Have you ever been out at a nightclub when you catch the eye of someone who makes your heart play the chorus of Macarena?
You sidle up closer and engage in some witty banter as you start to get to know them. How witty you sound depends on how much you have had to drink.
You continue to exchange small talk, astonished at how much in common you have with this amazing person. They seem like someone you want to get to know more deeply, someone you want to spend more time with.
The stunning person leans in, and you know they are going to ask for your number.
They look you directly in the eyes and then bluntly and loudly says, “Submit!”
Ok, if you hang out at certain leather-clad bars in Kings Cross, this may be your normal Friday night, but in the regular chicken parmigiana and beer pubs in my area, this will generally send you running home to watch the latest episode of Home and Away.
And yet ‘submit’ is a word that we merrily use on our websites without a second thought about what it means and the implications of what we are asking.
The word ‘submit’ has some seriously heavy overtones
Submit (Verb): Yield to a superior force or the will of another.
Sticking ‘submit’ on the buttons on your website is like asking the lovely person you are wooing at the nightclub to yield and bow down to your superior force. This is scarcely the start of a beautiful relationship.
Words matter. Psychological studies of semantics and linguistics show that a single word can alter people’s perceptions and actions.
For example, a study showed that if you asked people to either interrogate or interview someone, the people who were asked to interrogate assumed the person was guilty more than the people who were asked to interview someone.
These altered behaviours happen both consciously and unconsciously, so you may not even be aware that you are responding to a specific word.
Does using ‘submit’ impact online conversions?
In a word, yes. The word ‘submit’ has connotations and influences behaviours in the online world.
In 2010, HubSpot looked at 40,000 landing pages and compared the click-through rate of people who used the word ‘submit’ vs people who used another word on their landing page.
Using the word ‘submit’ caused a 2.5% drop in click-through rates. Just one word meant people didn’t click the button and caused lost sales as a result.
Submit button alternatives
If you are keen to explore submit button alternatives, there are two different paths you can walk down.
The first path is the one where you want as many leads/clicks as possible, no matter the quality of the leads. You use this approach when your marketing funnel will gradually build a connection with your clients and is ideal for things like newsletter lists.
If this is your marketing strategy, then choose words with low psychological commitment. Choose words without friction and that don’t make people stop and think: ‘Send me the free eBook’; ‘Get in touch’; ‘Download now’.
If you want more qualified leads/clicks, where the leads are warmer, then choose words with higher psychological commitment: ’Start my free trial’; ‘Claim my free consultation’; ‘Open my account’.
Like all things on the webby world, test and measure to see which words deliver the best outcome for your business.
Unless your clients live in the non-vanilla S&M world, then you may want to rethink demanding they submit to your almighty power and move towards a more conversational word without the baggage.
What submit button alternatives have you used?