All posts by Yash Vardhan

Content Marketer’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Your website is your number one tool for lead generation and likely your number one customer acquisition tool as well. An appealing site that catches your visitor’s eye is great, but what if that traffic is making zero impact on your bottom line?

It’s a common problem. In fact, the global eCommerce conversion rate in Q4 2016 was a mere 2.95%. So if your business is hovering around this rate, you are not alone. Competition continues to rise, making it even harder for businesses to drive online sales. To help you identify where your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy may be failing you and how to improve this strategy, we’ve narrowed down the best possible methods:

Write Compelling Content

Most people don’t actually read the majority of web copy, so this suggestion may come as a surprise. They may skim and absorb the headlines that stand out, but for the most part, do not read word for word. The reason for this is simple: web content is often poorly written.

So remember these points to attract readers and boost conversions with your content:

  • Voice: Use a unique voice that’s consistent across all of your marketing channels.
  • Be provocative: When appropriate, use suggestive headlines and copy that speak to your users about their frustrations.
  • Entertain: Even the driest topics can entertain readers if written well. If a particular page isn’t geared toward informing or educating the reader, it should at least be enjoyable to read.
  • Be professional: Avoid exclamation points. If you need to communicate excitement, use verbs.
  • Cite sources: It’s frustrating to read content that makes unsupported claims. If you are sharing your own perspective on a matter, cite the original.

Forms – Where the Conversion Happens

The form on your landing page is the most important component of your conversion strategy. It’s the final step an individual takes before becoming a lead or customer. With that in mind, it’s important to consider the following:

Number of fields

The optimal number of fields for your business will depend on your offer, but try to make it as few as possible. Only ask for the details you need from your leads. The more fields on your form, the easier it is for a contact to get overwhelmed with the effort involved and bounce (especially for those browsing mobile devices).

Placement

As we discussed earlier, people tend to skim web pages and look for key elements. If your conversion opportunity (form) appears below the fold, visitors may not even see it. Make sure it’s visible on all devices upon landing on the page, without the need to scroll, pinch, or zoom.

Form Errors

There’s nothing more frustrating than filling out a form three times only to get an unsuccessful error without any indication as to which part of the form was not filled out correctly. Make sure form errors are visible and descriptive.

Run Split Tests on Landing Pages

Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is when businesses run experiments to determine which elements of their strategy are more effective. By creating two different versions of landing pages to run at the same time, it’s easier to pinpoint what’s driving conversions and what’s not.

Here are some examples of different elements of your conversion strategy you can split test:

  • Button color
  • Headlines
  • Copy
  • Forms
  • Page layout
  • Images

You can track the results of your split tests in Google Analytics; but using tools like Unbounce, Optimizely, or HubSpot can allow you to manage your experiments a little easier.

PRO TIP: Ensure that you are extracting meaningful data from your tests. The split test results may show you which call-to-action (CTA) performed better, but what information can you take away from that experiment to help your next CTA?

Establish Trust

It doesn’t matter how strong your offer is if your visitors don’t feel they can trust you. This is particularly important for eCommerce businesses. Why would shoppers give you their credit card information if they are the slightest bit apprehensive?

Include these elements on your landing and product pages, where the user is preparing to make a decision:

  • Badges: Antivirus, PayPal, Verisign for example
  • Reviews and Seller Ratings: Here is a list of the ones that Google recognizes, which means they stand to improve your click-through rate as well.
  • Testimonials: Include an image of the customer if possible (get permission first!).
  • Dynamic Social Proof: Yieldify has a tool that shows you how many people viewed a page or product in a given time frame. The same is used in travel industry when you see “300 people viewed this property today.” The same buyer psychology works for products in eCommerce.

Leverage Design Best Practices

If your website is not responsive (doesn’t adapt to the user’s screen size), this could be the number one reason for your low conversion rates. As desktop browsing continues to give way to mobile, your website needs to be optimized for mobile devices of all sizes.

The look and feel of your website should have character. A common trend in design currently is the minimalistic white look. But what’s memorable about that? Use about 2 to 3 of your brand colors throughout the site and do a side-by-side comparison with your competitor’s site to ensure that yours is unique.

At all costs, avoid using stock photos. These are typically unrelatable and generic. Invest in quality photography of your products, office, and team. You’ll be surprised how effective these images can be in establishing trust.

Incorporate Conversion-Driving Functionality

How can you expect visitors to convert on your website if it takes several seconds to load? People are impatient and can move to the next search engine result if your website loads too slowly. You can optimize your media and check your site load time periodically with Website Grader.

The goal of your website or landing page is to convert visitors so it’s important to keep them focused. Avoid unnecessary overlays or pop-ups that may be distracting.

Visitor experience on your website plays a key role in their decision to convert. This includes being able to serve your visitors the information that meets their needs, which is where personalization comes in. Website personalization displays content tailored to your visitor characteristics, devices, or actions, facilitated through your CMS and marketing automation platform.

Offer Incentives

As eCommerce competition continues to grow, shoppers have endless opportunities to search for better deals. Offering an incentive and making it clear how to take advantage of it can be an extremely effective method to drive conversions. Create a page dedicated to promo codes and link to it in your main menu or share the code directly on the product page.

If visitors don’t see what they are looking for on your site (like a sale or promotion they saw on another channel), they’ll use your search bar. Analyzing the searches on your site is beneficial not only in determining what your visitors are looking for but also in encouraging conversions by allowing visitors to find what they are looking for. Ensure that your search bar is visible on all pages and devices.

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Advertising

Another particularly effective type of advertising is remarketing. Remarketing ads are displayed to individuals who have already visited your site.

There are plenty of ways to use remarketing ads to drive conversions and beneficial to re-engage:

  • Past visitors
  • Individuals who abandoned carts
  • Existing customers

Use Your Data

One of the most important ways to continuously optimize your conversion strategy is to leverage your data. Uncover details about your customers, how they are finding your site, and how they are engaging with it by analyzing the data collected from Google Analytics, your advertising campaigns, social media channels, email efforts, and any other tools you are using.

Conclusion

Remember, optimizing your conversion strategy should be an ongoing experiment. These tips can guide you in the right direction, but the effort should be that of constantly evolving and improving. Start with SMART goals, test your strategy, analyze results, and make improvements and adjustments accordingly.

Please Note: This is a guest Post by Peter Dulay. He is a conversion expert with over 10 years of experience in digital advertising and conversion. He has helped many startups and fortune 500 companies to boost their conversion by 400% and more.

The post Content Marketer’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Content Marketer’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Structuring your Customer Surveys: Asking Questions for Actionable Answers


Customer on-page surveys are a great way to gather feedback for your business. These surveys help you in understanding your customers and address issues that they face.

In a perfect world, surveys would work magically. We would create and deploy an on-page survey and the answers would just start trickling in. But, in the real world, it’s quite the opposite.

Why?

The average customer attention span is getting shorter as you speak. If you don’t ask the right questions with the help of the right platform, you may never get an answer.

That’s why thoughtful survey designs and questions are a must. These help you get better and actionable results, as well as a good ROI.

Here is a list of things that makes on-site surveys the de facto tool to gather actionable feedback:

  • Uncover flaws, which could affect various aspects of your business-like conversions, retention rate, churn rate, and so on, in web flow or user experience.
  • Evaluate your users and segment these for enhanced targeting.
  • Identify and evaluate the needs of your customers. For example, identify if it is time to get serious about a feature your customers are longing for.
  • Understand how your customers find your offerings to be different from those of your competitors’.
  • Evaluate new features or versions by asking for user feedback.

Hence, using app-based or on-page surveys is a great way to let the users know you genuinely care about what they think.

So, without much further ado, let’s begin.

Surveys: How to Begin

You may consider planning a survey to be straightforward. Start with building a list of questions individually or with a team, and brainstorm to pick the right set from the lot. When done, use a survey app and deploy it.

Consider the points below:

  • Why are you doing an on-page survey, and who is your target audience?
  • What channels and mediums are you going to target for this survey?
  • What do you expect to figure out?
  • What should you do to maximize data collection from this survey?
  • What actions are you going to take based on the survey results, which might be either positive or negative?

This process seems intuitive and productive. Yet, if you just turn the tables, you’ll be able to frame better questions.

Instead, start by brainstorming the answers that you want. When you point out the answers that you are looking for, the questions will automatically come to you.

Now, let’s revamp the above points into answers and see how these might help us come up with the questions:

  • You are doing a survey to increase the upsell rate. So your target audience would be your current set of users who are regularly using your product or service.
  • You want to target mobile users and get their feedback. Hence, the channel you pick is mobile and the medium would be push notifications, in-app surveys, and maybe
    email-based surveys.
  • You would be able to figure out the segment of users to whom you can upsell.
  • Incentivize the program by offering a free trial or a free beta period to maximize data collection for your survey.
  • Depending on the feedback you gathered, assign a team of account managers to the users who are open to upgrading. And, let’s say, in an unfortunate turn of events, your survey results in a backlash, it’s time to fix the system.

Now you know what your survey expectations are and the answers you are looking for. It’s time to create questions based on the above information.

Types of Surveys

As you frame questions based on the expected answers, you also need to think about the structure of the feedback.

You can gather answers to your survey questions in a variety of ways. The type of survey you select will affect your campaign results. Here are the most common survey types that you can choose from.

1. Yes/No surveys

This is the simplest form of an in-app or on-page survey that is running on various websites, as we speak. A question is followed by only 2 options, Yes and No.

Yes/No Survey

2. Multiple option-based surveys

Need more details than just Yes or No? Then multiple option-based surveys are exactly what you should try. This survey-type allows a marketer to provide multiple choices as possible answers. You can allow participants to select as many options (checkbox-based survey) as they deem fit or just one (radio button-based survey).

Multiple Option Surveys

 3. Drop-down menu-based surveys

Drop-down menu-based surveys work the same way as multiple option-based surveys. The catch is that at most times, drop-down options are sorted in order.

Drop Down Survey

Example:

What is the traffic of your website per month?

  • 0–10,000 users
  • 10,001–20,000 users
  • 20,001–50,000 users
  • 50,001 or more

Note that the options are in ascending order.

Drop-down surveys also help you run surveys where the responses could be from a vast set of data. For example, while trying to figure out the organizational function of the customer, there can be more than 10 options. Hence, a drop-down option would accommodate these options, without breaking your web design.

4. Textbox-based surveys

At times, you just need direct feedback from your customers or some contact information from the surveyee. In these circumstances, textual surveys come to our aid. These textbox-based surveys can have a small or large box.

Textbox Survey

When Should you Time The Survey?

As you can target a definite set of users, note the following points before deploying your survey:

  1. Does the user qualify for the survey? (Does the user fit your sales funnel, is the customer a valuable lead, and so on?)
  2. When should you ask the question? For instance, you should not ask a user at an early stage of the funnel, “what went wrong with your order?”
User Targeting
Target visitors based on their activity. For example, here the survey will only activate for returning visitors after 30s have elapsed.

Analyze your website dynamics and metrics. Also, watch your customer’s web flow and use the gathered data to pinpoint the right stage when your survey can connect with the reader.

How to Get People to Respond?

Asking the right questions is one part of the problem. The other important part is to get responses from your audience.

To do so, you need to frame questions that are easy to understand and easy to answer as well.

Here are a few ways marketers approach surveys:

  • Ask simple questions, concentrate on questions with well-defined options, a simple Y/N question or a multiple-choice survey. When answered, ask for an explanation.
  • Ask generic questions, which can have multiple answers.

We conducted a study on both types, and you can see how option-based questions performed better than open-ended questions.

VWO Survey Report -2016
The survey that had options resulted in 493 replies.

VWO Survey Report - 2
The question that had options to select from. One can clearly see that we got a massive 493 reply here.

 

Source

We learned that questions with concrete options performed better than questions that are open-ended. People tend to respond to surveys that require less time to complete. The former survey had answers to choose from and hence users were at ease while answering the survey.

We saw that surveys with predefined answers had a better scope of being answered. Moreover, our customers preferred to follow up with an explanation for their answers.

Now comes the part with best practices—what all you should keep in mind when you want to run surveys.

Do’s of Web Surveys

1. Ask questions based on a scale

 A simple way in which you can extract a rich dataset from your survey is by introducing a scale for the answers. Consider changing your Yes/No questions to more figurative questions.

For example, consider this question:

To what extent are you frustrated with the traffic on the 31st interstate?

2. Avoid asking leading questions

Some words and phrases interjected in your survey questions can subtly encourage readers to answer in a certain manner, thus compromising the purpose of the question. For example, “Due to a high cost of web hosting, do you think we should stop refreshing data every 2 hours?” is a question that may bias readers to choose an answer. Instead, you can frame your question on these lines, “Should we stop refreshing data every 2 hours?”

To evaluate if your question is leading readers, run a test with your colleagues or friends and see if they are biasing toward a similar option. If the percentage is high, then you need to reassess that question.

3. Offer incentives for long surveys

If, for some reason, you are unable to keep your survey short, offer an incentive to complete the survey. The incentive does not need to be something huge. For example, you can offer an entry to a giveaway contest for a product when a user participates and completes a long survey.

4. Keep a survey short and simple

If your surveys are brief, there is a greater chance of your visitors or customers completing the survey. Target a completion period of 10–15 seconds for best response rate.

Use of checkbox-based or radio-button-based surveys is recommended over textual surveys. Both these survey types have the highest response rate in our market study.

Also, do not delve into framing questions that are unclear to your readers. Be specific. For example, instead of asking, “Do you commute regularly using a cab?”, you may ask, “How many days in a work-week do you take a cab to work?” Such questions get you short and precise answers.

5. Make sure that every survey question is answered

 You are running a survey to gather actionable insights for your business. Weigh-in on every question, analyze what answers you are looking for, and decide if the question has to go to the survey.

6. Avoid questions with “and” and “or”

If your questions contain these connecting words, it may confuse the people taking the survey.

 For example, “Do you find your MacBook reliable and fast?”

Here, the customer can get confused, as ways to assess reliability and speed depend on individual requirement and vary across different users. Such a question would discourage the user from giving a concrete answer.

Instead, break the question into 2 parts. First, check the reliability and later, check the performance speed of the MacBook.

  • Extremely frustrated
  • Moderately frustrated
  • Slightly frustrated
  • Not affected

As you can note, this question could have an alternative yes/no variation; but this version provides you with a better context on the frustration level of the visitors. Hence, you can make better decisions on how to proceed toward a solution.

7. Place your Surveys at the right position on your website

According to our report, we noticed that a higher number of people completed on-page surveys when they were on the right side of the page, with a higher contrast ratio.

Don’ts of Web Surveys

1. Avoid open-ended questions

Per the above discussion, it is clear that open-ended questions in a survey have a higher chance of getting ignored than being answered. Always delve into option-based surveys, as discussed earlier.

2. Avoid a survey bias

Survey bias is a phenomenon where the person or the team putting the survey together develops questions in a specific manner that leads to the participant answering as desired by the surveyor.

For example, to confirm a fact about your product, you may frame a question in a manner where your customer answers precisely what you want.

Here is a hypothetical situation, which demonstrates the intent of bias toward a specific answer. If you ask your customers, “Due to the increase in accidents on campus, do you think motor-based vehicles should be banned in the college,” the answer is going to be mostly “Yes.”

Why?

Because surveyee attention may shift toward the issue of higher accidents in the campus and they may answer the question keeping safety in their mind.

But when you frame a question like “Do you think motor-based vehicles should be banned from colleges?” students may have a more neutral answer or outlook.

3. Not testing your survey

Don’t ever forget to test your Survey. Here are two ways of testing your survey.

The first test would be testing its compatibility with the on-page survey. Things like device compatibility, responsive nature, and survey triggers should be tested before going live with the survey.

The second test would be doing an internal run of the survey. Try to at least run the survey across 5–10 members of your organization and see if you can get unbiased and honest responses. If something looks wrong, revisit the questions.

Conclusion

On-page or On-site surveys are a crucial part of conversion optimization. Whether you are looking to decipher your low conversion rates or improve your already decent figures, on-page surveys can play a significant role.

Surveys are going to help you in a lot of ways. A survey allows you to understand your visitors and existing customers, and learn about their expectations from your product or service. It’s also a tool that allows you to segment and target your user base. Visitors with advanced knowledge even use surveys to garner their NPS.

This post is written to help you conduct surveys that bring you actionable data. So the next time you begin your survey:

  1. Understand the need for a survey. The answers you are looking for will help you create your questions.
  2. When you have the questions, decide which format of on-page surveys suits the feedback mechanism.
  3. Learn to earn a response from your customers or visitors. Experiment with best practices for surveys to maximize the response rate.
  4. Stay away from open-ended questions. Avoid a survey bias, and always test before you go live.
  5. After you have actionable results, start delivering to your users.

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Structuring your Customer Surveys: Asking Questions for Actionable Answers

How Indian Brands Drive Conversions On Independence Day

How Brands Drive Conversion on Independence Day

The Indian Independence day is right around the corner. For consumers in India, it’s a day of rejoice and celebration. And, for marketers, it opens a box of opportunities.

For marketers, the opportunity to leverage spirit of Independence translates into consumers’ buying decision for marketers.

In India, especially during major festivals and occasions like Independence Day, you can expect cutthroat rivalry among major brands. And yet, there are big winners in such intense situations.

How does this happen?

What are the strategies and tactics that these brands deploy to successfully pull off a nationwide campaign?

We studied various campaigns of India’s largest online brands to find out the answer.  

And we saw that there were five different ploys deployed to pique the interest of the average online consumer in India that resulted in the success of these campaigns.

1. Tapping into consumers’ emotions

Independence Day is the time of the year when citizens are filled with joy and hopes for prosperity for the whole nation. Marketers very well understand these emotions and know how to leverage these to their advantage.

A fitting example would be the outstation campaign by Ola, one of the largest cab aggregator in India.

When the Independence day is close to a weekend, people love to travel a lot. Weekend getaways are popular among the public, and folks love to spend time with their friends and relatives at places nearby.

Ola appealed to its customers’ emotions by offering them outstation deals during the Independence week. The company even offered an INR 300 discount for its first-time outstation users. Ola also partnered with Club Mahindra and Yatra to offer deals on hotel stays.

Ola Outstation Email

Ola encourages taking a holiday while thinking about it as a viable brand for traveling to nearby getaways.

2. Limited Period Offer

The sad part of these festive sales and offers is that these need to end after a short span. These campaigns generally run from 2 to 5 days around the festival.

For example, Flipkart Freedom Sale which celebrates India’s spirit of Independence only ran for 4 days, so people had limited time to buy what they wanted to.

Freedom Sale Flipkart

Most consumers plan their purchases for such special occasions to get the best deals for the intended product. For others, marketing events, sales, and giveaways always take place with an expiration date.

Setting up such a trigger pushes prospective buyers to make purchases fast, to avoid missing out on the deals.

3. Creating a Sense of Urgency with the help of Micro Events

Some brands build upon the limited nature of the sale and go out all guns blazing to create a sense of urgency.

On top of the limited nature of the sale event, there are few micro-events incorporated into the sale that runs for a few hours to minutes. These sales are exclusive to people who can decide and act fast as they come with an additional discount.

Amazon does this very well with their lightning deals, which generally last from 2-6 hours throughout the event (which itself is 4-day long). The lightning deals have an additional discount on an already stated discount. The catch is the limited time and the sense of urgency it creates.

amazon-lighting-deal

If people have to buy a product which has a lightning deal, they can add it to their cart and checkout under 15 minutes or the deal is gone forever.

4. Exclusive Product Launch

These festive events also leverage their audience’s interest by providing exclusive product offers during a sale.

It is highly useful to build anticipation among shoppers. And, in India, Amazon attracted consumers from the smartphone market. India is known as the mobile-first country, where over half the population owns a smartphone.

keyone-launch

Amazon saw huge boosts in sales due to Smartphone and had exclusive launch of various devices such as Blackberry KeyOne, LG Q6, and the Oneplus 5’s Soft Gold variant. The result was a massive 10X increase in the sales for Amazon through just their Big Indian Sale Event.

5. Omnichannel Promotion and User Experience

Most major brands understand their users and customers. India is predominantly a mobile-first market with a decent penetration when it comes to computers. People love to shop using their mobile devices as well as use their laptops or PCs to make a purchase.

And most users want omnichannel access to the brand of their choice. We saw that a major chunk of brands embraced this philosophy over the Independence week.

For instance, my primary communication happens on my cell phone and brands saw my interaction on cell phones were far more than the email or website and therefore most of the promo I received was over mobile push or in-app rather than through email or website.

Grofers Freedom Sale

Also, there were deals that promoted usage of multiple channels to buy products. Grofers offered an INR 100 discount to shoppers who were open to buying stuff using their mobile app.

Appeal to Your Customers’ Emotions; Don’t Stop Experimenting

Customers are spoilt for choices when the whole nation is celebrating. In these times, marketers need not be intimidated or overwhelmed by their customers. They have to leverage these emotions and keeping building experiences with the help of experimentation.

These are major strategies that have been successfully demonstrated by brands to be effective. You need to understand emotional cues of your customers and accordingly create an effective campaign.

By tapping into your customer’s cognitive tendencies, you can build healthy, long-term relationships with your customers.

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How Indian Brands Drive Conversions On Independence Day