(Everyone already knew that smaller isn't always better, right?)
Technology for the past decade has revolved around making things smaller. It's important. We don't want clunky power-hogging desktop computers. Giant floppy disks went away a long time ago (thankfully), now CDs are mostly outdated. When the iPod wasn't small enough - create the Mini. And the Nano. And the Shuffle. Cell phones now fit in our pockets, and in our hands (although many of the latest smart phones seem to be going in the wrong direction here).
The Internet is the purveyor of small. Visitors don't want to read. There is too much information and too much to absorb to slog through a boring 5 paragraph hunk of text. If the headline isn't catchy, they're gone. No images? No readers. The Internet is driven more and more to be visually inclined. That's why business owners and web designers and optimizers are always told to keep it small.
Want to keep customers on your website? Don't overload them with text.
This is all good advice. I buy into it 100%. Well, 99%. The problem with keeping it small is you have no room to put out information. Unbelievably, visitors and potential customers actually do want some information at times.
You're trying to make a sale on your website. The goal is turn a visitor into a conversion. A customer. You catch their eye with a flamboyant headline. There are some pretty pictures. They aren't overloaded with advertisements. Great! You've moved them from simply being Aware of your business to being Interested. But we're only halfway there!
Customers don't go typically from being Interested to taking Action. Unless it's something free. That's an entirely different story. In most cases there is an intermediate step of Desire. You might even be able to drive them to Desire with a well-formed infographic. If you're pushing them to make a big investment, it's going to take more.
Approach it from a sales standpoint. If you run a brick and mortar store, you might set out some flashy displays in a storefront window. This piques their interest and brings them inside. Just like your catchy headline and suave graphics. Once the potential customer is inside, your salesman goes to work. It's his job to move them from merely Interested to Desiring. How does he do this?
With facts. And social proof. And relating to the customer. The customer is looking for information. They don't want to make a purchase based on appearances alone. You have to give them the facts. Let them know how much others love it. And connect with them on a personal level.
When you're trying to convert a customer smaller is not always better. To drive them from Interested into taking Action takes a well-formed sales approach. Integrate these concepts into your conversion pages. Don't rely on flash appeal to convert. Take the time to write down or videotape (Videotapes, another clunky thing of the past!) the sales pitch you would give if a customer walked into your store interested in that product. Chances are, the Online customer has the same questions and concerns.
Poll your visitors. Ask them why they didn't decide to purchase. Find out what their questions are. Poll your customers. Ask them what helped them decide to purchase.
Once you know what the customer wants to know about your products, apply it to your sales pitch. Sales pitches work online too. Take what you've learned about your customers and your sales pitch and plan out your conversion pages. Don't think small. Think thorough.
Remember: Size does matter, and smaller isn't always better.