Houston, we have a problem.
As enterprise focused B2B marketers, we have a problem.
We all agree that we want to grow traffic to our website, turn the traffic into leads and convert the leads into customers.
Yet, we have all blindly trusted the theory that, producing more content, showing product options, displaying more testimonials, and creating more case studies will get you a bigger pipeline.
Let us be the first to refute this claim: more is not better.
In fact, with every additional piece of content or white paper you are killing pipeline. Why, might ask?
Because you are simply overwhelming your customers.
To illustrate this point, let’s talk about Cognitive Load.
Cognitive load refers to the total amount of mental effort being used in the working memory.
When we put irrelevant, unnecessary and distracting information in front of people, we fill up that working memory. The result is a decreased ability to absorb information, learn and ultimately make decisions.
While it may seem that having multiple content options on your website increases the likelihood that you will connect with your visitor, it actually has the opposite effect.
When customers are given too many content options you are forcing them to make decisions that take up their mental resources, derailing your chance at a direct path to purchasing.
Can someone say cognitive overload?!
Think about it this way: the most important factor in the design of a website is making it easier for customer to find what they want. Customers crave simple and easy navigation over anything else in regard to design.
If your website presents multiple decisions for the user, you filled with decisions for users to make, you are not making it easy for them to find what they want!
Let’s break it down.
Let’s take a look at some examples unintentionally cognitive overload.
As marketers, we are producing too much content that is both expensive and unnecessary.
In reality, only a small portion of your content is necessary to help the customer move down the purchase funnel and it is our job as marketers to present that one (perfect) piece of content. Sadly, we are letting our customers down by allowing them to read irrelevant content and thus, introducing cognitive load.
Calls to action.
While letting visitors chose from multiple CTA’s may seem like a great way to help customers find what they want, it actually leads them to confusion. Rather, you should be putting them on a specific path that you have identified as most effective for conversions.
If you’re selling an enterprise focused product, it is likely that your website is showcasing all of the products and services that you offer. Again, this overwhelms customers.
We should know about our customers well enough so that we are only showing the products that we believe (based on research) they are likely to buy! Don’t give them fifty options and hope their first selection is the one best suited for them.
A customer only works in one industry; do not show them case studies from other industries where the use cases might be completely different. This content is irrelevant, distracting and increases cognitive load.
We are asking customers to unnecessarily identify themselves. Having to go through a selection process, like the example below, does not inspire confidence that the software is well suited for a visitor’s industry.
A multitude of pricing options is a perfect example of cognitive overload. We are overwhelming our customers with pricing options to the point where they don’t know which option to choose.
Target enterprise accounts shouldn’t see basic pricing tiers. Similarly, SMB’s shouldn’t see enterprise offerings. This substandard experience increases friction and reduces conversion rates!
It is time to stop – your are overwhelming your Customers.
So, what’s the solution then? How do we make sure customers aren’t overwhelmed with cognitive overload?
It’s simple: reduce content and only show the most relevant information.
Keeping this in mind, what if instead of showing everything to all of our visitors, we only showed the most relevant and effective calls to action?
What if we show the logos and testimonials that were most relevant to customer needs or highlighted the testimonials that most reflected their pain points?
What if we focused on and only showed the pricing that was going to be relevant for the given account and the features of those plans that were going to meet their needs?
What if we only showed customers relevant experiences based on what we knew about them?
Doing this right has real and meaningful implications. 94% of buyers in a Demand Gen survey choose the winning vendor because that company demonstrated a stronger knowledge of their needs.
In an Accenture survey, half of B2B customers already expect improved personalized product or service recommendations. In fact, 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to their business.
The more options you give customers, the more cognitive load you put on them. The result is a filled-up working memory and hindered ability to make decisions toward purchasing a product.
Instead of producing more content, focus on showing the single experience that will resonate most with your customers!