April 21, 2020

Four Quick Case Studies of Anxiety-Reducing Marketing


The experience on the other side of a product purchase — or even something as simple as a CTA-button click — is hidden to customers. They are taking a risk by giving you money or even just information.

Not knowing what will happen can cause anxiety. And customer anxiety hurts your conversion rates.

Your role as a marketer is to try to decrease that anxiety for customers so they can make the best decision — and you can optimize conversion. To help you do that, today we bring you four quick case studies of anxiety-reducing marketing.

Read on to learn from a phone service, tour agency and ecommerce jeweler.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Anxiety-reducing case studies

(As seen in the MarketingSherpa newsletter. Click to get a free email subscription to the latest from MarketingSherpa.)

Sometimes when looking to improve our marketing, we focus only on accentuating the positive. How can I get my message in front of more people? What other features can I add to the product or explain in the ad?

However, eliminating negatives can be effective as well. One of the negatives that hurt conversion is customer anxiety.

The first time you jumped off a diving board, flew in an airplane or spoke in front of an audience, you might have had anxiety. But after you made that leap and had that experience and better understood what would happen, your anxiety was likely reduced for the next time you would make that decision (or, if the resulting experience was bad, perhaps your anxiety was heightened).

The same is true for customers before they buy a product, fill out a form or click on a call-to-action. They are taking a risk. They don’t know what will happen. This unsure outcome causes anxiety. And that anxiety heightened if they have been burned in the past by another company.

You can’t change the past, of course, but there are steps you can take to reduce unnecessary anxiety in your advertisements, website and throughout the customer’s journey.

To give you ideas for reducing customer anxiety in that purchase path, here are four quick case studies.

Quick Case Study #1: 262% lead rate increase for VOIP business phone system from A/B testing

What happens after a customer provides contact information to a company? Will the customer get endless sales calls?

This lack of understanding can cause anxiety.

When a B2B VOIP business phone system worked with MECLABS conversion marketing services to increase its lead rate, the MECLABS team identified the anxiety caused in the lead capture process as an area of opportunity for optimization (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa.)

Here is a look at the original form.

Creative Sample #1: Original form for B2B phone system


The original asked for a phone number and said, “Fill out our form or give us a call.”

Phone numbers may be necessary in some cases, but if they are not on a hand-raiser form (i.e., someone wanting to get a call), they can cause anxiety.

The MECLABS team attempted to reduce anxiety by reducing the number of form fields, asking for less anxiety-inducing information and better delivering what customers wanted — the headline was changed from “Request a quote to get started” to “Get My Instant Quote!” and the CTA was changed from “Get Quote” to “Show My Instant Quote.”

Creative Sample #2: Optimized form for B2B phone system

Anxiety-reducing case studies 2b

The anxiety-reducing treatment generated a 262% increase in lead rate.

You can learn more about this experiment from Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute, in The Marketer and Buyer Anxiety: Three ways to counter anxiety in the purchase funnel.

We have also embedded a video of the session below:


Quick Case Study #2: Tour agency increases sales 10% with money-back guarantee

One of the biggest customer anxieties is wasting money on something that will not be as good after the purchase as it seemed before the purchase. One way to reduce that anxiety is with a money-back guarantee.

Tasty Tours offers food and chocolate tours in Toronto.

“As a small business, we do not have the same brand recognition as other companies, and customers may wonder if our business is trustworthy or worth the money. As such, we introduced a 100% money-back guarantee to offer customers peace of mind and persuade buyers who are on the fence that there is nothing to lose for them to purchase and come on a tour with us,” said Audrey Ooi, Chief Eating Officer (CEO), Tasty Tours.

Here is the copy for the guarantee that Tasty Tours used on its website:

100% Money Back Guarantee

We want everyone on our tours to enjoy themselves and we don’t feel comfortable accepting payment from someone who didn’t have fun. So if you didn't like your tour, just contact us and we'll refund you 100% of your tour ticket. We're not worried though. Our tours have been crafted with love and expertise, so we're pretty sure you’ll like it!

The company realized a 10% increase in sales at the time of implementation and has only had to refund money twice in the past five years.

“It's given me peace of mind that I'm not losing customers due to a lack of trust,” Ooi said.

Quick Case Study #3: Ecommerce jewelry retailer increases conversion rate 0.45% by offering financing

Another source of payment anxiety is simply parting with all that cash at once, especially in the current economic client. The bigger the purchase, the more anxiety there is around this.

“The issue with our buyers was spending a large amount of money on a luxury non-essential item, which in this case is jewelry,” said Jeff Moriarty of Moriarty’s Gem Art.

The average sale on his Tanzanite Jewelry Designs website is more than $1,000.

“Before, we only offered options to pay with credit card and PayPal. We then implemented the option to use Sezzle, which allows you to pay over time so you don't take a big hit at once to your wallet,” Moriarty said.

Sezzle offers interest-free payments to customers for orders up to $1,500, which covers 99% of Moriarty’s transactions.

Creative Sample #3: Ecommerce jeweler cart using interest-free payments option

Anxiety-reducing case studies 3

Since implementing this feature, the site has gotten a 0.45% conversion rate increase and now customers choose this payment method for about 10% of orders.  

Quick Case Study #4: Landscaping company increases conversion to 15% by better explaining the work that goes into their service

The only thing that stands between your product having some level of premium value and being a flat-out commodity is a good story. In other words, your customers will have anxiety buying your service or product instead of the absolute lower-priced alternative if you don’t clearly explain the difference.

“Our primary clients are lawn care professionals, and while the expenses of lawn care aren't massive, it's something many people feel they can handle on their own. They may believe the cost is too high or not worth it at all,” said Dan Bailey, President, WikiLawn.

One client offered landscaping packages that are priced significantly higher than the competition. “They command a premium from those who know of their work, but the average customer isn't going to be able to tell the difference between a good landscaper and a great one,” Bailey said.

He advised them not just to give landscaping quotes (the what), but to reveal their specific approach to landscaping (the how). For example, they explained:

  • Their strategic use of color to draw the eye to a certain point
  • Their use of negative space to give each element room to speak for itself
  • The high-quality, nutrient-rich soil they use for custom beds

They also went over each part of the process to explain why their way is better.

“If you look at the website of a restaurant that sells dishes at a premium, for example, you'll usually see information about the ingredients they source, their prep process, the experience of their chefs, etc. All things that contribute to the quality,” Bailey said.

Before seeking to reduce anxiety about their higher price point and better communicate their value proposition, the landscaping company’s conversion rate was less than 10% from lead to customer.

Implementing these changes led to an immediate surge of 23%, although it has stabilized over time to roughly 15%. “Since their primary business is from government contracts, they're fairly happy with that increase,” Bailey said.

Related Resources

Improve your Marketing Collateral with a Proven Methodology — Learn more about MECLABS conversion heuristic, which includes an element for reducing anxiety

Mental Cost: Your customers pay more than just money

Conversion Rate Optimization: Building to the Ultimate Yes

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