Julian Weisser

Music school → music startup → left to focus on my health (↓70lbs) → started Within to help people make empowered health decisions.

Learn to speak like your customers.

This is a post about how to learn to speak the language of your customers.

Marketers live in a data-driven world.

But why do our customers care about what we offer? Does a visitor's decision to give us their email address really hinge on the color of our "submit" button?

Recently I've been testing an idea for an iOS app called Highlighter. In the first week of testing, the conversion rate on the landing page was 35.1% (meaning 35 out of every 100 people who visited gave me their email address).

Here's the landing page:

(designed by my partner in crime, Kyle Billings)

What caused the high conversion rate?

We gave just enough information to get people very interested. We also targeted the right people on Twitter (people following Instapaper and Feedly) and got in front of them on Twitter with a very simple bio:

A digital highlighter. Save and share the best of what you read online.

We actually switched that up slightly a few times but this one converted the best.

Why did these people sign up?

Obviously something about Highlighter seemed interesting to them.

"Interesting" should be a dirty word. It's too vague to be valuable. (click to tweet)

I don't care if someone finds something interesting, I care why they find something interesting.

Kyle and I were discussing how to know which features would be crucial for early adopters of an app like Highlighter. At some point in the conversation I said,

"Do you think it would be crazy to email everyone and ask them why they signed up? To say, 'we think we have an idea why you signed up, but let's be honest with ourselves: we won't truly know until we ask. What was it about our app that piqued your interest? How would you see yourself using it?'"

Kyle agreed this was a good idea to try so we sent out an email to every person who signed up and asked them exactly that (view the email).

In all, I ended up having in-depth conversations with 16.3% of the people who signed up and learned exactly what it was about the app that caused them to be interested.

I learned why. I learned their troubles and frustrations in their own words.

If we were to pursue Highlighter, I know we'd be able to use this information to more effectively communicate with our users instead of just assuming that we were already using the right language because we were converting well.

Never stop asking "why" or engaging your target audience in conversation.

Read More:

4 Simple-yet-powerful ways to optimize for conversion (MassChallenge Guest Post)

How to achieve a 52.3% conversion on your landing page using Quora