Ok, I’ve got an awesome startup idea. It’s worth billions of dollars. Want to hear it?
It’s a new taxi service! How is it different from the regular taxi service, you ask? All the cars are black and it’s more expensive!
I think you see where I’m going with this. The startup is called Uber, and despite being more expensive than well-established alternatives like taxis and public transport, it is one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Why is it so popular? With taxis you need to wait on the street, hoping that you’ll be able to hail an empty one before anyone else. With Uber, you flip out your phone, tap a few times, and you have one coming to pick you up in minutes.
It saves you a few minutes, but that’s totally worth the extra cost for many people. Welcome to the instant gratification economy, baby.
We don’t want delays. We want things and we want them now, even if it means paying extra. It’s a natural, psychological force that plays a big part in our decision-making process.
That means, as a marketer, you can appeal to consumers’ need for instant gratification and increase your conversion rates. By offering quick results you can get more people to subscribe to your service or buy your product. Let’s look at the different ways you can do this on your site.
Smiley Cookie has a website where you can order custom cookies online. They wanted to test out multiple value propositions on their homepage.
They developed five banners, each with a different value proposition –
- Order Today —> Ships Next Business Day
- Want to save $5 OFF your next purchase? SIGN UP NOW
- $6.99 Ground Shipping For Your Entire Order
- FREE SHIPPING on any order over $40
- Cookies Made Fresh & Hand Iced For You!
Just for fun, try guessing which value proposition won. When I first saw this case study, I thought the last one sounded especially inviting.
After running the split test, Smiley Cookie found that the winning message was the first one, fast shipping. It had a 12.61% conversion rate, 41% better than their regular conversion rate.
In short, appealing to the need for instant gratification was a better option than offering a discount, flat-rate shipping, free shipping or fresh baked cookies!
Craft your website messaging to reflect instant gratification. Let customers know that they don’t have to wait for long before they can start using your product.
If you run an e-commerce business, you can do this by offering fast shipping.
If you have a software product, customers can sign up in minutes. However, that doesn’t necessarily count as instant gratification. The real question SaaS businesses need to answer in their messaging is how long it takes before customers can start using the software effectively.
For example, Unbounce lets visitors know that it’s quick and easy to build landing pages with their software. Their emphasis on not requiring I.T. support implies there isn’t any learning curve.
Alternatives to Unbounce, like coding landing pages from scratch or outsourcing to developers in Asia, might be cheaper but definitely more time-consuming. For businesses that want things done today, Unbounce is their answer.
Webinars have been growing in popularity for a while now. Some businesses can bring on thousands of subscribers with just one webinar.
Why do so many people sign up? Because they deliver content quickly. Listeners know exactly how long the webinar is and what they’re going to learn.
Here’s another example from Unbounce. This one is for their upcoming webinar about optimizing email marketing campaigns.
The value is clear. Spend one hour on the webinar and learn 10 new ways to convert leads into paying customers using email.
That’s not to say ebooks, mini-courses and other forms of free content don’t work. However, if your subscription rates are low, then it might be because your ebook doesn’t offer quick results. No one wants to read through a lengthy book without knowing if they’ll get anything out of it.
Of course, instant gratification doesn’t literally mean instant. An ebook or course that promises to deliver results quicker than other alternatives will fare far better in terms of conversion rates.
Take a leaf out of the free course offered on Quick Sprout. Typically, businesses take months to double or triple their traffic, but this course shows you how in 30 days.
A couple of months ago, CoSchedule analyzed 1 million blog post headlines to find out what makes them shareable. They found out that out of all posts that got shared over 1000 times, the list post was the most popular.
Look at the list of ‘All Time’ post hits on this blog in the right hand sidebar. They are all list posts! The post you’re reading now is a list post too.
The list post appeals to readers because it gives them an idea, up front, about how long it will take to read the post and what they’ll learn out of it.
Take the top performing post on this blog—6 Email Marketing Software Reviews: Software For Every Budget. The title indicates that if you read the post, you’ll be able to find the right email marketing software for your business. It’s an instant solution.
That’s not to say you should only create list posts and nothing else. The point is that if you want your posts to do well, you should let readers know that they’ll learn something they can put to use as soon as they read the post.
That’s why infographics are so popular too. We can process data from images much faster than from reading. Two of the all-time hits of this blog are infographics.
If you have lengthy how-to posts, an interesting approach is to offer a checklist download for readers. People who don’t have time to read the whole post can download the checklist for quick reference.
The concept behind a free trial is sound. Try out the product without paying anything, and cancel with no strings attached. It sounds like a no-risk deal, but in the age of instant gratification there’s a new risk—the risk of lost time.
Don’t just offer a free trial. Offer free and instant trials. When you go to the Crazy Egg homepage you’ll see a URL bar where most companies ask you to create an account.
All you have to do is enter your web address and you’ll get your first heat map. If you want more, then you create an account. It’s not just try before you invest money, it’s also try before you invest time.
Even the Crazy Egg ads reflect this. You can start seeing results after only 30 seconds of set-up.
Optimizely does something similar. They actually allow you to create your first A/B test within minutes just by entering your website. They even walk you through the steps to reduce the learning curve.
The instant trial also shows customers how easy it is to use your product. They’re already up and running with the trial so if they buy the full product, they won’t need to invest more time to get results.
21% of all cart abandonment happens because customers thought the process was taking too long—too many form fields to enter, too many steps in the process.
If customers are ready to buy, enable them to do it quickly. Amazon’s 1-click checkout is the best example, and the reason why I end up impulse-buying their ebooks. One click and the books are in my Kindle.
You may not be able to store credit card information to offer 1-click checkouts, but you can store other customer data like names and addresses. When they shop on your site next, don’t make them enter this data again on checkout. Instead, pre-populate those fields so they only have to enter their credit card details.
For SaaS businesses with a content marketing strategy, have a look at how Hubspot pre-populates fields on their ebook landing pages. When you first download one of their free resources, they collect your name and email address. The next time you download a resource, they pre-populate the name and email fields and then ask you for more information, like your job role.
On-demand is in demand! If you don’t offer instant gratification on your site, you’re losing out. Test out some of these ideas to see if they increase your conversion rates.
How are you using instant gratification on your site? Let us know in the comments.
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sid.