Most marketers believe that the path to a high converting funnel consists of 3 parts:

  1. driving traffic to their landing pages,
  2. analyzing their results, and
  3. optimizing them.

This is where they believe the cycle ends.

Yeah, most marketers are wrong.

As a consultant, I’ve witnessed something that needs fixing: marketers are casually disregarding a crucial part of the funnel and a critical landing page in their campaigns.

They’re overlooking a part of the funnel that has a huge impact on 1) retaining your converted visitors and 2) actually increasing conversion rates.

When my clients bring me in to help optimize conversion along the customer journey, I see the same thing time and again: this idea that the journey ends when the visitor hits “submit.”

(Side note: I truly hope “submit” isn’t the copy on your CTA button, but that’s a different article altogether. And you’re here on Copyhackers, so there’s hope for your buttons.)

The problem seems to stem from the way marketers talk about the funnel. No judgment to you, but tell me if this isn’t honestly how you – like so many others – view the conversion funnel:

It appears that, once a conversion has been made, the funnel just simply… well… ends.

But need I remind you: it’s 5 times more cost effective to retain a customer than acquire a new one. So does it actually end? And if the answer is “no,” then here’s a question for you:

Why isn’t the Thank You page on the funnel diagrams we share in boardrooms and on posts?

Your thank-you page is exactly where you start to retain your new customer and make sure she keeps coming back for more.

But first! So we’re all on the same page, let’s define what a thank-you page is. A thank you page is the page customers are redirected to once they’ve converted in some way: subscribing to your blog, signing up for your service or purchasing that really cool thing you sell with free shipping. It often looks like this:

The thank-you page for Edox

The thank-you page for Edox

Actually, it doesn’t often look like that. More commonly, it looks like this:

A typical thank-you page (it's empty)

A typical thank-you page

Just a simple “thank you” message. This is the treatment a brand-new customer, newly won over by you and highly seducible, gets. And all the amazing potential to nurture that lead and increase conversions? Gone.

While some marketers do make the most of thank you pages, the vast majority simply use them to send people to their inbox for a confirmation email, missing out on all that potential to turn one conversion into a lifetime of conversions.

So, that’s why I’m here today. I’m gonna show you what I’ve learned about optimizing thank-you pages and, thus, lengthening the funnel. Because the thank-you page isn’t the end of the conversion process – it’s the beginning of a new customer.

[Tweet “The thank-you page is the birth of a customer, not the end of the conversion by @taliagw on @copyhackers”]

Conversion Is All About Decision-Making, So Let’s Talk Psychology Briefly, Shall We?

From a psychological perspective, the thank you page is the best place and time within the funnel to increase retention. Why’s that? It’s thanks to a couple of psychological triggers that affect our decision-making process…

While we all love to think of ourselves as rational people who make rational decisions, we are very much influenced by preset biases in our brain that we’re usually unaware of. The way things are presented to us has a huge impact on our decision-making process and can, many times, determine if we stay loyal to a brand or not.

Let’s take a look at the 2 most dominating psychological triggers that make thank-you pages work so well to keep conversions – and conversations – alive.

#1 – Successive approximations

The basic psychological trigger of “successive approximations” states that, once someone has performed a small action, they’re more likely to continue performing additional actions… and even feel obligated to go along with larger requests. Think about that. Once a person has committed to even the smallest request from you, a bond is created and they feel more obligated to continue taking further action.

We just can’t help it.

Your new customers, having just purchased from you, can’t help it.

In marketing, we like to call this the foot in the door approach: we get our customers to perform one action (like submitting their email address in exchange for an ebook) knowing they will continue with another (like submitting additionl information about their goals and company).

Foot in the door 1

Source: Reddit

Your thank-you page acts as that second request. Once a visitor has already taken the firsts steps on your landing page to convert (signup, contact you, request a demo, purchase a product and many more options), they will be far more likely to perform additional actions. We’ll discuss the kind of actions you can request in just a sec.

#2 – Post-purchase rationalization

Most commonly known as ‘choice supportive’ bias, this trigger affects our tendency to persuade ourselves, through rational argument, that the purchase we just made was a good one.

We like to feel good about the choices we make. So, even if it is entirely irrational, we will do everything in our [subconscious] power to prove to ourselves that we made a good choice.

For example, many times we find ourselves buying products that are out of our budget or that we may not really need. (If you have an iPhone, you’ve done it.) To feel good about these purchases, we’ll remind ourselves that, say, X item was on sale or that not many items were left. Or we’ll find a new and creative reason for actually needing that product… like buying a Macbook Pro to go with our new iPhone because, well, they work better together.

Your online shoppers do the same. They take additional steps after converting, committing further to the product to feel better about their decision. If you take away that opportunity to engage in post-purchase rationalization on your thank-you page – that is, to have our decision validated with a fab thank-you page – you miss out on a big conversion opportunity.

(BTW, you should grab your free copy of my psychological triggers cheat sheet here. You’ll get more triggers than I’ve just covered.)

It’s our job as marketers to help our customers feel good about their initial commitment to us. We do that by forming a more personal connection with them, increasing their trust and getting them even more entrenched.

Now let me show you how I do this in my own business and for my CRO clients.

7 ways I increase conversion rates (and retention) using thank-you pages

1. Validate the lead

Thank you pages are a great place to qualify your leads and get more information about your newly converted visitor, for future marketing and sales efforts.

On your thank-you page, you should ask additional questions that give you more insight about the new customers, like:

  • Their position at their company
  • The time they prefer to be contacted at
  • The content they’ve shared most recently
  • The biggest challenge they’re facing right now
  • Their phone number for a person follow-up

Below is an example of a thank you page we created for one of our B2B clients. Our goals were to use the thank-you page in a way that would give us more info about the company our prospective customer worked at and to create a personal connection between them and our client. We did this by using an image and a personal note from Carolyn, one of the co-founders of the business.
validate leads thank you page 1

Adding these personal details had pretty stellar results for the business.

Specifically, this thank you page helped us increase the quality of the leads for the sales team and increase direct sales by 52%.

[Tweet “I’m doing it! I’m adding a human pic + details to my thank-you page – thanks @taliagw via @copyhackers”]

2. Increase shareability and distribution

The thank-you page is a FANTASTIC place to get new fans to share the word about you. So add an incentive on your thank-you page asking people to recommend you, invite their friends or share on social media.

In the example below, CountryOS invites you to share on social media for a bump of 100 places on their waiting list.

pasted image 0 21

This is a great way to increase shareability… however as a side note, their waiting list is at 8 million people, so a 100-point bump isn’t necessarily the right incentive anymore. It could be worth watching these numbers as the virality of this sort of thank-you page kicks off for you.

Another example is Poppins. Unlike CountryOS, Poppins encourages you to invite 3 friends to gain quicker access to the platform. They do a great job in asking you to invite a specific amount of friends and not leaving it up to you. This is commonly referred to as the anchoring bias: our the tendency to rely on the first piece of information we receive to make a decision. Poppins ensures people invite at least that many folks instead of stopping at, say, just one. They set a minimum, and that becomes the anchor.

pasted image 0 20

Here’s another great example by Tookapic. They use a free t-shirt as an incentive to spread the word:

pasted image 0 19

Wanna do this on your thank-you page? Solutions like KickoffLabs make shareable thank-you pages a breeze. And Prefinery does something similar – Copyhackers is using it for Airstory.

3. Increase trust and the personal connection

To further help customers feel good about their decision and utilize the “choice supportive” bias, invite them to do this: read previous reviews and testimonials on your site.

Doing this increases their sense of trust with your brand and affinity.

As you can see below, while visitors wait to hear back from an InfusionSoft representative, they’re invited to discover the success stories of happy customers:

infusion soft thank you page 1 does the same by inviting you to download free guides and articles on subjects that matter to their prospects.

pasted image 0 22

By offering these “gifts” to potential customers on their thank you page, Greenhouse both learns a lot more about what content their customers are interested in and increases trust.

4. Help people take the next step in your funnel

Now that they’ve taken their first step in your funnel, tell them what to do next.

For example, if your product is one that requires downloading, you may also need new customers to set up the program on their computer. Or if you’re selling a service or subscription, you may require people to double opt-in via email. Show and tell them how to do that.

Below is an example of a thank you page we created for a client. With it, we let people know what to do once they have downloaded the product.

thankyoupage chrome 1

A simple call to action and an arrow directing customer attention to the next step helped increase implementation of the product by 39%.

[Tweet “Downloadable product? Design your thank-you page to point to the download file says @taliagw on @copyhackers”]

Copyhackers also uses the thank you page to tell people what to do once they’re subscribed to the newsletter. The template they use is one of many available in Leadpages.

copyhackers 9

The double opt-in process is a great way to keep people engaged and ensure your subscribers are qualified and actually interested in your content.

But if they don’t remember to confirm their subscription, you’ll lose the lead. So this sort of thank-you page can go a long way to growing your list.

[Tweet “how @taliagw optimizes thank-you pages to get 39% more downloads, 52% more sales + more on @copyhackers”]

5. Promote your blog

Point customers to where they can continue reading articles on a specific topic that you know they already care about.

This will increase their time on site, increase engagement and keep them connected to you.

As seen below, Instapage uses their thank you page to do exactly that.

pasted image 0 23

Clean and easy to make sense of, the Instapage thank-you page makes taking that next step simple.

6. Advertise a specific promotion

Use the thank you page to advertise additional promotions and deals that you have.

For example, after downloading the report on the state of email, Litmus uses their thank you page to offer a 14 day free trial of their actual product.

pasted image 0 18

Using the foot in the door technique, potential customers have already left their details to receive the report. Now all they have to do is take the next step… and start their free trial. Easy! And smart.

7. Research (so optimizing gets waaay easier)

Use thank you pages to gain knowledge about your target audience by running surveys and polls on them.

I like to ask people:

  • Why they signed up
  • What their biggest problem is (said nicer than that, of course)
  • How they believe you solved their problem

And here’s a biggie: “What almost prevented you from buying today?”

The answers to questions like those are pure CRO gold. They can very quickly help you optimize your funnel further because you better understand what customers are looking for, what brought them to you, why they chose you and why they almost didn’t.

As shown below, Floppi uses their thank you page to understand why people sign up for their product. To ensure they get answers, they offer a familiar incentive – prioritization on their waiting list:

pasted image 0 17

I promised you 7 techniques I use to boost conversions and increase retention on thank-you pages.

You’ve got ’em. I hope you use ’em.

And now, as a thank you to you, here are a couple bonus lists for boosting your thank you pages.

Two quick ways to optimize your thank you pages for even greater engagement:

  1. Optimize for newsletter subscriptions. Getting people to subscribe to your newsletter is a great way to increase that mailing list and add them to your drip campaign. Ask them to sign up for your newsletter. Then segment them according to their preferences and purchase behavior – so you can send them relevant content that makes them love you.
  2. Increase social media following. If you would like to increase your social media engagement and following, add links on the thank you page to your different social accounts – such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and ask people to follow you for updates.

3 Quick Rules for Designing a Thank You Page

When it comes to planning your thank you page, the design, copy and overall look and feel have a huge impact on conversions.

So take these quick design guidelines as a mini-brief to follow when you overhaul your thank-you pages now that you’re nearly done this post…

1. Value First: In terms of design, a thank you page is very similar to a landing page. It’s not enough to just ask people to do something. You need to give them a reason and SHOW them exactly what’s in it for them. Now that your customer has taken their first step, you need to give them a good reason to take another. This means highlighting their value in taking that step and making it about them. Remember: It’s not about the what, it’s about the why.

2. Image Strategy: Our brain processes images far faster than text, which means the image and colors we use on our thank you page will be the first thing our customer notices on that page. Make sure the image you use immediately projects trust and highlights the customer’s value. Though the go-to image for most companies is an image of their product or service, try testing a more strategic image that shows that value immediately. Your goal is to make the customer feel safe and excited about taking that next step.

3. The Calls to Action: Your thank you page should have one goal and one goal only. After all, it’s a landing page! Make sure to have one clear call to action. Too many requests may cause confusion and give your newly acquired customer “Analysis Paralysis,” which is a fancy way to describe our brain’s tendency to freeze and opt out when we have too many options.

The Bottom Line on the Bottom of Your Funnel

Your work as a business does not end once a visitor has converted or taken the first step within your funnel.

If this is a concept you have a hard time selling to folks you work with, try describing it like a brick-and-mortar store: once you’ve made a purchase at the till, you’re not ignored and forgotten about. Most times the staff will walk around the counter to hand your bag to you. Sometimes, they’ll even walk you out of the store. At minimum, they’ll wish you  a pleasant week, continue talking to you for a little while or suggest other places to visit. Only then do they move on to the next customer.

The exception to that experience is found in crappy stores.

And none of us is trying to create a crappy web experience, right? Thought not.


About Talia

Talia teaches businesses to plan and execute conversion optimization programs. She runs thousands of AB tests using emotional targeting, data and consumer psychology to help businesses increase online revenues.

Talia is the CMO at Banana Splash, a keynote speaker and was recently listed as one of the most influential experts in conversion optimization. Check out her online persuasion and emotional targeting course and follow her on twitter.