How to Maximize Conversion Rates - Personal Case Study of Changing Opt-In Form in Less Than 1 Hour | Felix Dragoi

THE PROBLEM

Let’s talk about Conversion Rates.

If you’ve ever started something from scratch, then you know just how bad that first draft really is.

Maybe it’s one of the reasons why Tim Ferriss is such a fan of John McPhee’s book, titled “Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process”.

It’s universally accepted that the first draft is for the trash.

However, that doesn’t mean that the first draft is useless.

Without it there would be no 2nd, 3rd or 4th draft.

That’s why it’s so important to resist that temptation of trying to be perfect.

Done is better than perfect.

The reason for that is that perfect will most likely … never be done.

So that brings us to our topic for today, which is the opt-in form that you can see on the homepage.

What you see right now is somewhat different from what it was even one month ago, or even worse, what it was on its initial launch day.

So, while I changed it recently, I thought that it might be a good time to share with you how I’ve done it, as it may be an inspiration for some of your other creative endeavours in life.

After all, that’s the reason why we’re reading or listening to books, why we’re reading articles that can be as long an entire chapter in a book or even why we watch YouTube videos that are 1 to 3 hours long.

Of course, there are different reasons, but many of us do it because we enjoy that feeling of finding new information that we may apply to our own lives.

Sometimes we learn, sometimes we just remind ourselves of things we already know.

Either way, we’re growing and that’s what motivates our curiosity.

So, in order to get back to the topic at hand, first I’ll show you what that opt-in form looked like before I had an epiphany.

HOW IT LOOKED LIKE BEFORE

Now that you see it, many things are probably going through your mind.

It’s easy to find those mistakes when you are not so emotionally attached to something.

I will tell you exactly what I think of this previous opt-in form.

Even though some may say that it wasn’t THAT bad, I’ll make sure to look at it like my own worst critic.

Trust me, it was really bad.

After you get emotionally detached from your own creation, it’s easier to improve it, rather than think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread.

When you look at the homepages of people like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuck, Neil Patel or Ramit Sethi, you can see a  pattern.

All of them have a call to action.

A specific call to action that guides you exactly where they want you to go.

I mentioned each of them because they were among the first people that came into my mind when thinking of someone who is doing internet marketing right.

Sure, all of those homepages aren’t made by them personally, but that’s even another reason to believe they are designed at a high standard.

You can be sure they hired people who do this for a living.

In a moment, I’ll get back to why I mentioned their homepages, but first, let me show you what I think is wrong about my previous opt-in form.

As I said, I will look at it with an extremely critical eye and telling you exactly how I might feel if this was the first time in my life that I would’ve seen it.

To make it easier, I used arrows and small descriptions as to what I might think if it was the first time I stumbled across it.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look.

CRITICAL VIEW

Does it seem fair enough?

If you share the same thoughts as me, then we might be right, it wasn’t that great to begin with, was it?

As you know, a call to action wants you to take action.

Seems logical, right?

But we can probably agree that this one was far from being optimized for conversion.

A designer would probably cringe at seeing it – probably even at the new one.

But let’s be honest, 99% of people in this world who have access to the internet don’t even try creating a landing page, a simple web page or even a simple button.

I’m not saying everyone should but don’t think that I’ve done any graphic design classes outside of my own free time.

However, as you can see, I can hold my own at creating something that might get at least a 0.01% conversion rate and I’m sure that each and every one of you would be able to create something that is at least at the same level.

As I’ve said, the first draft might be for the trash.

That’s probably the reason why I didn’t even touch the opt-in form for a very long time.

Since there are about 1000+ best practices for creating such a form and some actually contradict themselves, it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed while trying to work on it.

CTA’s and marketing, in general, should always be tested and optimized.

If something isn’t being improved, then it’s deteriorating.

There’s no middle ground. The world is always moving and time doesn’t stop ticking.

Now you might understand why I felt as if it was time to change the opt-in form.

And as a side note – at the same time, it did cross my mind to create this blog post and hence, do one of the things I’m most passionate about, which is to create and share information and ideas with people just like you.

Now, that meant that I’d need to level up my design game.

By looking at the previous opt-in form, it wasn’t difficult to come up with something at least slightly better.

Do you remember that I said we’ll get back to the homepages of Tony Robbins, Gary V and Ramit?

Now it’s time.

The reason is that it’s relevant for our discussion.

If you look at each, you can see that they either want your email directly (as Gary V does) or they want to first find out a little about yourself (Tony and Ramit).

Since all of them have enough “brand awareness”, you could say that they are doing it right by just making you focus on the Call-to-Action (CTA) button and very few words around it.

At the same time, most of us are not them.

That means we are not going to just ask people to fill in a questionnaire or ask for an email just so they can follow us.

Why would they even care?

That’s why I’m going to tell you exactly why the opt-in form received a noticeable upgrade (emojis included)

Many times we use fluff words only to add volume to something.

Famous American humorist Evan Esar once said the following:

“Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary”.

UNDERSTANDING CONTEXT

But let’s not misunderstand this quote.

As much as I’d like to write 100 word posts every day and get more readers, let’s be honest, would you understand something just as well if you dedicate less time, focus and attention to it?

If you’re not some kind of super human, then you’re in the same boat as me and 99.99% of the world. (yes, I’m pulling this number out of nowhere because this is how our human brains work, they understand concepts through numbers and analogies)

So, getting back to the opt-in form.

This is somewhere where we don’t have time to use fluff words.

You either get enough attention or you’re not.

With our current attention span, which is smaller than that of a goldfish, there’s no point in using even 1 word which doesn’t have a purpose.

That’s why I carefully selected my words.

But that’s not the only thing I did.

Other things I had to improve were:

  • Font
  • Size
  • Text position
  • Button position
  • Text color
  • Text position
  • Emojis (I’ll tell you why)
  • Underlying psychological factors

And I could go on and on, but let’s not start looking at each thing in this single post.

The truth is that I did all the changes in 1 hour.

But please don’t get fooled by the actual time.

This 1 hour was not an ordinary hour. It was an hour in FLOW.

It was 1 hour where all life experiences, previous knowledge and creativity combined to form a creative piece of work.

Writers, designers and marketers in general probably know exactly what it means to work on a creative project.

If you’ve ever done a one-month project one night before its deadline, then you know exactly what concept I’m talking about.

You can work 1 hour or you can work 100 hours on a specific project and it doesn’t necessarily mean that one of them is automatically better.

Sure, it can be, but there’s no guarantee.

That’s why some people get paid $50k in one year and others might get $50k for a single project.

Value doesn’t equal time and effort.

With that in mind, it took me significantly more to write this blog post than it took to design the opt-in form.

But let’s keep in mind that all our previous hours of studying, learning and applying things in the past, add up.

That’s why people such as Chris Do from The Futur can charge $30k for a single logo.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at a quick breakdown of the new design and we’ll go over it in a second.

HOW IT LOOKED LIKE AFTER

As you can see, there’s a difference.

The text is not a random San-Serif font looking like some sticks thrown around.

Text is bolded to enhance the visibility of some power words.

There’s a proper introduction:

  • Who I am (rapport)
  • Who you are (qualifying)
  • What I do (super short description)
  • Emojis (pointing toward a direction and adding some visual appeal)

However, the most important thing is that there’s one major difference.

It looks more professional.

And that’s the most important thing when you want to make a good first impression.

As superficial as this may seem, we judge people in a few seconds.

We must be honest with ourselves and understand that psychologically, our mind tries to decipher someone in a few seconds.

If you think why, it’s simple.

We need to know how to react.

What if that person is the queen of England?

Well, you will probably use a different language than with your best friend since childhood, isn’t that right?

The truth is that at least initially…

Style is more important than substance.

Each and every one of us knows that showing up is important, don’t we?

For example, look at this image.

STANDING OUT

Just a group of people wearing hats, right?

Some of you might’ve noticed that one of the hats has a different color.

Did you?

It’s the hat at the center right of the image.

It has a blue tint.

That guy was smart enough to differentiate himself, but that wasn’t enough, was it?

If you only try to differentiate yourself slightly, then it’s not that obvious.

That’s probably one of the reasons why we see so many emojis nowadays.

Look at someone’s LinkedIn profile, and if they are actively using the platform they probably have some emojis around their bio.

Some say this isn’t the best idea, as it lacks professionalism, while others say that it expresses creativity.

Either way, let’s not forget the fact that we live in the attention economy.

As we know, even negative attention can be beneficial.

How many brands haven’t gotten a lot of free publicity due to a backlash?

Sure, you have to make up for your mistake in case you made one, but if you just expressed yourself differently, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the wrong way to do it.

If we were to take the previous image and we were to make it a little brighter, we’d see the hat with a different color much easier.

And that’s how you probably want to stand out.

FINAL THOUGHTS

To wrap this post up, we’re going to go over the main points of this post.

First off, we started with the problem.

Everything that we create or shape and then put out into the world will be a representation of who we are.

It shows how we prefer to do things.

Or better said, it shows our standards.

As I’m writing this, I’m well aware that the new opt-in form is not perfect and I wouldn’t even want it to.

Otherwise, you would never even see it because it would be a work in progress … forever.

If you remember the previous image with the crowd, there are 3 main things that I’d like you to take away from this post:

  • To be in the right crowd
  • To use your strengths
  • To stand out

But you know all of this already, don’t you?

But the question is, do you all of those 3 aspects seriously enough?

It goes without saying, but there’s ONE thing even more important than all 3 of them.

That one thing is SHOWING UP.

In other words, just like how I started this post, we’re going back to the DRAFT.

Doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be useless either.

As I’ve said, done is better than perfect, but in most cases, when we start doing something, it will become as good as our standards, so we shouldn’t worry about it being useless.

However, we do have to select our hats and our crowds carefully.

And that is why I wouldn’t recommend reading this post by itself without taking some other things into consideration as well.

To maximize each idea and concept from this post, I’d suggest reading some of my other posts and combining the concepts and ideas, for maximum efficiency and minimal waste of time and energy in the future.

I’m with you on this one, it might seem like a long list, but it’s not as if everything has to be consumed in one sitting. You can read only one piece of content and bookmark the rest. At least that’s how I do if time doesn’t allow to read more at a specific time.

So, without any more explanations, I’ll leave you with this list of readings you might enjoy.

PS: I always end my posts with a quote that may help, so please enjoy Helmut Schmidt’s words just like I did. It’s less than a second of scrolling away. 🙂

  1. Why what you do is x10 more important than how you do it – the importance of picking what you want to do in your life.
  2. Why You Should Always Think Big and Set Big Goals – how to think and set goals to maximize impact and success.
  3. Easy vs. Hard, Simple vs. Complicated – distinguishing between things that are or just seem to be overwhelming.
  4. The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less – avoid analysis paralysis by way of information overload.
  5. The Complete Guide to Breaking Bad Habits – my personal story and an effective approach to breaking bad habits.
  6. Your Simple Guide to Learning Anything the Smart Way– how to learn in a faster and easier way.
  7. Stoicism: The Most Efficient Operating System for Your Brain – using our brain more efficiently.