A counter-intuitive tactic that further fuels the fire that you should ‘never drink the Kool Aid’, The Breadcrumb Technique’ didn’t just bend the rules, it shredded the rule book into tiny little pieces. But listen, there’s a time and place for such a technique. It’s not going to work for every type of product. We’ll get into that later.
The first time I heard about this technique I was thinking the exact same thing that you probably are right now – ‘Are we on the way to the gingerbread house?’. Well, funnily enough, you’re completely right in your reference. The name is taken from Hansel and Gretel and it’s masterful.
A Little Background on Compliance Psychology
The way that the Breadcrumb Technique works is like this. You don’t just jump into bed with the user – they need to feel more comfortable first. You don’t land them on the page and ask for their valuable information or ask them straight up to book in for a free consultation.
“No, no, no”, they say, before offering a swift slap in the face and X’ing off your page never to be seen again.
You have to get some ‘soft yes’s’ first and then the user becomes more inclined to agree to something a little bigger afterwards – that’s how simple it is.
The most common test we can look at here is with the amount of fields you place in your contact forms. You’ve probably seen time and time again, suggestions from extremely credible marketers that ‘you need to make it as simple as possible for your user to convert’. That means, reducing the fields to as few as possible.
But, this does not always work. Why? Because then you are left with the most valuable fields and the fields the user least wants to give up.
The best option is to remove useless fields but then ask for some form of compliance before jumping in with the big sell.
The Order of Your Fields is Important Too!
Although it may not seem that important. The place in which you ask your user to takes specific actions is a key aspect of your landing page and will destroy your conversion rates if done incorrectly.
By asking a small ask to begin with you can baby-step your user to feeling more comfortable saying yes to you. Once they are in that mindset – they then have a higher chance of converting. This concept has been studies various times in psychology.
One easy way to implement this is the multi-step form.
What ‘Small Asks’ Can You Request?
Well, firstly think about what your ultimate goal is asking for. Then you can take a step back from there and ask something much much less intrusive but that is still somewhat relevant. Here’s a few examples;
- Perhaps you are a cosmetic dentist looking to attract free consultation bookings. Ask your visitors first, when is the last time they visited the dentist.
- Are you a Saas company looking do drive a free trial version? Maybe ask first the size of the visitors company.
- Or are you a pianist looking to find new students to sell lessons to. You can ask them how many years experience they have in learning piano.
You get the idea! Asking a simple question that really involves giving nothing away for the visitor can build a little comfort and change their mindset as they progress to the next step of your sales funnel – conversion rates can blossom as a result.
When Does the Breadcrumb Technique Work Best?
Well, as with every method, there are good and bad times to utilise it. The power lies in having the wisdom to know the difference. Experience of using this technique has led us to understanding that the technique is best utilised when your call to action is a fairly big ask. If you are asking for something that requires a lot of effort by the user e.g. coming in for a free consultation then this works great. You edge them into the converting state slowly with easy to complete tasks. On the other hand if all you are doing is trying to give out a free downloadable guide then employing extra steps can have an adverse effect.
That’s a ballpark path to follow but as with everything we always recommend testing things out and seeing how they work for you!