I’ve been talking to clients a lot recently about the problem of heavy mice on websites, i.e., the lack of incentives – or cheese trails if you’ll let me extend the metaphor – to motivate customers to click through to the next page and the next page after that.

Something as simple as telling them what they might find on the next page will help click-through tremendously and we all know that increased click-through ultimately means higher conversion and revenue.

Take match making site Be2, which provides scientifically devised matches for people in over 20 countries.

It swapped its bland landing page call to action for a free personality test with a list of steps that describe exactly what users can expect from the next set of pages and why its “match making” service is quite different from “dating sites”.

Ultimately, it increased sign-ups by more than 10% because it found that visitors engaged more readily with the test and were far more motivated to sign-up once they’d completed it.

This is fairly low hanging fruit for website optimisers and quick to implement. LoveFilm recently achieved a 10% increase in subscription conversions by the end of just four weeks of testing.

It also experimented with different click thru incentives and found that  displaying less pricing information on the homepage drove more subscriptions.

Once testing begins, results are quick to come through though the build up to it can be slowed down by another creature potentially hazardous to your online wealth – HIPPOS (Highly important persons professional opinions).

This is where companies end up with too many enthusiastic internal contributors to their website and therefore too much non essential content which clutters the site and becomes off putting to customers.

So the story of the mouse and hippo is to keep content simple and test incentive copy as soon as you can. The results will “squeak” for themselves.

Greg Kelton is the Managing Director of Optimost EMEA (An Interwoven company).The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those held by the publisher.