Our CEO, Chris Mechanic, gives a speech at Digital Summit 2019 on how to improve conversion rates with empathy and love.

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Digital summit, what's up?

I realize that I'm the only thing

standing between you and a cocktail,

so I'm gonna make this quick and dirty.

But it's gonna be useful for you.

So I'm Chris Mechanic.

I'm co founder and CEO at WebMechanix.

We're a performance based marketing firm,

we do a lot of search
a lot of web analytics

with a deep technical expertise.

So essentially, I'm a growth hacker.

At the end of the day,
I'm a growth hacker.

I am very technical myself.

I know how to write a good headline.

I know how to drive traffic.

I know basically, how to
build businesses online.

And I don't love the term
growth hacker, but it is,

fairly descriptive of
what it is that I do.

And in building businesses,
there's a lot of things

that are important, but one
of the most important things

that's not often talked
about is conversion,

which is the art and science

of getting human website visitors to act,

to buy something, to fill out
a form, or request a callback.

And the unfortunate
fact is that ironically,

many of us lack

much tact

when it comes to

the idea and the act of
getting human visitors to act.

We're all interested in trends

and tips and tactics and hacks.

But we often fail to ask about
the most important thing,

which is the human on the
other side of the screen.

So our landing pages in
our funnels fall flat,

they lack impact, because
we're all doing the same thing

and it's no longer working.

Download my white paper, smack!

Fill out this form with nine fields.

Register for my webinar, bang!

Social security number, please?

It's funny to say, but
this is exactly the way

that some of us go about
our day, building traffic,

driving traffic into funnels,

acquiring users and building lists.

It's like where's the
humanity in all this?

Just think about the language that we use

building lists driving traffic

into our funnels and our
squeeze pages, it's combative.

It sounds almost as if we're

herding cattle, or preparing for battle

getting ready to pillage
on some villages, isn't it?

The fact is,

language creates reality.

And the reality is this
is that we're all doing

the same thing and it's no longer working.

We're driving traffic into these funnels

and the squeeze pages.

Average landing page
conversion rate is 5%,


Considering all the time
and the money spent,

considering the extent to
which we analyze and segment

and target by intent
and customized content

and verify consent and track
and optimize on micro events,


Something must be wrong.

Maybe it's the lighting,
maybe it's the song.

But the fact is, something's wrong folks.


forgot the rest of this song.

So excuse me while I
consult my notes here.

Maybe it's the lighting, maybe it's song.

Or maybe it's that this
traffic that we're driving,

these users that we wish to
acquire, are distinctly human.

And they're wired with
feelings and emotions

and thoughts, but we treat
them almost like they're bots.

So maybe the secret to conversion

experiences that fit like a glove,

is infusing that experience
with some empathy and love.

Thank you very much.

(audience laughing)

(audience clapping)

Love, folks.

Love you, remember Levi.

It's all about that love.

Now, what is it that we're all doing?

What is it that we're all
doing that doesn't work?

And I almost guarantee you
everybody in this room,

does this including us
with many of our clients,

and it's not our fault

because the best practices
that we've been taught

by the likes of IBM Watson,

the smartest machine learning mechanism,

has still not figured this out.

They're doing this thing,
register for my webinar, bang!

Nine form fields, very
small amount of value.

Consider, the user has clicked
on something very specific,

and they're greeted with
this, a tiny bit of value,

and a whole bunch of form fields

asking for very specific information

that is not in any way related
to this webinar at hand.

Job title

and boom, sales force.

These are mammoth companies.

And it's not our fault for
wanting to follow them,

they're the best practice leaders.

And then look at this aim, okay?

They're driving their
traffic into these funnels

to convert on these long forms.

It's like who are we even talking about?

Like, are we talking about humans?

Just listen to the
language that we're using.

Now, to illustrate this,

I wanna basically take this offline.

Just imagine that we're
offline, we're humans.

And at the end of the day,
a landing page is a sale,

it's a micro sale.

And many of our human
interactions are also micro sales.

Daniel Pink, I think, wrote a nice book.

To sell is human.

A lot of the interactions
that we have are human.

Where are gonna go for dinner, babe?

I want Mexican.

Well, I was thinking Italian, okay.

That's like a little sale.

But let's take this completely offline.

And let's think about a sale.

That one of the most important
sales that people make,

particularly men make in their life,

which is acquiring a spouse or a mate.

So I'm a guy, right?

Let's say that I'm not online,

let's say that I'm in a club
or a bar, and here I am.

(upbeat music)

Okay, I see somebody that I
like I wanna talk to them.

Now I'm gonna take the approach

that we're taking online right
now I'm gonna go up and say.


Hey, party thing.


A small amount of value, right?

Superficial compliment.

I'm gonna say.


Let me get that first name, last name,

email address, phone number,

dash separated, no
parentheses, please, 10 digits.

Is that gonna work?

Probably not.

For the purposes of research,

I've actually tested
this pretty extensively,

and I had a conversion rate
of exactly zero percent.

Literally zero percent.

But what would you do?


What you would do in
real life is the same.

(upbeat music)

But then you would spark a conversation,

you would create some
contextual relevancy,

you would comment on something

that's happening in the environment.

You might crack a joke or tell a story

or otherwise build rapport.

And then you have a much better chance

of collecting that users information,


So essentially, we've
got it exactly backwards.

We've got it 100% backwards,

we need to flip this
whole thing on its ears,

because the order of information matters.

If I say a sentence to you, or
if I say a paragraph to you,

and there's multiple sentences
and then you start flipping

the order of the sentences,
it changes things.

So we've got it essentially
exactly backwards

and it's not our fault,

we're following best
practices that Salesforce

and friggin IBM Watson are using
and maybe it works for them

because they have that brand recognition.

But if you're a smaller player,

you gotta be a little bit more tactful

in how you go about doing things.

So what I'm gonna show you
guys right now is first,

a handful of just general best practices.

I've designed this in such
a way that I'm assuming

that you don't have robust
design or development teams

that have nothing to do.

I designed it in such a
way that it's accessible

for the everyday, folks.

So here's some easy things
that you can do right now.

First of all, feel a sense of love,

and empathy.

And I know that this is probably
the fluffiest sounding shit

that you've heard all day.

And myself in a prior lifetime,
I was an affiliate marketer,

just kind of borderline gray hat,

I'm like a reformed gray hat.

So if I was sitting where you're sitting

and I saw somebody put this feel

of sense of love and
empathy up on the screen,

I would literally like boo
them and walk out of the room.

But the fact is that your mindset matters

and that the place that
you're coming from matters.

So if you're coming from
this pressured place

of like I have to
increase conversion rates,

I have to really drive that cattle,

I have to send them to my
squeeze pages and my funnels,

then it comes out in
one way but the essence

of what somebody is trying to say

really comes out and shines through.

So if nothing else, if you
can feel a sense of love

and empathy, just imagine that
the person on the other side

of the screen is your mom
or your dad or a loved one.

And that is gonna reflect
itself in your copy,

it's gonna reflect itself in your choices,

it's gonna reflect itself in
the way that you structure

and frame these offers.

So if you just come from a
place of love and empathy,

that's a big part of the battle.

Of course you wanna limit form fields.

There's studies that have been done

and tests that show
users are getting smart,

people are getting smart
at the end of the day.

And when you click on an
ad for something specific

that you're interested in, and
immediately a page loads up

where there's a visible form,
I know it happens to you guys,

because you're savvy users,
there's some part of you

that just shuts down.

And you automatically know
I'm not filling out this form.

Look at this, our
designer had fun with this

it actually has a field
for social security number,

current marital status, shoe size,

and it's just like a little
poke of fun, a little parody.

But we're asking for a
whole lot of information

we're not giving before we get in any way,

and we wonder why our
conversion rates are 5%.

By the way, 5% conversion rates

or even 10% conversion rates,

I don't consider that good.

I mean, can you imagine there's probably

like 100 people in this room.

If after this we asked

show of hands, who enjoyed this?

And only five of you raise your hand,

I'll be pretty disappointed by that.

But we accept that in the digital world.

And it's just a common
fact that everybody accepts

and I don't really understand why.

So here's a big one.

And I'm gonna show you some
examples right after this,

but you wanna ask relevant questions.

So I'm interested in your HR software.

My job title, my company,
the size of my company

is not as relevant as how
many employees I have,

whether my employees are 1099, or W2s,

how I tend to pay the employees?

How long they tend to stay?

There's a lot of relevant
questions that can be asked

other than just going
straight for the jugular

and getting give me the information
that I need to sell you.

So in these examples, you're gonna see

that there's no visible form on the page.

And it always starts
with relevant questions.

And on the same token, up
change order the questions of,

does that make any sense anybody?

Change up the order of questions.

Syntax matters, order matters.

If I walk up to you, and I say,

"Excuse me, sorry to bother you.

"My name is Chris, I just
have a quick question."

That's one thing, but
if I walk up and say,

"Hey, I have a quick question."

And then I asked you the question

without first excusing myself, it matters.

Preempt concerns and set expectations.

In this day and age with
privacy with big data

with GDPR with all these things,

people aren't dumb, people get it.

And they're hyper conscious
of privacy in their head.

So just imagine when you're sitting

in your place of empathy and love,

what are the potential
concerns that the person

on the other side of
the screen might have?

Such as what's gonna happen
after I fill out this form?

Is my data safe?

Those are two big ones.

So if on your main landing
pages you're not preemptively

addressing these concerns,

then you're leaving money on the table.

Now here's another big one,

and it's not so much regarding
top of the funnel conversion

where it's converting

a cold visitor into a lead,

but it's more so about
converting leads into sales

like the more down funnel conversions,

the number one

most underutilized page in existence.

You probably know what it is.

Most underutilized.

It's the one moment in time
where you can be almost certain

that you have this users attention.

And the vast majority of
marketers are just squandering

this opportunity, is the thank you page.

So the thank you page right
at that zero moment of truth,

right after this user gives
you all of their information

and they're expecting something,
the worst thing you can do

is like not even confirm
that you received it.

Have you ever seen forms that are just

there's no confirmation,

there's no communication with the system,

there's just no


So depending on the goal of the page,

if it's subscribing for a newsletter,

you might display other related content

that they might enjoy.

If it's downloading an E book the same.

If it's requesting a sales
call back or a demo form,

you might use that opportunity to

show some frequently asked questions

or otherwise preempt some concerns.

Let people know look, if
it's a fit, it's a fit,

we'll do some business, if it's not

we're not gonna hound you
for the rest of your life.

Raise your hand if you get
like 15 spam phone calls

a day like I do.

Yeah, so people, so you guys get it,

people are concerned that
when they're filling out,

is part of the reason they
don't fill out the form,

they're concerned that
they're gonna just incessantly

get calls, and of course, you guys

are not gonna incessantly
call them if they say to you,

"Hey, this is kind of interesting,

"but I'm not that into it."

You're probably gonna stop calling

because you have better things to do.

So think about that thank you page,

because that thank you page is the moment

where you can either deepen a relationship

and dramatically increase the chances

of a lead matriculating into a sale.

Or you can invoke buyer's remorse,

right there on that thank you page.

And you can be certain
that people are looking

at that thank You page.

All right, y'all ready to see
some of our recent winners

Let's get some drinks in here.

(audience laughing)


bring a beer bong or something.

All right, here's some recent winners.

So, this was the original version,

and it wasn't converting too poorly,

it was like about nine and
a half percent conversion

from click to lead,

and leads matriculated
into sales at like 35%.

And this was your typical landing page.

This is exactly the thing

that we're saying basically not to do.

In this case, it was working fairly well,

I think the targeting was well set.

And it was working fairly well.

But the client needed to
generate revenue at 10% of sale.

So between fees and ad spend,

they couldn't spend
more than 10% of a sale

in order to generate revenue.

And this wasn't cutting the mustard

so we had to do something different.

So we switched this up to an experience

where this was the first
screen that you would see.

So the copy is largely the same

you'll notice there is a countdown timer,

which is legit like that
was actually an offer.

But instead of saying what's your name,

and what's your email, it
started asking questions

about the issue at hand.

This client was in the window
and door replacement space.

So you search for, replacement windows,

there's something going on,

there's a conversation to be had.

So you'll notice this one
starts with what issues

are you having with your experience

or with your windows currently?

And they can select all,

this experience converted at nearly,

or just over 15% on the front end,

so 50% improvement in
front end conversions

and similar improvements on the back end,

because people when they engage

in this kind of experience online,

it's almost like a conversation.

It's almost like they've
invested to some extent,

into this experience, and they expect you

on the back end to
remember that information

and to use that information.

So this was a huge moneymaker.

Here's another one.

This client also B2C

they're in the debt consolidation space.

Now previously, they had a landing page

which similarly converted around 7%.

This one converted at 22% into
calls and watch what happens.

So this is what they see.

I'm not sure how easily you can see it,

but some of the copy
is is very intentional,

tells you about what you're gonna get,

it assuages some concerns but
watch this is a little video

so that the cursor you can see

so you choose your debt amount,

do you struggle making
your monthly payments?

Yes or no?

Next step, do you have a
source of income Yes or no?

This is what we call starting
the sales process online.

If somebody calls you,

maybe you'll ask for their
first name, last name,

email in case we get
disconnected, blazah blazeh,

but the questions that you
actually have to ask somebody

in order to give them a quote
or to move them forward,

you can do that right online and increase

top of funnel lead conversion

as well as the rate at which leads


This one's similar B2C,

they're in the health and wellness space,

they focus on weight loss and
hormone replacement therapy,

converting pitifully like less
than 1% with the standard,

this one converted at like
three or 4% on the top line,

which is still pretty low,
but market improvement

and you can see how it works.

See at the bottom, it shows you

how far along you are in the process.

It's asking you relevant questions.

And there's one important
thing that's happening

behind the scenes that I
want you guys to understand

is that behind the scenes,

this is hooked into Google Analytics

and HubSpot in this case,
which the slide was using,

but it can be done on
Makedo or what have you.

And as users are making these selections,

we're firing little

events, little JavaScript
events within Google Analytics.

Some people will begin this
process and still bail.

And in those cases, we would
typically re target them.

Now we have a very rich
source of information

with which to re target them.

So for instance, the first question was,

are you male or female?

Now somebody selects male for instance,

and then abandons the
process before completing it.

We can still get back in front
of them with retargeting ads,

where we're relatively certain
that they are indeed male.

Some people lie, that's
the fact of the matter.

Another one, this is a B2B

specialized financial services firm.

Deals in the unclaimed property
space, very specific thing,

you see an ad for this unclaimed property,

all of their competitors,
literally all of them greet you

with that big old form.

We decided to buck the trend,

this convert at 12% on the front end

and some like 47% on the back end.

But you'll see there's no visible form,

it's not asking for any information.

There's just a small amount of copy.

It's not a squeeze page.

So the user can submit other things.

But it goes through the same process.

Are you to ask questions
about the matter at hand?

And similarly, tracking
events and getting back

in front of the non converters

with relevant retargeting ads.

Another B2B example.

This one converts double digits,
I don't remember exactly,

I think it's around 15%

versus like roughly 7% on the main one.

This is a commercial Wi Fi provider.

And similarly, so it's
not it's not complex.

The way that we build them internally,

it does take some design
and development resources.

But there's a lot of
tools that you can use

to spin these types of
experiences up on the fly

without much in the way of resources,

which I'll show you here in just a second.

Another one, B2B IT services.

So the IT app saving calculator

this one's kind of interesting because

the extent to which you can actually offer

something of value, which this client did

based on the selections is the extent

to which is really useful.

How many engineers do you have?

What's the fully burden staff?

you'll notice the imagery,
it kind of looks good,

it kind of looks appealing.

And these selections,
this particular client,

these selections were actually used

in some report that was generated.

So if you can pull that off,

like if you can actually
generate a custom report

or actually generate a custom quote

or something based on the
selections, it's even better.

But you can see here the results are in.

There's these little tool tips

that in case you want more information.

And it just worked really, really well

compared to the hard sell

straight for the jugular style

that we've all been kind of
convinced as best practice.

Then here's one that we
use ourselves actually.

This is basically to generate
leads for advertising.

So you'll notice no visible form,

runs right into this useful experience

that's designed for humans by humans.

Asking relevant questions

and then leading up ultimately to

the sales proposition.

So do you see how this
is very much similar

to actual real human interaction?

And you see how for some reason,

just because it's on the
web, we're doing things

in a way that just clashes
with human psychology.

So if you wanna take
those 5% conversion rates

and make them 10%, or
15%, we have to align

with the human user and we
have to give before we get,

at least to some extent.

So now about five minutes left.

There's a lot of other marketers

that are already hip to this game.

And you'll notice as you leave here today,

you'll notice a lot of
these Silicon Valley,

a lot of the apps, a lot of the startups

they're all hip to this
game, they all do this.

You can see it on Bills.com

So if you go to debt.bills.com,

you'll see a very similar thing
where they're going through,

they're asking, relevant
questions that are non PII.

They warm you up, they invoke
the law of click commitment.

And then they ultimately gather

the information that they need.

But it's in an unselfish
way which first accommodates

for the user and their needs
and then for their own needs.

Truly a lot of these real estate apps

are very, very good at this.

They, largely do it based off of location.

So that's a really good way to do it.

This one was an interesting
one from Unbounds

at do.thelandingpagecourse.com

this is actually a little

sort of a chat bot like experience,

which is very much in line
with what we're talking about.

So chatbots,

are all the ridge, they
essentially do this very same thing

they engage you in a conversation

before asking for something else,

it's not exactly rocket science.

And then here's an
interesting one landbot.io

I think this one may have been
acquired actually by HubSpot,

so I'm not sure if that exists anymore.

But there are a few tools
that you should know about.

So well first and foremost,

how many people are running
human centered experiences

like this right now?

We're starting with non
personally identifiable info

and then proceed into the sales
info, just by show of hands.


Okay, very good.

So this is good.

So you guys can all go implement this.

So let me give you a couple of tips.

So grab a pen or a piece of paper

if you wanna write these down

because I don't have
actually slides for them.

But one of the go to, tools
for us is called Hotjar.

Raise your hand if you use Hotjar.

Yeah, so Hotjar super robust.

We've tested it against
Crazy Egg and Lucky Orange

and all these types of things.

The most interesting feature of Hotjar

is that it gives you the
ability to spin up polls

and user surveys on the fly.

So voice of customer actually hearing

what customers have to
say, is like the holy grail

because they'll tell you
exactly what they're thinking.

And it's not necessarily
a good way to come up

with like a new innovative idea,

but a lot of times there
are barriers to conversion,

that might be technical,

that might be informationally related.

But grab Hotjar, toss
up a poll, which says,

What's the purpose of your visit?

Question, one, allow people to answer

long form in a text box.

Regardless of answer question two,

were you able to accomplish that goal?

Yes or no?

If yes, have a nice day.

If no, what prevented
you from achieving that?

Another open form text box.

You will be Mind blown by the answers,

a lot of times it's technical,
sometimes it's informational.

Sometimes there's a specific question

that they have that's unanswered

but Hotjar surveys and polls
are, are very, very powerful.

Typeform, T-Y-P-E-F-O-R-M, is a platform

that you can use to basically

easily create sort of visual
and interactive forms.

There's other ones that are called,

one of them's called Lead Quizzes.

One of them's called Leadformlly,

like leadform L-Y.com.

Very low tech required,

integrates with analytics seamlessly,

integrates with most backend CRMs

and marketing automation platforms.

And the like, and I think
there's several others

like that too, but I got
about 15 seconds left.

So I'm gonna wrap it up here,

but I hope that you guys enjoyed this.

I hope that it was worth
the extra 30 minutes

before you get a cocktail.

Let's all go have a cocktail
and we can talk if you like.