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6 Tactics for Boosting Post-Conversion Engagement

Posted by marcustaylor

Too often we view sales and conversions as the tape at the end of a marathon.

The moment someone converts, our mission is accomplished and we focus on how to take more leads cross that finish line. In reality, a conversion is just an event. It can just as easily be considered a starting point as a finishing point.

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Over the years, I’ve become fascinated by what different websites do post-conversion and have carried out many experiments to understand how different offers influence what customers do after they’ve converted.

But first, let’s discuss why this matters. To understand this, we need to look at what happens in the brain before and after we buy something.

Our brain, before and after a conversion

In 2007, a group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford, respectively, conducted an experiment that explained what happens in the brain before and after we buy things.

When we see a product we like, our brain’s “pleasure center,” an area called the nucleus accumbens, increases neural firing. Because this part of our brain has a lot of dopamine receptors, this makes us feel happy and excited.

Simultaneously, when we see the price of a product, another area of the brain, called the insula, may or may not increase neural firing.

If it does, we will subconsciously anticipate pain, discouraging us from purchasing the product. If there is no neural firing, the nucleus accumbens wins and we buy the product.

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Researchers can predict with relative certainty, before a person reaches a conscious decision, whether or not they will buy a product based on the activity in these areas of the brain.

After we buy a product, we may begin to feel a form of cognitive dissonance called buyer’s remorse. Buyer’s remorse is when we feel the opportunity cost of what we’ve just bought.

It’s at this moment that a nice surprise from the seller will fire up our endorphins and make us feel happy again.

While this practice may sound manipulative, I believe it’s good for both retailers and customers.

Customers feel happier and reassured in their decision to make a purchase, while retailers benefit from less refund requests. Also, retailers experience increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How to reduce buyer’s remorse in a way that drives links, increases shares and gathers valuable feedback

We’ve covered why having a post-conversion strategy matters, now let’s look at how you can create a successful one for your customers.

Good post-conversion strategies are win-win. They should give the customer something valuable, while providing you with something equally valuable.

Here are a few examples of what can be exchanged post-conversion:

What you can give customers:

  • Competition entries
  • Bonus gifts
  • Coupons & discounts
  • Priority treatment
  • Webinar access
  • Information products

In exchange for:

  • Social shares
  • More customer information
  • More social followers
  • More sales
  • Feedback
  • Reviews
  • Customer loyalty/satisfaction

And here are six examples of how you can implement post-conversion strategies on your website:

1. Offer a free bonus in exchange for social shares

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to ask customers to share the product they bought in return for a free extra—perhaps an information product or entry into a competition.

A few years ago, I ran a Groupon deal for musicians where we bundled hundreds of dollars worth of recording time, information products and discounts into bundles that sold for 1/10th of the value.

After a customer bought the deal, we offered them the chance to share the deal with their friends in return for an extra $100 worth of free discounts. This resulted in over 250 Facebook shares, which had two consequences:

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First, it increased the social proof on our landing page. As you can seen from the screenshot above, we placed a lot of social proof around the main call-to-action section of the landing page. As our “likes” and social proof increased, our conversion rate increased from around 5.6% to 8.3%.

It also generated more customers. Over the five days the deal ran, we generated 34 sales attributed to customers sharing the deal on Facebook.

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In other words, placing an incentivized share button on the thank you page directly generated about $2,300 in extra revenue over the five days, while boosting the conversion rate of all other traffic sources by 2.7%.

This tactic is completely replicable, so consider whether you could add an incentivized share button on your product thank you pages. The easiest way to implement this is to use a tool like Social Locker or Pay With a Tweet that allows customers to “unlock” extra content when they share a specific page.

2. Offer a competition entry in exchange for content and links

The Moz industry survey is a great example of this.

While it’s not necessarily post-conversion, each year Moz incentivizes a portion of their list to take part in their industry survey. 

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By giving away a few iPads, MozCon tickets and gift cards, Moz is able to gather the building blocks for a piece of evergreen content that’s not only valuable to the community, but it has also generated 483 links from 146 root domains and well over 3,000 shares.

In essence, this is a clever way of incentivizing feedback with a competition, and then using that feedback to create content that attracts links and attention.

Could you incentivize your customers with a competition entry in return for information that fuels your content and link building strategy?

3. Use email autoresponders and marketing automation to exchange bonuses for links and social shares

About three years ago, I shared a case study here on Moz regarding how to automate link building and social engagement using email autoresponders.

By combining incentivized social sharing buttons with blogging challenges in a 12-month autoresponder sequence, the website in the case study grew passively without any active link building or social engagement. For me, this highlights the power of outsourcing your marketing to your customers and subscribers.

Very little has changed since then in terms of the effectiveness of this strategy. The main difference is that technology has caught up, and we now have a huge range of automation tools to make this easier and more effective.

There’s really no limit to what you can do here, but here are a few ideas that can be quite effective when implemented in your post-conversion email sequences:

  • Sending discount coupons to customers on their birthday and after intervals that indicate they may need to upgrade/re-order.
  • Incentivizing customers to blog about their experience with your product in return for entry into a competition.
  • Drip-feeding educational content to help customers understand the benefits of upgrading their plan.
  • Offering discount coupons or free upgrades in exchange for a review of the product they bought.
  • Using automated ‘personal’ check-in emails to ensure customers are happy (boosting loyalty & customer service quality).
  • Using ‘buy with a tweet’ or social lockers to encourage customers to share content you’re trying to promote in return for a free bonus.

Before you rush out and blow five figures on fancy automation software, some of the basic email marketing tools like GetResponse and MailChimp are beginning to offer automation (you can see which ones do here).

4. Encourage customers to follow you on your social networks

This is probably the least innovative thing you can do after a customer buys from you, but it’s a powerful way to build your social following.

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This example from Target is by no means exceptional, but it illustrates the point.

If you really wanted to ramp things up, you could encourage customers to engage with you on different social networks, or give them a compelling reason to follow you.

5. The upsell: offer extra value for extra cash

Upselling is perhaps the oldest and most powerful post-conversion tactic there is. If anyone’s mastered this process, it’s the airlines.

If you’ve ever booked a flight online, you’ll be familiar with their long-winded checkout process. You’re offered every kind of optional extra and upgrade imaginable, and all kinds of tricks are used to encourage you to upgrade during and after your flight purchase.

I just went through the online checkout for Jetstar’s website and noticed 19 separate upsells over five pages of their checkout process. Here’s what four of the upsells looked like:

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You get the idea.

Now, there’s a very fine line between genuinely offering your customers more value in exchange for a fair price and manipulating them into paying more.

Considering how often I’ve almost accidentally purchased something I didn’t want when booking a flight, I’d say that some airline websites are straddling this line. In most cases, however, upselling is a beautiful thing that can mutually benefit you and the customer.

Web hosting companies set a slightly more ethical example.

Last month, I migrated my main site to Media Temple and was in a state of bliss when I saw that they’d take care of migrating the whole site for an extra $150. Anyone who’s ever migrated a website will know this is money well spent.

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The key to crafting a good upsell is understanding your customers’ pain points and anticipating their next moves.

Are there products they will inevitably need as a result of buying the product they’ve bought? 

Are there unpleasant things prospects will need to do (like website migration) that you can take off their plates?

The answers to both of these questions offer ripe opportunities for highly effective and profitable upselling.

6. Offer a free extra in exchange for feedback/reviews

For many companies, feedback is more valuable than revenue in the short term.

When I launched MusicLawContracts.com several years ago, I couldn’t figure out why we were getting so many refund requests. After installing a chat plugin called Olark, it became clear that our customers thought they were actually buying a contract with a record label…for $19.99.

While this example is pretty extreme, it’s not quite as amazing as a story I heard a few years ago about the Disney website.

The team behind Disney’s website couldn’t figure out why kids were creating long passwords with 40-plus numbers and letters. It turned out visitors misinterpreted the instruction “passwords must contain at least six characters,” thinking it meant the password needed to contain the names of at least six Disney characters.

Now I make it standard to incentivize feedback from all customers and visitors pre- and post-conversion.

Final thoughts 

The sky is absolutely the limit when it comes to post-conversion marketing. That’s because there is fundamentally no limit on the time a customer remains a customer and the exchanges you can make with them during that time.

If we pretend every customer is essential to our business, and that each customer is a potential customer for life, suddenly post-conversion marketing becomes really interesting.

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