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Conversion-Centered Design

WRITTEN by: Shawn Metz |
categories: Design

Oct 2017


What It Is and How It works

When was the last time you went to the grocery store and you had a single objective – say to buy toilet paper – but once you got there it all fell apart? The produce looked too fresh, the deli meats too mouth-watering and the smells from the bakery too tempting. The next thing you knew, there were 20 items in your cart – and not one of them was toilet paper.

Unfortunately, this scenario is what takes place when you visit most landing pages – stock photos with little-to-no relevance, buttons for unrelated products, multiple calls to action, and on and on it goes. It’s also a clear indication that conversion-centered design was not used.

What is conversion-centered design? Simply put (and as its name implies), it’s design that puts conversion front and center by removing the distractions that keep a user from forgetting “the toilet paper.” In other words, it’s about persuasion. Conversion-centered design navigates a user from one point to the next to complete a single objective, whether it’s making a purchase, downloading an e-book or filling out a form.

Here Are Four Ways you can Increase Landing Page Conversion

  1. One. Single. Goal.

It’s the job of any landing page to focus a user’s attention on the action you want them to take. As a marketer, your primary goal is to know what that singular goal is and stick to it. Okay let’s practice.

Let’s say you are recruiting grad students to your Masters of Business Administration program. Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • I wonder if these students might be interested in our Biology program? No!
  • Should I include facility hours for the dining hall? No!
  • Should I promote our summit on landscape architecture? No!

While it is tempting to market your many programs’ best features, doing this would be at the detriment of your primary goal – recruiting new MBA students.

  1. Simplify

Your landing page should have an attention ratio of 1:1. What’s an attention ratio?

“The ratio of links on a landing page to the number of campaign conversion goals. In an optimized campaign, your attention ratio should be 1:1. Because every campaign has one goal, every corresponding landing page should have only one call to action – one place to click.” -Oli Gardner

In other words, any link that leads the user away from the primary goal should not be included – including all website navigation. Also, if your main call to action is a form – don’t include more than five form fields. Research suggests that forms that include more than five fields convert drastically worse.

An example from Marketo:

  1. Provide Evidence. Give Action.

Each visitor has a reason for visiting your landing page. Understanding that reason is your job. You need to convince a user of the perceived value of your marketing objective. A simple way of doing this is by answering the user’s primary concerns or questions. If we understand our visitors, we can assure them we are the best solution by providing evidence that supports our objective. Once evidence is given, we need to provide an easy way to take action. The action can be: a form, live chat, a button, etc.

  1. Carrot on a Stick

A great way to provide value to a user is to showcase your knowledge/research. Offer up a white paper or an e-book once a user’s information is submitted. Not only does this provide incentive for the user to take action, it also emphasizes your experience and knowledge. UX Pin does a great job of making this their call to action in blog posts.

This isn’t rocket science. The best way to keep a user from forgetting “the toilet paper” is to know your single goal and to stick to it. Just remember that simplicity is the key.


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