Nothing else matters

This company called Marketing Experiments put together a formula for calculating the probability of conversion:

Conversion = 4 motivation + 3 value prop + 2 (incentive – friction) – 2 anxiety

It’s just a heuristic for the relative importance of different factors that go through people’s minds when they buy something.

The point worth highlighting here is that we have little control over the largest factor in a purchasing decision. If people aren’t actively trying to deal with the problem your product solves then nothing else matters.

We can’t control people’s motivation but we can design our messaging to meet them where they are. If my wife’s bidet is broken and I’m urgently looking for a replacement then explaining all the benefits of having a bidet will be lost on me. All you need to do is show me a picture, tell me how to buy it and let me know when it will arrive. On the other hand, if I don’t know what a bidet is and you show me a ‘buy now’ button, you’ve lost me.

For newer innovative products, when people are unaware of your solution, you will need to focus on addressing the problem it solves. For more established products, where people are aware of the solution, you need to pay more attention to explaining why your product is better than the rest. Using the same formulaic approach for both contexts is counterproductive.

If people don’t have the problem your product solves then at best you will be wasting time on a bunch of micro-optimisations that go nowhere. If they are trying to solve the problem then understanding where they are on that journey will determine which hill you need to help them climb.

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