3 Advanced Conversion Tips We Learned from the 2014 Holiday Season

Everyone knows that the holiday season is the busiest ecommerce time of the year. Beginning on Black Friday, running through Cyber Monday, and hurtling to the final days of December, shoppers eagerly snatch up merchandise online.

Many retailers depend heavily on the holiday season for the revenue that will take them through much of the year. Some ecommerce sites earn as much as 40% of their annual revenue during the final two months of the year.

This past season marked the biggest online shopping date in the history of the world. Never before have retailers profited as much—and consumers spent so much.

It’s hard to pay attention during the frenzied rush of holiday shopping. Just in case you were a little bit busy, we pulled together some of the most critical lessons that we learned.

Keep in mind that it’s a buyer’s market, and those buyers can and will reject you if you don’t meet their expectations on shipping charges, delivery times, customization options, and just about any other detail that concerns them.

What are the conversion tips that will put you on top? As research demonstrates, there are specific trends that bubbled to the top this year. You can put these advanced conversion tips to practice in the coming year and powerfully advance your conversion rates, holiday season or not.

1. Increase your activity on social.

Year-end studies reveal a common trend for holiday season 2014. Social media is huge. You won’t convert some users unless you have a strong and robust presence on social media.

Social media influence has risen by 66% over 2013, meaning that customers are more likely to make a purchase if recommended on a social networking site.

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Shoppers use social media sites for reviewing products, getting gift ideas, sharing referrals, liking or following brands they enjoy, sharing recommendations on social, learning about new products, logging in to retail sites through social, and simply viewing ads.

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Social media is the conversation place for all things retail. What’s more, shoppers register a high likelihood of converting based on free shipping offers, discounts, loyalty points, or other social deals:

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Remember, you can do more than just make sales on social. Many marketers are eyeing the social opportunities during the holiday season for purposes such as extending brand reach, generating more leads, and gaining more traffic.

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However you approach it and whatever you do, keep active on social.

2. Optimize your mobile experience.

The “rise of mobile” isn’t a thing anymore. Anyone who wants to be competitive in the eccommerce landscape must have a response site. As reported by Marketing Land, one third of shoppers will do half of their shopping on mobile devices.

Every holiday season, mobile gets even more important. The retailers with the highest annual revenue rates ($1bn) pulled in as much as 30% of their traffic from mobile devices through the holiday shopping season.

But it’s no longer just enough to have a responsive site. According to Skava, 88% of mobile shoppers complain that their mobile shopping experience is unpleasant. That’s bad enough, but it gets worse. Marketwatch reports that these shoppers say that they won’t shop at an online retailer unless they get a flawless experience. 30% of them will never return, period.

That’s a huge problem. Why? Because, as Google has revealed, shoppers start their shopping on a smartphone.

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If they face frustration on their first touch point with your site, they’re gone forever.

Here are their main points of frustration:

  • Poor navigation (50 percent)
  • Slow Web page load times (47 percent)
  • Interruptions / timeouts (40 percent)
  • Checkout process (26%)

More than half of shoppers say that such glitches make them “think less of a brand.”

Here are what customers are most interested in:

  • Website’s ease of use (88 percent)
  • Strong security (72 percent)
  • Clear Web images (64 percent)

If all these shoppers are coming on mobile and insisting on a flawless experience, you’ve got to deliver. Online shopping today is largely mobile shopping, and it’s time to brush up on your mobile experience, lest you lose a huge percentage of your customers for good.

3. Start retargeting.

It’s the perfect time to start retargeting. The holidays brought potential buyers, and you want to get those buyers back.

Retargeting or remarketing is the simple act of advertising your site to visitors who previously visited your site. This is how Retargeter explains it visually:

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According to studies, customers who visit a site are more than twice as likely to return to that site later to make a purchase. Companies that offer this service include, Chango, AdRoll,, Chango, Perfect Audience, and many others.

Retargeting is on the rise. More companies are engaging remarketing, and using more types of retargeting, according to MDGAdvertising.

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There’s a simple reason why retargeting has become so popular. It works.

According to, 54% of shoppers say that they will go back and buy items in their cart if they are offered again at a discount. Among MIllennials, the largest shopping demographic, 72% of them are open to retargeting.

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During the holiday season, shoppers spend a lot of time online. In the toys category, shoppers spend 11 hours in research. In the appliances category, they spend 15 hours in research.

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All that time in research and comparison turns out to be a huge remarketing opportunity.

If you’re retargeting, your audience will see you and they will buy from you.

Marketing Land ticks off just a few of the reasons why you should use retargeting:

  • It’s the second chance for you to convert a visitor. You don’t get that second chance with typical PPC ads.
  • You build an asset by capturing your audience data. And in ecommerce, data is everything.
  • You build illusions of grandeur. You may just be a small shop, but as long as you have a big ad presence, you’ll look huge.
  • Better-than-ever campaign performance. Retargeting CTRs are huge, smashing the CTRs ordinary PPC ads.

You will get more customers, more sales, and more revenue if you’re retargeting.


Let’s wrap it up. Here are the three trends we learned from the holiday shoppers that will give you the biggest conversion uptick in the coming year:

  • More social
  • Better mobile
  • Start retargeting

Just a few smart moves can make a big difference in conversions. That’s the whole point. You don’t need to market harder, just smarter. These are the techniques that brought holiday cheer. Chances are, they’re going to make 2015 a bit more cheerful, too.

What conversion lessons did you learn from the 2014 holiday season?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

The post 3 Advanced Conversion Tips We Learned from the 2014 Holiday Season appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Source article:

3 Advanced Conversion Tips We Learned from the 2014 Holiday Season


Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: January 2015

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork, and as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost seven years now1, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for January 2015. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
  • You can feature your work in our magazine2 by taking part in our Desktop Wallpaper Calendars series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?


Designed by Elise Vanoorbeek3 from Belgium.


New Year 2015

“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress” — Designed by Zanetine Web Design38 from India.

New Year 201539

Rest Up For The New Year

“I was browsing for themes when I found this “Festival of Sleep” that takes place on the 3rd, and I’m a big fan of sleep… Especially in these cold months after the holiday craziness, it’s nice to get cozy and take a nice nap.” — Designed by Dorothy Timmer69 from Central Florida, USA.

Rest Up For The New Year70

Start Somewhere

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. Start today – somewhere, anywhere.” — Designed by Shawna Armstrong116 from the United States.

Start Somewhere117

Time For A New Adventure

“I believe the new year brings the unique chance of a fresh start feeling. That’s way I believe it is a good time for us to change the things we don’t like and dare to take a crazy adventure with our loved ones.” — Designed by Maria Keller143 from Mexico.

Time for a new adventure144

The Early January Bird

“January is the month of a new beginning, hope and inspiration. That`s why it reminds me of an early bird.” — Designed by Zlatina Petrova190 from Bulgaria.

The Early January Bird191

Winter Leaves

Designed by Nathalie Ouederni233 from France.

Winter Leaves234

Happy Holidays

“Staying in the holiday mood through the winter” — Designed by Marina Eyl252 from Pennsylvania, USA.

Happy Holidays253

New Year’s Resolutions

“When I think about a new upcoming year, I think about new year’s resolutions. Things you promise to yourself, but in the end almost everything goes back to it’s old habits. Hope you guys like the idea and the way that I have drawn/designed it.” — Designed by Sam Cornette265 from Belgium.

New year's resolutions266

Written In The Stars

“I have this gut feeling that 2015 will be a great year, it’s written in the stars.” — Designed by Diederik Craps308 from Belgium.

2015 - Written in the stars309

Oh Deer!

“Because deers are majestic looking creatures.” — Designed by Maxim Vanheertum333 from Belgium.

Oh deer!334

New Beginnings

“I was inspired by a quote I saw recently, and I couldn’t help but doodle about new beginnings in 2015!” — Designed by Jordan Thoma374 from Dallas, TX.

New Beginnings 375

A New Day

“I’m waiting for a new day of a new year for a miracle to come.” — Designed by Tran Thi Anh Nguyet417 from Vietnam.

A new day418

January Gem: Garnet

“The message of the birthstones have a powerful story to tell through shape, color, and three simple words. January is the Garnet, for guidance, loyalty, and truth.” — Designed by Anna446 from St. Louis, USA.

January Gem: Garnet447

Better Things Ahead

Designed by Delphine Pages459 from London, UK.

Better Things Ahead460

Happy Family Time

“The symbol of the upcoming year is a sheep. These creatures are really cute, so we decided to picture them as a merry family where each one has their own interests and hobbies, but in spite of this they are together and happy :)” — Designed by MotoPress team501 from Ukraine.

Happy family time502

Start All Over Again

“January is a month to dream, to start a new life with new wishes. Start dreaming!” — Designed by Colorsfera526 from Spain.

Start all over again527

Three Wise Men Of The East

“In Belgium remember the Three Wise Men of the East is a tradition. It involves children going from door to door, dressed up as the three Wise Men. They sing a little song, in exchange for sweets and/or money. The design is very minimalistic and ‘flat’. I hope you like it :)” — Designed by Jeroen Bartels557 from Belgium.

Three Wise Men of the East558

Belly Laugh Day

“January can be a cold, dark, depressing month (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) but Global Belly Laugh Day580 on the 24th should cheer us up! This wallpaper featuring two cheeky characters was created to commemorate this.” — Designed by Oculus581 from the United Kingdom.

Belly Laugh Day582

January Fish

“My fish tank at home inspired me to make a wallpaper with a fish :)” — Designed by Arno De Decker606 from Belgium.

January Fish607

Join In Next Month!

Please note that we respect and carefully consider the ideas and motivation behind each and every artist’s work. This is why we give all artists the full freedom to explore their creativity and express emotions and experience throughout their works. This is also why the themes of the wallpapers weren’t anyhow influenced by us, but rather designed from scratch by the artists themselves.

A big thank you to all designers for their participation. Join in next month649!

What’s Your Favorite?

What’s your favorite theme or wallpaper for this month? Please let us know in the comment section below.



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The post Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: January 2015 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.


Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: January 2015

Designing With Your Clients

We have all known the pain of a client interfering in the design process. Phrases like “Make the logo bigger” and “Put that above the fold” have become a running joke in the web design community.
It is not unusual for web designers to lose money on a project as a result of the client endlessly iterating on the design. After a few bad experiences, we start to exclude the client from the process.

Original source:  

Designing With Your Clients


7 Important A/B Testing Rules to Follow to Raise Conversion Rates

A/B testing is gaining in popularity and is something a lot of businesses are considering as a way to generate more revenue.

The reason is simple.

By improving conversion rates, websites generate more orders at a lower cost per acquisition. This means better results for the same amount spent on advertising. It’s really a no brainer.

The hard part is getting a good grasp of A/B testing and understanding the rules and principles you need to follow in order to improve conversions. This article presents seven rules of thumb the top conversion optimizers follow in order to get better results.

#1: Allow your test to run for at least 7 days

The first is to allow your test to run for at least seven days.

The reason is that A/B tests can change very quickly. One variation may jump out to an early 350% conversion boost by day two and even be ruled statistically significant by your A/B testing software only to cool down to a 15% boost by day five. To account for these changes, you need to make sure and let your test run for at least seven days.

testing tips 1

Another reason to test for a longer period of time is that website traffic varies from day to day. Saturday traffic, for example, can be very different from Monday traffic. Based on that, you want to make sure to get results from every day of the week before calling a winner.

You should also keep in mind that even seven days is really a short time period for an A/B test, and you may be better off letting it run for a minimum of fourteen days just to be sure, something Neil Patel recommends in this post. In the end, you’re looking for a winner that will get long-term results and don’t want to pick a winning variation too soon only to find out it doesn’t actually boost conversions or revenue.

It’s also a good idea to allow tests to run until you have at least 100 total conversions. More than that is even better and less can work, but running until there are at least 100 conversions will help to give you more confidence that the outcome is accurate and will deliver the results you’re looking for.

#2: Run tests until you have a 95% confidence level

The next rule to follow is to run your test until there’s at least a 95% confidence level for the winning variation.

The reasons for this rule are the same as those for rule number one. First and foremost, you’re looking to pick a winning variation that will give you better results for the long term. This means you want to make sure the results are statistically significant and that you don’t pick a winner prematurely.

Another reason is that test results can change dramatically over the course of an A/B testing period. I’ve personally seen a variation jump out to a 105% boost in conversions after a day and a half only to lose when the test is called 10 days later. This makes it even more important to wait until your A/B testing software says the results are statistically significant.

To get a better idea about how long this will take for your test, you can use this simple A/B Test Sample Size Calculator from Optimizely. Calculators like this one make it easy to determine how long you’ll need to run the test at the current level of conversion improvement before getting statistically significant results.

testing tips 2

You’ll also want to keep in mind that the smaller the conversion boost, the longer the test will need to run, and vice versa. As such, if the improvement is only 5%, then you’ll need to run the test much longer than if it’s a 50% improvement.

#3: Big changes lead to bigger results

Another rule of thumb to keep in mind is that bigger changes have a greater chance of leading to bigger results.

If you change the headline or button copy on your homepage, for example, you might improve conversions, 10%, 15%, or 25%. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test those elements, it just means you shouldn’t expect to get really big improvements from doing so.

testing tips 3

But if you make a drastic change, that’s where there’s opportunity to get really big improvements.

Say, for example, that you have a SaaS business but don’t currently offer a free trial. You set up a Qualaroo survey on your site and get several questions from people asking, “Do you have a free trial I can use?” Realizing that at least some percentage of your visitors are interested in a free trial, you decide to test and see how it improves conversions and revenue.

So you go to work, set up a way for people to sign up for a free trial, and then run a test to measure the results. After one month of testing, you find out that free trial improves conversion by 125%. Awesome! Let’s go ahead and implement that free trial!

The thing to remember is that bigger changes like this have a greater likelihood of leading to big conversion wins, which means you may want to consider some bigger tests to run and not just headline, button text, and website copy changes. It takes more work to implement, but in the end it’s worth it to take some risks, test a bigger change, and then wait to see the results.

#4: The compound improvement of conversion wins

A lesser known conversion rule is that improvements increase in a compound way.

This means that four 25% improvements lead to a 144% increase in conversions and not just a 100% improvement. 100% is really good, but the math shows that the way improvements compound reveals that you’ll get even better results from a series of improvements than just adding the percentage increase together. (You can check the math on this by multiplying one by 1.25 four times and then subtracting one from the result.)

What’s the takeaway? Essentially, even a series of small improvements can have a big impact. You definitely want to test big changes that will have the opportunity of significantly improving conversions, but four 25% improvements or six 15% improvements will also have an impact on your bottom line.

#5: A/B testing doesn’t mean just making one change at a time

This is probably the biggest misunderstanding I see people have when it comes to A/B testing. They think you need to measure the difference every little change makes which means you need to test one small change at a time, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reason is that you’ll never be able to get anywhere if you just make one small change at a time. Yes, you won’t know as well whether factor A, B, or C impacts the results, but you’ll never be able to test big changes that get big results if you don’t test more than one change at a time.

One way to fix this is to run an A/B/n test. Instead of just running variation A against variation B, you can also add in variations C and D to see how they impact results. You can test just a headline change in variation B, a headline and sub-title change in variation C, and a new headline and sub-title change in variation D. You can have as many different variations as you’d like, just keep in mind that each new variation will require your test to be run X% longer before you find statistically significant results.

Multivariate tests are another way to test more than one change at once, but you’ll want to make sure you have enough experience with A/B testing before attempting to tackle a full-fledged multivariate test. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough traffic to select a winner because multivariate tests require a lot of traffic to select a winner.

#6: Macro conversions are more important than micro conversions

In the end, you always want to be measuring the results that are the most significant for your business, i.e., macro conversions.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re attempting to further improve conversions at the SaaS company mentioned above. The sign-up involves three critical steps: 1) Clicking “Start Free Trial on the homepage, 2) Entering information on the sign-up page, 3) Eventually signing up for a paid account.

Which of these do you think is the most important? Obviously, it’s getting customers to sign up for a paid account. This means you don’t want to just test whether or not the headline and homepage copy convinces people to click the Free Trial button. You also want to know whether it gets more people to sign up for a free trial and gets more people to sign up for a paid account.

Based on this, you want to measure the impact on both free trial and paid account signups whenever possible. This may seem counter-intuitive because you might think, “If more people click through to the second step, doesn’t that mean more people will sign up for a free trial, and if more people sign up for a free trial, doesn’t that mean more people will sign up for a paid account?”

The answer is no, and I’ve seen multiple tests where one variation increased conversions from step one to step two, but a different variation increased improvements to step three which was the final step in the conversion funnel.

This seems counter-intuitive, but you want to make sure to measure macro-conversions for test results because the winning variation from step one to step two won’t always be the winning variation for the final leg of your funnel.

#7: Testing eliminates assumptions (and disagreements)

One of the best things about A/B testing is that it eliminates assumptions and disagreements. You may assume that headline A will improve conversions when, in fact, headline B gets better results. In the same way, a colleague may hate headline B and ask why it would even be tested, only to find out later that it gets better results.

The lesson here is to always be testing. By doing so, you’ll be forced to test your assumptions and to make sure each change improves conversions.

You might be certain that a new pricing page will boost conversions, only to find out it doesn’t, or you might argue for three weeks about the best headline variation with your co-workers. A/B testing is the best way to solve all of these problems and to make sure you consistently make your site better.

The Value of A/B Testing

In the end, A/B testing is one of the most valuable marketing practices you can undertake. Most businesses spend all of their money acquiring traffic and not nearly as much as they should on improving conversion rates. This is a bad idea because you can only improve when A/B testing is carried out properly and will never go backwards.

Here’s one final important rule of thumb to keep in mind: When you double conversion rates, you cut your cost per acquisition in half. This means you can spend even more on advertising to dominate your competition, or you can spend that money elsewhere to build your business.

If you follow the rules of thumb from this post, you’ll be better prepared to double conversion rates and lower your cost per acquisition. This may take an entire year and twenty or more tests, but in the end, it’s totally worth it if you’re able to double your results from paid advertising campaigns.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Joe Putnam.

The post 7 Important A/B Testing Rules to Follow to Raise Conversion Rates appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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7 Important A/B Testing Rules to Follow to Raise Conversion Rates


9 Predictions We Hope Will Come True in 2015


We know, we know. You’ve read enough prediction articles already. We have too. It’s December and lists of what’s to come in the year ahead are just what marketing thought leaders do. So this time around, we vowed we would abstain from our own list of predictions. And we have. But along the way, we have stumbled upon a few gems that we really wanted to share.

These are a few 2015 predictions that we hope will come true!

1. Brands will opt for radical openness and transparency.

Tony Zambia notes, “For decades, B2B has had an invisible wall between themselves and buyers. B2B marketing will need to open up and become more transparent with their information and knowledge that buyers seek and remove gated barriers to information.”

2. Marketers will become growth engines for their businesses.

BOOM! We love this! “Now that content marketing has proven it can drive engagement and audience growth, marketers will need to prove how they are increasing revenue. In the new year, marketers will be able to grow their businesses through content, and prove it. They will need to tie value to their content marketing strategy, and prove that the relationships they’re building add revenue over time.”

3. Finally, marketing=content.

“2015 is the year content subsumes marketing and brands realize that content is the atomic particle of every aspect of marketing, and will staff and budget accordingly.”

4. The story will be everywhere.

The story is everywhere now, it’s not something we just see online, or in the lobby waiting for our next appointment, or on the road, or on a social network. The story is everywhere, yet as marketers we are designing the story for each individual channel. I think we’ll see this changing next year, where the story is continued and pieced together as a transmedia thread, giving us bite-sized pieces of information while entertaining us at the same time. It’s how we respond as humans.

5. Visual storytelling will go wild.

“…marketers will need to find a medium that will help their message to stand out from the crowd and that could be visual storytelling. Perfect for engaging and nurturing engaged consumer communities, visual storytelling will be employed to communicate the brand’s philosophy and aesthetics…visual stories crafted for marketing purposes will be able to spark the movement and inspire emotions, sending a clear message about the brand to its consumer communities and helping to define it against the surrounding surge of noise.”

6. Coding is in. Really in.

In the TopRank Blog, Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn says “Coding will become a necessity for digital marketers. As the modern marketer strives to understand how social, content, demand gen, PR, and SEO call all work successfully within a fully integrated marketing strategy, the next skill is to add coding to their resume/ LinkedIn profile. The ability to understand how front end web development and coding can affect, enhance, and optimize a content strategy will become a necessity for marketers instead of a nice to have.”

7. There will be no difference between marketing to acquire customers and to retain customers.

“For so long, we’ve been encouraged to approach how to find new customers and how to keep our existing ones with separate strategies. But in order for us to create authentic, impactful content, we need one approach, with one consistent voice.”

8. Sales+Marketing=Smarketing?

Also from on the TopRank Blog, David Meerman Scott gives us a predication we truly love with this gem, “Digital marketing will converge with digital selling in a meaningful way. Marketing (one to many) and sales (one to one) are beginning to use the same techniques of content creation and real-time engagement. The best organizations will not run marketing and sales as separate “departments” but will merge the two functions into one customer facing organization focused on revenue generation.”

9. The line between software vendors and service providers will blur.

On the Chiefmartec blog, Scott Brinker mentioned that he sees the software/service line blurring in the coming year. Since he’s not just Chiefmartec, but also our co-founder & president, we went straight to the horse’s mouth to get more on this one. Here’s what he shared with us: “The best software companies are helping their customers learn and leverage their tools — teaching them how to build a house, not just selling them a hammer and nails. The best agencies and service providers are harnessing technology to be more effective and efficient in a digital-first world. In both cases, what matters to marketers are the results.” We couldn’t agree more!



Which ones do you think will be accurate? Will your brand keep up with the new year? Are you ready for 2015? Make sure that, when these predictions come to fruition, you stand out among the rest. Take a look at our interactive guide to improving your brand engagement and start your new year off right with usefulness and interactivity for your audience.

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9 Predictions We Hope Will Come True in 2015


Customer Choice and Conversion: Less Is More

There’s an ice cream shop in Vancouver called the International Ice Cream Factory. It’s not just an ice cream shop. It’s a tourist destination.

The attraction? 218 flavors of ice cream on site! And those aren’t just variations of chocolate and vanilla. They’ve got flavors like wasabi and tofu.

Visiting the place is an event. You walk in there and it’s packed with people looking at all the different flavors and asking to try some. I reckon there were people just trying flavors and not buying anything—218 spoons of ice-cream would fill anyone.

As for me, I spent 20 minutes trying to decide what to get before settling down for a good old chocolate. I might have walked out without buying too, but I really like chocolate.

Too many choices can sometimes be overwhelming and could lead to lower conversion rates. It seems counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t more product options lead to more sales?

Well, studies have shown that when people are overloaded with options, they tend to go with the safest one. For consumers, the safest choice is to not buy anything. In my case, it seems to be chocolate.

Are you overwhelming customers, and should you be offering fewer options? Let’s find out.

jam - placeitSource:

Reduce CTAs

More calls to action don’t necessarily mean more action. Whether it’s your website, landing page or email newsletter, asking customers to do multiple things will only lead to distraction and inaction.

NameOn, a Scandinavian e-tailer, found that the dropout rate between their cart and checkout pages was 31.7%. It was the first step in their checkout funnel and they were already losing a full third of their customers.

They had a good look at the Cart page to determine what the issue was. Their initial design had 9 calls to action, including calls to sign up for the newsletter and like them on Facebook.

Too many CTAs decrease conversion rates

They hypothesized that these extra CTAs were only distracting customers. To test this, they created a simpler variation with only one bold CTA that asked customers to continue to checkout.

Fewer CTAs increase conversion rates

The variation performed better by 11.40% with a 99% statistical significance. Seems like a small number, but it actually translates to over $100,000 extra in sales each year for NameOn.

Now ask yourself this. Are a few extra Facebook likes really worth $100,000 a year?

It’s tempting to present customers with multiple CTAs in the hopes that if they don’t click your primary CTA, they’ll click one of the secondary ones. If even you design your primary CTA to stand out and sit at the top of your hierarchy, you’re still giving customers other exit opportunities.

Whirlpool made the mistake of thinking that more calls to action meant higher click through rates. They had a new campaign coming up for their Ice Kitchen collection and they wanted to offer consumers a rebate.

They initially created an email campaign that had the rebate page as the primary CTA, but also included three other features as secondary CTAs.

In this screenshot, you can see that the rebate CTA is a massive yellow button, while the other three are just ‘Read More’ links. To us marketers, the goal of the email seems obvious.

More CTAs decrease conversion rates

However, from a consumer’s point of view, those ‘Read more’ links might be more interesting to them, and might take their attention away from the big CTA. To test if this would happen, Whirlpool created a variation with only the primary CTA.

1 CTA increases conversion rates

It’s a very simple change, but it made a huge difference. The email with the single CTA had a 42% higher click through rate, proving that less is more.

Keep Your Promotions Simple

The concept of fewer CTAs also applies to your promotions. Too often we see retailers sending out emails or creating Web campaigns where multiple items go on sale.

It’s like someone coming up to you and saying, “I’m discounting this item. And this. And this. Oh, and also this. You know what, why don’t you look at this, this and this as well. And while you’re at it, consider this and this, or maybe even this.”

Whoa, hold on there! Which product do you want me to buy?

Indochino conducted a simple test for their email promotions. They sell custom men’s clothing and they found that the best time to promote some of their shirts was just after a customer had bought an expensive suit.

They could have inundated customers with various shirt suggestions in the hopes that they would click on one and buy it. However, they decided to take a simple approach. They picked three shirts that matched the suit and promoted them as a bundle.

The brilliance of the email lies in its simplicity. First of all, it’s highly personalized. Second, they are asking customers to buy, not one, but three more products at a bundled rate. Having just spent thousands of dollars on a suit, customers are unlikely to balk at $200 for three custom shirts.

Finally, there’s only one promotion with one call to action.

1 product increases conversion rates

The email resulted in a whopping 540% increase in revenue per email from their regular promotions.

Create Fewer Product Options

Back in 2000, Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper conducted their famous jam experiment. They wanted to test how the number of product variations affected conversion rates, and they used a certain brand of jam as their product.

The experiment took place in an upscale California grocery store on two consecutive Saturdays. Shoppers were presented with a tasting stall, which carried either 24 flavors of jam, or 6 flavors, depending on the time of day.

As you can imagine, the stall with more jams attracted more shoppers, 60% compared to 40%. However, when it came to sales, the results were completely different. The stall with 6 jams converted at 30% compared to a paltry 3% for the stall with 24 jams.

Clearly, offering numerous product options can attract lots of visitors, but the reality is that the conversion rates are quite low. You want to be careful not to end up like the International Ice Cream Factory, a tourist attraction rather than a business.

Fewer product options also means higher customer satisfaction. In another experiment, Iyengar asked participants to pick out one chocolate from a variety box. She split them up into two groups, one group getting to pick from a box of 30 chocolates, while the other picking from a box of 6.

It turns out that the participants who had to pick from the box of 30 felt more dissatisfied with their choice because they missed out on 29 others. On the other hand, the group that picked from the box of 6 felt pretty satisfied with their choice.

Test A Single Plan

As a SaaS business, you have only one product anyway, but you still might be offering too many options to customers.

Most apps typically have three pricing tiers—small, medium and big. Some even have a fourth enterprise plan, while others have a smaller free plan.

It’s natural to simply copy the three-tier plan, but if you’re just starting out, it might make more sense to test if this is actually for you. Just because it works for other businesses, doesn’t mean it will help you convert the same way.

Ash Maurya wanted to test out different pricing structures for his photo sharing app. He initially came up with three tiers:

  • $49/year for unlimited photo and video sharing
  • $24/year for unlimited photo sharing
  • Free for 500 photos

He also wanted to test if it was worth offering multiple pricing plans to customers or just the one. So he created 4 pricing pages and tracked conversion rates as well as retention rates.

The first one, the control, was a single plan option for the $49 price tier.

1 price plan increases conversion rates

Next he tried two tiers, $49 and $24.

1 price plan increases conversion rates

Then, he added all three tiers to the pricing page.

1 price plan increases conversion rates

Finally he just tried an introductory free price offer.


Ultimately, the conversion rate for the three-tier pricing was the highest, but it also lead to higher churn because more people were signing up for the free plan and then dropping out.

What really mattered was revenue, and the original single price page performed the best. Incidentally, it also had the second highest conversion rate.

When offering multiple price plans, if you have a free plan, you might find many customers just defaulting to that. In that case, it’s worth simplifying your plans and just offering one tier. Customers have only one choice to make and that makes it easier for them.


Mark Zuckerberg recently explained why he wears the same t-shirt every day. He said it was a silly decision to pick a different t-shirt every morning, so he just uses multiple versions of the same one each day.

Every time we make a decision, it takes up some energy. When more choice is offered to a consumer, the decision-making takes longer and requires more energy, eventually driving them to the safest option. On your SaaS site that could be the free plan, and on your ecommerce site that could just be not buying.

Instead, try making it a bit easier for them. Give them fewer choices and fewer options and see if it increases your conversion rates and sales.

 Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sid.

The post Customer Choice and Conversion: Less Is More appeared first on The Daily Egg.


Customer Choice and Conversion: Less Is More


30 Online Marketing Predictions from 2014 That Were Right on the Money!


Predictions are great. They are fun, introspective and conversation starters for sure…especially for marketers, since we all have an opinion about everything. As the transition starts from the end of one year to the beginning of another, they roll in like employees to the conference room as soon as word gets out that there are free donuts left over from the morning sales meeting.

We even jumped on the bandwagon, so we are definitely not knocking it. But as we cull our list of 2015 predictions worth highlighting, we’re feeling a little retrospective—you know, like when you find a mix tape filled with ballads from the likes of Air Supply and Chicago from a high school boyfriend (not ashamed).

So we are calling out 30 top 2014 Online Marketing Predictions that came to fruition!

  1. Marketers will be more accountable for ROI than ever before (Mashable)

  2. Interactive content marketing will increase (

  3. Businesses will finally be able to define content marketing (Forbes)

  4. User experience will count – marketers need to blow their consumers away with well-thought-out experiences that are easy and enjoyable to use (Contently)

  5. Marketers will embrace automation (Marketing Tech Blog)

  6. 2014 will be for content what 2010 was for social – everyone is going to jump on the bandwagon, but not everyone is going to be doing it equally well (naturally) (Contently)

  7. Stories will sell (Express Writers)

  8. Content marketing will be bigger than ever (Forbes)

  9. Email testing will increase in sophistication (

  10. Big data analytics will intersect with content marketing (on24)

  11. Image-centric content will rule. (Forbes)

  12. Connected devices will create an ecosystem of devices, also known as the Internet of Things (SumAll)

  13. People will devour scaled down, “snackable” content (

  14. Mobile will matter more than ever (

  15. Wearable tech will catch on (

  16. Engagement through visual apps + content will be huge (

  17. Video marketing will go B2B (on24)

  18. Brands will experiment with micro-video platforms, like Vine (

  19. Conversions will become a more important metric in measuring content marketing success (Web Content Blog)

  20. Social media automation will no longer be a dirty word (Jeff Bullas)

  21. Location-based marketing will matter (Express Writers)

  22. There will be a rise of the agile marketer (eWeek)

  23. Content marketing will be more closely tied to demand generation (Danny Brown)

  24. Visual storytelling will drive more traffic, shares and engagement (NBC Chicago)

  25. Influence marketing will be on the rise (Brandworkz)

  26. Cloud technology will equal empowered marketers (eWeek)

  27. 2014 is going to be the customer’s biggest year yet (Dianne Wilkins via Fast Company)

  28. Marketing technology will be on the rise (B2B Marketing Insider)

  29. CMOs will increase spending in digital marketing (iMedia Connection)

  30. Content marketing results will get tracked to sales (Heidi Cohen)

Oh! And be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog post highlighting top predictions for 2015. Let’s see how many of those will make the cut as being accurate glimpses into the future.

Continue reading here: 

30 Online Marketing Predictions from 2014 That Were Right on the Money!


How to Design a Social Content Strategy Like a CRO

Most of us have learned by now that content is the currency of the modern Web. It’s used to earn trust, attention, engagement, and actions from users all around the world by brands and businesses of all sizes. And it often primes your visitors to respond positively to your the conversion optimization tactics you’ve employed on the landing page.

Since we Crazy Eggers are in the business of optimizing every tactic for maximum conversions, it’s important that we take time to design a content strategy that does, in fact, have conversion-oriented goals and drives action.

What a lot of us tend to forget is that there is no default definition or form for ‘content.’ The term encompasses anything and everything from a single social update to original television series and everything in between.

One extension of the content marketing universe that has been growing quickly and quietly is social content. In this post I’ll provide answers and direction to questions like:

What makes social content different from the other content we’re creating?

How can I develop a social content strategy?

What tools do I need to be successful?

How should my strategy evolve over time?

Content in general can be repurposed for a variety of media channels so defining ‘social content’ has less to do with the format and more to do with the purpose.

In my opinion, the primary motivator and focus point should be enhancing the fan/customer relationship and experience with the brand on social media. Other content you create will be focused on growing your audience size, raising awareness, and driving conversions for your business. This content needs to be different.

It’s a fact that all social networks are becoming more and more cluttered with updates from brands and users alike. (If you’re not convinced, just look at the amount of photos taken on Instagram.)

To cut through that clutter, you need something more than cute kitten pictures and memes. You need content that appeals to your specific audience by resonating key elements that factor into their relationship with your brand like common interests, shared pain points, or valuable solutions.

This brings us to our first step.

Study Your Audience

You’ve probably heard the term ‘customer persona’ before, and hopefully you’ve even put some thought into developing your own.

For the purpose of your social content strategy we’re less interested in establishing product or brand relevance and more interested in triggering emotional appeal, so the information you want is going to require some digging and a little elbow grease.

Start by mapping out relevant interests. This is going to be a lot easier to nail down for niche products and services and a little bit harder for bigger and more general audience groups but it’s important that it gets done, even if you have to do some guess and checking.

One great place to pull data from is your social media accounts, so let’s start there.

Using Data to Identify Key Interests

While the creation element of your original social content is going to rely more on right-side thinking like creative copywriting, design, and creative context, the strategic element should be backed by data. There are a ton of useful social analytics platforms out there, but I’m going to focus on two of my favorites: Buffer and Facebook Insights.

Let’s Start With Buffer

If you have a Buffer account and you’re logged in, you should land on the main dashboard when navigating to It usually loads the last account and page you were on by default, so your landing page might look a little different than mine, but it should be generally the same.


From here, you have a few different options to control what you see.

You have the account bar on the left that lets you choose which account you’re posting from or analyzing.

You have the main navigation at the top that lets you choose between ‘Content,’ ‘Analytics,’ ‘Schedule,’ and ‘Settings.’

If you’re following along, go ahead and choose the account you’re working on and then click on the ‘Analytics’ button in the main navigation bar. A sub-navigation bar should pop up. Go ahead and click on ‘analysis.’ You’re screen should look like this.


The main graph at the top is meant to show you performance and activity trends at a glance, but when you scroll down you should see a table your most recent posts and the performance metrics that accompany them.

A great feature that a lot of users overlook is the ability to sort this table by specific actions. If we were focused on driving more traffic, I might want to see the tweets that received the most clicks but, for optimization purposes, we’re focused on engagement actions.

For example, in Twitter we’d be interested in the tweets that received the most favorites, retweets or @ mentions / replies because these posts got users to pay attention to us within the channel itself.

You’ll want to look at each set of engagement actions to look for unique insights, but for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on my tweets that received the most retweets because there are two benefits: the engagement action itself and the amplified reach or exposure that comes with it.

Go ahead and click on the ‘Retweets’ column (or whichever metric you want to focus on first). This should reorganize the table from top to bottom by the amount of retweets each post received.


Quick Note: You’ll see in the image above that the top tweets may actually be retweets from other accounts, so you’ll want to omit those from your observations because they weren’t original and because the engagement didn’t really come from your followers.

This next step is going to require some serious focus. I recommend starting when you’ve got some time and motivation.

Scroll down the table until you get to a section that includes mostly original posts coming from your account (not retweets as noted above). You’re going to start comparing these top-performing tweets to identify commonalities in the content. There are literally thousands of variables to consider and questions to ask, but here are a few I always pay attention to.

  • What was the post about? Content category is a broad variable but it’s a great first step to narrowing down your strategy. Look for general things like ‘productivity’ or ‘marketing.’
  • What value did the post add to the viewer? Value can be anything from a smile to actual direction that makes the viewer better or more productive and everything in between. This variable tells you what kind of value your audience cares about. Not all users are looking for cute cats and not all users are looking for lengthy how-to articles.
  • Where was the emotional trigger? Once you know where the value came from, you can look at why it caught their attention in the first place. Was there an image in the post? If so, what element of the image stands out most? If there wasn’t an image the trigger was probably in the copy. Did you write it from a first person or third person voice? What descriptors did you use? What was your CTA?

These questions will help you identify different categories you can use to group your tweets. As you analyze more and more posts, you should start seeing shared traits among them. I usually keep a literal tally while I’m digging through for the sake of keeping things simple.


As you start seeing the commonalities materialize, you’ll be able to tie interests to them. For example, if 10% of your most engaging tweets had to do with productivity, you can make a case for including that as an interest in your original social content strategy.

We’ll talk about how to ideate that content later, but for now you’ll just want to keep track of that list.

I recommended repeating this process for each type of engagement action in each of your primary social channels to help categorize behavior-specific interests or channel-specific interests.

For example, tweets about comics and general geek stuff tend to get more retweets for me, but marketing tweets tend to get more favorites and clicks.

You can be as general or as granular as you want, but keep in mind that it’s going to take some time and testing to find the right balance.

Being too specific might alienate some of your fans or followers. I have a lot of followers who like geeky things like Star Wars and Batman, but if I only talked about Batman, I’d become irrelevant to a larger portion of them. While at the same time, being too general keeps you from establishing the real connection we’re going for.


Choosing Content Formats

Social media content was traditionally broken down into links, photos, or videos, but things have changed.

There are countless tools out there to help you create the content that makes sense for your fans in the medium they prefer, so there’s no reason to limit yourself or your brand.

It’s likely that you’ve already figured out which social channels your customers and fans are most active and engaged on. If you haven’t, take a look at the numbers.

Within these channels you should be able to look at your posts historically to see what types of content have performed best. Just follow the process we walked through above. The only difference here is that, instead of looking at the content theme, you’ll be looking at the content format. Here’s where to look in Buffer.


Quick Note: A lot of people/brands haven’t actively tested different types of content, so if 90% of your posts have historically been links, you may need to try out a few different types of posts for a month or two (if not longer) to gather some more accurate data. Make sure you’re sharing those posts at different times and with different copy to give them a fair chance.

Something to be conscious of is that a link post may not just be a link to an article or Web page. The post might have a link that opens up a visual preview in the feed like a Vine video in Twitter or an Instagram post in Facebook, which would give you a lot more direction for your strategy.

Looking at the data is definitely a great way to get your bearings, but you’ll also need to consider the resources you have available before committing to specific formats.

For example, you may notice your audience has responded well to some of the YouTube videos you’ve shared. You may also notice that these videos have a very high production value and may have required a lot of time and even travel to make.

You’re going to have to keep that type of content in mind as an end goal and focus on what’s more realistic in the short term. If you’re handy with design, you can probably do a lot with images. If you have someone on your team who is great on camera, you can try doing reviews, interviews, or video podcasts.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re not putting all of your eggs into one basket. Any audience will get sick of the same type of content day after day, so choose a few different formats and themes to help ensure that you never get stale and always be ready to try something new. This also helps you from hitting a brick wall during the ideation process.

I actually ran into this problem with a side project of mine called Creatures of Content. We had some initial success with stop motion animations but then ran into a wall when we started working with products that don’t lend themselves to that format.

We ended up adapting towards more creative photography and occasionally combining that with a typographical or design element like this. When that wouldn’t do it, we started moving towards longer video content to add new context and a more personal touch to our content.

Including Your Brand

We’ve already answered a couple key questions:

  1. What should we talk about?
  2. How should we talk about it?

Now it’s time to move on to one of the most difficult questions you need to answer,

  1. How does our brand fit in?

While one of the main goals of creating original social content is to engage your fans and customers, the primary goal is to develop a stronger relationship between those people and your brand.

The secret to achieving this goal is to use this content to establish a more consistent context for your brand. Your product/service is probably most useful in very specific situations or for specific purposes. This means that customers don’t have a reason to think about you unless they need you. Not a good basis for a quality relationship.

This content should personify your brand to the point where your audience thinks about you when they see something similar to what you might post or share.

Establishing proper context requires more than tossing your logo on everything you create. There are an unlimited number of ways to include your brand in the content, but there are two very important things you need focus on every time: being intentional and being consistent.

Being intentional means that you thought about the context of your brand within each individual piece of content. Maybe the background of the photo is your office building or maybe the post text that goes with your content mentions how much your team enjoyed putting it together.

Here are a few rules of thumb I put together to help make this decision easier.

  1. Start With A Goal – Are you trying to make your fans smile? Maybe you want to save them some time and stress? Figure this out first so you can figure out the appropriate place for your brand.
  2. Don’t Force It – Including your brand shouldn’t take away from the quality of the content or the experience the user has with it.
  3. Always Ask “Would I Share It?” – If you saw this exact piece of content come from a brand that you followed would you share it? Why or why not? If your brand is every the reason why you wouldn’t share it, start over.
  4. No Purchase Necessary – The goal is to engage, not to sell. You don’t have to prove anything about your value to the customer, just that you understand them.
  5. Don’t Create When You Can Share – Never go for the obvious product photo or how-to video. Chances are other users or fans have already created that content and you’ll benefit more from finding and sharing their content than you will from recreating it. The context in this case is that you took the time to find and appreciate it.

Being consistent means that once you find the place for your brand within your content, you maintain it instead of trying to expand it.

We’re not playing Monopoly or investing in real estate, so your brand doesn’t need to gain more and more attention with every post. Enough said.

Putting It All Together

We’ve already walked through three major steps in the strategy development process that help you identify what to talk about, where to talk, and how to talk about it. Now it’s time you put all of those things together and move on to execution.

While I do think it’s almost impossible to determine exactly what makes an idea good or bad, I do know for certain that there’s an obvious difference between the two. Some people tend to be better at telling the difference than others but everyone has the ability to come up with great ideas.

And one sure way to make good ideas happen more often is to put together your own creative process.

Before you create anything, make sure you have some kind of system set up to keep track of everything you create, what you did to distribute it, and how it performed. This is to force you to actively track and analyze your performance instead of just trusting your gut.

When it comes to creating content, it’s easier to get emotionally attached and a lot harder to admit defeat when one of your ideas or projects doesn’t work out.

Once you have the tracking put in place, you’ll need to set some production goals based on the type of content you decided to create and the resources you have available.

I recommend estimating conservatively so you don’t feel rushed. Remember, at this point it should be quality over quantity. As you get your processes solidified, your production time should go down and you’ll be able to increase your output.

Now that you have realistic goals set up and a system to track your efforts, you can move on to ideation. Start with the category or categories you feel like working on first. This gives you some focus without forcing the idea into a corner.

The next step is to develop a story or message. The type of story you want to tell will help you determine the format and the appropriate context for your brand, so nail this down before moving on to making any other decisions.

A Couple of Tips for Your Story:

  • Relate to the audience – include experiences that they’re likely to encounter regularly
  • Pinpoint The Emotional Purpose – Are you trying to make them laugh or feel all lovey inside?
  • Start With The Conflict – Great stories are about some sort of conflict and that’s the element that will pull your fans in
  • Check Out Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling


Once you have your story put together, it should be pretty obvious what format you need to use and what context your brand can or should have within it. Now it’s just a matter of creating your content and getting it out there.

I know that production can seem like one of the most overwhelming elements of this entire process, so I put together a list of resources for you.

Top Social Content Resources

  • Im – A collection of photos you can use however you’d like.
  • Canva – A user-friendly Web app for designing images and more.
  • The Noun Project – Tons of icons for the minimalist designer.
  • iMotion and iMotion Remote – Great iOS apps for stop motion animation or time lapse videos.
  • Instagram – Taking, editing, and sharing photos.
  • Vine – Great for short videos and basic stop motion.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – You can use Illustrator for more cartoony or illustrated content and Photoshop for editing photos or adding new elements.
  • iMovie – Pretty easy video editor capable of adding text, titles, music, or putting together multiple videos.
  • Over – An app to help you add type to the photos you take on your phone.

There are countless tools out there, so if you have a specific need or idea in mind, let me know in the comments and I’ll give you a recommendation if I have one.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Mike Bal.

The post How to Design a Social Content Strategy Like a CRO appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Design a Social Content Strategy Like a CRO


2 Uncommon Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Frank Pallini was nervous.

Liberty Mutual insured his car and home. But his auto insurance policy was getting expensive.

“Liberty Mutual can insure my home, but I’ll save $1,000 right now if someone else insures my car.” He wanted to save money, so he did what most would do. He made the switch.

Liberty Mutual wasn’t happy.

They expected, no, demanded loyalty from their customers. And they felt Frank wasn’t being loyal.

So, a month later, and without telling him, Liberty Mutual cancelled Frank’s homeowners policy.

Sounds like urban legend, does it? But it’s true. And there’s a lesson to be learned.

insurance - placeitSource:

Loyal customers convert better

Liberty Mutual knew this. Obviously, they were unclear how to go about getting the kind of conversion-boosting loyalty they were looking for. Dumping Frank because he chose to switch providers for his auto insurance makes it pretty likely that any remaining or future loyalty he might have had towards Liberty Mutual is off the table.

Loyal customers make repeat purchases, spending more and more money each time. There’s already a trust relationship in place so these customers are much easier to convert.

You probably already know customer loyalty increases conversion

But many of us aren’t sure how to go about creating an environment that will induce the kind of loyalty that boosts conversion rates.

Even worse, “conventional wisdom” says customer loyalty is a myth. That there’s no way to induce customer loyalty and no reason to try. So we spend our time and attention focused on technical optimization – tweaking copy, adding bigger buttons, modifying site structure, etc.

The dangerous part? These tactical conversion tweaks work

A/B split testing, technical tweaks and copy changes—these tactics work really well. So well in fact, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security.

But tactics are only half of the equation. It’s a common mistake for conversion optimizers to ignore strategy. Strategy requires more time and more work, after all.

A clearly defined conversion strategy works better…

…When it’s combined with a tactical plan.

What kind of strategy do you use? How do you know it’s the right one? What if you can’t get loyalty from your customers?

Loyalty, at first glance, seems like a thorny issue. It’s common for businesses to treat customer loyalty like winning the lottery. Wonderful if it happens, but incredibly rare and completely based on chance.

The reality is the exact opposite. Loyalty depends on a single factor: Relationship.

Loyalty boosts conversions, but relationship is the foundation

When it comes to conversions, there are two types of customer relationships.

  1. Constrained relationships: “I have to stay in this relationship”
  2. Dedicated relationships: “I want to stay in this relationship”

1. Constrained relationships: “I have to stay”

Customers in a constrained relationship often feel they have to stay with a particular company or provider to avoid the downsides and risks that come with switching.

So what sort of constraints keep customers tethered to your business, even when they’re not emotionally bonded to your business? Psychological commitment.

There are 3 main factors that impact your customer’s psychological commitment to your business.

  1. Sunk costs A recent study found that customers tend to maintain the status quo if they’ve already invested time and money with a provider. Customers also chose to maintain the status quo when they were in a relationship with their current vendor.
  2. Regret avoidance & loss aversion Customers feel more regret from bad outcomes that come as a result of trying something new. So when customers are satisfied, they tend to avoid doing things they feel they may regret; they stick with what they know and stay with the status quo to limit risk.
  3. A desire or effort to feel in control Customers want to maintain control over their situation and the outcome. Doing that helps them avoid the psychological pain that comes with uncertainty and a new experience. Customers stay with the status quo to avoid losing control.

2. Dedicated relationships: “I want to stay”

These customer relationships last longer and they’re self sustaining. Dedicated relationships create an environment that nurtures emotional bonds and relationship development. It’s no surprise that loyalty flows naturally from these customer relationships.

But which relationship factors are most important?

  1. Benevolence: Customers notice you’ll protect their interests and treat them with respect; they feel a general sense of goodwill from you. It’s an obvious expectation; however, it’s incredibly uncommon. It’s almost routine for businesses to approach customers with the mindset that they’re going to war, which as you might have guessed, is not what you want.
  2. Integrity: Your business can be counted on to be honest, ethical and morally sound, whether or not your customer is watching.
  3. Competence: There’s the obvious—your product works, your service does what you’ve promised, you deliver on time, etc. Then there’s the obscure parts of competence—going above and beyond for your customers, showing them you have the understanding and foresight to suggest improvements that will help their business.

Okay, so using constrained and dedicated relationships together means you’ll enjoy higher conversion rates. There’s just one problem.

You’re (probably) unsure about where to start

You may already know a little bit about constrained and dedicated relationships. (Some use different words to describe the same topic.)

But things get tough when it’s time to apply all of this. Let’s take a look at constrained relationships and see how they can be used to boost conversion rates.

Customers in a constrained relationship feel they have to stick around. There are some negative aspects (sunk cost bias, regret avoidance, control issues) that come with that. Let’s look at the positive side of things. What do positive constraining factors look like? Are there positive things customers feel they have to stick around for?

Warren Buffett called these constraining factors “economic moats”

An economic moat increases conversions naturally. It makes it difficult for customers to leave, so it protects your business against competitors. It sends the implicit message that your customers need you if they want the unique and amazing benefits you offer.

So what kind of moats are we talking about here?

The brand moat

Typically a product or service you’re willing to pay more for because of the reputation or trust you have for the brand. Research shows that customers are willing to pay more for brands .

It’s common for some customers to say they’re brand agnostic until they’re faced with a choice between an established brand like this:

Coca-Cola brand preference image via Rahman ibn Salamah

And a discount brand like this:

bubba cola no brand preference image via busster

Coca Cola’s brand moat was so strong that the launch of their new formula, the New Coke, bombed. Their new formula couldn’t compete with Coke Classic.

While customers are willing to pay more for brands, there’s more to creating a conversion-boosting brand than pictures and words. Successful brands create an emotional response.

Using your brand to boost conversions

You may not be running a Fortune 500 company, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the same conversion benefits. Here are some branding steps you can take to increase conversions and create a brand moat of your own.

  1. Audit your brand’s tangible and intangible presentation factors, and make sure they match. Your brand should present a consistent message (regardless of the medium used) to get the conversion boost you’re looking for.
  2. Build uniqueness into your brand. Dysfunctional brands rely on taglines, logos and phrasing—almost exclusively. Often times to hide the fact that there’s nothing special or unique about those businesses. Powerful brands on the other hand, use tangible and intangible presentation factors to present a value proposition customers are drawn to.
  3. Repeat and reinforce your message. When we learn something for the first time, we forget bits and pieces. Sometimes we forget everything entirely. Share your message with customers when it’s relevant and share it often. Repeat it until customers start to repeat it back to you.

The secret moat

Patents, trade secrets or some kind of intellectual property you own are all secrets. These secrets make direct competition difficult or illegal. Secrets often make it difficult for customers to get what you offer anywhere else.

But what if you’re a small- or medium-sized business and you don’t have any profitable secrets?

You create them—and secrets start with problems

Every industry has at least one problem that needs solving. Secrets use a formula, process, pattern, etc., to solve that problem.

Take Moz, for example. Marketers needed to understand how Google ranks and categorizes Web pages, information that Google’s definitely not going to share. So Moz took matters in to their own hands and built their own index.

Moz creates uniqueness with secrets

Their tools give marketers an in-depth understanding of how search engines behave (among other equally awesome things). Mozscape is something you can’t get anywhere else.

Using secrets to boost your conversions

  1. Look for problems to solve. Focus on problems at the customer, product or industry level. The bigger the problem, the better.
  2. Create a solution to that problem. Make your solution attention-grabbing, simple and exceptional.
  3. Create a relevant tie-in, present the next step and lace your solution into your sales funnel. Hubspot created to help small business owners with their online marketing. Then they used it as a lead-in to their premium product.

The toll moat

These are businesses with exclusive control of a market or niche. This control means you’re typically the dominant or only game in town. Customers come to you if they want “it.”

Google has a toll moat. They charge advertisers a toll for the chance to talk to you. Sure, there are other options, but nobody cares. They’re the only search engine worth using, as far as most people are concerned.

Comcast is a toll bridge company. So is your utility company.

Creating and using a toll bridge to boost conversions

Creating a toll (monopoly) at the industry level is unbelievably tough. Doing it at the product level? Still tough but not impossible.

The question is how.

You create an exclusive product that does three things well (1.) attracts attention, (2.) solves a problem and (3.) adds / introduces people to your sales funnel.

Your product can be an actual product. It can also be content, tools, games or applications. It can be free, paid or a mix of the two. Whatever you create, it needs to have three things:

  1. Leverage: The toll works without you having to be directly involved at each step.
  2. Promotion: Your toll bridge works better if people know about it. If the product you’ve developed solves a problem and gives you a competitive advantage, you have to promote it so your customers know about it.
  3. Exclusivity: If your competitors have the same product, you’re not a toll bridge; you’re a commodity. The product you create should be unique, and it should be yours.

The switching moat

Your business, product or service is so enmeshed in your customer’s business or way of life that switching is a huge hassle most won’t want to deal with.

When it comes to desktop computers, most people use Microsoft Windows. Lots of people hate Microsoft, but they use Windows anyway. Why?

Because switching is painful

It would be incredibly painful for most desktop users to learn how to use a new operating system and hunt for replacement software. They’d have files to convert, a new system to setup, and hardware compatibility issues to solve.

Most of us prefer to watch paint dry.

Use switching to boost conversions

  1. Be the point man. Become your customer’s go to source for help. When customers need what you’re offering, get them to think of you first.
  2. Become entrenched. I love Amazon. We rely on Amazon for products, for entertainment, storage, you name it. Leaving them for a competitor is pretty unlikely at this point. They’re too entrenched in our day-to-day life. Your business needs to be rooted in your customer’s day-to-day life, whether it’s business or personal.
  3. Be indispensable; be invaluable. Begin a never-ending quest to be necessary. Study your ideal customer. What sort of problems are they dealing with? What problems are they going to have to deal with in the near future? Find and solve their problems.

The “I have to stay” response is a natural side effect to each of these moats. And the best part? When done well, these moats are sustainable.

Yet, with branding as a possible exception, most of these moats don’t really do much to develop dedicated relationships. But why does that matter?

It matters because customers should want to do business with us

Customers in dedicated relationships are loyal. These relationships last much longer than constrained relationships. And the best part? They’re self sustaining.

Loyal customers have a significant impact on your conversion rate and they do it in one of three ways.

  1. They attract more customers via word of mouth.
  2. They’re willing to pay more for the same products and services.
  3. They make repeat purchases.

Most loyalty programs don’t work. In fact, only 10% of customers are 100% loyal. So how do you cultivate loyal, dedicated relationships with your customers?

You increase your customer’s resistance to change

1. Satisfaction

Satisfaction is all about meeting expectations. Answering your customer’s objections, treating them the way they’d expect. All of this increases satisfaction. But it’s also about setting expectations—making sure your customers have expectations you’re able to meet.

That’s important because customer satisfaction is the cause of your customer’s status quo bias later on. It’s a big part of the reason they choose to stay later (even if they’re disappointed with you).

Boost satisfaction to boost conversions

Want to boost conversions? Set, meet and exceed customer expectations. It sounds simple right? There’s just one problem.

Most businesses allow their customers to set the expectations. Customers take the wheel deciding what they want, how they want it and when. But here’s the tricky part.

They usually don’t tell you about their expectations

In fact, you usually only find out when you’ve failed to meet them. Set the expectations ahead of time and you’ll have more control over customer expectations.

Because satisfied customers want to spend more money with you.

2. Trust

A customer’s experience starts with chaos and ends in trustworthiness (via conversion). When they arrive at a new site, they’re disoriented. They’re unsure about where they are, what they should do, and why they should do it.

Using Trust to boost conversions

  1. Brand: The brand process starts with being seen and known. Businesses that seem familiar start with a higher level of trust. The more familiar your business, the more trust you start with.
  2. Navigation: How easy is it for visitors and customers to find what they need from you? Do you give them clear instructions or confusing directions?
  3. Fulfillment shares the next step. How you send me my download, how my order will be processed and what you’ll do to handle any problems. Show customers what they can expect upfront. Treat each conversion like a sample of your premium product or service.
  4. Presentation is a combination of tangible and intangible factors working together. Get either one wrong and customer resistance skyrockets. If your design says “customer friendly” but your conversations scream “hostile,” there’s a presentation mismatch.
  5. Security and privacy: An up-to-date site gives customers the security and peace of mind they need to feel safe. Asking for money? Your SSL certificate and checkout process should be solid. Looking to generate leads? Make sure your terms of use and privacy policy protect your customers.

3. Switching Costs

Switching costs are based almost entirely on your customer’s subjective opinion. Switching costs increase your customers resistance to change.

So let’s say your business uses Microsoft Windows. All of your employees use Windows. Your software runs on Windows. Everyone uses Microsoft Office.

Then someone recommends you switch to Linux. You’re going to pay a heavy price to make that switch. You’ll need to convert your files. You’ll have to pay to retrain your employees, pay for Linux training. You’ll have to find software to replace what you’ve lost.

Do you want to switch? Probably not. It’s not worth the headache, hassles and expense.

Build Switching costs into your business to boost conversions

  1. Psychological costs: the awkwardness, negative emotions or transitional pain a customer has to go through in order to walk away.
  2. Procedural costs: the time, effort and money your customer will have to spend to make the switch.
  3. Loss costs: if customers have already invested their time or money they stand to lose if they walk away. Their sunk cost bias acts as a strong motivator to keep them from walking away.

4. Attractiveness

This is all about valu- driven one-upmanship. How do you look compared to competitors? What’s your customer’s perception of you? Is your offer better? Is there a better alternative?

With relative attractiveness, customers use you as the reference point. Alternative attractiveness uses competitors as the reference point.

Use attractiveness to boost conversions

One-up your competitors. Guide customer perceptions and you’ll have more control over the outcome. Customers stick with the status quo when they’re satisfied and there aren’t any better options.

Aren’t these manipulative attempts to hold customers hostage?

Shouldn’t customers decide whether they want to stay (or not) on their own?

Definitely, customers always get to choose. The methods we’ve discussed send customers a clear message that you understand them, that you know what they want. That’s important because your customer comes to you with a broad expectation. That you’ll care, guide and protect them.

You’d be a sleazy manipulator if you deceived customers to get the results you wanted. But that’s not you, is it?

Maybe your industry just has plain ol’ customers

Maybe in your industry there’s no such thing as constrained or dedicated customer relationships. When I hear this it usually means one of two things:

  1. You’re in an industry that sells a commodity (insurance, rice, steel, etc.)
  2. Customers make a large purchase they won’t need again for a long time (a new roof, a swimming pool, cars, etc.)

When you look a little deeper, you see that constrained and dedicated relationships exist in both cases. Customers refer others to businesses in both cases. Word-of-mouth comes from dedicated relationships.

What about large purchases? These customers need accessories. Swimming pools need chlorine, roofs need maintenance and cars need tune ups. Constrained and dedicated relationships exist in every business and industry.

Which means there’s always an opportunity to boost conversion rates

The key is to integrate these concepts into your marketing. To lay out a plan that includes both strategy and tactics.

Use constrained and dedicated relationships together and you’ll avoid Liberty Mutual’s mistake. There’s no need to control your customer when all of them want what you’re selling.

Constrained and dedicated relationships are the key to customer loyalty, repeat sales and higher conversion rates.

Do you want to develop these ideas but unsure where to start? Download my ideabook for step-by-step help, No opt-in required.

Read other CrazyEgg posts by Andrew McDermott

The post 2 Uncommon Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rate appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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2 Uncommon Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rate


How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate

Imagine for a moment that you’re managing multiple Adwords campaigns for your company…

You’ve got an amazing sale going on for widgets and really want to push your red widgets at the new year…

You want to create a limited time “countdown” ad, but also let customers know how many red widgets are in stock before they disappear for good…

What’s more, you need to be able to adjust the price on the fly to determine the best price point that drives the most conversions and sales.

The good news is that you can do all these things dynamically using Google Adwords Ad Customizers.

google search - placeitSource:

What are Ad Customizers?

As the name implies, ad customizers allow you to dynamically insert specific details from a feed. The benefits from doing this are two-fold: You vastly improve the relevance of your ads (and thus your quality score), and your visitors get exactly what they want with less barriers to purchase. It’s a win-win.

Ad customizers go well beyond things like color or style. If you only want to make minor changes to an ad or ad group, you may be better served by dynamic keyword insertion. But for deeper, more meaningful customization, ad customizers are a better option. With them, you can dynamically adjust things like:

• Color
• Size
• Inventory/stock details (Only X left!)
• Pricing
• Countdowns (days, hours, etc.)
• Seasonal sales, discounts, events

Google’s own examples of what can be replaced to more precisely target customer searches:



The great thing about ad customizers is that you’re in complete control of managing the process and what information gets pulled. This gives you unprecedented flexibility in focusing in on and targeting precisely what your audience is looking for—right down to the granular level.

So how do you use them?

Using Ad Customizers Successfully

Ad customizers are made up of parameters which are inside braces like this. Each parameter includes two parts: the data sheet reference and the column reference.

An example of an ad customizer parameter.

An example of an ad customizer parameter.

The data sheet is a spreadsheet that you can download here. In it, you’ll see several columns, including price, text, date and number. These columns tell Google how to format the data you set.

Countdowns work a bit differently, since time zones get thrown into the mix—and the last thing you want to do is anger visitors who think they’re getting the deal on time but are too late. You can also use countdowns to set a one-time event, or multiple events.

Ad customizers also give you the option to specify a language, so you can target ads internationally if you wish.

For large accounts or multiple campaigns, you can save hours of time simply by copying and pasting the relevant data-pulls into your ads. The template uses sample data which you can replace with your own information. You’ll then need to fill in the appropriate attributes depending on what you want to promote.

For example, your spreadsheet might look like this:


As you can see from the example, you can mix and match different ad customizer parameters to create a unique, time-sensitive or inventory-sensitive ad that stokes that all-important urgency fire that your visitors may have in trying to find the best product for the lowest price.

Now, what’s the point of going through all this trouble when you could’ve just spent that time creating the ads themselves? This is where ad customizers really pull their weight.

Each time you change and re-upload the spreadsheet, the ads change automatically. So if you need to swap out prices, countdown events, color or number available (to name a few), you can simply make that change on the spreadsheet once, re-upload it, and have your changes reflected across all of the ads in that particular group.

And your edited ad would look like this:

An example of ad customizers using spreadsheet data.

An example of ad customizers using spreadsheet data.

The finished example that the customer will see (minus highlighting)

The finished example that the customer will see (minus highlighting)

Uploading Your File to Adwords and Launching Your Ads

Save your newly created spreadsheet as .xls, .xlsx, .csv or .tsv. Don’t use any spaces in the filename, and name it something that makes it clear to you what it is. The filename is what you’ll be referring to when you insert the actual ad customizers into your ad, which is what will come next.

To find your ad customizer upload area, simply log in to your account, navigate to Shared Data and choose Business Data. Click the +DATA and choose Ad Customizer Data.

It should be noted that Google requires you to add a standard text ad to any group with ad customizers, otherwise they won’t run. The text ad is a sort of failsafe panic button that loads if for some reason your ad customizers don’t work.

It’s also important to be mindful of character limits, since any descriptions or customizers that fall outside these limits won’t work either (even if the information being pulled will ultimately fall within limits).

As with all Adwords management tools, you can pause campaigns and view the performance of your ad customizers just as you would any ads or groups. Even when a certain ad’s customization is triggered (such as a countdown timer), that ad’s performance won’t reset, so you’ll never lose valuable analytics data.

So How Can These New Features Improve Your Conversion Rate?

Just as Google Adwords revolutionized the pay-per-click market, so too are ad customizers changing the way customers interact with ads and shop online. Ad customizers essentially blur the lines between shopping and viewing ads, so all of the relevant, important details can be shared on an up-to-the-minute basis, allowing you to remain competitive with psychological triggers like countdowns, real-time inventory details and more.

(Read more about how to leverage urgency and scarcity.)

With ad customizers, text ads now have a more level playing field against shopping results. And, while there’s still work to be done, text ads are becoming increasingly more tempting to consumers to win over that click as Google delicately tries to avoid having text ads being lumped in with “banner blindness.”

Ad customizers can nab the customer at that crucial decision-making moment with the right kind of incentive. You’re going to want to split test those ads to determine which kind of incentive attracts the right kind of customer for the product or service you’re looking to promote.

Just keep in mind, when your customers click through, they need to land on a Web page that’s an exact match to the messaging in the ad. That builds trust. And it’s key to optimiznig your conversion rate.

Examples of Ad Customizers at Work

So how exactly can you put these kinds of dynamic customizations to work? Let’s say your company is hosting conferences across the east cost of the U.S. If you were to use the countdown option, someone in Chicago could see that they have two days left to attend the November 15th conference, while someone in Florida would see an “early bird” discount ad for the conference on December 1st.

Referring back to our original widgets example, if you wanted to only highlight red widgets in your ads, you could create a single ad group with multiple ad customizers promoting red widgets, including seasonality, number left in inventory, number of models you sell, discounts available and more. One ad group—many possibilities.

Perhaps the best thing about ad customizers beyond their flexibility is how much time they’ll save. Taking the time to create ad customizers and plan out promotional strategies that leverage them might sound like a lot of work in the beginning, but it has huge potential to pay off in terms of click-throughs and conversion rates.

Are There Any Downsides to Using Ad Customizers?

At the moment, the only major issue with using ad customizer is the need to consistently update the spreadsheet for every change you want to make. That means if you need to update prices regularly, you’ll want to upload the spreadsheet accordingly.

If customers click your ads only to find that the deal you’re promoting isn’t available or the item you’re looking for is suddenly out of stock, it will not only cause your conversion rate to plummet, but will also leave a poor impression of your brand overall. So if you come away with nothing else learned from using ad customizers, remember this: Stay on top of that spreadsheet!

Also, because ad customizers are still relatively new, the parameters are still fairly limited. But remember that this is just as much an experiment for Google as it is for PPC managers and business owners. Don’t be surprised if the popularity of ad customizers leads to more parameters being created in the future.

Right now, the thing most people seem to be excited about (and rightfully so) is the countdown option. But don’t be complacent about what parameters and options you choose. Break out of the box a bit and experiment with creative that encourage visitors to learn more at every step of the buying process.

Have You Used Ad Customizers? What are Your Thoughts?

How has your experience been with using ad customizers? What do you think about the use of this dynamic technology in your pay per click advertising? Share your thoughts and perspective with us below in the comments!

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Gary Victory.

The post How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Use Google Adwords Ad Customizers to Improve Your Conversion Rate