Conversion Rate Killers

Avoid these CVR death traps

Happy Saturday to every unicorn in the galaxy.

You know what really sucks?

When you build something great but it just doesn’t convert.

And it can be hard to figure out why.

So today we’re going to review common sources of friction in the conversion process.

Today’s growth strategy is: Avoiding Conversion Killers

Growth stage: Any

Difficulty level: Easy (simple but a lot of work)

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

- David Ogilvy

Conversion Rate Killers

There are two basic ways to increasing conversion rate:

  • Reduce friction

  • Increase buyer motivation

Conversion killers typically add unnecessary friction to the user experience and make people want to leave.

To learn more about increasing buyer motivation read my previous essay on buying triggers.

Conversion Rate Killers

Common conversion killers typically fall into these categories:

  • Ineffective copy

  • Psychological barriers

  • Usability issues

  • Process barriers

  • Technical issues

Ineffective Copy

Yesterday I was looking for a tool to export iMessages.

One of the Google results looked great until I started reading their prose.

Misspellings and bad grammar.

Either the content was outsourced or the developers are non-native English speakers.

My subconscious said: if your content has bugs in it, your software probably does too.

In my experience, the best companies typically have great content marketing. Zapier is a good example.

Here are some other copy pitfalls to watch out for:

Unclear messaging: it should be obvious - what is this and how will it benefit me?

Lack of specifics: specific figures and outcomes tend to be more believable.

Appealing to everyone: lack of differentiation only works well for commodities.

Misalignment with ads: creating false expectations is a great way to disappoint users and lose their trust.

Outdated info: current info is important for many products. if your content is outdated, are you even maintaining your product?

Low value: LLMs make it incredibly easy to produce worthless content. All content should be useful to your targeted user.

Too salesy: people don’t like to be manipulated. Value first, persuasion second.

Inauthentic: “try hard” brands are a pet peeve of mine. You’re a business, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

No CTA: if you don’t tell people what to do next, don’t be surprised if they don’t do it.

Insufficient info: many page formats present additional information to answer common questions, provide robust product info or address objections.

If your landing page has the user hitting the back button, it could be they aren’t finding the answers they need to make a decision.

Psychological Barriers

Bad design: while visuals are typically secondary in importance to copy, a poor, outdated or ill-fitting design can raise red flags.

Lack of trust & credibility: social proof sells.

Reviews and testimonials are great ways to help users visualize their own transformation through your product.

Pricing concerns: high prices without clear justification can raise eyebrows.

Overwhelming choices: Too many options can paralyze your visitors. Making hard decisions can exhaust your brain cells.

Fear of commitment: Uncertainty about contracts, subscriptions, or long-term obligations.

The easiest way to minimize this fear is to offer a generous, no-questions-asked refund policy.

Usability Issues

It should be dead simple to accomplish the goal of your money pages.

Landing pages should have a clear purpose and path to achieve the purpose.

Here are some usability issues to look out for:

Complex navigation: everything important should be within view or a short scroll. When navigation is necessary it should be intuitive and follow well-worn UX patterns.

Avoid complex menus and navigation hierarchy. Use breadcrumbs where appropriate.

Device compatibility issues: how lame is it that we’re still talking about this? If your site doesn’t work well on the most prevalent devices then that’s a problem.

Intrusive pop-ups: most pop-ups are annoying. The best ones enhance what a user is already experiencing.

For example, a lead magnet to dive deeper into a specific topic, or the standard promo code discount to make something cheaper.

Process Barriers

Complicated Checkout: Too many steps or required fields can daunt the lazy brain. Go with a universally understood format and hyper-optimized provider like Stripe, or something like SamCart for digital products.

Limited Payment Options: boring but important. This SamCart study shows a 17% improvement from adding a second payment option.

Mandatory Account Creation: the last thing I want to do when shopping for a one-time gift from some store I’ll never use again is to create yet another account. Please don’t make me do it.

Technical Issues

These should be obvious and are too boring to list but if you do nothing else, check your page load speed!

See our SEO first principles for a word about core web vitals.

✨ That’s it for today!

I hope this helps you in your growth journey.


PS - Life is hard sometimes. Hug someone today.

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