion rate (and who doesn’t?), you should constantly be evaluating your website for those elements.

Begin with the 5-second test. Then start hacking away at the points of friction we’ve listed here. It’s a sure bet that your conversion rate will improve as you do so.

What creates the most friction for you? Would you add anything to the list?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by David Rosenfeld.

The post 39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales


The Essential Guide to Trust in Marketing

Trust. It could easily be the least understood and the most essential element for increasing conversions and extracting the maximum value from your website.

Think about it.

You can offer the best product or service in the market. But if visitors don’t trust your site, they won’t buy. Put more bluntly, you’ll be the only person in the market who thinks you’re the best.

Once trust is established, however, everything changes. Engagement and conversion rates can skyrocket. Trust is the tipping point that can catapult your brand to the top of your market.

Trust is the tipping point that catapults your brand to the top.
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But trust is also one of the most intangible elements in your conversion optimization toolbox. What is it? And how do you know you’re generating it?

The Meaning of Trust

According to the D.M Rousseau, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University,

trust is

For those seeking to increase conversions, this basically means knowing (and testing) what page elements and content will create a customer decision journey that results in conversion — overshadowing any fear about you or your product.

But the question remains. How do you build trust in marketing?

Two-Step Methodology to Increasing Trust

The primary way of gaining trust is to EARN it by developing and nurturing a relationship with your customers or future prospects.

After you’ve done this, you can then work on INSPIRING trust with credibility indicators, design cues, testimonials, security assurances and whole myriad of other conversion rate tactics.

So trust is a two-step process. It depends on relationship first, and then on reminders that the relationship is valuable.

Earn and inspire trust through relationship and trust signals.
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To build relationship, depend on savvy content, social media and email marketing. To remind visitors that their relationship with you is valuable, keep reading.

What follows is an actionable list of 30 things you can do right now to increase trust — and hence conversions — on your site.

Let’s dig in.

1.   Be completely transparent with your audience

Traditional marketing was all about controlled messaging. Brands had defined and distinct boundaries, all placing the primary focus on the company itself. However, in today’s social environment, consumers are in control of the conversation.

Why is it important, you ask?

Nowadays, everything is in public view — both personal and corporate secrets. What’s worse, it can all be discovered with a few lines of code or a quick Google search. So if a company isn’t being honest, it’s just a matter of time till they’re unmasked.

Transparency refers to the quality of making something simply accessible. Transparency gets your brand attention, though with a unique twist, as we’ll see below.

Example 1: One great example is when Buffer revealed the pay structure of their entire company (all the way down to CEO!). This had the impact of increasing the popularity in their company (and also to an influx of resumes).

transparency for trust

Example 2: McDonald’s had been fighting with the rumor that some of its food was made from “pink slime.” To make matters worse, there were a whole bunch of photos on the internet attesting to this.

To fight this allegation, McDonald’s Canada published behind-the-scenes footage that documented the process of making their food. The result? Nearly 3 million views and being lauded for its increased transparency.

2.   Use testimonials, case studies, testimonial videos or endorsements

Include some sort of case study that shows the end result of using your product.

Testimonials are a great way to build trust and amplify desire on your website. They work on the principle of social proof. People will think: “If someone else has bought in the past and had a positive experience, there’s less chance that I’ll regret my purchase down the road.”

If you have a comment system or customer review section on your blog, use Facebook comments to improve the authenticity. Also, a live Twitter feed of people mentioning you is good.

Example 1: Search Engine Strategies did a great job of this at their SES San Jose function.

authenticity: customer reviews

Example 2: MailChimp’s Overheard on Twitter. (Note: This feature has now been taken off MailChimp site.)

MailChimp: overheard on Twitter

Example 3: A Testimonial for Hubspot


Example 4: Video Testimonial for Unbounce


3.   Showcase your current or past customers

By displaying well-known brands/organization names, you can create a level of trust for new and repeat users. Knowing that big brands trust you with their needs will make it easier on smaller businesses to make a decision.

This will show visitors that others have already bought your products and found them useful — and help them believe that you’ll deliver as promised.


Here’s an example from Crazy Egg listing big-name companies that use their heatmaps.

trust: customer logos

4.   Mention specific numbers

For someone first coming into contact with your platform and your brand, there’s no way to know how powerful your brand name is, unless you spell it out for them. Some hard numbers can help in this regard.

Example 1: Beachbody


specifics in marketing build trust

Example 2: Basecamp

specifics - basecamp

Example 3: Show that you’ve already had 5000+ customers

To add social proof, showcase that you’ve already had 5000+ customers. You could add a mention of it (e.g., ‘Over 5000 companies have already made the change’) on top of the logos of the past customers.

This would prove to new visitors that others have already changed their habits and made the transition into using your product or service.

specifics + social proof

5.   Provide no-brainer guarantees

It’s important to assume as much risk as possible to reduce the anxiety of your prospect and clear the path for a worry-free sale. Guarantees are usually the best way to do this.

Example 1:

Moz guarantee

Example 2: Zappos

zappos guarantee

6.   Implement a money-back guarantee

It has been shown by many of the most successful online retailers that the longer the money-back guarantee is, the greater the positive impact on conversion rate.

The heuristic is simple: Consumers are scared and nothing instills more confidence than asserting, “We’ll happily give you your money back if you’re not satisfied.”

For many eCommerce stores, the higher conversion rate this strategy yields far outweigh the cost of any increase in refund rates.

You could also consider offering a guarantee that’s based on results, but that works only if the customers can relatively easily measure the impact of your product or service. See the example of Hampton’s guarantees:

hampton guarantee

As an alternative, you can offer a money back guarantee if your product fails to meet certain conditions. Like Printingforless’ guarantees:

conditional guarantee

7.   Show your money-back guarantee more prominently

You offer a money-back guarantee, but it’s not shown anywhere on the site. Why?

A strong guarantee creates a lot of trust. It tells the visitor that you’re confident in your products and your ability to make them happy. It also assures customers that they won’t lose anything, even if they misunderstood something.

Example: Here’s how Kogan, a prominent ecommerce site, shows their 14-day money-back guarantee:

prominent guarantee

8.   Provide timely point of action assurances

It is right before clicking your call to action (CTA) that prospects’ anxiety levels start rising. Therefore, it’s up to you to reassure them that they are making a good decision.

Email sign-up reassurance

Under the email field, tell people you won’t spam them. Phrases like, “We hate spam as much as you do” or “We won’t spam you,” are fine, but they are getting pretty common and can stereotype you as just another sheep following the crowd.

Communicate your assurances using your unique brand voice — it’ll make you more authentic. And be sure to test your form with and without those assurances. They may not actually help your conversion rates.

Another idea is to incorporate a ‘NO SPAM’ shield like the one below.

Example: does this well:

assurances - mixergy

Order button re-assurance

Under your order button remind them of your guarantee and the core benefit (in as few words as possible).

Example: EasyJet

order button assurances

Registration page reassurance

Just because someone is on the registration page doesn’t mean they are not feeling any anxiety. Always reassure prospects that they are indeed making a good decision.

Example: Basecamp

registration page reassurance

9.   Go overboard with credibility indicators

Business awards

If you’ve won any business awards, don’t be afraid to tell people.

 image018 image019

credibility - awards

Industry regulations: Providing links to industry bodies shows you understand the regulations, and are one of the good guys.

Membership of industry associations

Include their logo and describe your involvement.

image021 image022


credibility - association memberships


If you’ve appeared in any popular media, have an ‘As Seen In’ area showing their logo and linking to that content.

"as seen in"

Active social media profiles

If you’re ACTIVE on social media, include links to them. If they are sitting there collecting digital dust, it’s probably not a good idea to add them as it looks like you don’t care.

It also diminishes your social proof. Why would you want to do that?

active in social media

Security and trust seals

If your brand isn’t widely recognized, most visitors won’t have full confidence in your security. By showing security seals (e.g. VeriSign) you’ll take away the visitors’ fear of losing their private information.

Other badges (e.g. industry association logos) show that you’re a trustworthy company that’s run by real people who take their business seriously enough to join an industry association.


Third-party trust seals give instant visual feedback to visitors on whether a website is credible, and safe. There are three types of trust seals:

  1. Security seals: They ensure your website is free from hacker attacks, and that under normal circumstances your customers are protected when transacting.

security seals

  1. Privacy seals: These seals verify that you have certain statements in your privacy policy that protect your customer.

privacy seals

  1. Business identity seals: These exist for customers to verify your business address, phone, and email, giving them peace of mind that you are who you say you are.

business identity seals

Trusted payment gateway logos

Displaying the VISA, MasterCard and PayPal logo serves several purposes:

  1. It has been shown to create trust.
  2. It gives the customer assurance that your online business has been around for quite some time.
  3. Answers an immediate question that’s on your customer’s mind: “Do they take my credit card?”
  4. When tested, it almost always improves conversion rate.


payment gateway logos

The PayPal Verified logo

Calling out the fact that your payment provider is PayPal. This can actually serve you as an additional credibility factor, if your PayPal account is eligible to use the “PayPal Verified” logo.

PayPal verified logo

This logo (pictured above), when placed on the site, can serve as a credibility symbol that makes your visitors feel more secure, and more comfortable about making a purchase from you.

10.  Replace generalities with specific language

In Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins states,

“To say that something is ‘the best in the world’ makes no impression whatever. That is an expected claim. The reader may not blame us for exaggeration, but we lose much of his respect. He naturally minimizes whatever else we may say.

On the other hand, when you state actual figures, definite facts, they accept them at par. Such definite statements are either facts or lies, and people do not expect that reputable people or concerns will lie.”

For example:

It’s better to say “takes 5 minutes to assemble” than “easy to assemble.”

It’s also better to say “developed by engineers at MIT” instead of “advanced engineering.”

By adding specific details, you can be more descriptive, present more useful information and, more importantly, look more credible.

11.  Tell them what you can’t do

When you tell a prospect what you can’t do, they’re more likely to believe you when you tell them what you can do.

Example: “The unfriendly doctor”

The headline here is quite eye catching:

You don’t want me to be your  family doctor.

Pretty brazen for a doctor. And attention getting. Having gained your attention, Dr Goodman explains,

“Neu­ro­surgery is one of the few med­ical spe­cial­ties for which I am well-suited. I am not warm and fuzzy. I could never be suc­cess­ful as a pedi­a­tri­cian or in a fam­ily prac­tice — no one would come back a sec­ond time. But I am very good at what I do.”

In fact, say­ing what he wasn’t allowed Dr. Good­man to stand out amidst the clut­ter and numerous doctors that are available for surgery.

unfriendly doctor

12.  Openly admit you are not the cheapest option

Educate consumers on what it means to buy the cheapest option in your market — and assure them that your product remains very competitive for what they get.

Admitting that other vendors are cheaper may seem counterintuitive, but a higher price tag positions your product as higher quality.

13.  Demonstrate your customer support by creating a knowledge base

Sometimes people don’t buy because they aren’t sure if they’ll get support after the purchase. To overcome this obstacle, show prospects how fast and easy it can be to get in touch with customer support.

Knowing that help is readily available if anything goes wrong, your customers may feel more confident taking action.

Example 1: Apple’s Knowledge Base is a great example of a trust-building knowledge base.

Apple's knowledge base

Example 2: Proposify’s knowledge base is another example.

Proposify's knowledge base

14.  Show ratings on the product

Ratings have been proven to increase trust. If you don’t post them on your website, prospects will search for them elsewhere. So why not put them on-site?

Example 1: Appliancesonline


Example 2:

ratings - Amazon

15.  Make decision-making easy

It may be as simple as adding a new category such as “Best-Rated Products.”

If you think about it, this is a no-brainer. It makes it easy for buyers who don’t like making decisions. And it demonstrates that you know your customers’ preferences.


top-rated products

16.  Invest in a professional design

There’s no denying that a professionally designed website can increase trust and credibility. While it may not be necessary to do a complete redesign, it is important to keep your website fresh and updated.

A site that looks old or outdated makes visitors believe you aren’t actively supporting customers. Or worse, makes them think you aren’t a legitimate business.

Example: Apple

clean website design

17.  Compile all trust-related links into one group in the footer

Putting all your trust-related pages in one widget or tab has a double function – highlighting that you want to give customers all the information they need, and creating a powerful bulleted list of sales points.

You have to admit, this looks compelling.


trust links

18.  Create an FAQ section at the bottom of product pages

Most people who are buying your products will have similar questions.

By answering those questions on the product page (rather than making them hunt for them), you not only overcome objections as they arise, you also create trust. After all, how can you have FAQs if you haven’t told the product frequently?

The questions could include:

  • “What if I have to cancel my order?”
  • “Can I change the order after I’ve made the payment?”
  • “What kind of guarantees do you offer?”
  • “How do the returns work?”


FAQs build trust

19.  Create promotional videos showing your products in action

Sell physical products? New customers may worry that your products are “flimsy.” Overcome this fear by creating videos that show how durable your products really are.

Here’s an example of how BlendTec has used promotional videos to prove its products’ durability:


20.  Add live chat

No one wants to do business with a company that isn’t actively supporting customers. Live chat shows visitors you are not only active, you have real people ready to help them right now. It also shows your dedication to customer service, so they are more confident to make a purchase.

But there’s a bonus for you.

Use a live chat tool for market research. What are your visitors’ most pressing questions? Your live chat operator can let you know — while also nudging visitors to purchase now.

The visitor insights you collect can help you find the elements on your website that aren’t working, the gaps in your sales presentation, and the messaging that will most likely attract and convert your ideal customers.


live chat

21.  Add an “As Featured In” section

When you see that a brand has been featured in mainstream media — particularly if that media is well-respected — it immediately shifts your perception. They go from “just another vendor” to “someone worth listening to.”

Think of it as social proof, on steriods.


"as featured in"

Michael Hyatt earns immediate credibility with such respected media as The New York Times and Forbes.

trust signals

22.  Provide valuable training for free

If you remember from the introduction, trust builds on relationship. Any trust-builder that also helps you develop relationship with your visitors is a no-brainer.

One way to do that is to create valuable training, available free in exchange for opt-in.

This is a great way to get visitors onto your email list so you can provide unique touches that build relationship and trust.

The training could be a recorded webinar you held on “How to Increase Activity in Your Community.”

valuable training

Or it could be a crash course that helps your visitors master a difficult topic.

free training

Then, through automated email follow-up, you can educate prospects about what you do, planting the seeds of why your product or service is the obvious choice for them.

23.  Keep your name in front of visitors

“The Rule of Seven” isn’t new. But few companies remember it. Essentially…

rule of 7

Now, the number seven isn’t cast in stone, but it is rare for people to sign up on their first visit.

If you’re not following up with your prospects, they may stumble onto your competitors and buy from them, or they may decide to “buy it later.” The trouble is, later generally means never.

To prevent this, you need to stay top-of-mind.

You can do this through Google AdWords remarketing, Facebook advertising, or simply by staying active in social media and email marketing.

Here are some examples of Facebook ads, reminding me that I visited their website recently.

retargeting - rule of 7

24.  Place social follow buttons/icons where they’re easy to see

You can take a subtle approach, placing social icons in your header.

social follow buttons

Or you can use the buttons provided by each social platform.

social follow buttons

The idea is to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to take that first step toward relationship while also conveying that you’re active and accessible in social media.

25.  Implement social sharing buttons on your Blog page.

Just as you want to make it easy for people to follow you, you also want to make it easy for people to share your content.

The easiest way to do that is to add floating social media sharing buttons to your blog. Like these


If you get a lot of shares, make sure to publish the numbers.

26.  Show how many people follow you on social media.

Here’s another place to show off your numbers. If you have a considerable number of followers, showcase it.

You can do this by using a Facebook “like” box that shows your real-time number of fans. At the same time, the box makes it easy to LIKE your page so you’ll get even more followers.


Social Media Examiner has this widget in their sidebar:

social proof

Mari Smith uses this. Notice she adds images of your friends who follow her, making it feel like you’re being excluded if you don’t follower her as well.

social proof

27.  Add images to your “About Us” page

People want to do business with people. So don’t be bashful. Add your and your employees’ headshots to the About Us page.

Let your personalities show. This enables people to get a taste of your company culture.

Example 1: GrooveHQ

about us page

Example 2: ESBQ

about us page

28.  Showcase that you’re a long-established company

People trust long-established companies more than new ones (assuming the long-established company doesn’t look dated or poorly maintained).

If you’ve been in the business for 50 years, say so. That’s an easy way to instill trust.

Example: BatesCarter

years in business

By the way, you could add a mention of this to the header or on the home page as well. That’s a smart PR move.

29.  Copyright notice in footer must be up-to-date.

Make sure your copyright notice is up-to-date. Format it as a range, your first year, hyphen, the current year (like this: 2003-2012) to show the length of time you’ve been in business — again, adding to your credibility.


copyright notice

30.  Show off your environment badges

image056 social responsibility

Whatever socially responsible thing you do, show it off. Today’s consumer want to do business with companies that care about the world and their community.

To promote your support (and get more people to like and trust your brand for it), you need to show them off elegantly.

We recommend you add the non-profits’ logos in your footer with a link to their respective pages for more information.

Whilst most visitors probably won’t be interested in clicking through and exploring further, simply seeing them will give them positive reassurance that being a customer of your brand will allow them to indirectly contribute to social causes.

This simple tweak makes visitors feel good about your brand, which often results in more sales more often.

How many trust elements are you using?

Today’s consumers are different. They’re looking for more than a service provider or seller. They’re looking for relationship and a unique brand experience.

But they’re most interested in working with brands they trust.

Your challenge is to become a trustworthy brand. You need to send signals, loud and clear, that communicate trust.

This is obvious when selling to people face to face. Less so online. But if you review the list above, you probably agree that the rules haven’t changed that much.

You must build trust in marketing your products.

You need to EARN it by being transparent and human. You also need to INSPIRE it by being credible. After that, it’s all about communicating your value without resorting to hype or manipulation.

Do that, and you’re nailing the trust thing. And you’ll likely be able to measure it in your bottom-line profits.

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The Essential Guide to Trust in Marketing