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Ultimate Calculator Guide

Ultimate interactive calculator guide

These days, websites are nothing new. In fact, it’s actually pretty strange and suspicious if a business doesn't have a website, right? So we’re in a new era and you’re probably thinking how you can make your website more user friendly, more engaging and competitive, and how you can increase conversions.

So you dive right into the sea of options and start comparing all the advantages and disadvantages of each one and the decision becomes very complicated!

What are the arguments supporting interactive calculators for your website? How do you know if they’re good? How can they benefit your business overall? Why are calculators better than other options?

This is the ultimate guide covering all major interactive calculator topics that will lead you to choosing the right calculator for your business website.

Navigate this guide easily:

Let’s get started!

Ultimate interactive calculator guide

CHAPTER 1 Benefits of interactive calculators

Leads that submit a calculator/quote close at about 5x the rate of simple inquiries.

Jasmine Hetfeld, Groups and Events Manager at Kulaniapia Falls

If you think calculators are just for counting numbers, you’re mistaken and this chapter is for you. They do so much more! Let's look at this ‘basic’ tool from a helicopter view.

Key topics: what are interactive calculators, how do they work, and what key benefits do they bring to business websites?

What are interactive calculators?

Website calculators are interactive elements that you can create and add to your business website without any coding knowledge. They are meant to simplify complex numbers and help you explain them to your audience.

If you have an interactive calculator, you’re letting your website visitors breathe a sigh of relief and forget about handwritten calculations, long consultations, excel tables, etc. Calculators make complex pricing, savings, loan conditions and much more data easy to digest and understand. They let businesses provide a service that’s adapted to individual customer needs.

An interactive calculator can:

Bonus features:

Interactive calculators answer the most important customer questions on your website. It usually starts with how much, how many or how long? But if you dig a little deeper, calculators can even help you answer the how's and why’s with just a little creativity. Jump to the information on different types of calculators and what they do below.

Coming back to the topic, web calculator’s purpose is to attract, engage and convert new website users by removing any doubts about your product or service.

An interactive calculator can add up from as many elements as you want. The typical variation of elements includes:

But besides from elements that sound pretty simple, interactive calculators also have advanced features that will let you create the most personalized customer service on your website.

What are the benefits of interactive calculators for your business?

88% of marketers felt interactive marketing helped differentiate their brand from their competitors.

Interactivity encourages engagement and enhances conversion to over 40-50%.

Read more about why calculators work.

Benefits to your potential customers

It saves time and provides instant results: There’s no need to call a consultant or wait by the phone. Everything is clear in just a few clicks. Helps in making informed decisions: Reduces the rate of customers coming to you with inquiries and then changing their minds a few times. Sets the right expectations for their purchase: When a customer can count everything on their own using a calculator, they don’t expect an unrealistic price or quantity they will need. They know what to expect, can make quicker decisions and proceed to the checkout.

Conclusion

In short, calculators are a form of interactive content built to bring the final customer to the checkout area faster and feeling more confident. But we an’t done yet; find out what else different interactive calculators can do for your business.

Ultimate interactive calculator guide

CHAPTER 2 Types of calculators

Great content marketing must persuade the reader that your company is the right company with the right product/service that will help them achieve the outcome they desire.

J.Mackin, Great Content Sells, 2019

Want to know what kind of calculators there are and what do they do? This chapter is for you.

Key topics: types of interactive calculators and their main purpose

First, you should know that there are 8 main types of calculators. Each one answers specific questions and solves different problems.

Keep in mind that calculators are about simplicity and explaining complex data as easily as possible. Each of these calculator types helps you explain, inform, or encourage the customer to make the right decision they won’t regret.

Main types of calculators to add to your website:

Price Quote Calculator

1. Price Quote Calculator

One of the most basic calculators meant to count price estimates a price quote calculator. Use it when your website visitors have to choose from a few of your product/service options that change the price and might require thinking which options added are the best in terms of price or in their individual case.

Examples: Home cleaning price calculator, Copywriter price calculator, Photography price calculator.

Price quote calculator in more detail


Savings Calculator

2. Savings Calculator

Another powerful way to convince users of the benefits of your product, savings calculators count the usual spending on competitor products or services and provide an estimate of how much they can save using your service, offer or discount.

Examples: Discount from quantity, Special offers.

Savings calculator in more detail


Installments Calculator

3. Installments Calculator

This interactive calculator is great if your product or service is provided in parts/sessions/specific amounts. or if you offer various payment options. This calculator will help users understand the process without needing to ask any questions.

Examples: Mortgage calculator, Car loan calculator.

Installments calculator in more detail


Comparative Calculator

4. Comparative Calculator

Similar to the savings calculator, this calculator shows the comparison between typical buying habits and investment using your service. Users will be able to decide about membership, agency, consultancy services, etc. because you can show and compare prices right away. No more questions.

Examples: Insurance comparison, Investment vs. ROI, DIY vs. buy comparison.

Comparative calculator in more detail.


Engaging Calculators

5. Engaging Calculator

This one is meant to help you build a relationship with users. Calculators are not always about numbers. Instead of showing percent, numbers or proportions, this calculator has sliders, visuals showing satisfaction levels, time, levels of difficulty etc.

Examples: Satisfaction calculator, Health checkup calculator, Daily water intake calculator.

Engaging calculator in more detail


Quantity Calculators

6. Quantity Calculators

An absolute necessity for e-commerce solutions or businesses that sell products where customers need to calculate material output. Quantity of wallpaper needed to decorate or renovate a room, area of carpeting, tiles needed for a particular bathroom, the number of square-meters of concrete required for a foundation, etc. Adding size and area inputs, then calculating the output and transferring it directly to the shopping cart makes it much easier for prospective customers.

Examples: Tile calculator, Paint calculator, How many tiles do I need calculator.

Quantity calculator in more detail


Self-Service/Support Calculators

7. Self-Service/Support Calculators

These web calculators are meant to help users do everything by themselves. Whether it’s ordering a product or service, users can do so without waiting for a consultant, delays etc. These calculators can combine a few of the already-mentioned types together; for example, engaging calculators and quantity calculators. Self-service calculators help users make informed decisions fast, and if a client is in trouble there’s no need to waste time. Help is a few clicks away with an order form.

Examples: Ingredient calculator for recipes.

Self-service/support calculator in more detail


Converters Calculator

8. Converters

For international businesses selling products across the globe, it’s important to offer information in different units of measurement. Will sleeping bag certified for 32 degrees Fahrenheit be warm enough for my camping trip to Norway? What if you are measuring in Celsius? 10 pounds in kilos? This information can help avoid tripping up a potential sale.

Examples: Miles to km, Centimeters to inches, Celsius to Fahrenheit, Kg to pounds.

Converter calculator in more detail


Conclusion

Calculators can solve any calculation problem in a flash, but the question is how they show the result? Interactive calculators are responsive to your customers’ preferences and make your product/service as personal as possible.

You can find each calculator described in more detail below.

Ultimate interactive calculator guide

CHAPTER 3 How to know if you need an interactive calculator

At this point you might still doubt why you would need something like an interactive calculator. But that’s exactly why you should continue reading.

There are easy and specific ways to understand why your website needs a calculator.

Key topics: Certain red flags, questions you need to ask yourself and your clients to know whether you need a web calculator

So many people get caught up in mass trends, but just because you know one exists, doesn’t mean you need it on your website.

There’s a fine line between including just the right content on your website and overloading the viewer with information.

Y.Braun, Svensson & Friends, 2019

So how do you identify what you need for your website? Which is better to have, a big table containing all prices in a list, or providing the customer with prices that are only relevant to him? Seems obvious, right?

With a web calculator you remove unnecessary and excess information, and provide personalized information to each website user.

You may not notice, but in most cases there are clear red flags shouting at you, saying “you need this!”

5 main red flags suggesting your website needs a web calculator

  1. If you use an excel sheet and have a price list.
  2. Do my competitors have one? Identify what problem their calculator solves for their customers. Think, is it a problem that we also get asked about frequently? If it is, it’s the biggest and the most obvious red flag you can see.
  3. If your FAQ section has explanations on how to calculate something.
  4. If answering questions requires calculations (phone, pc or other calculators).
  5. If you’re answering a lot of customer inquiries and it takes up a lot of your time.

Conclusion

If you noticed at least one of these statements to be true, you can already start thinking about some of the questions your calculator could help you answer!

Ultimate interactive calculator guide

CHAPTER 4 Choosing a calculator to answer business questions

There are two ways to look at this. If you are looking for ways to answer customer questions on your website OR if you’re the one asking questions about customer preferences. Both can be answered by having an interactive calculator on your website

What are the most frequently asked questions in your departments? How much time do your consultants spend answering them? These are important topics to look at. Don't skip.

Key topics: Crucial questions for your business, listening to your departments

Questions are the main thing driving change in a business. Listen to your clients; they are asking you questions all the time and all you need to do is answer them.

Don’t rely only on your ‘gut-feeling’ about what your customers need. In many cases, not everything you think you know is actually true from the customer’s perspective.

What questions should I answer?

Make a list of the most frequently asked questions. Your ability to answer them effectively is directly related to your sales.

These are the TOP general questions clients ask, no matter the industry.

Since my blog would be endless if we analyze each business industry and it’s questions, I’m taking a different approach – analyzing company departments. However, you can also find specific industries analyzed in detail on our blog if you’re interested.

So each company has departments and sometimes a few are covered by the same person (that is if the company is very small). I’m sure you can agree that most bigger companies have dedicated specialist for each of the following departments:

Each of these departments is unique and meant to help others, but they shouldn’t be answering the same customer questions. If that’s happening, there’s a 90% chance you need to add an interactive calculator to your website.

The most frequently asked questions can be grouped by department and can show what’s most important for your customer. What are they always doubting or concerned about?

Eliminating these doubts with simple calculations is more trustworthy and more convincing than trying to explain and talk them into buying the product.

To help you with this process we prepared the table below to give you a head start on analyzing your customer.

Questions each department hears at least once per day:

Department questions

Conclusion

This is one approach you can take to choosing a web calculator that best fits your business. Specify the most important questions, and choose the appropriate calculator to answer them.

Ultimate interactive calculator guide

CHAPTER 5 Choosing a calculator based on your website goals

Calculators not only look at the questions they have to answer for the customer, but they can also be a great innovative solution to help you reach your website goals.

Key topics: Main business website goals, best calculators for each goal and why

There is a different approach to calculators. If you’re a specialist you’re probably searching for ways to attain certain website goals. Interactive calculators can make a major difference in helping you achieve them. I’m not saying they can do everything, but they can definitely help you with the following.

Website goals you can achieve with web calculators:

  1. Get more traffic
  2. Growsubscribers
  3. Give instant quotes/increase conversions
  4. Collect more leads
  5. Build brand trust

And now, which type of calculator should you choose if your main focus is lead generation?

Types of calculators that are best suited to help you reach your website goals:

Conclusion

Just like other business tactics, you need to choose the best one to reach your goals the fastest. It all starts with setting goals and knowing where you want to go. Once you know, there’s nothing stopping you. If you want good results, ask the right questions, know your website goal and then choose the right calculator to make use of all the benefits it can bring your business.

BONUS ROUND Let’s go back to the calculators in more detail and their real life examples

1. Price Quote Calculator

The price quote calculator offers everything you need when encountering questions about prices. Whether it’s a case of “why is it so expensive?” “how much will it cost?” or assumptions like “it’s probably very expensive.”

When prices are put into packages like order now and get a whole service package that includes many services. But you have to understand, not everyone needs everything. A price quote calculator gives customers the freedom to choose, make it personal and make a decision that suits them best.

Examples: Cleaning services, Photography pricing, DJ pricing, Custom-made belt pricing.

Case: A person thinks custom chandeliers are very expensive and it’s difficult to convince them to buy one. Plus, if there’s no clear pricing, the person will probably bounce because they’ll think it’s all just a dream. When there’s a calculator, they will just try to count out of pure curiosity. I understand, you can't provide a clear price; there are too many variables to consider. But if you give an estimate, a customer is a few times more willing to ask for an offer.


2. Savings Calculator

There’s absolutely no better way to answer the question: “Why should I buy from you?” Obviously, because if you order my service, you can save ___ much!

Examples: Car wash membership calculator, ROI calculator, Expense calculator.

Sometimes, you can be the one to identify the problem and the solution for your customers!

Case: A user might soon realize that at the current rate, they will spend 5% of their salary for gardening service to cut their grass this summer. And maybe if they want to save over the long term they should buy an automatic lawn mower from you. You could then offer a special deal showing how much more they can save. What could be more convincing?


3. Installments Calculator

Mostly encountered on websites that offer financial services or websites that sell very expensive products like real estate agencies, car retailers, high tech etc. How it helps: the reasoning behind it is that you can purchase an expensive product now but not spend your money all at once. It increases your purchasing power, even if you don’t have the entire amount in your bank account at the moment.

Examples: Vacation loan calculator, IPhone installments calculator, Payback period calculator.

Case: A person is dreaming about a certain car and is stressing about the money. Well, this calculator comes to the rescue and helps them calculate the actual numbers instead of just guessing and seeing if it’s possible. And in many cases it is, right?


4. Comparative Calculator

Now this is a game-changer for businesses or organizations that want to show the impact of their service, or influence customers to change habits! When the customer needs to decide to buy or rent, to go DIY or order a service to do it for them, to travel now or to save for later, and much more.

Examples: Build a doghouse or buy one? Rent or buy a flat? Fix something yourself or hire a specialist?

Case: Think about the tough decisions you have to make when it’s time for a change. This calculator helps evaluate your options. Wondering which car to buy? You can take 2 options and compare fuel consumption, lifetime value, transportation options, insurance and estimated car service costs. Then you know for sure which one is better to buy.


5. Engaging Calculator

This calculator can be used for education purposes. In class, maybe solving questions on the chalkboards is too old school? Or to highlight a problem someone has. It’s the perfect encouragement to take the test to see if they should check their health or to know what might be affecting their quality of sleep.

Examples: Public transport vs. Car emissions, Health check-up calculator.

Case: Different levels of headache with some statistics to figure out if you should contact a doctor. Or totally for fun – imagine a research website that calculates satisfaction levels. Show the usual CO2 emission when a person drives their car to work vs. switching to public transport. Maybe they can cut their emissions in half. If they care about the planet at all, believe me, they’ll try choosing a bus over a car at least sometimes. That’s still a good start!


6.Quantity Calculator

Oh, this is a suuuper important one for all production and service material providers. Clients absolutely hate counting how much materials they need for something like roofing. And an even bigger problem is, they often get the wrong numbers when counting on a piece of paper or excel. If you give them the numbers immediately as they come to your website and allow them to easily calculate in just a few clicks, they’ll give you their leads and purchase from you just because you make their lives easier!

Examples: Brick calculator, Paint calculator, Boards for fencing calculator, Dress fabric quantity.

Case: Let's say how much paint you need if you want to paint 100 square feet of walls in your house. Jeeez, let me get a piece of paper, right? And what if the calculations are a little bit more complicated? That’s why quantity calculators are worth taking 15 minutes to create – you’ll save hours of answering “how much should I buy?” questions.

Sometimes it’s even hard to imagine, but most e-commerce websites don’t have a quantity calculator, even though they are answering quantity questions every day.


7. Self-Service/Support Calculator

Along the same lines as the quantity calculators, self-service calculators can support your customer service efforts. Meant to relieve the burden on the specialist who fixes the problem, these web calculators answer customer questions. They let the client choose, eliminating the need for a live consultation about the amount or the problem. Adding the order option ends the complete self-service lap and brings your customer service speeds to the next level.

Examples: Creating recipes, Celebration catering calculator, Ring size calculator.

Case: When it’s hard to pick the right type of household appliances, clients want a consultation. About the power, the brand, the features, the budget. An interactive calculator can provide all the technical details they’re interested in, and according to the their choices, suggest the brands they should look at.


8. Converter Calculator

Converter calculators are there to help your website convey the offer best. Your proposal can be great, but you lost your visitor when he went elsewhere to search how to convert product or other metrics related to the product. And simply his attention was caught by another offer and he didn’t come back. If he needs to know the size in meters, but you only provide feet as a measurement metric. Or maybe they want to know the price in Euros whereas you provide it only in Dollars. Sometimes a detail so small can have a major difference in user experience.

Examples: Currency, Weight, Temperature, Speed converters, Physics metrics.

Case: If you sell products for traveling, there are many aspects to consider, like weight, size, price, and even necessity. It’s also a place where you can merge a few types of calculators, to explain sizes and, for example, to compare them to certain size things to give the client a very clear picture and set the right expectations.

Back to the top.

Last but not least | A full list of questions for your business.

If you find yourself answering at least 2 of these each day/week, you absolutely NEED a calculator!

Now for the grand finale: you have to know that everything we talked about is easy to do. Using an interactive calculator builder you can customize a calculator all on your own. There’s no need for any prior programming knowledge. The calculator builder uses a simple drag-and-drop editor to help you bring your ideas to life. Each company has similar questions. As long as they don't take too much of your time, everything is okay. But what happens when they do?

Custom calculators not only let you differentiate from your competitors, they are also very effective as a B2B lead generation tool and perfect for business that is very personalized.

Interactive calculator builder tools lets you create a calculator from scratch or using a template. Either way, they are fully customizable and adaptable to your website. Your colors, your visuals – none of these require any coding knowledge to do. You can add many fields and some elements can be hidden or appear according to certain conditions (previous user action/ chosen option). It’s the highest level of personalization and a tool that can convert more of your visitors on your website.

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