Your payment page is the moment of truth for each person who visits your website. It’s the final chance for them to decide whether they want to remain just a visitor or become a paying customer. It is therefore one of the most critical factors in helping your site and business succeed.
I work with leading merchants on many of the most successful sites. In this article, I will explain how small positive changes to your payment pages and site experience can help you grow your revenue over time.
By the time people reach your payment page, in many ways they have already cost you quite a bit.
By the time people reach your payment page, in many ways they have already cost you quite a bit. They often arrive as paid traffic clicks, or represent many hours of your best SEO work coming to fruition. They burn bandwidth on your tour. They are the people you were thinking about while you agonized over font and color choices, the people for whom you selected impressive thumbnails. They are the reason you invested so heavily in securing your members area. Now they are finally at the point of sale — and convincing them to open up their wallet is what online business is all about.
It All Starts With Trust
Trust is the hurdle your site must clear in order for there to be any hope of completing a sale. If your site doesn’t look trustworthy, it is almost impossible to convert visitors into customers.
Having a flawless user experience free of broken images and links, a clear and easy way for anyone to contact site support, a proper cancellation process and simply-stated pricing all go a long way toward quickly establishing the level of trust needed to generate sales. Keep in mind: most people who reach your join page are deciding in less than 30 seconds whether it is safe to sign up or not, which means you need to establish your ethics in their minds intuitively and immediately.
Having a proper SSL certificate, including security seals from organizations like VeriSign, Trustee or WebsiteSecure, and even things as simple as using a clear, easy-to-read font, can help your site generate the required level of trust.
In years past, merchants used obscure wording to make pricing less obvious. These days, you won’t see any of the top sites trying to get sales with a page that explains 30-day memberships cost 98 cents per day. Obvious, overt and easy-to-understand pricing information has been proven to generate more revenue because it converts customers more easily.
Are They Still Hungry When They Get There?
If your payment page is dessert, getting visitors to go for it means whetting their appetite just enough — giving them a taste, not a meal. That means it isn’t just about what’s on your payment page, but also what they experience while getting there.
The “free porn era” has brought many challenges to the paysite business model, chief among them the question of how much should be given away for free. Site owners struggle to decide whether preview videos should be longer or shorter. Should they include the finale of the scene, or end abruptly before it? How many trailers or photos are enough to generate a sale without making the visitor feel like there is no real reason to bother becoming an actual customer?
Think of your join page and tour as a first date. If you let visitors have too much access, they won’t bother paying for a second date — and if you hide too much, they will end up dating someone else.
Tracking your on-page user metrics is a crucial element that many novices miss entirely. Most site owners track traffic buys and all of their off-page efforts to obtain visitors, but then they fail to track the on-page metrics of each visit. How long are your visitors spending on your site pages? How many trailers are they each watching on average? Do the ones who watch two trailers convert better or worse than the ones who watch three trailers? That’s the kind of analysis that will help you develop a data-driven sense of how much content you should make available.
As you continue to optimize your sales funnel, you may find that multiple tours are needed, with different landing pages and join pages for various traffic sources. Every site and audience is different, but tracking what your converted customers do and what your unproductive visitor traffic does differently is an essential part of designing a tour or join page to optimize revenue growth.
Mix Key Data and Emotions
Part of the problem with a join page is that, to be successful, it has to appeal to two very different thought processes. On the one hand, an adult site customer wants to know detailed data about the site. Like any shopper, they want facts about the number of videos included, the update schedule, the models who appear behind the paywall and more. On the other hand, that potential customer is probably reading all of that with his pants around his ankles.
If you were selling flatware or staplers, you could get away with a dry set of factoids about the number of staples that fit in the magazine. With entertainment, however, the data also has to come with enough of an emotional connection to convince viewers to invest in seeing more. Join pages that skew too far toward plain statistics are no better than join pages that distract the user away from the signup process with sexy photos and no real sales pitch. Ideally, you want facts about your site and emotional cues to be paired together throughout the join process.
Always Focus on the Call to Action
The single biggest error we see on join pages is a failure to focus on the call to action. Yes, your pages need to feel credible, be in full compliance with card association requirements and include the right mix of marketing cues — but above all else, they must steer the viewer’s attention toward taking action and completing the payment process.
Your payment page is the final element of your sales funnel, after all of your other marketing efforts are concluded. The people who make it this far have looked over your entire sales pitch and enjoyed the preview content you chose to make available. They have already gotten the most out of every cent and second you invest in acquiring new customers, and now you have one last opportunity to maximize the chances of converting them from visitor to customer — which means asking them to pay to see more. Nobody will pay you if you fail to ask!
How do you ask most effectively? Highlighting the required form fields visually, making it as simple as possible to fill in their information, and expediting everything with as frictionless a payment process as possible — that is what your payment page must be about. Combined with the other tips listed above, this strategy should help you develop a focused approach that will lead to more conversions and a more successful site.
Jonathan Corona has two decades of experience in the electronic payments processing industry. As chief operating officer of MobiusPay, Corona is primarily responsible for day-to-day operations as well as reviewing and advising merchants on a multitude of compliance standards mandated by the card associations, including, but not limited to, maintaining a working knowledge of BRAM guidelines and chargeback compliance rules defined in both Visa and Mastercard operating regulations.