{The following experiment was done using HelloBar which allows you to add a question before your sign up page, which makes everything really easy, but you can do it with any other tool using some simple scripting skills}.

The first condition in both experiments is a regular “join our list” page take over (actually its the same experiment broken into mobile/desktop, since sometimes users behave differently on each) .

Conditions “B” and “C” have a “minor” change compared to condition “A”, they first display an emotional question and if the user replies “Yes” (and for this experiment also if she replies no) she sees the regular “join our list” page take over. It looks like this:

Condition “A”:

Page take over with A CTA (e.g., “Please give me your email (I really need it, everyone is saying how important it is)” ).

Conditions “B” and “C”:

Step 1: Page take over with A question (e.g., “Do you want to know my secrets?” ).

(after user clicks Yes/No in step 1)

Step 2: Page take over with A CTA (e.g., “Please give me your email (I really need it, everyone is saying how important it is)” ).

What is actually happening in a sense is counter intuitive. We add a step to the process and get more sign ups. Although we were raised and breast fed that the fewer the steps the more sign ups we will get, in many cases (like this one) it isn’t true.

The psychology behind this phenomena

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Many call it a “leg in the door” I would call it a “hand in the mind/heart”. At first we ask someone to take a very small and EASY emotional or cognitive act, since the act is so easy (click a Yes/No button) many people will do it. Once done the person feels committed and much more likely to take the next action (and that’s the beauty of it).

The next action is a result of the first action and not taking it will create a cognitive dissonance, and we hate cognitive dissonances, we want things to be simple, for many of us it would be simpler to give our emails away then deal with a cognitive dissonance. And lets not forget that we also feel committed.

Lets check a quick example.

The first question is, “Do you believe that general knowledge is important?”

Answers: Yes/No.

If this question is shown in a general knowledge blog 90% will reply “Yes”.

After the “Yes” we show the user a subscription CTA (e.g., “Get a daily cool general knowledge tip to your inbox”).

Not subscribing is difficult, and the “stronger” the question on the first stage would be the more conversions we will have.

You can see in  my experiment that variation C has a much better conversion rate than variation B (in desktop its 50% higher!), the difference between these variations is the question itself.

I won’t get into how to phrase a strong emotional question, but always try to use “Do you feel/believe/love” than “Do you think” kind of questions.

Also, the question “Do you believe that general knowledge is important?” might be better if phrased like this: “Is general knowledge important to you?”.

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