Steve Palmer - Showtime Digital

Steve Palmer - Showtime Digital
Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.

‘Follow that consumer’.

We’ve all seen the spy movie where the first scene takes you through a manic car chase and a flurry of gunfire and the lead actor seemingly dies before your very eyes. You’re asking yourself, ‘that can’t be it’. Then written across the screen is written ‘4 weeks earlier’ and you’re left wondering how on earth it got to this.

We’re going to do the same with Pete and Fiona during their Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) investigation. We’re going to follow their consumer journey from start to finish, right up to the point of making contact with a provider of SMSF. So let’s wind their lives back to ‘4 weeks earlier’, and walk with them on their journey and discover what ultimately motivates their purchase.

Pete and Fiona are the proud parents of three teenage children. Tonight they’re going to a friend’s 50th birthday party. They arrive in their ‘we’re doing ok for ourselves’ SUV and are greeted by Doug and Trish whom they know through the host. The party is going well and as is customary with these things people congregate to talk about how well their kids and their investment portfolios are doing.

Doug and Trish mention in passing they have just bought an investment property through their Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF). Knowing they have money in their own super fund Fiona takes a keen interest and probes Trish for more details.

Having piqued her interest, during their journey home Fiona asks Pete why they haven’t bought an investment property through their own Self-Managed Super Fund to which Pete replies that he’ll look into it.

Two weeks go by and nothing has been done. It’s not on Pete’s radar and Fiona is becoming increasingly irritated about the inaction. At dinner she mentions the subject again and Pete finally gets the hint he better start taking an interest in the matter and says, ‘yes, let’s look into it’.

Now if Fiona is like 43% of people looking into the subject she’ll use her Mobile to gain insights into SMSF. And like 27% of people in Fiona’s situation she’s going to ask questions related to the category first.

Download the SMSF Online Trends Report here

Fiona may type in questions like, ‘How much do I need to buy property through my Super fund’? ‘Can I use an SMSF property for my own purposes’? They may have also downloaded an eBook or viewed a couple of videos on the subject.
A few days later they both log into their Super accounts and discover they might have enough money to buy an investment property. They visit several websites and choose one they are happy to talk to about the opportunity and leave their details on the contact form.


Let’s examine the consumer journey so far

There are three components the consumer brings to the table.

  1. Pressure
  2. Need 
  3. Timeframe


What pressures do consumers have?

There are two types of pressures; internal or external. The weakest pressure to action comes from an internal pressure. The consumer may want the outcome but there are no negative or positive aspects from either action. 

The best pressure is always external. This may be where a government body or an authority is imposing pressure such as tax lodgement or a landlord eviction. 

In Pete and Fiona’s situation there’s spousal pressure. This is still seen as an external pressure because there are two individuals here and one is influencing the other. More specifically love and respect in a relationship is a strong emotional motivator.


What emotional needs motivate consumers?

All needs have their basis in emotion. Check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for more details. Going back to man’s earliest days there was nothing logical about rubbing two pieces of wood together to create fire but the need to stay warm, to fend of attackers and reduce fear within the tribe drove early man to make the connection between the two to gain emotional satisfaction.

In Peter and Fiona’s situation the need is to be socially validated. The fear of missing out is a strong motivator and played on heavily in social media. Fiona believes if Doug and Trish can buy an investment property through their SMSF they can to.


How important is a timeframe?

External pressure is a good barometer for defining a timeframe because it’s being imposed on the consumer. In contrast an internal timeframe can always be drawn out because people are generally lazy by nature.

For example there may be a personal desire to purchase an outfit online but until there are only 2 left in stock there’s no need to commit to the purchase hence the reason why ecommerce sites list the amount of items left in stock.

Unless Peter and Fiona tell others about their desire to purchase a property through their SMSF they lack the internal desire required to purchase. As a supplier you could impose a timeframe through a reduced rate, ‘save 30% by June 30’ but the hook would be the dollar saving and only until the last hour would the timeframe become important. 


How do you meet the consumer where they’re at?

You need to understand how your consumers think and feel. Very rarely do you have online categories where there’s an externally imposed pressure with a strong need and a short timeframe. Congratulations if you do but if your buyers traditionally lack one of the three elements you’re going to need to get inside their head.

The diagram below depicts Pete and Fiona’s situation. Remember as a couple there’s a strong external pressure (there are two individuals) and a need to socially validate themselves but they lack a defined timeframe.

Consumer pain points 01 

As a company in any industry you could focus on why you do it, how you do it or what you do. Most of your competitors will focus on the latter. So how could you position yourself to engage more consumers more of the time?

Consumer pain points 02 

he above diagram should be your approach to the market place. If all your competitors are running in the same direction go the other way, so give a big reason why, some of how you do it and only a little of what you do.


Focus on the why

Have you ever read the ‘Why work with us’ pages on websites? This page has the 14 reasons why you should work with them and each has a bold tick alongside. But they feel they haven’t yet nailed it so they include a huge volume of copy beneath it to further push the point home. A word to the wise here, no one reads this and no one believes in what’s written because the company clearly doesn’t believe in themselves.

Often times, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll find in the last paragraph, in the last two lines, the distillation of why consumers should do business with this company and it’s often a really good reason. 
If your website does this then get rid of the ‘Why work with us’ page and place this most excellent reason as the headline or H1 on your main page or landing page.
Your brand’s essence or what you stand for may be an internal vision and totally different to the reason people will want to engage you. To be able to fill in the blanks in the following sentence is an awesome first step to understanding your why.

(My company) is known for ……….because of our ………..

This is a first step to owning a piece of your category’s landscape and standing for something in the mind of the consumer.

And please, please please don’t say your company is known for ‘giving better service’ or ‘we take the time to understand our clients’. That’s just blah blah and carries no weight in the real world. Every average company with no vision thinks they do this.

Focusing on the why engages people at an emotional level


Focus a little on how you do it

You could focus on the ‘how’ but that’s about the features of your offering and the process you may take. While it’s probably something you’re very proud of you’re still selling the sausage.


Don’t focus on what you do

The ‘what’ is firmly embedded in the left and logical brain. Very few people get emotionally charged about knowing what you do because it creates no point of difference. The great point here is most of your competition focuses their attention on what they do. 

You could tell people about your Board of Directors and sure mum and dad, some shareholders and potential suppliers will be impressed but what's in it for the consumer?

Consumers care less about how great you think you are

If all your competitors are running in the same direction go the other way, so focus first on the why, then the how and only then on the what.


The offer

If you want to overcome all your short comings you can bridge the gap to the consumer by having a great offer.

Consumer pain points 03 

In the crudest sense of the term, ‘everyone has their price’.

For example, as a consumer, how excited would you be if you were offered a 10% discount? No really right.

What about 25%? How about 50%? It sounds ok for the retail sector but maybe not in the SMSF environment. What if your offer appealed to what’s most important to the consumer and in Pete and Fiona’s situation having an offer which eases their social pressure may work better.

Elevating their pain point around their Need could work but you only have a few seconds to engage people online so it’s best to focus on one specific aspect of their pain.

What if you simply used a minimiser in the headline copy to engage more consumers, could that work just as well? When you consider consumers have an online attention span of eight seconds so if people don’t get what’s in it for them immediately you’ve potentially lost them.

SMSF above the fold image 

The headline above has been created specifically for the Pete and Fiona’s of the world. It’s not so crass as to tell them they should keep up with the Jones’s (elevating their pressure) but because the category is highly informational we need to lower the action threshold by taking the complexity out of it and making their first step easy.

Delving deep into the headline the word ‘let’ is strategic in that it’s both a minimiser and it opens up the conversation whereas using a term like ‘Make the first step…’ may feel too aggressive. ‘Best’ is used to comfort the consumer and give them a sense of security. And no, the word ‘Best’ doesn’t refer to the product, it only refers to the first step.

There’s also an implied action within the headline of taking their ‘first step’. Here we’re placing into the mind of the consumer that it’s ok to move forward. And of course as mentioned on the second line it refers to Pete and Fiona’s desire to invest in property with their Super.

People generally search online at the peak of their interest. The strategic use of copy should be used to lower the consumer’s anxiety levels and by lowering their mental hurdles, consumers will feel more at ease to take the next step.


How does imagery motivate people?

Imagery is hugely important here as well. Often in the finance sectors we’re shown retired couples enjoying time on the beach. In a world obsessed with looking younger for longer no one wants to see how wrinkled they’ll look 20-30 years from now. If anything our testing from using such imagery shows us it’s a definite turn off.

In contrast the man in the above landing page appears to be mid-40, (the decision making age of people looking into SMSF) he may be self-employed architect and he looks assured with his resent decision on his own Super. He gives people confidence in their next step and that’s all people are buying, the next step.

Congratulations, you’ve emotionally engaged someone in a cluttered finance category where your competitors believe logic sells their products/services.


But what if they didn’t convert?

You’ve done most of the hard work already. All you have to do now is keep in touch and not make a pest of yourself. A lot of people won’t convert, but at least you’re front of mind and holding their hand.


In conclusion

To be relevant to your consumer focus on the following key takeaways

  • Follow the consumer journey
  • Engage consumers emotionally
  • Elevate consumer pressures, needs or timeframes
  • Understand their why
  • Understand why you’re different
  • Make it easier to on-board consumers with a great offer

If you’d like to know some other great tips on how to engage consumers download the eBook ‘Creating Landing Pages Which Convert’.

When it comes to online lead generation the spectrum of clients we speak to can range from the ‘just get me leads’ request to the ‘we want to build the brand’ approach.

Regardless of whether your preferred online marketing strategy is hard and fast or omnichannel nurturing, at some point each is judged by what it contributes to the bottom line. If you want to generate leads through tried and true online mechanisms then two channels stand out; Affiliate Marketing and Google AdWords leads.

Attention all business owners and marketing people.

I invite you to unite to make the online world a better place by sharing this post with CEO’s, marketing managers and web developers. Let’s make a promise to eliminate the word ‘Submit’ on webpages and landing pages internationally.


Let’s make this ‘International Unsubmit Day’.

But before you send this on to someone else you better make sure it’s not on your own page. So let’s do this right now...

Step 1 - Load your homepage or landing page.

Step 2 - Press (Ctrl F).

Step 3 - Type in the little box ‘submit’.

If this word is on your page it will be highlighted. Eliminate it immediately.

You could use anyone of these terms. Start here, Send eBook now, Download, Get started, Contact me, anything is better than the use of the word Submit.

In the landing page optimisation space it is the equivalent of the Scottish play whose name shall not be mentioned.


You may have noticed over in early-mid June 2016 Google changed how Adwords advertisers were represented on Search. In short they changed listings from a Yellow Ad button to a Green Ad button as seen below.


Old vs New

Google Adwords listings - yellow to green


We challenge anyone to say the Green Ad button representing Adwords advertisers don’t look similar to the organically ranked listings.

Google’s Adwords business is worth approximately $20 billion each quarter so when they make changes to their Search pages it’s calculated, they don’t just give it to Gus and Mike in the back room to fiddle with on a Friday afternoon.

We’ve analysed multiple pages including the above page to find out how this affects the consumer when they’re using Search. To conduct this research each advertiser receives a value based on the visibility of the real estate they occupy on the page. This is calculated by using an artificial intelligence which determines exactly how visible a marked-up area on a page is compared to the rest of the page.


Let’s get inside the head of your consumer

The human brain is hugely complex, it’s pivotal to everything we do and yet we know very little about how and why it works. We still view it much the same as looking through a telescope into outer space.

In 2016 neuroscientists and computer scientists are analysing a small piece of brain which is one five-hundredth the volume of a poppy seed (a cubic millimetre of cortex). It is the most extensive analysis of the brain to date and will take approximately five years. That tiny portion of brain matter houses about 100,000 neurons, 3 to 15 million synapses and enough neural wiring to span 3.7km if it were untangled and laid end-to-end.

If you’re a Melbournian that’s the distance from Flinders St Station to the Alfred Hospital and if you’re a Sydney sider it’s the walk from the University of Sydney to the beginning of the Harbour Bridge.

While we don’t know much about the brain, empirical studies allow us to understand en masse how people respond to certain stimuli. We gravitate to the familiar; we seek security in the patterns of our life expressing scepticism in the unfamiliar. These foundations of human psychology allow us to create online environments which cater for the expectations of consumers.


Eye tracking technology

As the doorway to the brain a lot of research has been conducted around the eye and how it perceives information. Understanding how the eye interprets objects, colours and other stimuli has allowed us to address consumer needs on the surface but this doesn’t allow us to motivate at an emotional level. There are a growing number of intellectuals developing artificial intelligence (AI) to help us further create more precise online experiences.

To give you a better understanding of how this informs webpage design you can download an eye tracking report of your webpage here. This will show you what a consumer acknowledges within the first 3 seconds of viewing your webpage.

Groups of scientists across the world are creating algorithms to discover the hidden meanings of human psychology and social science and when these enterprises show results they’re gobbled up by the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon. As a way to understand and interpret how the mind thinks the importance of this field cannot be understated.

Tapping into the inner workings of the consumer’s brain is the Holy Grail. This will take many decades but over the next 20-40-60 years we will continue to understand the consumer intimately.



For now the tenet of much of the theoretical research conducted in neuroscience is based on what’s termed as analysis-by-synthesis. According to this idea, the brain makes predictions about what will happen in the immediate future and reconciles those predictions with what it sees.

For example, if you were told you were going to be introduced to a colleague’s friend who runs a multimillion dollar business, he’s been happily married for 10 years and has two beautiful girls aged 8 and 6 you would build an image of this person in your mind based on past experiences. But if you met him and saw his facial tattoos and Mohawk your expectation would most probably differ from your perceived image and you’d experience surprise or confusion.

When we apply this theory to online environments we can say -

The closer the on-page experience mirrors the pre-page expectation the greater the chance of agreement.

Similarly a webpage which doesn’t meet your expectation also gets the same reception as our new friend with the Mohawk. With a webpage consideration needs to be placed on what people see and more importantly what they comprehend based on their knowledge and previous experiences.

That’s why the best and most professional landing page optimisation companies focus on the core message rather than page aesthetics. A page’s ability to meet the consumer where they’re at and target the core emotions of the consumer is where the top echelon of online marketing and the optimisation industry places their focus.

At this point we could share with you a wonderfully detailed graph showing you the 5 steps consumers take during the decision making process. In reality it’s all a load of BS because consumers couldn't care less about a 5 point plan or what you or I think.

Consumers make decisions entirely for their own reasons.

Everyone does that which rewards them. Whether the decision seems at odds with our own understanding of the world, a person’s value system shapes the decisions they make and the outcomes they achieve.

Let’s say a person wants to buy a new car, at some point the person places themselves in a moment of desire experiencing the car. They may see themselves driving down the coast road with the top down. The feeling may only last for a split second but this thought starts the investigation and at that specific moment in time it becomes personal for them, they’ve owned the moment.

It’s rarely about the object of desire; the underlying emotion is the motivation to buy. The car is the link to achieving that emotional reward. Where a car salesperson comes unstuck is in believing they’re selling the consumer the car.

During the moment of desire the neurons in the brain are releasing dopamine, a feel-good hormone and neurotransmitter associated with euphoria. The brain sends a signal to the adrenal gland to pump out Norepinephrine. Like dopamine, it makes us feel good. Other parts of the limbic reward system are lighting up and the amygdala shuts down taking with it our good judgment.

While they’re looking at your webpage if we can take the consumer back to that moment we create a powerful emotional connection and a greater chance of moving them forward to purchasing. If the timing isn’t right all is not lost, they will seek you out at a later date because you connected them to their dream.

People gravitate to the outcome which rewards them.

This emotional trigger doesn’t have to be about something as glaringly obvious as buying a sexy convertible. It can relate to your product/service as well; the need for security and validation, overcoming anxiety, the desire for love or the power of community respect are all emotions you can connect them with. When people have a choice they always gravitate to the outcome which rewards them. Your goal is to find out why that was the only choice they could have made because if there was another choice they would have made it.


We do what rewards us.

Here’s a tale of two little girls. Michelle is 15 months old and tries to take her first step, she falls over and cries. Mum and dad rush to console her. She associates reward with failure. In the neighbouring house Sarah also takes her first step and mum and dad clap gleefully at their child’s new found skill. Sarah associates reward with success.

Later in life, to fill a void, Michelle buys material things she doesn’t need and maxes out several credit cards. Sarah, on the other hand, has a strong inner belief. She creates a successful business and people are drawn to her vision. Both girls achieved their reward.

The core needs of Michelle and Sarah and the journey they have pursued are supported by their contrasting value systems. When they visit websites they can experience very different emotions based on those beliefs.

When Michelle, who’s consumed with fear because of her mounting debt, searches for companies to help her she may need to acknowledge your empathy toward her situation. Similarly when Sarah investigates wealth management websites you’ll need to cater to her feelings of accomplishment. Each girl needs validation so don’t let the technology you employ be the excuse to distance yourself from achieving that connection.


Where’s the technology going?

Unlike the technology we use on a daily basis the brain hasn’t changed for thousands of years and although hugely complex it’s still very primitive at its very deepest level and this affects our daily lives. To protect itself the brain gravitates to the familiar; it seeks security in its daily patterns and expresses scepticism in the unfamiliar. Being a very new way of communicating our online environments need to work with how the brain is motivated, much the same as the most popular and habit forming social platforms.

If you don’t get the consumer you won’t win the consumer.

Smartphones have been enormously successful at allowing consumers to express their buyer intent with immediacy. But other devices such as Google Glass and Apple Watch (called wearables) have totally missed the mark. Although unlikely to succeed expect more of these types of devices to hit the market over the coming decades.

The issue we have as humans is we find it difficult to take a leap across three/four generations of products. To feel comfortable we need to understand the association of each step. Apple Pay and Android Pay may be a safer bet for that progression because it’s an existing device (Smartphone) coupled with an integrated credit card facility. It’s also more in line with their end game because Google or Apple wants to own the consumer, and not just for the transaction history.

Human emotions don’t translate into keyword searches very well.

Ultimately what the AI inventors want is a link directly to the consumer’s thoughts. If they can achieve this lofty goal then advertising and product purchase will be triggered by emotional need and not keyboards. The consumer will ultimately control content and not the advertiser.

On the other side of the coin those who control the interface between brain and content will fundamentally own the consumer, much like, Kmart does or TV has for decades or Google has done so successfully online. Rather than selling commodities to consumers the consumer will be the commodity. It will take many decades to achieve this outcome but it’s inevitable.

The human will be a commodity.

Right now in 2016 the final frontier is so close yet so far away. Once we do understand how the brain works we still need to then transfer its electrochemical world to our primitive binary world.

Today a successful algorithm will reveal important truths about how the brain makes sense of the world. In particular, it will help confirm that the brain does indeed operate via analysis-by-synthesis—that it compares its own predictions about the world with the incoming data washing through our senses. It will reveal that a key ingredient in the recipe for consciousness is an ever-shifting mixture of imagination plus perception. “It is imagination that allows us to predict future events and use that to guide our actions,” Tai Sing Lee said. By building machines that think, these researchers hope to reveal the secrets of thought itself.

So we encourage you to join the growing wave of companies who dig deeper into understanding why their consumers convert. Ask yourself is your website meeting your audience’s expectation and what is the underlying emotion of why consumers choose you.

It’s scratching the surface but it’s a start.

If there’s one word to define landing pages it’s - FOCUS.

In business as in life you get what you focus on and no business can survive without focusing on client acquisition. Yet the online environments many companies rely on resemble limp handshakes rather than any real commitment to the consumer relationship.

Here we’re going to show you how to focus on separate and very distinct user segments. We’re going to explore the use of landing pages in the mortgage broking industry but this same strategy can be applied to any number of industries. There are three reasons we’ve chosen this industry –

  1. As a business to consumer category it receives lots of traffic.
  2. Buyers convert online every day.
  3. User groups buy for different reasons.

Consumers looking in the mortgage broking category are 1st home buyers, 2nd or 3rd home buyers, they’re investors, and downsizers or they’re simply looking to refinance. They’re in different stages of their life, each age group speaks a different language and they hold to diverse value systems. So how on earth can one page (a homepage) speak to so many people at once?

Read this eBook to discover the details behind creating landing pages which convert in the finance sector.

Much of the industry, like most industries focuses their attention on themselves, not the consumer, they tell consumers, ‘this is what we do’ to which consumer’s may say, ‘who cares’!

A typical headline may be the ‘we give better service’ call to action, ‘We take pride in our ability to effectively guide our clients through the often stressful process of borrowing for a new home’. Or the, ‘we specialise in everything’ approach, ‘We believe in giving good service and are specialists in property financing for 1st home buyers, 2nd and 3rd home buyers, investment loans and refinancing throughout Australia’, blah, blah, blah.

It’s a vanilla approach which won’t exclude anyone but it won’t motivate anyone either. This is what that shotgun approach looks like.


The ‘what we do’ approach


The ‘what we do’ approach


It’s a simple strategy and the return on investment is low. Ask the consumer to pick the difference between any of the mortgage brokers approaching the market in this manner and you’ll get a blank stare. Heck, most of the companies themselves can’t find a difference! To create better cut through some of them are able to advertise on TV. But most mortgage providers don’t have the luxury of having a TV budget.

Instead they rely on their lowest interest rate to encourage buyers to come forth. However because all the lollies come from the same jar the buyer can determine in 30 seconds the rate they are looking at is virtually no different to 4-5 competing websites. The other flaw in this ‘rate first’ strategy is only 16% of home owners know what rate they’re currently paying, so there’s no reference point to start with. Where it does come into play is as a rate for comparison for competing websites and we don’t want to give consumers the need to do that, do we. This ‘finance first’ strategy is a little more structured and looks like this.


The finance first model


The finance first model


In this model finance binds them all and the areas where the circles intersect work best with this approach. The strategy has moved from ‘what we do’ to focus more on ‘how we do it’. It’s more about making it easier for the consumer and the simplicity of the process.

With this approach a person might be a 2nd home buyer and wanting finance or they’re downsizing and want finance. If each circle theoretically accounts for 20% of the entire market then your ability to be relevant to consumers with high buyer intent is around 10% for each buyer category and 40% for the total amount of refinancing consumers.


Websites focused on a rate offer do well in these areas


But what we believe the consumer wants (finance) is only a very small part of the picture. This strategy doesn’t identify who they are (the subset) and it doesn’t determine why they want the finance.

As a rates first strategy it’s created by finance people and founded in logic. But consumers aren’t finance people, they don’t really want a mortgage and none of them want to make repayments. Because of this the strategy establishes virtually no emotional connection which is why this strategy is so weak.

When you go to a restaurant do you pay the bill first? No, you order the meal, you take in the atmosphere and enjoy every mouthful then you pay the bill. You’ve satisfied the diner emotionally.

It asks the question of whether a mortgage broking company is a finance company first or a sales company first. Are they shouting the wrong message from the rooftops?

Rather than focusing on finance what if you placed the focus on each consumer group, how would that look?


The Consumer first model


The Consumer first model


Finance still unites them all but here we’re focused on the consumer first. In this mortgage broking model landing pages focus on each buyer set. It’s moving from the ‘how we do it’ to a premise of WHY. Why do you want finance, what are your hopes and dreams and why’s that important to you? But before you think we’ve gone all fluffy on you let me explain.

As opposed to the finance binds them all approach, the consumer first strategy matches the need to the buyer a lot more effectively. The reason for this is you’re emotionally targeting consumers before logically displaying rates. Reaching out emotively shows the consumer respect, it says that you ‘get’ them. It also helps them to believe in something greater than their existing situation.

While there will invariably be some crossover in the real world the model takes into account that no buyer set intersects. A first home buyer has no mental comprehension of a couple in their late 50’s who are downsizing and a second home buyer who’s accommodating the family’s growth may not understand the needs of an investor. Invariably in each buyer set a different language has relevance and the copy and imagery on each page needs to change to reflect their needs.

It takes time and effort to optimise but there is a huge reward for those who are prepared to follow the consumer down the rabbit hole.


Be aspirational

The following page was created specifically with this strategy in mind. It emotionally targets the consumer, placing them in the moment and then backing this story up with logic. We’ve taken out all reference to the client.


Be aspirational


As mentioned no one wants a mortgage but they do make the commitment to pay one off for 25 years. You’ve got to ask why that is. Is it the feeling of security or is it, like this page portrays, to spend time with friends and family and to be proud of their new purchase? What this page does is future pace the consumer and it frames their vision of an ideal tomorrow.

Show people a better version of their situation.

This page was one of four created for the client to target specific buyers in the category. This specific page helps people realise their dream and asks them to ‘search for the home, not the loan’. And this headline also has another more powerful subtext. It infers, ‘we have a great rate’, and you don’t need to look any further, you’ve already found us. It’s a hook which connects with consumers on two very important levels and it says it all in seven simple words. There’s always a reason behind the reason, but it’s never what you think it is and it’s your job to identify what that motivation is.


The market potential on any given day

Another way to look at the different approaches is to see them in relation to the entire market on any given day. There are 10% of the market which will always convert and 10% of those who will never buy. The middle ground, the 80%, is made up of buyers who can be swayed if given a good reason. Specifically the companies using the ‘what we do’ strategy never get to see most of that market. Those are the business owners you hear saying, ‘Google Adwords doesn’t work’ when you know for a fact it does.

The rates first advertiser does get to see it partially and this is based on the buyer intent and the level of need. This is also where TV advertising can help push a greater number of consumers over the line. In fact given the current state of the advertising in the industry you could argue the rates based advertisers are winning the lion share of the buyers by default. What it doesn’t take into account is buyers are always looking for more, more information, a better experience and a deeper connection. It’s an ingredient buyers desperately need in most categories and we feel the home loan industry is ripe for change.

This middle ground is where the majority of your buyers reside if you can connect to them. In this sector you can either sell them a logical rates based argument or you can present a consumer focused model they buy into. If they buy into an image of themselves you’ve successfully made that connection.


Markey buyers


How do the stats stack up?

The following graphs represent the potential conversion rates for the rates first and the consumer first approaches. These figures are simply an illustration of the differences in the two strategies.

Rates first model


Rates first Share of market search Page match to buyer intent Converted buyers
1st home buyers 20% 10% 2.0%
2nd home buyers 20% 10% 2.0%
Downsizing 20% 10% 2.0%
Investors 20% 10% 2.0%
Refinancing 20% 40% 8.0%
Totals 100% 16% 3%


As we’ve seen the finance focused strategy doubles up at each intersecting point between the 5 circles. For the sake of the exercise we’ve approximated each intersection (page match to buyer intent) at 10%. Because it’s a finance focused model refinancing takes the lion share of the buyer intent. This doesn’t mean a person outside of the intersecting part of the circle won’t become a buyer. It does mean a logical point of view will attract numbers people but there are many more people who are visual and willing to convert if they can believe in an idea.

Consumer first model


Consumer first Share of market search Page match to buyer intent Converted buyers
1st home buyers 25% 33% 8.3%
2nd home buyers 25% 33% 8.3%
Downsizing 25% 33% 8.3%
Investors 25% 33% 8.3%
Totals 100% 33% 8%


The consumer first model speaks to each buyer group and triggers specific emotional needs and desires. If not activated effectively this model is as flawed in its approach as the finance first approach, certain online mechanisms work better than others with this strategy. But when you do serve the right page to the applicable buyer you have a greater opportunity to convert because the page speaks directly to them.

Whereas the converted buyers in the rates first model comes to 3% (the average conversion rate nationally) the converted buyers in the consumer first model increases almost 300%. In the real world these are conservative and achievable outcomes.


So do landing pages work?

Mark Bouris has a great talk about when he was selling part of Wizard Home Loans to the Packer family and Kerry Packer told him you’re in the business of selling hopes and dreams.

Landing pages focused on rates will work to a degree and they’ll probably pay the bills but they come into their own when you continually optimise to emotionally connect to the consumer. Your goal is to focus on understanding why the life changing event of buying a home is so important to them, that’s when consumer focused landing pages really come alive.

If you can determine the reason behind the reason of why your consumers convert you’ve literally got the keys to the kingdom and that’s where true wealth resides.

Elevator pitch - ‘a succinct and persuasive sales pitch’.

Have you ever tried your elevator pitch on someone and used 5000 words to explain yourself? How do you think you’d go? Do you think you might have overcooked it? Do you think the other person might run the other way?

Interestingly plenty of companies do it every day and they do it online with sliders.

What’s a slider? It’s traditionally an image with a message which slides across the page, normally from right to left, to be replaced by another message.

Why do we use sliders? It was the website fashion of the day and as I’ve mentioned many times before, to follow website fashion is folly. Consumers pay the bills so follow them.

Empirical studies allow us to understand en masse how people respond to certain stimuli. For example we gravitate to the familiar; we seek security in patterns, expressing scepticism in the unfamiliar. When we use these techniques online they don’t work all the time but in general most people, the majority of the time, are subject to anchors.

For example a bias we all experience would be when we see a green light at an intersection and accelerate away without first looking for speeding cars coming in the other direction. Or when the phone of a stranger nearby rings with the same ringtone as your own phone and we reach to answer our phone.

Our brains tell us based on the last 100 times when X has happened, Y was the outcome and the statistical probability of danger is extremely low. The brain has now found a short cut it trusts in and has rewired itself to cope with the situation. These tenets help us cope more effectively with stressful situations; it also helps us create online environments to meet these expectations.

For example when we view a webpage we don’t actually read the page like a book. It’s similar to driving a car where we attend to the most prominent objects which command our attention and leave other less relevant elements aside. After visiting 1000’s of websites we’ve created biases which say when we see A it means A and not B or C. This is called an Anchor Effect.

Last Sunday we saw the new advertising from iSelect feature a new campaign without Jason Geary. We questioned how long this would take given the environment.

iSelect’s chief executive Scott Wilson said, "Last year we spent $5 million advertising our energy business and our health sales went up".

So it appears at least part of the change in marketing is in response to the market’s tunnel vision of the comparison site.

Here at Showtime we were always curious about the lack of digital optimisation the company placed on their other services.

What if you only had 2 hours to change your website into a landing page to achieve more conversions? Could you do it?

Could you remove the clutter and focus only on what’s important to your consumers in that time? We had some fun with and believe from this 2 hour workshop consumers would be less inclined to experience confusion on the page and convertibility would increase. We’re going to prove it to you with some really cool metrics we’ve derived from each page variation.

All we’ve done in 2 hours is change the HTML script on the page so it’s very temporary.

We’re going to run each page variation against our eye tracking technology. It’s an artificial intelligence tool based on computational neuroscience which we believe to be the best in the market. You can also access the same eye tracking software here to find out which elements people see on your own page.

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