Apolo Ohno was the face of speed skating for the US, and the favourite for several events, including the men’s 1000m short track speed skating.
After escaping an embarrassing early exit in his heat, Apolo stormed back in the quarter finals, then edged out a South Korean skater in the semi-final to qualify for the medal race.
Everything was set up for US gold.
The final was a tightly-contested affair. After cut and thrust where the lead changed hands several times, Apolo pushed to the front with two laps to go. Three other skaters stayed hot on his heel, while one other hopelessly trailed the pack.
They rounded the final corner, Apolo and Chinese skater Lia Jiajun jostling for position. Apolo held front spot, but as they leaned through the corner, Jiajun suddenly fell and spun off towards the wall… kicking off a chain reaction as he did. First the Korean tumbled, then Apolo, and finally the Candian right behind them. Apolo recovered like lightning and lunged his skates towards the line… too late.
Barely 20 metres short of his prize, Ohno had fallen at the final corner. Relatively unknown Australian skater Steven Bradbury, who had sat dead last for most of the race, casually coasted past to claim his first gold medal.
This sporting folklore (and enduring source of Australian pride) is a fantastic analogy for what order pages all around the Web do: trip up customers just as “victory” lies within reach.
Vive la résistance!
Every step in your funnel — whether it’s an email, page or action someone needs to take — can build resistance in your prospects. If too much builds too quickly, they either never make it to your sales presentation or become much harder to sell to.
It’s why you write content that gets people wanting to check you out. It’s why you create emails that stir interest. It’s why a sales page is carefully structured and written to build desire and lower buying resistance.
And it’s why order forms, the final “corner” at the end of a long funnel, have to be engineered to make buying as simple, smooth and beneficial as you can make it.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time that doesn’t happen.
An order page has to be more than functional to play a part in a winning funnel.
There could be any number of reasons behind why order pages end up like this:
- Sheer laziness on the funnel building side
- An assumption that the “selling” is finished
- Ignorance of the persuasive power of a good order page
- A rush where the page gets built at the last minute
Regardless of reason, it can be an absolute conversion killer.
These clever chaps conducted a survey that showed 80% of people have bailed at least once on a form, which should send a cold shiver down the spines of all marketers. The top concerns? Security came in at #1 (29%) with form length (27%) close behind.
I find it strange we put so much work into a high-performing funnel and sales page that excites prospects, only to drop the ball at the final obstacle*.
THE #1 CONVERSION-WINNING MOVE FOR YOUR ORDER PAGE
Treat your order page like a “mini” sales page.
Yes, a lot of times prospects will have just jumped from a full-blown sales page, and they’ll be hot to buy. But now they’re on a new page, with fields to fill in and credit card details to snatch their money away. It’s only natural that some of the resistance the sales page evaporated may drift back. So, it’s up to the order page to gently persuade the prospect, ease any last-minute doubts, and make the final corner as smooth, simple, and safe as possible.
How do you do that?
Well, let’s shift from the abstract to the concrete with…
8 TECHNIQUES TO AMPLIFY YOUR ORDER PAGE
Let’s start by dealing with what the survey showed to be the leading fear for hesitant form fillers…
1. Show Buyers They’re Safe
Online credit card theft is rife today, so it’s only natural that people worry about it.
So, perhaps the first job your order page has to do when someone arrives is to show that ordering through you will be 100% safe. Kind of like this…
The Renegade Diet order page wastes no time in talking security, putting it right at top of the page
A trust seal is a badge given by security firms for businesses to show they’re using secure technology. While almost every business online today would get nowhere if they didn’t use some kind of security, it pays to assure customers that their details are safe and sound.
Like all good order pages, The Renegade Diet page tucks several trust seals around the payment button
2. Reduce The Number Of Fields
Once you’ve got security covered, you might want to look at the other big stumbling block people trip over on order forms: the number of fields.
And while this is user experience and nothing to do with persuasion or sales, it’s one of the easiest and potentially most valuable changes you can make to your order form.
The theory is that more fields means more “work” for customers. And when someone lands on your order page and sees field after field after field after field… they question how badly they want your widget.
So, you simply drop any fields not necessary for completing the transaction.
Now, before you take a virtual machete to your order form…
1. What’s needed for one order may not for another. For example, you probably don’t need a home address from people buying a digital product but if you’re shipping something, it’s kinda important.
2. It’s not necessarily a sure-fire way to success. The wisdom behind lean forms first came from a study a decade old. And as ConversionXL discovered with one test, reducing fields actually decreased the conversion rate!
So before you go chopping up fields, consider the context. Are you losing valuable info just to make the cut? Do fields in the firing line get a lot of engagement that help orders get across the line?
Perhaps the best thing you can do is simply test different form lengths and find out yourself what size gets the maximum customers to fill it out.
One Thing To Keep In Mind…
…is that much of the talk around form length is based around opt-in forms, which are different beasts to order forms.
However, at least one example has shown the wisdom of keeping your order page lean and mean holds true. While an older test, Marketing Experiments redesigned an ordering process that involved fields across several pages and pulled it back to a streamlined single page.
The end result? A 13.9% lift in conversion!
3. Give A Final Nudge With Testimonials
Social proof is one of the strongest persuasion principles you can harness in your marketing. One of the greatest things about social proof is that it can be used anywhere:
- Social media
- Lead magnets, like guides or eBooks
- Sales pages
And if you didn’t see it coming, they can also go on order pages!
As the Perfect Day book order page shows, testimonials in a side bar can be powerful persuasion on the order page
That said, you don’t have to go overboard: a couple in the margins might be all you need to see a big difference.
4. Make It Super Easy For Customers To Pay
Like form length, improving your order page’s conversion rate isn’t just about smart marketing, but user experience too. And that’s what making it stupidly simple for your customers to part with their money is all about.
When looking at your payment mechanism, you’ve got two obvious things that make payment a no-brainer for customers:
1. Single payment vs payment plan
Smart Blogger’s Marketing Certification order page gives prospects two options: pay in a lump sum or with installments (though they could do a little more to show the savings with the lump sum option)
2. Give them plenty of ways to pay
Most people today have credit cards, but not everyone. Plus, they may not always want to put things on plastic. Unfortunately, too many order pages offer credit cards as the sole method of payment… which means you might be missing out.
The Larq order page gives customers FOUR different ways to pay
5. Remind Them Of Your Guarantee
A guarantee is a critical cog in any great offer, and it can often pay to remind customers about it when they land on the order page.
Risk is a huge hurdle for any customer to jump prior to buying. They’re parting with hard-earned cash and they’re not sure your thing-a-ma-jig is worth the sticker price. When you have a strong guarantee in place, the hazard of not getting sold a lemon can be reduced in their minds, if not completely removed.
That said, this isn’t an altruistic step done purely for the benefit of your customer. At least one study has shown that money back guarantees improve sales and profits, which makes it worth your while to give your customers a rock-solid guarantee.
The Altucher Report’s order page highlights the “zero risk” in trying the subscription for 3 months
6. Answer Last Minute Questions
When it comes to being available to answer last minute objections or concerns from customers (through live chat or other messaging feature), there might be two schools of thought…
- “Nope, stay out of their way so they don’t get distracted”
- “Help them out so they don’t drop out at the last second”
While I’m a little unsure whether a support feature like this gets in the way on a sales page, the order page is a different matter. At this point, your prospect’s made that all-important click and is one step from being a bona fide customer.
Plus, you can’t anticipate every possible objection or question that might pop up. And sometimes it takes just one of those for your customer-to-be to close the browser tab. Being on-hand to answer the unexpected might save more than a few sales. Plus, it’s a great way to build up a “database” of queries and concerns you can address in future marketing.
Facebook Messenger Chat is a recent addition to direct marketer Roy Furr’s BTMS Insiders site
7. Briefly Describe The Product (Again)
No, this isn’t about your customer’s having memories like goldfish.
It’s about reminding them why they want your product, and especially what problem they’re trying to fix or desire they’re trying to satisfy while their mouse cursor hovers around the “Buy” button.
Now again, this may be a little challenging for some. After all, shouldn’t we be stripping the order page back to bare essentials so buying is as simple and straight-forward that it can be?
Well, yes and no. And this is why I’ve mentioned testing more than once. It’s easy for anyone (including myself) to declare these tactics as THE way towards a higher-converting order page. It’s another thing to actually implement and see success from them.
So, as the saying went in my past career… test early, test often!
As the order page for the Perfect Day Formula Journal shows, it only takes a few paragraphs to convey an evocative, persuasive message
Use simple bullets to quickly remind customers what they get (as the Renegade Diet order page did)
The Hormone Reset Diet nicely lays out the books the customer is one step away from, even though it’s a digital product
8. Show How To Get In Touch
The “can I get my money back?” objection isn’t the only risk-related question customers will ask before buying. After all, a money back guarantee is worthless if they can’t get in touch with you to organise a refund.
Not knowing whether you can be contacted quickly and easily (and how to do that) is another objection that can trigger the last minute loss of a sale. The obvious way to “de-riskify” your order page: show buyers how accessible you are.
MindValley provides 3 different ways to contact them AND puts a face on their customer support
THE ORDER PAGE EXPERTS
AWAI’s order pages can often have as much copy as some sales pages!
WHERE TO START?
- Show Buyers They’re Safe
- Reduce The Number Of Fields
- Give A Final Nudge With Testimonials
- Make It Super Easy For Customers To Pay
- Remind Them Of Your Guarantee
- Answer Last Minute Questions
- Briefly Describe The Product (Again)
- Show How To Get In Touch
But when you’ve got this many options, it’s easy to run into two dangers…
Danger #1: do nothing, as you’re confused about which one might make the biggest difference.
This is classic “analysis paralysis” and is broken by just doing something. Pick one item, make the change, and test the difference… then rinse and repeat.
Danger #2: do everything at once, since it all sounds fantastic.
The problem isn’t that you’re throwing everything at your order page, it’s that you’re doing it all at the same time.
If you throw the kitchen sink at your order page, you won’t be able to tell what’s working and what isn’t. Develop a plan, and test everything systematically.
But Above All…
If you take nothing else away from this, just remember this:
Your order page might be the last step in your funnel, but it’s a final corner that all your buyers still have to skate around… so don’t ignore it!
What Goes Hand-in-hand With A Great Order Page?
Well, yes… a top-shelf sales page (and funnel) is the obvious and correct answer.
But a polished order page and world-class copy will only take you so far.
The other vital ingredient: a well-rounded offer.
There’s a saying in the copywriting world that copy isn’t a sales creator, but a sales multiplier. A weak offer is a weak offer that customers will see through, regardless of how good your marketing is.