Here at Strikingly we’ve recently rolled out a new referral system that rewards you with free periods of our Pro plan for each friend you invite. We were wondering about how to increase the usage of this new system. Here’s what our invitation page looked like before:
It’s just a basic form - enter your name and some email addresses and you can tell your friends about Striking.ly. We drew inspiration from Dropbox’s referral system. But the page itself looked empty, and there was an awful lot of extra space on the sides. We wondered how we can use that space to make the invitation system more… inviting.
At first we experimented with clip art in the background - faded illustrations of gifts and happy faces and such. It looked OK, but it was still kind of boring. And I’m not much of an illustrator so it was a little awkward to have random graphics popping up.
Dafeng, our backend developer and a perennial 9GAG fan, jokingly suggested that we put a dancing cat on this page. I took him seriously. And we came up with this:
Once you submit the form, the cat will dance for you. To get the full effect, see it for yourself. (Snatch a Strikingly account if you don’t have one yet!) This little kitty actually doubled our conversion rate for this page (# of people who send invitations / # of people who land on the page). A few people sent invites to themselves just to see the cat, but they’re in the minority. We’ll be tweaking the page more as time goes on, but here are some lessons learned:
1. Whitespace can be used. Whitespace is a good thing, but too much of it means you have an opportunity. Play around. You don’t have to stuff more content in there. Try filling it for decorative elements or playful asides. If it fits into your brand, you might use extra space to engage with users on a different emotional pathway, like humor, motivation, or inspiration.
2. People respond to incentives. This is rule #1 from economics. Incentives can have a clearly defined value, like affliate payouts or free premium plans, or they can be as ephemeral as a highly anticipated video clip of a frisky feline. But what’s surprising is that, in the moment, the cat GIF incentive drove conversions just as much as the original premium plan incentive, for far lower cost.
3. Make your incentives understandable. To set up an incentive from a UX standpoint, you need to first inform the user about the incentive and then deliver it when the required task is completed. But complicated information-delivery and reward-dispensing systems impose a mental processing cost, a sort of activation energy the user needs to overcome to be able to accept your offer. On the other hand, a cropped picture of a cat that says “I’ll dance for you” is incredibly easy to process, and the resulting GIF is quick to deliver. Similarly, Dropbox’s “Invite your friends, get free space” referral system is very straightforward. Simple and understandable incentive/reward systems are more effective.
4. Cats are taking over the Internet. But we already knew this, right?
tell us what you think at: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5253831