There was a time when you could gate an infographic behind a form and gain conversions. That ship sailed years ago and it’s been incredibly challenging to use them as a source of lead generation ever since.
This could be for good reason. They’re so available—it feels like everyone has an infographic for something. So, if you gate an infographic there’s actually more incentive to look for a similar infographic elsewhere rather than convert.
Some marketers and digital specialists might even argue that gating almost any content is a bad idea and that there are better uses for content marketing than lead generation through gating practices.
I’m not about to say that the best way to increase conversions is to stop trying to generate them. That’s pretty illogical. So then, what is there? How do we start generating more conversions?
To answer that, let’s dig into a concept I like to call the 5X Law.
Introduction to the 5X Law
To put it simply, the 5X Law states that a prospect will only convert if the perceived value is at least 5 times more than what they’re going to give to receive the product or service.
Think about the last time you bought something online. For me, it was a new hat and gloves because it’s insanely cold out (-4 this morning, yikes).
Actually, I started shopping for them about a week or two ago, then I found a great pair of gloves. It was a pair I previously owned and really liked, I found them for about 35% off so I put them in my shopping cart. But, I didn’t check out right away. I signed in, went through almost all of the steps to complete my purchase, then closed the browser window just before finalizing my order.
Then sometime later, I got an email with a promo code to complete my purchase. I applied the promo code, checked out, and should get my gloves in about a week. Jackpot.
So, here’s the thing, these gloves were maybe $50, originally. Then, they were marked down by 35% ($32.50). Then, they were marked down again by 15% ($27.63). Now that it’s -4 degrees out, these gloves could be worth $150 (about 5X what I paid) to me if I was in dire need. So, to avoid needing these gloves in a dire situation, I’ll pay $28 to have them ready.
5X is easiest to quantify in e-commerce
So, the above example shows a very numeric example where the gloves have a perceived value that’s 5X the actual sale amount.
There are more complex sales than winter gear out there that require a conversion, and this law still applies.
If you’re selling classes, then the classes need to generate value that exceeds the cost of the class by at least 5X. For example, I use Treehouse on occasion to keep my technical skills sharp and it’s helped me increase my employment by much, much more than 5X what I pay to use it.
While this law is easiest to see in e-commerce, it applies to content marketing lead generation as well.
How to qualify 5X in content marketing
Determining a dollar amount worth of value that needs to be met when we’re talking about a conversion that won’t lead directly to a sale can be challenging. The dollar amount might vary from persona to persona when nailing down a target value point that’s significant to them. I like to start with $50, we can increase or decrease this depending on the persona who we’re trying to convert. So, let’s go ahead and allocate $50 to each field on a form of a landing page.
Here’s how this works, if you ask for five form fields, then this contact needs to feel like they’re going to get about $250 worth of value (5 fields X $50 for each field) for a form submission to be justified. They’ll convert if they feel like what they’re going to get from the submission has a value of at least $250.
This value could be in the form of, but not limited to, the following:
- Clients retained: They can keep from losing a client who’s paying $250 or more
- Deals won: This information will help them win a sale (or sales) worth at least $250
- Professional growth: They might get a $250+ bonus by using the information gained
- Time saved: This will reduce billable hours equating to at least $250
If you sincerely believe someone’s going to get this level of benefit, then you can reasonably ask them to fill out five form fields.
However, it’s a little more complicated than that. Not all form fields are created equal, phone number and first name aren’t worth the same amount. I’d be willing to give you my first name, sure. But my phone number? Not so sure.
Also, the number of fields can impact the required perceived value. There reaches a point where a form is so long that the proportionate value requirement for each field increases. Maybe instead of it being $50 for each form field, it’s closer to $65 or $70.
For example, someone who’s about to submit a form with 15 fields might expect over $1000 worth of benefit instead of $750.
Steps to Increase Perceived Value
First and most importantly, if you’ve reached this point I’m assuming the item being converted on has value in the eye of the visitor.
If that’s the case, then make sure the product or service is named something that is strong and descriptive.
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To do this use titles that are descriptive and show value like “Your Complete Budget Calculator for AdWords Campaigns”.
Avoid titles that are vague or too branded:
- Ultimate Flowchart for Getting it Together
- Acme Corp’s Essential Guide to Amce-isms
Follow basic conversion rate optimization practices
A lot of people are only going to read one or two things when they land on your conversion page. If they only read one thing it’ll be the header text. So, make it as short, descriptive, and as value-centric as possible.
This is the only chance you have to establish that the item on the other side of this form is worth 5X what it costs. To do this, be hyper clear about what it is and the value it brings, you might even want to reiterate the name of it.
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Avoid headers with all caps since there are accessibility issues tied to this. WebAIM has some resources that outline this concept pretty well.
Include social proof
Gather any and all testimonials that you can. Make this process part of your onboarding so the expectation is set that you might ask for a testimonial later.
Even better yet, ask for a full case study so you can use it in other aspects of your digital strategy and feature a testimonial from it on this landing page.
Include headshots, full names, job titles, and organizations if possible. The more information you can supply the more impactful this testimonial will be.
Use Images of the item in question, interface images if it’s a SaaS product
Share images of the product to make it abundantly clear what’s on the other side of that form submission. Highlight sections of the product that are especially compelling. If there are no compelling parts of the product, you might need to make a better product.
When it comes to software programs, the most impactful images will be of the interface the end user will be spending their time in.
Highlight nice looking graphs, charts, reports, dashboards, or other relevant interfaces that make this product unique and capable of solving problems. Especially if the problems it solves are costing thousands of dollars per month.
Describe every value proposition possible
Explain in plain language what the visitor will gain.
Outline details of the product or service:
- Interactivity and the value such interactivity brings, of the offer being downloaded
- The length, or exhaustiveness of the information, contained in the report
- The credentials of the creator
Less is more except when more is more
Keep this in mind, filler text will dilute strong, direct messaging that is there to build value. If it’s not building value keep it out.
With that said, there are times to add a lot of information to a landing page. For example, you might share a lot of information from a report to build value in the full report. Then, present a conversion point to download the full report after the perceived value in it has been established.
The Futility of Trying to Maximize Perceived Value When No Real Value is Present
I talked about several ways to highlight the value propositions of the item or service being obtained from submitting a form. During this explanation, I touched on the concept of not having any real value and I want to draw a line under it here.
So far, we’ve only used the 5X Law to describe perceived value in relation to asking price.
We could also refer to the 5X Law like this: a prospect will only convert if the perceived value is at least 5 times more than what they consider to be a reasonable price for a product or service.
Referring back to the gloves example I gave earlier
I honestly believe that $50 is a reasonable price for those gloves based on the quality of the materials, their sturdiness, and how usable they are with a phone.
They’re so warm, and soft, and I can look at Reddit without having to take them off. I mean, they’re great gloves, really. And when I’m wearing them in sub-zero temperatures, they really are worth more than 5X what I spent on them. So, I’m happy to have spent what I did.
You can charge $1,000 for an item that a prospect will think should be free all you want. But, the 5X law as stated above will make it impossible to generate five times the value of what a prospect will consider a reasonable cost.
It’s pretty basic math 5 X 0 = 0
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Author: John Hodge