How to use Relativity principle on a landing page

You can considerably increase your conversion rate if you embrace the principle of Relativity. Here's how



They say that Ben Horowitz, a cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, spent about 12 months writing his bestseller The Hard Thing About The Hard Things where he explains how startups actually work behind the scenes. His book can be purchased on Amazon for $8.69 (used edition).


On the other hand, Victor Ponamariov, a UI/UX expert, has put together his most popular tweets from a year of his activity on Twitter to create a UX Tips collection. That can be purchased on Gumroad for $21. The same amount of invested time. But the price is x3 higher. Why?

This is the Relativity principle in action.




What is Relativity principle in behavioural science

Human brain is unable to process a stand-alone offer. Evolution has trained us to constantly compare options and pick the one that or brain (especially, the subconscious one) thinks is the best for us. You might think it is definitely not your case, you know without any comparison what’s what and what price is fair. How about a little experiment? $189 for Eftyhia — is it a good deal or a bad deal?


If you’re not of Greek origin I'm not sure you would give a reasonable answer that goes far from guessing. Let’s admit it: you have no idea what is Eftyhia. But because I mentioned Greek origin your brain might be rushing to a conclusion that it could be some Greek food maybe. Then it’s a bad deal (probably) because almost $200 for something you’re about to eat doesn’t sound attractive. But what if it is not a plate but a truck of food? Or maybe it’s not food at all? Maybe it’s some precious stone that can be found on picturesque Greek islands? Then it’s definitely a good deal (probably) because precious stones are valuable and you can sell it with a profit...but what if it's a really little stone?... On and on it goes. As you can see, you always need a reference point to figure out how good or bad the deal is. How fair is the price. You have to find certain answers to certain questions.


Three questions are the most important for our hidden brain that allows us to create these reference points:

  1. What can I use it for?

  2. Who else uses it?

  3. What can I do with it after I use it?

As you can see, our hidden brain doesn’t care too much about competitive pricing: that is, how much other providers would charge for the same service or product (btw, eftyhia means “happiness” in Greek and it’s just not for sale 😅). Comparing pricing is a job for our conscious brain. Why would I say that? Again, a little experiment:

You’re about to buy a new microphone for your podcast show. You’ve found a great one in a local store that costs $37.9. You’re waiting for your turn to the cashier when a person behind you says “Hey, I’ve seen the same mic on sale 10 blocks away. They ask only $21 for it”. How likely are you to put the mic on the shelf and walk those 10 blocks to buy the one that is on sale and save $17.9 without spending more than 3 seconds on thinking? Pretty likely, huh? Now, your friend tells you that there’s been a new legal development and if you fill in a special form on a special website and send it out to a special email you might save about 0.2% of revenue on tax payments. You figure out very fast that it can result in $500-$700 saving a year. Honestly, how long would it take you to find time to sit and fill in this form? Maybe you would never do it. $17.9 vs $700 and probably the same 30-40 min of your time — the answer should be obvious, right? But it definitely doesn’t look like this to your hidden brain..

$17.9 vs $700 and probably the same 30-40 min of your time — the answer should be obvious, right? But it definitely doesn’t look like this to your hidden brain.


Where Relativity can be use in behavioural marketing

As you can figure out from the above mentioned examples, Relativity principle is most widely applied to product pricing for the simple reason: relativity is about assigning relative value to a product, and pricing is something that is supposed to reflect this value. The correlation is straightforward: if you expect a perceived value to be high — you price the product higher (read about other physiological reasons why you should consider pricing your product higher)

If you don’t expect the perceived value to be very high because the product doesn’t provide a unique experience tailored for this specific user’s need but instead you are going after quantity and affordability for masses — price lower.

The correlation is straightforward: if you expect a perceived value to be high — you price the product higher

Therefore, the core question is: what is the perceived value? And also: how to make this value higher?

This brings us back to 3 important questions our hidden brain needs to get answers to. They are the ones that help the brain grasp the value and maybe even apply a “fair price tag” to a product or service — at least, the one that we subconsciously consider to be fair.

  1. What can I use it for?

  2. Who else uses it?

  3. What can I do with it after I use it?

I’m not saying that you can and should manipulate the way users answer these questions to themselves. But you are the one who knows the real fair price: how much resources, time, energy, etc. you have invested in building it and how valuable it can actually be. What you should do — is to make sure you translate this value to your website visitors in a way that their understanding of value be as close to yours as it possibly can. Because without conscious efforts from your side anyone who lands on your landing page would see nothing but “eftyhia” — something without a single reference point.


Examples of Relativity on landing pages: Gravity case study

To provide you with relevant examples of Relativity I have chosen the landing page of Gravity — a product built by a founder I personally admire and respect, Kyle Gawley. Gravity is a boilerplate for developers that allows to build apps based on React and Node.js much faster. It’s not only the frontend Tailwind or SCSS style UI components that help with building apps without design skills. But also fully coded workflows like user sign ups, social login, security permissions, user feedback collection, user onboarding based on the best practices and much more.

 

Disclaimer I'm not saying Kyle Gawley is using all these “tricks” and “hacks” to “influence” your brain. I know for a fact that the Gravity founder has no idea that what they are doing is based on how Relativity works. They came up with these specific UI and UX elements because multiple tests and experiments have shown that these things work better than others. My goal here is to explain why exactly they work. Because the reasons why these landing page elements have proven to be efficient have to do with the way the human mind functions. Therefore, you can take these reasons and apply them to your use case. This way, you will be copying the “why” not the “how” part.
 

Let’s see what UI elements of Gravity landing page help with increasing the perceived value of the product, which, in turns, allows Kyle to put it in a certain pricing category.



Adding value by answering who uses the product and why

This social proof block appears on the first screen. From the first line Kyle answers 2 of the 3 important questions a hidden brain of a random website visitor would have.

Who else uses it? — 370 other companies and developers — just like you — use this product.

And they do it to save $18K (What can I do with it?)


Social proof in general is an important tool to establish and boost the value because it helps to create this reference point and answer the “who else” question. But Kyle goes even further and integrates the “how can I use it” part in the social proof as well. Boom! (Read more on How to use social proof on the landing page)..


Relativity on a landing page. Gravity ex 1

 


Adding value by addressing core benefits even when describing features


Next block unbundles the “Why use it” part and addresses the “What to do after I use it” part by listing the features of the product. But again, Kyle tries to keep visitor’s focus on the benefits: how much a developer would save in terms of time and the lines of code. I personally think calculating the lines of code was a great move. You can find the reference to the time currency on many websites. But is time really so valuable for developers? It might be a major point of concern for PMs and people who hire developers because time is what they pay for. But devs are known for NOT thinking in hours. What they think in is the lines of code and Kyle brilliantly found the languaging that resonates with developers the most.


Relativity on a landing page. Gravity ex 2

 

Adding value by focusing the attention on the end result and its value


Saving time spent on writing the lines of code is valuable for devs. But what about solopreneurs with the side hustles? What is their ultimate value? The ready-to-use SaaS that you can start monetizing TOMORROW instead of waiting for 5-6 months is a sweet option, isn’t it? How about small marketing agencies that cater to non-technical clients who place orders for app development? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get the whole thing ready in several days and pay 1/5 of the regular engineer’s salary? Especially, if you still can charge an end customer a flat rate (they don’t need to know that you’re using a boilerplate instead of an army of devs)? Absolutely!

And that’s exactly what the website visitor’s attention is focused on — the value of the end product. Or again, “What can I do with it after I use it?”


Relativity on a landing page. Gravity ex 3

 

Adding value by providing more reference points

To make the impression you have already made on your website visitor by answering 3 core hidden brain questions even stronger, create another reference point for comparison. Obviously, you can choose from a wide variety of options — your direct competition, your indirect competition, your product vs doing nothing, etc. It’s your website and it’s your choice. Just make sure this choice actually presents you in the right light and increases the perceived value rather than drops it (which is very often the case when you put other products’ names in a comparison table).

Kyle Gawley did a great job by comparing Gravity NOT with other templates and boilerplates. But with Open Source. And highlights the benefits of their product over Open Source by using bullet points. But most importantly — by using very relatable emphatic and emotional language (ex. slash vs cut costs). Aside from the fact that this language feels fresh and very human compared to hundreds of websites with AI-generated copy. It also draws visitor’s attention to the copy and launches the Priming effect (Read How to Use Priming on landing pages).


Relativity on a landing page. Gravity ex 4

 

Create 3 choices with different value


This 3-tier technique is now used by almost every SaaS founder now so I would waste too much of your time describing it. I will just add that adding several options is important for increasing the perceived value. Also, when you hesitate about the specific pricing for specific tiers, make sure the middle tier (the one you want to be chosen most often) provides the best value. Meaning, it should be considerably better in terms of functionality than the cheapest option. The third option should be way more expensive than the middle one to provide a high anchor. Read more on Using anchoring on landing pages


Relativity on a landing page. Gravity ex 5

 

How you can use Relativity to make your landing page more efficient

Let’s cap up:

Make sure your copy answers 3 core questions our hidden brain asks

  1. What can I use it for? — focus on benefits (what can be saved or gained)

  2. Who else uses it? — use social proof to deliver the message

  3. What can I do with it after I use it? — focus on the end result and the value of it

Some other aspects to consider




 


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