25. Those Three Reasons Again
They Don’t Get It
They don’t understand what you’re offering
They Don’t Need It
They don’t have the problem you’re solving
They Don’t Want It Enough
The product isn’t worth what you’re asking
Hi, I’m Laura Klein. I’m going to talk to you about the 3 reasons your users aren’t converting.
You probably have no idea who I am, so very briefly...I’m a user experience designer, and I work a lot with startups. What this means is that I get to talk to a lot of different startups. And that means that I get to see a lot of startups make exactly the same mistakes. Over and over. I’d like to help you maybe not make all of those same mistakes. That way you can make your own NEW mistakes.
Here’s a common one. Generally a few people go off for awhile and build an awesome product. They’re super excited about it. They put it in the app store or put up a landing page on the web, and wait for the users to come pouring in. And then that doesn’t happen like 100% of the time.
So, maybe then the companies break down and do some advertising or try to get featured on techcrunch. And they get some users! So exciting! But then...nothing. They come. They look around. They leave. They never return. Boo.
The users are just not taking that next step. They’re not converting.
So, that’s when the startups realize they have what’s called a conversion optimization problem.
Here’s the thing, there are a lot of people with a lot of tactics for fixing conversion optimization problems. A LOT. Last I checked, there were about 8.5 million results on google for conversion optimization. So, you know, there’s no lack of tips on how to make your conversion better. Hell, we’ve heard some great stories here today about ways that might help improve your conversion.
The thing is, now that you have 8.5 million different suggestions for improving conversion, you should really pick one.
And that can be tough.
See, what worked for one company won’t necessarily work for you. If it would, we’d all be Dropbox.
But hang on a second. Let’s actually define what we even mean by conversion optimization anyway. Because I’ve heard the term used in almost as many ways as there are tips for fixing it.
What I’m talking about when I talk about converting users is moving a user to the next level.
In other words, you can take a visitor to your site and turn them into a registered user. When the 30 people in the world who don’t have Facebook accounts visit a Facebook page, Facebook wants to convert those people into registered users with their very own accounts. That’s the first step.
A visitor could also turn into a returning visitor. For example, let’s say you own a coffee shop. Generally, when somebody comes into a coffee shop, there’s no concept of turning them into a registered user. But you sure want them to come back. The next step for a visitor to a coffee shop is often turning them into a regular.
Or, and this is the holy grail people, you could turn them into a paying customer! Wouldn’t that be great? I mean, you would actually get money in exchange for letting people use your product. Yay!
So, a company like Dropbox lets you use the service for a little while, but when you want more space, they convert you into a paying customer.
But you knew all that already, right? I mean, you know what your goal is for your own product right? You’re going to all this trouble to get people to come look at your product. You want to turn them into the right kind of user for you! Registered, returning, and hopefully paying!
so why aren’t they doing it?
You’re paying all this money to advertise to them. You’re buying key words. You’re paying referral fees. You’re standing on the street corner with a big sign. Why are people checking out your product and then just wandering off into the mist?
I’m glad you asked.
Let’s take a look at some of these taglines here. Think Different. Just Do It. What Can Brown Do For You? They have something in common. They are all complete gibberish. Oh, also, you probably know what these companies are selling. But here’s the thing...these taglines don’t in any way tell you what these companies are selling. You know what these companies are selling because of multi million dollar ad campaigns that associate these nonsense words with cereal or candy bars or package delivery.
You don’t have that luxury, people.
Here’s what I see every day. People write these clever taglines for their products. They make these coy landing pages. They create these super clean looking designs. And they confuse the hell out of the people who are trying to figure out if they want to use them.
But here’s the deal. Nobody’s going to use your product if they don’t understand what it does. And if you think they are going to spend a lot of time digging around in your product trying to figure out all the wonderful benefits it delivers, you are delusional. People come to your product. Look at it for about 5 seconds. They fail to understand what it is or why they should use it. And then they leave. I see it over and over again.
Let me say it one more time. People might be leaving your product because they don’t understand what it does.
And you can implement all the growth hacks you want to, but if people show up at your product and don’t understand what it does, you’re going to fail.
So, how can you figure out if this is your problem?
Really easily, actually. That’s the nice thing about this. In fact, you can figure it out in about 10 seconds.
You see, there are these things called Five Second Tests. What you do is, you show the first part of your product – a landing page, an app download page, a product or buy page, whatever – to a person for five seconds. Then you take it away. And you ask this question. “What does that product do?” I guarantee you that a shocking number of people will say, “I have no idea.” It’s not because they’ve only seen it for five seconds. That’s plenty of time to figure out generally what a product does if the messaging isn’t awful. It’s because you haven’t done a very good job of conveying what your product actually does in that crucial first few seconds of attention that you get.
And this is important! Because that may be all you get. If somebody lands on your landing page or browses past it in the app store you’ve only got a few seconds to convince that person that they should give your product a try. They have to know, immediately, what it is your product does and whether or not they should check it out further. These decisions are made in an instant.
So, try that at the break. Take out your phone or your computer or iPad. Turn to the person next to you and show them your product for 5 seconds. Then see what they think it does. If they get it, great! You’re way ahead of the pack. If they don’t, maybe you want to look into your messaging to see what you can do to make it clearer.
Ok, so now you’ve figured out your messaging. It’s super clear. People get exactly what you’re selling them. But...they’re still not converting. Now they’re coming to your product, taking a look at it, and then saying “nope” and just leaving. WHYYYYYY?
Here’s something you may not want to hear. It’s very possible that your product simply doesn’t fulfill a need for those folks. You solve a problem that they don’t have.
I want to introduce you to a product. It’s called jobs4pets. It’s the premier job site for pets. Like Monster for dogs. Like TaskRabbit but for actual rabbits. That’s right, if you have a bored border collie, this is the place for you to find him employment. And of course, if you have a job that can only be done by a cat, this is where you would post it!
Does that make sense to everybody? I mean, you know what this site does, right? Does anybody need this? No! Because it’s insane!
The sad truth is, this has to be my example of a stupid product because it’s literally the only thing that I could think of that is so stupid that nobody else in the room was likely to be building it. Because let me tell you, there are a lot of products I see out there in the world that are solutions in search of problems. And again, all the growth hacking in the world isn’t going to help you build a business if your product fundamentally doesn’t solve a need for anybody but five or six crackpots.
So, how do you know if this is your problem? How do you know if you’re solving a real problem for people? Well, this is where you actually have to go out and talk to people. And no, you can’t just ask them, “does this solve a problem for you?” Because they will say yes, and they will be lying. You need to understand their habits. You need to understand their problems. You need to do good, solid early user research. This is hard work. But if you don’t get out and talk to your potential users, you will never truly understand their problems which means you will never be able to solve their problems.
Alright. Now, you know that you’re filling a serious user need for a specific group of people, and you know that those people understand what you’re offering them. But they’re still not converting. What the? Seriously? Yeah, seriously. This happens all the time. People need your product. You’ve validated that. They get it. Why don’t they want it?
Easy. They do want it. They just don’t want it enough to pay what you’re asking.
And hold off on that collective sigh of relief because your products are all free.
Cost doesn’t just mean money. Imagine this. I come to you and say that I’ve got a fabulous new email client. It’s fast, it does exactly what you want, it will keep you at inbox zero all the time. It’s fucking magical. One tiny downside. You need to change your email address. Are you going to do it? Probably not. Because changing your email address is a giant hassle. It takes a ton of time, and your time has value.
Well, surprise, your user’s time has value too! So does their effort and their pain. Every single thing you do to make your product hard to use or hard to understand or complicated to switch to or painful to use increases the cost to your user. And pretty soon, no matter how big the problem you’re solving, it’s simply not worth the hassle.
So, how do you know if your product costs too much in any of those areas? Well, you’ll need to do some different sorts of testing.
To find out if you’re causing your user too much pain, you’ll want to do some usability tests. Figure out just what you’re really inflicting on people.
To find out if you are solving a serious enough problem to justify any effort on their part, you’re going to want to get pre-build commitments. In other words, ask them to pay you before you build anything at all. Tell them what you’re going to require. See if they’re still offering to give you money to solve their problem.
And, of course, you may be charging too much in actual money. That’s when you’re going to want to do some price optimization tests.
Here’s the TL;DR; slide. These are the three reasons users aren’t converting again.
I also want to tell you why it’s important that you figure these things out. You see, if you don’t know why they’re not converting, you won’t know what to fix. In other words, if the problem is that they don’t get it, changing your price won’t do a damn thing. If the problem is that your product doesn’t solve a real problem for people, you can make the messaging as clear as you want.
You can only improve your conversion by first understanding what’s keeping people from converting. And you can only do that by listening to your users!
Thanks very much! Just so you know, this talk is based on a longer workshop that I do for LUXr. If you enjoyed it, you should check out the workshop and others like it at new.luxr.co. Also, there are all sorts of tips about learning from your users and turning that into good design in my book, UX for lean startups from O’Reilly. Please check it out.
And, if you have any questions whatsoever, please send me an email at [email_address]. I’m always happy to help. Thanks again!