All posts by Mark John Hiemstra

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How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

cta-conf-ab-testing-cover

How do I optimize my landing page when I don’t have enough traffic to A/B test?

It’s a question that Unbounce customers ask regularly, and one that plagues any marketer who wants to optimize their landing pages but just isn’t blessed with the traffic of a Fortune 500 company.

So it was no surprise when the question came up during the A/B testing panel discussion at the 2015 Call to Action Conference.

Luckily, conversion experts Ton Wesseling, Peep Laja and Michael Aagaard had all the answers. And it turns out that marketers with more humbly-sized traffic streams are going to be okay.. We can all breathe easy, because as Peep put it:

You can still optimize even if you can’t A/B test.

Even if you don’t have the 1,000 conversions per month recommended by our panel experts, you still have options for optimizing your campaigns. Read on to find out how.

Figure out where and why you’re losing conversions

A/B testing isn’t just about figuring out how you can get more conversions. It’s about learning why you aren’t getting more conversions in the first place.

That’s where conversion research comes in: digging into analytics and crunching numbers to determine where your biggest conversion lift opportunities lie. Regardless of whether or not you have enough traffic or plan to A/B test, Michael underlined the importance of this step:

“If you don’t have enough traffic to get proper data out of it, then [A/B testing] isn’t really helpful. But one thing that’s always helpful is doing the research – because you need that anyway.”

Michael related a story about some research that we did on our free trial landing page. When someone arrives at the page, it looks like all they need to do is enter four pieces of information to get a free trial:

image00

But when someone clicks the CTA button, a whole new set of form fields is displayed:

image02

When Michael looked at the data, he discovered that a significant number of people were abandoning the process at this step, where the actual signup process is revealed to be more complicated than the first stage of the form implies.

That discovery led to us taking a good, hard look at the process, and Michael is now working on optimizing that page to make it a more delightful, streamlined experience for marketers looking to try out Unbounce.

None of that would have been possible without researching where people were abandoning the process. But by learning the exact point of friction, Michael can continue testing and iterating towards new designs that aren’t burdened by similar issues.

Peep summed this up nicely:

If you don’t know what people are doing on the page, you’re in the dark. You need to record what’s happening on your page in order to identify connections between certain behaviors and conversion rate.

Conduct qualitative research by asking questions

Your landing page has one purpose: to convert visitors to leads or customers. We do that by appealing to our visitor’s needs. But, as Peep says:

If you don’t know what matters to your customers, you have to figure it out, or you can’t  optimize.

If you don’t have enough traffic to get quantitative feedback through A/B testing, you need to spend time gathering qualitative feedback. That means actually speaking with your customers to get to know them and their needs.

Ton agreed:

Talk to your customers. They’ll give you great answers on what they’re looking for that can help you a lot.

During the CTAConf copywriting panel, expert copywriter Amy Harrison of Write With Influence discussed getting to know your customers in order to address their needs.

Amy believes that too many marketers start by presenting the solution, because we know what the solution is – our product – and we know how we want it to be perceived. The problem is that if someone comes to your landing page and you’re not speaking specifically to their needs, they’re won’t relate to your solution.

What Amy does is take a few steps back and start with identifying the symptoms that a person might experience that would lead them to need your product. What problems are they experiencing, and how can you relate to them?

That’s what AppSumo founder Noah Kagan was forced to ask himself when he emailed 30,000 people about his new entrepreneurship course, How To Make A $1,000 A Month Business, and only 30 people purchased it. What went wrong?

ConversionXL reported that he sent a survey to everyone who clicked through but didn’t convert and asked them, among other questions, “Why not?” And then he rewrote and redesigned the page to address the most popular doubts.

Unsure if it works in your country?

image01

Worried it’s not for you?

image05

Failed before and not sure what will be different now?

image04
Images sourced from ConversionXL

Noah adjusted the copy to address all of his prospects’ biggest fears, and used their own language to inspire himself. That strategy echoes back to advice that Joanna Wiebe, the copywriting mastermind behind Copyhackers, wrote on this very blog back in 2012:

If you want to write great copy, swipe it from your visitors, customers and prospects.”

Don’t be afraid to take big risks

When you can test the impact of every change on a page, iterating individual elements for small wins is one way to grow your conversion rate over time. But when you don’t have the luxury of testing against tons of traffic, you’re unlikely to move the needle with mere iteration. As Ton advised:

Most small things make a small impact. You have to take bigger risks to get bigger rewards.

This is actually one of the things that Joanna herself addressed during her Call to Action Conference talk, Death to Fear And Laziness! How to Push Yourself to Write Sticky Landing Page Copy.

In her talk, she presented an A/B test she ran on two sets of ad copy. The one on the left is the control, and the one on the right is the (rather bold) variant. Or as Joanna referred to it, not trying vs. trying.

image03

The message on the left is what Joanna refers to as “word-shaped air”. There’s words there, sure, but what does it really say? The variant takes a huge risk by using words that might be stereotypically perceived as “negative,” avoiding the empty pleasantries of the control.

But this language is how their real audience actually talks and thinks. And the gamble paid off, with a 124% increase in clicks.

Whether you’re actually running an A/B test or simply changing something on a page and waiting to see the results, there’s one unwavering truth:

You never know until you try.

Stop stressing and start testing

There’s no arguing that testing and experimentation are the heart of conversion rate optimization.

But A/B testing is just one kind of test; you can still make huge conversion gains without it, simply by researching your weaknesses, talking to your customers, and taking real risks. Rarely is there such a thing as a bad test, or a useless result.

If you’re still not convinced, or just want to learn a lot about testing in not-a-lot of time, check out the full Actionable, Practical A/B Testing panel. If every good test starts with research, I can’t think of a better place to start learning.

See original article: 

How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

Thumbnail

Ask a CRO: How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

cta-conf-ab-testing-cover

How do I optimize my landing page when I don’t have enough traffic to A/B test?

It’s a question that Unbounce customers ask regularly, and one that plagues any marketer who wants to optimize their landing pages but just isn’t blessed with the traffic of a Fortune 500 company.

So it was no surprise when the question came up during the A/B testing panel discussion at the 2015 Call to Action Conference.

Luckily, conversion experts Ton Wesseling, Peep Laja and Michael Aagaard had all the answers. And it turns out that marketers with more humbly-sized traffic streams are going to be okay.. We can all breathe easy, because as Peep put it:

You can still optimize even if you can’t A/B test.

Even if you don’t have the 1,000 conversions per month recommended by our panel experts, you still have options for optimizing your campaigns. Read on to find out how.

Figure out where and why you’re losing conversions

A/B testing isn’t just about figuring out how you can get more conversions. It’s about learning why you aren’t getting more conversions in the first place.

That’s where conversion research comes in: digging into analytics and crunching numbers to determine where your biggest conversion lift opportunities lie. Regardless of whether or not you have enough traffic or plan to A/B test, Michael underlined the importance of this step:

“If you don’t have enough traffic to get proper data out of it, then [A/B testing] isn’t really helpful. But one thing that’s always helpful is doing the research – because you need that anyway.”

Michael related a story about some research that we did on our free trial landing page. When someone arrives at the page, it looks like all they need to do is enter four pieces of information to get a free trial:

image00

But when someone clicks the CTA button, a whole new set of form fields is displayed:

image02

When Michael looked at the data, he discovered that a significant number of people were abandoning the process at this step, where the actual signup process is revealed to be more complicated than the first stage of the form implies.

That discovery led to us taking a good, hard look at the process, and Michael is now working on optimizing that page to make it a more delightful, streamlined experience for marketers looking to try out Unbounce.

None of that would have been possible without researching where people were abandoning the process. But by learning the exact point of friction, Michael can continue testing and iterating towards new designs that aren’t burdened by similar issues.

Peep summed this up nicely:

If you don’t know what people are doing on the page, you’re in the dark. You need to record what’s happening on your page in order to identify connections between certain behaviors and conversion rate.

Conduct qualitative research by asking questions

Your landing page has one purpose: to convert visitors to leads or customers. We do that by appealing to our visitor’s needs. But, as Peep says:

If you don’t know what matters to your customers, you have to figure it out, or you can’t  optimize.

If you don’t have enough traffic to get quantitative feedback through A/B testing, you need to spend time gathering qualitative feedback. That means actually speaking with your customers to get to know them and their needs.

Ton agreed:

Talk to your customers. They’ll give you great answers on what they’re looking for that can help you a lot.

During the CTAConf copywriting panel, expert copywriter Amy Harrison of Write With Influence discussed getting to know your customers in order to address their needs.

Amy believes that too many marketers start by presenting the solution, because we know what the solution is – our product – and we know how we want it to be perceived. The problem is that if someone comes to your landing page and you’re not speaking specifically to their needs, they’re won’t relate to your solution.

What Amy does is take a few steps back and start with identifying the symptoms that a person might experience that would lead them to need your product. What problems are they experiencing, and how can you relate to them?

That’s what AppSumo founder Noah Kagan was forced to ask himself when he emailed 30,000 people about his new entrepreneurship course, How To Make A $1,000 A Month Business, and only 30 people purchased it. What went wrong?

ConversionXL reported that he sent a survey to everyone who clicked through but didn’t convert and asked them, among other questions, “Why not?” And then he rewrote and redesigned the page to address the most popular doubts.

Unsure if it works in your country?

image01

Worried it’s not for you?

image05

Failed before and not sure what will be different now?

image04
Images sourced from ConversionXL

Noah adjusted the copy to address all of his prospects’ biggest fears, and used their own language to inspire himself. That strategy echoes back to advice that Joanna Wiebe, the copywriting mastermind behind Copyhackers, wrote on this very blog back in 2012:

If you want to write great copy, swipe it from your visitors, customers and prospects.”

Don’t be afraid to take big risks

When you can test the impact of every change on a page, iterating individual elements for small wins is one way to grow your conversion rate over time. But when you don’t have the luxury of testing against tons of traffic, you’re unlikely to move the needle with mere iteration. As Ton advised:

Most small things make a small impact. You have to take bigger risks to get bigger rewards.

This is actually one of the things that Joanna herself addressed during her Call to Action Conference talk, Death to Fear And Laziness! How to Push Yourself to Write Sticky Landing Page Copy.

In her talk, she presented an A/B test she ran on two sets of ad copy. The one on the left is the control, and the one on the right is the (rather bold) variant. Or as Joanna referred to it, not trying vs. trying.

image03

The message on the left is what Joanna refers to as “word-shaped air”. There’s words there, sure, but what does it really say? The variant takes a huge risk by using words that might be stereotypically perceived as “negative,” avoiding the empty pleasantries of the control.

But this language is how their real audience actually talks and thinks. And the gamble paid off, with a 124% increase in clicks.

Whether you’re actually running an A/B test or simply changing something on a page and waiting to see the results, there’s one unwavering truth:

You never know until you try.

Stop stressing and start testing

There’s no arguing that testing and experimentation are the heart of conversion rate optimization.

But A/B testing is just one kind of test; you can still make huge conversion gains without it, simply by researching your weaknesses, talking to your customers, and taking real risks. Rarely is there such a thing as a bad test, or a useless result.

If you’re still not convinced, or just want to learn a lot about testing in not-a-lot of time, check out the full Actionable, Practical A/B Testing panel. If every good test starts with research, I can’t think of a better place to start learning.

From – 

Ask a CRO: How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

Affordance: You Can’t Afford Not to Use This Design Principle on Your Landing Pages

Imagine you’re an extraterrestrial visiting earth for the first time. Upon landing, you stumble into someone’s home and find a toothbrush, which you’ve never seen before.

While you may not immediately understand how to use the thing, there are certain clues about the object that hint at how it can be used. Its handle, just a little longer than your humanoid palm, implies that you can grip it.

Similarly, certain types of door knobs provide clues as to whether a door should be pushed or pulled…

affordance-far-side

These visual clues, also known as Affordances, act as signals that an object can be used to perform a certain action. They’re all around us in the real world, but they’ve also bled into the digital realm.

When your visitor first lands on your website or landing page, they’re much like an alien visiting earth for the first time. You need to show them how to use the page by using familiar visual cues.

PSST. You can read all about Affordances and other conversion-boosting design principles in Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner’s latest ebook, The 23 Principles of Attention-Driven Design.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the world of Affordances and explore how the principle can be applied to your landing pages so you’re not alienating prospects.

What is Affordance?

Cognitive scientist and usability engineer Don Norman first used the term Affordance in his book, The Design of Everyday Things (1988). In it, he quipped:

Affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things. Knobs are for turning. Slots are for inserting things into. Balls are for throwing or bouncing. When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking: no picture, no label or instruction needed.

So, the door with a handle on it is meant to be pulled, while the door with the plate on it is meant to be pushed. This should be clear without having to expressly inform a user of the purpose of either the plate or the handle.

Perhaps one of the great examples of Affordance in modern digital life is the play button, as you see below.

play-button

There are very few of us who wouldn’t know what to do with that button, and even someone who does not recognize it may be able to easily ascertain its purpose — within a certain context, at least.

The play button drawn on the side of a fence makes little sense, but place it on an MP3 player, and you may be able to guess at its Affordance.

In a nutshell, Affordances should really do two things:

  • Get the attention of the person who should use it
  • Imply its function

With these two principles at play, an object can be used without having to give a user an extensive user manual. Because at the end of the day, your landing page shouldn’t require instructions, right?

Make Affordances on your landing pages explicit

There are certain design features that tell landing page visitors explicitly what they need to do. A blank field begs to be filled in. A three dimensional button begs to be clicked.

As self-proclaimed “massive nerd” and web designer Natasha Postolovski describes in her Smashing Magazine article about the seven types of Affordances on webpages:

Explicit Affordance is signaled by language or an object’s physical appearance. Text that reads “Click here” explicitly affords clicking. A button that appears raised from the surrounding surface seems tactile and affords pushing.

Here’s a good example of that in action on an Unbounce landing page (below). The play button, bold and 3D, explicitly shows that it is meant to be pushed (or clicked).

try-affordance

Similarly, this page from Asana uses a greyed-out mock email address (“name@company.com”) in a box to instruct users on where to put their email address.

asana-affordance

Using visual language that prospects are already familiar provides gentle instruction that makes your landing page easy to navigate. And that sets people at ease.

Beware of Negative Affordance

Just as certain visual cues imply that an object is meant to be used, other visual cues suggest that items are not to be used. Think of a grayed-out “Save” button that only appears once you’ve entered all required information in a form. In her Smashing Magazine article, Postolovski calls this Negative Affordance.

While this sort of visual cue can come in handy in checkout forms, it is more often than not the enemy of conversion on landing pages.

Think of the recent design trend of ghost buttons, for example:

ghost-buttons-affordance

We have been trained to ignore grayed-out buttons, so when a ghost button or button lacking contrast is used, our first instinct is to overlook it.

To add insult to injury, the button copy does a poor job of serving as Explicit Affordance. “Let’s Go” as a call to action does little to inform the user what will happen next.

When in doubt, test your copy. Test your ghost buttons. But err on the side of being as explicit as you can.

Applying Affordance on your landing pages

Affordances are found everywhere. You can see them on your stereo, your iPad, entranceways and on roads.

When used effectively, they show people how to use an object intuitively. When used poorly, you make your visitors feel like aliens from another dimension.

You want your landing page to be so simple to use that even the kid in the Far Side cartoon above could successfully complete and submit a form on your landing page.

Of course, there are many other principles to consider when designing your landing page. To learn more about using design to convince and convert customers, check out Oli Gardner’s latest ebook, Attention-Driven Design: 23 Principles for Designing More Persuasive Landing Pages.

Originally from: 

Affordance: You Can’t Afford Not to Use This Design Principle on Your Landing Pages

How This Agency Used Personalization to Land Their Client $21,000 in New Business

These days, the word “personalization” is bandied about in marketing circles more than a hacky-sack at Burning Man.

We know that personalizing our marketing campaigns brings us better quality leads, but it’s not always as simple as it seems to get started; before you can personalize emails, content and offers for people, you need to get to know them.

landing-page-personalization
You can’t land qualified leads without getting to know them first.

So when Cookie Jar Marketing, a boutique marketing agency based in Tel Aviv, Israel, was given a contract to promote the growth of Cloudyn, a cloud monitoring and management platform, they knew that step one was to gain a better understanding of the platform’s customers.

To achieve that, Johnathan Nimrodi (Yoni for short), Cookie Jar’s Content Marketing Manager, devised a content marketing strategy that would:

  1. Help Cloudyn gain a better understanding of their customers by collecting more information about them on an Unbounce landing page, in exchange for an ebook.
  2. Use those learnings to serve up a hyper-personalized offer that was sure to tickle their fancy.

Was Yoni’s strategy successful? Well, let’s put it this way:

That offer, sent out in the form of a personalized email, got a 51% open rate and generated $21,000 a year in revenue for the client.

Not too shabby, right? Let’s take a look at how Cookie Jar Marketing accomplished that.

Building and promoting the content

Before they could collect prospect information on a landing page, Yoni needed a piece of content to give away. As an easy win, he decided to compile several valuable blog posts into one super-comprehensive whitepaper.

The whitepaper focused on different cloud vendors and broke down the features and pricing that one could expect from each. With a very competitive pricing and features structure next to that of the competition, this was a great way for Cloudyn to demonstrate their value to people looking for a cloud solution.

Once that was in place, Yoni began promoting the whitepaper. Using several channels at first, he finally settled on LinkedIn, where he was able to very accurately target the people he was trying to reach, zeroing in on specific industries and job titles.

linkedin-targeted-ad
Cookie Jar’s most successful ad on LinkedIn promoting their whitepaper.

Each LinkedIn ad pointed to an Unbounce landing page, where prospects were asked for some of their information in exchange for the whitepaper. And while Yoni was off to a good start, he wanted to be sure that this landing page was performing at its best potential.

Optimizing landing pages for more than just conversions

The first landing page that Yoni used to promote the whitepaper was very simple. The form for collecting prospects’ information was limited to just four required fields. This first variant converted at 10.7%:

short-form
The first iteration of Cookie Jar’s whitepaper landing page.

That conversion rate might be in the a-little-low-to-decent range, but there was more than just the conversion rate that needed optimizing.

Cloudyn uses salespeople to follow up with qualified leads, and they were asking for more information on the prospects. Yoni explained:

When I talked to the salespeople who followed up with leads, they told me that they did not have enough information to be able to ascertain which leads were ‘hot’ and should be called right away, and which should just go into a lead nurturing program.

Yoni asked them what kind of information they would require to make that an easier proposition, and quickly built another variant of the landing page in Unbounce with the extra fields the sales team asked for, seen below.

long-form
The longer form on this Cloudyn whitepaper landing page increased conversion by 10%.

On the one hand, adding more fields to a form can sometimes create friction, making prospects feel as though there are more hoops to jump through.

But on the other hand, gathering extra information can help the sales team become more efficient. For example, the new form contained a field called “Annual cloud spend.” If someone were to select $5 million plus, it is probably worth a salesperson’s time to pick up the phone and call them.

Extra fields be damned, the conversions on the page doubled. And not only were there more leads, but the leads they got were far more valuable.

The sales team suddenly had a lot more information to go on, and the leads were doubling with no increase in ad spend, and no delineation from LinkedIn. And this was just the beginning.

When I asked Yoni why he thought the conversion rate had jumped up that much, he replied:

I think that the fact that we were showing them that we cared about who they were made all the difference.

The more questions asked of the visitor, the more they feel appreciated as a potential customer. It creates the impression that they will be offered a personalized service catered to their unique needs and wants. In turn, each of the leads generated through this landing page ended up being far more qualified, creating greater opportunities for the sales team.

Making personal connections

When more information was added into the mix, it wasn’t just the sales team who was better equipped to do their job.

Under the direction of Yoni, the Cookie Jar team was able to use the extra information to personalize emails that went out to prospects who’d filled out the form.

Using Unbounce’s MailChimp integration and field mapping, they tagged all of the fields so when a lead filled out and submitted the form, this information was sent to MailChimp.

Yoni had created an email in MailChimp that would automatically be sent to leads as soon as they filled out the form. And with the information collected on the landing page form, he was able to personalize each email that went out to leads, as you see in the image below:

auto-email

The personalization of the email didn’t just work, it worked beyond anyone’s expectations. The email got a 51% open rate – and while the clickthrough rate was not amazing, they did get replies to the email that resulted in a demo request rate of an astounding 35%.

The salespeople at Cloudyn and the marketers at Cookie Jar couldn’t have been happier. To date, the whitepaper campaign on its own has resulted in $21,000 worth of business, all from collecting more data and personalizing communication accordingly.

That personal touch

The name of the game for any marketing agency is results. No matter how they’re achieved, the way to keep clients is to make sure that they’re getting a healthy return on their investment. And that’s what Cookie Jar Marketing has done for Cloudyn.

Sometimes you have to go against the grain and so-called “best practices” to achieve those results. Yoni was certain that he’d made the right choice by limiting the number of fields prospects would have to fill out. The reality was that adding more fields and creating more friction resulted in more conversions.

The happy result of those extra conversions is that they had supplied more information, which enabled Yoni to create a personalized email that resulted in demo requests and ultimately, sales.

Cookie Jar Marketing’s clever use of the Unbounce and MailChimp integration is paying dividends for Cloudyn, and it could very well do the same for you.

View the original here – 

How This Agency Used Personalization to Land Their Client $21,000 in New Business

23 Principles of Attention-Driven Design as Demonstrated by Album Covers

In the age of digital distractions, how can you get people to sit up and pay attention?

You can shock people. You can tease people. Or, as Oli Gardner breaks down in his ebook about the 23 principles of Attention-Driven Design, you can include visual cues and clues to help guide people toward the goal of your page.

These visual cues are so deeply engrained in our everyday lives that they’re literally everywhere around us.

They can be found in the most unlikely places — take my record collection, for example.

Seriously. After the launch of his ebook, Oli and I start digging through my records in search of the 23 design principles. Just for fun.

Record player detail http://barnimages.com/

So what are these 23 principles of Attention-Driven Design?

You can read about them in the 68-page book — or you can read the abbreviated version right here, with examples from the cover artwork of records from my personal collection.

1. Direction: Saturday Night Fever – The Original Movie Soundtrack

This was one of the first records I bought – it’s one of those albums that’s in every bargain bin and every Goodwill store. But it’s also a brilliant album with some of the best music ever recorded, in my humble opinion.

The image of John Travolta pointing directly at the Bee Gees is one of the most iconic poses in movie history, and could not more perfectly demonstrate the concept of Direction.

soundtrack-saturday-night-fever
Even John Travolta knows how important the Bee Gees are. Source

Directional cues are visual elements used to draw attention to important areas of your landing page, particularly your call to action. This could take the form of an arrow or a person gazing at your CTA, directing your visitor’s gaze there as well.

Direction can be a powerful means of, well, directing people to look in the right… direction.

Motion: The Civil Wars – Self-Titled

This Civil Wars album, released the year before they split, is a wonderfully crafted piece of work. The duo mixes some of their own compositions in amongst a few well-known cover songs like “Disarm,” the 1992 Smashing Pumpkins hit.

As we cycled through my records, the concept of Motion on this album cover jumped right out at Oli. You can’t help but be drawn to the powerful plume of smoke as it moves its way across the cover:

thecivilwars

Like Direction, Motion on a landing page can be a valuable tool for drawing attention to important elements. Apple uses Motion on this page for the iPhone 6s to great effect. It makes the product look interesting, and even demonstrate a few of the product’s awesome features.

3. Affordance: Led Zeppelin – III

Led Zeppelin stepped back a bit from the out-of-control-train-headed-straight-at-you hard rock sound that had permeated their first two albums with this offering. There are a few straight ahead rockers on this album, but the group found a new sound by embracing the Welsh countryside in which much of this album was recorded.

led-zep-iii

The cool thing about this album design is the wheel inside the cover which, when spun, rotates background images displayed in holes in the jacket. The little cutout on the right-hand side of the cover makes it obvious that this can be done, which is an amazing example of Affordance.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif

Affordances are visual cues that demonstrate how something is supposed to be used. The classic example of this, shared by Steve Krug in Don’t Make Me Think, is a 3D-style button that makes it clear that it’s meant to be clicked.

We use Affordance in web design to show our users what they should be doing and where they should be clicking – which is exactly why many UX experts caution against using ghost buttons.

4. Contrast: Joe Jackson – Look Sharp

When Joe Jackson released his first album, he wanted to make a bold statement with his album cover – which uses Contrast to emphasize his slick-as-hell shoes.

look-sharp

Contrast is used on landing pages to make an element of the page stand out from everything else, just like Joe’s shoes here. You’ll often see this concept in practice on landing pages where the CTA button color contrasts with the rest of the colors on the page.

People don’t click on a button because it’s red or green — they click because of it contrasts with the rest of the page.

5. Highlighting: U2 – The Unforgettable Fire EP

U2’s Unforgettable Fire EP contains two tracks from the The Unforgettable Fire LP along with three bonus songs (my favorite is Love Comes Tumbling). When I pulled this record off my shelf, it was immediately clear to me that this was going to work perfectly as an example of Highlighting:

U2EP

See how the title of the album is highlighted in gold? That draws the eye and gives it visual importance.

Highlighting can be used to similar effect on landing pages to draw attention to importance elements. Want prospects to take note of a discount or get them to pay attention to your UVP? You may want to test Highlighting.

6. Whitespace: Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

Ha! Thought it was going to be the famous white album by the Beatles, didn’t you?

This is Sky Blue Sky, Wilco’s sixth studio album, featuring a proprietary blend of Southern-California folk rock, alt country and straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll.

wilco-attention-driven-design

When you look at this cover art, the bird off to the right is probably the first thing you notice. Your eye is immediately drawn to it and the question immediately becomes, “What’s so special about that bird?”

Just like the lonely little bird on the album cover, you can draw attention to something on your landing page with Whitespace: a design technique that uses areas of blank space to emphasize a landing page element of your choice.

Note that Whitespace doesn’t have to be white. If your background is blue, you can apply the same principle and get the same effect.

7. Anomaly: Sharon, Lois & Bram – Smorgasbord

Why is this record in my collection? Because it’s genius, plain and simple.

With hits like “Peanut Butter,” “Dan, Dan the Dirty Old Man,” and “Did You Feed My Cow?” this album was an instant classic.

sharonloisbram

But it’s also a classic example of the Attention-Driven Design principle of Anomaly.

An Anomaly can best be described with the lyrics from the old Sesame Street song: “One of These Things is Not Like the Others!”

And where’s the Anomaly on this album cover? Well, if I may address the elephant in the room, it’s the elephant on the cover!

When something doesn’t fit it, we notice — use Anomaly to make things stand out on your page.

8. Proximity: The Jackson 5 – Destiny

For this album, the Jackson boys somehow managed to take control of the recording room to produce an album that delivered hits like “Blame It On the Boogie” and “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground).”

destiny

The way the Jacksons are grouped on this album cover – in close Proximity – shows us that they are together; one group united to spread funk and love throughout the galaxy.

On your landing pages, Proximity gives visitors the sense that items are related. This can work both in your favor and against you.

Consider the classic example of writing “We will never spam you” near your CTA button. While this is typically included to reassure prospects, it could also serve as a stop word, planting a seed of doubt in prospects’ minds.

The takeaway here? If you’re employing Proximity on your page, test to be sure it has the intended effect.

9. Distraction: Gord Downie, The Sadies, and the Conquering Sun

This is a record by one of Canada’s seminal rock stars and lead singer of the Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, backed by rockabilly band the Sadies.

Both on the album and on the cover, there’s a heck of a lot going on:

gorddownie

You could probably stare at this album cover for a few minutes and never really pick out one element that really matters most. Your eyes would keep travelling from one face to the next, aimlessly.

On your landing pages, this is the principle that you want to avoid at all costs: Distraction. When you placing too many items close together, you make it hard for people to discern one from the other and determine which is most important.

And that makes it difficult for people to take action.

10. Interruption: Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon

The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best selling albums of all time. With more than 50 million copies sold since its release, the music from this album is as ubiquitous as hot dog stands in New York.

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-album-cover

On this album, the light is interrupted, causing it to refract and break off into several different rays of color. The change causes you to stop and focus in on the prism and question what took place there.

Similarly, using Interruption as an Attention-Driven Design technique is all about using a break to cause thought.

Check out this example from a Fast Company post:

fastcompany

The way the text is disrupted by the pullquote forces you to slow down and pay closer attention. It also provides some relief from an otherwise overwhelming wall of text.

On landing pages, Interruption can take the form of a visual element dividing the page, or something as simple as bolded text.

11. Dominance: Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast

The album cover for the Number of the Beast caught the eye of many a metal record shopper when it was released in 1982, and the album quickly achieved platinum status in the US. It was remarkably controversial at the time due to the religious overtones, but it has since become an important piece of heavy metal history.

666
Fun fact: The Number of the Beast was the 666th record in my collection. Source

The cover does an amazing job of demonstrating the principle of Dominance. Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie is towering over the red devil fellow in a rather dominant position. His size and proximity to the little guy help create this effect.

On a landing page, you would use Dominance to demonstrate the importance of one object over another, and show people where to take action.

Whether you’re using large font for your headlines, a huuuge hero shot image or a crazy big CTA button, Dominance can help you show visitors which landing page elements are important.

12. ConsistencyThe Swing Era

Here’s one where we had to get a little creative. We took a few boxes from my wife’s collection of Time/Life’s The Swing Era records and put them together to demonstrate the next principle, Consistency:

swing-era

The design principle of Consistency is a shelter in the virtual storm of visual stimuli that we’re confronted with on a daily basis. If you create a consistent visual experience for landing page visitors, you put them at ease.

This relates closely to the principles of design match and message match, which entail matching the headline and brand colors/images from your ad with that of your landing page.

Establishing Consistency between your ad and landing page (in both your messaging and visual branding) sets people at ease because it reassures them that they’ve arrived in a place that relates to the ad they just clicked.

13. Repetition: The Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels

I’ll try to refrain from making any jokes about how repetitive the Stones had become by the time they recorded this album…

Let’s give them some credit. They were all hovering somewhere around 50 years old when this album came out, and had been through more good and bad times than everyone who reads this post combined. It’s a fine effort, all things considered.

Plus, the cover is a prime example of the design principle of Repetition:

steel-wheels
Steel wheelchairs, amirite? Source

Repetition as a design principle helps you draw attention to elements on your page that you want to emphasize.

Consider a long-form landing page that has several CTA buttons. By virtue of them being repeated on the page, they stand out as being important.

Repetition breeds familiarity, which, in turn, drives awareness.

14. Symmetry: The Great Gatsby – Official Movie Soundtrack

Movie producer Baz Luhrmann made his version of the Great Gatsby into a luxurious visual feast. And when it came time to put together an album cover for the movie soundtrack, that feeling of luxury and excess was translated wonderfully.

great-gatsby-ost

The crisp gold and silver lines on the black background are arranged in a symmetrical pattern, which allows your eyes to rest easy. Whether on an album cover, someone’s face or a landing page, Symmetry is strongly correlated with beauty.

Got a high-end item that you need to promote on your landing page? Use Symmetry to give your landing page visitors a sense of the style and sophistication behind your operation.

15. Overlapping: Nick Drake – Pink Moon

Nick Drake’s Pink Moon album cover is as surreal as a Dali painting (or more precisely, a Trevithick), but it demonstrates the principle of Overlapping well.

pink-moon
Kinda sad that it took a Volkswagen commercial to make Nick Drake popular.

The way each of the elements overlap leads you to believe that they are related thematically.

On a landing page, we use the principle of Overlapping to tie elements together in an effort to demonstrate their relevance to each other. As Oli says in the ebook:

In terms of marketing, this is most commonly used for price-related information (like pricing event starbursts) and graphical highlighting (zooming in on a product screenshot).

In other words, Overlapping can help you to highlight certain information on a page that you feel might be useful in helping to convince your landing page visitors to convert.

16. Alignment: The Seeger Family – American Folk Songs Sung by the Seegers

Many of you will know Pete Seeger and his era-defining songs like “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land is Your Land.” He comes from a family of folk singers, and this 1957 release on 10” vinyl is one of my favorites from my collection.

Pete, however, is not on this record. Just the fam.

FW02005

Alignment in design links common elements together visually to indicate that they are related or have a similar purpose. It’s a simple and quick way to turn a busy design into an organized one, and an easy way to add visual clarity.

And while Alignment is a visual design principle, it’s also an overarching conceptual principle: making your landing page more congruent by aligning every element with a single goal.

17. Continuation: My Chemical Romance – Black Parade

Oli brought this My Chemical Romance album over — it was the only one we could find that exemplified the visual design principle of Continuation:

mychemicalromance

When you open the cover, notice how the interesting-looking fellows tell a bit of a story from the front to the back? That’s exactly how you’d use Continuation on a landing page.

Your landing page should tell the story of the product or service that you’re selling. That story should be visually interesting and should say things in the right order.

Your visitors should be left with no doubt as to the order in which they should consume your content.

18. Size: The Allman Brothers – Eat a Peach

After the death of Duane Allman just halfway through the recording of this album, the Allman Brothers pulled it together to create one of the greatest “jam band” albums of all time.

With several tracks clocking in at almost 10 minutes long, they created a soundscape as impressive as the giant peach on the album cover.

Allman_Brothers_Band_-_Eat_A_Peach-Front-www.FreeCovers.net_
Peach. ‘Cause Georgia. Get it? Source

There’s no way around it — the bigger something sounds, the more we’ll pay attention to it, as evidenced by this popular record. And the bigger an image is when contrasted with those around it, the more you are going to notice it.

The peach is, obviously, the most important thing on the cover, and its Size demonstrates that.

The same principle applies to landing pages. If you have something that you want to stand out from the rest, blow it up, make it giant, and it’ll get noticed.

19. Perspective: Do Make Say Think – Self-Titled

Do Make Say Think are a Canadian post-rock band (read: indie rock that is not as accessible as the rest). They take their time revving up each song, with clear but labored journeys from one place to the next.

It’s not for everyone, but if you enjoy post-rock of any kind, this is a band to check out.

The cover art for their self-titled album is a great example of the design principle of Perspective:

domakesaythink

See how the image on this album cover carries your gaze from front to back? This sort of visual trick can be used to direct attention to one of the elements on your landing page.

In the ebook, Oli provides the example of this landing page:

fitspo

The background image creates a sense of Perspective on this landing page, and the form area really pops because the depth of field pushes it to the foreground.

20. GroupingVarious

As it turns out, Grouping was not an easy principle to find in my collection. So in order to demonstrate it, Oli and I pulled out a bunch of records.

grouping
Who the heck is Doug Kershaw (bottom left)?

Placing these albums in groups with similar visual elements creates the impression that each album in that group is somehow related. You also get the sense that they’re separated from the other items in other groups. You may also get the sense from this image that Doug Kershaw is about as 70s as they come.

That’s what the Attention-Driven Design principle of Grouping does: it helps to define boundaries and gives you a means of more clearly defining your message. By placing similar elements together, you create visual simplicity and reduce cognitive load.

21. Encapsulation: Fleetwood Mac – Tusk

This album, to some, perfectly encapsulates rock star excess. Both the music and the packaging (with sleeves designed by a sleep-deprived Lindsey Buckingham who was becoming obsessed with… whatever was near enough) are examples of ego run rampant.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album. It’s just got a certain je ne sais quoi.

fleetwood_mac_tusk

On the Tusk album cover, a dog biting into some unlucky fellow’s pants is neatly encapsulated by an abstract and somewhat sparse background.

Encapsulation on landing pages gives visitors the idea that something is important by enclosing it within a container. In the example below, the form and CTA button area are encapsulated to become a focal element on the page.

design-to-increase-conversions-encapsulation

In the image on the right, Encapsulation helps draw visitors to the most important area of the landing page — the area where they’re going to give you their information!

22. Contact: John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy

Double Fantasy was released just three weeks after John Lennon was shot outside his apartment building. On the album, John and Yoko hold a kind of conversation between husband and wife, with every second track by Yoko. (This is why I prefer to listen to it on CD — it’s much easier to skip every second track.)

The cover conveys the sense of intimacy and earnestness behind the music:

Double-fantasy

That it’s John and Yoko is clear, but what we are really drawn to is the Contact being made between them. The kiss is front and center, drawing the eye towards it with more impact than the yellow text in either corner.

In design, we use points of Contact to attract attention, just like the kiss between John and Yoko. This image below shows what Contact might look like on a landing page.

contact-landing-page-example

Your eye is immediately drawn to the Contact point between the two phones, and then to the similarly colored headline.

It’s one more weapon in your design arsenal to help you show your customers where to look!

23. Nesting: It’s up to you!

Sometimes your pages will have long lists of benefits and features. This is when Nesting can be employed to reduce the cognitive load required on the part of your visitors. As Oli says in the ebook:

You can add some clarity, reduce comprehension time and apply emphasis through interruption by adding some hierarchy by way of indentation.

Most commonly, Nesting takes the form of bulleted lists, which are easy to scan.

There’s just one thing: we actually weren’t able to find an example of this on a record cover! If you can find an example of nesting on an album cover, show us in the comments below. If we think it fits, we’ll send you an Unbounce t-shirt!

Applying the 23 principles

The principles of Attention-Driven Design can be found everywhere — they’re so ubiquitous that you may not even notice them. They can be found in nature, architecture, urban planning, art, video games, movies, paintings and, as we’ve just learned, on album covers.

They appear everywhere because they are effective visual tools — and learning how they work brings you one step closer to guiding your visitors toward that all-important conversion.

Psst. Who better to teach you than Oli Gardner, the guy who’s seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet? Check out his latest ebook, Attention-Driven Design: 23 Principles for Designing More Persuasive Landing Pages.

Link – 

23 Principles of Attention-Driven Design as Demonstrated by Album Covers

Fighting Friction at Every Stage of the Funnel: Takeaways from Day 1 of CTA Conf

beyond-the-landing-page-650
Image by Vera Raposo via Twitter.

You can build the highest-converting landing page that ever existed, but if you’re not thinking beyond that initial conversion, you’re flushing your leads down the virtual toilet.

It’s a theme that kept cropping up during the first day of our Call to Action Conference (#CTAConf): after you’ve optimized your landing page, your job isn’t close to being done. As speaker Wil Reynolds, founder of Seer Interactive put it:

In other words, conversion rate optimization isn’t just about landing pages; it’s about discovering points of friction throughout the entire funnel and then eliminating them. To apply this logic only to a landing page is short-sighted, because every single touchpoint a potential customer has with a company could be critical in closing a deal.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways that our amazing speakers told us about how we can go beyond the landing page and create delightful experiences for our prospects and customers – experiences that extend beyond that initial conversion.

Optimize emails you send after the conversion

After you’ve got your prospect’s contact info, you’ve gotta have a plan for hollering back. A smart, targeted plan that speaks to prospects in a personalized way.

But as Justine Jordan of Litmus reminded us in her talk, Send Emails that Actually Convert, email personalization isn’t just about adding your prospect’s name in your email’s salutation. We’ve all gotten emails that say, “Hello <name here>,” or “Hi, <null>.” Not exactly delightful.

You can personalize beyond a person’s name. And one of the ways that you can do that is to personalize your emails based on their actions — or inaction:

  • For example, if someone has just signed up for a free trial of your product (action), you can send them an email that explains something about how to use the product — something helpful.
  • Or if someone’s trial period is about to expire but they have not yet become an actual customer (inaction), you can send them a helpful hint that might entice them back to try your product.

Justine shared a ton of great examples of personalized email that goes above and beyond these concepts – she receives a daily email from WhattoWear.io that gives her the weather for the day in the city that she’s in and suggests what to wear based on what it’s like outside.

This level of personalization isn’t only delightful – it kicks friction’s butt.

Optimize every touchpoint with your customer

In a day jam-packed with great sessions from brilliant speakers, Wil Reynolds’ megaton talk, Brand & CRO: Trick or Treat: The Choice is Yours, also forced us to consider if we were applying CRO in all of the right places.

In one example, Wil discussed a SaaS client with a simple demand:

We need more leads! The leads you’re getting us suck!

(Well, I said it was simple, not polite.)

Rather than reacting to this by jumping straight into optimizing a landing page or a PPC campaign, Wil instead filled out a bunch of landing pages in his client’s vertical (including his client’s) and waited for the phone call.

Save for one, Wil’s client was the slowest to respond. By the time Wil had explained his needs to three different companies, he was no longer interested in discussing the matter.

The problem was not the lack of leads nor their quality. It was simply that by the time Wil’s client reached out to their leads, it was too late. They needed to optimize other aspects of their funnel to get the most of their leads, but never thought to look beyond the landing page.

What comes next?

If yesterday was any indication, day two of the conference is bound to knock everyone’s socks right down to their ankles. We’re sure to learn plenty of other optimization tips for every stage of the funnel – before and after the landing page conversion.

You can follow along in real time because we’re taking notes of each of the presentations. You can get them right here!


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Fighting Friction at Every Stage of the Funnel: Takeaways from Day 1 of CTA Conf

The Agency Guide to Selling Clients on the Value of Landing Pages

Startup Stock Photos
One stock photo actor pretends to explain landing pages to another. Image source.

Have you ever tried explaining to a non-marketer what a landing page is? If you haven’t, expect to be met with a blank stare. It’s not that the concept of just one page with one goal and one call to action is difficult to understand — it’s more that the “Why would you build a new page when you already have a website?” question that’s a bit trickier to answer.

That’s the challenge when it comes to telling clients that they need landing pages. They’ve already been told that their website is the thing they need to promote their business. And now you’re telling them they need to invest in something else.

Which is why it’s so important to convey to them the real value of landing pages — how they can actually help them increase their return on investment and actually save money by harnessing the traffic they’re already paying for.

You get the most out of your clients when your efforts perform at the highest possible level. So this is something that both of you should get excited about.

But sometimes it’s hard to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and speak to them in their language instead of the jargon that we’re used to using around other marketers. (Want to see your client’s eyes glaze over? Throw acronyms like CPC, CPA and KPI at them.)

Here are some tips for communicating the value of landing pages to your clients in terms they’ll understand – along with a cheat sheet to help.

1. Sending paid traffic to your website is a waste of money

Websites are full of distractions. They’re designed to take you from one place to the next. So you need to explain to your clients that, whereas a website will give people many options, a landing page gives them just one option: to convert.

You would never start a new marketing campaign without a dedicated landing page. Don’t let your clients do it, either.

NSAMCWADLP

To help your client understand how distracting websites can be, tell them how a dedicated landing page lets you control the attention ratio on the page. A homepage with links (leaks) to other parts of the site might have a 39:1 attention ratio — in other words, there are 40 ways for visitors to exit the page.

And now show them how a landing page has a 1:1 attention ratio. This means they can either complete the form, or leave the page. Their chances of getting a conversion at 1:1 are far better than at 39:1.

Put another way, websites are like leaky buckets while landing pages are perfect funnels.

2. Using landing pages increases your ROI

Your clients probably don’t know the mechanics of how you’re getting them business, and they don’t really need to. What they like to hear is that you can do more for them without them having to spend more money.  In other words, they’re looking for a better return on investment and if you let them know that landing pages can help them increase their ROI, they’ll be more than happy to listen.

The reason landing pages help you increase ROI comes down to another fundamental landing page principle: message match.

Message match ensures that your landing page contains the same message as your ad. When you match the headline of your ad with the headline on your landing page, you reassure visitors that they’re about to get the information they were after when they clicked the ad.

And if you’re running campaigns on AdWords, this’ll help increase your Quality Score.

Your client may not know what this is but here’s the key thing to communicate to your client: A higher Quality Score increases your ability to get more clicks without spending more money.

As Quality Score goes up, cost per click decreases. Cost per conversion decreases as well. Now you’re showing them how their ROI will increase without raising their PPC budget, and they’ve got to love that.

You can also let them know that you can take this level of targeting a step further once the conversion takes place. With a landing page form like the one below, you can get to know your leads better, which then allows you to segment those groups for more highly targeted lead nurturing campaigns.

more-info-form

With better segmentation comes more personalized messaging. Tell your clients how landing pages help you personalize the entire process from the ad all the way to the lead nurturing element. When your client understands that implementing landing pages means more sales down the road, they’ll release that this isn’t just a short-term tactic, but a strategy that’ll pay dividends for a long time.

3. Instead of paying for more traffic, optimize what you’ve got

As our friend Andrew Miller from Workshop Digital points out, clients sometimes believe they just need more traffic:

If you’re not converting traffic into leads, then you’re just spending more and more money and you’re not getting better and better results. You’re not getting that compounding effect that landing pages provide.

Landing pages let you optimize your current level of traffic through A/B testing. As it turns out, clients may not be aware of landing pages, but they often understand the concept — and importance — of testing. Says Andrew:

We use the “Buy One Get One Free” vs “50% Off” copy test as an example. That’s something [clients] understand. They don’t need to know the technical details of how [the test] is implemented, but they understand the benefit if they can get twice as many conversions without spending any more money on traffic, and without sacrificing lead quality.

Opening the discussion about landing pages and closing the client

Anyone who is paying for a service likes to get more for their money, and with landing pages, you can provide them with better traffic that has a much better chance of converting. The landing page is the tool, and the result of that tool is more bang for the client’s buck.

Now get out there and let them know!

We wanna help – with the help of our customer education team, we put together a handy cheat sheet for your next pitch. Download it via the form below!

Taken from – 

The Agency Guide to Selling Clients on the Value of Landing Pages

Ask a CRO Expert: What Should I Be A/B Testing?

science-testing
Before you hit the lab, you’ve got to do your research. Image source.

If you’re using landing pages for your marketing campaigns (and by golly, you should be), you’ve probably heard about A/B testing.

You may, however, not be sure where to start. Or you may have already started but aren’t quite satisfied with the results. Or maybe you’re just overwhelmed by the complexity of most articles about A/B testing.

As part of our Ask a CRO Expert blog series, we’ve asked our Senior Conversion Rate Optimizer Michael Aagaard to break down in the simplest terms what you need to do to determine what you should be A/B testing.

Psst. Michael will be one of our A/B testing panel members at CTAConf from Sept 13th – 15th. Get your ticket now for actionable insights from some of the world’s best conversion rate optimization experts!

His answer will help you to understand how to create an effective A/B test: how to create a hypothesis based on data, and how to conduct conversion research to gather that data.

So, let’s get you started on your way with some tips from a highly knowledgeable conversion rate optimizer!

What is the one thing I absolutely MUST do before starting an A/B test?

We asked Michael to explain the one thing that is crucial to starting an A/B test. His answer was simple:

You must form a hypothesis based on data-driven conversion research.

Great answer, Michael. Can you unpack that?

The main goal of A/B testing is to eliminate guesswork from your marketing optimization efforts. However, the simple act of running an A/B test is not enough to achieve that goal.

If you’re testing random ideas, you’re still relying on guesswork. All you are doing is pitting two guesses against each other to see if one is better.

So, in order for your tests to provide real value and insight, you need to know that you are in fact experimenting with an informed solution to a real problem. In other words, you need to have a clear idea of what problem you are addressing and why you think your solution is going to work.

A conversion rate optimization lesson learned the hard way

At the beginning of Michael’s career, blind testing was the norm. Occasionally he would stumble upon something that actually resulted in a conversion uplift, but most experiments missed the mark.

After wasting a lot of time (and, he admits, a lot of his clients’ money) he had to admit to himself that his process was fundamentally flawed. He says:

It became painfully clear to me that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to A/B testing and I needed to spend more time qualifying my ideas before dedicating time and resources to implementing and testing them.

He realized that having an actual hypothesis based on real user data would increase the quality of his tests as well as the potential outcome. By dedicating more time upfront to conducting research, he could build stronger hypotheses and save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

These days Michael spends the bulk of his time doing conversion research to ensure that he has a complete understanding of the conversion experience before he even begins to think about an actual A/B test. This way Michael can pinpoint problematic areas in the conversion process and prioritize optimization opportunities according to effort and potential return.

Conversion research basics: Funnel analysis

Michael uses a “walkthrough” exercise to see the whole conversion process through the eyes of the user and better understand what they are experiencing:

I need to understand every step that the user has to go through in order to convert. So the first thing I do is to go through the entire conversion process step-by-step from initial touch point to final conversion goal.

Let’s use PPC marketing as an example.

  1. Prospect searches on Google
  2. Sees paid ad that matches search and clicks
  3. Goes to landing page
  4. Completes the form
  5. Is sent to a confirmation or Thank You page

It took five steps for this person to become a lead. Those are five opportunities for that person to bail. So, taking that initial walkthrough will let you experience first-hand what the user is experiencing. It’s a great way to start your conversion research.

Michael explains that once you’ve done the walkthrough, you need to get some quantitative data (from your web analytics setup) that shows you which steps represent the highest drop-off points. As Michael says:

The biggest problem might not be the landing page itself — it could be that the real problem is on the form page. If that’s the case, the form page is the real bottleneck, and you’ll never really get the most out of your conversion path unless you open up that bottleneck.

Getting insight on which steps represent the biggest “leaks” will help you prioritize your optimization efforts and focus on the most critical areas. If your form page is the real bottleneck, it would make sense to work on solving whatever is wrong on that page before you start working on the landing page itself – and vice versa.

Getting more specific: Honing in on the page itself

Once you have an idea of where the largest drop-off is happening, it is time to get more specific and get more insight on the page itself.

Michael’s go-to tool here is Google Analytics, which he uses to get a detailed picture of how people are interacting with the landing page. He looks at things like device mix, conversion rates per device, new vs. returning visitors and performance across browsers. Each of these bits of data contains insights that will help you to form a test hypothesis.

When I asked Michael to give us an example of a standard GA report that’s useful for landing page optimization research, he mentioned “Entrance Paths.” In Google Analytics you can use the “Entrance Paths” report to find out more about what pages users who did not convert visit immediately after the landing page.

You may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute here! A well-optimized landing page shouldn’t have any links!”

As it turns out, some people will actually just type your homepage address into their browser, or search for you on Google in order to get more information after viewing your landing page. Michael explains:

This is interesting and could very well be an indication that users are not getting what they need on the landing page. This insight is priceless if you want better understand your users and their needs.

Michael tells us that the second page on your site that prospects visit after bouncing tells you a lot about intent.

If 85% of visitors are going to your homepage or About page right after hitting the landing page, you might have an issue with credibility — or maybe you’re not giving them enough information.

Or this scenario: If the bulk of your users are visiting the pricing page instead of clicking your CTA, then chances are that they need to know more about prices before they can make a decision. And this is exactly the kind of information you need in order to qualify your test ideas and turn them into real hypotheses.

Here’s how to find the “Next Page” report:

Go to “Behavior,” click “Site Content,” choose “Landing Pages” and select the page you want to dig into. Then click “Entrance Paths” and voilà, you’ll get an overview of the top 10 pages that people visit right after leaving the landing page.

next-page-report

To see which pages users exit on, simply click one of the URLs under “Second Page.”

Make sure to get qualitative insight, too

While quantitative conversion research helps you find out where things are going wrong, qualitative insight helps you find out why things are going wrong.

When it comes to qualitative insight, Michael says that nothing beats jumping into the trenches, finding out what’s going on from the people who really know: Customer Service, Support and Sales teams.

These teams spend all day talking to customers and have in-depth knowledge of the problems and issues that they are dealing with – both in relation to the website and the product itself.

Not to mention the fact that they’re familiar with the decision-making process of the target audience. These teams can help you build a better optimization hypothesis because they’re on the front lines. They’re interacting with the people who are trying to get your product. They may even guide people through the process of making a purchase online.

These are the people that can give you meaningful insights that will help you hone in on the deeper issues users are experiencing – which in turn will help you craft much better hypotheses.

Creating your A/B testing hypothesis

When you’ve done your conversion research, it’s time to create your test hypothesis.

A simple way of crafting a data-driven hypothesis is to use this handy three-step formula that Michael developed together with CRO expert Craig Sullivan (this was the result of very long, friendly argument via Skype, where many ideas were introduced and ruthlessly demolished):

  1. Get data/feedback
  2. Hypothesize on change and outcomes
  3. Define which metric you will use to measure the effect

Put together, here’s what this looks like as a template:

Because we saw [data/feedback] we believe that [change] will cause [outcome]. We will measure this using [data metric].

The template helps you stay focused on the data that informed the hypothesis, as well as the data you need to collect in order to measure the effect of the change.

Let’s apply this to one of the scenarios above: GA tells you that the bulk of users on your landing page are going straight to the pricing page instead of filling out your lead gen form. In this case it is reasonable to hypothesize that pricing info is important to the decision-making process of the prospects and that featuring it on the landing page will help prospects make the right decision and fill out the form.

In this case, the fleshed out hypothesis could be:

Because we saw [data from GA indicating that most users go to the pricing page instead of the home page], we believe that [featuring pricing info on the landing page] will cause [more users to stay on the landing page and fill out the form]. We will measure this using [form conversion rate as our primary metric].

Run more effective A/B tests

Now that you know how to do some conversion research and create a data-driven hypothesis, you can start optimizing and testing much more efficiently.

You no longer need to just throw everything at the wall to see what sticks — you can now test with confidence, and optimize with the resulting data.


See the original article here – 

Ask a CRO Expert: What Should I Be A/B Testing?

The Landing Pages You Need for Your Event Marketing: Before, During and After

events-langing-page-examples

For many marketers, events are a natural extension of their existing content marketing strategy and a key channel for direct engagement. They’re a chance to build your brand and cultivate your identity while creating an amazing experience for customers and prospects alike.

Pardon the Captain Obvious moment here, but for an event to be really successful, you need to get people there. And to get people there, you need to show them why they can’t afford to miss the event you’re about to put on.

There’s no better way to create a sense of urgency than to send prospects to a persuasive event landing page. It’s where you’ll tell people exactly why they should come to your event and what they’ll get from attending. But if you think of your event as a one-day only play, you’re not getting the full value out of it.

That’s why you should be using landing pages in every stage of your event marketing campaign — before, during and after the event itself. With our Call to Action conference coming up in less than a month, we thought we’d share with you a few of the landing pages that we’ve used for our own events– but first, let’s dig into the elements that make event landing pages successful.

What every event landing page needs

Remember that your conference is a product. As with all products, there is a cost vs benefit consideration, and it’s up to you to tilt the scales in favor of the benefit on your landing page.

To get those scales tilted, you’ll need to break out the five elements of a high-converting landing page. Let’s take a look at what they are, and how we made use of them on the landing page for the Conversion Road Trip, a series of four conversion-centered marketing events we hosted earlier this summer in Boston, Chicago, New York and Toronto.

1. Unique value proposition

On our registration landing pages, we made sure to incorporate a unique value proposition that explained what attendees would get at the conference (that they couldn’t get anywhere else):

unique-value-proposition

Your event landing page needs to explain why people should attend  your conference as opposed to one of the many others in your space. It’s job one on any landing page!


Your event landing page needs to explain why people should choose yours over the others.
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2. Hero shot

The hero shot is the image that shows your product, and helps to convey a sense of what using that product will be like. For the Conversion Road Trip, we combined several images to convey a sense of going on the road, along with images of the speakers pouring their hearts out and conference attendees in rapt attention.

hero-shot

Using video in this spot can also help you project the feel of your event. Showing the energy and excitement of the conference will pique your audience’s interest, and get them wanting to know more.

3. Benefits

Get a little further down the landing page for the Conversion Road Trip and you’ll come to the benefits. We wanted to show people exactly what they’ll get out of attending the conference, and did so by giving them three great reasons to attend:

benefits-event-landing-page

Give your prospects solid reasons to go to your conference, and they’ll have that much more interest in attending. Show the potential attendee what they’re going to be taking away from the event — the valuable information that they’ll be able to put into practice when they get back to the office.

4. Social proof

Every high-converting landing page also has a healthy dose of social proof, defined in the Conversion Marketing Glossary as:

The positive influence that’s generated when people find out that “everybody’s doing it.”

The social proof on the Conversion Road Trip landing page came in the form of testimonials from attendees. We targeted each testimonial at a persona that we thought could benefit from the conference, to help people self-identify as being a good fit:

social-proof

Stef Grieser, Unbounce’s  Event Marketing Manager, who has worked on a lot of events landing pages says:

Trust is subjective. Make sure you A/B test your social proof to ensure it is really driving conversions.

In other words, as our co-founder Oli Gardner says, “Testyourmonials.”

5. Call to action

All landing pages should have one goal and only one goal. In the case of an events landing page, that goal is to get people to register – by clicking your call to action button.

For the Conversion Road Trip landing page, the CTA read, “Get Tickets,” which told people precisely what’s going to happen when they click that button:

price-point

It’s also worth mentioning that we included the ticket price next to the bright orange CTA. Normally, adding a dollar amount near any CTA will likely cause a bit of friction.

That’s why we lead with a headline that set up $1,000 as the price of typical marketing conference. Juxtaposing that with the actual ticket price (at a fraction of the cost), made $299 sound like a pretty good deal! This is called the anchoring effect and it’s a classic – and effective – persuasion tactic.

Your CTA is what ultimately triggers conversions, so make sure you’re A/B testing different CTA copy. Let the audience decide which one is best.

Before the event: Building awareness and capturing leads

Conference preparation begins months in advance. Our planning starts 9-12 months before the date in order to make sure that we have everything in place, from the marketing plan, to the content, to the event logistics.

In the months leading up to your conference, you can start to collect email addresses from interested prospects, and give them updates along the way that will help convince them to get a ticket.

The page below is what we were using in March of this year to promote 2015’s Call to Action Conference in September, an event held in Vancouver that features CRO experts from all over the world:

With so many speakers involved, you don’t always have all of them lined up when we first announce the conference. This presents both a problem and an opportunity.

The problem is that you can’t showcase all of our speakers right away — you’re not able to show people everyone that will be there and all of the things they’ll learn, which provides valuable social proof.

You do, however, have the opportunity to collect email addresses from people who are interested in attending, and can reach out to them as we lock down speakers, creating hype and keeping our event top-of-mind.

We get a very engaged email audience through this process – the open rate for emails sent to people who requested CTAConf updates have been as high as 72.6%. Not too shabby, right?

During the conference: Gently nudging your prospects towards becoming customers

A conference isn’t just about delighting, networking, and creating buzz. At the end of the day, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up for your product. Guess what? You need a landing page for that too.

At our conferences, we also have an attendee-specific landing page to incentivize people to sign up for Unbounce. We include an exclusive “attendee-only” discount to add extra incentive, and we hand out the landing page URL and promo code at our demo booth.

We do the same thing for conferences we sponsor — check out this landing page we built for specifically for MozCon 2015 attendees:

At MozCon, we had a lot of people come by our booth to chat, and were able to show many of them how Unbounce works in person. Coupling that with a substantial discount helped gently nudge interested prospects towards becoming customers.

And once your conference is over, you can send an email to attendees to gently remind them about you. After the Conversion Road Trip, we sent out this email to our attendees:

followup-email

It talks about the importance of landing pages and offers them a discount – which they can retrieve by clicking through to the landing page we created specifically for the event.

But there’s still more you can do after your conference is over.

After the event: Repurposing your landing page for lead gen

You’ve managed to get people to your event. Congratulations! Don’t forget though, that there is more you can do to collect leads when it’s over.

For last year’s CTAConf, we gated the recordings of our speaker’s presentations, converting the registration page into a lead gen page:

You’ll see that we altered some of the copy to explain a bit about the conference and what people got out of it. Most importantly, we added a video section, where visitors could watch all the recorded talks in exchange for their email address.

This allowed us to offer great value to our audience, while creating a list of people we could reach out to when it was time to sell tickets for CTAConf 2015.

There is also a CTA at the bottom that allows people to add their email address to get updates about the upcoming conference, bringing us back full circle to the first iteration of this page, which did the same thing.

The event landing page is just one piece of the campaign pie

Your landing page is the lynchpin of your event marketing campaign, but it will only be useful if you can get people to the page.

No matter what channels you’re using to drive traffic (email marketing, social media, PPC), your landing page should deliver on the promises that you set up in your promotional messages and images.


Continued here – 

The Landing Pages You Need for Your Event Marketing: Before, During and After

Generate More Leads with These 7 Content Marketing Campaign Ideas

content-marketing-tactics
Use these content marketing tactics to draw up strategies that help you achieve your lead generation goals. Image source.

What sets content marketing apart from other forms of content creation is that every piece of content you produce needs to serve a business objective. For many content marketers, that goal is lead generation.

But what types of content should you create? And how will you capture the leads once you’ve created it?

We’ve assembled seven content marketing tactics that anyone can get started with right away. In addition, we’ve got landing page templates for each tactic so you can collect leads once you’ve published your content.

Let’s take a look!

1. Create an engaging ebook

In the last couple of years, the ebook has become a remarkably popular method of capturing leads. A 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks Report states that 34% of marketers are using ebooks in their marketing strategies.

Done properly, releasing an ebook can help marketers do the following three things, according to Ramesh Ranjan writing for the Hubspot blog.

A. Educate your leads

An ebook should provide actual value to readers. By the time they’re done reading it, they should be able to walk away with information that answers a specific question they have.

That ebook download may be the first point of contact you have with a reader, so in order to build a relationship built on trust, you have to deliver on whatever you promised on your landing page. If you do that, they’ll come back for more information.

B. Demonstrate your knowledge

You want to demonstrate to your readers how knowledgeable you are about what you do in order to establish trust and loyalty. Well-written ebooks that provide a lot of in-depth information help you do just that. According to Ramesh:

The more quality information you provide the reader, the better the education they’ll receive from your post. They’ll associate you with providing great information and possessing a breadth of knowledge on it.

C. Get ‘em in the sales funnel

In order to get the ebook from you, they’ll have to give you their email address – which is where your landing page comes in. This is where you’ll tell your customers what the ebook is about, and why it’s a fair trade for their email address. And the good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch.

The Lido landing page template is crafted to give visitors enough information to understand what they’re going to get when they download the ebook.

With a nice big headline, you can announce the main subject of the ebook and quickly break down what they’ll learn. There’s a spot for a front-and-center hero shot of your ebook, which you can punctuate with a CTA button that speaks directly to your visitors.

There’s even an area to provide author credentials and a reader testimonial, giving readers further incentive to provide their email address.

2. Get more leads through webinars

Webinars have proven to be a remarkably effective lead generation tool here at Unbounce. We’ve even taken the lessons we learned and created a webinar about how you can make webinars a super powerful acquisition channel for your business, too. #meta

One of the reasons our webinars have been successful is that we’ve managed to partner with some very knowledgeable people whose presentations provide attendees with real, actionable insights into a variety of subjects. And we’re sure to brag about our speakers’ credentials on our registration landing pages.

The How To landing page template below has a sparse feel to it that allows readers to focus on the copy:

See the section in the middle for presenter headshots and bios? Credentials can go a long way towards convincing people to attend a session. And with testimonials at the bottom as a last reminder of what you can get out of attending, you’ve got a page that convinces and converts.

There’s also ample space to tell attendees what they’ll get out of the webinar. The more you can convince them that the information they’ll be getting is valuable to them, the closer you’ll be to getting them to sign up. In our own experience, this page has had up to an 80% conversion rate!

3. Host events in real life

Our Event Marketing Manager Stefanie Grieser is fond of saying that events are an essential aspect of any content marketing strategy.

Events help you get to know your prospects at a level that just isn’t possible through email lead nurturing. Events are an amazing lead generation tool, provide amazing branding opportunities and help you to make personal connections with your leads.

But to get people to your event, you’re going to have to put together engaging and inspiring sessions – and then you have to flaunt them on a high-converting landing page.

The Evento landing page template has lots of space for the specifics of your event, including who your speakers are going to be. The agenda section shows them how their day will unfold.

events-landing-page-template

What you’ll notice about this landing page is that there is just one form field and call to action above the fold. You can use this form in one of two ways:

  1. In the early stages of promoting your event, you can direct people to “Save a spot” or “Stay in the loop” by simply adding their email address. As your event draws nearer, you can send them a series of emails as the event date draws nearer, reminding them to get a ticket.
  2. In the latter stages of the event, you can change that CTA to “Get my ticket now” and direct people to the ticket purchase page. By adding some text like, “Only one week to go!” you can create a sense of urgency, which nudges people towards your CTA.

4. Build a customer case study

Traditional case studies are a perfect storytelling tool. They’re proof that your product works. You can show your readers how you solved a very particular problem, and tell them what steps you took to get it done.

Presented properly, case studies can be an invaluable aspect of converting readers into customers, especially at the bottom of the sales funnel. For example, you might talk about how prospects can use one of your tools to create leads, like we did here.

You’ll want to send an email to your prospects directing them to a landing page, where you can tell them all about why they should download the case study. The Lead Generation Minimalist Light landing page template is well suited to that:

Reiterate what you’ve already told them in your email and break down the main points of the case study. You’ve also got a great spot for a quote from your case study subject just below that, which will provide further incentive to sign up.

Just change the well-highlighted CTA to “Get my free case study,” and let the downloads begin!

5. Use video to reach your customers

An article in the Guardian newspaper recently called video the future of content marketing. It’s an increasingly popular method of consuming content. The article cites a Cisco study that states that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.

Like all other areas of content marketing, the idea is to provide value to your audience. From the Guardian article:

Always consider the audience you are trying to reach and ensure the video is relevant to them. If it’s not the most appropriate means of getting your message across, you are probably wasting your time.

If you have videos that are relevant to your audience, you can publish them as gated content in order to collect email addresses in exchange for views. But to get those emails, you’ll need to prove that they’re worth that exchange. Check out how we used speaker videos to gather leads after The Conversion Road Trip, a four-city tour de force of one-day conversion optimization conferences.

You can repurpose the Mova template below for that very purpose. In the video area, instead of a demonstration video about a product, you could put in a short teaser of what a viewer will get from watching the video in its entirety — after they sign up.

video-marketing-landing-page-template1

Once they’ve seen the trailer, you can hit them with three main benefits they’ll get out of watching the video, and drive it home with a nice big testimonial from a happy viewer.

The simple form provides a relatively frictionless signup experience, making it easy for you to collect that all-important email address.

6. Create an informative whitepaper

According to this article by the Content Marketing Institute, despite the fact that marketers have been using them since the 90s, whitepapers are still an effective lead generation tactic.

But what should you include in a whitepaper in order to make it attractive to potential leads? According to that Content Marketing Institute article, there are four things that a whitepaper should provide:

  • Rich, substantive content that educates, not sells
  • New ideas that prompt and provoke innovative thinking
  • A clearly communicated point of view on issues that are highly relevant and timely
  • Statistically-sound data and well-researched findings

By presenting a new point of view, you flaunt your expertise and help prospects better understand how you’re equipped to solve their specific problems.

The Forward template below is a great example of a page that could serve as an excellent template for promoting a whitepaper:

This page has an area above the fold where you can clearly outline the main points of your whitepaper. You’ll also find the signup form right up top where you can get people to sign up right away (if you’ve managed to demonstrate the value of the whitepaper above the fold).

Make sure to experiment with a couple of different versions of your copy to see which one works the best!

7. Get more blog subscribers

Blogging is generally the first tactic that businesses turn to when rolling out a content marketing strategy. Consistently creating great content is a surefire way to establish credibility and attract leads.

But you already knew that. And now that you’ve got that great content, how do you get readers to keep coming back? Get them to sign up to receive updates about your blog so you can keep engaging them on a regular basis!

The A la Carte template could be turned into a landing page that simply and easily converts visitors into subscribers. Hit them first thing with your blog’s tagline and unique value proposition.

You can also use the area below the fold to tell people in more detail about what they’ll get as a subscriber.

With subscribers comes engagement, and once you’re regularly engaging prospects, you have a much better chance of converting them down the line.

What’s content marketing all about?

Content marketing is not just content for content’s sake. Though some marketers believe that just writing some things provides some form of value, the reality is that it doesn’t.

In this blog post on the Unbounce blog, Tommy Walker, Marketer at Shopify, says:

If your content doesn’t drive actions, it’s not really marketing. It’s just content.

Each of the content marketing tactics in this post are tools to help drive a larger strategy.

Remember that generating that lead is just the beginning. From there, you have the opportunity to start sending your prospects more and more valuable content in an email lead nurturing campaign.

Create great content to generate your leads, and then create more to keep on engaging them.

Originally posted here: 

Generate More Leads with These 7 Content Marketing Campaign Ideas