Why Reducing Friction and Increasing Motivation are the Holy Grail – Conversion Sweetspot-Series
As an optimizer you can roughly categorize you optimization tools into two categories. Reduce Friction or Increase Motivation (Persuasion). These concepts are the Hammer and Screwdriver of Optimization. Most marketing tactics fall into one, the other or both. Learning to recognize and use these concepts will alloow you to keep users in their happy flow. Which will directly translate into more and ….. more satisfied customers.
Should I finish this gruesome form?
An example: if you are caught in a terrible online process you will probably want to give up trying to finish the process and switch to the other supplier. Too much Friction. Reducing friction is what should be central in your Optimization strategy. A site that has a fluent customer journey, offers the correct payment methods or even payment afterwards will have you finishing an order almost mindlessly.
Your Customers Flow is your company’s Sweet Spot.
If you are into Persuasion you will probably know about Brain System 1 and System 2.
Your System one:
Your prehistoric reptile brain (instinctive fast brain). It contains really fast, instinctive and superficial behaviour, split second descicions; A tiger!!!! Flight (or fight if you are the very optimistic kind).
Your System two
Your Rational, slow, calculating brain. Now compare the fight or flight decision with ‘calculate the square root of 441.’ Quick! Okay so that is definitely the kind question that requires waking up your rational System 2. Some slow and calculating brainpower.
Keeping the visitor subdued in that eeeeasy flow
A great website which makes deciding and navigation easy keeps you in your FLOW, in your system one. Doubts and thing that do not flow awake system 2. The downside of that………
Once it is awake it might also think Rational about the stuff you were thoughtlessly buying in your flow. Asking tough questions like:
Can I return this?
Should I look for a better price?
Is this a good product?
Can I afford this now?
When questions like that are being asked is when your conversion starts dropping! This is the reasons Persuasive websites have answers to all these tough questions sprinkled across the page ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP’s) Unique is m not meant as ‘unique as a Picasso or a unique as aVan Gogh’. But it does mean that the offer: Product, Conditions, Context (trust) ease of ordering, speed of delivery, opt out after delivery’ should consitute an offer that no competitor matches. These USP’s are usually found near where your eyes naturally rest on the page. And that is no coincedence. With some green check marks in front of them. Also nop coincedence. Look at Booking.coms ‘Best price’, Free cancellation, 100’s of reviews per room, your credit card won’t be charged, pay when you stay etc.
Truth be told
To be honest, if you have something exclusive (say much wanted Jay-z & Beyonce tickets) it doesn’t matter if you have Zero Flow and a lot of Friction. So there is a big difference if the gruesome form, on the slow website, is for the last affordable Rental car you really need….. or if there are 5 companies in that airport offering similar cars at similar prices. Then you will be on to the next companies website in seconds!
Yes, it pays to reduce friction and to keep users in their flow! And certainly your conversion won’t be hurt by some Persuasion. To act like the carrot on the stick. To get your visitors System One lulled into sleep. Having said all this; this is why Steve Krug’s ‘Don’t make me think’ and Nir Eyal’s ‘Hooked’ could be the best titles ever thought up for a marketing book. Though if I could take only one marketing book to a desert island it would definitely be Khanemans ‘Thinking fast and Slow’. A follow up article will dig into how to measure Friction with the Customer Effort Score and off course, on how to improve it.