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Test Being Different To Make Massive Gains

Or, How to Warm Your Head in Winter and Lift Your Conversion Rate

Liv Tyler rocks a toque

Liv Tyler wearing a toque

I’m going to tell you two things today:
1. A “toque” is a kind of knitted hat worn in Canada in winter
2. To make big wins, sometimes you need to try something different.

The other day, my daughter decided that her grandma’s tea cozy would make a good toque.

It wasn’t because the other kids were wearing tea cozies on their heads – it wasn’t a new trend and she wasn’t following fashion. She just felt like trying something different. And you know what? It worked for her – she rocked that tea cozy.

The funny thing is: I don’t think it took any courage for her to do it. She’s the kind of person who (so far at least) hasn’t been convinced other people’s opinions should dictate her actions.

I think there are plenty of companies that could benefit from her approach.

You see, when it comes to websites, too many companies get stuck staring at their competitors for guidance

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When it comes to websites, too many companies get stuck staring at their competitors for guidance
– especially looking at the industry leaders – and assuming that if they mimic the competition’s way of doing things, they’ll see the same results. They look at the leader’s website design and strategy, and use it as a template for their own…

It’s hard not to focus on the leaders – I get that. It’s common to think that because they’re leaders, they must be doing everything right. They must be testing everything they do.

Think again.

Don’t assume what you see has been tested

The big name sites you’re looking at may not A/B test as much as you assume.

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The big name sites you’re looking at may not A/B test as much as you assume
Or they’re not testing all areas. Look at how many still have rotating home page carousels. Smaller companies with high traffic sometimes have an easier job instilling a testing culture than some at the enterprise level. Political resistance and inertia are stronger in bigger companies. And where there is resistance to trying something new, there’s a good chance they’re doing the wrong things. The things that used to work. The things the internal opinion “experts” like.

It could be that the big-company politics have handcuffed them to existing designs and old ways of doing things. It may be that their agency of internal designers hold more sway than their analytics folks. Or their analysts have been relegated to mere report-producers. It may be that they are leaving a lot of money on the table through an under-performing website.

Is that what you want to copy?

Don’t Copy the Leader

Plus, even if they are testing, their results won’t all apply to you. The merchandising approach that works for Amazon won’t necessarily work for your site.

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The merchandising approach that works for Amazon won’t necessarily work for your site
Dell’s product descriptions may not be the best for you.

It’s easy to pick on the big guys, but many of them clearly are doing the right things. And even smaller companies have some politics or, more likely, are dominated by one or two strong personalities.

The good news? Regardless of politics or personalities, being open to a structured approach to testing, and to finding new ways of doing things – will gain you a competitive advantage.

At WiderFunnel, we’ve been doing conversion optimization for seven years, and we are still learning new things from our test results. If there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that there are no website “best practices” that work consistently across all industries and customer bases.

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There are no website ‘best practices’ that work across all industries
There are insights, principles, patterns and frameworks we use to get the best results. But we would never just implement without testing them.

This is why we’ve found our cross-industry exposure gives WiderFunnel a unique perspective and advantage. If the learning from A/B tests on travel tourism sites can lead to conversion optimization testing wins for software companies, then it’s a win, regardless of where the inspiration comes from. (And that happens more often than you may think!)

After all, the innovators and industry changers – the Apples, the Dysons, the Amazon.coms – don’t become leaders from copying what the other guys are doing. They’re the ones who come out of left field with a different business model, a different way of thinking about their business, and a new way of doing things. They are often the most evidence-based, and don’t follow the trends. They do the hard work to find out what works for them today, not what worked for someone yesterday.

That embrace of the new approach can be your secret weapon against the incumbents in your industry.

So, instead of spending energy trying to replicate what the big guys are doing, have the courage to try something new. To make big wins, try something different. The good news is, that kind of courage is practically risk-free if you follow the continuous conversion optimization process. The only risk you’ll take is the risk of standing out, looking different, and NOT following the leaders in your industry.

The risk of wearing a tea cozy as a toque…

Tea cozy toque

She rocks the tea cozy toque

After all, if you look at the innovators who end up building remarkable companies, in the beginning, they all appeared – to the naysayers at least – to be wearing tea cozies as toques.

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Test Being Different To Make Massive Gains

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The Truth Behind the Yin and Yang of Conversion Rate Optimization

I’m going to advocate for the flip side of the conversion coin today. I’m delving into the “dark side” that is rarely discussed.

At WiderFunnel, we always advocate the importance of testing and data-driven decision making. The truth is that you can’t do conversion optimization without testing and web analytics is important for identifying optimization opportunities.

But, testing and data alone don’t tell the whole the story.

The truth: testing is the easy part.

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The truth: testing is the easy part

Gasp!

Yes. It’s the how and what that determine the results you achieve from your testing.

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It’s the how and what that determine the results you achieve from your testing.
The secret is in the test variation ideas.

The so-called “left brain” perspective full of logic and analysis only tells half the story.

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The so-called left brain perspective full of logic and analysis only tells half the story.
The right brain, creative input is just as important.
Left brain right brain
(Let’s ignore for a moment that the whole left/right brain meme isn’t supported by the latest research for this discussion.)

I believe the left brain aspect gets more attention in the CRO discussion simply because it’s been neglected by marketers for so long. That’s one reason I called my book “You Should Test That!“; to help wake up marketers relying solely on gut feeling and unproven ideas. But, the creative side of solving problems is just as critical as the testing side.

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The creative side of solving problems is just as critical as the testing side

There’s a creative Yin to the rigorous Yang

Just as important as testing is innovative big ideas.

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Just as important as testing is innovative big ideas
Big results come from big ideas.

The Yin is innovative, intuitive, messy, artful marketing ideas. The Yang is the proof in the pudding, the sunshine of truth searing the reality from the fog. Yes, we test, but without the great ideas, there’s nothing to prove.

Creativity is needed because every situation is unique. Context is key.

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Creativity is needed for CRO because every situation is unique. Context is key.

There is no conversion optimization rule book

When we started WiderFunnel in 2007, we initially imagined we’d optimize to find the perfect landing page design that we could replicate for any situation. Well, I don’t know if we really believed that, but it was at least a hope.

Back then, we certainly thought we’d find the “best” button colour, the “best” headline approach and the “best” website layout.

In reality, what we’ve found are more universal and exciting: principles, patterns, and processes that we can confidently apply to any situation, platform, target market and media. We continue to test on websites, mobile sites, mobile apps, video game interfaces and more, all with the same system. Much like the fabled Canadian RCMP Police who “always get their man” WiderFunnel always get to a winning test result.

RCMP always get their Bieber

RCMP always get their Bieber

A Right Brain Test Example

When WiderFunnel optimized the Expensify home page, the variations clearly weren’t developed by an algorithm. The cross-functional team, led by an experienced strategist, developed new approaches that no software alone could conceive.

For context, Expensify is a fast-growth startup with a lean team facing large competitors. The expensify.com home page is the company’s primary landing page for free online signups and it needed to be improved to produce more signups. The page had been developed with clean design “best practices” but the Expensify team believed it could be improved.

Here’s the original home page the company came to us with.

Expensify Control Page

Expensify Control Page

Our strategists identified 16 conversion barriers using WiderFunnel’s LIFT Analysis system and prioritized 12 primary hypotheses to test. They translated the hypotheses into four initial test variations to discover answers to the major hypotheses and isolate a few important questions. WiderFunnel’s design team brought the wireframes to life, then developed and launched the first test on the page.

Expensify winning home page

Expensify home page winning variation

When you compare the winning page we tested, you’ll see that it clearly required creativity to design. No algorithm could come up with that combination of headline, design and benefit copywriting. On the winning variation, we:

  • Added a new headline reflecting the company’s unique positioning and brand
  • Moved the form field up on the page
  • Created visual emphasis on the signup form
  • Added anxiety-reducing message on the call-to-action (CTA)
  • Added a strong CTA subhead
  • Isolated features vs. benefit copy points
  • Designed new colour and font treatment for support points

Of course, we also tested other variations that isolated questions and led to insights, or what we call “Aha!” moments, about persuasional triggers for this target audience.

And, the testing didn’t end with a single winning test because CRO is an ongoing process.

The latest winning page clearly took another dose of creativity and could only be arrived at with a combination of creativity and rigorous testing.

Expensify latest winning page variation

Expensify latest winning page variation

This winning page not only looks great, it produces a 47% higher signup conversion rate than the original control page.

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WiderFunnel’s home page test for Expensify produces 47% conversion rate lift.

For more detail, check out Expensify’s SaaS conversion optimization case study.

As an industry, I believe we’ve made good progress in convincing marketers of the need to test, use big data, and become experts in analysis. Now, let’s remember that the creative side is still needed to imagine new solutions to old challenges.

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The creative side and analytics are both needed to imagine new solutions to old challenges.

The post The Truth Behind the Yin and Yang of Conversion Rate Optimization appeared first on WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization.

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The Truth Behind the Yin and Yang of Conversion Rate Optimization

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Nine Strategies for Becoming the Marketing Optimization Champion Your Company Can’t Live Without

I’d like to share a few techniques today that will help you more effectively sell good ideas within your organization. You can use these tips to advocate for conversion optimization or any other business improvement.

But first, why do we need “techniques” to “sell” good ideas? Conversion optimization, for instance, should be an easy sell into an organization, right?

How could you not want to gain double and triple-digit conversion rate lifts in your most important business goals? How could you not want to dramatically improve your Return on Ad Spend and Average Revenue Per Visitor? Who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t support it?

Well, the world is not a logical place. Business is not a logical place, as much as people try to create structure and discipline within it.
Spock I find you illogical

One of the most impactful teachers I had early in my career was the sales trainer Tom Hopkins. He told me, “People make a purchase emotionally and defend the purchase rationally.”

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People make a purchase emotionally and defend the purchase rationally
People aren’t purely logical.

That’s why, even within organizations, you don’t just need a spreadsheet with rationale for buying conversion optimization. Though, that helps, and you can download conversion optimization ROI calculators here. You also need to be a persuasive Marketing Optimization Champion.

As a Champion, you must be skilled in the art of organizational politics and persuasion. Fortunately, being this champion is rewarding because, after the dust settles and the emotion has faded, the logic is infallible and the results speak for themselves.

At WiderFunnel, our retainer clients are currently experiencing an ROI range of 400% to 1400%. That’s right, 400% is the bottom end of the spectrum. How many other investments can you make with that kind of a return?

When I released my book, You Should Test That!, I included a chapter with tips on how to be an effective Strategic Marketing Optimization Champion. One reader told me that she’d spent many years acquiring the tactics to be a great corporate marketer, and here I am just giving this knowledge away. So, take this advice for what it’s worth.

How to Be a Marketing Optimization Champion

Your company needs you to step up and be an influence for marketing testing.

Fortunately, being your organization’s champion is very rewarding. Marketing testing is one of the most easily provable strategies, and the rationale for it is unassailable. When you stand as an advocate of the data-driven approach, you’ll reap the rewards in your career. Measurement advocates inevitably rise to positions of influence.

Here are nine ten tips for becoming your organization’s marketing optimization champion:

1. Get Senior-Level Buy-in for Testing

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Champion Tip 1: Get Senior-Level Buy-in for Testing

No matter how strong your project results are, you’ll face an uphill battle without senior management support. Many of your colleagues look for cues from HiPPOs when deciding what to support, and senior managers probably allocate funding. Suffice it to say, your job will be much easier with their backing.

What is success for your senior decision-makers? Start by finding out how they’re incentivized so you can show how optimization will help them reach their goals. If you can help them look (and get paid) like rock stars, they’ll support your projects and reward you in return.

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Champion Tip: Find out how your idea helps senior execs meet their personal incentives.

You can also appeal to the rational support they need by building a business case for testing. With directly measurable results, the case for testing is easy to make. Show the conversion rate lift that other organizations are getting, and estimate the return on investment (ROI) for a testing strategy.

2. Create a Tangible Opportunity

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Champion Tip 2: Create a Tangible Opportunity

Get support for testing by creating a tangible problem that testing solves. Gather visitor (dis)satisfaction survey results, show real quotes, and record feedback from real customers. Videos of customer frustration can be powerful motivators. Use Clicktale, Sessioncam or UserTesting.com for recordings.

Sharing case-study examples of companies can be a source of inspiration and motivation, too. Here’s a whole bunch of conversion optimization case studies to start with.

3. Use Expert Support and Insights

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Champion Tip 3: Bring in Experts for Support and Insights

Bring in a conversion-optimization expert to tell decision-makers how your website needs to improve. The credibility of a third party like WiderFunnel can carry more weight than internal voices alone, even if were bringing a similar message.

If you can only get a portion of the budget needed for a full engagement, hire the consultant for the initial discovery and planning portion, then use that report to get approval for more budget.

hire a conversion rate optimization consultant for advice

4. Conduct Skunkworks Tests

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Champion Tip 4: Conduct Skunkworks Tests under the radar

If you don’t have senior support at the beginning, you could
try an under-the-radar approach. Pick a few target pages with low political visibility to gain some quick wins. Landing pages outside the main website can be good candidates for this. Then, use the winning results from those tests as ammunition in your campaign for support to move on to more important optimization areas.

5. Involve Other Departments

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Champion Tip 5: Involve Other Departments early

You’ll need the support of others to get your tests running: it, finance, marketing, branding, and more may present barriers. Save yourself surprises by involving them early.

6. Tie Results to Revenue

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Champion Tip 6: Tie Results to Revenue

When you present results, don’t just show the improvement in conversion rate or KPIs. Tie the results to revenue to show real cash impact. Percentages are intangible, but everyone relates to cash. What would you rather get: a XX% conversion rate lift, or $500,000 greater profit?

7. Share Successes Far and Wide

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Champion Tip 7: Share Successes Far and Wide

Many of WiderFunnel’s clients have used our results analysis presentations to create an internal event in the organization. The champion invites members from throughout the company to see the results of tests, guess the winners, and discuss what was learned. The presentations are a lot of fun, especially for those departments that aren’t normally involved in external communications. Make sure to invite people from all functional areas.

You’ll see several benefits from these meetings. Positive results with statistical certainty are exciting for everyone and create momentum. They educate your colleagues about the process of testing and inspire the organization to support your projects. You’ll be positioned as a leader with ideas that deliver results.

When WiderFunnel runs tests, we hold a vote with everyone involved to guess which one will win. The results presentation could be a good time to award prizes and boost the fun factor.

8. Be a Leader

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Champion Tip 8: Be a Leader with influence, credibility and learning

You have a decision to make about what you stand for in your career. Every idea you want to sell depends on the influence you have with colleagues, friends, and clients. The foundation of that influence will be based on what I’ll call soft or hard credibility. Soft credibility is based on your personality, charisma, and personal connections, whereas hard credibility is the data, evidence, and goal alignment that you bring.

Become a thought leader by reading more and sharing more knowledge with your colleagues. Take opportunities to conduct group discussions, distribute summaries of your learning, have lunch with unconvinced team members, and go to conferences.

9. Never Give Up

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Champion Tip 9: Never Give Up. Success depends on execution.

As Winston Churchill said in a famous speech, “…never, never, never, never give up.” testing and optimization are not one-time events. You’ll face opposition, confusing results, and disappointments, but they will melt away when you experience big wins.

The biggest threat to your success is what I call the shiny new thing.

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The biggest threat to your success is the shiny new thing
There will always be new tools, tactics, and opinions that will tempt you to abandon your testing discipline.

As Chet Holmes said in his book The Ultimate Sales Machine, his “pigheaded discipline and determination” are key to his results. As he says, “Implementation, not ideas, is the key to real success.”

Bonus: 10. Except When It’s Time to Move On

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Champion Tip 10: Know when to move to an organization that supports you.

Some organizations will never adopt marketing optimization. The culture may be too entrenched in old ways. I cringe when I see companies start on the path of testing and then turn around and redesign their website wholesale without considering
the progress and learning they’ve already made.

If you don’t see progress in your data advocacy, you should move on to a company that values it. Companies that don’t test will eventually yield to competitors that do. Life is too short to battle for years as a cultural misfit at companies with outdated thinking.

How do you sell ideas in your company?

Your turn. Add your ideas below!

The post Nine Strategies for Becoming the Marketing Optimization Champion Your Company Can’t Live Without appeared first on WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization.

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Nine Strategies for Becoming the Marketing Optimization Champion Your Company Can’t Live Without

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Best of 2013: Responsive design, content marketing, conversion paths & more

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2013. Google called it “a year of transformation.” Mashable declared it “the year of responsive web design.” And then there was Google Enhanced Campaigns, which was mandated across all AdWords campaigns back in July. If you weren’t ready for mobile, well, it didn’t matter, because it happened.

With smartphone sales expected to reach 1.81 billion…and double by 2015…compelling, intelligent, and integrated digital campaigns, and thus experiences, will be mandatory.

Not optional.

We’ve been preaching brilliant post-click marketing since 2007. But this year, highly relevant, smart, user-centered creative really took a front seat that will carry through 2014 and beyond.

So, to wrap up the year with a nice bow, we wanted to share our “Best of 2013″ — a collection of blog posts designed to inspire better digital experiences and help you provide more value (and conversions) in the new year.

Cheers!

Jessica

9 Best Practices for Designing Responsive Landing Pages

Nine of our favorite best practices for designing stellar responsive landing pages. You can use these with or without a platform to ensure you are building landing pages that not only respond, but convert! Learn how to put the right content in the right place on the page for every user.

How to use conversion paths for a better digital experience

Humans click your ads and land on your pages. Seems obvious, but in our haste to put up an experience with the perfect layout, content & offer, we often forget to think about the human behind the click. Learn how to use user segmentation (aka conversion paths) for a better digital experience.

9 Ways to Drive More Leads From Your Content Marketing

Sure, you’ve used landing pages to ‘gate’ high value content such as white papers or ebooks, but there more creative ways to up-sell and cross-sell content to convert your audience’s attention into business results. Discover nine ideas for innovative ways to drive more leads from your content marketing.

Three awesome [infographics]

Content marketing, landing pages and testing…these are three of our favorite things! Download these infographics.

Happy Holidays from ion!

Read our 2013 holiday blog post series — ionians cover best practices for testing, responsive design, user segmentation, marketing apps & more! Read the series.

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Best of 2013: Responsive design, content marketing, conversion paths & more

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14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014

2013 was a great year for conversion optimization. We saw digital marketers making it their #1 priority, tied with Content Marketing. Conversion Optimization moved up from 34 to 39% of marketers making it their top priority.
Top Priorities for Digital Marketers

Demand for knowledge about “conversion optimization” continues to grow since it emerged in 2007, as shown in Google Trends:

At the same time as “search engine optimization” is declining in popularity:

We’ve seen the industry evolve considerably. In the “early days” of WiderFunnel we spent much of our time educating companies about why conversion optimization was important. A lot of people understand that now.

Today, we get a lot of marketers calling WiderFunnel who are advocating for conversion testing within their companies and need help to get better results.

So, where will we see companies getting the best results in 2014?

Here’s what the most successful digital marketers will have in common in 2014

  1. They understandContent without conversion is just free publishing.”

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #1: Content without conversion is just free publishing

  2. Mobile is a big player in their plans, and mobile is different in 2014. Screens are bigger and more varied even than today. Successful marketers realize that mobile visitors are the same people as desktop visitors. They’re just standing in a different spot with different needs at the moment. Here’s a primer on mobile conversion optimization. Multi-device CRO is happening now, (yes WiderFunnel does that!) yet true multi-device marketing won’t be widespread until 2015.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #2: Optimize for mobile, but mobile is different in 2014

  3. They skip “big data” in favour of “smart data.” There’s always been lots of data, but size is less important than how you use it. In fact, there’s good evidence that “big data” is one of the lamest buzzwords of 2013. Don’t misunderstand me—the potential is real and we’re all about using data, but the hype will fizzle.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #3: Skip the big data buzz in favour of smart data

  4. Yes, testing is a tactic and it’s really just a mechanism that supports better decision-making for marketers. Testing alone is just a feature. To that end, they value all well-planned tests as winners (even the losing ones because they learn from them).

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #4: Testing is just a tactic that supports better decision-making for marketers.

  5. They abandon their website redesign plans. Instead, they use Evolutionary Site Redesign (ESR).

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #5: Abandon your website redesign plans. Instead, use ESR.

  6. They look at optimizing every layer of their websites: usability, branding and content. Looking at the experience holistically allows for more potential impact.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #6: Optimize every layer of your website: usability, branding and content

  7. They move beyond technophilia. Conversion optimization is not a technological challenge – it’s a set of people questions. Tools don’t solve problems. Smart people do.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #7: Move beyond technophilia. Tools don’t solve problems. Smart people do.

  8. They align their website goals up to their marketing and business goals using the goals waterfall.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #8: Move beyond technophilia. Tools don’t solve problems. Smart people do.

  9. They don’t chase after tips and tricks. Instead, they formulate powerful questions to ask their prospects, which are unique to their business.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #9: Don’t chase after tips & tricks. Instead, formulate powerful questions.

  10. Landing page optimization is just one subset of their marketing optimization strategy. They optimize all customer touchpoints throughout their marketing funnel with deep insights into customer segment idiosyncrasies.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #10: Optimize all customer touchpoints throughout your marketing funnel

  11. They are a strong marketing optimization champion.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #11: Be a strong marketing optimization champion this year
    Your organization needs a marketing optimization champion. Your company needs you to step up and be an influence for marketing testing. Fortunately, being your organization’s champion is very rewarding. Marketing testing is one of the most easily provable strategies, and the rationale for it is unassailable. When you stand as an advocate of the data-driven approach, you’ll reap the rewards in your career. Data advocates inevitably rise to positions of influence.

  12. They tie results to revenue.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #12: Tie your marketing optimization results to revenue lift
    When you present results, don’t just show the improvement in conversion rate or KPIs. Tie the result to revenue to give real cash impact. Percentages are intangible, but everyone relates to cash. What would you rather get: a X% conversion rate lift, or $Y,000,000 greater profit?

  13. They foster momentum and knowledge sharing throughout the organization.

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #13: Foster momentum and knowledge sharing throughout your organization
    Many of WiderFunnel’s clients have used our results analysis presentations to create an internal event in the organization. The champion invites members from throughout the company to see the results of tests, guess the winners, and discuss what was learned. Their entire marketing team is on a continuous learning curriculum (starting by reading You Should Test That!)

  14. They hire the best marketing optimization experts available (like WiderFunnel!)

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    2014 Digital Marketing Tip #14: You should hire the best marketing optimization experts available — WiderFunnel

What would you add?

What are your tips for digital marketers in 2014?

Add your thoughts below.

The post 14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014 appeared first on WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization.

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14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014

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12 Holiday Landing Page Tips

No drummers drumming, or even a partridge in a pear tree here, just 12 of the very best tips and tricks for creating and testing digital experiences that generate leads, enhance brands and drives sales this holiday season.

From the basics of message match to progressive conversion strategy, we’re sharing 12 of our favorite posts from holidays past.

1. Santa Approved Landing Pages – Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

This year, make sure you’re on Santa’s (and your visitors) nice list to ensure your stockings are full of qualified leads with these quick, best-behavior tips.

2. A Very Merry Message Match

Message match is an important best practice to implement on your landing page campaigns. Promise something in your headline or ad? Make sure that’s what your viewer sees when they click on your link! This is one place that people do NOT want surprises, even during the holidays.

3. Ring in the New Year with Social Sign On

Eight in 10 consumers would prefer to login to sites using a social identity, versus traditional account creation. Given these numbers, will you be ringing in the new year with social sign on?

4. Get in the Spirit of A/B Testing

The results received from drastic A/B testing (followed by iteration) can be extremely powerful, just like the holiday spirit that comes over us this time of year. A great New Year’s resolution? Commit to testing radical new ideas, destroy all assumptions, and never stop learning!

5. Directional Cues to Sway and Seduce this Holiday Season

As we close out 2013 and move into a brand new year, what fun and creative ways can you seduce your audience to convert on your landing pages? Will you be testing implicit and explicit directional cues?

6. A Very Mobile New Year

Users are savvy and expect single touch interaction, easy calls to action and checkout experiences. App-like experiences, that are tightly message matched to your ad, and load as fast as Santa’s sleigh, are the way to go to ensure engagement from your users, and of course, conversions.

7. Resolve to be R.E.A.D.Y

Use the guidelines of the R.E.A.D.Y framework when creating your digital experiences and you will be able to produce highly relevant pages that are engaging, authoritative, directional and that yield optimal.

8. All I Want for Christmas is a Clear CTA

Wait, what? Your goal for the page is to get viewers to click your call to action? Sorry, I got distracted by all the other toys…

9. Santa Claus is Coming to Town With Dynamic Keyword Targeting

Yes, you can create unique landing pages for each keyword with very little effort on your part. Dynamic keyword targeting is as close to “magic” as you’re going to get!

10. Interactive Content: Best Gift Under the Tree This Year

Four things to consider as you get ready to give and receive the “gift” of interactive content.

11. Joy to the Progressive Conversion!

As we move into the new year, think progressive. Remember how important it is to give all visitors a good experience, because today’s non-converter may be tomorrow’s conversion win.

12. Thank Your Visitors Ever Day of the Year

Three quick tips for creating a valuable and thankful post-conversion experience on your landing pages.

More inspiration: Marketing Apps Idea Book

Register to receive our newest idea book.

It provides nine ideas for app-like digital experiences — calculators, configurators, wizards, games and more — that not only engage and convert, but also provide marketing with highly valuable segmentation and sales enablement data.

Get inspired. Provide more value. And reap more in the new year conversions as a result.

Download the idea book.

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12 Holiday Landing Page Tips

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Deck the Halls with App-Like Games

‘Tis the season to be online shopping. Gadgets, winter boots or ugly Christmas sweaters, whatever it is you fancy, it’s sure to be found somewhere on the web. For some, the task of online shopping can be an irritating and tiresome feat. But if you’re anything like me, you get a thrill out of finding the best deals and getting the biggest bang for your buck! However, the process of online deal hunting is not always an enjoyable one. That is why whenever I come across a page that finds a way to make my online shopping fun and entertaining, I take notice!

While waiting for valet to bring my car around after work (this process has been known to take up to 20 minutes sometimes!), my mind wanders to my holiday to-do list. My younger cousin, Samantha, is next on my gift list. Unsure what to get her; I start checking out different mobile shopping apps such as Victoria Secret’s junior apparel line, PINK Nation. Next thing I know, I had spent several minutes playing games, such as PINK-O, all while racking up points to put towards different items and prizes!

PINK takes their visitors on a short, but effective, conversion-focused journey. They engage their mobile visitors at a higher level, which as a result, gains them more online leads.

Games are an entertaining way to engage and convert prospects. From the look and feel to the overall messaging, PINK’s mobile app and landing experiences are perfectly tailored to appeal to their target audience.

Thanks to my stellar gaming skills and my exquisite fashion sense, my cousin’s gift was all squared away with time to spare — all before my car arrived. Now, that’s what I like to call savvy shopping!

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Deck the Halls with App-Like Games

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User segmentation: the gift that keeps on giving

All I want for Christmas is a gift just for me. Not one that I have to share, or one that was made for someone else. I want it to be in exactly my size, flattering to my shape, and in a shade that makes my eyes sparkle. I believe that this is a perfectly reasonable Christmas wish. I also happen to believe that this desire for something made “just for me” in all aspects of life is not entirely unreasonable.

But alas, I too believe that giving is indeed better than receiving and because of this I also want to make sure that what I give to others is wholly just for them. So this brings me to my point, re-gifting is not acceptable. Not for holiday’s and not for landing pages. You have to make it just for them, in just their size, and if it makes their eyes sparkle, that’s even better.

The easiest, and also the most effective way in many cases to do this is through segmentation experiences. This is especially true if you don’t know the visitor very well. It’s kind of like picking the name of the guy at the office that you only see when getting coffee for your secret Santa exchange. You want to get him something great, but who the heck is he?

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The joy of a segmentation experience is that you don’t really have to know the person at all; you just have to know a few basic ways that he may identify himself. You might, for instance, drop by the water cooler and talk about your golf game one day, the latest box office hit the next, or a concert you’re going to on Friday. Eventually, he’s going to show some interest and presto! You’ve got the perfect gift idea.

The same is true of landing pages, if you show a visitor options that they can relate to, one of these choices is going to resonate with them enough to make them want more of what you’re offering. These options can be a million different things, depending on what you’re pitching, but they should always be supported by specific content.

The worst thing you can do at this point is segment your audience and then send them to the same interior page as any other segment. That’s not giving them what they want at all, but rather using that information just to meet your own marketing needs. That’s like getting your best friend tickets to your favorite band’s concert because you know she’ll take you. Not ok.

So this year, be a good gift giver. Give them what they want, and make it just for them; even if you have to ask them what their perfect gift is.

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User segmentation: the gift that keeps on giving

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Why responsive landing pages are a lot like Santa

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When I was a little kid I always wondered how Santa managed to make his way down all those chimneys. Everyone knows that on that one special night of the year this jolly and rather round man manages to fit down every chimney so that he can leave gifts for all of those who are on his “nice” list. Even at such a young age I was able to recognize that this didn’t seem feasible. Looking at him in all pictures and movies, and even having sat on his lap myself at the mall, I was able to recognize that Santa was not a little man and chimneys are not very spacious…so how does he do it?

Well, now that I’m much older and much wiser the answer is rather clear. Santa is very good at reproportioning himself. In an instant he’s able to thin out and elongate himself so that he can easily fit into all of those narrow chimneys. It’s really quite impressive.

This scenario reminds me a lot of responsive landing pages. Rather than delivering inflexible landing page to all visitors, regardless of which kind of device they’re using, and relying on them to resize, pan, and scroll so that they can easily see and engage with the page, a responsive landing page provides an optimal viewing experience for everyone. You see, a responsive landing page resizes and reconfigures itself to fit easily onto every screen screen – whether that is a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. It’s one page that satisfies everyone!

With the massive growth of mobile and tablet usage it is becoming increasingly important to reach these users in the most efficient and usable way possible. And that, my friend, is through responsive landing pages.

The Takeaway?

Santa is not the only one who can impress us with his magical re-proportioning skills; you too can impress all your visitors with your magical, but completely achievable, responsive landing pages!

Want to learn more about responsive design? Check out our Responsive Design for Landing Pages white paper.

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Why responsive landing pages are a lot like Santa

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Test Away, Test Away, Test Away All!

On the first day of Christmas the Art Director said to me, lets test the inclusion of a white paper for free!

I thought to myself, what a jolly good idea, for content marketing is something I could run tests for all year. So on to the page a white paper went, to encourage respondents to enter their email and then hit ‘submit’.

A white paper has great value and can spread some holiday cheer! Yes, send them to all who are on the ‘nice list’ this year. White papers allow respondents to learn something new, so that they can show their CEO that their ROI grew.

We created our landing page spotlighting this gift and with this one little change we saw great conversion lift!

But we could not stop there, we must keep on testing, so we gathered the team for a brainstorming session. What else could we do to continue this success? We thought long and hard for we would accept nothing but the best.

Then just like a lightning bolt, an idea did hit me, if people like one white paper, lets give them a resource library! Multiple assets available for free, what a great way to fill respondents with glee.

And just like that, we were busy optimizing! Like elves in Santa’s workshop, this was very exciting. We created and published our brand new testing element. We checked our list twice to make sure the content was relevant.

We took the page live and hoped for a new winner. In the meantime, we sat down for a delicious Christmas dinner. And right when it was time to pass the dessert, the Data Analyst shouted out, our idea, it worked!

Hip, hip, hooray, we shouted together! A resource library offer is now our new winner. Conversions were higher than ever before. Not to mention we have test learnings galore.

We could see which resources respondents liked best, which would prove to be extremely valuable when building our next test.

Our customer was very thankful for such a wonderful outcome. But the best part of all was that we were far from done. At ion interactive we will always be testing. That is our motto. There is no room for resting.

We hope you agree with this mindset as well. Put on your thinking cap and your results will be swell. So, if you are looking to test this holiday season, test content marketing to encourage form completion.

While visions of testing ideas dance in my head, I realize there is one last thing to be said.

Wishing you a wonderful year that is jolly and bright. Merry testing to all and to all a good site!

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Test Away, Test Away, Test Away All!