A Responsive Material Design App With Polymer Starter Kit


One upcoming technology that represents a big leap forward in making the web a mature application platform is web components. From a high-level perspective, web components will enable better composability, reusability and interoperability of front-end web application elements by providing a common way to write components in HTML.

A Responsive Material Design App With Polymer 1.0 Starter Kit

The goal of this article is to show you why this will be such an important step, by showing off what can be accomplished right now using Polymer. Polymer is currently the most advanced and (self-proclaimed) production-ready library based on web components.

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A Responsive Material Design App With Polymer Starter Kit

5 Surprising A/B Test Results from Ridiculously Successful Entrepreneurs

So many marketers find it helpful to learn from the A/B test results of larger, more established businesses who have done the work of running regular tests on large volumes of traffic.

surprising-conversion-insights-650
Lots of traffic isn’t always a bad thing… Image source.

Of course, all audiences are different and your results may vary, but these case studies are often a great place to start. They can provide some serious inspiration and push you to think outside the box.

Today, we’re going to look at some of the less conventional A/B test results from successful companies, and how you can get big conversion boosts from trying unusual things.

I asked five entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses about the test results that have surprised them most along the way. Here’s what they had to say.

Wade Foster and Mike Knoop, Zapier

zapier-conversion-insights

Wade and Mike are two of the co-founders of Zapier, the tool that helps more than 600,000 businesses integrate their favorite apps together without having to write any code.

Zapier’s homepage was pretty simple. So simple, in fact, that they got criticized for it in a UserTesting.com post:

zapier-homepage-conversion-insights

Ouch.

But as Mike shared in the comments, this simple page was the result of a surprising test.

For the homepage you highlighted, we tested several versions (including simply swapping the top orange and bottom explainer sections).

zapier-homepage-test-conversion-insights

The [version mentioned in the post] converted signups and active users more than the others (by a statistically significant margin).

zapier-homepage-test-stats

I was really surprised. My gut reaction agrees with this post but I was wrong in this instance. It’s proof that you should always mix qualitative and quantitative testing and never opt strictly for one or the other.

Mike’s point is an important one: it’s easy to look at a page and judge it “qualitatively” based on how it looks to you.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The aesthetic of a page is one thing. But if a beautiful page doesn’t convert, it’s not useful. An ugly page that does convert, though, still makes money.

Wade adds:

We’ve since redesigned the homepage again with better results, but at the time this was really surprising.

Takeaway for your landing pages

The “best practice” is to make it immediately clear what your business can do for your visitor. But best practices don’t always win out. Zapier found this in their homepage test, but it applies to any landing page you’re working on. Play with your copy and test variations that provoke your visitor, whether they’re directly about your business or not.

David Hauser, Grasshopper

grasshopper-david-conversion-insights

David co-founded Grasshopper, a company that he helped grow to more than $30M in annual revenue.

David’s team wanted to test whether crossing out the $25 activation fee on Grasshopper’s pricing page (to show that the visitor wouldn’t be charged the usual fee) would increase conversions.

Unfortunately, the tool they were using wasn’t perfect.

Our A/B testing tool had a bug that delayed the $25 activation fee from being crossed out until a few seconds after the page loaded.

This error ended up creating a much larger uplift than having it already crossed out on load, when the bug was fixed.

The result now is that the activation fee shows, and then is crossed out after a few seconds.

grasshopper

Takeaway for your landing pages

Try using buggy testing software.

Okay, not really.

Get creative with the pricing on your landing pages, and test dynamic flourishes. If you’re offering a discount, try having the discount appear after a few seconds, once the full price has soaked into the visitor’s mind.

Neil Patel, Quick Sprout

neil-patel-quicksprout-conversion-insights

Neil is is the co-founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, and the founder of Quick Sprout.

He’s run a lot of tests, but even Neil fell victim to the assumptions of “prevailing wisdom.”

I used to believe that making the checkout process simple by having everything on one page would always boost conversions.

But in one test, I split things up onto two separate pages, and got an increase in conversions by 11%.

I was shocked.

Takeaway for your landing pages:

Simple isn’t always better. Sometimes making your landing page visitors work harder to convert can work in your favor.

Experiment with adding additional pages, form fields and steps to your signup process.

Joanna Wiebe, CopyHackers

joanna-wiebe-conversion-insights

Joanna is the co-founder of Copy Hackers and Airstory, and one of the web’s top experts on all things landing page-related (get this free ebook, seriously).

Joanna was working with Metageek to help them increase sales of their downloadable software products.

The first page Joanna and her team turned their attention to was this one, one of Metageek’s most highly-trafficked pages:

metageek-homepage-conversion-insights

Notice the download links in the left column: they’re text!

Joanna’s first question was: if we replace the text with more visually engaging buttons and more urgent messaging, will clicks increase?

And so they tested several variations, each of them incorporating big, colorful buttons instead of Metageek’s boring old text links:

metageek-homepage-conversion-insights-2

The result?

Every single test with a button reduced conversions, anywhere from 6% to a whopping 80%.

Yikes.

Metageek’s Wendy Fox, understanding her audience, offered an explanation for why the buttons were so unpopular:

It’s often a plain text link these days that gets you the clean download [ed. note: meaning that the link isn’t an ad or malware]. We could be experiencing “seasoned internet user” behavior on the download page.

Takeaway for your landing pages

Boring doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Text links on your landing page could be a great way to gain your visitors’ trust in a world full of big, colorful buttons competing for their attention. But you gotta test.

Hiten Shah, Kissmetrics

hiten-shah-conversion-insights

Hiten (along with Neil Patel), is the co-founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, and the man behind one of the best weekly newsletters in SaaS.

Like Neil, Hiten assumed that easier was better when it came to conversions. And like Neil, a homepage A/B test showed Hiten that his assumptions aren’t always true.

Rather than the standard email address or name field, the test called on visitors for some pretty unconventional information.

When we added just a single form field on the homepage, versus just the button, our conversions went up 36.5%.

kissmetrics-homepage-conversion-insights

It wasn’t an email address field; instead, it asked people to enter their website URL.

Takeaway for your landing pages

Try asking your landing page visitors for information that’s different from what everyone else is asking for. We’re used to seeing forms that ask for our name and email address, but if you ask for something unconventional like a URL, it may catch your visitors’ attention.

What unconventional tests will you run?

“Best practices” tell us some of the more conventional things that we should all be testing, like our headlines and calls to action.

But thinking outside the box and running unusual tests is worth it too, even if they go against what the experts are telling you to do.

Hopefully these five case studies have given you ideas for your own unconventional tests.

Give them a try… you might just be surprised.

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5 Surprising A/B Test Results from Ridiculously Successful Entrepreneurs

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11 Ways to Get an ROI from Your Blog Comments

Commenting on blogs used to be a link building strategy. Busy people would spend days finding blogs, pasting in comments with a link, and hoping it would build the authority of their website. It worked for a little while, but that SEO technique has gone down the same route as link wheels and doorway pages. […]

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11 Ways to Get an ROI from Your Blog Comments

Getting Started With Wearables: How To Plan, Build and Design


If a user of your product is buying a smartwatch tomorrow and your app is not compatible with it or your notifications can’t be triggered from there, you might frustrate them. If you have a website or an app today, it’s time to start planning support for wearable devices. In this article, we’ll review the platforms available today, what we can do on each of them, how to plan the architecture, and how to develop apps or companion services for these new devices.

Developing For Wearables

Do you remember the shoe phone from Get Smart? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are probably too young (or I’m too old). (You can Google it now. Just go; I’ll wait here in this tab.) The shoe phone we saw on TV was followed by many other wearable devices on TV, such as the ones on Knight Rider, The Flintstones, James Bond and Dick Tracy. Many years later, we can say that wearable devices are here and ready to use. We, as designers and developers, need to be ready to develop successful experiences for them.

The post Getting Started With Wearables: How To Plan, Build and Design appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Getting Started With Wearables: How To Plan, Build and Design

The Conversion Rate Optimization Stack For Cash-Strapped Startups

Conversion rate optimization is not just about running A/B tests. It’s a holistic approach to optimizing websites for the metrics that matter most. It’s a process. That process involves research, testing, tracking and analyzing. And then it repeats. As such, there’s no single tool that can help you optimize your site. You need an entire […]

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The Conversion Rate Optimization Stack For Cash-Strapped Startups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building and promoting the content

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

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

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

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

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

Optimizing landing pages for more than just conversions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making personal connections

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

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

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

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

auto-email

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

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

That personal touch

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

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

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

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

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

How to Use Related Content for Better Conversions

The more excellent content you give people to read, the greater their incentive to stick around on your site. And keeping people on your site longer is the name of the game to maximize conversions. Some people do this by including internal links in every piece of content. It’s an easy way to get readers […]

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How to Use Related Content for Better Conversions

Web Development Reading List #107


Lately, web development has become very complex. People being full-stack developers often complain to me that they can’t care about all these cool things in front-end development. People doing front-end still complain about having too few things to control the website, make it faster, more reliable.

Dark World Map

This growing gap worries me about the future of usual websites. For big web applications and big websites, it’s great to have all the options and a dedicated front-end performance engineer. But what about an average website? A simple website for a painter can’t cost thousands of dollars.

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Web Development Reading List #107

Here’s What a Winning Click-Through Landing Page Looks Like

winning-click-through-landing-page
These pages got all the stock image hand models clickin’. Image source.

Last month we held a contest on the blog, challenging marketers to create a click-through landing page to promote our latest ebook, Attention-Driven Design: 23 Visual Principles for Designing More Persuasive Landing Pages.

It was an experiment to determine which design principles and “best practices” make for a seductive click-through landing page. But instead of getting a panel of judges to wax poetic about which landing pages they thought were great, we thought we’d publish the pages and let visitors decide: which ones would actually get people to click through and then convert?

Before we talk about the winning pages and what made them so darn titillating, a quick review session. Let’s take a look at how click-through landing pages differ from their lead gen landing page cousins — both in form and function.

WTF is a click-through landing page?

Click-through landing pages do exactly what it says on the tin. Unlike lead gen landing pages, they don’t have a form on the page asking people to opt in. Instead, they have a goal of convincing visitors to click through to another page (where the actual conversion happens).

They’re frequently used in ecommerce funnels to describe a product in detail and “warm up” visitors for their purchasing decision. They combat the cognitive dissonance that is created when someone clicks on an ad for a specific product and they wind up on a seemingly irrelevant generic product page.

In Attention-Driven Design ebook author Oli Gardner’s words:

Click-through pages are a great way to create an interstitial experience that confirms the intent of your ad in a simple way, maintaining the attention of your visitor, and then guides them through the purchasing decision before taking them further down the funnel.

Simple enough, yeah? But if you’re gonna use a click-through landing page to “warm up” visitors and reassure them that they’ve made a “good click,” you also wanna be sure you’ve optimized the heck out of it.

Without further ado, let’s look at our winning click-through landing pages — the ones that lead to the most ebook downloads  — and see which Attention-Driven Design principles they employed to get people to convert.

4th place winner: Conversion Lab

Conversion Lab’s landing page does an excellent job of teasing visitors with sneak previews of the ebook above the fold:

conversion-lab-click-through-landing-page

A little lower on the page, for prospects who need a little more information to be persuaded, they include a SlideShare preview of the core concepts from the book.

attention-driven-design-slideshare

Even with all the additional information, the page is really easy on the eyes. Here’s how Oli Gardner put it when we asked him about the page:

The information hierarchy is strong with a nice linear top-to-bottom reading experience and nicely balanced font sizes for easy reading. Overall, a very clean design – which I’ve come to expect from Conversion Lab.

Indeed. Congrats on placing 4th, Conversion Lab!

mean-girls-linsay-lohan

3rd place winner: Tim Ruof

What really stands out about Tim’s page is his generous use of directional cues to guide your eye down the page.

tim-ruof-click-through-landing-page

One minor quibble: Oli pointed out that the model is looking downwards — under the CTA — so there’s no benefit to the angle of her gaze.

Still, this is somewhat counterbalanced by the arrow pointing to the call to action button, along with the other arrows on the page. Oli elaborated:

I like how the continuation arrows are used to guide you through the reading experience. It may not seem like a big deal, but this really helps both the visual and information hierarchy.

Tim also got crafty with his social proof, pulling actual quotes from Twitter as testimonials:

click-through-landing-page-twitter-testimonials

Oli suggested a couple of improvements to test:

I’d remove the links to the tweets though and perhaps cut and paste the actual tweet so it looks exactly like Twitter.

We’ll forgive Tim for upsetting the attention ratio of the page with those external links, because he blew us away by creating Twitter cards to drive traffic to his page:

twitter-card-tim-ruof

Talk about going the extra mile. Awesome job, Tim.

clapping-clap-wonderful

2nd place winner: Winsome Writing

Winsome Writing’s landing page is shorter than most of the other entries we received, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sweet. Like our previous entry, they use screenshots and a SlideShare preview to tease visitors with the juicy content:

winsome-writing-click-through-landing-page

Interestingly, they haven’t really included any social proof, and chose not to lead with a strong hero shot of the ebook itself. Oli suggested that this might be a good thing to test:

This designer chose to keep the model hero shot. It’s interesting as to what impact it would have. As it’s an ebook download page, it could be posited that the model may confuse matters and she does look kinda sad.

Oli also congratulated Winsome Writing for including a bold CTA button which contrasts nicely with the rest of the page.

Overall, a solid effort that secured Winsome Writing second place in the contest. Pat yourselves on the back!

pat-patting

1st place winner: Sherif Makhlouf

Drum roll please…

This landing page scored creator Sherif Makhlouf an all-expenses-paid trip to Vancouver for Call to Action Conference 2016!

sherif-makhlouf-click-through-landing-page

As Oli pointed out, it’s pretty clear that Sherif read the book — he employed several Attention-Driven Design principles. There’s Direction: the way the model’s gaze directs your attention to the CTA, and the Contrast of the big pink button. Finally, the third page section uses Continuation effectively, helping to draw your eye down the page.

But Oli also praised Sherif for employing other classic landing page best practices. For starters, look at how decked out the social proof section of the page is:

click-through-landing-page-social-proof

And then there’s the counter by the CTA button, which displays how many copies have been downloaded:

false-scarcity-click-through-landing-page

But Oli especially appreciated the way Sherif employed a healthy dose of scarcity and urgency:

The use of “only 27 free copies left” is a nice touch, not mentioning price but insinuating that it will become a paid ebook soon.

It’s worth mentioning that this is in fact false scarcity — the ebook will remain free forever, we swear! But that this page is the winning page speaks volumes about the psychological power of these tactics.

Before you run off and employ false scarcity on your own page, step back and remember that, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Because if prospects suspect that you’re trying to trick them, you could lose them forever…

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Create a winning landing page of your own

Thanks to everyone who submitted landing pages to our Attention-Driven Design contest — you guys never cease to amaze us.

And special congrats to Sherif, you sneaky-but-super-smart marketer! We can’t wait to meet you at Call to Action Conference 2016.
Want to create a landing page that replicates the success of Sherif’s? Check out Oli’s latest ebook by entering your email below…

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Here’s What a Winning Click-Through Landing Page Looks Like

4 Things Twitter Wishes You Would Do on Twitter

Social media gurus are quick to tell you what you should be doing on Twitter. But what does Twitter say about all this advice? If you want to improve your success with Twitter, it helps to pay attention to what the platform itself is identifying and recommending. Recently, Twitter and research firm DB5 conducted a […]

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4 Things Twitter Wishes You Would Do on Twitter

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