Understanding Your Customer’s Story: How one company increased conversion 104% by identifying motivation


Every time someone wants to buy something from your brand, there’s a story that explains why they want what you’re selling. Identifying that story is key to making the sale.

How do we know this is true? Because when we know someone’s story, we know their motivation. If someone is highly motivated to get a solution, they’ll put up with almost anything — a poorly written email, a slow website or even a convoluted sales flow — to get it.

Consider this patented heuristic:


This isn’t a math formula. It’s a guide that MarketingExperiments and its parent company, MECLABS Institute, derived from analyzing tens of thousands of sales flows. This heuristic reflects what it takes to convert (C) a prospect into a customer and shows how the five variables — motivation (m), value (v), incentive (i), friction (f) and anxiety (a) — relate to each other. The numbers next to the variables identify how powerfully they affect conversion. Note that motivation is the most heavily weighted variable.

If formulas make your eyes cross, all you need to know is this: if a customer is highly motivated, none of the other elements (such as friction, anxiety or a poorly communicated value proposition) can stop them from moving forward in the sales process.

The most recent Web clinic looked at clues that revealed customers’ stories and, consequently, their motivation. Watch it and, within 30 minutes, you’ll get critical information that you can use immediately to drive an impressive lift in conversions.

Consider the experience, the second company outlined during the Web Clinic, of a Canadian window manufacturer who was a student of MarketingExperiments. He called on MECLABS to help him increase conversions from his online site.


The Control


The team immediately began to look for clues that would tell the customer story. The Web clinic outlines four basic questions that will help you do the same:

  1. Who are your customers?
  2. Where did they come from?
  3. What have they done?
  4. How do you expect them to proceed?

For the sake of this company’s experience, the focus will be on questions two to four.


Where did the customer come from?

The answer: In the case of the window manufacturer, the team received an important insight about customer motivation. The number of visitors coming directly to the home page was abnormally higher than any other channel.

That’s when the business owner revealed his extensive direct mail campaign that was driving people to his website.

This is what his direct mail looked like:


What have they done?

The answer: Customers received the direct mail campaign and were investigating its offers by going online.

Which brings us to the final question: How do we expect them to proceed?

The answer: Customers will want to find out about their three free upgrades advertised in the direct mail.

Here’s the conundrum: The control mentioned none of this. Realizing this, the business owner changed the homepage.


The Treatment 


The results were immediate. This new site increased conversions by 104%. Here are the specifics:

This is just one example of how it pays to take the time to learn your customer’s story. (Watch the Web clinic to learn about others.) We’ve learned over and over again that if you organize every bit of information you have about customers around the four questions, the path to a faster conversion will become more clear.


You can follow Andrea Johnson, Copywriter, MECLABS on Twitter @IdeastoWords.


You might also like

Watch HD video replays of full sessions from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 [From MarketingSherpa, sister company of MarketingExperiments]

MECLABS Online Optimization Course and MECLABS Online Testing Course [More on the Conversion Heuristic]

Analyzing Customer Motivation to Create Campaign Incentives that Resonate [More from MarketingSherpa]

Landing Page Optimization: 3 keys to increasing conversion rates [MarketingSherpa webinar replay]

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  1. John F. Meeske says

    I am interested in a conversation with the principal of Experiences Marketing. Can you arrange this?

    1. Kayla Cobb says

      Hey John,

      Our parent company, MECLABS Institute, does offer Research Partnership opportunities, which may be a good fit for you. You can find out more information and apply here.

      I hope this helps, and thanks for reading.


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