As the world economy will ultimately arise from the pandemic shutdown much like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we’ll enter a world that will likely be very different from that we knew just a couple months ago. The shift in attitudes, behaviors and priorities may have profound impacts on how organizations can effectively market their products and services.
Despite the eventual opening up of the economy, the lasting emotional effects of this event will leave many feeling higher levels of anxiety, skepticism, and uncertainty, with a greater emphasis placed on feeling safe.
To some extent, collectively we may have fallen down a couple levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy, where, at least temporarily, any needs above the “Safety Needs” section are no longer a high priority.
In light of this massive change in attitudes and mindset, here are a dozen conversion optimization tips to keep in mind:
- Place increased emphasis on trust and credibility via visual (professional looking site), industry (displaying industry membership logos and/or awards), social (testimonials, reviews, 3rd party endorsements), longevity (number of years in business, number of clients or number of products sold), transactional (“no-spam” messaging on forms, transactional trust logos on checkout pages) and performance (slow loading sites will reduce trust and conversion).
- Remember that in tough times, people want to feel good. It’s been shown that the most popular movies during difficult periods are the “feel-good” movies. Test re-engineering your copy to focus on positive emotions – feeling comfortable, feeling secure, etc. Even if your product or service is not related to comfort or security, many times it’s the feeling of “comfort or security of making the right decision” that can motivate people to act.
- Typically, the persuasion technique of “fear of missing out” (FOMO) has shown to be very effective in compelling prospects to act. In our new world, exercise caution with this tactic. We’ve all recently experienced the uncomfortable feeling of trying to buy necessities only to be greeted with empty shelves and long lines. Our appetite for putting ourselves into a FOMO situation may be limited, especially if there are alternatives as easy as one click away.
- It’s always a good idea to embrace empathy in your marketing – avoid the “we want our visitors to do this on our site” attitude. Instead, put yourselves in the shoes of your visitors, understand their needs and make it easy for them to accomplish their goals. In most cases, if a visitor can easily accomplish their goals, your business goals will be met. Now’s not the time to be a greedy marketer.
- Dive into your analytics to look for new patterns of visitor behavior – popular pages, page paths, engagement metrics, exit pages. Even after life begins to transition to a more normal state, these new patterns may continue, and understanding these new visit behaviors can not only provide needed insight, but valuable marketing opportunities.
- While you’re in your analytics, dig into how the makeup of your visitors are changing – demographics, locations, devices, how they’re arriving on your site. These insights also might help in modifying your marketing or website to be more effective.
- To the extent possible, continue to test. If you have sufficient traffic and conversions, this tactic could be hugely valuable in altering your marketing to appeal to our new reality. Remember, though that your results may not be representative of expectations during normal times.
- Due to social distancing we’ve now become accustomed to, consider avoiding images of crowds and physical contact such as handshakes between people. Also, popular cliches that may work well during normal times such as “we work hand in hand with our customers” and “get in touch” may not resonate at this time.
For eCommerce sites:
- Relieve anxiety about delivery times. When possible, on your product detail page, include language similar to – “In stock; ships today” or “Ships Today when ordered by 4:00 pm”.
- The tremendous financial pressure that many are feeling now may lead to increased focus on pricing at the expense of features or benefits. If you’re not the low price leader, it’s even more important now to emphasize value and/or your unique selling proposition(s) to help justify in the visitor’s mind why yours is a preferred solution.
For Lead generation sites:
- Since skepticism and the need to feel safe may be higher, relationship selling may play an even more important role. Visitors may be less likely to “act now” without the feeling that it’s easy to reach out to someone in the organization. Test greater visual prominence of contact information and chat as well as modified call to action text in your forms if appropriate.
- Review all call to action text on your site to ensure you’re not over-promising what visitors will receive if they act. For example, if you know that visitors want an immediate online quote, but you can’t provide that from a form fill, you may not want to have your call to action text say “Get Online Quote Now”. Breaking a promise to your visitor with a deceiving call to action may get the unsuspecting visitor to fill out your form, but that individual will lose trust in your organization and service, and will be less likely to become a client.