Tag Archives: conversion

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Your Ecommerce Site Will Die Without These 3 Trust Signals

Every ecommerce site needs trust signals. Without them, you can expect conversion rates and revenue to remain low. With trust signals, you can power your ecommerce websites to heights of power and success.

In this article, I want to share with you the secrets of trust signals that have worked for me and dozens of other extremely successful ecommerce websites. First, I’ll share a little bit about the science and psychology of trust signals and then explain exactly which trust signals you should have on your website in order to drive conversions.

trust - placeitSource: Placeit.net

What are trust signals?

Trust signals, put simply, are features or qualities of your site that inspire trust in the mind of the customer. Trust is what allows a customer to go from visitor to buyer. A user needs to trust a site in order to buy from the site. There are hundreds, potentially even thousands, of different types of trust signals. Some trust signals, however, are more important than others.

You are hurting yourself if you don’t have trust signals, which is why I can confidently tell you the title of this article isn’t just click bait. Your ecommerce site will die. According to a 2006 study by Taylor Nelson Sofres, customers will terminate 70% of online purchases due to lack of trust (source). This paucity of trust leads to a devastating loss of $1.9b+ annually.

A study of UK-based online retailers found that sites without customer reviews and recommendations were forfeiting £9 billion in extra revenue. The study asserted that including user-generated content like reviews could positively impact these retailers by 27%!

Ready to ramp up conversions and revenue? These are the three trust signals you need:

The #1 Trust Signal – Testimonials and Reviews

What do other people say about your product or service? This is one of the most trust-inspiring features. If you have no other trust signals on your website, you should have this one.

Here are 5 strategies to approach trust:

1. Provide Reviews

Reviews are when customers discuss their experience with and/or satisfaction with your product or service. They may leave these on third-party websites such as Yelp (for local businesses) or Amazon (for physical or digital products).

As cited in SEJ, Econsultancy declares that 88% of customers will check out reviews before making a final decision on a purchase. According to studies, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Local Consumer Review Survey, 2012).

Since two-thirds of consumers use online reviews either regularly or occasionally, this indicates a high percentage of people will be interested in reviews of your business. By corollary, if you don’t have them, you don’t have their trust.

Graph from SEL on a type of a trust signal. Two-thirds of consumers use online reviews either regularly or occasionally

You’ll need more than one glowing review on your website or product page. Most consumers read 2–10 reviews. A smaller number of reviews can indicate a lower level of trust.

This chart from the Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) indicates how many reviews consumers read as they considered a purchase.

Most customers read 2 to 10 reviews when considering to make a purchase.  based on trust signal.

It’s no surprise, then, that positive reviews are highly likely to influence a customer’s buying decision.

Positive reviews are highly likely to influence a customer’s buying decision

(Image source: SEL).

Need help getting reviews? These tips should help.

2. Include Social Proof

Of all the types of testimonials and reviews, social proof is probably the most powerful. One reason for this is because people tend to trust the recommendations of friends and family more than any other source. According to Nielsen 92% of consumers trust “earned media” — which is their friends and family.

To what extent do you trust following forms of advertising?

Google+ is a necessary source of social proof, because of the way that it impacts SERPs and CTR. Potential customers can see social proof right in their search results. When they are logged in to their Google+, Google will pull in people who are part of their circles, conveying a sense of trust to a given search result in the SERP.

Trust Signal use of Google plus

3. Add Reviews in Feeds

One powerful way of providing reviews is doing so by means of a feed of reviews — usually Twitter. Here’s how an article on Econsultancy expressed it:

BuildASign indicates a 7% increase in website conversion rates when visitors see a feed of reviews (as opposed to static ‘testimonials’ of dubious origin), compared to those with no reviews.

In combination with the trust quality from social accounts, review feeds are an impacting way to overwhelm the customer with the (hopefully positive) variety and origin of reviews.

This form of review isn’t available for every product or service. If it’s a possibility for yours, by all means, consider adding it to your website or landing page.

4. Add the Identity of Reviewers

The identity of the reviewer is a source of trustworthiness. You can probably identify with the way stock photos and generic names provide either no trust or distrust to a site.

The best way to overcome the blight of anonymous reviewers is to add pictures, full names, and links. Either that, or use a trust source such as Amazon or social media to cite reviews.

Sharefaith, a website provider for churches, does this. Although they use the surname initial, they do provide physical location and a link to the website along with a website screenshot:

Identity of Reviewers, use of trust signal

Amazon has built up an entire development infrastructure to support and validate the identity of reviews and reviewers.

Customers can get a snapshot of the overall rating of the products:

Identity of Reviewers - trust signal

If they choose, sellers can also dive into the individual reviews, rate the reviews, research the reviewers, and discuss the reviews.

For example, this reviewer has a name, a “real name,” a review page, and a rating.

Identity of Reviewers - trust signal

On a particular review, I can state whether I thought it was helpful or not, comment on it, report abuse, or even create a permalink to the review.

While your own site’s reviews may lack the robust features of Amazon, it’s nonetheless important to validate the legitimacy of reviews and the identity of reviewers.

Identity of Reviewers , two- trust signal

If you have small network or niche product, don’t despair. Econsultancy’s study concluded that when it comes to reviews, “smaller communities have a greater influence on a topic than larger ones (54%).” This is probably due to the fact that smaller communities are more familiar with one another’s names and identities and thus place a greater degree of trust in the network due to its close-knit composition.

If you are selecting the reviews to use, make sure you use one that has the greatest degree of validity. In a study of “users,” researchers at Temple University came up with the following trust flow diagram.

Temple University came up with the following trust flow diagram.

5. Include Seller Ratings

Seller ratings are a rich snippet markup that you can include in your product page. When your ad appears in the SERP, Google will display a star rating. PPCwithoutPity claims that this will “double your conversions.”

This is what it looks like.

Google will display a star rating

Google will display a star rating, type 2

Check out Google’s in-depth discussion of how seller reviews work, and how you can add them to your adwords entries for that extra trusty support.

The #2 Trust Signal – Contact and Communication

Companies without an established identity lack trust. It’s just that simple.

Despite the predominance of online purchasing, people still crave the trust that comes from a physical location, a phone number, and an email address.

An article in Business2Community put it like this:

Trust seals are essential trust signals for the survival of ecommerce sites. People tend to be extra cautious when conducting transactions online with all the reports of identity theft that continues to besiege consumers. Ecommerce sites need to show consumers that they are legitimate companies.

In the wake of data loss, cyber spies, Target’s breach, and Google’s tightening of security, consumers are wary and skeptical. You’ve got to do all you can as a retailer to earn and keep their trust.

1. Contact

One of the most basic ways to do this is to tell them who you are, where you live, and how they can get a hold of you.

This information is usually placed directly in the websites template, often in a footer. You should also have a contact page that is easily accessible from anywhere on the site.

Here’s what the contact page on E-consultancy looks like:

Example of trust signal - the contact page on E-consultancy

Each location has full physical address, phone number, map, and even discusses transportation options.

This website uses a physical address and phone number:

This website uses a physical address and phone number

Here is what the trust signals look like on another website’s footer (GetCandid.com):

the trust signals, GetCandid.com contact info

Other websites, like this one but nonetheless provide a phone number. My website provides a way for people to connect with me socially and via email:

Jeremy Said Contact page

2. Communication

The most significant way to enhance trust in today’s social-media-driven age, however, is through a social media account. You still need the physical location and contact information, but social media accounts are an essential layer of trust that you need.

It doesn’t take any wild development tricks. Just a few social symbols are all that’s needed to help enhance this level of trust.

social plugins for trust signals

You see them everywhere:

social plugins for trust signals. part2

If you don’t have social plugins, you’re losing out on a major form of trust and assurance.

social plugins for trust signals. part3

These social symbols should be present on nearly every page of your website.

social plugins for trust signals. part4 There are ways to use these symbols without compromising UX in the least.

social plugins for trust signals. part5

People trust Facebook. They trust Twitter. They respect Google Plus. They use LinkedIn. They view cat videos on YouTube. They pin to Pinterest. These are places where users spend their time and connect with their friends. If you connect with them in this way, they are more likely to trust you and your messaging.

The headline from Time earlier this year captures this idea with insightful accuracy: Millennials: Trust No One But Twitter.

Millenials trust no one

Social media accounts are the forum of communication today. This is where the discussion happens. This is where people connect. As a result, contact and communication today require social media accounts. This is how you build trust.

The #3 Trust Signal – Payment Assurance

When it comes right down to it, people need the most trust assurance when they are about to spend their money. There are plenty of ways to inspire trust in a checkout process, but I want to focus on just two forms in this section.

1. Multiple payment methods

Customers spend money in variety of ways. You should provide the prominent payment form in the method that is most preferred by your customers. But even if your primary audience doesn’t use a certain payment method as commonly, you should still feature it in order to give them a sense of trust.

The wider variety of payment methods you accept, the greater the customer’s degree of trust in you.

2. Third-party badges and certifications.

The presence of images in the checkout process goes a long way to build trust. Consider this image, featuring Zappos.com (image from Moz.com). They’ve got trust. Why? It’s all those images of familiar payment method icons and logos like BusinessWeek.

Third-party badges and certifications

In a study from UXMatters, analysts discovered that “icons such as PayPal, VeriSign, Visa” were one of the highest rated trust elements on a website for first-time visitors to a site.

trust(Image source: Screenshot of UXMatters.)

When a customer parts with his or her money, they need assurance. This is the point in the process where they are most vulnerable to leaving the funnel (shopping cart abandonment). Do all you can with trust signals to keep them on the page. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

Conclusion

You need to determine what trust factors are most meaningful for your audience. Although there are trust factors that have universal appeal, trust isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue.

Your first goal in the trust-building process is to find out exactly what kind of trust your customers need. Then, deliver on it. The principles outlined in this article are the most necessary and compelling forms of trust.

  1. Testimonials and Reviews – Feature as many reviews as possible. Make sure that the reviews and testimonials themselves are trustworthy.
  2. Contact and Communication – Establish the real life validity of your business by featuring location and contact information. Social plugins are a must.
  3. Payment Assurance – Give customers peace of mind as they travel through your checkout process. Display a variety of payment methods, badges, and certifications.

Trust signals will not only enhance your brand as a whole, but also increase your conversions.

Neglect these trust signals at your peril. Embrace them to your success.

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Jeremy Smith.

The post Your Ecommerce Site Will Die Without These 3 Trust Signals appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Your Ecommerce Site Will Die Without These 3 Trust Signals

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5 Post-Conversion Strategies to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

one-night-stand
A conversion shouldn’t be a one-night stand. After the initial conversion, you need to continue to nurture that relationship. Image source.

As marketers, we tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time focusing on creating customers compared to retaining customers. And while the latter may sound like the job of the customer support team, smart marketers understand that the two are linked.

It isn’t enough for marketers to generate leads to grow the business; marketers are responsible for attracting qualified leads – and laying a solid foundation for an ongoing relationship that continues to generate profit after the initial sale.

In other words, marketers are responsible for constantly optimizing for customer lifetime value (CLV).

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean increasing your prices, reducing customer acquisition cost or offering more services. Sometimes, improving CLV is as simple as optimizing the systems you already have in place – from your marketing funnel to your customer support.

I’m talking about post-conversion strategies:

After you secure a conversion – after people have invested time, trust and money in your business – they’re more likely to respond to a secondary request.

Here are five powerful post-conversion strategies for boosting your customer lifetime value that you can start applying today.

1. Focus on customer service

Your job as a marketer doesn’t stop after the initial conversion. If you’ve brought in qualified leads, the next step is to ensure that you have the systems in place to keep them happy – and convert them into repeat customers.

In a study by Zendesk, consumers ranked quality (88%) and customer service (72%) as the two biggest drivers of customer loyalty.

The importance of quality shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the emphasis on customer service is interesting; it’s rarely recognized as something so detrimental to developing customer loyalty and CLV.

HubSpot provides a good example of the influence that customer service has on CLV. By measuring their managers on customer satisfaction metrics, they were able to almost halve their churn rate and double the lifetime value of their customers in just over a year.

hubspot-clv-graph
By measuring their managers on customer satisfaction KPIs, HubSpot increased their customer lifetime value (LTV on the graph above) by 215% in 15 months.

Improving customer loyalty ultimately comes down to fulfilling your customers needs and while doing so, displaying that you care. The greatest product in the world still won’t attract loyal customers if the company treats them poorly.

What could you be doing to improve the quality of your customer service?

There’s a virtually unlimited scope to how you could do this.

When you experience amazing service somewhere, consider whether you could replicate it in your company. Could you offer free upgrades? A quick phone call to check that the customer is happy with their purchase?

Anything that shows that you’re going out of your way to improve their day will inevitably end up influencing your customer lifetime value in a positive way.


Awesome customer service makes prospects more likely to buy from you again and again.
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2. Exceed expectations with unexpected surprises

Before we buy something, an area in our brain called the nucleus accumbens increases neural firing. This makes us feel great because there are lots of dopamine receptors in that part of the brain, and dopamine makes us feel good in anticipation of an event.

nucleus-accumbens
The dopamine receptors in the nucleus accumbens make us feel good in anticipation of an event – such as when we’re about to buy something. Image source.

However, as soon as we’ve bought something, we begin to feel various forms of cognitive dissonance – commonly in the form of buyer’s remorse, where we feel our decrease in purchasing power and the opportunity cost of what we’ve just bought.

It’s in this moment of dissonance that we can use the power of exceeding expectations to fire up our customer’s endorphins and make them feel happy again.

An example of how exceeding expectations can help increase conversions

A few years ago, I worked with a client on a deal for musicians, where we bundled hundreds of dollars worth of recording time and information products into affordable packages.

After a customer bought the package, we offered them the chance to get an extra $100 worth of free products in return for a Facebook share. This resulted in over 250 Facebook shares, which referred 34 additional sales over the five days that deal ran for.

exceeding-expectations
Asking users to share the deal on Facebook referred 34 sales, driving over $2,000 in extra revenue over five days.

By targeting customers with an unexpected extra at the moment they were likely to feel cognitive dissonance, we were able to reduce refund requests to zero, while increasing social shares.

It also boosted the conversion rate of our other traffic sources from 5.6% to 8.3%.

This was largely attributed to the fact that we were displaying a lot of social proof around the landing page’s calls to action. The more people who shared the deal post-conversion, the more popular the deal appeared for potential customers.

clv-social-proof

How to exceed expectations in your marketing campaigns

How do your customers feel immediately after they’ve paid for your product or service? The more price sensitive your customers are, the more likely it is that they’ll feel some form of cognitive dissonance.

Are the ways that you could counter this by surprising your customers with something awesome?

Even better, could you leverage this opportunity to get your customers to market your product for you – raising your CLV via a reduced customer acquisition cost?


Constantly surprise customers with added value and they’ll thank you with more of their business.
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3. Incorporate upsells into your offers

If you’ve ever booked flights online, then you’re familiar with upsells and cross-sells.

According to a study of 176 airlines by Amadeus IT Group, airlines collect over $36 billion per year from upselling products like extra baggage, seat upgrades and onboard retail products.

Out of curiosity, I counted the number of upsells offered while booking an air ticket on the Jetstar website. I counted 19 separate upsells, cross-sells and add-on-sells just in their booking process.

clv-upsells

But what is it that makes this favorite tactic of airlines so effective?

The first reason upselling works: “defaults”

In his TED talk, behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains some of the psychology behind upselling. One of the key components is the power of defaults.

The graph shows the consent rates of citizens in different countries to donate their organs in the event of death.

dan-ariely-defaults

So why don’t the Danish, Dutch, Brits and Germans (the “gold countries” in the graph above) donate their organs? It comes down to this: By default, the “gold countries” opt you out of donating your organs. If you want to donate organs, you have to tick a box to opt in – and the opposite is true for the “blue countries.”

You also see the power of upselling at work when you buy a domain name through a registrar; you’ll find that email and whois protection is added to your basket by default. You have to make a conscious decision to remove it if you don’t want it.

Pretty simple, yeah? Well this is only one piece of the upselling puzzle.

The second reason upselling works: price anchoring

Another psychological aspect of upselling is price anchoring. If you’ve just paid $500 for a plane ticket, it seems relatively insignificant to pay an extra $10 for on-board entertainment.

If, however, you’re already onboard and have $10 in your wallet, it may seem relatively expensive to pay $10 to watch a film for an hour.

As humans, we’re pretty awful at evaluating prices by intrinsic value. Instead, we’re good at evaluating price in relative terms.

How to use upselling effectively in your marketing campaigns

To recap, if you want to upsell effectively:

  1. Consider what you can upsell by default. Invite the customer to “opt out” instead of inviting them to opt in.
  2. Consider how your customers are evaluating the decision. What anchor are they using to decide whether you’re cheap or expensive? Can you influence this?


What anchor do prospects use to decide if your price is fair? Can you frame your offer differently?
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4. Keep the convers(at)ion going with marketing automation

In two years, marketing automation has grown from being a $500 million industry to a $1.2 billion industry. One of the key drivers behind this growth is the impact that marketing automation has on boosting CLV.

When Skullcandy switched to Adobe Marketing Cloud, they increased upsell revenue by 30%. Ben Meacham, their Analytics & Testing Manager explained:

“Switching from manually configured recommendations to Adobe Recommendations increased upsell revenues by 30%. Plus, it saves us time. Optimizing recommendations used to take about 10 hours a week. Now it takes just half an hour, which frees up staff to do other important work.”

There are a handful of reasons why marketing automation is so powerful, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that it makes personalized marketing really easy.

It’s a simple equation:

The more personalized a company’s marketing is, the more relevant it is. The more relevant an offer is to a potential customer, the higher the likelihood of a conversion, and thus more potential revenue per customer.

An example of marketing automation in action

One of my favorite case studies of this in action is by a wedding invitation company called PaperStyle.

By segmenting their visitors into brides and friends of brides, they were able to create email sequences that took them through the whole process of planning a wedding, upselling the right products at the right time.

paper-style-automation

This level of personalization raised their revenue per mailing by 330%.

How to use marketing automation in your campaigns to raise customer lifetime value

Create a flowchart like the one above to understand what your customers will likely want and need at different phases. This immediately frames your relationship with your customers as less of an event, and more of an ongoing journey.

From here, you can plan an email sequence that upsells and recommends different products and services at different stages, based on behavioral and action-based triggers, such as visiting a specific page or clicking on a button.


How personalized is your ongoing communication with customers? Conversions aren’t a 1-time event.
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5. Gather feedback to improve products

For many businesses, feedback is more valuable in the short term than revenue. Yet, for some reason, too few businesses proactively collect it.

When I launched MusicLawContracts.com several years ago, I couldn’t figure out why we were getting so many refund requests. After installing a chat plugin called Olark, it became clear that our customers thought they were actually buying actual (signed) contracts with record labels… for $19.99!

olark-screenshot
The pop-up chat box in the bottom right hand corner helped us determine why we were getting so many refund requests.

In reality, the website offers music contract templates. By adding that one word, we dramatically reduced refund requests. Since then, I’ve tried to make it standard to incentivize feedback from all customers and visitors pre and post conversion.

While this example is pretty extreme, it’s not quite as amazing as a story I heard a few years ago from a friend about the Disney website.

Apparently, the team behind Disney’s website couldn’t figure out why kids were creating ridiculously long passwords with 40+ numbers and letters. Did they really think their flash game scores were going to be hacked by international cyber-hackers?

It turned out that the kids had misinterpreted the instruction “passwords must contain at least six characters,” thinking that it had to contain the names of at least six Disney characters!

Regardless of whether this anecdote is true, the message is powerful: your customers can tell you things about your business that you hadn’t realized – and the more information you proactively gather from customers, the easier it is to improve your campaigns and find new ways to satisfy their needs.


Let your customers tell you how you can improve your products for them.
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Crunch some numbers and get experimental

As a marketer, you’re responsible for nurturing prospects at each stage of the customer lifecycle – including after the initial conversion. Being mindful of a customer’s experience post-conversion will give you the information you need to dramatically improve customer lifetime value.

The first step in growing your CLV is to know what it is – so pull out a pen and paper and crunch some numbers.

As Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows, and results show.” Unless we proactively measure it, it’s unlikely we’ll consistently be able to grow our CLV.

From here, it’s all about experimentation. Experiment with upsells, personalized marketing and everything else in this post. Some things will work and some won’t – you really just need to throw a decent amount of spaghetti at the wall.

– Marcus Taylor
one-night-stand

From: 

5 Post-Conversion Strategies to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

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How a Pro CRO Uses Crazy Egg Heatmaps to Drive 15.7% More Sales

Think about the last time you had an intense disagreement with a close friend or partner. Can you think of one? Remember the most intense part of the fight.

At some point this person might have said, “Nevermind. It’s fine.”

But, it wasn’t fine. You both knew it.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Your friend just didn’t have the words to express the truth.

Your users are the same. If you ask them what they want, they’ll lie to you. They’ll lie even if they don’t mean to. They tell you they want something or intend to do this or that, but they often don’t.

People don’t know what they really want. We all believe we act differently than we do.

Your only solution is to forget about what your users say, and focus on what they do.

Heatmaps are one effective way to quantifiably tracking your users’ real behavior. As any Crazy Egg user knows, heatmaps show the hotspots where most users click and navigate.

They are great at revealing valuable insights that will help lift your conversion rates. They can help you rearrange a page so the most important content is in the right place to maximize your website’s clarity.

Want to try Crazy Egg for 30 days free? Get your heatmap here.

How To Improve Conversion Using Click-Tracking Heatmaps

At WiderFunnel, heatmaps are an integral part of our LIFT analysis process. The LIFT analysis is where we evaluate a webpage from the perspective of the page visitors using six conversion factors (see Figure 1 below for the conceptual graphic of the LIFT Model). Click-tracking heatmaps may reveal an impeded eye flow, thus helping us identify when a page lacks clarity and which items may be a distraction.

heatmap 1

[Fig1: The LIFT Model]

A Real Life Example: Nurse.com

Recently, WiderFunnel’s strategists worked with Nurse.com, a healthcare publishing property of Gannett Company, Inc. The goal of the optimization program was to increase the percentage of e-commerce sign-ups for nurse’s Continuing Education subscription.

heatmap 2

[Fig2: Original Page]

During the process, we used Crazy Egg to track the clicks on the Continuing Education (CE) page, a major inbound landing page for expensive traffic.

heatmap 3

[Fig3: Original Page – Heatmap]

Based on click-tracking heatmaps, we discovered that users did not have a clear idea of what to do on the page:

  • Users clicked on non-clickable areas.
  • Secondary links were getting more clicks than the main CTAs.
  • The main content areas were virtually ignored.

Winning Landing Page

Based upon the above insights and the LIFT Analysis, the team of strategists at WiderFunnel formulated a few hypotheses that were translated into 3 variations that were A/B tested.

The winning variation generated 15.7% more sales than the control with the same traffic level! The heatmap revealed a focused eye flow; the perfect proof that the winning page improved the clarity and relevance of the page and significantly increased conversions as a result.

heatmap 4

[Fig4: Winning Variation]

The changes made to the winning variation included:

  • Removing the links that were diverting the attention without adding value.
  • Keeping only one CTA and changing its color to yellow (which was getting more clicks than the green color in the original heatmap).
  • Bringing the main value points to an area that was getting a lot of interest (in the upper left side).

The click heatmap showed clearly that the winning page had a good reason to win. The page visitors had clearly focused attention on the most important area of the new page – on the call-to-action area.

heatmap 5

[Fig5: Winning Variation – Heatmap]

Other Valuable Insights You Can Gain from Heatmaps

At WiderFunnel, we also use Crazy Egg’s scrollmap tool. We run it before an A/B test to generate hypotheses, and to confirm or disprove them once the test is complete.

For example, we recently ran a scrollmap on the checkout page for one of our clients. The scrollmap revealed that the CTA was placed in an area that was missed. Moving the CTA resulted in a higher conversion rate. As simple as that!

If you notice that your value points (e.g., free shipping) are easily missed, something needs to change.

Some people use click heatmaps for nothing more than eyecandy, interesting pictures that don’t lead to real insights. But, there’s much more potential.

Learn More About Using Heatmaps for Conversion Optimization

In two weeks, on October 30, 2014, at 11am PST (2pm EST) I will present a new webinar showing the most important ways to use click heatmaps for conversion optimization. I’ll show case studies that illustrate how the world’s leading conversion strategists use them to create powerful test hypotheses and bring in more profit for their companies.

If you’re interested in learning more about using heatmaps to improve your conversion optimization, or if you want to see Crazy Egg in action—as it’s used by professional CROs—this webinar is for you.

Sign up for this free webinar now.

The post How a Pro CRO Uses Crazy Egg Heatmaps to Drive 15.7% More Sales appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How a Pro CRO Uses Crazy Egg Heatmaps to Drive 15.7% More Sales

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Conversion Optimization 101

Conversion optimization—it’s easy if you know what you’re doing, more challenging if the area is new to you.

We publish a lot of content on Crazy Egg for people who are in the know, but today we’re going back to basics with a beginner’s guide to conversions for those who want to know what it’s all about.

Step 1: Know Your Goals and Your Customers

conversion goals - placeit

Source: Placeit.net

If you’re in business and have a website, you want it to achieve something for you, but what should that be? You need to know your goals before you can optimize to achieve them.

Perhaps, like Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank, you’re all about the money, but there are other ways your website and marketing tools can work for you that may take a longer route towards putting income in your bank account. Typical conversion optimization goals include:

  • creating more awareness of your company and brand.
  • educating customers and community building.
  • getting more signups for email newsletters.
  • generating leads among your target customers.
  • getting sales of products and services.

Identify which goals are important for your business and what changes you want to see. That will give you a way to measure success after you have made changes.

While you’re at it, work out who you’re talking to. You should know who your target customers are and what their interests are to help with conversions. Check out this article on turning visitors into customers for some useful tips.

Step 2: Identify Problems

Conversion Optimization: Find Problems

Image: Pixabay

If you know what you want to achieve, then you also know what isn’t working. Often, this means asking questions like:

  • Why aren’t more people signing up for our email list?
  • Why are people not completing sales when they land on a product page?
  • Why are customers abandoning their shopping carts?

The actual questions will vary depending on your business.

You should also look at your analytics reports to see if there are any obvious issues with your website or marketing materials. Analytics tools are key to conversion optimization, whether you’re using Google Analytics, heat map analytics or another analytics tool.

Analytics will give you a clear picture of a clear picture of which pages are hot and which are definitely not, of what people love and what leaves them saying “meh.” Look at metrics such as average time on site, bounce rate, exit rate, engagement and social shares to help identify issues.

And analytics can also give you another route into figuring out the personas mentioned in step 1. Since Universal Analytics tracks users across platforms, you can get a much clearer idea of what the people you want to attract want to get from you in terms of information, content, products and services.

Step 3: Experiment, Test, Measure and Repeat

Conversion Optimization: Test

Image: Pixabay

When you know your goals, your audience and your potential problems, it’s time to start testing. This is at the heart of conversion optimization. You can test pretty much every element of your website and marketing materials, but here are five areas that are worth a special look. Use split testing tools to try variations on all elements and see which ones work best.

1. Headlines and Titles

If you want to grab attention and make conversions easier, you have do do it from the start. One of the first things visitors to your site or email subscribers will see is your headline or content title.

A good title will affect social media shares too, so test a couple of variations to see what works. Here on the Crazy Egg blog, every post has two potential titles which are shown to site visitors—the one that wins the clicks is the one we stick with! Things to look out for include:

  • Does your title appear as a hot area in analytics (or one that’s clicked multiple times)?
  • Is it being widely shared on social media?
  • Do people know what they are getting when they read the title?
  • Is it magnetic and appealing?

Read this advice on writing headlines that convert (plus templates) to improve conversions here.

2. Design Elements/UX

Have you paid attention to design elements on your page? This is a key part of the user experience. Visitors to your site, wherever they come from, need to find relevant information fast.

This means looking after everything from navigation to search to button shape, color and size (which are all elements you can tweak and test). And since most visitors now use mobile devices, your design has to work well there, too.  Check out these visual tricks to boost conversions and this advice on improving user experience (UX).

3. Forms

Nobody likes filling forms, so if you want forms to convert make them as easy as possible—you can always collect more information later. This is even more important for mobile device users.

Figure out what information you absolutely need and how to label fields so they really appeal. Check out this article on adding heart to your emails. You may not want to address your customers as “Cupcake,” but they might like it! The clearer the form, the better it will convert. Here are some tips on designing web forms.

4. SEO

Think you can’t test SEO elements? Think again! As Jeremy Smith points out, both SEO and conversion optimization rest on great content, and the two support each other.

Optimized content converts better—end of discussion! Look after elements like friendly URLs, good meta descriptions, page speed (something you definitely ought to test and mobile optimization. Here are some more tips on using SEO to improve onsite conversions and this SEO 101 guide from Search Engine Journal is also useful.

5. Calls to Action

You didn’t think we were going to forget about the call to action, did you? The single most important aspect of conversion optimization is letting people know what action you want them to take next. If they don’t know, they could easily leave without doing it, which means you won’t achieve your conversion goals.

Whether you want people to read another article, sign up for your email newsletter or buy a product or service, you have to ask. And the way you ask makes a difference to the conversion rate. A good call to action:

  • is clear about the next action
  • makes it easy for a customer to take action
  • is inviting, visible and encourages prompt action
  • is appropriate to the content it is in

Again, you can measure the success of your calls to action using analytics and results such as the number of signups. Keep tweaking till you are happy with your conversion rate.

Test the elements in this list, tweak and test again to maximize your conversions. What issues have you identified with conversion optimization?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.

The post Conversion Optimization 101 appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Conversion Optimization 101

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9 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Capitalize on Eye-Tracking Insights

You might think you’ve made the best website, product design or advertising campaign of all time. At the end of the day, however, it really doesn’t matter what you think. Instead, it matters how your customers respond.

In this light, understanding how your customers view your websites, advertisements and product designs can be integral to maximizing your business’s profits. After all, the goal of any business should be to fulfill its mission while catering to its customers as much as it possibly can.

That is precisely where eye-tracking insights come into the equation. In its purest form, eye-tracking refers to technology that studies eye movements so as to better gauge how customers respond to visual stimuli. Whether that stimuli is a digital design, text-based or real-world packaging, marketers stand to gain a lot by studying eye-tracking insights and applying their conclusions to their strategies moving forward.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at nine tips that you can use to make sure you’re getting the most out of your eye-tracking insights.

1. Know Where the “Dead Weight” on Your Website is Visually

Fitts’s Law is the model that tries to predict how humans move between two disparate areas, whether physically or virtually. By applying this concept to your website, you are trying to predict how quickly your customers’ eyes will glide from one piece of content on your site to another and to another.

After all, when you design a website, you have an end goal in mind. Whether that goal is for your audience to get more informed, to buy something or to click on a bunch of pictures, there’s still something you hope your website accomplishes at the end of the day.

heat maps

With eye-tracking insights, you are able to figure out how your customers’ eyes dart across your page. This allows you to determine whether or not their eyes are focusing on the areas you want them to focus on, or if there is virtual “dead weight” on your site that is occupying an unnecessary amount of time and energy.

Once you identify that dead weight, you can restructure your website in such a way that allows for a more fluid movement of the eyes. You can then design your site so as to basically guide your audience’s eyes right to where you want them to go.

2. Cue Your Customers to Look Where You Want Them to Look.

Just what is that model looking at? I want to see it, too.

Believe it or not, the directions the models you use in your advertising are looking can have a profound effect on where your customers themselves are looking. In fact, this recent case study revealed that in a shampoo ad, whether the model was looking at the audience or looking at the product was directly related to exactly where the customers themselves looked.

shampoo eye tracking ad

When the model was looking straight ahead, only 6 percent of customers looked at the product. When the model’s gaze was changed to be looking at the product, an astonishing 84 percent of customers directed their focus there as well.

With this information in mind, you can draw the following conclusion: When you want your customers to look somewhere, it’s in your best interest to make sure you direct the people in your advertisements to look there, too.

You might want to direct your audience’s attention towards call to action, specific pieces of information or contact information, for example. Just make sure they are not wasting their time looking at something that doesn’t really add value.

While the model example is applicable to many industries, there are other ways of directing online visitors without a face. Here’s a great example:

cat case study example

On the newly optimized version of the homepage, they have trimmed the “red” and magnified the “green.” Let’s take a closer look at what that entails.

You’ll notice the Online Customer Tools in the old version took up half of the left sidebar. This has been compacted into one button in the header of the new version, clearing up massive space for a big optimized CTA. This CTA is targeted towards visitors with specific products in mind and flaunts savings/discounts in lower-right box.

A “Find A Sales Rep” button has also been added to the header, which is geared towards informational visitors—the old version had this option, but you’ll notice it was worded differently in the lower left sidebar and did not receive much attention.

Here’s what it looks like today:

cleveland bros

It’s tough to “trim the fat” on your website, especially when you think certain buttons/tools/information are vital, but users do not.

3. Understand the Importance of Video.

Humans are incredibly visual creatures. As such, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re drawn toward digital content that has video.

Whether it’s a sad state of affairs that the average human’s attention span has dipped below that of a goldfish remains a question to be answered. Facts are facts, and in today’s fast-paced world, people just don’t have the time to read a lot of words when the same thoughts can be conveyed in 30-second videos.

attention span stats

A study published by Moz revealed that when video thumbnails were attached to search engine results, the audience was much more likely to focus on that kind of content.

moz pizza heat map

The takeaway? You should strive to enhance all of your content with videos whenever possible. In other words, your customers are more likely to digest your materials when there are videos attached than when they have to do all the work themselves.

Forget the social commentary. More people want to watch “Game of Thrones” on HBO than read George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series of books. That’s just the way it is. Forward-thinking marketers understand this and work to cater to their audiences with this in mind.

4. Above the Fold? Yeah, That’s Just a Myth.

In the world of newspapers, journalists and advertisers always wanted to get above the fold.

If you’re not familiar with that terminology, picture a newspaper you pick up off the stand. It’s folded in half. The words and ads you see before opening it is the space that’s referred to as above the fold.

It’s no secret that we digest a bunch of our news and other content digitally these days. A decade or so ago, marketers thought that being above the proverbial fold on the Web was just as attractive as being so in a newspaper.

above the fold

However, studies have repeatedly shown that this is simply not true. Web users do not discriminate when it comes to the content they want to find on a website. In fact, a recent study of 800 Web users found that only three of them let the page fold prevent them from finding specific content on a website.

So, though it might fly in the face of logic, don’t be scared to hide some of your more meaningful content below the fold. Make your customers do a little work to find it, if need be. Another recent study even found that putting a call to action below the proverbial fold increased conversions by a staggering 304 percent.

5. We Have no Attention Span, So Remember the Art of Brevity.

Picture a presidential election 100 years ago, before the real proliferation of television and radio. Newspapers were really the only source of information, save for word of mouth.

Now picture an article that’s focusing on the winner of the presidential election. Who knows how many words such an article would have, but you can imagine that it would break down all sorts of statistics, really taking a deep dive into the election, the trends and the thoughts of politicians and Washington insiders.

Today, those kinds of articles still exist, for sure. In 2012, however, most people probably got all the news they wanted about the presidential election in one sentence: President Obama wins re-election.

nngroup study email scanning

We’ve already gone over how humans have no attention spans. Keep this in mind when it comes to all of your content. Your customers don’t necessarily want to read a 2,000-word tome in an email. In fact, customers scan emails and discard them quickly, so make sure the messages you send really pack a punch.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to frustrate your customers by drowning them in content, and you don’t want to waste your time writing something that no one is going to read. Here are some tips for writing short copy that still gets results.

6. Yes, Different Packaging Can Make a Profound Difference.

There are many reasons why your business might choose to rebrand from time to time. Believe it or not, there’s a documented reason as to why businesses choose to rebrand some of their products.

A recent study revealed that simply by changing the design on the packaging of a salad product following receipt of eye-tracking insights, the company was able to boost sales by 15 percent.

salad change

Clutter causes fatigue, and when things are designed poorly, an exhaustive shopper might not want to spend the mental capacity trying to figure out what a company is trying to advertise or why they should buy one specific product over a comparable substitute.

In the above case study, the company was able to more clearly showcase their product and what it is by changing the color scheme and overall design. Rather than customers’ eyes darting all over the place, the new design drew them all to the center of the package where the product was more explicitly described.

7. You Can Learn a Lot From How Your Audience Uses Your Site.

Let’s say you’ve hired the most convincing Web design team, and they’ve put together a product you think is head and shoulders above your competition.

Although that product might be awesome in your eyes, it turns out that your customers aren’t really sharing the same kind of enthusiasm that you are. Where you see beauty, they see a garbled digital wasteland.

By studying how your audience is using your site, you can figure out how to best target them. For example, you might run a test comparing two different interfaces. You can take the information gleaned from how your customers use both of those sites and work toward providing an alternative, more attractive design.

Re-designs are often rooted in the results of eye-tracking and usability reports. When we notice visitors are using flocking to one area, we can re-design with two things in mind: usability and conversion.

bortek eye tracking example

In the example above, Bortek completely redesigned their site with usability and conversion in mind. Most notably, they used the implications from eye-tracking to create a conversion square with four options optimized for visitor goals. In their old version half of the page is just text. The new version is less than 10% text. 

This completely changes the utility of the homepage. It now acts as a rapid funnel for visitors, sorting them into four types blocks as we can see in the call-to-action square.

8. The Power of Presale Pricing.

We like to think that we are getting the best available whenever we open our wallets. That’s part of the human psyche. As such, whenever we think we are paying less than market price for something, we feel good about our purchasing decision.

In this vein, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a recent study found customers are likely to focus on presale pricing when deciding whether to buy something. In other words, if you’re happy to sell a product for $9.99, you can put a presale price of $12.99 on the packaging, crossed out but visible for comparison purposes.

Even if those presale prices don’t even exist—in other words, you never intended to sell the aforementioned product for $12.99—humans can still be softly conned into buying a product and feeling good about it. A recent study revealed that this phenomenon is indeed true, so you should consider whether it is a tactic that makes sense for your business.

9. Behold, the Power of the Letter F.

If your content isn’t F-shaped, you might be missing out. Huh?

f shape pattern

Eye-tracking studies have shown that Web users are prone to digesting content in F-shaped patterns. In other words, your audience is most likely to read horizontally at the top of your page before reading horizontally again right underneath it. Then, they’ll read vertically down the left-hand side of your website.

The moment you understand this proclivity, you can structure your website accordingly. In doing so, you make sure that your customers are digesting all of the content that you so steadfastly create for them. This helps enhance your customers’ experience and make it more likely that they’ll return to your site to meet their future needs.

Now back to you

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it should get you to start thinking in the right direction. The more data you have relating to eye-tracking insights, the better position you are in to leverage that data and make positive changes to enhance your organization’s bottom line.

For a hard-hitting eye-tracking tool, be sure to check out Crazy Egg. Then let us know how eye tracking data helps your conversions.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jesse Aaron.

The post 9 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Capitalize on Eye-Tracking Insights appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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9 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Capitalize on Eye-Tracking Insights

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How Much Do You Know About Conversion Marketing, Really?

The online marketing world is filled with stuff. I don’t mean crap, though some of it certainly is. I mean stuff. Words, pictures, videos. That stuff takes the form of more stuff. Blog posts, webinars, ebooks, case studies, ultimate guides, how-tos, infographics. Big stuff, small stuff. Big stuff made up of small stuff.

We call this stuff content. And there’s a lot of it out there. Every two days we create as much content as we did in all of human history blah blah blah…

My point is that with so much content out there it’s hard to know where to start and what to trust. And this is especially true in the conversion marketing world, where everyone seems to be spouting the same buzzwords and best practices without taking a step back to think about what all this stuff really means.

So in an effort to help conversion-centered marketers separate the signal from the noise we’ve created…yup, more stuff!

The Conversion Marketing Glossary

The Conversion Marketing Glossary is a hub for all the terms, concepts, advice and resources you need to improve your conversion rates. Ever have a hard time explaining to a colleague or client why your landing pages shouldn’t have a navigation bar? (duh, it’s all about Attention Ratio)? Need a cheat sheet for formulating a solid Test Hypothesis for your next A/B test? There you go!

The glossary was designed as a one-stop shop for conversion marketing knowledge, featuring explanations of almost 100 marketing terms (and counting!), plus helpful links and videos from marketing experts like Brian Massey, Joanna Wiebe, Sean Ellis and Oli Gardner.

The Conversion Marketing Quiz

Feeling pretty confident about your conversion chops? You can test your nerdiness with the Conversion Marketing Quiz and prove just how brilliant you are or submit a new term for inclusion in the glossary.

This is just phase one of what we hope will be a constantly evolving ecosystem so let us know what you think in the comments below. In the meantime, we hope the glossary makes the conversion marketing world a little less noisy and lot more delightful. And stuff.

– Dan Levy


This article – 

How Much Do You Know About Conversion Marketing, Really?

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5 Landing Page Mistakes that Are Drowning Your Conversions

Getting people to your landing page is half the journey; making them sign up is a different animal altogether. There are many factors that play against us, keeping us from letting that happen.

The first problem is that users are busy and impatient. Most of them won’t care to read through the entire thing. If it’s something that they can’t grasp easily, they’ll leave.

That’s why we should focus on making the ad copy and the landing page as similar as possible. Visitors don’t want to think too much, so we shouldn’t make them think.

Another reason landing pages should be simple and easy to understand is the short attention span most people seem to have. You may have just 5 seconds to make an impact.

It doesn’t end with this. There are other mistakes that can sound the death-bell for conversions. Let’s dive in.

miss target - placeit

Source: Placeit.net

1. Disconnect between the ad and the landing page copy

“Want to know how to deal a serious blow to your landing page conversions? Have the landing page look different from the online advertisement the consumer just viewed and have the landing page contain a different message/keywords,” Peep Laja, of ConversionXL, explained.

To get more conversions on your landing page, you need to give visitors a scent that they can follow. The design of the ad and the landing page should flow from one to the other, creating a consistent experience for visitors. Otherwise, conversions suffer.

Here is an example of an advertisement by Perfect Audience

ad

It kills two birds with one stone.

Facebook   Web Retargeting Made Simple   Perfect Audience

The first advert shows a $60 free credit, which would make anyone click through. The landing page still uses the same imagery, same background, color combinations, etc. However, the $60 credit is sidelined to the copy and the offer presents the “Free trial” as the unique selling point.

This was probably done to ward off “tire-kickers,” or people who are just wasting time and aren’t really interested in buying.

Another good example is from Basecamp.

give readers a scent

Source

But this type of consistent flow isn’t the norm. There are tons of examples with a striking disparity between the ad copy and the landing page—so striking,you would think the people behind the advertisement and the site designers are from two different worlds.

Examples:

disconnect between landing page ad copy

The advert above says Project Management software.

disconnect

The landing page seems to have come from another planet. There is not a hint of “Project Management” here.

2. Not using a dedicated landing page

Using a dedicated landing page for each of your ads improves conversions. Here is an example.

arborscape

Making a dedicated landing page for each of the services they offered helped a landscaping company get business from their website for the first time since they went online. After setting up these dedicated landing pages they received over 77 inquires through search in a 12-month period.

When the guys at Vero, a company that helps marketers send more efficient emails, set up a dedicated landing page to generate sign-ups for one of their programs, they found that the conversion rate increased by 50%.

vero

Source

A landing page is about getting the visitor to do one thing. Don’t expect the visitors to sign up for your newsletter, like the fan page, and promote it on social media all at the same time.

Making your homepage your landing page can confuse readers. You should make a different landing page for every advertisement campaign you run.

3. Weak copy (Copy is not specific and active)

Copy is one of the most powerful things that can make or break the bank.

According to Dave Ogilvy, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Starting from the headline, the copy should address what it can do for the reader. It should spell out the reader’s main points and carry it through to the end.

It doesn’t mean that the copy needs to be short. Marketing Experiments ran tests that have shown up to a 220% increase in conversion rates when long-form copy is used.

Your copy should reflect the benefits of the service. It should tell the visitors what’s in it for them.

In the example below, Pentaho rambles on about the features of the free report.

clear cta

Source

If the wording is changed to show how all this benefits the user and the conversation is more customer-centered,conversions will definitely increase.

4. Lackluster or generic CTA (impact of verbs, action words)

Nothing is a more visible sin on a landing page than a lackluster call to action (CTA).

Including verbs and adverbs in your CTA’s will result in higher clickthrough rates, according to Adam Rifkin’s research.

Research by Dr Robert Cialdini, of Arizona State University, found that people are more likely to take action when minimal parameters are set. For example, a donation request that states, “Would you be willing to give a donation? Every penny helps,” is 50% more likely to get donations than one without the last sentence.

Marketers need to stop using the word ‘submit’ on their forms. It doesn’t conjure up an image of the benefit that the reader is standing to gain.

When you develop a CTA, these are the goals that you need to keep in mind:

Make it actionable by introducing action statements. See this CTA by Amazon:

good cta

Source

Take the “click fear” away by introducing a trial or using other risk-reducing statements. For example, this ad from Crazy Egg offers a risk-free guarantee:

perfect landing page

Express what it does for the reader. See for example, this benefits-oriented personalized CTA:

benefits oriented cta

For additional help, here are 21 examples of CTAs that work, by Kathryn Aragon.

5. Too many goals confuse readers

too many goals

Source

I just can’t understand the purpose of this many call-to-action buttons on a single page. It’s as if they want to generate paralysis-by-choice in their readers. Your landing page should offer just two options: to convert or to leave the page.

“User behavior, either through an online testing service like usertesting.com or mouseflow.com or a heatmap service like CrazyEgg.com will show you precisely what the user’s actions were and where they might have gotten hung up in the process.” Neil Patel

There’s more to conversion rate optimization than meets the eye. If your landing page is not converting, you may need some feedback so you can understand where users are experiencing difficulty.

Here’s how to find out what your users want from you.

“Hold surveys, in-person talks or phone calls with prospects who look like your current customers demographically and psychographically. If it’s pet owners, talk to 10 pet owners and ask, ‘What do you want to know about pet sitting? What do you need to know before you sign up?’” suggests Rand Fishkin

Design your landing page, using this feedback as your guide. It will help you get sales and leads.

SumoJerky asked its customers to find the reasons they weren’t buying Beef Jerky. After analyzing the reasons for rejection, he wrote this email to prospects.

Subject: your office snacks

Hi [First Name]

Ryan Luedecke here, CEO of Sumo Jerky. Just started a new office snacks service & thought [Company Name] would be a great fit. I know office snacks can seem a bit of a distraction, so wanted to make a quick case why it’s a good business decision for you:

-No late afternoon productivity losses and mood killing side effects (i.e. food comas and sugar crashes) of other office snack foods

-Employees get legitimately excited about trying new jerky every month. Here’s what [Customer] from [Company] said about our latest jerky delivery: “[Quote]!”

Can I sign you up to try it out?

Source

As you can well see, it addresses all concerns that a potential client may have. From initial failure, the business now generates a healthy $12,000 in revenue every month.

Addressing concerns and designing a product that answers the problems are sure-fire ways to get success.

Tell us what you think

How was your experience dealing with landing pages for your site? Did you make these mistakes? Share with us the failures and successes you had with your landing pages.

The post 5 Landing Page Mistakes that Are Drowning Your Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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5 Landing Page Mistakes that Are Drowning Your Conversions

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6 Characteristics of High-Converting CTA Buttons

Your CTA buttons are some of the most important little things in all of ecommerce. I’ve written plenty of times on the importance of CTA buttons. It’s a theme I can’t overemphasize.

In this article, I’m going to discuss exactly what, why, and when a CTA button works effectively.

First, I will do some show and tell — pointing out some of the high-converting CTA buttons from around the Web. Unfortunately, things could get ugly, because I’m going to show you some bad examples, too.

The good example buttons contain features that contribute to their success. You’ll notice that I’ve taken examples from all kinds of pages (and even things that aren’t pages) so you can see how these are used in a variety of different contexts. In some cases, I’ve interviewed site owners and/or admins to discuss their approach.

I’ll show you each one of these exceptional features, so you can see how it brings the landing page a greater degree of success. Finally, I’ll give you a rundown of all the factors at the end. If you’re short on time, you can skip to the end to see the 6 characteristics in list form.

Keep in mind that there are a legion of factors that contribute to a high-converting landing page. CTA buttons are just one ingredient among many. An effective Web page doesn’t depend on the CTA button alone, but upon a lot of factors — some obvious, some not so obvious.

As factors go, however, CTA buttons are among the most important. If you get your CTA right, you’re conversions will go up. It’s just that simple.

cta button - placeit2Source: Placeit.net

1. They are buttons.

I hate to insult your intelligence in this way, but it needs to be said. CTA buttons are buttons.

  • They are not text.
  • They are not hyperlinks.
  • They are not gifs.
  • They are not memes.
  • They are not black holes.

They are buttons.

The call to action is so important, so essential, so indispensable and so overwhelmingly powerful that you should not attempt to make anything but a plain button.

Not this kind of button.

an example of a  button

But this kind of button. This is what we’re going for.

CTA button

CTAs are not the place to unleash your creativity or to attempt to establish some new trend in the world of conversion optimization.

Here’s why. The human brain craves the familiar. We like ruts.

The brain has a circuitry, for lack of a better word. Although the brain has elasticity — e.g., its circuitry can be trained — the fact is, we like the old ways of doing things. If, tomorrow morning, the path from your bed to the bathroom was completely different, a few walls taken out or moved around, you’d have an issue trying to navigate it in the dark. The change has thrown you for a loop.

The same holds true with CTA buttons. As we’ve become accustomed to the online experience, we know that CTAs come in the forms of buttons. We see a button; we know what to do.

Make your CTA button a button.

Optimizely knows about CTAs. And they use a button.

Optimizely knows about CTAs

Other landing pages are far less effective. This agency — iCrossing — had a top paid spot for “social media services.” But what I encountered was less of a landing page and more of a mashup of marketing shill and self-promoting content. I couldn’t figure out what the CTA was, because there was no button. Is this it? Should I download the PDF? How do I get in touch with someone? What’s going on?

iCrossing bad CTA

The same frustration is present with yet another top spot in the paid advertising world. It’s Levy Online. Although they claim to be “the most trusted name in digital advertising,” I’m not buying it. They want phone calls? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I want buttons.

bad example of CTA

I hate to keep pushing bad examples, but the fact is, some people still don’t get it. Like this website. I think they want me to convert on something, but I actually don’t know what the heck that’s supposed to be. Is it one of those Windows 8 style panels I’m supposed to click on? Help me out here, digital agency.

I’m not sure how much they bid for my click on that PPC ad, but they’re wasting their money.

You need buttons in CTAs

I need buttons. You need buttons. Buttons are what make people click and conversions happen.

South University at least has a leg up on iCrossing. They have a button. I know; it’s too small. And, I know, the button copy is less than inspired. But, hey, at least it’s a button.

South Univerity CTA

Constant Contact knows what they’re doing with this button. It’s big. It’s blue. And it’s in-your-face obvious.

Constant Contact CTA example

Generally speaking, buttons have the following characteristics:

  • They have a defined shape or border.
  • They have a different color from their surroundings.
  • They have text on them.

They don’t have to be rectangles, but they usually are. Sometimes, they have rounded corners, beveled edges, or shadow effects, all of which is totally fine. GetResponse’s landing is obviously a button — obviously clickable.

GetResponse’s landing page

2. They have compelling copy.

Far and away, the most important aspect of a button is not its color, not its size, and not its placement, but it’s verbiage.

The words on a CTA button are its most important feature.

This button from Hootsuite is an example of a straightforward, action-oriented approach.

Hootsuite CTA

This button from Sunglass Warehouse has a simple “Do It” which helps to contribute to its compelling nature:

Sunglass Warehouse CTA

Don’t panic about trying to cook up something really mind-blowing. Some of the most effective words in a CTA are also the most simple. The word “get” is one of the most effective.

The word “get” is one of the most effective in a CTA

The verbiage should be short. Anything that goes over ten or fifteen words is probably too long. Simple statements are best.

Simple statements are best in CTAs

You can get away with two sentences, as long as they’re short ones. Here’s what oDesk does: “Post a job. It’s free!”

oDesk CTA

3. They have logical placement.

In keeping with Fitt’s law, a button must be placed in the path of a user. Notice how this happens in this simple example. I’ve added the arrow to draw your attention to the fact that the sidebar tracks a user’s read path from top to bottom, culminating in the CTA button at the bottom. This is a logical placement.

placing a CTA button

The goal in placing a CTA button is to put it where the user is going to look next. As a designer, you can anticipate or predict this behavior.

There’s nothing really complicated about this idea, but I’m surprised at how many marketers overlook it.

One example I’m consistently nonplussed by is Apple’s site, which places their CTA in a non-intuitive location.

Apple CTA

Here’s a straightforward example of CTA button placement:

example of CTA button placement

This button from Social Media Examiner does a great job. One of the features that makes it so successful is the arrow. Even though the CTA button is placed off center, the arrow points to it, making a seamless eye path from the copy to the capture form.

CTA button is placed off center

Directional cues come into play with the following CTA, too.

Directional cues in CTA

Many landing pages use the tried and true technique that goes like this:

  • Headline
  • Marketing Copy
  • Capture form and CTA

This simple model has a logical conclusion: The CTA button at the end. Here’s Vertical Response to show you how it’s done.

Vertical Response CTA at the end

Long form landing pages sometimes take too long to get to the CTA. But still, the placement is logical, as with this example:

Sitespect CTA

4. They use a contrasting color.

Although I’ve opined about obsessing over button color, I do think it’s important. It’s just not as important as some frothing-at-the-mouth bloggers would have you believe.

The effective CTAs that I’ve examined all have this in common: They have a contrasting color.

Let me use an example from email marketing, so you can see how this applies in a non-webpage context.

This is an email from CrazyEgg. The first thing you see in the email body, after scrolling to the end, is this yellow button:

email from CrazyEgg

I think a lot more marketing emails could learn from this kind of approach. First, you should have a CTA button in your emails. After all, why not? Second, you should use a button with a contrasting color.

The whole idea behind a CTA button is to draw the user’s eye to it. You can’t do this effectively unless the color itself is helping you to do so.

Here’s one from Pagewiz that basically screams “click me!” Nice powerful red color!

Pagewiz CTA

In fact, red and orange seem to be some of the more popular CTA colors. This one comes from Disruptive Advertising.

Disruptive Advertising CTA

The button below is used on Social Media Examiner, and uses the color orange.

Social Media Examiner CTA

Neon green on blue background? It works for Toonimo.

Toonimo CTA

5. They have close proximity to the previous action.

Effective CTA buttons make it easy for users to convert, simply on account of the fact that they’re nearby — right in the path of the users eyes and action.

Effective CTA buttons

Many websites use parallax scrolling. Each section comprises its own discrete action. And when the user scrolls down, they have the opportunity to convert on the CTA button. This is an example of having close proximity to the previous action.

get Smart’s CTA button

6. They don’t compete with other crap.

CTA buttons bow to nobody, nothing, nuh-uh.

A CTA needs to be in a class of its own, surrounded by ample white space. Do not create a self-defeating CTA by making it compete with other elements on the page.

Here is an example of what not to do. I was not able to obtain metrics from this company, but I surmise that they could increase their conversions if they were to leave off the “view our work” button. You see, this button serves to detract the user’s attention from “Get started today.” Instead of getting started, the user is going to waste time looking at case studies. Why the competition? It’s not necessary.

Digital sherpa's CTA button

Let me show you a good example. This CTA has scads of white space. The eye is drawn towards the button. Everything about the page — images, bullet points, headline, etc. — it all comes down to that single CTA. Bam!

Brandwatch’s CTA button

Facebook’s CTA button here is its own boss. There is nothing else that demands the user’s attention quite as boldly.

Facebook’s CTA button

The same thing is true for Formstack. All that white space is the servant to the big orange CTA button.

Formstack CTA

Conclusion

Making a CTA button isn’t that hard. It’s like so much of conversion optimization and online marketing. The best way is usually the most obvious way. If you have common sense and use common sense, you’ll win.

Here are the six characteristics of high-converting CTA buttons.

  1. They are buttons. Save your creativity for another occupation, like writing novels. Button up.
  2. They have compelling copy. Use verbs. And please, for the lost love of conversions, don’t use the word “submit.”
  3. They have logical placement. Eyes move in paths, not jumps. Put it where it will be seen.
  4. They use a contrasting color. Although I don’t advance the idea of toying with shades of gray or blue, or green, I happen to know that buttons with color contrast convert better.
  5. They have close proximity to the previous action. The mind and the pointer have a symbiotic relationship. Your CTA becomes part of that symbiosis as it moves directly into the cognitive and visual flow of the user.
  6. They don’t compete with other crap. If you want to purposely lose conversions by crowding out your CTA, go ahead. I, for one, advance the idea that the CTA should be king of the page.

Ready to go rack up some conversions. If your CTA buttons aren’t following these rules — or worse, if they’re not even buttons — do yourself and the world a little favor and get them working right.

I swear your conversion rate will hit the roof.

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Jeremy Smith

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6 Characteristics of High-Converting CTA Buttons

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15 Resources on Conversion Centered Design

Want to really rock website conversions? Then perhaps you should be thinking about your design. To help you, we’ve put together a list of useful recent articles addressing several aspects of this topic. Let’s dive in!

15 resources on conversion centered design

Image: Pixabay

Graphical Elements and Clean Design

1. Steamfeed outlines five web design elements influencing conversion rate. It explains what to do if you’ve got a great product but your site is failing to convert. Areas to look at include navigation and accessibility, the call to action, the visuals, the visual path through the site and interactivity. The article also includes several examples of this advice in action.

Key takeaway: Include both informational and transactional paths through your content to get conversions from a wider range of shoppers.

2. An article on Entrepreneur says that better design leads to better conversions. Before you roll your eyes and say “duh,” check out the advice on specific areas to look at including usability, social proof, web page speeds, color choices and more.

Key takeaway: Use aesthetics to communicate with and delight your customers. That makes it easy for them to complete actions on your site.

3. ConversionXL explains how to use text, graphics, moving images and sound to get Web visitors into a state of flow and keep them on your site. It says it’s important to include AIDA (the traditional four stages of marketing) when designing your website. The article includes several useful examples as a guide to how to use this strategy.

Key takeaway: It’s not just enough to have design elements on your website; the content also has to be good.

4. Spot Color Marketing asks whether clean Web design can increase conversions and answers its own question in the affirmative. Playing off the idea of the ubiquity of content, the article says good design can can be the most powerful thing you communicate and can make your content really stand out.

Key takeaway: Don’t let complicated Web design hide the message you want customers to get.

5. Who doesn’t love a good case study? The GrooveHQ blog shows how they doubled conversions by changing their Web design strategy. They spent a lot of time learning about conversion-centered design and harnessing expertise as well as talking to customers (both old and new) before they made any changes. Interestingly, they also interviewed members of the team internally to find out what they all thought their message was and this fed into the final process.

Key takeaway: A content-first approach (making the design fit the content rather than the other way round) worked very well for Groove.

Conversion Design Principles and Flat Design

6. Marketing Land discusses the use of brain triggers (a.k.a. psychology) to improve conversions. Whilst this contains many of the principles we already take for granted (such as design simplicity, the use of graphic elements, benefits and scarcity and more), it presents the underlying studies that show why people to buy.

Key takeaway: Good design creates trust and will improve conversions.

7. A slideshow presentation from WSI Online World looks at conversion-centered design trends for 2014. It includes four major trends including: privileging visuals over text, going for simplicity and clarity, using techniques to make your page stand out and putting the user experience first.

Key takeaway: Design should not kill the user experience.

8. Clickz asks whether flat design can lead to increased conversions. It explains exactly what flat design is and examines whether changing the convention that online objects look like their real-world counterparts is likely to result in better conversions. While it doesn’t answer the question, it suggests making small changes to find out whether flat design is the right approach for your website.

Key takeaway: Use analytics to keep track of whether flat design is helping with conversions on your website.

9. Kissmetrics and Unbounce have a huge 133-slide presentation on seven principles of conversion-centered design. It outlines seven principles (attention ratio, conversion coupling, contextual design, congruent design, clarity, credibility and conversion continuance).

Key takeaway: It’s hard to pick just one, but two points that stood out include how incongruent writing has a negative impact on conversion rates and the need to place a second call to action on confirmation pages.

10. LeadsCon briefly discusses seven ways Web design can kill conversion rates. It outlines the importance of having a mobile or responsive version of your website, looking at browser compatibility and choosing the right kind of forms.

Key takeaway: “The text of the call to action button should be what you want the visitor to do. Unless you’re an evil dictator, don’t ask visitors to ‘Submit’.”

Color Psychology, Banners and Eye Tracking

11. Kissmetrics has a great article on the psychology of color and Web conversions. It shows how can choose your color according to your theme, purpose, or the gender of your audience.

Key takeaway: Don’t ignore white, whether you consider it a color or not and remember to use white space in Web design.

12. The Galvin blog shows the importance of responsive Web design for mobile conversions. It suggests editing content and forms and reducing the amount of content on pages to make it easier for mobile users.

Key takeaway: 61% of mobile shoppers will head for the competition if there is a problem when they use your site.

13. Marketing Land explains why you need to lose image sliders because they could be hurting your conversions. While motion gets attention, banner blindness can stop people from paying attention to your slider. Rotating banners also make your website less readable.

Key takeaway: Lose the banners and keep your offers in a single place so users can really pay attention to them.

14. That leads nicely into Quicksprout’s roundup of conversion takeaways from eye tracking studies. It advises that valuable content be placed above the fold and that calls to actions go at the bottom of the page. It also outlines the importance of white space, chunking information and big headlines.

Key takeaway: Use pictures as part of your design and pay attention to eye tracking research as where people look will affect where they click.

15. Grand Marketing Solutions redesigned a website for a chimney service firm to make it more mobile responsive. It realized that the company had a lot of visitors using mobile devices and therefore the site needed to improve navigation, screen resolution and the design of contact forms. The implementation of a responsive Web design led to an increase in the number of mobile sessions and the number of pages visited for session.

Key takeaway: Average session duration increased by 17%, bounce rate reduced by 15% and there was a 30% increase in conversion.

These 15 articles should give you a better handle on conversion centered design. Now it’s your turn to share—what design changes have you made to boost conversions?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.

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15 Resources on Conversion Centered Design

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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.

lp hacks 1

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

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

lp hacks 2

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.

lp hacks 3

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:

lp hacks 4

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.”

lp hacks 5

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.

lp hacks 6

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

lp hacks 7

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.

lp hacks 8

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.

lp hacks 9

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?

lp hacks 10

This one does the same thing.

lp hacks 11

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:

lp hacks 12

And here’s the landing page.

lp hacks 13

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.”

lp hacks 14

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.

lp hacks 15

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.

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4 Landing Page Hacks That Create a Flood of Conversions