Last night Daniel and I presented at a Meetup about SpringSled’s growth, and there happened to be someone in the audience who had signed up and shared the link a few weeks ago. Among many interesting observations, one thing stuck out to me about his experience: the power of mystery.
When he first saw our home page, he was intrigued. Then, when he scrolled down and saw that we didn’t give any information other than the main selling points, he became manic – his initial intrigue was heightened to overwhelming curiosity, and he had to sign up to find out what we were up to.
Then, on the confirmation page, we handed him a unique URL and told him we’d give him a year of the software for free if he got 5 more friends to sign up.
He referred 22 people.
We’ve found that referral programs are volatile beasts who live and die on small differences in conversion rates (when 1 sign-up brings 22 more, the exponential effects over time become massive), so it’s extremely important to figure out how to get conversions high and keep them there. Here we’ll dissect one element of our home page, which has a conversion rate of 35-43% depending on the day.
The SpringSled home page is very sparsely populated with content: it has only three pictures and a total of 31 words, and I think this lack of content contributes a great deal to our conversion rate.
Initially, people are sold on the general idea of what we’re doing – simple, visual, easy project management software – and then we don’t tell them anything else. No screenshots, no pricing, no details on email integration or whether or not we’ll have file uploads – nothing.
So people are sold on the basic principles, and then we leave out any reason they’d have not to sign up, and if they want answers to any of their questions, the only way to get them is to sign up.
Normally, a webpage might do a good job selling people on the high-level concepts but then lose them with details like pricing or the existence or absence of some feature, or maybe just a simple loss of emotional momentum as the prospect digs through information and eventually forgets what they were doing there, like when you go to Facebook to look up a specific person and thirty minutes later pull yourself out of the stream of “This dog got a drivers license – what happens next is mind-blowing” posts and wonder why you got on Facebook in the first place.
Intrigue has serious power to drive people to action. I don’t care about dogs or drivers licenses, but when you tell me that my mind will be blow by what happens next, I’m almost uncontrollably curious. In the case of the man we met last night, his intrigue became a deranged need to sign up and find out what SpringSled was all about after visiting our home page.
So when we tell people that it’s simple, visual, and easy, and then they wonder what it looks like and how it works and can’t find an answer, they sign up (and then occasionally get another 22 people to do the same thing).
The moral of this story: don’t give away all the milk for free, or no one will buy the cow.