Reduce Friction, Increase Conversion

friction sparks

There are two fundamental concepts in online marketing which should guide most decisions.

The first is friction.

In the context of online marketing, friction is everything that gets in the way of a visitor accomplishing what they want to do on your website.

While developing our DonorDB application, we surveyed the competitive landscape and, by and large, found that most egg donor agencies required visitors to register before showing donor profiles. While it is important to preserve donor anonymity, many egg donor agencies seem to favor this approach in a misguided attempt to capture marketing data.

This choice sets the tone for a less than ideal relationship for both visitor and agency. It’s not ideal for the website visitor to provide personal information in order to get a sense of the agency’s donor pool. It’s not ideal for the agency to review and approve each visitor without knowing that they have a potential match. There is a better way!

By showing a limited part of the donor’s profile like age, ethnicity, religion, height, hair color, and eye color without requiring registration, donor agencies can allow intended parents to find potential matches without compromising the donor’s anonymity. Want to see pictures and learn more about the donor? Then you need to register.

Which brings us to the second concept, conversion.

Conversion is simply the action that you want a visitor to take when they come to your site. Your site can have multiple conversion goals but they should be prioritized in terms of value to your business. Lack of prioritization leads to cluttered design choices where multiple buttons vie for the visitor’s attention. Cluttered design is another form of friction.

Looking at our previous example, many agencies might think that their primary conversion goal is to get intended parents to register so that they can capture their email address and start the sales cycle.

Unless the intended parent finds a match, the agency has little chance of successfully closing the sales cycle. The primary conversion goal should be to get the intended parent to search for a donor. This is the first step in matching the intended parent. Requiring the intended parent to register before allowing them to search for a donor puts unnecessary friction in this conversion process.

Here are a few other sources of friction that I see on a regular basis:

  1. Call for more information! It’s 11 o’clock at night, do you really have a 24 hour call service that can answer my initial marketing questions? If not, then use a contact form and let me decide how I want to initiate the conversation.
  2. Captchas The worst offenders are the contact forms that require visitors to decipher a random string of letters and numbers before they can complete their request. Can you imagine doing the same when somebody called your businesses? You would probably reduce the number of telephone solicitors you had to deal with, but at what cost? There are better ways of dealing with spam.
  3. Websites that don’t fit on the screen of my phone. I bet close to half of your visitors are viewing your website on some sort of mobile device. If that number isn’t accurate this year, it will be next year. If those visitors need to pinch and stretch your site just to use it, they are going to go somewhere else where they don’t have to do so much work. All websites should be adaptive to mobile devices.

What are some other sources of friction? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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