9 Essential Elements of a High-Converting Thank You Page
There’s a page on your site that’s a goldmine waiting to be tapped. It’s not your About page; nor is it your checkout page…it’s your thank you page. Get this page right and it becomes an invisible selling machine for your business. Get it wrong, and you risk getting your relationship with a new subscriber off to a rocky start.
The truth is, despite their best intentions, many business owners massively underutilize their thank you page.
They don’t ask their potential buyer to take action—when they’re primed to do so—and, thus, forgo countless opportunities to encourage engagement, increase their revenue and more.
Worse, most aren’t even aware of they’re doing it.
That changes right now.
In this article, I’m going to show you the psychology behind why a well-designed thank you page converts so well (hint: it’s not what you think) and more important, how to get more mileage out of your thank you page by using nine of the very best practices available today.
Let’s get started.
The power of little commitments
A thank you page, as you’re probably aware, is a page you’re redirected to after opting in for an incentive on a site (or in other cases, making a purchase).
Often, its purpose is to provide you with a link to the content upgrade you opted in for and to, well, thank you for opting in.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a page like the above, it ignores an important principle in consumer psychology:
People tend to behave in ways that are consistent with an earlier action.
In other words, when someone complies with a little request—like opting in for a newsletter—they’re more likely to comply with a similar or larger request (like making a purchase).
This is known as commitment and consistency and it’s one of the most powerful conversion triggers in online—and off.
For example, in one study, led by Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser, a researcher posing as a volunteer worker asked a selection of California homeowners to accept and display a little three-inch-square sign that read, “Be a safe driver.”
A simple request, right? The homeowners thought so, too: nearly all of them agreed to it.
But here’s where it gets interesting…
Two weeks later, a different volunteer worker followed up with the homeowners and asked them to allow an obstructive public-service billboard with poor lettering to be allowed on their front lawns.
Guess what happened?
Seventy-six percent offered the use of their front yards.
As Cialdini writes in his groundbreaking book, Influence,
If I can get you to make a commitment, I will have set for your automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.
SnackNation, a healthy office snack delivery service, are a perfect illustration of building commitment and consistency into their marketing.
When you opt in for one of their content upgrades, you’re redirected to this thank you page:
On it, you’re given an opportunity to claim a free Snack Box in exchange for a brief call with a sales rep to see if SnackNation is a good fit for your office.
According to Emil Shour, their content marketing manager, Snacknation has not only achieved a 10.52% conversion rate by doing this…
…they’ve captured 884 subscribers, from which 20 became customers.
At $249 p/m that’s an additional $4,980 p/m with minimal extra work.
Not bad for a simple tweak, right?
Now you’ve seen the earning potential of a well-optimized thank you page, let’s discuss the nine best practices to follow.
9 practices for better thank you page conversions
1. Ask for referrals
Generating new business is an on-going challenge for many online stores.
But there’s one acquisition channel that, when consistent, is a predictable source of revenue:
In fact, according to a recent survey by Ogilvy, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
It’s no surprise, then, that many businesses ask you to refer them to a friend or family when you sign up.
Take James Clear for example:
With over 700,000 monthly readers and more than 350,000 email subscribers, James’s blog has gone from a blank WordPress installation to one of the most popular single-author blogs in the world in less than 3 years.
One of the ways he’s been able to achieve that growth?
Asking for referrals on his thank you page.
After joining his weekly newsletter, you’re redirected to a page where James asks you to refer his work to a friend:
Moreover, he makes it super simple to do by including a pre-written email:
All you have to do is click the link and press “Send” and James increases his likelihood of acquiring a new reader (and one day, a customer).
Takeaway: Ask new readers to refer you to a friend using a pre-written email.
2. Ask for social shares
The requests you ask of your audience will depend on things such as demographics and psychographics.
(Teenagers, for example, are more likely to share something on social media than send an email referring a service like we saw in the previous example.)
Put another way, if you know most of your reader’s time is spent on Facebook, then asking to ‘Like’ your page is going to be easier than requesting a referral.
Let’s imagine for a moment your goal isn’t to grow a following on social media. Rather, it’s to push more targeted traffic through your marketing funnel.
How could you encourage more social shares?
One option is to leverage your readers’ following to your advantage.
Some influencers, like Brennan Dunn from Double Your Freelancing, ask new signups to share his popular email course:
Others, like Michael Hyatt, incentivise the share by offering a chance to win a prize:
Takeaway: Ask new readers to share an important page on their favorite social media channel (pro tip: give a reason why you’re asking for a share.)
3. Demonstrate authority
Earlier, we talked about the power of commitment and consistency: our tendency to be consistent with what we’ve already done.
But there’s another principle trigger that amplifies this persuasion trigger further:
The principle of authority.
Simply put, we tend to obey authority figures.
It’s no surprise, then, many businesses choose to position themselves as the go-to leader in their marketplace: when you’re a recognized expert in your field, you don’t need to prospect for new business; customers comes to you.
But it’s important to remember authority is demonstrated by what you say about yourself or your company. Rather, it’s what other authorities say about you.
“As featured in” sections on pages are popular for this very reason.
Here’s an example from Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to Be Rich:
This prompts something to the effect of:
“Wow, if they’ve been featured in ABC News, CNN and The Wall Street Journal, they must be an expert!”
Often, you’ll notice influencers using media mentions on their landing and even checkout pages.
But the savviest business owners will include them throughout their marketing.
Take Scott Oldford, for instance.
He demonstrates authority on his landing page, optin page, and thank you page.
Oldford knows his industry—Internet marketing—is plagued with charlatans claiming to be experts. Moreover, he reinforces an important point:
Trust isn’t built once; it’s built over gradually over time as the buyer moves through each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Takeaway. Include media mentions, reviews and testimonials on your thank you page as well as your homepage.
4. Offer a coupon/discount
Offering coupons is a popular tactic for many ecommerce businesses.
But it’s important to know when to do offer them.
Do it often enough and your profits will suffer. Do it sparingly and your customers might switch to a competitor.
Fortunately, there’s a gray lining in-between: using coupons to reward good behavior.
Naturebox illustrates this tactic perfectly.
If you choose to opt in, you’re rewarded with a free sample of one of their bestselling items (note the scarcity to increase the likelihood the reader will claim their free gift):
The real magic, though, is the secondary benefit:
“+25% off your first order”
Offering a secondary benefit doesn’t just reward customer loyalty; it reduces churn.
Takeaway: Reward visitors who sign up for your newsletter with a coupon/discount for their next purchase.
5. Qualify/nurture leads
Not all readers are created equally.
At any given time, a reader is at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Some are only beginning to become aware they have a problem. Some have defined their problem and are evaluating a viable solution. While others have decided on a solution and are ready to buy.
So, how do you cater to all types of readers?
You offer different choices for different readers.
Take marketing giant Hubspot, for example.
When you opt in, you’re given a choice what to do next based on where you are in the buyer’s journey. If you’re only at the beginning of the cycle and want to learn more about your problem, you can read a free resource on the subject.
But if you’re further along in the buyer’s journey and are consider making a purchase, they offer a free assessment to sell one of their training courses:
Give people a choice and often, they’ll know which path is right for them.
Takeaway: Nudge subscribers along the buyer’s journey by offering different types of content (e.g. a webinar, free trial, etc.).
6. Link to your most popular content
Let’s stop for a moment and consider an important truth:
If a reader opts in on your site, it’s because either they got value from your content (i.e. it solved a problem for them), and/or, they believe you will continue to deliver value in the future.
It’s important, then, to be consistent with that expectation and assist your prospective buyers on their journey as best you can.
Pat Flynn, from Smart Passive Income, might understand his audience better than anyone. After opting in for his newsletter, Pat offers a series of eBooks solving a variety of popular pain points his audience has.
Groove, on the other hand, link to their most popular content based on social shares and comments:
Linking to their most popular content, not only benefits the reader; it benefits the blog, too.
The more eyes on their content, the higher the link-building opportunity and the better their content will rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Takeaway. Link any content you want to rank well for on your thank you page. There’s no guarantee it will improve your position in the SERPs, but it might influence it.
7. Upsell a product or service
Paid traffic is fast becoming an integral part of many businesses marketing campaigns.
And for good reason:
It’s highly effective.
Facebook Advertising, for instance, has been known to deliver a 5, 10—even 13x return on investment for ecommerce stores.
But paid traffic is, well, expensive.
And if you’re not recouping your spends when acquiring a new lead, you’re losing money.
So, how do you ensure you don’t break the bank?
Offer a self-liquidating offer.
Simply put, a self-liquidating offer is a low-ticket item that covers your ad spends.
Digital Marketer offer self-liquidating offers on many of their thank you pages to not only recoup their investment (if you came through a paid channel) but to convert new subscribers into customers, too:
Granted, you won’t convert everyone (not yet, anyway), but you will break-even on some of your new acquisitions.
Takeaway. Offer a self-liquidating offer on your thank you page if you’re paying for traffic.
8. Encourage engagement
We all have a need to connect.
We want to meet with like-minded people and most important, feel like we belong…
And there’s no better way than joining an online community.
The problem, though, is rarely, if ever, do you get a chance to interact with the tens of or hundreds of thousands of other readers a blog prides itself on.
That is unless you get an immediate introduction when you sign up.
When you join Derek Halpern’s community at Social Triggers, you’re asked to “Like” his Facebook page and introduce yourself (notice the social proof to coax your further):
From there, Derek asks his readers questions on his Facebook page, further nurturing his relationship with his community:
Do this consistently, and you build a thriving community of loyal readers and customers.
Takeaways. Include a Facebook or Disqus comment box on your thank you page and ask a question to encourage engagement.
9. Carry out a survey
Surveying your audience gives you greater insight into what makes your audience tick (their goals, desires, pain points, etc.) and helps you craft a highly-targeted marketing message which is both interesting and relevant to your audience.
The problem is, many businesses do it wrong.
They don’t ask the right questions and when they do, they ask them via an overpopulated medium (e.g. email)
What really savvy business owners do, instead, is ask you immediately after you’ve expressed interest in their company.
After all, if you just joined a company’s newsletter, you probably have a particular problem top of mind.
Neil Patel knows this better than anyone.
When you enroll in Neil’s webinar (his lead magnet), you’re redirected to a confirmation (thank you) page where Neil invites you to complete a short survey:
While Neal is mostly qualifying prospects for a strategy call, he’s still getting valuable feedback from his readers on what they’re struggling with.
Takeaway. Ask your readers what their goals and struggles are and build your content marketing strategy around what they’re looking to learn more about.
If there’s one thing worse than neglecting your thank you page, it’s overusing it.
Above, I’ve outlined nine of the very best thank you page practices, but you need to be selective.
Don’t overwhelm your new subscriber with requests to refer a friend, follow you on Twitter, complete a survey and more; focus on ONE practice, test it, and iterate as needed.