People buy what they are comfortable with and from people they are comfortable with. Switching to a new vendor or a new product creates angst that they might make a bad decision. Therefore “top sellers” remain top sellers because of social validation. We can’t be wrong if everyone else is buying something.
Despite buying what is familiar, people always want to know “what’s new." The excitement of seeing what is new is a door opener, but what’s new rarely sells as well as “what’s worked before." New products on websites with no reviews tend to sell much slower than an established product even if the price and quality are better than the alternative because we look for social validation in our decisions.
When I’m looking for a good book, I consult friends and the top selling lists. When I hear about a good book, I check the reviews. I buy things that are familiar, whether promotional products, books or day-to-day items.
Familiarity goes beyond things we’ve already purchased. When we visit a website, we have an expectation of things working a certain way. When it doesn’t look or operate the way we expect it to operate, we tend to view the company as inferior or questionable. On the web, simplicity is the key to conversion. Familiarity keeps things simple.
A great new website that looks completely different than your old site or competitor’s sites may take time for your customers to adapt. Change it too much, and you are likely to lose your customers to a competitor that has a site that feels familiar. You must to understand the expectations of your audience and meet those expectations on a basic level.
That includes the copy you write on the web. When writing on the web (or emails for that matter), scanning and skimming copy is the standard. That is why I like to bold and highlight key areas to draw attention.
So go ahead, be innovative but be familiar in your presentations whether face to face or on the web.
For a more in depth look at how familiarity sells and how you can be innovative while still being familiar, look at this blog post on CXL The Science of Familiarity: How to Increase Conversions by Being Completely Unoriginal. In fact, my blog post is largely inspired by this longer more in depth look at how familiarity sells and simplicity converts.