The Obvious First Choice Principle

The Obvious First Choice Principle

If you’re putting time and money into your marketing efforts, but they’re not getting the response you want, this could be because of how you’re perceived online. Making a conscious effort to craft the perception your customers have of you and your business is just as important as choosing the right marketing channels.

Here at Flow, a key thing we aim to achieve for our customers is conversion rate optimisation (CRO) – no matter whether it’s a website, landing page, eCommerce site, or any other digital channel. Our goal is to make your company the obvious first choice in the minds of your customers.

Often, when people shop online, they do a Google search, open up a few sites at the top of the results, then pick the one that resonates the most with them. This ‘hit and miss’ approach is supported by a statistic that says the average conversion rate globally is just 1.8% (aside from paid media). This means that, for every 100 people that visit your site, just one or two will take the action you want them to.

Many of our clients believe there’s very little they can do to influence this behaviour. They shrug their shoulders and say, ‘it is what it is.’ What if we told you that there are actually a number of levers that we can apply to substantially increase the conversion rate on your website or other digital channel?

Not convinced? We have been optimising several client websites for a long period of time and one of them is currently sitting at a conversion (form submission) rate of 25%. Achieving a conversion rate higher than 1.8% is definitely feasible. So how do we do it?

3 pillars of the obvious first choice principle

To get these kinds of results for our customers, we deploy a concept we call the obvious first choice principle. It comprises three primary pillars: reduce friction, be clear, and provide social proof. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

1. Reduce friction

Friction in the context of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is anything that makes it harder – or even prevents – someone from achieving their goal without pain or effort. Online customers are mostly busy, impatient, and selfish and they won’t tolerate anything that stands in the way of them completing an action.

Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, famously said “When you reduce friction, when you make it easy, people will do more of it.”

This friction can be real or imagined. And, by real, we mean practical problems with your website or communication. This includes factors like having too many fields in an online form, too many steps in a checkout process, unnecessarily strong passwords or security steps, or long and complicated instructions. These are just a few – as you imagine, the list is very long!

Imaginary friction, on the other hand, lives in the land of perception. This includes things like the perceived cost of switching to your product or service, the perceived difficulty installing or using your offering, or the perceived difficulty of the conversion process. If this perception is wrong, it’s your job to prove to your customers that’s the case. And, if it’s accurate, you need to fix it.

No matter if the friction is real or perceived, it is just as legitimate for your customer and may result in you losing them during the conversion process. The key is to address any real or imagined friction points before the customer has a chance to raise any objections.

In short: Don’t make your customers think, expend effort, or wait. The more a user has to think, do, or wait, the lower your conversion rate will be.

2. Be clear

When faced with too many choices, customers experience decision paralysis, which causes them to avoid taking action. If your website is confusing, offers too many options, or fails to communicate clearly, your website visitors will likely leave without taking the action you want them to.

To improve your conversion rate, it’s important to simplify your processes, make it easy for your customers to get the information they need, and make that information crystal clear.

An approach we like to take at Flow is to clearly communicate value using the drivers of desirability, credibility, and exclusivity. The customer must understand (clarity) so they can believe (credibility) that only you (exclusivity) have I what I want (appeal).

Although this can be hard on your ego, an effective way to do this is to look at your website objectively against your competitors’. This will very quickly show you where you can improve in clarifying your communication and processes. A goal to aim for is to answer any clarifying questions with the first 10-15 seconds of someone landing on your site.

It’s also critical for your website to give visitors a clear and compelling reason to convert. Looking at it through the lens of the customer: If I (the customer) am your ideal prospect, why should I buy this product from the site rather than something or someone else?

Your site must answer this question, then prove it.

As much as we might love our website and the products and services, we’re selling through it, our customers don’t really care. Their drive is WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)? They want to know that you have a solution to their needs or wants.

The core outcome most people get from the purchase of a product or services is emotional. That’s why it’s essential to focus on the emotional benefits of what you’re offering and use logic and product features as supporting evidence – not the other way around.

Remember, clarity is more important than brevity or persuasion. Many website owners make the mistake of condensing sometimes complicated information into a couple of lines. Sometimes you need to fill in the gaps, so customers are clear on what to do next. This will help advance them along the sales funnel towards conversion.

3. Social proof

With so many products and services available online these days, it can be hard for consumers to decide which one is best. You can directly address any doubt and objection by building trust with your customers, supported by proof.

Human beings are generally sceptical until shown otherwise, and doubt and fear can kill conversions. However, people are also social creatures, and we look to what others have done for social proof that the decision we’re making is a good one. The idea is that, as others behave in a certain way, it must be the correct behaviour.

Social proof is the evidence provided by customers or other third parties that your company provides high-quality services or products, and you do what you say you’ll do.

Social proof includes:

  • Reviews on sites like Google, Facebook or Trustpilot
  • User Generated Content (UCG)
  • Product reviews from non-related third parties
  • Dialogue in the public domain
  • Features in notable and trustworthy publications.

How Flow can help you become the obvious first choice

When you’re ready to improve your CRO using the obvious first choice principle, get in touch with the team at Flow for a chat.

We’ve helped clients in New Zealand and abroad build their conversion rate. We can help you build a strategy to make you the obvious first choice ahead of your competitors and integrate seamlessly it into your marketing plan.


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