Want More Guest Writing Gigs? Here are 5 Foolproof Ideas (and How to Make the Pitch)

Guest blogging is a pretty simple concept that a lot of blog owners embrace. They own a blog, and they want new material to help flesh out their editorial calendar. It reduces their burden when a guest writer is looking for exposure and wants to contribute something great to share with the owner’s blog. Despite that, a lot of marketers seem terrified at the idea of reaching out to a company or blog to ask for the opportunity. And that’s if they can even find a place to guest post at in the first place. What’s worse, is that plenty…

The post Want More Guest Writing Gigs? Here are 5 Foolproof Ideas (and How to Make the Pitch) appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Want More Guest Writing Gigs? Here are 5 Foolproof Ideas (and How to Make the Pitch)

Cross-Platform Native Apps With A Single Code Set Using Telerik NativeScript

Mobile applications are now a critical part of most enterprises, and there are many ways to create them, but what are the differences between these options and how do you choose between them? Do you choose to create native applications as Google and Apple intend? Do you choose to develop a mobile web hybrid application? Or do you find a middle ground?

Cross-Platform Native Apps With A Single Code Set Using Telerik NativeScript

We’re going to look at some of the common problems with developing mobile applications, both native and hybrid, and how NativeScript by Telerik fills the gap. We’ll proceed to develop a NativeScript Android and iOS application from scratch (using the supplied source code), and then convert the same application to use the bleeding-edge Angular 2 JavaScript framework.

The post Cross-Platform Native Apps With A Single Code Set Using Telerik NativeScript appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Cross-Platform Native Apps With A Single Code Set Using Telerik NativeScript

How to Win Over Skeptics & Worriers With These Often Overlooked Website Credibility Boosters

One challenge for any sales page or website is winning over skeptics and worriers – those who are leaning toward buying but held back by questions like, “Can I trust these guys?” “Is this really different from the last company that didn’t deliver on their promises?” or “Am I going to sorry about wasting time and money on this new tool?” Again and again while reviewing websites and advising their owners I have been surprised at how often they had powerful ammunition for slaying doubts and worries that they weren’t using. Perhaps people believe so fervently in their own ideas…

The post How to Win Over Skeptics & Worriers With These Often Overlooked Website Credibility Boosters appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Win Over Skeptics & Worriers With These Often Overlooked Website Credibility Boosters

What Does a CRO Program Consist of? | An Interview with Avast’s Michal Parizek

The following is an interview with Michal Parizek, Senior eCommerce & Optimization Specialist at Avast (a leading antivirus software company). Michal is a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) expert, having over seven years of experience across multiple industries.

Michal has created the popular Conversion Rate Optimization Maturity Model, where he illustrates the core assets of a successful CRO program for organizations operating at different scales. Using the model, organizations can understand the current state of their CRO efforts and identify ways to improve their programs.

This is how the CRO maturity model looks like:

Conversion Rate Optimization Maturity ModelThe questions in this interview aim to bring out actionable tips for organizations trying to bring structure to their CRO program.

Let’s begin.

Regarding the People and Culture Required for CRO

1) What are the essential skills or capabilities needed in a CRO team?

CRO is a complex discipline. In my opinion, it is a combination of a few, quite different skills.

  • One of them is analytics. To have a successful CRO program, you need to understand your data and derive insights.
  • Another skill is the user experience design. Being able to prototype great user experience is important.
  • Then marketing and copywriting—working on pricing strategies, composing an effective value proposition, and other relevant activities.
  • Other useful skills include statistics, consumer psychology, email marketing, and so on.

CRO can benefit from a range of skill areas. Therefore, it is very difficult to find great CRO consultants.

When you are building a CRO team, you should make sure you essentially hire an analyst, a UX designer, and a marketer/copywriter. These three I see as the key to driving an effective CRO program and results.

2) What does Avast do to create and spread a culture of CRO within the organization?

CRO has a good position in Avast culture. We are keen on A/B testing every major change in our sales flows or website. Data-driven decisions outbalance the gut-driven ones, even though there is a room for improvement. When I think about the reasons, I think there are mainly three things:

  • No data silos: Everyone can have access to pretty much every data in the company.
  • Sharing knowledge: We have been practicing A/B testing in the company for over four years, and the practice is now deeply rooted in our eCommerce department. Senior employees share their knowledge with the newcomers and help to spread the CRO culture.
  • Effectiveness: Particularly when Avast was much smaller than today, we counted literally every penny we spent. (Was the initiative worth the cost? How much did the $1,000 investment in that partnership return us?) Being small is an advantage since you need to monitor your spend and earning closely, and it naturally forces you to be more data-driven.

Regarding the Importance of a Sponsor

3) How does the absence of a sponsor affect an organization’s CRO program?

It makes things more difficult. It is not just about the budget, but also about time and resources. You are fighting two enemies at the same time, low conversion rate and your boss. It is not very easy to practice CRO in such circumstances. In the end, to be successful, you need to get the buy-in from the sponsor—either your boss or the management.

4) How can you convince the top management to back your CRO program?

From my experience, the strongest argument for a CRO program was always the “results.”

Speak in terms of dollars. Prove how much money your organization gained because of the CRO efforts. And explain how much money your company can gain in the future if you get more resources, time, or money. Don’t forget that tests with negative results are equally powerful since you can argue how much money you can lose if you did not practice A/B testing.

Regarding the Research Methodology in CRO

5) What is the importance of pre-test analysis or research?

It is the absolute key. If you just throw ideas to your A/B testing tool, your success rate will suck and you will waste time and resources. Arriving at hypotheses, scientifically, is essential. (In my previous job at Liberty Global, we did not pay a lot of attention to research and we were not very successful in our CRO activities.)

Also, the pre-test analysis can help you identify the test feasibility—if you are able to get results in a meaningful time and/or if you know how many variants you can afford to have.

6) What are the essential tools required for the research?

You can segregate them as quantitative and qualitative:

  • The quantitative tools include analytics, reports, heatmaps, and session recordings. They help you identify where the problem is.
  • On the other hand, the qualitative tools help you find out why people take certain actions on a website. These include usability testing, card sorting, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and so on.

7) What are some of the basic mistakes people often make with pre-test analysis?

The biggest (and a common) mistake is the absence of a pre-test analysis altogether. Then there are, I believe, the other common analysis mistakes: wrong interpretation of metrics, sampling issue ignorance, common sense absence, no test feasibility analysis, and more.

Every test specification should contain the research part—explaining why a particular test should be executed and what insights led you to the test idea.

From my experience, tests which have a solid research in the background have a higher success rate than the tests without any research.

Regarding A/B Testing Practices

8) How important is it to keep a long-term calendar for testing experiments?

A test calendar helps to focus on important tests being launched on time. It is also vital for resource planning and for bringing all stakeholders in the loop. We usually do a quarterly overview of what tests we’d like to run and then we specify and add details on a monthly basis.

9) How do you prioritize tests?

I often use a rather simple formula. First, I list all the possible tests we could run in a certain timeframe. Then, to every test I add two estimates:

  1. Effort: How many hours/days are required to execute the test? (It’s even better if you can translate that into monetary values.)
  2. Impact: How much money will be returned if the test is successful. Rather than thinking if the test can increase conversion rate by 10% or 15%, pay attention to where the test is running and what element you are changing. Do a pre-test analysis and calculate how many conversions a particular page generates. By using research or common sense, identify the importance of the changes. For example, in most cases, changing prices will have a bigger impact than changing button colors on a homepage. After you have executed several A/B tests, you will get an idea what matters and what does not. And this will help you set better expectations.

When all your tests are listed with effort and impact estimates, congratulate yourself. Now, it is easy. You execute the tests with the highest impact and least effort first. Then in the long term, you focus on the tests with a high impact, but also with great effort. In the meantime, you can execute the tests that don’t have a huge impact, but are easy to launch. And, you avoid ideas that require a lot of effort, but have almost no impact.

10) Can failed/inconclusive tests still provide value?

Yes, they can! If the test is designed and executed correctly (variants differ in one element, flawless measurement, sufficient data, no bugs in all variants, and so on), it provides great value regardless of the results. As long as you can learn from a test, it is a good test. Failed tests help you see which way you should not go. Inconclusive tests (again, if the tests are done correctly) tell you that perhaps the testing element does not matter much and you should test something else.

I really like what Ron Kohavi says,

“A valuable test is when the real results differ from your expectations. You learn the most in these cases and the learning matters the most in the long term.”

11) What are the common post-test analysis mistakes?

One of the common mistakes is not making sure if the test results are trustworthy or statistically significant. We sometimes tend not to analyze these thoroughly. The XX% lift always sounds appealing and we want to believe it (particularly when we have also designed the test—that’s why it is wise to always have somebody else to have a second look). But do we have enough data? Are the results consistent with time? Do we have traffic split balanced? Is the conversion lift driven by the change in design or just by chance? If we ignore chasing these findings, we can easily implement changes, which may not have any effect, or even worse, may decrease our performance.

The other common issue is not monitoring post-test results in the long term. Do we see the XX% lift after the winning variation has been implemented? Once we have a successful test, we tend to switch our attention to another issue and another test and we forget to monitor the previous effect.

Regarding CRO Tools

12) What are the key attributes based on which a CRO tool is chosen?

Usually, costs and benefits are the main attributes we look at. You must look at both costs and benefits from a wider perspective. Costs are not only the money you pay for the tool, but you also need to include implementation cost and maintenance cost (including the extra staff you need to hire to work on the tools).

Trying to estimate the business impact of the benefits of these tools is often challenging. Many CRO tools focus primarily on driving insights, and it is difficult to evaluate these in terms of $. Fortunately, many tools offer free trial versions, so you can get an idea on how useful they can be for you.

13) When would you say an organization should invest in developing in-house CRO tools?

When a tool is key to your business, and the cost of developing (and maintaining) the in-house tool outweighs the cost of having a third-party tool.

Regarding Coordination Between Teams

14) Does the CRO team need to coordinate closely with any other team in an organization?

It does need to cooperate with several teams. From my perspective, the following two are the key.

  • First, they need to have a close relationship with the business intelligence department to get correct data.
  • Second, they need to have a dedicated team of developers to execute the ideas that CRO team creates.
  • Then, there are many other vital cooperations. A support team has always been a great source of customer feedback; and for a CRO team, it is wise to be in touch with them. The product itself is a conversion asset so be in close touch with a product management team. How the product is marketed often defines the quality (and quantity) of leads and website visitors. Therefore, marketing is then another team I recommend being close to.

Your Thoughts

What do you think about the essential assets of a successful CRO program? Do you have any more questions for Michal? Post them in the comments section below.

Free-trial CTA

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What Does a CRO Program Consist of? | An Interview with Avast’s Michal Parizek

Clinton vs. Trump: 18 CROs Tear Down the Highest Stakes Marketing Campaigns in US History

Clinton vs. Trump
Who has the best digital marketing campaign? We’ll let you be the judge.

Let’s start by getting one thing straight: this is not a political article.

As tempting as it might be to enter the fray… by “tear down” I don’t mean a smear campaign, ill-tempered mudslinging or anything quite that provocative.

What I mean is a detailed examination of the two US presidential nominee’s online “sales” funnels and their overall presidential marketing tactics.

Why?

Because no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, these could very well be the highest stakes online funnels in the history of the world.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s second presidential win, Kyle Rush — former Head of Optimization at Optimizely and now Hillary Clinton’s Deputy CTO — pulled back the curtain to reveal how their approach to conversion rate optimization raised a historic and record-breaking $1.1 billion in total funds, $690 million of which “came through our various web properties.”

For anybody doing the math, $690 million is 62.7% of the campaign’s total fundraising efforts.

As Kyle himself told me when I asked him about the role CRO plays in Clinton’s campaign today:

It’s something we are very focused on.

Our teams are data-driven and we act on data. We have run over 100 A/B tests in the past year. Some of the tests resulted in over 200% increases in mission critical metrics.

quick-card-upsell-presidential-marketing-tactics
Image credit: Kyle Rush

The monumental role CRO plays in presidential success is why digging into each step of each current candidate’s funnels — screen by screen — offers a wealth of insights on how to optimize your online funnels and marketing campaigns.

But first — lest things get bloody — let’s set some ground rules.

Ground rules for the teardowns

Here’s how this is gonna work.

First, I’ll show you a step-by-step, visual walkthrough of the candidates’ online funnels: from their homepage, to their pop-up or splash page, to their email signup page, to their donation process.

Each visual will be color coded: green boxes for “The Good”… red boxes for “The Bad”:

good-and-bad-example-presidential-marketing-strategy

After each visual, we’ll examine why the color-coded elements work from a CRO perspective (or why they don’t).

Third — and this is where things get really amazing — I’ll hand the teardown off to 18 of the world’s top CRO experts and let them weigh in.

Ready?

Don’t have time to read this post?

Get inspired for your next optimization experiment as 18 CRO experts tear down the most polarizing marketing campaigns in US history.
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Donald Trump

Step 1: Homepage

Donald Trump campaign homepage

The Good:

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a brand. And a massively recognizable one at that.

In contrast to Clinton — who shares her header spotlight with President Obama (see below) — Trump is front and center, taking full advantage of his brand recognition.

Likewise, he’s the only candidate with a recognizable and emotionally charged tagline, which he wisely displays prominently: “Make America Great Again.”

The CTA below the hero section — while not as emotive as the language above it — is nothing if not clear. It presents the visitor with two simple choices: “Join Us” or “Donate.”

Also positive are the social media widgets towards the end of the page. While Clinton buries her social links in the header and footer, Trump’s site features live social media updates, which makes sense given his dominance on all things social. Rather than just soliciting visitors to follow him, he gives them a preview of what they can expect.

The Bad:

From a design perspective, Trump’s site is crowded and noisy. The dark colors pile on top of one another around the hero section, and the smorgasbord of clickable options in the body of the page is paralyzing. Instead of leading visitors along a path of action by creating a clear visual or written hierarchy, everything comes barreling toward them at once.

The navigation bar is likewise crowded. There are 10 visible options and if you count up the drop-down menu options, that number jumps to 22.

Finally, the “Text TRUMP” box is a questionable choice, because rather than prompting visitors to simply enter their number on the page itself, it asks them to cross one of the most difficult conversion bridges: changing devices.

The Experts:

Neil Patel

Neil Patel:
Marketer & Founder of CrazyEgg

“From a copy standpoint, I would adjust the text in the call to action buttons. He uses the heading ‘Make America Great Again,’ but when it comes time for someone to click on the call to action (‘Join Us’ or ‘Donate’) the copy doesn’t connect well with his main message.

Typically, when you use call to action text that is related to the problem you are solving, your clicks and conversions are higher than if you used generic verbiage like ‘join now.’

show-your-support-for-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-tactics

Also the website copy isn’t telling a story.

If his big pitch is to make America great, then all of the surrounding elements — such as news clips and videos — should reinforce that message. This will help create an emotional connection between the website visitor and Trump, which should help him gain more votes and donations.

Lastly, some of the headlines for his press releases don’t encourage you to click. If you’re lucky, eight out of 10 people will read a headline, and two will click through. With a headline like, ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Draws Dedicated Followers,’ you’re not likely to get many click-throughs because it doesn’t highlight the benefits of clicking through.”

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Oli Gardner:
Co-Founder of Unbounce

“In terms of initial experience when the page loads, I see (1) the giant Trump logo, then (2) the peace sign – which is quite ridiculous considering how much hate-mongering he’s peddling – and lastly (3) I get to The Donald’s hair:

make-america-great-again-presidential-marketing-camapign

If the goal of the page is to get people to donate, it could use a little more focus to make it happen. And if they’d done a better job with their responsive design, the primary donate button would be above the fold.

The navigation could be simplified if they did a better job with targeting. To participate based on your state, you need to go to the States page, find your state, click on your state and then fill in a form. With proper targeting the secondary CTA, “Join Us,” (which leads to the same type of form) could be renamed to something like “Get involved in Kansas” or “Join the movement in Kansas.” A Kansas resident would be far likelier to be inspired to click if that was the case.

At the bottom of the page, the tweets weren’t handled in the best way. The first was an incongruent mention of a book by someone other than Trump and the second a link to a Washington Post article about Hillary Clinton that takes you off-site. If you want people to part with their money, don’t send them away.”

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Valentin Radu:
CEO at Marketizator

“Trump’s hero section does its job in terms of space usage. My eyes really only see two things: (1) his slogan, and (2) Trump himself. This means the ‘don’t make me think’ principle is being respected.

Fun fact: If we analyze the hand signal Trump is using, Wikipedia states that in American sign language this actually means ‘number two.’ I trust Wikipedia.

As for the menu, I would A/B test it by simply inverting the colors to make the Donate button red.

make-donate-button-red-presidential-marketing-campaigns

Going further, the buttons ‘Join us’ and ‘Donate’ are actually competing — they’re the same size and color and they’re positioned together. One should be more important than the other and therefore given more credit via more space and prominence.

The paragraph font size may also be too small for some visitors, and there are no links connected to the various media and press releases to ‘Read More.’ I can’t argue too much with the multi-column format, although a single-column layout would be worth testing.

Another thing that I would test is Donald Trump’s facial expression. On both video thumbnails his face is showing that he is ready to fight.

donald-trump-ready-to-fight-presidential-marketing-tactics

But… maybe that’s what Americans want: a wealthy fighter that will share his prosperity with them.”

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Michael Aagaard:
Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce

“For a guy who is strictly self-funded, Trump does have an awful lot of ‘Donate’ buttons. All kidding aside, this is a pretty decent website. I’m impressed.

All the main functionalities are easy to use. The logo and tagline confirm you’re on Trump’s presidential website and both the ‘Sign Up’ and ‘Donate’ forms work well.

While the donations themselves are handled by a third-party tool, there’s a good match both visually and message-wise, so you get the feeling of an uninterrupted experience.

The header doesn’t quite line up on a 15-inch screen, and you can’t see the bottom of the hero shot that contains the two main CTAs. But other than that, most of the UX is on point. Likewise, the mobile version works well. In fact, I’d say it works better than the desktop version.

Only negative thing is that there are quite a few navigation points in the burger menu, which makes it a bit overwhelming:

trump-burger-menu-presidential-marketing-campaign

In my experience, people who come to a website like this have already made up their minds, so the website doesn’t need to do much persuading. But it has to be real easy to use, so you can do what you set out to do with little or no friction.”

Step 2: Join Us

donald-trump-step-2-join-us-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

The subhead on Trump’s email opt-in leverages a personal connection to the candidate. Instead of inviting supporters to join the campaign or “Get updates,” this opt-in invites them to “Receive updates from Donald J. Trump” directly.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, that’s the main positive. To sign up, a supporter would have to enter information into five required fields. Compare that to Clinton’s dramatically simplified sign-up process, requiring only two fields.

All told, there are 13 form fields and checkboxes. Too many options is the hallmark of low-converting forms.

In addition, the text on the CTA buttons — from (1) the homepage’s button “Join Us,” to (2) the form’s headline “Sign Up,” to (3) the form’s button “Submit” — creates a disjointed user experience (not to mention that “Submit” is a notoriously lame and low-converting CTA).

disjointed-ctas-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Experts:

kristi-hines-200

Kristi Hines:
Freelance Writer and Content Marketer

“From a conversion standpoint, my first thought is that the ‘Join Us’ button should lead to a form titled ‘Join Us.’

While I think the form does have a lot of fields, I believe those fields are necessary, especially the state and zip code.

Why? Because it allows each candidate to email and text supporters about upcoming local events and voting rules. Plus, if supporters enter their full address, that also opens the door to some direct mailing opportunities.

The use of a CAPTCHA field doesn’t bother me. Considering the amount of spam most online forms receive, this is probably the easiest way to at least bypass the automated spam. I’m sure their marketing team is already fighting a lot of fake submissions from Trump haters.

The only disconnect for me on this form is not requiring the mobile number — which is smart — but then having the ‘Yes, please send me periodic text messages…’ box automatically checked.

text-messages-automatically-checked-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-campaign

Finally, I think they should try testing some different messaging on the ‘Submit’ button. I’d bet a button that said ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’ would get some smiles from Trump supporters.

Overall, the form may seem lengthy, but it gets the information the candidate needs and works well on desktop and mobile. In any case, no one is going to switch their vote just because the other candidate has an easier form to fill out.”

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Chris Goward:
Founder and CEO, WiderFunnel

“The first task in any optimization exercise is to understand your conversion optimization goals. Organizations that don’t know their real goals often optimize for the wrong things and hurt their ultimate results.

Since Donald Trump is already a master at gaining free press mentions, and he apparently has plenty of funding, one would assume his goal is to gain direct access to voters to mobilize them on voting days. That means his ‘Join Us’ call to action is very important.

If his transactional goal — the bottom end of the funnel — is to maximize subscribers, he could test some improvements:

  • The Join Us pop-up form seems complicated at first, with 13 fields preceding a big red ‘Submit’ button. Hmm… does Trump want us all to ‘submit’ to him? Especially for mobile, this is a very long form for a seemingly simple CTA.
  • Form fields broken into two columns make scanning difficult. This isn’t an issue on mobile, but I certainly wouldn’t stick around to fill out a mobile form with that much scrolling required.
  • Why am I being asked for a mailing address when that’s not needed for the messages I’m subscribing for? What else is my information being used for?
  • Right before completing the form, there are two big barriers: (1) an ‘I am not a robot’ field, which seems unnecessary, and (2) an opt-in warning.

If Trump isn’t testing, he should get started. Based on Clinton’s website, she’s got a more effective conversion optimization team — her simple signup form reigns supreme in comparison.”

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Sean Work:
VP of Inbound Marketing, Crazy Egg

“I have no idea if this is a good sign up flow or not. Why? Because I’m not the one testing it. I haven’t seen any data. So everything I’m going to say right now is from the gut. Basically it’s what I would do if I were putting a variant together.

Moving on to the signup page, sometimes collecting a lot of information is a smart thing to do. It might not convert as well, but the benefit of collecting more info sometimes outweighs total conversions. I’ve heard of cases where more form fields actually converts better!

We could ax the mobile number field. It’s not a required field so why let it get in the way? However, having supporter phone numbers might be incredibly valuable when election day is near. You might want to call your base supporters to make sure they know where they are going to vote and inform them of any last-minute details.

If we are going for just pure sign ups and nothing else, I would simply have first name, last name and email. I would remove all the checkboxes and the comment field. I might consider keeping the CAPTCHA because I can see the opposition trying to flood the form with bogus entries.

My final words on this: It really has to do with Trump’s strategy and goals.

They need to be nailed down first. What do you want to achieve? Then you work backwards.

You create your hypothesis, build the page, test it, measure it then repeat the cycle.”

Step 3: Trump’s Donation Process

The Good:

Unlike Trump’s previous pages, the donation process is clean and visually minimalistic. It includes an image of the candidate that — thanks to the blue hue — drives home the personal and patriotic connection mentioned earlier. At the same time, the imagery doesn’t distract from the action.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, the white text on light-grey background makes the buttons hard to read. Adding some visual clarity in the form of affordance could be valuable. Also hard to see is the fine print. And, as opposed to Clinton’s donation pages, there isn’t even a note to expatriates who might want to contribute.

Lastly, the trust factor on the page is low. Trump doesn’t include anything about where the money goes and — outside of the generic word “SECURE” and the image of a lock — the page doesn’t provide security measures to assure donors their payment information is actually secure.

The Experts:

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Ben Twichell:
Head of Marketing at Mention

“Copy is one of the most vital elements of a landing page.

My recommendations would be to include and test three sections: (1) a prose style emotion-evoking paragraph, (2) a bullet-point list of his platform stances and (3) social proof.”

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Shanelle Mullin:
Content & Growth at ConversionXL

“Going back a step, Trump’s site misses a huge opportunity.

If someone selects the ‘Join Us’ call to action instead of the ‘Donate’ call to action on the homepage, the site asks for a lot of the same information.

Why not ask for a password during that process to make the donation process easier for those who are, presumably, the most likely to donate? It would also make mobile donations easier.

In the same vein, there’s a login option on the Trump donation page, but it’s well below the fold. If someone who has donated before returns to this page, intent is high. Make it easier for them.

Overall, the UX is fairly standard for a presidential campaign site. However, there are a few little things that could be improved:

  • On mobile, when you advance to Step 2 of 3, you’re automatically scrolled down to the ‘Continue’ button. All that’s visible is the button and the start of the fine print, so you have to scroll back up.
  • Also on mobile, if you don’t immediately choose the “Scan Credit Card” option, it disappears.
  • In the fine print, it says the maximum individual contribution is $2,700 per election. So why am I able to select ‘$1,000’ or ‘$2,700’ and then ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation’? Furthermore, how many months am I signing up for here?
  • There are in-line error messages, which is great, but the form still accepts obviously false information. For example, a zip code that is not in the state selected and an invalid email address.
  • There’s no confirmation of how much you’re donating (and how frequently) before clicking the final ‘Donate’ button.
  • Another big issue is donation amount. Why the big jump? Why so many small amounts? Maybe the Trump optimization team did their conversion research and found that most people donate smaller, recurring amounts. But why not have ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation’ selected by default then?”

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Hillary Clinton

Step 1: Pop-Ups

hilary-clinton-pop-ups-presidential-marketing-campaign
hilary-clinton-pop-ups-2-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

From the jump, Clinton’s site kicks things off with a bang. The first pop-up takes aim directly at her opponent:

Making Donald Trump our Commander-in-Chief would be a historic mistake.

And the second leans on social proof, with a quote from President Obama:

I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.

Clicking “I agree” on either immediately presents the visitor with the option to join Clinton’s email list:

hilary-clinton-join-mailing-list-presidential-marketing-campaign

On top of being laser-focused, the CTAs are written from the perspective of the visitor.

The Bad:

It’s difficult to say whether or not the themes of Clinton’s pop-ups “work.” Instead of defining herself proactively, the visitor’s first impression is directed toward either who she’s against (Trump) or who supports her (Obama).

For a candidate who regularly gets lambasted on Saturday Night Live for being unrelatable and aloof, this worries me from a conversion perspective.

Moreover, both pop-ups make the assumption that her visitor will be a “party” voter. The first message — being anti-Trump — is probably a safe bet. However the second is riskier given that the most recent polls put President Obama’s approval rating at 50%.

The Experts:

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Henneke Duistermaat:
Irreverent Business Writing Coach

“You can see two interesting persuasion principles at work here. The first is what psychologists call the consistency principle, also known as the foot-in-the-door technique: once you’ve agreed with one small request, you’re more likely to agree with a bigger request.

This is exactly what’s happening with the two-step sign up: first agree with a simple statement (small commitment) before submitting your email address (slightly larger commitment). Of course, this flies in the face of conventional advice on making the sign-up process as easy as possible. I assume they’ve tested both options and the two-step process worked better.

The other point to note are the two different phrases: one portraying Trump as commander-in-chief as a mistake (avoiding a risk) and the other agreeing with Obama that nobody is better qualified than Clinton (gaining a positive benefit).

The question here is: do people want to avoid Trump as president or do they want to support Hillary Clinton as president?

Many of us are risk-averse. We prefer avoiding problems rather than gaining something. It’s a great test to run for any business.

For instance, do your customers want to avoid internet downtime or are they looking for consistent internet access? Or, imagine you’re selling bikes: do your customers want to avoid a sore butt or are they looking for a comfy saddle?”

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Bryan Eisenberg:
Partner, BuyerLegends

“There are all kinds of challenges with these pop-ups. However, when we are dealing with political websites versus business websites the intrinsic motivations are completely different. Why people do and don’t do things radically changes. Political websites can add additional friction points — like extra clicks — and people’s motivations will still provide the momentum to convert.

Why?

Because we are not dealing with an exchange of money (at least not primarily) but rather a reinforcement of an individual’s values. The key thing about these pop-ups is how they fit the candidate’s brand narrative.

Both tell the same story and appeal to the same values. In that sense, they’re ‘selling’ a consistent vision… one that visitors to this site would no doubt connect with.”

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Danielle Devereux:
Growth Marketing Consultant

“Great design is one of the most crucial aspects of user experience on your landing pages. Design relates to many critical components such as navigation, layout, colors, font choices, text and videos. You want users to have an easy and pleasurable experience navigating these elements of your site.

To accomplish this you must reduce friction. Friction is anything visual, technical or logical that gets in the way of a user completing your landing page’s desired goal.

Clinton’s pop-ups create a point of friction, because the first non-essential pop-up — ‘I Agree’ — gets in the way of the essential CTA pop-up — the email signup form.

The goal of the quote design is to present an attractive invitation to subscribe to the Clinton campaign newsletter. So why ask your users to click on an extra pop-up? This creates friction by adding an unnecessary click and weighing down the interaction.

To solve this problem, limit your signup process to as few steps as possible. One or two steps works really well. Show them one pop-up with a compelling CTA and as few form fields as possible.”

Step 2: Homepage

hilary-clinton-homepage-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

Setting aside Obama’s struggling approval rating, using the header image to make a powerful and joyous announcement is a smart move. As opposed to the negativity of the first pop-up, Clinton’s homepage copy and imagery is decidedly positive.

The area below the header then offers two clear options for people who want to participate in Clinton’s campaign. Both options include the first steps to completing the desired action right there on the page. They’re also presented in a logical order: join first… then donate.

The menu options are elegantly lined up and not as crowded as Trump’s. The red “Donate” button on the top-right leaps off the page. And Clinton cleverly sows elements of her progressive logo throughout.

The Bad:

While not as overwhelming as the body of Trump’s homepage, Clinton’s homepage lacks focus, direction and a clear visual hierarchy. After the initial CTAs to either join or donate, there are no follow-up boxes to engage visitors once they leave the header section.

Instead, the majority of the screen is dominated by text-heavy article excerpts.

My first thought was that the articles would link to outside resources, something that Trump does well. Instead, they’re internal links to pieces on Clinton’s own site. While internal linking keeps her visitors on-site, the downside of this is it doesn’t offer objective or outside validation (i.e., social proof) to back up the claims being made.

Even the so-called “Get the Facts” box links to another of Clinton’s own pages:

hilary-clinton-get-the-facts-presidential-marketing-campaign

Lastly, because her social icons are presented in the footer only and obscured by light-blue text on dark-blue background, they might as well not even be there:

hilary-clinton-social-icons-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Experts:

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Andy Crestodina:
Strategic Director, Orbit Media

“Clinton’s homepage is relatively lightweight and fast loading: 1.3MB at ~2 sec.

It’s also light in terms of copy… just 350 words including the navigation. It’s action oriented and carefully edited. There are 50+ verbs and zero adverbs.

You can’t miss the calls to action. They’re prioritized  — subscribe, donate, shop, then follow — and the arrow, borrowed from the logo, helps to move the eye along. More than half the page is dedicated to these actions. That’s an extreme ratio of CTA to content.

hilary-clinton-calls-to-action-presidential-marketing-campaign

The content area is also super concise, with tiny headers (speeches, the feed, issues, etc.), big headlines and small excerpts and consistent links. This area has no images, which makes it easy to scan.

Some of the headlines are missed opportunities for editing. They could have left out the first few words on this headline: ‘Hillary on why we can’t let Donald Trump bankrupt America like one of his casinos.’

We all know who’s website we’re on. No need to use the name again. Also, it’s strange to see this link off to Medium.com. Unless the candidate has a strategy for building an audience there, she would probably be better off keeping the visitor here.

They’re using Optimizely, so presumably, we’re looking at a test. This is definitely a carefully optimized tested page. Some might say that’s an accurate reflection of the candidate.”

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Everette Taylor:
VP of Marketing, Skurt

“After clicking through the pop-up, the page does a solid job of reinforcing the desired outcome and drawing people further in. The use of Obama throughout — and now Bernie Sanders — is great use of social proof and a ‘third party endorsement’ of sorts to validate her brand.

One thing I notice that’s interesting is that she’s requesting zip code along with email. If she’s doing super targeted localized emails then awesome. If not, just unnecessary friction. Also the CTA of ‘Next’ on the red buttons are super weak… c’mon, Team Clinton.

It’s very surprising, too, that there is no use of video on the homepage, which can elicit an emotional response that connects with voters and drives conversions for emails and donations. There’s also no search bar on the homepage, which in my opinion hurts usability of the site.

Lastly, the fact that the tags like ‘Speeches’ and ‘The Feed’ are unclickable — as well as ‘Shop Now’ and ‘Commit Now’ — are a user experience no-no. If you want people to enjoy the website experience, give them multiple ways to accomplish their desired action. Also, a huge missed opportunity is not having an email capture at the bottom of the page.”

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Johnathan Dane:
Founder of KlientBoost

“One of the first things you need to focus on when it comes to conversion rates is making it insanely simple for the visitor to understand what to do.

If you have two calls to action, like Clinton does — one for email and another for donation — then start off by potentially only using the call to action that has the lowest threat in the mind of the visitor. In this case, it would be email over donation.

Once you’ve gotten the ‘easier’ foot in the door and the visitor trusts you, then you can ask for the next thing (what you originally wanted): the donation.

When it comes to what’s below the fold, it may be a better design choice to use this space to add benefits surrounding the two calls to action — preferably one call to action — instead of having additional calls to action and blog-style posts to divert attention. ‘Feed’ and ‘Shop’ can already be navigated to from the header, so leave it at that.”

Step 3: Clinton Donation Process

The Good:

Visually, Clinton’s donation page is masterful. Not only is the image aspirational, her hand cleverly provides a directional cue, driving the visitor’s attention exactly where she wants it to go: the form.

Better yet, the form is easy to read, easy to fill out on both desktop and mobile and the buttons (unlike Trump’s) are obviously buttons.

The note in the footer provides a clever two-part persuasive push: (1) social proof by way of the 1.2 million “grassroots” donors and (2) a common enemy with the parenthetical note: “Keep Donald Trump out of the White House.”

The Bad:

The copy, on the other hand, definitely leaves something to be desired. Rather than continue the positive momentum from her homepage’s hero section and the aspirational image to the right, it reads like a perfunctory declaration of fact: “Hillary just secured the nomination.”

Worse, the only action words on the form are equally uninspiring: “Chip in to stand with her.”

The fine print below the form does a better job of highlighting the option for “Americans Abroad,” but it’s still something you have to hunt for.

The Experts:

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Jen Havice:
Conversion Copywriter and Optimizer

“Clinton’s image does a good job directing your eye towards the call to action. Clinton’s gaze and arm position act as a giant arrow making it clear what she wants you to do.

In addition, the red, white and blue color scheme hits all the right patriotic buttons.

It would be interesting to test having an image of her with other people — other real people — instead of other political figures.

The copy is asking the visitor to stand with her, yet no one else is. That may create undue friction in visitors’ minds. I would tap into the herd mentality both through the copy and the visuals, hitting home the fact that the visitors themselves are far from the only people backing Clinton.”

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Talia Wolf:
Conversion Optimization Expert

“In many cases, when it comes to donations and raising money, most NGOs focus on the situation right now: the poor child or the terminally ill mother. However, the most successful donation campaigns in the world are those that show donors the outcome of their donation: a happy kid or a smiling mother.

Why does this work? Though we donate because it’s the right thing to do, we also donate because we want to feel good about our actions and ourselves. I would like to see Hillary Clinton’s page make donors feel good about their choice to chip in and promise a brighter future for them.

Currently the landing page’s main focus is Hillary Clinton and her success. People may like to see her win, but there’s a lot more behind their votes than simply the idea of Hillary Clinton being president. Choosing a president is about believing that this person can change our lives for the better.

I would test a different strategy that focuses on the visitor rather than Clinton personally. While the hero shot of Clinton is clearly directing visitors’ attention towards the call to action, I would test adding many other people around her to show that her success is everyone’s success and that she has many supporters.

I’d also add a lot more social proof — perhaps testimonials, showing how many people have already donated and highlighting the change Clinton will deliver by being elected. I’d focus on making the page in terms of content and visuals all about the people ‘chipping in’ and the emotional outcome — the pride, excitement and promise of a brighter future.”

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Alex Harris:
Conversion Optimization for eCommerce and Lead Gen

“I think Team Clinton has done a great job of combining the image of Clinton pointing with the clean, interactive donation box.

It may be worth testing ‘Select an Amount’ versus ‘Choose Amount Below’ and making it left aligned. Sometimes you can increase conversions by breaking up the grid layout so the users can scan each section in a zigzag motion.

The same thing goes for the ‘Next’ button. I would test it in a variety of ways, including making the button not expand the width of the section and making is skinnier. Also I would not make it flat. After years of testing buttons on banners and landing pages, I’ve found a beveled button with rounded corners tends to work better than a flat button. There’s also no hover on the button, which is just lazy development.

As far as the ‘Secure’ text and icon, I think it is good enough, but it can be better. I would test making the lock gold and playing with text — something like ‘100% Secure.’

The rest of the interaction and forms are pretty standard. I think they work well and seem to flow from page to page pretty easily. That said, the form doesn’t include accepted credit card logos, which can be confusing to visitors. They may accept all cards, but they rely upon users to deduce that for themselves. Also, why is ‘Employer’ a required field? That field could stop a user from donating, or they will enter a fake company.”

And the winner is…

Sorry, but if you’ve been holding your breath waiting to have Trump or Clinton declared the conversion rate optimization victor, only time will tell.

Besides, I told you from the jump this is not a political article, and I’m not going to go breaking that promise here at the end. More to the point, I don’t want to get bombarded in the comments or on social media by adherents to either party.

Truth be told, the real winner in all this is conversion rate optimization itself.

Why?

Because thanks to the staggering success of presidential optimization in the past, these might very well be the highest stake funnels in the history of the world.

And that means one thing: No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, they hold a treasure trove of insights for copywriters, designers, UX engineers and anybody looking to improve the results of their own websites.

Huge thanks to all the CRO gurus who contributed.

Now… it’s your turn.

Did we miss something good, bad or ugly?

If so, be sure to let us know to it in the comments.

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Clinton vs. Trump: 18 CROs Tear Down the Highest Stakes Marketing Campaigns in US History

A Complete Content Funnel for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

Your B2B content strategy has one goal, one question to answer: Why should another business use your product or service? And your approach to the answer must change depending on where your audience is in the buyer’s journey. While who controls the B2B buyer’s journey has shifted recently — the prospect largely has the steering wheel now — the process is fundamentally the same, and the sales funnel is still very much intact. Only now, prospects can pick and choose how they move through it, including where, when and in which formats they get their information. Awareness-stage initiatives are split…

The post A Complete Content Funnel for the B2B Buyer’s Journey appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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A Complete Content Funnel for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

How To Create Icons In Adobe XD

Released in March this year, Adobe Experience Design is a new all-in-one tool that lets you design and prototype websites and mobile apps. XD is still in beta and available for Mac with a Windows version on track for a release later in 2016. It is bound to provide a fast and efficient way to create new user interfaces, wireframes, and visual designs with various devices in mind.

Creating Icons With Adobe XD

As an icon creator, I tried to use XD to create icons from scratch and to apply them to a new user interface. In this tutorial, I want to guide you through the steps it took so you can follow along. We’ll take a look at how to create a set of office icons for a new app. Plus, I’m going to show you how you can use XD’s features to interact with your newly-created user interfaces during the prototyping phase. So, let’s get started.

The post How To Create Icons In Adobe XD appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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How To Create Icons In Adobe XD

Master the Multi-Channel Campaign [Free Digital Campaign Launch Kit]

rocket launching
Think NASA launches without solid preparation? Well, neither should your marketing team. Image via Shutterstock.

Quick show of hands: Who loves spending oodles of time and energy on a task, only to find out someone else has been working on the same thing?

Nobody?

What about when you casually scope a project only to realize halfway through that it’s going to require more time and resources than you originally thought?

No one again?

I’ll stop — y’all know what I’m getting at: proper preparation is key to getting a campaign shipped with minimal friction. This means filling out a detailed brief and scoping the project from start to finish.

Are you thinking, “Ugh, what if I don’t have a tried-and-true process? And now I have to make a brief from scratch — where am I going to find the time for that?” Well, fear not, my friends, we have just the thing for you.

It’s a complete multi-channel campaign launch kit, and it’s what we use at Unbounce for all our digital marketing campaigns.

Inside the Digital Campaign Launch Kit, you’ll find the following items:

  • Campaign projections worksheet
  • Marketing brief template
  • A start-to-finish process for launching multi-channel campaigns, including how to define roles, determine your target market and messaging, identify the campaign’s objective, strategy, tactics and targets and get buy-in from stakeholders. Oh, and how to launch :)

Want to drive epic results and execute campaigns like a well-oiled machine?

Download our FREE Digital Campaign Launch Kit!
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

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Master the Multi-Channel Campaign [Free Digital Campaign Launch Kit]

4 Simple Indicators of User Behavior That Will Help You Improve Your Website

When a visitor browses through your website, she pays attention to the design, ease of navigation, content, visual appeal, and all other details she can see and experience. Her behavior on your website depends upon the impressions she gets. If your website is intuitive enough, she’ll continue browsing from page to page looking for more information. If, on the other side, the website doesn’t have what it takes, the visitor will bounce off before she understands what your site is all about. By analyzing the behavior of your website’s users, you get some hints on the aspects that need improvement….

The post 4 Simple Indicators of User Behavior That Will Help You Improve Your Website appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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4 Simple Indicators of User Behavior That Will Help You Improve Your Website

The one segment you probably aren’t (but should be) looking at

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Let’s say you’re segmenting traffic to your website.

You’re segmenting traffic because, in a digital world brimming over with messages, you want to make sure that the messaging on your site is Relevant to the right user at the right time.

And segmentation allows for personalization.

You believe that a more customized user experience will lead to more orders, demo requests, phone calls etc. So, you have structures in place to deliver appropriate messages to your different audiences, each with distinct needs and expectations.

But I must ask, how are you segmenting your visitors?

You might be grouping them by device, by traffic source, by demographic data.

General_Segments
People often segment general visitors by device, by traffic source, and by demographic data.

And these buckets are all viable:

  • Your desktop visitors may behave differently than your mobile visitors
  • Visitors coming from a Facebook ad may respond better to social proof triggers than those coming from organic search
  • Older visitors may browse your products differently than younger visitors

But the ultimate goal of segmentation, like conversion optimization, is to increase conversions. With that in mind, this post is all about that one segment you probably aren’t looking at: converters versus non-converters.

To clarify, your converter segment is not necessarily the same thing as your repeat-customer or Loyalty segment. Your converter segment includes anyone who converts, whether or not they’ve converted before.

Rather than focusing on different general visitor segments, you should turn your attention to the behaviors that differentiate visitors who convert from visitors who don’t.

When you focus on general visitor segments, you’re working from the top of the funnel to the bottom. Why not work from the bottom of the funnel, up? After all, that’s where the money is!

Correlation vs. Causation

First things first: when you’re looking at differences between converters and non-converters on your site, you must be wary of correlation versus causation.

It’s almost impossible to know whether converters are behaving in a distinct way because they’re already motivated to buy (correlation) or because the elements on the page have enabled those distinct behaviors (causation).

For example, does a converter browse more products than a non-converter because they’re already motivated to buy before arriving on-site? Or does an on-site UI that emphasizes browsability encourage converters to browse (and therefore convert)?

It’s similar to the search bar quandary: typically, visitors who search convert at a higher rate. But do they convert because they search (causation) or do the search because they’re already more motivated to buy (correlation)?

It’s a bit of a “the chicken or the egg” situation.

Fortunately, at WiderFunnel, we’re able to test on many retailers’ websites and take note of certain patterns. On multiple instances with different clients, we have observed clear and drastic differences in key user behavior metrics between visitors who convert and visitors who don’t convert.

These differences paint a picture of how your visitors shop. You can use this information to improve your UX and add features that’ll help your general visitors behave more like converters than non-converters. The hope is that encouraging non-converters to mimic the behavior of converters will lead to them actually becoming converters.

Moral of the story: If you observe impactful differences between converters and non-converters on your site, you should create a hypothesis that targets these differences.

WiderFunnel Optimization Strategist, Nick So, recently ran a test that did just that.

Let’s buy some shoes

One of our biggest clients is a global shoe retailer. Over the past 6 months, Nick noticed some patterns in their analytics:

  1. A high percentage of visitors that convert (like 60%) are returning visitors
  2. Converters visited 186% more pages per session on average and spent more time on page per session than non-converters
Converter_Stats
Converter vs. Non-Converter behavior on this client’s site.

Meaning, the majority of converters on this site have already been to the site at least once before and they seem to spend much more time browsing than their non-converting counterparts.

Nick So

It’s common sense that visitors who convert behave differently than those who don’t. But it wasn’t until we pulled the report and saw how big the difference was in their shopping behavior that we really thought to go down this path.

Nick So, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

In previous testing, Nick had also observed that visitors to this site are responsive to features that increase the browsability of multiple products. He’d noticed the same sensitivity with some of our other retailer clients, where features that made it easier to compare products helped conversions.

We decided to run with this data. Our hypothesis was based on the idea that visitors who convert are most likely returning visitors, therefore, pointing them toward products they’ve already viewed will guide them back into the funnel.

The hypothesis: Increasing the browsability of the site by displaying recently viewed products to increase relevance for the visitor will encourage higher engagement and increased return visits, which will increase conversions.

Nick and the team tested a single variation against the Control homepage. The Control featured a “Recommended Products” section just below the hero section, displaying four of the client’s most popular product categories.

In our variation, we replaced this with a “Your Recently Viewed Products” section. We wanted to target those visitors who were returning to the site, presumably to continue in the purchasing process. The products displayed in this section were unique to each returning visitor.

Converter_Test
The Control (left-hand) versus our variation (right-hand), which highlighted “Your Recently Viewed Products”.

Our variation won, consistently outperforming the Control during this test. This client saw a 6.9% increase in order completions.

Bottom to top

When you’re segmenting your audience, don’t forget about the segment that floats at the bottom of the funnel. Instead of identifying the differences that characterize visitors coming to your site, why not work backwards?

Look at the behavioral differences that distinguish converters from non-converters and test ways to help non-converters mimic the behaviors of converters.

Have you noticed drastic behavioral differences between your visitors who convert and those who don’t convert? Do you tap into this particular segment when you plan tests? Tell us all about it in the comments!

The post The one segment you probably aren’t (but should be) looking at appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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The one segment you probably aren’t (but should be) looking at