Manners don’t cost a penny, and I bet you were brought up to show gratitude when someone’s given you something, or done something for you, right? Well, how about showing that gratitude when visitors to your site are kind enough to complete a purchase, sign up to your newsletter, or get in touch?

One of my colleagues is currently dealing with a tracking issue on her client’s lead generation site due to the absence of a thank you page (and some miscommunication with the developer, I guess). When we were discussing this, I asked her “what has the dev got against actual thank you pages?”, which got me to thinking about the huge potential behind thank you pages… well, behind good thank you pages. I’m not talking about your basic thanks and here’s your order number type thank you pages.

Thank you pages and the opportunity that lies within

After that form has been completed, or that purchase has been made, the thank you page is your opportunity to nurture the beginnings of a beautiful relationship. By thanking someone for completing a form, you’re adding the human element to the process. You can reintroduce your site’s navigation to help people continue to move around your site instead of just bailing, you can provide instructions (say, to check for an email or start a download), encourage social shares, or you can offer a free gift,or a discount code, with further action.

Ever heard of the Foot in the Door technique? This works on the premise that when a person has already complied to a small request, they’re likely to then comply to a second, larger request. If we consider that the person who just filled in your form is already in conversion-mode, there’s no reason not to use the thank you page as that second request. Take the opportunity to gather information about your newest conversion with a short survey asking for more insight like their preferred method of contact or the best time to contact them. If it’ll help qualify the lead, you could ask what company they work for, or what what challenges they’re currently trying to overcome. If they just bought one of your products, you can ask them why they chose you, or (if you dare) why they almost didn’t. Don’t get pushy by asking too much, though or you risk people abandoning your survey part way through.

Optimising your thank you page

So we’re all in agreement that thank you pages are a good idea? Great. Here are some quick tips to help you retain recently converted visitors, improve brand awareness and even increase conversion rates:

Forget “wham-bam-thank you, ma’am”

Help your customers feel good about their recent conversion by tuning in to their choice-supportive bias tendencies. People tend to rationalise their choices by assigning positive attributes to that choice, so use your thank you page to showcase testimonials from happy customers.

The gift of thanks

Tell you what else will make people feel positive about their recent decision to choose you, free stuff! For lead generation, give them access to a useful whitepaper; for newsletter subscriptions, point them to relevant content on your site that you know they already care about; for ecommerce purchases, offer ‘em a discount code.

Sharing’s caring

If someone’s already turned on to you and your site, why wouldn’t they recommend you to a friend? Introduce a referral program on your thank you page. This can be incentivised with further offerings of content, discount or product, or perhaps entry into some sort of prize draw. Get some social media buttons on that thank you page too, and encourage even more engagement.

Strengthen that bond

Open up the lines of communication and build a long term relationship by inviting people to subscribe to your newsletter. Especially relevant to lead generation and ecommerce sites, this will build your audience, beef-up your email marketing campaigns, and generally get that person to fall for you all over again. The best part about these subscribers is that you already have insight into what makes them tick, so you can send them highly relevant content.

Unlock your thank you page’s potential

Rather than applying every tip and strategy I’ve covered here, it’s time to get testing. Asking someone to fill out a survey, download a free piece of content, share via social media and read your testimonials is likely a bit much. A/B test a couple of the above suggestions and apply them only when you’re sure they work. The idea that the customer journey ends once they hit ‘submit’* is a short-sighted one, and the thank you page should be seen as a gateway to re-begin the sales funnel… or, better yet, the sales cycle.

* your button better not say submit!


Also published on Medium.