Internet Field Trip

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Internet Field Trip

Internet Field Trip

As we continually test and tune our sites, significant gains get more and more difficult to achieve. Often we, as marketers, become focused on a small set of site attributes, such as a banner or button design, and satisfy ourselves with moderate incremental gains, when much greater gains are possible by recognizing the preconceptions and visual prejudices of customer prospects and match our sites to them in order to reduce purchase-related anxiety.  

MEC Labs has identified five essential elements to website conversion, which are brought together in the MEC Conversion Formula. Attention to each element is necessary for optimal performance. In this brief, we identify eight key ways to increase site conversion by reducing customer anxiety. 

Website Design


A diversified company offering online people-search/background-check services.


How to increase conversion of an already well-optimized site.


The online people-search/background-check company's home page design was already well optimized from many prior tests of key conversion elements.  Analysis of recent test results, combined with other site activity and competitive analysis data suggested that customer anxiety related to the look-and-feel of the site might be a significant factor.


To increase conversion by reducing customer anxiety through matching the look and feel of the site to prospects' industry-specific expectations and visual prejudices.

Here is what the top of the original page looked like. We tested an official-looking page against the (already highly optimized) baseline product offer page, which had a professional, though “commercial” look and feel.  The new official-looking page was intended to better match the expectations of target customers related to color, page layout, copy tone, and other visual attributes for this industry and product category.  Here is the top of the experimental page.

Here are the results:

Offer Page Performance - Control vs. "Official"

Offer Page

Conv Rate


Projected Mthly Gain/Loss





Official Offer




What You Need To Understand: The official-looking offer page conversion rate was 12.7% higher than the baseline page.  This gain translates to a projected annual increase of $366,988—at no increased cost in marketing budget.

As this case illustrates, matching the overall look and feel of the site with prospects' visual biases will reduce anxiety and increase conversion.  Once this is done, there are other measures you can take to further allay the fears of prospective customers. 

Credibility indicators, site ratings, and third party testimonials can reassure visitors about your trustworthiness and stability, as we reaffirmed in our second case study with a company in the financial services sector. 

Indications from site navigation logs, test results, and demographic research suggested that customer anxiety was contributing to drop-out in the subscription order process.  Consequently, a number of anxiety-reducing elements were incorporated into the optimized order process, including customer testimonials, third party credibility indicators, adjustments to language and tone, message personalization, and placement of the satisfaction guarantee near the call-to-action. 

Following are the results:

Case Study - Free Trial Offer page testing results

Free Trial Offer

# of Visits

# of Orders


Original Page




Optimized Page




What you need to understand: Optimization of anxiety reducing site elements yielded a ...
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