Most people don’t make purchases on a whim. We decide to buy something only after careful thought and consideration, especially if we are making purchases online and especially if those purchases cost more than $10.
Nay, our first reaction on seeing a product is not to open our wallets but to question if we need the product. We are constantly trying to come up with reasons why we should not purchase the product, even as we learn more about it.
And so your job as an online marketer is to preempt these objections that stop visitors from becoming subscribers or customers. Here are the 6 overarching objections and how you can overcome them to increase conversions.
This is the most common reason for not buying. Obviously no one wants to lose money. If people don’t value your product at how much you’re charging for it, they’re going to find it too expensive. Many times people choose an alternative simply because it is cheaper.
There are a few ways to combat this objection. The first is to prove that your product is worth the cost. Show customers that it’s 10 times worth the cost, or 20 times, or even a 100 times.
Let’s take an example from RJ Metrics, an analytics tool for e-commerce sites. Their pricing starts from $750/month and doubles thereafter. That’s a lot of money, especially when there are free alternatives like Google Analytics and Piwik.
So how does RJ Metrics justify the cost to potential customers? They prove to you that using their tool can increase your revenues dramatically. Have a look at the case studies on their site to see how they’ve helped some of their clients.
Using RJ Metrics, a deals site called NoMoreRack managed to do more in sales in the last two months of 2013 than in the entire year of 2012. An extra $100 million in revenue for $750/month? That’s a no-brainer.
The second method is to re-frame the cost. That means making the potential customer look at the cost in a different light.
AppSumo does this pretty well. They have an info-product (read, online course) called ‘How To Make a $1,000 a Month Business,’ where they teach you to create a business that makes $1000+ a month in the first month.
Now the regular cost of this product is $300. For their target market, people who aren’t making $1,000 a month, this is a bit pricy. These people want to make money, not spend it on online courses!
So AppSumo reframes the cost. Instead of promoting the price as $300, they offer a monthly payment plan of $30 a month for one year. That’s actually $60 more than the regular price, but it looks cheaper doesn’t it.
They reframe it even further as $1 a day. $1 is nothing! You spend four times as much on a latte. Surely you can skip the latte, spend that dollar, and save up the remaining three for a few months.
Now look at their pitch. For just $1 a day you can make a $1,000 a month business. When framed like that it sounds practically free. And so people pay the costlier monthly plan instead of the regular plan.
The third method is to create price tiers. Your full product may cost hundreds of dollars a month. It’s hard to reframe that, so create lower price tiers with fewer features.
Many companies offer a very basic tier for free. This allows people to sign up for the product without using a credit card and try it out. They then get up-sold on important features at higher pricing tiers.
An example is Buffer. It’s a social media management tool that allows you to schedule your posts. Plans start from $10/month onwards, but the problem with social media is that it’s hard to calculate ROI, so new businesses may not even want to pay the $10 fee.
That’s why Buffer offers a free plan with limits. Once you start using Buffer and you see how much time it saves you to focus on growing your business, you’ll start to realize that the $10 fee is worth it. As your business grows you’ll move up to higher tiers and unlock more helpful features.
Price tiers also introduce a price anchoring effect. When people see a low price next to a higher price, the low price looks more affordable.
Complicated means there’s a learning curve involved. In this day and age, we want results yesterday. If it takes too long to set up your product, people will find a simpler solution. And if a simpler solution doesn’t exist yet, some entrepreneur is going to build it and steal your customers.
Go back 10 years ago, when building an e-commerce site was such a hassle. You first had to code the site, then code product pages and shopping carts, then a system for logging in, and finally, the most painful part, the payment gateway.
Nowadays companies like Shopify and Bigcommerce make it so much easier, and that’s why they are so popular. You can have a full-fledged e-commerce store up and running within minutes. That means if you started right now, you could be accepting orders within the next half an hour.
Taking away the complications makes it easier for prospective customers to choose you. Show them how easy it is to use your product with How it Works pages and video demonstrations.
In fact, put a time limit on how long it takes to set-up. Shopify says you can start selling today, while Bigcommerce says you can set up a store in no time. Try out taglines like, ‘Get started with just 3 clicks!’ or ‘It takes only 5 minutes to set up!’
If you’re product is actually quite complicated, offer free or discounted set-up services. For example, hosting and managing a WordPress site can get quite complicated, especially if you have a large site. That’s why, along with their core offering of WordPress hosting, WPEngine offers installation and site migration.
Finally, a responsive support system and access to community forums can really ease objections about complexity. Your product might be easy to set-up but what if something goes wrong later? People want to know that you’ll be there to fix it as soon as it happens.
When you sell a product, you’re selling benefits. You create a set of expectations about your product, which means your product needs to live up to those expectations. If it doesn’t, then your customer doesn’t get what he paid for, and that’s a risk.
The most popular way is the free trail method. As mentioned before, Shopify and Bigcommerce allow you to create a store without needing a credit card. That means you can try it out to see if it delivers. You don’t even have to worry about cancelling your account if you don’t like the product, because they have no way of charging you.
Another method that’s more appropriate for info-products or physical products is the money-back guarantee. Customers can purchase the product, but if they feel like it’s not what they need they can simply ask for their money back.
A strong guarantee can go a long way. Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich swears by his 110% guarantee. That’s right, he gives back to you more than you paid for his info-product because he’s so confident that his product will deliver. Contrary to what you might think, this has actually helped him make more sales.
Case studies and testimonials, like the ones on RJ Metrics, are also proof that your product works as stated. You can show how your product over-delivers. AppSumo does that with their $1k course, showing how their students went on to make well more than $1k a month.
Not urgently needed
Your product may be cheap, it may be simple and it may work very well. Still, people will ask, “Do I really need it right now?”
For AppSumo’s course, this is probably the biggest objection they need to defeat. They target wantrepreneurs, people who are afraid of starting something new. Their prospective buyers are thinking, “Maybe I should get a real job first, or wait till I’ve earned some money before trying my own business.”
Convincing people they need your product right now is a toughie, especially if your product is available anywhere. The solution to this is to introduce scarcity and time-sensitive deals.
AppSumo convinces people to take action now by saying there are only a certain number of seats left. Do they really have seats? No way, it’s an info-product. It’s not like they made only a 100 copies of it. You make it once and it can be accessed from anywhere by a million different people.
Yet this works. AppSumo actually closes the sign-up for their course because they know that introducing scarcity will urge people to act faster. Get it now or wait till next year to become rich is essentially what they are saying.
Ramit Sethi, on the other hand, does a time countdown. The ‘seats’ are not limited, but the sign-up button will only work till the end of the week. After that, it’s gone and you’ll have to wait till he opens his course up again.
For regular products, time-sensitive discounts work best. That’s why holiday shopping generates so much in sales. Black Friday only comes once a year, so if you run a Black Friday deal, people latch on to it because, if they miss out, they have to wait another year.
Growthhacker.tv also runs a special discount. They regularly charge $29/month but, when you land on their page for the first time, you see a coupon code for a free week that expires in one hour. They even have a big timer counting down to increase urgency.
Trust is a huge issue these days, especially on the Internet. It’s become so easy to put up a website and sell a scam that people are now more wary of buying something online. Showing that you’re a real human rather than a faceless, nameless organization goes a long way in building trust.
The first important step is to create an About page and tell your story. Put up pictures of yourself and your team. Tell people about your background and why you started your company. Tell them about your goals and beliefs. Help them connect with you.
Next get on social media. It’s become standard for businesses to have active Twitter and Facebook pages. Your fans and followers may not actually be customers yet, but it’s social proof that they trust you enough to read your content and engage with you.
Trust badges are also known to increase conversions. Getting a BBB seal can put people at ease knowing that you’ve been vetted by one of these organizations. You’ll also want an SSL certificate to show that your payment gateway is secure and trustworthy.
Finally, as mentioned before, product reviews and testimonials act as social proof which in turn increases trust.
Not the best
This is the final objection. After you’ve blown through all the other objections, the prospective customer might still think, “Well this sounds good, but what if there’s something better out there?”
Everyone wants only the best, but it takes times to build your product up to that stage. It’s not something you can do overnight, but the earlier you get started, the sooner you’ll get there.
A good PR and blogger outreach strategy will help. Getting your name published by the top publications and blogs will show that you’ve got something special.
Building up authority in your field through consistent blogging will yield results in the long run. As people come to see you as an expert, they’ll see your product as the best in the business. That’s what Neil Patel did for Quick Sprout.
High-profile testimonials are powerful signals to show that you are the best. Crazy Egg is used by some of the most well-known and trusted brands like Intel and Hilton. If you’re being used by the best, you probably are the best.
Getting to the point where people consider you the best is a long, hard journey, but once you’re on the top, you can reap the rewards of your hard work.
Effectively preempting objections to purchase means that prospective customers have no reason not to buy. If you look at some of the best long form sales letters and direct sales copywriting examples, you’ll see that they address each objection thus resulting in high conversion rates.
What are the biggest reasons your prospective customers don’t buy and how are you addressing those objections?