The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) suggests that our ability to
persuade someone lies in their ability to elaborate on the issue at hand, and one factor that can motivate a someone to engage in elaboration is personal relevance. Recently I came across a B2B marketing case study on WhichTestWon.com regarding this topic that revealed just how important personal relevance may be in motivating buying behavior.
The study tested two online B2B marketing landing pages to see which one would increase conversion. The pages were the same, but one had a click-through overlay while one did not. I was amazed to learn the page with the overlay motivated 24.7% more visitors to sign up than the one without.
Adding an additional step to increase conversion goes against every conversion optimization best practice I’ve ever learned but, this time, it worked. I would argue that their copy was so personally relevant it motivated their target audience to elaborate so long they converted, despite the additional step. And for their particular target audience of professional web designers, the Are You A Designer? copy on the overlay was definitely personally relevant.
So always remember to test these things because, no matter how much scientific research you may have based on human behavior, and how many best practices you may know about conversion optimization, in the end, nothing compares to actual testing based upon your particular target audience.