Increasing Conversion Rates – a theory proven

I’ve been working very closely on relaunching the kitchen sinks website for Brass & Traditional Sinks Limited. It launched today at last!
One small factor that I have proven increases conversion rates (although I’m not going to disclose here by how much 🙂 is the use of a photo by the telephone call-to-action, typically top-right on most “money” sites.
The majority of websites will use a stock photo of a girl with a headset on. Since reading “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell a few years ago..

.. I have been intrigued by the idea that our subconscious makes the right decision (am I going to buy from this person? is this a genuine work of art? do I fancy this person?) etc. but then our conscious mind spends forever procrastinating about that decision.
I’ve taken this into website conversion rate optimisation by the testing of this one factor – the call centre girl picture – by varying the positioning and the “reality” of the photo. I have found that the very best converting picture is one of a real person that works within the business. Add to that the need to look into the eyes of the customer – pictures of people looking down or at a computer screen really suck.
If you check our skip hire or portable toilet hire websites, you’ll see that I’ve added a red pencil “This is Louise. She really works here” with an arrow pointing to Louise – who really does work here.
This makes us stand out in a number of ways. It breaks convention. It adds authenticity. But the real killer, for me, is that this is a genuine photo and I believe that visitors to the site can subconsciously tell that it is a genuine picture, and that helps overcome the number one barrier to conversions – trust.

The Real Deal at
The Real Deal at - click to enlarge

I’ve not got them to add the red pencil stuff yet, but the picture of a girl on the sinks website is of Vicky who – guess what – really works there! I took the picture with my iPhone whilst filming the videos for their website (still editing them). It’s not a perfect picture in terms of resolution and composure, but it’s completely real and that’s what matters online.
This theme was discussed at length at my last internet marketing course – if you’re in a market that is dominated by companies full of cash (like the travel industry, for example), it is far better to use your actual personality, your “voice”, to create a brand that no-one can compete with (because no-one can be you) rather than looking like a low-rent corporation copycat.

The founder of Attwood Digital, Mark is a digital marketing veteran having been working online since before the dotcom boom. He created the world's first online skip hire service in 2003, has created multiple online courses, lectured on digital marketing and even written a book on the subject. He is also an ICO advisor and crypto-enthusiast.
  1. Hi Mark
    Great stuff, I wondered if you’d read my article on looking inti the camera lens?

  2. Interesting.
    There is eyescan testing that shows looking straight into the eyes of the customer forces the inborn reaction to divert gaze – an inbuilt psychological reaction.
    Also a pair of eyes looking towards a headline actually increases the readership – people instictly look at something other people are looking at – if in doubt, go into a city centre. Look up at the top of a building, and you find others start looking up too.
    So whilst the reality of the photo – not too pretty – not too young is vital, Im a little surprised about the looking into the eyes…
    I guess it proves the last point.
    Theories are useless without testing
    Only the customer can tell you what works!!

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