Under the CRO Microscope: Better Proposals

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series we’ll publish, tearing down our clients’ sites. We want to share insights into what’s working for them and identify opportunities to increase conversions. You’ll be able to use these same ideas to improve sign-ups and sales for your business. 

The most effective marketing strategy is knowing who your customers are. What does this mean for CRO? The best way to increase conversions is having a deep understanding of your customers, and their pains, beliefs, objections, and desires.

Strategy before tactics.

You can test the color of a button a hundred times. It will never have a real effect on your conversions if what you are saying to your visitors doesn’t create an emotional connection with them. This is what you need to work on first.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t invest real time —or resources— into learning who their ideal buyers are. What’s making them suffer? How can your product help solve that pain?

Today, we are going to analyze some pieces of Better Proposals’ website to show you what that means.

Let’s dive into it!

Under the CRO Microscope – Teardown Profile

Subject: Better Proposals

Product: a software to create and send digital proposals and get them signed online

Target market: service businesses

Business type: software as a service (SaaS)

Pricing: $19/mo (Starter) – $49/mo (Premium) – $99/mo (Enterprise)

Better Proposals – What are they Doing Well?

Giving Visitors an Option

There’s one thing we notice as soon as we land on their homepage: there’s a second button along with the main call to action (Sign Up). It’s not a surprise that the Take the Tour button has more clicks than the Sign Up Free button.

What is this telling us? People are not ready to make a big commitment yet. This sounds obvious but very few companies act on it. Few sites add a secondary call to action to their hero section like Better Proposals is doing.

Most of the sites you visit are going to drive hard towards the conversion. The “Take the Tour” button is an escape from making that commitment as soon as you land on the site.

Nobody wants to be pushed towards a sale. People need to learn more about your product and how it’s going to solve their problems before they make a decision.

Want to See Which Buttons Your Visitors Click and Which Ones They Avoid?

Calling Out their Ideal Buyers

It’s right there in the main headline. Sales proposals for creatives and service businesses. Better Proposals probably struggled a lot before making their mind on calling out their audience like this. Either that or they tested a bunch of variations until they found the one that worked best.

A software like Better Proposals serves a huge market. You can imagine limiting themselves is going to hurt their conversions by turning off some prospects. Exactly the opposite.

There are many competitors out there. By niching down, Better Proposals tells their visitors if this is worth exploring right away. And if you are part of their ideal target, that headline is going to make you raise your hand and go “Hey, looks like this is made just for me”.

Of course, you need to back that promise up with a product that’s built for that audience. But if your product delivers, calling out your target is going to make your site much more effective.

Not only your site. Focusing on a narrow audience will bring clarity to your entire marketing. Once you know who your ideal buyer is, you’ll have an easier time delivering quality traffic to your site.

Quality traffic + niche positioning = higher conversions

Could they go deeper describing their perfect audience? Maybe… “Creatives and Service Businesses” is still a broad category. It can include anything from:

  • Designers
  • Copywriters
  • Lawyers
  • PR firms
  • Marketing agencies
  • Consultants
  • Research companies
  • The list goes on…

Each business on that list has nuances that are worth identifying. A designer is going to want their proposals to look beautiful. A lawyer will value clarity.

Can Better Proposals have a meaningful conversation with all of these types of businesses at the same time, on their homepage? No, they can’t.

They need to make a decision on how broad or narrow they want their messaging to be. It’s a combination of how your product is built, who you are serving, and being different than your competitors.

If they want to go after a specific market (e.g. lawyers) they are better off launching a unique campaign for that target. This includes building a new funnel for them.

Knowing their Buyers’ Pains —and Using those Pains Against Them

Take a look at that headline. They could have written, “What are the benefits?”. Many businesses keep their copy vague like that. And they get it wrong. Fearing that by being too specific they’ll alienate potential buyers. In this case, people that don’t use either Word nor InDesign. But it’s the other way around.

Better Proposals knows their main customers are replacing Word and InDesign with them. They can assume a high percentage of their visitors are using those tools as well.

But how can you know this in the first place? Ask!

Talk to current customers and ask them how they solved their problems before they started using your product. Ask them what frustrations they had and how their world changed after using your solution.

The best source for copywriting that increases conversions is your own customers’ mouths.

Better Proposals – What Can be Improved?

Missed clicks, missed opportunities

If you take a look at our click heatmaps, you’ll find many visitors are clicking on stuff that is not linked to anything.

Take a look at this image in particular:

This heatmap is showing us that visitors are clicking there but nothing happens. Somebody that’s clicking there might want to know more about that specific feature.

Turning that icon into an active link could help bring more people into the funnel. Different visitors are going to be at different stages of awareness towards your product. A well-crafted homepage is about enabling each user to take the journey that makes the most sense for them.

Some users are going to land on the homepage and immediately go to the pricing page to sign-up. Others need a longer journey in-between. Allowing people to reach those extra 2 or 3 pages could be the difference between a conversion and a lost lead.

Now, take a look at what’s happening when people see the Get paid instantly section:

They are clicking everywhere trying to find a link. Better Proposals is telling them they can get paid instantly. This is great… but visitors want to see how that works.

A simple way to fix these non-clickable elements issue is building feature-specific pages. Those users are clearly looking for extra info on that. Better Proposals can build those pages and aim for a conversion on that second step of the funnel.

Find the Missed Opportunities on Your Site and Convert More Visitors. 

Create A Free Heatmap For Your Site

Better Proposals – What Should they Test?

Sign-Up Button Variation

There’s a long history of testing buttons wording to increase conversions. This is one of the things you need to A/B test at some point, across your entire site.

The classic example is the word Submit. When you land on a page and there’s an opt-in form to subscribe to a newsletter, using Submit is a huge mistake.

Users are on the verge of making a leap and giving you their email. You have to reinforce that decision and push them towards converting. Action words and benefit-driven CTAs tend to convert higher.

For this case, Better Proposals could create a variation changing the Sign Up Free button to something like Send Better Proposals. There are two hypotheses to confirm with this test:

  1. Sign up is about joining the app. Send is an action that’s connected to the users’ end goal. They can see themselves doing just that. It’s many steps closer to the problem they are looking to solve, which is to send proposals the easy way, send more proposals in less time, and automate proposals creation.
  2. Branding the CTA with the words Better Proposals is a clever touch. That alone could earn more clicks. You’d be amazed at how different button wordings can affect conversions.

You definitely don’t want to lose the word Free. Free is what people in the conversion optimization space call a Power Word.

How can they test this? Move the Sign Up Free line below the button. It could be a text string or a simple link, but not part of the button.

Increase Empathy with Images that Include People

If your product is tangible and something people can interact with in their day to day life, you’ll definitely want to follow this tip.

Adding pictures of people using, enjoying and succeeding with your product is a must to increase empathy. The right images create future pacing, a persuasion technique where users imagine themselves in a desired situation.

You can do this with copy but, as you know, a picture is worth blah blah blah…

Warning! This suggestion is not that simple to execute.

Let’s take a look at Better Proposals’ users. These are creatives and freelancers that sell their services through the use of proposals. As with most software companies, the only interaction a user has with the product is by looking at a computer screen or phone.

The trick here is having meaningful images that are relevant to the way Better Proposals’ customers are going to use the app. You want to avoid having that dreadful stock image look.

You know what I’m talking about:


Is that computer even on?

Or worse…

You can bet that proposal was lost.

The challenge for Better Proposals is coming up with a very unique set of photos that capture their ideal target market and that don’t look corny or staged. Choose powerful visuals over trying to show someone “using” Better Proposals. You can draw inspiration from what Wistia is doing on their dedicated Soapbox page.

Changing the Secondary Calls to Action

Excluding the hero section, there are two Sign Up Free buttons on the homepage. None of these two buttons are getting significant clicks. One month of accumulated data shows 14 clicks on this button:

And 9 clicks on the footer button:

The obvious reason for this is that visitors don’t tend to scroll down a lot. Still, this is the perfect opportunity to test something different and see what happens.

A basic A/B test would focus on the button’s copy or color. Instead, they could test linking to another place other than the sign-up page. The hypothesis behind this test is finding out if people that scroll down to the bottom of the page might be looking for more info on the tool. Linking to the Tour page seems like the natural next step in the funnel.

4 Takeaways You can Apply to Your Business Today

#1) Identify your ideal buyer

Don’t settle with the broad demographics. Male, 20-35 years, professional… This gives you no insight on how to talk to your online visitors. Invest time in finding out exactly what kind of people you are serving and create your marketing around that —not just your site.

#2) Learn as much as you can about your customers

Get on the phone with your current customers and ask them questions. You won’t believe how many of them are going to be open to talk to you and share their insights. Be prepared to hear what they like and don’t like about your product. It will only help you improve it.

Learning what made your current customers buy is ammunition you can use to fire at potential buyers and persuade them to purchase.

#3) Work on the bigger picture before testing the small stuff

Find out what’s the average conversion rate for your industry. If your conversions are too low, focusing on smaller details will only waste your time. You’ll need to take a step back and rethink who your ideal buyer is and how to get them to buy.

#4) Test, test, test!

Once you are comfortable with your conversions, put on your goggles and lab coat and go to testing town. Seeing exactly what your visitors are doing on your site, will help you validate your hypothesis and find opportunities to test new ideas.

Conclusion: If You Want More Clicks, You Gotta Know Who’s Behind the Mouse

SaaS businesses —and many other businesses, too— struggle with focus. Some people will have success using your product and others will find a better fit going to your competitors. You can’t help every type of customer and that’s OK.

It’s actually more than OK. It’s empowering. Once you find exactly who your ideal buyer is, everything else becomes clear. Your website content is not the exception.

If you don’t know who’s your ideal target:

  • You’ll be sending unqualified traffic to your site
  • Your copy is not going to persuade visitors to convert
  • A/B testing will take a lot of guessing and waste so much of your time
  • You’ll have a hard time making sense of your analytics
  • If you are running a SaaS: your free trials won’t turn into paid users, because they won’t find value in your product or they’ll churn at a high rate
  • If you are running an e-commerce shop: you won’t see a lot of repeat business

Invest more time getting to know your customers. Once you do that, fixing your site’s conversions is going to be easier, faster, and much more rewarding.

Discover What Makes Your Ideal Customers Convert and Increase Conversions

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