Do you like to be left with no choice? Sometimes… Maybe… But most of the time we like to make decisions rather than being forced to do something. Giving your users a choice can increase your conversions and most of all… make them happy. However, too many options can be confusing. How much choice is too much and how much is just right?
How many payment options?
When you want to „sell” your content online, you usually ask for filling out the form on your landing page. You can also give a choice to pay in a social media currency e.g. with Pay with a Tweet. People will choose the method they find most convenient and will be happy they weren’t forced to fill out the form. Let’s say you’re sending the newsletter with a new e-book to your subscribers. Will you earn more leads? Not really, because you’re sending the newsletter to an existing database. However, if you ask them to pay with a Tweet you will generate more buzz in social media. Your e-book will be shared in social media and encourage new subscribers to fill out the form. What better way to get more diversified traffic?
Here’s an example of a high-converting download landing page with two “payment” options.
Free Trial vs Buy Now
Another example of giving your users a choice is allowing them to start a free trial. A benchmarking study conducted by GetSocial involving 63 web-based companies, revealed that the majority of 93% offered a free trial. There are at least 3 reasons why they do that:
- grow customer base
- convert skeptical users into customers
- people expect to be able to try the product before they buy it
Instead of saying „Buy now” as your first message, say „Try it free” and place the „Buy now” button next to it. The truth is most people don’t even know they need the product before they try it. The challenge starts when a free trial is created. A popular and effective marketing strategy is to send follow ups with more information about the product and the date the free trial expires.
5-Star Customer Experience
Good communication during the free trial is extremely important. I experienced that during my Balsamiq free trial. I created some mockups that I wanted to present to my manager the next week but had to add slight changes before the meeting. Balsamiq reminded me that my free trial expires before my meeting. I emailed their customer service and they extended my trial so I could make changes and present the mockups. The outcome? I became their loyal customer.
The Jam Study – 6 or 24 flavors?
Although freedom of choice can be very positive to your business, giving your users too many options can decrease your conversions. The famous jam study conducted by Professor Sheena Ivengar from Columbia University proves that less choice equals more sales. She set up a table with jams outside the grocery store in Menlo Park, CA. The research assistants offered samples of either 6 or 24 flavors of Wilkin and Sons Jams. Before this study, a popular belief was that the more choice the more sales. The jam study proved otherwise. People stopped more often (60%) at the table with 24 flavors compared to the 40% stopping by at the table with 6 flavors. However, the table with less flavors lead to more sales (30%) than the table with 24 flavors (only 3%).
How many social share buttons?
This also applies to social share buttons. The case study by Neil Patel of Quick Sprout shows that adding two more social share buttons decreased social sharing by 29%. Neil added LinkedIn and Pinterest to existing Twitter, Facebook and Google +. He had to get rid of them because of the negative effect on social sharing. This proves that giving people more options can decrease conversions.
Giving your customers a choice can have a positive impact on your conversions and Customer Experience. However, the options you give should help your customers make up their mind quickly, not confuse them. Before giving more options ask your friends or run split tests to find out if they actually work.