Steve Jobs did a lot of great things, including building one of the most stunning tech empires in history and producing life-changing devices. He is an inspiration, and not just because he invented the iPhone or Macbook you’re likley using to read this article.
Steve Jobs also had a thing or two to teach us about conversion rate optimization. Here are some things you can learn from him.
Online Experience is Incredibly Important for Conversions
Steve Jobs was passionate about experience. One of Apple’s most outstanding qualities is the experience that comes with each of their products. No detail is too small. Even the way that you remove the plastic wrap from the charging cable matters to them. The entire unpackaging process is imbued with an other-worldly experience.
This same experience-oriented ethos carried over into Apple’s retail space. If you’ve ever walked into an Apple store, you understand what I’m talking about. Apple spares no expense in creating a store atmosphere that enhances the customer’s experience. Spending $2 billion (approximately $10 million per store) is not too expensive. Why? Experience.
This lavish spending and obsessive attention to detail all has an important point: The customer experience drives the customer conversions. If the customer has a pleasant experience, they are more likely to purchase a product — to convert.
Conversion optimization really does come down to experience. Peep Laja, conversion optimization expert, understands this. Here’s how he explains it in his article, Think About Customer Experience, Not Just Conversion Optimization:
When looking for optimization opportunities, look at the whole customer experience. Every single customer experience is your moment of truth.
When you improve your web experience, you are working directly on one of the most important aspects of conversion optimization. Focus on experience, and conversions will follow.
Individual Words Matter
Jobs was a master of psychology. He had a keen insight into the desires of customers — even the desires they didn’t know they had.
Here he is, as quoted on the TruConversion blog:
Steve Jobs is famous for many things but he’s also famous for saying “And we’re gonna have this model for JUST $599.” Notice the use of word “just”?
The point is this: Jobs knew how important individual words are when selling, pitching, or discussing a product.
Nowhere is this principle more obvious than in the world of conversion rate optimization. One of the most essential ingredients of a high-converting website, landing page, or CTA is the headline.
I’ve tested thousands of headlines over the years and experienced massive increases in conversion rates as a result. For example, when I tweaked the headline copy on KISSmetrics, my conversion rates skyrocketed by 40%! One little tweak. Massive change.
Knowing Your Customers is Essential to Selling Them a Product
When it came to knowing his customers, Steve Jobs was unparalleled. Some have argued that “Steve Jobs didn’t listen to his customers.”
This might be true. But if he didn’t listen to them, he, at least, knew what they wanted. In fact, he knew them so well that he knew they didn’t know what they wanted.
Confused? Here’s what Jobs said:
It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
This quote doesn’t mean Jobs disregarded his customers. Instead, he had such an intuitive sense of their wants that he could innovate beyond their wildest dreams.
Rather than wait for their feedback and let them tell him what they wanted, Jobs understood his customers’ needs, passions, and desires instinctively. Then he delivered. Jobs was innovative beyond the consumer’s ability to imagine. This meant that he could create a product that was exactly what the customer didn’t know they wanted.
Whatever your level of innovation, there is no substitute for an in-depth knowledge of your customers. The better you can know, understand, intuit, and anticipate their desires, the better ability you will have to convert them.
Simple is Better
Have you ever admired the simplicity of a MacBook or the smooth shape of your Apple TV console?
Simplicity. It’s a beautiful thing.
Such simplicity came directly from the brilliance of Jobs himself. Here’s what he said:
That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
Science and research corroborate this statement. Cognitive fluency suggests that simplicity is what the brain craves and responds to.
This is especially true in conversion optimization. As ConversionXL famously explained, “simple websites are scientifically better.”
Better in what way? They convert better.
The human mind has a remarkable ability to perceive beauty, ease of use, and functionality. The instant in which this happens is the instant in which a customer decides to convert or not.
More simplicity means better conversions. Steve Jobs understood this from a product development point of view. We would do well to apply it from a conversion optimization point of view.
You’re not Steve Jobs. And, to be honest, Steve Jobs wasn’t a conversion optimizer by trade.
Nonetheless, we can learn from his genius and apply those lessons to our own craft of conversion optimization. I have no doubt that we will improve as a result.
What are some lessons you’ve learned about conversion optimization from Steve Jobs?