If you’ve visited our Time Doctor home page, then you probably noticed the first time you visit that it asks you some questions. This is our unique approach for a home page so I thought you might like to know a bit about our experiences and split tests around this concept.
My theory is that most people on the Internet are passive, especially when they browse to a new site. They are mostly in a passive mode of reading and clicking on links rather than actively engaging on the page. It’s hard to get anyone to try a product because they’ve probably been burned before, and don’t want to go through a process of registering for a product unless they are convinced it’s worthwhile. The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to truly understand the product unless you do register and try it.
So I looked for a way to engage users. I’ve seen a few great examples of this on the web. One is with Optimizely.com, a split-testing website where you immediately engage with the site and see their technology in action.
You can see they actually get you to start trying the product immediately when you reach the home page. When you visit it’s so tempting to try it because there’s such as low barrier to entry. You don’t need to enter your email address, and you don’t have to “commit” in order to just try the product a little and see if it works for you. You can bet that Optimizely has split tested this many times to get to their current version of the page (given that they are an a/b split testing company!)
The problem is that it’s difficult with some products to create this immediate experience of engagement. Many products take some time to set up properly and it’s just not possible to get the user to immediately try the product without any barriers. You can show a demo of your product, but a demo doesn’t truly engage users in the same way that an actual trial does.
With Time Doctor, it’s really necessary to use the product for a while to see the analytics of your time and what you have been working on. For teams, it’s necessary for at least some of the team members to use it and try it for a few days in order to see the benefits.
I wanted to somehow start engaging visitors before they started signing up to try the product, and came up with the idea of asking some questions. Here is the current version of these questions:
This question is important because their answer allows us to display more relevant messaging to them later on, and it also allows us to offer them the version of Time Doctor that is likely to best fit their needs.
We’ve split tested these questions several times and have found that we get a much better response in terms of people signing up to our service than if we do not have these initial questions. Most people (91%) answer yes to question 3 and agree to try the service. While not all of them actually do go on to try the service, their “yes” answer is a psychological commitment which increases our conversion rate later on in the funnel.
Some people do not like the questions. In fact a minority of people hate the fact that they are forced to answer questions before visiting the “real” home page. However we’ve split tested having a link that allows people to “skip the questions” and found that this link decreased our conversion rate to sign ups overall.
My theory is that the people who refuse to take the small step of answering 3 questions would probably have been unlikely to take the larger step of signing up the try the software anyway. Having said that, we plan to continue split testing alternate versions of the home page with and without questions, because I really don’t like the idea of upsetting some of our visitors, even if they are the minority. We do make it so that if a person has gone through these questions before we do not show them a second time (unless they delete their cookies).
If you have any thoughts on this concept let me know in the comments below. You might like to check out this article on the best split testing and usability tools.