1. People Like Being Labeled
Or, to be more specific, people like being included in a group, and you can use that psychology to persuade them toward action. In a great article on KISSmetrics, Gregory Ciotti applies the results of five consumer psychology studies to the science of conversion optimization . Gregory recounts one of these studies like so:
After being interviewed in regards to their voting patterns, half of the volunteers were told that they were likely to vote since they had been deemed more politically active, and the other half was not.
On election day, the group that was told they were more likely to vote had a 15% higher turnout than the control group (despite the fact that people were randomly told they were more likely to vote, and not told based on their responses).
Pretty interesting, right? Gregory reasons that you can use this group-think psychology to convince people to convert – for example, by telling them that small advertisers like them are increasing their PPC budgets next year. This encourages them to think of themselves as part of that group, and make business decisions based on this increased emphasis on PPC.
You’ll find applications of four more intriguing studies in the article.
2. “Optional” May Be Better than “Required”
Also in conversion news: The Visual Website Optimizer blog reports a case study in which a simple A/B test on a form page resulted in 5.21% more form completes , or an extra 50,000 pounds a year for the company. Unfortunately, the company tested three changes at once, so it’s impossible to say which change made the difference or how much of a difference each change was responsible for. In any case, I thought one of the changes was particularly interesting – the company removed the asterisks for required fields in the form, and instead used the word “optional” next to those fields that were not required. This is friendlier, more positive language – and it seems plausible to me that it might encourage more completions. I’d love to run an A/B test with this change alone to see what happens.
3. HARO = Links
At Search Engine People, Mandy Boyle suggests four ways to build links without asking for them  straight out. One of her tips is to use a source called HARO, or “Help a Reporter Out.” HARO is a service that connects reporters with knowledgeable sources. They put out a call when they need to speak to an expert on a given topic, and you could be that expert. As Mandy writes:
The great thing about this service is that it's free and more often than not, it results in a link back to your site when you get quoted. As a bonus, many of these links come from authoritative sites and news outlets, so it's not out of reach for you to gain a link (and visibility) on outlets such as The New York Times, ABC, or Business Week.
Check out Mandy’s post for three more solid link-building ideas.
4. Rampant Consumerism Is Back, Baby!
According to Rob D. Young at Search Engine Watch, “Cyber Week” (the week beginning with Cyber Monday) broke major records this year . Not only was there a 15% increase in spending over last year, but Cyber Monday was the biggest day in online spending ever! This has certainly been my most expensive year ever. (Remind me not to move across the country again anytime soon.)
A Few More Web Marketing Highlights
Have you noticed that Google sometimes changes your precious, carefully crafted page title (or your slap-dash, last-minute title as the case may be)? AJ Kohn walks through some of the reasons why Google might change your title , and why this is both good and bad.
Kristi Hines has put together a lot of great round-ups lately. This week she found and shared 45 awesome posts on A/B, multivariate and usability testing .
Thank you , Twitter: We can finally embed tweets ! That means I don’t have to take a crop a screenshot if You want to show you a tweet in a blog post, and you can reply, retweet, favorite, or follow the user from within the embedded tweet. Good stuff.
Have a good weekend, y’all.
Image via Don O'Brien