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10 Conversion-Sabotaging Mistakes Killing Your Campaigns

Admitting you have a problem is always the first step.

Conversions aren’t flowing in like you thought. Revenue’s not pouring in like you expected.

Increasing conversions isn’t easy because there’s so many different variables. You think it’s one reason. The button. Perhaps the headline.

The State of Social Marketing 2017 Annual Report

In reality, there are probably several reasons. A perfect storm of conversion mistakes, all coming together at exactly the wrong time.

Here are ten of the most common to watch out for (and how to fix them ASAP).

1. You Aren’t Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Pricing. Your site’s bells and whistles and razzle-dazzle tactics are great. Good job on that streamlined, user-friendly landing page. It’s a work of art.

But without one key piece of info, all the extras are just smoke and mirrors. They’re hurdles for your user to get to where they really want to go.

You’re burying the lede (much like I’ve done here).

What do people want to know most of all? They want to know how much it’s going to cost them.

If you don’t make pricing a prominent feature that’s easy to find and understand, they aren’t going to be happy. If they aren’t happy, and they can’t find what they are looking for, they aren’t sticking around.

SalesSoft Solutions confirmed this for themselves when they did some simple A/B split testing.

The price was in big bold letters on one page, and nowhere to be found on the other. Take a wild guess at which one won.


(Image Source)

The version with the price caused a 100% increase in leads.

When you leave out the price, people assume you’re hiding something. They think your product is going to be too expensive or they’re going to have to go through a long quote process.

In other words, the threat level in the back of their minds starts rising.

If you give visitors the pricing up-front, that threat retreats. People are more inclined to get in touch once they know what they’re getting themselves into.

2. You Aren’t Using a Multi-Step Landing Page

Everyone says that fewer form fields convert best.


Well, no, not always.

Sometimes people are more likely to buy only after you add more form fields. After you purposefully make things more complex.

Counterintuitive, right?

But here’s the thing: People are more likely to buy from brands and companies they trust.

And it may seem silly, but you can build up trust through two-step landing pages.

For example:

  1. On the first form, you pull ’em in by asking a question that’s unrelated to the pricing of your product or service. (But shh! They don’t know that!).

Try “What’s your ZIP code?” or “How many people work in your office?” or “When do you need this by?”

Now the user thinks you are cooking up something just for them. A special based on their ZIP code, or sale pricing if they buy before a certain date.

  1. On the second form, ask for specifics. How many do they need? What type of service are they looking for?
  2. Then, on the third form, you go all in (because only those who are truly committed are still around by this point).

So when the third form hints that with just a simple input of name/email/phone, you can take all of this important info and come up with an uber-personalized quote, they are more willing to provide the contact info.

If you’re skeptical, don’t be. It works.

For example, conversions went up 214% by splitting one landing page into multiple steps.

Form 1

Dropdown menuForm 2

FormEven more? These conversions are more likely to be quality leads.

Like I said—they’ve gone all in. You can, too.

3. You Don’t Have Multiple Landing Pages in Your Arsenal

Intimately understanding your customers is 90% of the battle.

That’s a completely made-up statistic. But you get the point.

No more targeting the wrong people/age/gender when you should know who is (and isn’t) a perfect fit for what you have to offer. What’s their income level? Are they a parent? Relationship status? What language do they speak? Who do they vote for? You can use the following tools to find this information: 

  • Google Analytics Demographic report: Start breaking web visitors down by age and gender. You can see who’s been using your site the most and, of those groups, who has a higher conversion rate.

Google AnalyticsYou can narrow these groups down even further into those that convert vs. those that don’t using goals and advanced segments. (Check out this guide to using segments so you can win at life.)

  • Simply Measured Listening: Learn the gender, age, and location of your target audience on social, as well as the topics they talk about the most and the influencers driving conversations (and conversions) for your brand.
Social Listening Solution
  • One-on-one interviews and customer surveys can help you dig deeper. Demographics might help you discover who your audience is, but these in-depth interactions provide context as to what motivates them to purchase (or not). Start with recent customers, because the buying process is still fresh in their minds. Ask about their hopes and dreams, and what’s number one on their bucket list. Just kidding.

But instead, discover the underlying reasons that drove them to want to purchase (the end results or outcomes they’re seeking). Ask what objection, if any, almost derailed the purchase. And then ask what, at the end of the day, spurred them on?

Find this context. Then you can start building landing pages to match their responses.

4. You Aren’t Targeting According to Traffic Temperature

If a user isn’t ready to buy, he or she isn’t ready to buy, whether for budget reasons or priority misalignment. Nothing you say or do will sway him or her otherwise.

You can use some fancy closing techniques, but this customer will be the first to cancel or churn.

My point: not everyone who comes to your site or clicks on your ad is in the same spot on the buyer journey. In fact, most aren’t. That’s why only a small percentage end up buying.

Some are cold targets; they have barely heard of you, and they need a little courting. Then you’ve got the people coming in hot. They’re ready.

Each segment will take a different path to conversion.

For those ice-cold users (we call them Ice Cubes Down the Pants Traffic), you need to get them through micro-conversions first. They need to spend time on your site, sign up for your newsletter, or even download a few of your handy-dandy lead magnets.

Take Uber for example. They updated their pretty aggressive approach for new potential drivers from “Make Extra Money with Your Car,” (do it now!) to “See if Your Car Qualifies” (take some time to find out more information—we want you to be comfortable!).


Many times, it’s the channel or medium someone is using that indicates where they’re at in this process. For example, Display traffic is generally cold, while Search is warm. Think about the difference between a random display ad catching your eye vs. typing something into Google Search with intent.

PPCAs the user’s interest becomes hotter (for instance, if he or she has searched for what you’re selling), then you can up the commitment level of the CTA. If he or she is still cold, stay on that micro-conversion level.

ppc 2The offer, not the button color, will ultimately have the biggest influence over conversions.

5. You Don’t Use Location-Specific Messaging

Everywhere you look, everything is eat local, buy local, support local.

Want a surefire way to boost your conversions? Make yourself “local,” even if you’re not.

Use a local area code on your landing pages and break your campaigns down by location. Check out the increase in conversions when switching from an 800 number to a local area code (spoiler alert: it more than doubles):

Phone Numbers
These numbers can also help you evaluate which campaigns (locations) are performing best. Pump those up.

In the AdWords Dimensions tab, you can run reports based on location. Check out CallRail’s more than 300 local area codes for you to use to remain more relevant to your customers.  


6. You’re Not Using Dynamic Text Replacement

Someone types “Nickleback 2017 Tour Dates” into Google.

Sorry, bad example. Nobody’s searching for that.


Let’s try this again. Someone types “Hiking Backpack.”

Ok, that’s better. This person clicks on your ad and is about to enter your site…

…only to be taken to a generic landing page (or, even worse, your homepage). No mention of the search that brought them there. No user-targeted message. Now they have to sift through your information to get back to the stuff they were looking for.

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

If you want a shot at the conversion, your landing page needs to match whatever it is that brought the customer there in the first place.

You could attempt to create separate landing pages for each campaign, but that might take a few weeks.

On the other hand, you could try dynamic text replacement to automatically align your landing page with the search that delivered people to it.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you sell hiking and camping gear and one of your users is searching for a “hiking backpack.” Perfect. They are brought here:


But what if they get a little more specific, and search one of your other keywords, like “trekking backpack” or “camping backpack”?

Your catch-all “hiking backpack” landing page is not going to perform as well for them. Dynamic text replacement will automatically change “hiking” to “trekking” (or “camping”) and make the message match the customer’s query.

In this case, be lazy. Work smart, not hard, by using a tool that does the heavy lifting for you.


7. You’re Not Using a Decoy

Of course you are too smart to be outwitted by psychological persuasion. But maybe there are others out there without your prowess.

For all of them, there is the decoy effect.

This happens when a person’s preference shifts when three options are presented (instead of two options), and the third is asymmetrically dominated.

According to Wikipedia, “an option is asymmetrically dominated when it is inferior in all respects to one option; but, in comparison to the other option, it is inferior in some respects and superior in others.”

You can do this by adding a seemingly more desirable version of your product, and then put it up against less convenient alternatives. This will help push customers who are quick to buy the cheapest option toward the higher-priced choice.

For example, here’s how Apple tricks, no, persuades you into getting the upgraded model with extra space.

In this old pricing setup from Apple, you can get 16GB for $229, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. When you jump from the 16GB to the 32GB, you get more storage and more features. But when you make the leap from 32GB to 64GB, you don’t get any extra features.

Users will gravitate toward the option with more space and features, with a cheaper price tag. Therefore, the 16GB and 64GB are the decoys to boost the 32GB.

Setting this up for yourself is simple: create three different product options, with two being inconvenient and the third being a standout, convenient choice. Then display these options visually so it’s dead-simple to compare and see the discrepancy.

Again, you’re smarter than this. You wouldn’t fall for it.

But most people’s brains compute image faster than text. Capitalize on that.

8. You’re Not Personalizing Your Messaging

People want to feel special. We’re all special snowflakes, after all.

How can you do that? Make your content just for them.

A recent OneSpot survey found that personalization will change the way people feel about your company (for the better):

  • 72% will find your brand more relevant
  • 60% will feel a stronger connection to it

PersonalizationNeed one more stat to prove it? HubSpot found that personalized CTAs led to a 42% increase in conversion rates.

Reworking your content to be relevant for specific buyer personas can help you better target their needs. Like this:

First, segment your audience. Use referral URLs to see where your traffic is coming from, where they’re trying to go, and what they’re looking for.  (Each will most likely require different messaging.)



Then, pick your personalization poison, like personalized product recommendations based on user history or personalized welcome message. Because personalization wins today.

Finally, create copy for each segment. Use what you now know (behavior, demographics, interests) about your users to match your message to what they are looking for.


9. You’re Not Using Linkedin

LinkedIn isn’t just for jobs, resumes, or creeping people out.

LinkedIn’s the place to be if you need to target corporations and firmographics. You can zero-in on company size, job seniority, degrees, years of experience, or even skills:

LinkedInLinkedIn hit $154.1 million last year in ad revenue compared to Facebook’s recent $6.7 billion. This means LinkedIn can offer a huge corporate audience with only a fraction of the competition.

Just be aware of some of the site’s limits: their CPAs are higher and their ads are smaller. You’ll have to counteract this by switching up the ads more frequently.

10. You Aren’t Retargeting

The first banner ad debuted in 1994. The click-through rate was an astonishingly high 78%. Compare that to the average Facebook CTR today, which is closer to 0.05%.

Over time, a channel or tactics performance tends to die out.

But there’s one big exception: retargeting ads.

In fact, Larry Kim found after spending $500,000 a few years ago on remarketing that the conversion rate tends to actually improve over time.

RetargetingRetargeting ads let you focus on people who have already shown some interest: your “low-hanging fruit.”

Maybe they are on your email list. Maybe they made the trek all the way through your site, but tapped out right before checkout. Maybe they share some valuable characteristics as your solidified customers.

Whatever the case, a few things tend to happen next:

  • Repeat visitors go up
  • Time on site goes up
  • And, unsurprisingly, conversions then go up, too

When you retarget, you can try to get back those people who were to conversion. What if they are jumping from site to site comparing prices?

This doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested—they’re just not ready.

You can also set up frequency caps to make sure you never come off too strong (like the LinkedIn creep from the last section).

This includes visitor recency. Stick to 30-60-90 day increments to sequentially retarget with offers that lessen the “threat” at each stage.


There’s an opportunity for user experience friction at every twist and turn that might send someone running in the other direction.

More often than not, you’re probably guilty of causing some of this friction.

But that’s OK. There are ways to correct these problems.

Start by including pricing wherever possible. Use multi-step landing pages to increase trust. Use different landing pages with different offers that match different visitor temperatures.

Personalize messaging with location-based elements or dynamic text replacement. Use decoy pricing. Then retarget previous website visitors to get more from them.

Increasing conversions isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard, either.


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Johnathan Dane

Johnathan Dane is the founder of KlientBoost, a no-nonsense, creative kick-ass AdWords and landing page agency that hustles for results and ROI. If you thought this article was good, you should see what he’s writing on their company blog.

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