All posts by Neil Patel

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How to Appeal to the Three Main Types of Buyers

People spend their money in different ways. Some people will throw their money around without a care. Other people save their money like a scrooge.

Customer’s spending habits have a big impact in the way you market your product online.

Every person who visits your landing page or website is going to have a certain amount of money, a certain perspective on money, and a certain tendency to spend that money (or not) based on those characteristics.

You, as the marketer, can influence their spending behavior, but only if you cater to their spending predispositions.

That’s why you need to understand the three main types of buyers. Research indicates that there are two extremes of spending — those who spend freely and those who spend carefully.

Most people are somewhere in the middle, comprising the broad three types of buyers. Knowing who’s who will help you better market your products.

What I’m suggesting is an advanced form of market segmentation. Just as you cater to certain market segments based on demographic features, you can also cater directly to certain types of buyers.

I’m going to show you how to do this.

First, I’m going to explain the three types of buyers. Then, I will explain their characteristics. Next, I’ll share some pointers on how you can appeal to each buyer type. Finally, I’ll provide a little insight into how to understand the buyer types that are frequenting your business or website.

There are three types of buyers.

The first thing to understand is that there are three main types of buyers: the average spenders, the spendthrifts, and the tightwads.

The labels here are probably enough explanation, but let me dig in a little deeper so you can understand how these three types of buyers can influence your marketing efforts.

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Image from Helpscout.com.

Spendthrifts — 15% of the population

In the first place, you have spendthrifts. This group is the smallest percentage of buyers, but they are the most fun to market to. Why? Because they spend with no hesitation.

Spendthrifts feel little to no “pain” in making a purchase. This is the main reason that spendthrifts are spendthrifts. It’s unfortunate that people tend to judge spendthrifts with epithets such as “selfish” or “materialistic” or “compulsive.” It’s more accurate to describe spendthrifts in terms of where and when they experience pain in the purchase process.

They don’t feel pain leading up to the purchase. In other words, they do not anticipate purchase pain. If they do feel pain, it’s not until after the purchase is finalized.

The driving force of a spendthrift is their lack of buying pain. They don’t feel a twinge of remorse when they pull out their credit card to make a purchase. Thus, they spend easily and freely.

Tightwads — 24% of the population

On the other end of the buyer spectrum are the tightwads.

Tightwads do not enjoy spending money. They perceive money as a non-renewable resource. It’s meant for saving, not spending.

The reason why tightwads hate to pull out their wallet is because spending hurts. They feel a high level of buyer’s remorse, which can happen before, during, or after a purchase, but especially before.

Often, such tightwad tendencies are irrational, but that’s because pain doesn’t affect people on a rational basis. (Pain affects us emotionally, not rationally.) This is true for spendthrifts, too, only in the opposite way.

Tightwads who are in firm control of their thinking can be persuaded, but it’s hard. I’ll provide a few tips in the section, “How to Appeal to Each Buyer Type,” towards the end of this article.

Average Spenders — 61% of the population

Now we come to the average Joe spender. This is where the majority of people are.

Average spenders are more likely to respond to persuasion and make an informed decision. Spendthrifts and tightwads have both already made up their mind, sort of. There’s little you can do to persuade them. The spendthrift has decided to buy. The tightwad has decided not to buy.

The average spender, however, is ready to think about it. This is where you put forth your greatest effort.

Is it all this tidy?

This all sounds rather neat and clean — three types of buyers, nice little statistics.

In the real world, it’s not all that tidy. Here are some of the caveats:

  • Some people can be both spendthrift and tightwads, just in different areas of spending.
  • The three types of buyers aren’t quite this distinct. Most consumer researchers see a scale or continuum between the two extremes.
  • Buyer behavior can change based on demographic features such as age, income, occupation, and other factors.

In other words, we’re all at different points on a continuum, depending on what product it is and where we’re at in life. This means things are a little more complicated than a simple pie graph.

In spite of this, we can make some fairly accurate assessments of buyer behavior based on studies. The study from which most of my data is drawn is the excellent paper, “Tightwads and Spendthrifts,” by Scott Rick, Cynthia Cryder, and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University.

In the discussion below, I’m going to focus on the two noticeable extremes of buyers — spendthrifts and tightwads. Understanding the average spender is as straightforward as thinking of a mashup of tightwad and spendthrift.

If we can understand the extremes, we can identify the middle.

Characteristics of the Buyer Types

Now it’s time to explore each of these buyer types. Besides just being “spendthrifts” or “tightwads,” what are their specific characteristics?

Spendthrifts

Spendthrifts are spendthrifts, no matter how much money they make.

Spendthrifts have a wide range of incomes. There are tightwads all along the income spectrum. You can have rich spendthrifts and poor spendthrifts.

The rich spendthrifts are more noticeable, because the objects on which they spend their money are more lavish — yachts, houses, vacations, etc. Spendthrifts in a lower income strata make purchases that, when compared to their total income, are actually just as extreme.

It doesn’t matter how much income the spender has. Their purchasing habits are just as likely to be in full force whether they make $10,000 per year, or $500,000 per year.

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Note:  In the chart above “unconflicted” refers to what I call “average spenders.” Image from Social Science Research Network

They don’t think about the consequences of spending, but rather the benefit of gaining the product or service.

Spendthrifts really do think long and hard about a purchase. They may even wait to make a purchase, carefully considering it.

But what are they thinking about? They are thinking about the joy and delight of the purchase, not the pain. They consider everything after the point of purchase. That’s one of the reasons why they have no pain; they’re focused on the pleasure.

Spendthrifts are usually younger.

Studies on spendthrifts indicate that younger buyers are more likely to be spendthrifts than older buyers.

Often a person may pass through several gradations of spending styles as they age. For example, a 20-something will have a spendthrift stage, but this style of spending will level out in later life.

Another issue to keep in mind is that someone may be a spendthrift in one area, but not another. Ironically, a spendthrift may be extremely cautious and controlled in, say, food expenditures, but have no problem spending thousands of dollars on electronic gadgetry.

In college, spendthrifts are more likely to study the humanities, communication, and social work.

These fields of study — more art and less science — do not require rigorous attention to metrics, numbers or other features. Instead, they are more related to feeling and emotion.

Spendthrifts lack self-control in spending situations.

In any other situations, spendthrifts may be able to exercise high levels of self-control. When it comes to spending, however, they have difficulty exerting any level of control. Their main controls in spending situations are strict economic factors such as a maxed out credit card or a low credit score.

Spendthrifts are more likely to carry debt.

According to the research nearly 60% of spendthrifts have a balance on their credit card. In fact, a full 8% of spendthrifts have over 20,000 in credit card debt.

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Image from Social Science Research Network

Spendthrifts aren’t savers.

It’s probably obvious that spendthrifts aren’t savers. Just as they don’t feel the pain of purchasing, they don’t feel the pain of not saving either. Anticipating purchase pain of any kind is unlikely.

Tightwads.

Tightwads are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree.

Education and spending habits are correlated. More tightwads have a college education than spendthrifts. This doesn’t indicate intelligence levels, as much as it does overall life foci and objectives. Ironically, however, those who do attend college have made or are making a very big, very expensive, and often debt-laden purchase — education itself.

In college, tightwads are more likely to study engineering, computer science, or natural science.

Contrast this with the field of study for spendthrifts — humanities, communication, and social work. There is a clear difference between engineering and social work.

Tightwads tend to feel the pain of a purchase just before they make the purchase.

Spendthrifts, as I mentioned above, don’t feel this pain until after they make the purchase. This moment of pain can prevent the purchase, in the case of tightwads. For spendthrifts, however, it’s too late.

Tightwads are often overly self-controlled.

Their powers of self-control are so strong, at least in the area of spending money, that they can’t suspend their powers of self-control when it would be beneficial to do so.

Tightwads are savers.

A surprising 28% of tightwads have over $250,000 in savings. Where the spendthrifts don’t save, the tightwads surely make up for it.

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Image from Social Science Research Network

Average spenders.

What about average spenders — the vast middle metric?

Rather than sequentially consider their individual characteristics, it’s important to instead consider them as the balance between the tightwad and spendthrift.

Average spenders think about purchases, but don’t overthink it. They don’t focus exclusively on the pleasure or the pain of a purchase. They think about both. They decide on a purchase after looking at the facts and reading the marketing copy.

This is the average spender.

How to Appeal to Each Type of Buyer

How to appeal to tightwads. (It’s hard.)

Most tightwads are predisposed to say “no” to a purchase, hardening their resolve like a mom on a shopping trip with toddlers as they march down the candy aisle. But their “no” is not impenetrable. Here’s how you can break through.

Use data.

Numbers don’t lie, and many tightwads are numbers-driven. (Remember, these people were engineering majors.)

A buyer with a numbers-driven mindset is going to make decisions based on numbers. If you can show them charts, graphs, statistics, and studies, they are more likely to switch on their rational mind, respond to the numbers, and make the purchase.

Focus on cost savings.

A tightwad anticipates the pain of a purchase. What can counteract this pain? The pleasure of saving.

Buying something hurts. For the tightwad, it feels like they are losing something. However, if you can show how much money the tightwad will save, this counteracts the pain of the purchase. If the pleasure of saving can overcome the pain of spending, then you have a buyer.

Show them the function.

Tightwads are willing to buy for utilitarian purposes. Show that your product or service fills a need, and show how that need is filled.

Studies show that spendthrifts are likely to make purchases that give them pleasure, such as the luxury of a feel-good back massage or a day at the spa. This isn’t going to fly with the tightwad. Instead, they need to hear that the back massage will enhance the longevity and strength of their back, or that the spa treatment will improve their productivity at work.

How to appeal to spendthrifts. (It’s easy.)

You don’t really need to focus on the spendthrifts. They will buy with or without your persuasive techniques. That being said, there are a few things that can improve your profitability with the spendthrift buyer.

Focus on the pleasure.

Spendthrifts are more likely to buy for pleasure. This “hedonic motivation” means that they have an intense interest in things that will provide them with adventure, gratification, status, or some other perceived emotional need.

Your goal is to dish up the greatest amount of pleasure, making it easier for them to focus on this when they consider a purchase.

Make the price higher.

A spendthrift is not blind to price. They think about it, but only insofar as it affects their perception of the product’s pleasure-giving ability.

If the price is higher, they will consider the product to be more valuable or more enjoyable. For example, if the standard rate of a hotel room is $195 per night, than a room that costs $625 per night will be at least three times as enjoyable in their estimation.

A higher price will not drive away spendthrifts. Instead, it may actually attract them.

Add on fees.

Spendthrifts are more likely to pay extra fees.  In one study analyzing the responses of spendthrifts and tightwads, researchers tacked on an extra fee to a purchase. It was only $5, but spendthrifts were five times as likely to pay it than tightwads.

Shipping costs or handling fees may drive away some users, but it won’t have a negative impact on the purchase of a spendthrift.

How to appeal to average spenders (It’s important.)

You should spend more of your time working to appeal to the average spenders.

The main reason for this is because they are most likely to respond to persuasive techniques. You get to make up their mind based on the power of your persuasion and data.

I suggest that you use tactics such as increasing your traffic to pull in a higher number of visitors, conducting conversion optimization, and improving your copywriting to make it more persuasive.

How to Figure out What Type of Buyers You Have

As the research states, “Although many businesses want to know which customers are tightwads and which are spendthrifts, using a scale to perform the diagnoses would be difficult.”

It is challenging if not impossible, to try figure out which types of buyers are spendthrifts, which are average, and which are tightwads.

The best strategy is to focus on average buyers, since they are the greatest percentage of the buying population. If you want to streamline your marketing efforts and pitch a product more directly to buyer type, here are a few tips that may help figure out who’s who:

  • Connect customer intent to buyer type. Remember the importance of Every query is driven by intent, and that intent will have an impact on what the user sees and how that user converts. Some queries will have an obvious spendthrift intent, whereas others will be more tightwad focused. For example, “most powerful outboard motor” may signify the query of a spendthrift, while the query “low cost outboard motor” is more likely a tightwad.
  • Identify demographic differences among buyers. Keep in mind a few of the demographic differences between the three types of buyers. For example, spendthrifts are usually younger; tightwads are older, etc.
  • Determine what buyer type is most likely to purchase your product. What kind of product do you have? Is it something a spendthrift is more likely to buy or a tightwad? If your product is for pleasure, then you may want to tilt your marketing to cater to spendthrifts. If your product is for something functional and utilitarian, then focus on marketing to tightwads.
  • Just pay attention to statistics. The easiest way to determine buyer type is to look at the statistics. Most buyers are “average” — that is, neither spendthrifts nor tightwads. If you prefer to keep things simple, just focus on the 61%, and let the spendthrifts and tightwads do what they wish.

Conclusion

If you want to improve not just your conversions but your revenue, I would give some serious consideration to the types of buyers who are purchasing from you.

A few simple tactics could improve your revenue dramatically. You can raise prices for your spendthrift audience or increase the persuasion for your tightwad audience, thereby bumping up your total income.

Every buyer who purchases from you falls somewhere on the tightwad-spendthrift spectrum. Once you figure out where that is, you’ll be in a powerful position to create a more profitable business.

How is your business affected by the three types of buyers?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

The post How to Appeal to the Three Main Types of Buyers appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Appeal to the Three Main Types of Buyers

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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 ReTargeter.com, Chango, AdRoll, ActionX.com, 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 VWO.com, 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.

Conclusion

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.

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3 Advanced Conversion Tips We Learned from the 2014 Holiday Season

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6 Email A/B Tests You Can Run Today (And Get Results)

Email marketing is a huge part of my business success. I used email marketing to build my first business, and that got me using it for every single one of my business ventures since then.

But here’s the thing about email marketing. It doesn’t just work automatically by virtue of your sheer brilliance. Instead, you must do the tough work of building an address list, creating emails, curating those emails, and testing those emails.

Testing is a major but often overlooked component of email marketing. The real way to score big with email marketing is to test your emails in order to find out what gives you the biggest impact.

In this article, I share some of the most powerful A/B tests that I’ve discovered for email marketing. When you start testing your emails, you’ll begin to discover things that you hadn’t even dreamed of regarding what works and what doesn’t.

This alone is an eye opener, but it gets even better. Testing your emails leads to better email marketing success, which leads to better success in general.

How do you test your emails?

First off, let’s deal with a simple question:  How do you do email a/b testing?

It’s easy. Most email marketing programs have split testing functionality built right in. All you have to do is turn it on (sometimes, it’s an additional paid feature), set up your tests, and let the results pour in.

Here are some of the major email marketing programs that have A/B testing built in:

  • Infusionsoft
  • ConstantContact
  • HubSpot Email
  • AWeber
  • Marketo
  • Mailchimp

This article is not a tutorial on each email marketing platform, but is a guide to A/B testing that will apply to any email marketing program.

A Word of Warning

Once you start testing your emails, you may be tempted to start thinking of email split testing as a silver bullet to all your email marketing problems.

Well, it’s not a silver bullet. But it’s the next best thing.

There’s one problem regarding email marketing that I want to draw your attention to:  statistical significance. The problem isn’t with testing itself, but with the way that some email marketing programs deliver test results.

Although most email marketing programs allow you to set up A/B testing, not all of them report the results accurately.

As Peter Borden explained in his article on Sumall, “I have yet to see an email platform that actually takes those results and tries to determine if they’re statistically significant. Most don’t. They simply see which version has the greater number of opens and calls that one as the winner.”

This isn’t a show-stopper to email testing. The simple way to solve this conundrum is to look at the data yourself, rather than trusting the declared winner.

Use an A/B significance test calculator, like this free one. Simply plug in the numbers, and analyze the test results.

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This calculator will allow you to deal with the data yourself and figure out the significance of your split tests.

Now, let’s get into some of those split tests that you can start working on today, and start bringing in the results that will change your business.

Timing:  What day of the week or time of day gives you the best open rates?

One of the most blogged-about issues in email marketing is timing. What’s the best time of day or the day of week to send emails?

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Everyone wants to know, but precious few actually test it. Save yourself some time, spare yourself some grief, and give yourself a break.

You see, there’s no stock answer to the question “what time is best?” Like everything else in marketing (and life), the true answer is it just depends.

Everything has a perfect timing — tweets, posts, retweets, +1s, etc. That timing has a major impact on whether or not someone sees your email, let alone opens it, let alone clicks through, let alone converts.

Finding that perfect time isn’t just a matter of getting the biggest open rates, but is also a major contributing factor to getting the highest CTRs and conversions.

For example, you may think that an email sent at 7:30 a.m. would get high CTRs. Yes, it might. Employees are turning on their computers and working through their email. Here’s the catch, though:  They feel rushed, open your email, but may not have time to respond to your offer. Sure, you get high CTRs, but your conversions are awful.

But what if you send it at 4:30 p.m., when employees are bored, winding down, and looking for a distraction? They may see your email, open it, and be more likely to convert. Fewer opens? Maybe. Higher conversions? Yes.

See? It just depends on a lot of things. Test and you’ll nail the perfect time eventually.

Subject Line:  What subject line increases your open rates and conversion rates?

By far, the most significant tests deal with subject lines.

Take a look at the results I recently got by testing my subject lines:

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Subject line testing can blow your open rates sky high. It took me a few efforts, but I eventually found the subject line formula that boosted my open rates by 203%.

In email marketing, a 203% can easily translate to tens of thousands of dollars increase in revenue. Think about it:  What good is an email that nobody opens? Statistically speaking, most people don’t open marketing emails. Global email open rates are only 32%, and the clickthrough rate is a shocking 4%. Sorry, but that’s life.

If you can somehow get people to open your emails you’ve automatically gained big time.

The goal of subject line testing is to improve open rates. But that’s not all. The right subject line doesn’t just get people to open the email. It also shapes their perception of the entire email, and whether or not they convert.

The result that is easiest to identify in subject line testing is the open rate, but you should also see what kind of impact your subject line has on your conversion rate.

You can’t afford not to test subject lines. This is the most important part of your entire email.  But what is it about your subject line that you should test? Here are 6 subject line test possibilities.

1. Length:  Which works better — a short subject line or a long subject line?

MailChimp reports that 28–39 characters is the sweet spot. I’ve found that even shorter can sometimes be better.

2. Curiosity:  Which works better — a subject line that reveals the contents of the email or one that sparks curiosity?

Some email marketers swear by the mantra that you should always reveal the contents of the email in the subject line. Others declare that sparking curiosity is the only true way to get more open rates. Which is the better way?

This subject line from Quicksprout got major opens: “Who Is More Active on Social Media? Men or Women?”

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Obviously, you won’t know until you test.

3. Marketing:  Which works better — a subject line that invites the user to buy or one that directly provides value to the user?

I’ve discovered that subject lines that communicate value to the user are the ones that get the biggest open rates. People are looking at their email inbox thinking, “What’s in it for me?” If your email can deliver something good, then they will be more likely to open it.

Notice how these email subject lines makes the offer more benefit focused, and less “buy” focused.  Each attempts to add value

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4. Capitalization: Which works better — a subject line with some words in all caps or one without words in caps?

Most of us are aware that using all caps can be a big turnoff for most readers, but some email marketers have used it successfully. Will it work for your emails?

5. Questions:  Which works better — a subject line that asks a question or one that doesn’t?

Questions make users think. More specifically, questions makes them think about your email. If the answer isn’t obvious or if they want to see if their answer is correct, you’ve gained a clickthrough. It’s worth trying.

6. Greetings:  Which works better — a subject line that greets the user by name, or one that doesn’t?

Name-specific greetings can be extremely powerful, or they can be a complete turnoff. The issue is a complex one, because different market segments may like the personalization, whereas others see it as fawning, artificial, or even a perceived breach of security.

The best way to find out is to test it. Once you win with your subject lines, then you’ve made some of the biggest possible gains in email marketing

Sender:  What “from” line works best — an individual or a company?

Nearly every email client clearly displays the “sender” of the email before the user even opens the email.

In fact, the sender is usually the first thing that people notice — even before the subject line! The reason for this is that many email clients display the sender prior to the subject line in the standard left-to-right reading pattern.

Here’s how Gmail displays emails in the inbox:  1) Sender first, 2) Subject line next, followed by a body copy preview.

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It logically follows that the sender of an email has a huge impact on open rates and other critical email success metrics.

The best test to perform is sending the email from an individual’s name vs. the company name. It seems fairly intuitive that people are more likely to open an email from an individual rather than a faceless corporate entity.

But can you be sure? Only if you test it.

Greeting:  What works better — a personalized greeting or a non-personalized greeting?

Personalization in all arenas of marketing is hailed as a major breakthrough.

Some evidence suggests, however, that personalization might not be that effective. Were you affected by any of the recent major security breaches? If so, then you know that personalization can seem a bit scary.

As long ago as 2012, researchers were concerned that “personalized emails don’t impress customers.” According to the report from Sunil Wattal at Temple University Fox School of Business, “Given the high level of cyber security concerns about phishing, identity theft, and credit card fraud, many consumers would be wary of emails, particularly those with personal greetings.”

Now, in the wake of major cyber scandals, consumers are probably even more wary. But are your customers wary?

The issue has been tested time and again. The results vary widely. Often, the differences are negligible.

Foolishadventure tested personalized emails vs. nonpersonalized. The first email was the personalized one:

email test 7
Image from Foolishadventure.

The open rate is only slightly higher, a 1% difference. The clickthrough rate is 2.2% higher.

When tested again, however, the opposite was true. The personalized greeting, on the top, got lower open rates and CTRs.

email test 8

The takeaway is not that “personalization is better” or “generic is better.” The takeaway is that Foolishadventure should probably run the test a few more times.

Another takeaway is that you should test to see what results you get.

Length:  What works better — a complete email message or one that requires a clickthrough?

Most of my email marketing require a clickthrough. Why? It’s all about the goal of my email marketing. In the case of Quicksprout, in the email below, I’m trying to provide my subscribers with the best information on the Web.

I want subscribers to be able to get the full experience on my blog, to interact in the comments, and to engage at a higher level. That’s why I give them three opportunities to click through.

email test 9

Other marketers use the long email approach. Most notably, Ramit Sethi of IWT writes really long emails, and his email marketing is top notch.

Both approaches work. This entire test depends on the goal of your email marketing. Are you looking to drive traffic, improve conversions, engage readers? Decide on your objective, or allow your testing to influence that objective.

CTA:  What works better — a button or text?

Every successful email has a call to action — something that you are asking the reader to do. It can be as simple as a “read the rest of this article,” or it can be as significant as “sign up for your free trial.”

Should you put this CTA in a line of text? Or with a big button? Or both?

The issue of email CTAs is a big one. The most shocking mistake that I’ve seen email marketers commit is the mistake of having no CTA! By all means, put a CTA in your email, and then figure out which ones gives you higher conversions.

This type of test is particularly valuable, because you get a close look at one of the issues that matter most in your email marketing — actual conversions or clickthroughs.

You can (and should) run more tests off of the CTA one. Once you figure out which one converts better, you can start testing button color, size, and other features. You should also try different variations of the CTA, and even different CTA objectives.

A testing blueprint.

So, you’ve read this email, and now you’re thinking, “Um, great. Now what?”

Let me sketch out a quick how-to of what to do next. First, go to your email marketing provider, and figure out how to turn on and use A/B testing. Next, start a test — just one test. Once you get results, move on to the next test.

I’ve listed the tests above in order of the sequence in which you should run them. They function sort of like an inverse pyramid, in which the first tests will allow you to attract the greatest numbers of opens, which then leads to greater amounts of conversions in the final tests.

  1. Timing: What day of the week or time of day gives you the best open rates?
  2. Subject Line: What subject line increases your open rates and conversion rates?
  3. Sender: What “from” line works best — an individual or a company?
  4. Greeting: What works better — a personalized greeting or a non-personalized greeting?
  5. Length: What works better — a complete email message, or one that requires a clickthrough?
  6. CTA: What works better — a button or text?

Once you conduct these six basic tests, move on to more advanced split tests, or simply start over and run each test again.

What email A/B tests have you used and found to be successful?

The post 6 Email A/B Tests You Can Run Today (And Get Results) appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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4 Shocking Email Marketing Studies That’ll Make You Change the Way You Market

Let’s just all get on the same page for a minute.

We already know that email is the most powerful marketing channel that we have available. We already know that email has an ROI of 4,300%. We already know that email is the second biggest acquisition channel, right behind organic search. We already know that email has more active users than all the social media platforms combined

So, what don’t we know?

I’ve written this article to show you some email marketing data that you probably haven’t seen yet.

There are a few studies that have come out recently that contain some shocking data. The problem is, this glistening data is buried underneath mounds of other repetitive metrics in abstruse whitepapers and fenced behind really long opt-in forms.

Many of the studies I see look like this. Is this fascinating or what?

email studies 1

Yet clustered in those lines of data are some marketing gems that we need to know about.

I’m just bringing it out in the open. Why? Because if you grasp this information, I think it will actually change the way you do email marketing.

Here’s what you need to know, backed by the studies.

1. Just focus on your subject line. Everything else pales in comparison.

Whenever you think of email marketing, you should automatically think subject line.

In order to make email marketing successful, you must make your subject lines better. Email marketing is only as successful as your subject lines.

Experian conducted an email marketing study in late 2013, just in time for the holiday season. The study explored nine different verticals and thousands of responses on a medley of email marketing topics.

They discovered that a full 94% of brands carry out testing on their email campaigns. Good so far. Even better, these brands carried out more types of tests in 2013 than ever before. Types of tests they conducted included creativity, frequency, time of day, day of week, HTML vs. text, CTA, product placement, and numbers of products.

What test subject had the biggest impact?

By far, subject lines.

email studies 2

Testing is great, but testing subject lines has the most explosive impact, a whopping 226% higher than the next closest testing topic.

I’m a huge advocate of testing. Here is the proof as to how successful it really is.

Let me give you a personal example. I tested email subject lines for Quick Sprout marketing emails. In a series of five tests, I was able to get a 203% increase in my open rates.

email studies 3

The moral of the story is to test your email subject lines. Get ready to enjoy that huge uptick in open rates.

2. If you want clickthroughs, then use less content in your email for each link.

Have you ever wondered how to get more clickthroughs in your emails?

If you’re an email marketer, of course you have. Email marketers have three main goals in life:

  1. to increase open rates
  2. to increase clickthroughs
  3. to take a two-week vacation someday

Getting better open rates is absolutely critical to a successful email marketing campaign.

Reducing the amount of content relative to links is one way to increase engagement and clickthroughs.

This data comes from Mailchimp, the consummate cruncher of all things email marketing data. As part of their analysis of a gazillion emails, they studied the ration of words per URL vs. click/open rate, and discovered a fascinating little downward curvy line.

email studies 4Image from Mailchimp.

In case those numbers create gaze glaze, let me spell it out.

  • The less content you have per link that people can click on, the more likely people are to click on your link
  • According to the data, using 8-12 words per URL is the ideal spot for enhancing clickthroughs.

Viewed another way, the effect of content to link ratio on click rate looks like this:

email studies 5

The average English sentence has 14.3 words, and the highest URL CTRs take place around 12 words. Simple take away:  One sentence per link is the best ratio for your URLs.

But how many links should you have? It really doesn’t matter, as long as you get the ratio right. When URL count is graphed against the open rate, we see an uphill trend.

email studies 6

Readers can engage with the links that they want to, and they are more likely to do so when the content is paired with 8-12 words.

3. Transactional emails get more eyeballs. This is an opportunity.

Want to know what kind of emails really get opened the most?

It’s transactional emails. Check it.

email studies 7

Transactional emails have a median open rate of 38%, compared with 17% of overall emails and 17% of nontransactional emails. This data comes from Silverpop’s 2014 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study.

38% is a very high open rate, no matter who you are.

A transactional email is one that is sent to a user automatically based on something that the user does.

  • Welcome emails
  • Subscription confirmations
  • Shipping notices
  • Order notifications
  • Password reminders
  • Receipts

Basically, it’s a triggered email — something that’s automatic and personalized, just for you. This is what it looks like in my inbox:

email studies 8

Please note that “transactional” emails aren’t exactly the same as “automated” marketing emails. Sure, they’re automated, but not in the denotative sense of automated marketing. They are, rather, personal emails prompted by the user’s behavior.

Transactional emails are actually kind of boring if you think about it. I mean, how often have you re-read or printed and framed a “password change confirmation” email?

But these emails are the most-opened type of email of all time.

This data is important, because it suggest an opportunity. If your transactional emails are the most-opened emails of all time, then you can use these emails for extra marketing spin, and maybe another CTA or two.

Experian’s study provides some data to back this up. The report states,

“Transactional emails are a great means of garnering an additional sale. According to…study, the highest transaction rates (for transactional mailings) were seen in those emails that included upsell or cross-sell sections.”

For emails, that included order confirmations, shipping confirmations, and return confirmations, marketers were able to snag additional sales.

email studies 9

Look at this email I got from Amazon that confirmed my order.

email studies 10

And that email included a pitch to buy even more stuff.

email studies 11

Amazon knows what they’re doing. This was a transactional email. Yes, I opened it because I wanted to know that my order was confirmed. And, yes, I was tempted to buy even more stuff.

Use your transactional emails as a marketing opportunity.

In your subject line, be straightforward and explicit about who you are.

Mailchimp’s Subject Line Comparison study has some eye-opening information.

They lined up emails with the best open rates and compared them with the worst open rates.

Best open rates: 60-87%

Worst open rates:  1-14%

The pattern indicated that the best open rates had subject lines with the following features in common:

  • The subject line states the company name.
  • The subject line describes the subject of the email.
  • The subject line is very clear, not cute.

Here the list of 20 subject lines that made the winner/loser list.

email studies 12

email studies 13

Like my number-one assertion above, subject lines are important. More to the point, get those subject lines streamlined according to these open rate best practices. A clear identity and subject is crucial to creating an email open rate that gets results.

Conclusion

It often pays to look at the metrics. If you can see past the mind-numbing spreadsheets with lots of zeros and percentage symbols, I think you’ll see some valuable stuff.

What are you going to change in your email marketing?

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5 Reasons Why Your Ugly Website Is Actually Okay

I know a lot of webmasters who are in panic over their ugly website. They can’t see past the garish font, tragic images, and unseemly layout.

So they want to fix it. They want to redesign the website.

I get that. I’m a huge proponent of great design. I pour thousands of dollars into strategic conversion-oriented design both on my personal site and my business sites. I don’t think that anyone can complain that they’re ugly. They may not win an Addy, but they are functional and effective.

However, here’s my advice:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Why? Because there are tragic downsides to “fixing” a website’s design. Passion for stellar design should never trump the necessity for a high-functioning website.

That’s why I am venturing to tell you that your ugly website is actually okay. But how do you know if your ugly design is okay? Here are six indicators that you should give a pass to your ugly website.

1.  Your design is distraction free.

The biggest challenge to website’s effectiveness is not its poor design per se, but its level of distraction.

If your website’s design is distracting, then you should redesign it. But if your design is mediocre and distraction-free, then let it go. It’s okay.

For example, Wikipedia doesn’t have the most inspiring design in all the world. But is it distracting? No. Wikipedia is able to maintain its stature as one of the world’s leading websites, because it has few distractions. The focus of the site is on content — delivering information to the user, distraction free.

ugly website 1

Even Wikipedia’s recent design changes — which outraged some — didn’t really change much. Wikipedia has too much to lose from a drastic redesign. Though some opine, Wikipedia is sticking to its not-so-beautiful standards of simplicity and functionality.

Fast Company had this to say about Wikipedia’s stalwart design:

When it comes to design, there are few pillars of the Internet more resistant to change than Wikipedia. Although every single word on the 32+ million page digital encyclopedia can be edited by anyone, every change must also ultimately attain majority consensus in order to not be rubbed out. Coupled with the fact that Wikipedia has to work for everyone, even the lowest tech, and you have a design stalemate where it’s nearly impossible to push even the most obvious changes through.

And maybe that’s okay. Because maybe Wikipedia is a distraction-free information portal.

When a business decides to redesign its website, it may introduce distraction because of the design. Users feel jarred by the new layout, color scheme, and functionality. Even though the design might be artistically impeccable, it creates friction for the user experience.

Designers often have a different perspective on what works, and what doesn’t. A “boring” design, if it’s effective, might be superior to a fresh look.

2.  Your site is functional.

One of the driving forces in web design is user experience. Unfortunately, many designers confuse UX with design panache or cutting edge design trends. The truth however, is that UX is about functionality.

The site, digitalartsonline.co.uk wrote, “UX, or user experience, is a measure of the ease and pleasure users enjoy when navigating a site.” That “ease” and “pleasure” is derived not just from a visual aesthetic, but from the cognitive and functional aesthetic, oo.

  • Does it work? If so, that’s good UX.
  • Does the website do what it’s supposed to do with no friction or problems? If so, that’s good UX.
  • Are there major distractions that reduce the user’s ability to do what he or she is supposed to do? If not, you’ve got good UX.

UX is less a matter of colors, layout, and stunning images than it is pure, raw, uninhibited functionality.

A recent Inc. article made this point about another ugly site, Craigslist.

It’s hard to believe anyone can appreciate Craigslist’s ’90s aesthetic, but surprisingly, most users do. “Sites like that are very personal to people,” says Mielke, noting how Facebook infuriates users whenever it tweaks its News Feed. “Facebook is integrated into their lives. They don’t want their News Feed to be all the popular posts. They want the latest news. Any time you mess with something like that, you’re going to hear about it.”

ugly website 2

Instead of thinking of UX in terms of “great design” think of UX in terms of “functionality.” Don’t mess up functionality with a cool new look.

3.  Your audience doesn’t care.

The first group of people to think about in a site redesign is the user.

Sometimes I’ve seen politics reign over — and ruin — a site redesign. Someone says, “We need to redesign our site! It’s been twelve months!” So, the politicking begins.

Developers quarrel with executives, who hire consultants, who fire SEOs, who onboard a new UX, who demand wireframe initiatives, who ask the head of marketing, who stalls the project with a new persona investigation. And on it goes. The site redesign becomes about everything except the user.

But here’s the thing. Your website design is about one person only — the user.

And if they don’t care about your cruddy design, then neither should you. That’s what marketing is all about — making sure that your users are satisfied and served.

Too much innovation can alienate. If a user prefers the old-school aesthetic of your outdated design, then so be it. Your business can continue to thrive.

The Drudge Report is one of the Internet’s most hideous sites. But their audience really doesn’t seem to care.

ugly website 3

You might agonize over your design, but does your user? Is it bothering them? If not, then leave well enough alone for now. It’s going to be okay.

4.  You’ll lose enormous amounts of traffic.

Perhaps the most devastating result of a redesign is the traffic falloff. In case you haven’t had to go through it before, redesigning a website can be murderous to your traffic. Some sites lose as much as a third or even a half of their traffic after redesigning their site!

Steven Macdonald demonstrated the typical what-the-heck-let’s-redesign-our-website approach in his Moz article. What happens when the site goes live and the shiny new site is released? Oh, nothing, except revenue-crushing, traffic-slaughtering loss of impressions, visits, and ranking. That’s all.  Nothing but a nightmare!

ugly website 4

Can you afford to lose traffic like that just to make your site prettier?

Thankfully, there are ways to retain most of your traffic, but the issue is still a big one. Redesigned websites lose traffic, plain and simple.

5.  You will lose valuable branding power.

Your brand consists of everything about your business. Your website design is a huge part of that. If you change your design, then you are essentially changing your branding.

This happened with eBay not too long ago, when they transitioned from an ugly 80s-style logo to a slightly more millennial approach.

ugly website 5

Thankfully, the world’s largest online marketplace was able to pull it off. Their website is now the better for it. Remember the old one?

ugly website 6

Image from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ebay.jpg

Think of a website redesign on the same level as a rebranding. A rebranding is huge. It reshapes the company in the public perception. It impacts existing customers and clients. It totally revamps the entire presentation of the business.

And that’s exactly what a site redesign does, too. It’s big — too big to just waltz into without an awareness of the risks and shortcomings.

Conclusion

There will come a time when you must redesign your website

But I challenge you to avoid thinking about a site redesign as something that you have to do right now! There are risks to redesigns. Do the pros outweigh the cons? This is something you’ll have to decide.

Keep this in mind:  There’s more to the issue than simply making a site look better.

How do you decide when it’s time to redesign your website?

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6 Free Resources that Will Help You Become a Better CRO

Quick! What’s the fastest way to jack up conversions, improve your revenue, and turn your website into a money-making machine?

Answer:  Become a better conversion rate optimizer.

Conversion rate optimization works, and improving your CRO skills is one of the quickest ways to drive up your site’s success.

Think about it. Becoming a better CRO takes time, but very little money. Once you optimize your site for more conversions, you can raise conversions, and improve revenue. The ROI is huge.

It’s really that simple.

So, now you just need to become a better CRO, right?

I’ve rounded up six of the best free resources for amping up your CRO credentials, and boosting your site’s conversions.

1.  Get cutting edge information on conversion rate optimization.

First, you need to hone your knowledge.

I recommend that you check out at least three resources. I’ve organized them here in order of shortest to longest.

  1. Infographic from Conversion Rate Experts: 9 Steps to Better Conversions. After working with Hiten Shah and me, the Conversion Rate Experts made this infographic. If you apply their methodology, your conversion rates will
  2. The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization from Qualaroo. Qualaroo creates a customer insight software, but they also have a killer conversion guide. If your knowledge of conversion optimization is about as advanced as my knowledge of astrophysics, this is a good place to start. The 12-chapter guide is packed with actionable tips, powerful insights, and conversion-boosting knowledge.
  3. The Definitive Guide to Conversion Optimization from Quicksprout. Joseph Putnam and I wrote this guide to help entrepreneurs, startups, marketers, and bloggers wrap their minds around CRO, and blast their businesses to insane levels of success. I can personally attest to the quality and power of this guide. You will not be disappointed.

If you read one or more of these free resources, you’ll have a level of knowledge on conversion rate optimization that few people have attained to. Already, you’re way ahead of the game.

2.  Google Analytics Content Experiments

If you’re just getting started in A/B testing, Google’s tool is as good as any. Keep in mind that there aren’t a whole lot of bells and whistles on this tool. It’s just a tester, which is okay.

Google Analytics Content Experiments (or GACE) is slightly different from the typical A/B testing model in that it uses A/B/n testing.

A/B/n split testing creates a test that compares the control (A), against the variation (B), and any other variations (C, D, etc., That’s why the notation “n” is used.). GACE allows up to ten variations of a page, each served by different URLs.

resources 1

Image from WiderFunnel.com.

A/B/n testing can be a bit cumbersome. GACE’s interface is fairly straightforward, but you’ll need to have some technical knowledge and implementation skills to pull off a successful test.

resources 2

Give it a try, though. You’re sure to uncover some important and actionable information.

3.  Visual Website Optimizer

Visual Website Optimizer, or VWO, is free for thirty days. Thirty days is long enough to test out its sizzling-hot power, and you may want to upgrade at the end of your trial.

VWO allows you to track a variety of different goals — visits to specific pages, engagement on the web page, form submits, button clicks, revenue generated, and any other custom event.

The interface is big, bold, and beautiful. Plus, it’s easy to use. If code scares you, breathe easy. VWO is pretty much a code-free place.

resources 3

If you get stuck anywhere, you can read more about an issue. You’ll learn a lot about conversion optimization along the way.

Here’s VWO in one minute and forty-five seconds:

The nice thing about VWO is that it makes the whole process pain-free, hassle-free, code-free, and cost-free, at least for thirty days.

4.  Optimizely

Optimizely is also free for thirty days. Still, you should be able to gain some value from the product for as long as you’re testing it.

I should also point out that at some point, you’re going to want to ramp up your A/B testing. It’s just what CROs do. They test. Optimizely, VWO, and Unbounce are among the more popular A/B testing platforms, so you definitely won’t be wasting your time by testing them out.

Optimizely assumes a slightly more advanced level of coding knowledge than VWO. You don’t have to be a straight-up developer, but you should probably understand some basics of coding in order to make full use of the platform.

resources 4

There’s a lot you can do with Optimizely. If deep, data-driven action is what you’re looking for, then Optimizely is prepared to deliver.

5.  AnnotateIt

Some of the best resources are the simple resources.

AnnotateIt is a free bookmarklet that lets you mark up web pages with your own comments. It takes just ten seconds to sign up and start annotating websites.

What you do is create an AnnotateIt bookmark, open it while you’re on a site, and then start adding notations to the website.

resources 5

This tool comes in handy whenever you want to discuss features of a website, point out conversion insights, indicate items that need to be fixed, and conduct any other action.

I’m impressed with AnnotateIt’s simplicity and functionality.

6.  Five Second Test

This is both a fun and free tool.

You can upload your designs to be tested by the Five Second Test community. Test takers have five seconds to view your page and answer your question. You get to pore through test results and make actionable decisions based on what you see.

resources 6

There are paid options to this tool. For example, you can place your tests higher in the priority cycle. But the free testing tool gives you results. In order to get the free test results, you have to “pay” by doing tests yourself.

Simply taking the tests is a good exercise in CRO. You get to discover what other websites are doing, testing, and asking. You might just get some free ideas.

Conclusion

This list is short for a couple reasons. First, I’ve curated it so you don’t have to waste your time trying out crappy tools. Second, there aren’t very many free tools out there.

Conversion rate optimization is a powerful skill that will improve your revenue. So, I wouldn’t be too stingy about dropping some money into CRO investment. The ROI is definitely there. I’ve spent more than a quarter million bucks on CRO, and haven’t regretted it a bit.

What are some of your favorite CRO tools?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

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Why Your Landing Page Should Have at Least 500 Words

I look a lot of landing pages, and I notice a common shortcoming. A lot of landing pages don’t have enough content.

Here are some examples.

Not counting the menu, this landing page has 19 words.

500 - 1

Here’s another landing page with less than 100 words.

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This landing page has nice flow, and some content. But it’s only around 150 words! The product that they are trying to sell costs tens of thousands of dollars!

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I didn’t cherry-pick these landing pages for their paucity of content. I simply searched for some high-competition keywords, and opened up these pages.

Are these landing pages successful? Maybe. But could they be more successful? Definitely.

How? By having more words.

The case for the 500-word landing page

In most cases, I think that landing pages should have more words.

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about homepages. The homepage for Kissmetrics, for example, has 30-some words. That’s not a lot, but that’s okay, because it’s a homepage, not a landing page.

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Home pages may or may not have a lot of content. It depends on the product and audience.

In this article, I’m discussing the landing page — a page distinct from the main website that has a single, focused objective:  conversions.

Too many landing pages are really short on content. And that’s a problem, because content is what converts. More content produces more conversions.

I suggest a minimum of 500 words for your landing page. Why 500 words? At this length, you can provide enough information to create a strong case for your product, provide sufficient information, and help persuade the reader.

The whole point of a landing page is to create a conversion, and the best way to do that is by giving the user content.

Here’s what you need to know about more words.

More words are persuasive

Users are persuaded by the words that you write. When they read copy, they will want to convert.

Many times, a user will be prepared to convert without reading anything. But more often than not, the user needs to be persuaded. You can’t do this successfully unless you have plenty of content.

What about images? Images are persuasive, too. Obviously, you should have plenty of pictures on your landing page. But pictures cannot completely replace content, no matter how great those pictures are. Pictures and words work together, but you can’t completely neglect the copy.

More words mean that people are more likely to act on what you say.

More words provide information

Why would a user clickthrough to your landing page in the first place? What is their intent?

In most cases, a user has one of two objectives.

Objective 1:  The user wants to buy.

If all the user wants to do is buy, your job is simple. All you need to do is give them a CTA. You might need a headline or a bullet list, just so they know that they’re in the right place. But in most cases, all they want to do is convert. Do you need 500 words to achieve this? Probably not, if it’s just the conversion you’re going after.

But let’s hold on for just a minute. How did the user get to the point where they want to buy? No one shows up at this point in the buy cycle, with her credit card out, ready to drop money on a product or service. Somehow, someway, this user had to find out information about the product or service.

Where did that information come from? It could have come from a friend or social media or some other source. Most of the time, however, this information came from a landing page or website.

In other words, the user who wants to buy was, before that, a user who wanted to find out more information. Which leads me to the second type of landing page visitor….

Objective 2:  The user wants to find out more information.

These types of users comprise the vast majority of clickthroughs. Your ad intrigues them, and they want to find out more. Thus, your landing page is the place where they can answer their questions. If your landing page doesn’t provide sufficient information, then you won’t gain their conversion. Your landing page fails, because you haven’t provided enough content.

ConversionXL makes this point:

The best way to sell products and services is to to add as much information about them as is possible. Pages and pages and pages, videos and images. It’s true that 79% of people won’t read it all, but 16% read everything! That 16% is your main target group.

More content is essential, regardless of where the user is at a given point in the buy cycle.

More words show the benefits of the product or service

Buyers today will be persuaded by the benefits of your product or service.

An article in the summer 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review, explained that today’s consumers and B2B purchasers are no longer persuaded by salespeople who sell solutions. Instead they are persuaded by the solution with the best benefits.

Buyers already know what the solution is. Why would they need to be sold on this? They care more about the benefits than anything else.

So, show them the benefits. How do you do this?

You do it with content — and you probably can’t do it with less than 500 words.

Showing benefits involves a process of listing and explaining.

For example, Buzzsumo’s page ticks off a whole medley of benefits, unleashing around 500 words, not counting words in images, to do so.

Here’s what it looks like — a full overview of the service’s benefits.

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More words cultivates trust

Words can build the user’s trust. More specifically, information cultivates trust.

There’s one thing that every landing page visitor is craving. They won’t state this explicitly, but they want it, even if they don’t realize it.

They want to trust your site.

There’s only one true path to cultivating trust, and that is through content.

An article on Crazy Egg, 10 Idiot-Proof Ways To Generate Trust, emphasizes copy as the means to improving trust. It’s all about the words that you use.

Even for the conversion-ready user, more content helps. Sure, their primary intent is to click on the CTA and convert. But they still want information and copy. Here’s how it will help them.

  • More copy builds their trust in the product or service.
  • More copy gives them greater assurance post-purchase, and prevent returns or exchanges.
  • More copy improves their overall trust in your brand and business.

However you turn it, more copy is going to build trust. My infographic on “The Anatomy of a High Converting Landing Page” explains how copy and will help to enhance trust and drive up conversions.

More words brings the user through a persuasive process of thinking

If you’ve read a novel, then you’ll be able to relate to this. The author of a novel takes the reader through a process of thinking. The author is able to create curiosity, anticipation, excitement, and engagement.

Landing pages aren’t novels, but they should be designed to do the same thing — to bring the reader through a process of thinking. The only way you can accomplish this level of persuasion is by having plenty of copy.
Here are a few things that you should do with your copy.

Curiosity:  Piqued

Curiosity — the strong desire for knowledge — is a major force in the compelling power of a landing page. You can build curiosity with your copy.

Objection:  Satisfied

Many times, users will have internal or mental arguments against your product or service. A successful landing page uses words to meet these objections head-on, then destroys them.

Interest:  Engaged

A successful landing page also needs to hold the user’s interest. Again, it’s the power of skillfully-written copy (and enough of it) that creates this kind of engagement.

More words mean better SEO

Landing pages aren’t necessarily designed to amp up your SEO. You should work your SEO magic through other strategies such as your blog.

Nonetheless, you can’t go wrong with an SEO-friendly landing page. In fact, if your goal is organic landing page traffic, SEO is essential.

If you’re familiar with SEO, you should know that it doesn’t happen without plenty of content.

Your Guide to Creating a 500-Word Landing Page

If you’re ready to create your 500-word landing page, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here’s your quick start guide to creating a 500-word landing page.

500 words is the lower threshold.

Don’t go any lower than 500 words. You can go higher, of course. Some of the most successful landing pages that I’ve seen have 3-4k words.

Don’t go overboard.

Can you go too long? Yeah, probably so.

I’ve seen landing pages with upwards of 30,000 words. By comparison, that’s about half the length of the Harry Potter book, Philosopher’s Stone.

By that point, you’ve probably written more than enough.

Organization is everything.

Just as important as the length of your landing page is its organization.

If you throw up 500 words as a raw and impenetrable wall of text, you’ll drive users away, rack up bounce rates, and enrage visitors.

Put on your UX hat, and shape your 500 words into a scannable, breathable page that flows smoothly. Use headings, bullet points, images, and lots of white space.

Break it up.

Reading is like talking. Every once in a while, you just need to stop and take a breath.

That’s why the English language has sentences and paragraphs. Break up your content into brief chunks that a user can scan if she wants to, or read if she wants to. Breaking up your 500 words is the best way to amplify its power.

Images are just as important.

Use a mix of images and copy. As I explained above, images and pictures work together. Use pictures, diagrams, illustrations, or icons that enhance your copy.

Be intentional.

Don’t just write words for the sake of writing words. Write real, substantial, engaging, persuasive content. You may want to hire a skilled copywriter for this process.

This entire exercise of expanding your content to 500 words is going to be wasted if you skimp on content quality.

Use a variety of methods.

There are all kinds of copy. Your landing page will be more successful if you use a variety of persuasive styles.

  • Emotional persuasion – Persuade users using emotional language and discussion.
  • Analytical or data-driven persuasion – Feature charts, graphs, statistics, and data to persuade users.
  • Information persuasion – Give users as much information as possible to help them make a decision

The more types of persuasion you use, the better chance you’ll have of gaining a conversion.

Conclusion

Lots of copy is the path to landing page success…most of the time.

What I want you to do is to test more copy on your landing page. Assuming you implement it correctly, you could very well improve your conversion rates.

But keep in mind how I opened this article — “In most cases, I think that landing pages should have more words.”

The only way to find out is through conducting A/B tests. Give it a try, and see what you discover.

What do you think? Will having at least 500 words on your landing page improve conversions?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

The post Why Your Landing Page Should Have at Least 500 Words appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Why Your Landing Page Should Have at Least 500 Words

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3 Popular Colors for Websites – When & How to Use Them

You’re planning a new business. You’re excited. You’re almost ready.

You need to pick a color scheme.

Before you do a scornful snort-laugh, hang on a sec. Color is important. As many marketers will tell you, color psychology has an enormous impact on how people perceive your business, how they respond to your marketing, and how they interact with you and your product.

Believe it or not, color choice is a big factor in the success of your business. I’m going to tell you a few of the facts behind the science of color psychology that will help you pick a color scheme for your new online business.

In this article, I consider three of the most popular color choices — blue, green, and orange. If you’re angling in on either of these three colors, you need to know a few things.

Color is important.

Let me start out with the premise that underlies this whole article:  Color is important.

According to research, 85% of shoppers indicate that color is the primary reason why they buy a certain product. This holds true for everything from cars to shoes, but color as a psychological factor plays a role in non-material goods, too.

In what way does this happen? Brand recognition for one. Color alone is 80% of brand recognition, which is inextricably tied to consumer confidence.

But what about your online business? How does color affect online conversions? In more ways than you think. 42% of shoppers form an opinion of a website based on its design, including color scheme. What’s more, 52% of shoppers do not visit a website again if they don’t like its aesthetics. (Stats from Kissmetrics.)

Color, for reasons that neuroscientists are still discovering, possesses the ability to attract individual types, change preferences, and alter behavior.

Here are the characteristics of blue, green, and orange, three of the top colors for websites.

Blue is safe.

The safest color scheme is blue. Any shade of blue works, and any combination of blue in the color scheme is effective.

What do I mean by “safe?” I mean two different things.

  • Safe = Blue is the favorite color of the majority of the population, regardless of gender, age, etc.
  • Safe = Blue is a color that people associate with trust, authority, and reliability.

There is safety in numbers, and the numbers show that more people like the color blue than any other color.

A full 57% of men and 35% of women declared that blue was their favorite color. By an overwhelming margin, participants chose the color blue as their preferred hue. The closest runner up was purple (for women), which still lagged by 52% after the first choice of blue.

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To look at the issue negatively, virtually no one dislikes blue. According to survey data, only 1% of men said that blue was their least favorite color, and 0% of women said that it was their least favorite color.

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Why is blue so popular? Theories run the gamut. Some point upward, indicating that the blue of clear skies (safe weather) or the ocean (reflecting the safe skies) make us think of safety, trust, and authority, leading us to prefer the color blue above all other colors.

A lot of sites go with this safe approach.

Facebook is a familiar shade of blue.

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Twitter is blue, too.

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And, yep, even LinkedIn likes the color blue.

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Wal-Mart — the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer — also chooses blue.

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A lot of banks use blue, too. The main color of Citibank is blue, with a bright red splash.

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Bank of America has red, but the main color emphasis in their text is blue.

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Chase Bank uses a blue website and logo.

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Many companies, especially those that are in industries where trust and authority are indispensable, use a lot of blue. The following is a landing page for First American Home Warranty.

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USAA, the United Services Automobile Association is a major insurance provider. Their websites are dominated by blue.

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New York Life, one of the nation’s premier life insurance companies uses the well-known blue box logo.

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We used blue at Kissmetrics to establish ourselves as a trusted provider of analytics and reporting. Although our logo is multi-colored, we chose a blue-schemed site.

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To sum it up, you can’t really go wrong with blue. Sure, it’s used. Maybe it’s overused. But it’s still safe.

Karen Haller, an Applied Colour Psychology Specialist, writes this about the color blue:

Blue is the colour of the intellect, the mind, making it the colour of communication and when you think about social media, it’s all about communicating. Blue also has the perception as being trustworthy, dependable, safe and reliable.  These are the perceived positive qualities of a business who chooses blue.

When to pick blue:

  • Your business will only succeed if it has a high level of trust.
  • You want to appeal to user’s intellect
  • You will be appealing to a broad swath of users of both genders, many ages, and a diverse array of demographic features.
  • You want to be safe.

Green is for growth.

The main meaning of green is growth. That’s the meaning that comes to most people’s minds when they consider the color green.

The reasons for this are obvious. Most plants are green. Most plants grow.

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Image from Creative Commons.

Green has another upside. It’s one of the easiest colors for the human eye to process. When people think green, they automatically think healthy, vibrant, growing, and natural.

Subway, whose branding revolves around their being a healthy fast food alternative, uses green in their logo and on their website.

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My blog, Quicksprout, is all about the idea of growth — growing your business, your presence, your company. Even the name, Quicksprout, suggests growth. I use green everywhere on the site. I want to consistently push the growth idea in any way that I can.

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Performable was a marketing automation company (bought out by Hubspot in 2011). They used the green star as their logo, which played into their branding as a company that creates and inspires growth.

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Image from Hubspot.

Envato uses the color green to appeal to their target audience of startups. Their approach is to attract users who want to jump start their businesses with early-on growth.

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Some of the world’s biggest and most famous brands use green to promote certain ideas and sensations.

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When to pick green:

  • You want to advance the idea of health
  • You want to advance the idea of growth
  • You want to create a feeling of wellness or freshness
  • Your company has anything to do with food, health, or nature

Use orange with extreme caution.

Orange is one of those colors that’s a bit dangerous. In fact, some color psychologists say that the color orange is, of all the colors, most closely associated with risk-taking.

Why is it a dangerous and risky color? Scientists aren’t totally sure, but we have been trained to see certain things and think “Wait This is a potentially dangerous situation!”

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Hunters wear orange vests to, ideally, avoid getting shot at. And construction workers in dangerous situations also wear orange vests.

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Not many brands and colors use orange, but those who do, have a clear intention. The idea is always energy, vibrancy, excitement, and sometimes a little risk.

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The Home Depot appeals to the adventure-taking crowd of DIYers. Their color of their logo effectively plays into this philosophy.

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There are some potential downsides to using orange. For one, it’s considered a “cheap” color. Forbes first hypothesized this in a 1991, article, and surveys confirm this. Nearly a quarter of all respondents called orange a cheap color.

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Business psychology writer Amy Morin tactfully expressed the “cheap” connotation of orange by expressing it this way:  “People associate the color orange with a good value.” And by “good value,” she’s not talking about high-end quality.

Washington Post columnist Jeff Turrentine made a tormented attempt to redeem orange from its stature as an unsavory color. He commented that, “there’s nothing really wrong with bright orange,” but admitted that it has “almost vulgar origins.”

Whatever your intent with origin, be careful.

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Hootsuite’s logo color is orange.

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However, in the majority of their online presence, they don’t use their primary logo color. Instead, the logo is black, and the main color, at least on their homepage, is green.

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Nonetheless, many companies have used it with some apparent success.

Hubspot is one company that doesn’t hide their orange branding.

Although orange isn’t a favored color or logo scheme, it is a great CTA color. If you’ll notice, a lot of effective CTA buttons are orange.

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When to use orange:

  • You want to inspire a sense of adventure
  • You want to encourage risk taking
  • You want to emphasize inexpensive products

Conclusion

When considering colors for websites, green and blue are great choices. Orange is a risky one. Whatever you choose, make sure you thoroughly understand the way that people will respond to the color.

Once you pick a color scheme, it’s hard to go back. Give it a lot of thought, because, like I said in my introduction, color is important.

What color are you choosing for your online business? Why?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

The post 3 Popular Colors for Websites – When & How to Use Them appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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3 Popular Colors for Websites – When & How to Use Them

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4 Landing Page Hacks That Create a Flood of Conversions

I love it when I discover simple techniques that can crank up conversions. In most cases, conversion optimization has no hard-and-fast rules. Instead, CRO is founded upon the power of A/B testing. But in some cases, you find some hacks

Even though A/B testing is the sine qua non in the CRO’s arsenal, these tricks will gain you higher conversions. They’re simple. They’re easy. They’re smart. And they’re killer.

1. Use the word “get” in your CTA.

Words — individual, single, words — make a difference.

You’ve probably heard all the statistics about how “free” is a really great word (and you should use it).

There’s another word you should use:  Get.

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Three letters. One syllable. More power. Flood of conversions.

Here’s the evidence, thanks to A/B testing from Unbounce.

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This is a clear-cut example of an A/B testing on a single variable — the word “get.” That single word produced a nice uptick in conversions.

Here’s another one, tested in a different language.

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This point — using a different language — emphasizes the psychology behind the verb.

To go back to the dictionary definition above, the word “get.” The word has the idea of obtaining, receiving, succeeding, profiting, benefiting, achieving, experiencing. All of these synonyms have a powerful psychological uptick. They inspire action far more than bland alternatives like “submit.”

What’s more, the word “get” has an immediately identifiable objective or outcome. It registers with us mentally, requiring little cognitive effort.

The word “get” is user-focused. It pays attention the person viewing the page, not the person who is selling the product or service.

CrazyEgg uses the word “get” twice in a single CTA. They’re not slouching when it comes to our copy. They’re using words that matter:

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Here are some tips for using “get.”

  • Make sure you use the word in such a way that the customer is the one “getting.”
  • Use the word in your CTA, where it will have the greatest impact.
  • Test “get” vs. other action oriented and customer-benefit oriented CTA words.

2. Make people feel pain.

Pain is one of the marketer’s greatest weapons.

This sounds more violent than it actually is. Your potential customers are already feeling pain. They are experiencing one of the following types of pain:

  • Anticipatory pain – The pain of something negative happening in the future. E.g., They will not have enough money saved for retirement.
  • Actual pain – The pain of something currently happening. E.g., They have a roach infestation in their basement.
  • Loss aversion pain – The pain of losing something. This pain is twice as powerful as the psychological joy of gaining something of equal value. E.g., Losing money by overpaying on vehicle insurance premiums.

How do people feel pain on a landing page? It’s simple. Just remind them of the pain in some way, and then present your product or service as a solution that pain.

Instapage reveals how they used a loss aversion headline to create a 68% improvement in conversions.

Their control page had a nice benefit-focused headline:   “Pinpoint and Eliminate Duplicate Content.”

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Their revised page only changed the headline. In this new headline, they focused instead on the pain of loss — losing money, losing ranking, losing traffic. Their product, DCFinder, was the solution to that pain.

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It worked. A simple suggestion of pain in the landing page headline produced huge conversion increases.

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Tylenol helps relieve literal pain, and their landing page addresses this pain directly: ”Get Relief.” (Notice the use of the word “get.”) By using the word “relief” three times they are calling attention to the pain, and pointing to their product as the solution.

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Terminix is a provider of pest solutions. Their landing page uses two forms of pain — loss aversion (save $50) and the gag-reflex pain that people feel when they see a roach.

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Implementing pain into your marketing and landing pages isn’t a sign of cruelty. It’s simply a way to acknowledge your customer’s pain, and to help to relieve it.

3. Nail it with intent.

User intent is one of the most overlooked features in all of conversion optimization and landing page optimization. SEOs have known for a while that user intent shapes an SEO strategy. Somehow, not everyone has gotten the memo. Like landing pages.

If your landing page doesn’t address the intent of the user, then it will fail to convert them.

It starts with the bidding process. Make sure you’re nailing the right keywords, and then follow through by creating the right landing page.

Here’s an example of a landing page that is not going to convert me. Why? Because I’m looking for someone to wash my car, not a mobile Web dev team. Why is this page even there as a top result?

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This one does the same thing.

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When you create a PPC campaign, you start with keyword choice, you create a landing page, you craft a CTA, and you hopefully get conversions. At each step, you need to understand exactly what your target audience wants and is looking for.

Generic landing pages do not convert. Instead, targeted and focused landing pages that speak to a user’s intent will produce conversions.

Here’s an example of a PPC ad that understands intent and addresses it in a landing page. Here’s the ad listing:

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And here’s the landing page.

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It’s perfect. Why? Because it addresses my intent with precision. My query, “landing page creator” is repeated verbatim in the headline. But it goes beyond that. The whole idea behind landing pages is leads. And that’s where they nail it with the subheading: “The perfect lead machine!”

This landing page not only intuits my primary query intention, but my secondary and underlying intention — leads or conversions.

It’s easy to discover a user’s intent by categorizing it in one of the three basic types of queries:

  1. Navigational Search. Users are looking for a specific site. For example, they type in Macy’s, trying to find the website for Macy’s store.
  2. Informational Search. In this type of search, the searcher wants to get information. Often, its product related, in which case they are close to a conversion in the buy cycle. For example, “best types of leather for men’s wallets.”
  3. Transactional Search. A transactional search is one that is entirely conversion-focused. Terms like “buy,” “order,” “purchase,” etc., may be used. A query like this would be something like “2 day shipping men’s gucci wallet.” These are money-ready terms.

In each of these cases, the user has an intent: 1) To get somewhere (navigational), 2) To learn something (informational), or 3) To buy something (transactional). You must know and respond to that intent if you want your landing page to be successful.

4. Double up on your CTA.

You already know that the CTA is the single most powerful part of your entire landing page. What if you could enhance the power of your CTA to produce even more conversions? You can, and here is how to do it:

Don’t provide just one call to action. Put two CTAs in one action.

Here’s what ContentVerve did with a landing page. They took the decent CTA “get your membership” and doubled it into “Find your gym & get membership.”

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By doubling the power of the CTA, they more than doubled their conversion rate. The conversion rate increase was over 200%!

Why does this work? It has to do with the more-for-less mentality. The user still takes a single action, but they feel as if they are getting two benefits. You’ve heard the expression, “kill two birds with one stone.” That’s sort of what’s going on here. The user feels as if they’re getting more benefit for the same action.

It worked for an education website, too. The original CTA on the page below was “Create My Account.” That’s a good CTA. It’s simple, straightforward, and has me-focused language. However, they tested it against a longer CTA — a double CTA approach:  “Create account & get started.”

The result? A 31% increase in conversions.

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Image from ContentVerve.

Conclusion

Now, I’m going to ask you to do one thing:  Don’t take my word for it on these hacks.

Instead of simply swallowing this advice and doing it, I want you to test it. Go ahead and set up an A/B test and run it on your site.

What kind of results do you get? Conversion increase or decrease?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

The post 4 Landing Page Hacks That Create a Flood of Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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4 Landing Page Hacks That Create a Flood of Conversions

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12 Essentials of a High Converting Landing Page

Goal:  To create the world’s most effective landing page.

Problem:  Where the heck do I start?

Crafting a competition-crushing landing page is not for the faint of heart. There are dozens of different components to keep in mind, a whole science of psychology lurking beneath the surface, and the vague idea of “what the customer wants” whispering in the background.

How can you demystify the process and unleash your landing page, to the amazement of the watching world?

Keep reading, and I’ll lay it out for you. But before I do, I want to assure you…

There is no standard manual on the creation of a perfect landing page.

Isn’t there some practical, step-by-step guide to putting together such a landing page? There are guides on how to build a real rocket. What about landing pages? Where is the easy, go-to guide?

You’re reading the closest thing to it.

Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all instruction book. No matter how hard you look, you’ll never find landing page Holy Grail. Why?

Landing pages have so many differentiating factors.

Landing pages are as different as the people looking at them. Every landing page has a different call to action (goal), a different reader (user), a different product or service, and a different niche.

  • Some landing pages are selling zero drop shoes to ultramarathoners.
  • Another landing page might be inviting in-house marketers to a two-day conversion conference in Toronto.
  • Yet another landing page may be inviting sommeliers to take an online pairing quiz.

There is an incredible amount of variation among audience, purpose, intent, product, angle, focus, industry, niche, perception, buy-in, cost, messaging, value proposition, testimonial approach, shipping method, and a host of other factors.

One size does not fit all.

landing page essentials - placeitSource: Placeit.net

There are unifying elements that characterize highly successful landing pages.

Because we’re talking about landing pages, however, some things do remain constant. High-converting landing pages do have several characteristics in common. Although this article does not provide a full review of each element, you’ll know enough by the end to get to work creating your own compelling landing page.

Essential Element 1:  Killer Headline

A headline is where everything begins — interest, attention, and understanding. The headline is your first and most critical action of a landing page. Here’s what it needs to accomplish:

  • The headline should grab the reader’s attention.
  • The headline should inform the user what the product or service is all about. Note: If your headline complements an image that explains the product/service, then you’re good.
  • It should be short — never more than twenty words, and preferably only ten.

This landing page for a social skills course emphasizes the problem that the course solves. Immediately, readers know the problem that they will overcome.

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Notice this headline from PictureMarketing. It makes no attempt to be clever, but identifies exactly what the service is intended to provide. Mission accomplished.

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Monsoon uses a short, attention-grabbing headline, then immediately backs it up with a subheadline. This landing page’s clean design helps to give further power to the image and headline.

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MailChimp uses a simple, declarative statement to democratize its product and emphasize its importance.

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Essential Element 2:  Persuasive Subheadline

If the headline makes the user look, then the subheadline should make them stay. A subhead is part of the one-two punch of a landing page’s power.

  • Normally, the persuasive subheadline is positioned directly underneath the main headline.
  • The subheadline should have some element of persuasiveness. Remember, you’re luring them to stay on the page with the subheadline. You take the concept of the headline, and push it a little bit further.
  • The subheadline can go into slightly more depth and detail than the main headline.

HelpDesk’s landing page does a position flip on the headline and subheadline. In the image below, notice how the main headline is, “A delightful customer experience.” The subheadline, positioned smaller and above it focuses that general idea (customer experience) with this statement: “A help desk for teams that insist on.”

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The position switch seems to be intentional. Taken together, it forms a whole sentence, but the attention should be first directed on that emotionally-loaded phrase:  “delightful customer experience.”

Essential Element 3:  Pictures

The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. A user will be affected by the images on your landing page immediately.

  • The pictures should be large.
  • The pictures should be relevant to your product or service. If you are selling a physical product, it is essential that your landing page contain an image of the product.
  • If you are selling a service, then the primary purpose of the image should be to grab attention, and demonstrate relevance to the product.
  • Make sure the pictures are high-quality. This is not the place to feature stock photographs or last-minute Photoshop botches.

Mixpanel uses images to show the functionality of the product, and to help explain it. These images are fun, and attention-grabbing.

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Repumatic’s landing page uses large screenshots to display the software’s functionality.

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Shutterstock sells images, so it’s only natural that they would have a landing page with a large, prominent picture.

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PictureU, whose service also includes photos, does a great job of featuring hero graphics on its landing page:

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Essential Element 4:  An Explanation

If a user doesn’t understand what your product or service is about, you’ve lost them. An explanation — in whatever form it comes — is crucial. The best explanations are those that are straightforward; cuteness not required.

  • Your explanation can be integrated with your headline, or completely separate.
  • Your explanation may combine elements from several sources: 1) your headline, 2) your subheadline, 3) your image, 4) a separate paragraph. Taken in isolation, each of these elements does not explain the product or service, but as a composite, they accomplish what an explanation should do.
  • An explanation should be benefit-oriented. Explanations are functional, but functionality should be tilted in favor of the user. For example, “We make websites” is a functional explanation, but it lacks the user-focused orientation. To make this explanation even more compelling, you could angle it towards the user to show them the value: “Get a website that makes you money.”

This explanation is given in picture form. Using parallax scrolling features, the website displays how the mailbox and response function of the software work.

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Essential Element 5:  Value Proposition or Benefits

The value proposition is defined as “an innovation, service or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.” When it comes to your landing page, this element needs to have pride of place. The value proposition basically answers the user’s question, “What’s in it for me?”

  • Like the “explanation,” a value proposition can be found spread among the various essential elements.
  • One of the best ways to advance your value proposition is through a list of benefits. Many landing pages use an unadorned bullet point list to explain the benefits of their product or service.
  • Benefits should be clearly focused on the user. It’s easy to drift off mark with benefits, and start talking about yourself as a company. Don’t do this! Instead, always think about the user and how he or she will benefit. Benefits aren’t “we are awesome.” Benefits are “the user will be awesome with this product or service.” For example, let’s say you are selling Web hosting. Option 1: “We have 99.98% uptime!” Option 2:  “Your website will have 99.98 uptime!” Which one is customer-oriented? It’s the second one. That’s the kind of benefit you should be going for.

Crazy Egg’s landing page has three simple benefits. Each of these focuses directly on the upside for the user.

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Repumatic’s benefit list is simple and straightforward.

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The benefits listing on Instapage provide the same simple, straightforward presentation. They are explicitly user-focused with the phrase “All the Features You Need to Succeed.”

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Essential Element 6:  Logical Flow

The logical flow of a landing page is just as important as the actual content you have on the landing page.

A truly interested customer will be cognitively engaged with the landing page. They will read the content and follow the thought process. Thus, you must lead them through a process of thinking that is logical and compelling.

  • Start with your explanation, continue with your benefits, include your testimonials, and end with your CTA. This is the most obvious and persuasive method of structuring a landing page.
  • CTA placement is a critical component of landing page flow. You can use multiple CTAs on a single landing page, positioning each one at the end of each discrete section of the landing page.
  • Allow your design to demarcate sections. You don’t have to be subtle about the way that a page is organized logically. In fact, if you augment the logical flow with corresponding design flow features, then you will improve the process with visual/cognitive coherence.
  • Use persuasive elements throughout. Don’t confine persuasion to a single section. Persuasive features should be present in every section of the landing page.
  • Remember, long-form landing pages are highly effective. Don’t be afraid to make a landing page really long.

Short pages don’t need the same level of hierarchical rigor that a long-form landing page needs. Optimizely uses a short-form landing page that has a single visual focus, and the simple flow of headline, explanation, and capture form, followed by the CTA button.

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Repumatic has a long-form landing page, so they use multiple CTAs throughout. This particular landing page has six, each located after a section. Notice the button that appears twice in the image below: “Personal Accounts are free! Get Started!”

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Essential Element 7:  Something about Pain

Wait. “Something about”? Isn’t that pretty vague? This point is intentionally vague, because the idea of “pain” can be anywhere.

Here’s the psychology behind pain. Humans are wired to avoid pain. Every product or service can help to alleviate pain in some way. If you can cause the user to think about their pain, they will subconsciously seek relief from that pain, and thereby be more likely to convert.

  • Mention what a user will lose, not just what they will gain. According to the theory of loss aversion, we are more likely to anticipate the pain of losing something than we are to feel the pleasure from gaining something of equal value. In other words, it feels good to get $50, but the pain that we feel from losing $50 is twice as intense as the pleasure we received from gaining the same sum.
  • You can implement pain references in the testimonials, as well as in the remainder of the copy. Since pain is a powerful human element, real human testimonials are often very effective at conveying this pain in a trustworthy way.
  • Be sure to relieve the pain. Your product or service is provided as an antidote to the pain. Don’t leave the user wallowing in the pain. Draw it to a conclusion by featuring the answer to the pain.

Prudential has a landing page designed to persuade people not to procrastinate. The pain point that they focus on is the worry about not having money enough to retire on, the concern about living in poverty, and the guilt for procrastinating. They emphasize this pain with several interactive features, like this one:

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Ramit Sethi’s landing page for his course, “How to Talk to Anybody,” is packed with pain. Sethi is selling a course and it’s predicated on pain — the pain of embarrassment, missing out, being rejected, and feeling lonely. He features dozens of testimonials that drive this feeling further and further, making for a very effective landing page:

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Essential Element 8:  Something about Pleasure

Just as humans are pain-avoiding machines, we are also pleasure-seeking animals. Every human is motivated by the desire to gain pleasure, which can have a variety of forms.

  • Your goal in the landing page is to show how pleasure is a by-product of having the product or service. So, for example, you are selling arthritis-relief medication. But you’re not just selling a pill. You’re selling freedom, relief, and joy. If you sell cross-training footwear, you’re not just selling something that goes on a customer’s foot. You’re selling respect, trendiness, security, vibrancy, and fulfillment. Each product can be presented in such a way that it brings emotional and psychological pleasure.
  • Use emotional pleasure cues. Discover the ways in which your product meets an emotional need beyond its mere functional role. We all desire to be accepted, loved, appreciated, recognized, honored, compensated, admired, etc. What emotional craving can your product or service help to satisfy?

Mixpanel sells A/B testing services. Not all that emotionally powerful, huh? Think again. The landing page they use helps to inspire a sense of wonder and surprise. Humans have a psychological proclivity for surprise. It scratches an emotional itch. That’s exactly why this headline is perfect for speaking to the brain’s pleasure center.

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Reputation.com helps users gain back their reputation. It’s easy to see their pleasure-added headline, subheadline, and CTA:

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Instapage’s landing page presents the user with this question, “Want to get it right on your first try? Welcome to Instapage.” This desire to get things right on the first try resonates with an emotional need. We recognize that doing so will build our confidence, our reputation, and maybe our income.

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Essential Element 9:  Trustworthy Testimonials

A landing page’s testimonials are one of its most important trust signals. A user wants to know that they can trust the product or service. If they see a trustworthy testimonial, this goes a long way in cultivating the user’s trust.

  • Use testimonials from real people. Celebrities and experts are great, but you don’t need testimonials from these people. Choose testimonials from people who are most relevant to your target audience.
  • Make sure you use pictures. Pictures are the keystone of trust in testimonials. It’s important that every featured testimonial be accompanied by a photo of a real person.
  • Testimonials should be specific. Glittering generalities don’t make great testimonies. The best testimonies are those that are backed by real numbers, real data, and specific applications.

TasksEveryDay, which provides offshore virtual assistant services, uses a rotating carousel of testimonials. Each featured testimonials has a picture, a name, a video, a specific geolocation, and a clear discussion on how the service benefited them.

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The testimonial on Curalate’s page uses three different detailed numbers:

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These testimonials on Instapage also feature pictures, names (first and last), positions, and companies.

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Essential Element 10:  Methods of Contact

Are you legit? Then prove it.

Some of the most persuasive landing pages that I’ve visited have multiple methods of contacts — a phone number, a physical address, an email address, and a contact form. Some even have popups where a customer service representative asks me if they can be of help.

These go a long way to help strengthen my trust in the company, and to eliminate any friction in the conversion funnel.

  • At the most basic level, provide some assurance that you are a real company. Usually, this involves a physical address and a phone number.
  • Live chats featured in a popup can be helpful, but not a must-have. Using live chat is somewhat controversial. If you insist on using one, do your homework, and make sure you have some convincing reasons for keeping it there.

While researching this article, I chatted with one of the representatives from IwillTeachYouToBeRich. She was helpful and courteous, and answered my questions. Besides, I knew, as a customer, that the company was present and responsive. If I had any questions about signing up for the course, I knew I would be able to get answers:

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The “Chat Here” box is always present, regardless of scroll depth, on FotoZap’s landing page:

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A large contact form on the TasksEveryDay landing page made it easy to get in touch with the company with any questions or concerns.

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SignNow, a service of Barracuda, has a landing page with an easy-to-use chat function.

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Retargeter has a simple landing page with an easy-to-use “support button” in the upper left.

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Clicking “support” brings up a lightbox chat form.

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Essential Element 11:  A Guarantee

Customers love guarantees. A guarantee, regardless of what it is or how it’s presented, can help people feel reassured while on your landing page. Simply the word itself improves the likelihood of a conversion.

  • Guarantees can take many forms. Choose a type of guarantee that works for your business type, and state this guarantee on your landing page. There’s no need to delve into the legalities of it. Just say it. The point is that you have a guarantee, and the customer knows it.
  • In the absence of any explicit product guarantee (e.g., satisfaction, money back, etc.), you can provide a different type of guarantee: e.g., “100% No Spam Guarantee.”
  • Position your guarantee statement close to the CTA. This proximity will help the user 1) receive a final bit of assurance, and 2) be ready to convert.

Ramit Sethi gives his customers a killer guarantee and he goes into detail to explain how it works:

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At the bottom of Help Scout’s landing page, they provide this reassurance. Although it doesn’t necessarily give an explicit guarantee, they do provide a level of comfort that’s similar to a guarantee. The award and shield icon are also reminiscent of trust badges, further enhancing this assurance.

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Essential Element 12:  Powerful Call to Action

The last position is for the most important element of all — the call to action. No element listed in this article is as important as your call to action. Here are a few CTA must-haves.

  • Make it big. Generally speaking, the bigger the better.
  • Make your copy compelling. The actual CTA copy is the most significant copy on your entire landing page. Don’t use the word “submit.” Instead use something explosive, exciting, and persuasive.
  • Use a button. Users have been trained to expect the CTA to be a button. Do not attempt to force back years of expectation by using something other than a button. Stick with the tried and true. People know what to do when they see a button.
  • Use a contrasting color. Your landing page, your company, your stylebook, and your designers all have certain colors that they like. Your landing page has a color scheme. Now, whatever color you use on your CTA, make it different. At the most basic level, your CTA needs to possess color. And, to make it stand out, that color needs to contrast from the other colors on the screen. Contrasting colors help to attract the eye, and compel the click.

The CTA for Help Scout is located directly underneath the testimonial section. This provides a seamless and logical flow, both from a design and cognitive perspective.

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At the bottom of Mixpanel’s landing page is their CTA. It’s positioned brilliantly, and the copy on the button is perfect (“Try it for free.”) Instead of using a contrasting color on the button itself, the designers chose to use a contrasting color for the entire CTA section.

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CTA positioning is important. Although the landing page featured below has some shortcomings, the positioning of the CTA underneath the image helps to draw user’s attention to it, thus enhancing the noticeability and clickability of the CTA.

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Instapage has a great example of a high-contrast CTA button. Notice how this button is a contrasting red, which totally stands out from the grays, and blacks of its surroundings.

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Monsoon’s CTA is exactly what a CTA should be — big, bold, well-written, and orange.

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Look at the size of the CTA for Monetate:

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Get Response goes for the big CTA, too.

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Conclusion

A landing page is the place where all your efforts come to fruition. This is the place where customers click, people buy, and you make revenue.

Don’t screw it up.

You will create a powerful and high-converting landing page by implementing each of these 12 essentials. And once you’re done, do some A/B testing, and keep improving. The process of creating a landing page is never finished. You will always improve.

What do you consider to be some of the absolute essential elements of a high-converting landing page?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

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12 Essentials of a High Converting Landing Page