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Breaking down the conversion secrets of Slack's new website
You know you should be selling benefits over features. But you could do something even better: Outcome selling. Learn how Mailchimp and Notion convert their visitors using this exact strategy!
You know which company I really jam with? Mailchimp.
And I promise it isn't because of their gorgeous design. Really. Although it does get me feeling all kinds of ways:
That Cavendish Yellow! The massive ball of creativity that those illustrations are! The wonderful Cooper Light font! It’s so beautiful, and yet..so functional?
But I ASSURE you, it isn't (just) the aesthetic that makes me place my faith in the company. It’s not even its popularity.
Mailchimp doesn’t tell you to buy their product so you can automate a bunch of emails or create forms.
Because that’s simply not exciting enough to buy into.
Instead it tells you this:
Know your audience better? Increase sign-ups?
That is exactly the goal of the entire range of businesses that Mailchimp caters to; and therefore, this tactic hits the nail on its head.
Sure, Mailchimp could go on and on about how their software works, the number of templates they provide, the factual details on how they are better than their competitor (which is all valid).
But to get to the point where features and processes can be put to question, you first need to provide a reason for the visitor to care.
Outcome-selling sounds like a word your ex-boss would use to sound intelligent: but trust me, it’s one of the best introductions to your product.
The whole idea is: Don’t sell your product. Sell the best possible outcome that a customer can get from using your product. What can be achieved if your product is used to its potential.
The outcome of Tinder is not the 100s of people I swipe, but the possibility of meeting someone special. Please Susan, wherever you are. I’m waiting.
The outcome of Airbnb is not just finding some place to bunk at. It’s a local experience, it’s about adventure. It’s tattoos you regret later and overpriced surfing lessons.
And this is what great companies will try to sell you: not their features, not a list of benefits you receive upon using the product. NO.
This brilliant outcome is what gets the ball rolling.
Now that we’ve gotten the definition out of the way (hopefully), let’s dive into the details.
Remember that scene in Men in Black, when Will Smith is given the teeny-tiny firearm ‘The Noisy Cricket’?
It was awesome, but without knowing that it could blow up half a truck and also be super-cool, it was just a small silver gun.
Look, your website visitors are the protagonists of their stories. They want to succeed, be badass.
They are emotionally invested in their stories—and a product needs to be an important enough game-changer to be a part of their story.
You need to prove that your product will make their business a better version of itself, and help them reach what they consider to be their goal.
So show them how your survey tool is the route to ‘Reduce churn by 50% in just three months’ or ‘Improve average team intelligence by firing all employees who think HTML is an STD’: it’s all about the results you can bring to the table!
Let me show you what I mean.
Example numero uno:
Uhh, the craft of survey creation? Am I in an art class? Who even creates surveys for the experience of it?
It’s great that I can quickly create surveys or view my results in graph form, but do you think this tool is going to rock your business?
Feature-selling is lukewarm. It’s simply not powerful enough!
Understanding users, uncovering insights, making the right changes: all of these are true solutions.
These point towards the real problems any company faces—not understanding users:why they convert, why they churn and what the company needs to do to improve these metrics.
Mind you: they use the words ‘visual’ and ‘fast’ to cover the features, but the emphasis is on the outcome of using the product.
Show your visitors you care about their success—and not just about putting another buck in your pocket. (Unless you’re all about that moolah. Then get out of here, you capitalistic freak!)
Let me explain. I got into an Uber Black the other day (OK, it was an Uber Premier). The car was one of the best (mid-range) sedans available, and the music was bopping.
But the driver had never been to my destination, and his Map-sense was…sketchy at best. Come on, Mukesh.
In this analogy, you are the driver of your product. You need to give your product a direction that is aligned with your customer’s.
The best tool becomes useless if it's directionless.
With outcomes, you basically tell the customer, 'Hey I know where Kemp's Corner is. I have the ability and the skill to get you to where you want to be.'
Without the destination, you are just another Mukesh in the wide wide world.
Don’t be just another product—be a partner with equal shares in their success.
The higher the value of the product in your customer’s eyes, the greater the chance of them:
When you sell ‘Stress-free billing’ or ‘Flawless teamwork’, you’re making sure your product is embedded into your customer’s business.
Can you imagine running your business without Slack once you have tried it? Despite being a glorified version of Whatsapp for people who want to sell things, it’s integral to most businesses.
Buzzwords such as collaboration, efficient teamwork litter the home-page. Do you notice how the word ‘message’ or ‘text’ is never used, although that would be the primary function of Slack?
Slack is part of the skeleton that makes up a business; and they do so by emphasizing on the results it produces, while lowkey pointing out the features of the product (such as the channels).
These final outcomes on your page add value to the product: they’re not paying just for a messaging platform, they’re paying for seamless collaboration. And that’s totally worth it.
Plus, the business impact your product makes is what differentiates it from your competitors. Pair it up with social proof via case studies and testimonials and you’ve got a solid case!
And the catch is that there are some ground rules to outcome-selling, without which it is about as useful as I am in Mumbai summers. (Hint: not very)
Because I thought these words were being whispered to me from under the veil of a tarot reader—that’s how vague they are.
‘Change is coming, be sure you’re prepared’. Come on guys, you can do better than that. Be specific.
Have quantifiable outcomes that people can believe. No sketchy-candle-lit-basement-and-incense business on your homepage.
Nor can you promise to improve their customer retention.
The key is to promise an outcome that you can actually deliver with the customer’s help.
Notion, for example, sticks to a job it knows it is good at—documentation without confusion.
You know this is true. What they sell is what you get.
Align your product marketing with what your product can deliver to the customer, if used to the best of its abilities.
Using outcomes that will never ever come true will only disappoint your customer and make them distrust you.
Great, you’re offering a chance to get closer to God through your radio app, where podcasters can create and distribute their own content.
But the majority of your audience is atheists. You see the problem?
Does your customer desire the outcome you’re selling, or are you blindly shooting arrows hoping it’ll land the bull’s eye?
Because this is a very common mistake businesses make.
Sometimes, customers do not want to overhaul their entire business with your product—they just want an easy way to send invoices.
Know your customer and position your outcome so that you’re on the same page as your ideal customer.
Second, perhaps they do desire the outcome you propose in the overall scheme of things. Maybe I do want to get closer to God.
But how relevant is it to podcasters and their business?
As a SaaS product, it is essential for you to place yourself somewhere in the growth chart of your customer’s business. Where do you stand, and what do you do?
You can go one step ahead and make your business customer-success-oriented, and the advantages are plenty!
Once you have a solid outcome ready, and you have explained the path to this outcome to your customers—they ought to reach it right?
For example, I advertise a 10% increase in MRR by using my product: the product allows you to change 5 aspects of the customer's homepage. Now it is the customer’s job to make those 5 changes and reap the rewards, right?
But a section of your customers won’t. And these are customers who don’t value the reward enough to put in the effort. So why pitch your product to these people—who will not USE your product?
Why spend valuable time and money on customers who will churn before you even recover acquisition costs?
Two words: Dump them.
You see, outcome-selling allows you to filter out the best customers: ones who will use your product and help you grow.
By targeting these ‘best customers’ and dumping the ‘bad customers’, you:
Don't lie: these are some of the most important metrics for your company, and outcome-selling is a step closer to it.
ONE: Connect the dots for your customers. How does your product lead to the outcome they desire. Give them something to work with.
Empty claims will only defeat your brand.
TWO: Also show the value them the value of the outcome! What losses are they incurring because their churn rate is high? How will understanding their customers help them? Spell it out!
And you're set. Go forth, young child, with this newfound wisdom and reach thy goals.
I can walk you through the whole process of identifying the desired outcomes to selling them right, in this 5200 word email course! For free. 👉🏼