Kevin Hale was the cofounder of Wufoo, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2006 and acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011. He was responsible for Wufoo’s much-admired design and speaks widely about UX. Before Wufoo he wrote about design for Particletree and was editor in chief of the web development magazine Treehouse. He has a BA from Stetson University in Digital Arts and English.View the profile
About the talk
YC Partner Kevin Hale covers the first principles of conversion, one of the main drivers of growth for your startup, and how you can improve it starting with your landing page.
So this presentation on improving conversion rate? It's designed to mostly focus on like landing pages. But all the principles and ideas that I'll talk about in this talk actually can help you improve the conversion rate of almost anything any user interface to keep that in mind. typical example conversion rate funnel and when you're trying to improve in conversion rate, you're basically trying to improve the efficiency of going from one step to the next and the thing is Why we care about conversion, right? It's because it's part of
two different aspects of gross the two main sort of drivers and so gross is kind of like the balance between conversion and churn and basically growth happens as a gap between the two. Something to keep in mind is that working on churn is actually much easier than working on conversion. So this talk where are working on the harder thing the thing that usually are going to get started what I talked to a company and I'm trying to help them with their conversion rates. The first thing I usually try to figure out is do we even
need to be working on this at all? So the only time you should be working on and improving your conversion rate is because you have a leaky bucket. So I'd like to just talk about a couple of benchmarks and Industry so that we all kind of sit on the same page and understand weather like we should be working on this or working on something else like putting more things into the top of the funnel. Shareware version by Tiaras about 5% So basically this is old school like before the internet if people just really software out for free and they just hope that
somebody will pay for it or their own Goodwill. This is conversion rate. You can expect casual download games about 2% so stuff that you should have play on and off while waiting in line. Most companies can I care about this one premium software-as-a-service companies? They range between 1.5 and 5% on average is about 3% So once I talk to a company and they have pages that are converting at about 3% and that is from like out of a hundred visitors that does your page 2 to 3 % up. I usually
say you probably don't need to spend that much more time on this the other things you should work on instead. That being said you can do much better not flicker back in the Heyday. I had a conversion rate between 5 and 10% AdultFriendFinder But depending on what you're selling people wanted a whole lot more so 10 to 22% for sex and end of loneliness. even better the bees are if you don't recognize them children's social networks. And so basically this is the conversion rate to get your kid to shut the fuck up. I meant to leave you alone.
TurboTax online the monster 70% conversion rate. Basically, you're going to TurboTax your downloading that software you are paying for it is very very high. Every conversion rate problem looks like every other user interface problem and the concept or framework that I'd like to use to explain how to solve any user interface problem is using something called the knowledge Spectrum. This was created by amazing interface designer named Jared spool and basic it knowledge inspection says that this represents all knowledge on a spectrum and I'll decide represent zero
knowledge. No knowledge. You don't know anything and the other side is God like all knowledge your product and your user sits on two points on that line. Just two dimensions. Your user sits here. I will be call the current knowledge point and your interface your landing page the thing you want them to do sits here at the Target knowledge point and every interface problem. That's trying to be solved. You trying to close what we call the knowledge Gap. That's it. You don't need to go to a
complicated design school. To know how to solve these problems you either going to increase the amount of knowledge that is needed by your user or you need to decrease the amount of knowledge needed to use your product in a face whenever I'm looking at anyone's design problem trying to figure out if I need to increase knowledge, or do I need to decrease it? So the most helpful exercise that I will use from that's what I understand this concept when I'm trying to design a landing page or didn't prove it is a simplify things very very simply and what I imagined something called the one button
interface. So let's imagine that we reduced our landing page our products to just one button on a page the question becomes. What do I have to put on this page to get someone to push the button? What's the minimum amount? That's what you want to do you leave want to have on there and are there any information that I put on this page that keeps me from pushing the button or is there any lack of information that keeps me from pushing the button now for every time that I deal with Any patient looking at that? I'm trying to help improve.
I basically go through a series of seven questions and then through the series of seven questions. I look very smart you now to be smart on your the first question I ask is what's it called action is the button is the thing. I most want my user to do. Is it super obvious? Where do I find it? And the thing to keep in mind about the call to action is it should be really really close to a concept? I like to call. The magic moments the Magic Moment is basically
the experience the knowledge information the interaction that someone has with your startup and all the sudden it gets tingly inside the light bulb goes off and go ho Lee fuk. I've been waiting for this my whole life. I now get it. This is super excited. I can't wait to use this and your call-to-action shoes be as close to that magic moments possible that when I click that button. I'm going to take him to that point so often I go through a design critique with someone. I'm like, what's your magic moment and then somehow the call the action is like
27 steps away from whatever it is that make someone feel special or gets really excited about your product or app. So you should be as close to zero as possible from your call to action. The six other questions where to go through relatively quickly and then we're going to go to two examples from people participating in start school. Just watch them in action. The next question is what is this? What is This Magic Moment? Rights, and my test for this my lips litmus test is like can I just copy paste a sentence on this page the same page that I
can put into an email and send it to my mom and my mom goes I understand what this is. 99% of time I look at people's websites and they're so filled with MBA marketing. Jargon and talk but there's no sentence that exist on that page that elects me very clearly understand what it is at this company does Is it right for me? So people who are super in a rush inpatient trying to solve their problems there quickly tried to identify themselves as like a mind the wrong place is the right product and the way
they're trying to determine that is he like, is there any reflection of themselves in this or any reflection of their problems? Look at it anywhere on the page? Is it legit? So the threshold is very low here just can't look like a Russian spamming website right outside of that. You don't need to overthink this thanks to on the templates and themes out there you should get be able to get over this bar. Very very quickly. Who else is using it? So why do people are uncomfortable using a product unless they know that
there's something else out there and you might think it's a variation of late yet. But again, this far is completely different. That's letting me kind of know o a shortcut for is it right for me? And is it legit and basically a shortcut for trust and people often are trying to say like, oh, it's so good. So is already using this then I should actually give this a chance. How much is a what's the catch this is the one that's so many be to be on a private companies are afraid to put on their website and which is why we've paired this talk up with pricing and basically
you should have some empathy. How many times do you go to website and go like well, I'll use this without knowing how much it costs. Sounds good to me. Let's just do it. No one does that until you shouldn't be surprised that your conversion rates are affected cuz you don't tell people how much it cost or what's the catch. So let's say you're giving away something for free and really your business models. You make money some other way. You should explain that to people cuz otherwise people feel paranoid or worried or feels kind of weird. The last leg is where can I get help?
There's always a percentage of users who go to your website and don't know it doesn't matter that you have all the FAQ you written. Everything down you crazy is Beautiful video documentation. They will just go like I just want to ask someone I just need to talk to somebody I need someone to tell me directly and part of it is some people are just like I just want to see if there's a real person behind the bus. Number one where some people are just can't be bothered and sometimes it's easier for them to just directly asked then navigate to the website. And if you don't
make it really easy to find in contact you or make it look like that you were going to help them if they start using the product. They probably won't use it. The talk is so short. Those are the seven questions. We are now going to go through two examples of start school companies set their stuff to me, and I don't really have their permission. But they did submit it when they asked to have a design critique critique done in the surgical forms. So I feel like
we're going to be okay, okay. The first one we're going to do. Is meeting room. IO. Alright first question. What is the called action? What is it that this company most wants me to do and then what I do is I basically then try to do that thing and just follow it all the way through just see how far away am I from the magic moment. So these guys create virtual meeting room platform. So basically, We don't have a copy paste on it. But basically it's like you
want to meet in VR space with someone you can use this to help create that space and create that sort of meeting. Imagine it is get a virtual room right now. There's a lot of things have sort of competing with it for all the called actions on this page and we kind of don't repeat it down here that reminds me where to go. So, let's go to the most efficient get a virtual meeting room right now. And then out here. We have competing call directions to download and then we have managed rooms and then there's a start here to get to your virtual room, which is the
carousel that walks you through seven steps to finally get to making a room but none of these are the actual forms to do it. So you have to then go here. And then hopefully you will remember all of those seven steps in the Carousel and you don't walk all the way through it. so things that I would recommend would be like I want to have always one button. That's a very very clear. This is what I want you to do on any given page number two. I don't think this makes it.
Easy to understand and I can't keep it in my head the follow it's good that they know all this stuff, but I would probably imagine that there's something that's going to help me experience that magic moment much soon. And what I imagine is that magic moment happens when I finally like make a booking and I meet with someone in a room together and we start interacting and solving something and I feel like if I can't do that right away. Then I want to have them be able to experience it somewhere. I would totally add some kind of video. I think they have that kind of here.
El kind of show it off this is this video is kind of long it doesn't get us to that sort of magical place. So that summer 1 second. What is this? So we're meeting room platform. But if I copy paste it that I wouldn't quite now also you see this carousels kind of moving around carousels don't work for a while cuz you're hiding information that I might want to have the answer 81.7 questions and secondly woke I can't figure out we do this thing recalled an open beta and soda legit are here. So it's going to affect it. Like I can't rely on this and the later on the
sign-up page. It talks about entering into the closed Beta And so these are all things that indicate is like I'm not ready for you to experience this don't use me for any real meetings is what the start of a lacrosse and so it's it's basically works. I will try to move that straight forward to that. Down here. We're trying to look for like who else is also using it. So we don't have a list of customers and said we have a bunch of other logos here in terms of featured in a bunch of press that we have Partners, but I don't know what that means and then we have a bunch of awards but none of them
are actual people using it until it's so many logos of other things that it would make me nervous. No one's really using this. As a result and then lastly, what do I get out? We got an intercom in the lower right? And then we also have No, help page no documentation to quickly add sort of look at the see how this works. And then the last one is going to pricing. so here look at this point and I realize ocab see this pricing if I need 12 people in a room is going to be $99 a month and then I can start working on one page
over and I go for the free again. We'll go through all this whole process. It's a bunch of little things. We just go through all the questions. We can see a bunch of non-optimal stuff on this page. What do our second example I'll be a little bit different. So this is a company called give joy and so they describe themselves as a reactant codebase generator and then he has his windows, Does it use our free web-based tool to create the perfect codebase for your next project to my first question. I'm trying to figure out is like what's it called action? He most
wants me to do it. So I'd like to cool down. This page was actually nothing that looks like a giant button. And actually the big thing you want to do is click on one of these templates you screenshots that are supposed to be the button. Slaps Urban affordance problem and then we go into here and my magic moment is when I get over and realize it's like, oh it's not just like a landing page templates, but it's like a dashboard. It's like a sign in page of pricing but it's like the entire project for building a sassa is all located here, which I think is really amazing and
nothing just tells me. That's why it's all here and I might not find out until I export code and I hit download. And then I get the code for so many steps away from sort of experiencing that and also I feel like it's so not explicit that I might miss how amazing but he's built here in terms of what he's offering. One thing he does kind of well as like he doesn't have like logos of customers, but he has shown how many people have created or downloaded the templates. So this number kind of set the boxes using this and finding it useful.
Down here. He tries to get out this everything you need is included and they ads all this other text. But all that text is there and it's odds are your users are going to read them. The because it's looking into that copy gets kind of lost. Then again, we have an intercom there just not enough information to terms of like FAQ use write an about page. That just makes me go by kygo that this is more than a side project. And so in terms of like how much I can sort of invest in this and how much I can rely on this down the road in the future is going to be
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