Tag Archives: conversion

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Why Free Shipping Is No Longer Enough (And What Things Are!)

We’ve heard time and time again that free shipping is the biggest conversion booster for online retail stores—with a whopping 93% of customers stating that free shipping would encourage them to buy more products online.

But times are changing. Everyone’s offering free shipping, so it doesn’t exactly help you stand out. How do to get customers’ attention and clinch the sale? A survey from Limelight Networks highlights three of the particulars that customers demand:

3 things customers demand

Shipment tracking is a given, right up there alongside free shipping, but what about the other two points? And how does this figure into the overall user experience? Let’s take a closer look.

Online Chat or Instant Messaging

Both customers and prospective customers alike need answers to their questions, and they’re likely not going to wade through a complicated FAQ to find them when a quick chat will fix the problem. We’ve covered some of the best live chat systems available and how they can improve your conversion rate, so it’s just a matter of:

  • implementing the feature in a way that’s branded seamlessly within your website
  • staffing it with friendly experts who are knowledgeable about your product or service

Video Demos of Product Assembly or Installation

For tangible products, having a demo showing how it’s setup or put together can save hours of frustration. If you’re on a tight budget and you sell a software or Web-based product, a service like GoAnimate or an explainer video from SwitchVideo can simplify the process.

But These Points are Just the Beginning…

These three features can work to sway the conversion pendulum in your favor, but if your page loads slowly or isn’t optimized for mobile, all that extra work is for nothing. In fact, customers demand performance and aren’t willing to wait around—literally and figuratively.

performance-key

Website performance (load time, buffering video, etc.) is high on the list of user demands
for a flawless web experience

Let’s look at load time. There’s a common statistic floating around on the Web that states you have five seconds to get their attention and convince them to take action. These days, with always-on, on-demand service, five seconds is a luxury. According to Limelight’s study, 60% of customers aren’t willing to give you those five seconds, and for 20% of those users, three seconds would be too long.

frustration

Users aren’t willing to wait long before leaving your site (and buying from a competitor!)

Mobile Users are Unforgiving on Site Speed

A common misconception tied to page speed is that mobile users are willing to wait a bit longer as components and elements specific to their device are loaded into the browser. After all, it’s “new” technology and there are always a few speed bumps along the way, right?

Not this time.

In the same survey, mobile users believed that responsive sites should load as quickly as their desktop-designed version. In our increasingly interconnected world, it pays for designers to recognize the devices prospects are using to connect—including smartphones, notebooks and tablets.

But designing for smaller screens doesn’t give you a pass to incorporate a lot of flashy technology and graphics. People want simplicity and speed—the rest is just fluff.

mobile-loadingUsers expect a seamless presentation and faster loading on both desktop and mobile devices alike

Combining All the Ingredients of a Successful Sale

So let’s say you’ve got a fast-loading, live-chat-enabled, responsive site with free shipping and order tracking. Does it seal the deal?

Well, there are two ingredients we haven’t focused on—and they’re the two things that no competitor can duplicate—the product and the people behind it. You could incorporate all of these facets into your pages flawlessly, but without the quality and attentiveness to back them up, you’ll have nothing.

Naturally, companies are flocking to social media to engage their customers where they are, but are the customers reciprocating? An IBM study on social CRM (customer relationship management) found some interesting answers to that question. Remember that prospects are giving you their attentiveness, their time, and in many cases, their personal information. They want something in return—even from companies that feel their customers don’t primarily seek them out for things like discounts or other incentives.

So what can you give them besides a flawless user experience on your website? This is where you have to get creative and brainstorm. People primarily use social media to connect with family and friends, so truly innovative companies are looking for a way to create those kinds of connections with their prospects.

Case in point, HomeMadeSimple.com, a portal-style site that offers everything from recipes to interior decorating ideas to seasonal design tips. From the outset, you’d never guess that this site is owned and managed by Proctor & Gamble, makers of everything from cough syrup to dog food, potato chips to detergent.

homemadesimple
The Home Made Simple site features P&G products in a way that makes the brand
feel friendly, close and comfortable with its target audience

And their social pages are bustling as well, with recipes, craft ideas, episode sneak peeks (HomeMadeSimple has its own program on cable) and user surveys. With over 400,000 likes and followers, HomeMadeSimple is a big, broad effort trying to reinvent and position itself as a more wholesome, friendly and open channel.

hms-fbThey carry over these sentiments to their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages

Of course, you don’t have to be a social media behemoth to make these kinds of connections with your customers. Remember, they’re looking at social media as a way to keep in touch with family, so in many cases, smaller businesses have a distinct advantage. They can respond promptly without having to jump through corporate flaming hoops.

With that being said, here’s your quick-action checklist to start creating memorable experiences and giving customers every reason to choose you over your competition:

Quick Action Checklist

  • Integrate free shipping and delivery tracking with your preferred shipping provider to give customers every incentive to order from you again and again.
  • Add live chat/instant messaging to your site and staff it during normal business hours. Knowledgeable, friendly product experts should be available at the click of a button. If prospects see that “Live Chat is Unavailable,” they may think that you don’t really want or value their business.
  • If you sell a tangible product or a software program, show customers how to get up and running with it quickly through the use of how-to videos, explainer videos or an animated demos.

Customers and prospects alike are engaging brands on social media, but not for the reasons you might think. Companies need to lose the stuffy, starched-shirt approach and welcome two-way communication by making their branding more friendly, open and approachable. Give something of value to your customers in exchange for their time, focus and personal information.

What are Your Thoughts?

Boosting your conversion rate is no longer just a matter of plopping up a “FREE SHIPPING” graphic and calling it a day. Today’s customers are looking to create experiences with their favorite brands and the products they love, not to become just an order number.

What are some of your favorite “conversion clinchers”? What has worked in your industry? Share your thoughts and comments with us below!

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sherice Jacob.

The post Why Free Shipping Is No Longer Enough (And What Things Are!) appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Why Free Shipping Is No Longer Enough (And What Things Are!)

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11 Mind Tricks Ecommerce Marketers Use to Make You Buy

Ecommerce websites are turning your own brains against you. How you ask? By exploiting human psychology to create feelings of fear, excitement, or pleasure that influence your decision-making.

Next time you’re shopping online, keep an eye out for these ten methods used to influence your buying behavior.

And ecommerce marketers, pay attention! Used properly, these tricks can and will improve your conversion rates.

ecommerce magic - placeit 1KSource: Placeit.net

Creating Urgency with Scarcity

Make something appear limited in availability and its perceived value rises. The diamond market has been taking advantage of this for years and so are ecommerce companies.

1. “Only 1 in stock”

There’s a reason why you’ll never see “we have more than enough in stock” on an ecommerce product page. It doesn’t motivate a potential buyer to take action.

Most merchants on Amazon know that if you enter an inventory of less than 20 items, the product page will show potential customers the number of items remaining. Inventories are kept artificially low to take advantage of this trick.

Amazon inventory remaining

Sure, showing remaining inventory on product pages can be helpful for customers making purchasing decisions. It can also get that wallet out faster.

2. “Limited Time Remaining”

Introducing a deadline into the purchasing decision equation is a powerful tool for getting those potential buyers who are on the fence to buy. This is a popular tactic used by deal sites and private sales sites. Groupon.com is famous for their limited time deals.

groupon limited time remaining

Creating urgency with a countdown forces people to make up their minds quickly. The price they’re seeing may not be available after time expires and the opportunity cost of missing out on those savings is sometimes too much to pass on.

3. “Order today and you’ll have the item by Saturday”

This is a clever one. You’re browsing a product page and considering if what you’re looking at is the solution to your problem, when you see the message, “Order today and you’ll have the item by Saturday.”

amazon checkout delivery estimate

Now you’re not even thinking about whether or not you’ll buy the item. You’re thinking about when it will be showing up at your door step. It’ll be here by Saturday? I can use it this weekend when I’m visiting my parents…. Yeah, you fell for this one.

This psychological trick turns your ‘what if?’ into a tangible reality.

Loss Aversion

We’ve all experienced FOMO at one point or another. That’s the Fear Of Missing Out on something valuable by doing nothing. This is as applicable in life as it is in ecommerce.

4. “You save 34%!”

Why does it seem like everything is on sale all the time? Because both online and offline retailers know how powerful the psychological effect of loss aversion can be.

The most common way that ecommerce companies take advantage of this is by displaying the original price next to the discounted price, while pointing out the savings.

ecommerce savings on chainsaw

They want you to think that the cost of missing out on this savings is greater than the cost of the product. Said another way, the cost of not buying exceeds the cost of buying.

Displaying savings prominently relative to the original price is also a form of anchoring. We humans like to latch on to the first piece of information we come across to guide our decision-making. All subsequent decisions are based on that initial anchor.

For example, if you see a $100 item discounted to $70 for $30 in savings, the high original price makes the discounted price seem more reasonable than if you simply saw the product being sold at $70 without a discount. In this case, the original price anchors your decision-making.

5. The ‘Best Value’ Option

Another loss aversion sales strategy is to display several similar options at different price points. You see this a lot in the software space where there is a good, better and best version of the product. Usually the best value option is reinforced by standing out among the pack or is pointed out as being the most popular.

verticalresponse pricing

Like the cost savings example above, we anchor our decision-making on the cost of the cheapest option. It makes the most expensive option seem unreasonable, so we narrow our decision down to two options.

While most of us have it in mind to save money, what we really want is a deal. Next to the cheapest option, the next best choice offers relatively more value per dollar spent. We place more value on this option, in part, because it costs more. Not many people will feel secure purchasing what they see as the crappiest choice.

This psychological effect is called value attribution. In the end, you buy the product that the seller wanted you to purchase all along. But you feel good about it, so it’s a win-win I guess.

6. “Spend $50 and Get Free Shipping”

Who wants to miss out on free shipping? Free shipping on ecommerce sites is fairly common these days due to the competition for sales. However, many of these shipping offers are contingent on a minimum order amount.

While its a good strategy for customer service, there’s often an ulterior motive at play. This strategy can be used to increase average order values and cover the cost of shipping for the ecommerce company.

north face free ground shipping offer

When you find your shirt order on TheNorthFace.com at $42, you’re probably going to add that pair of socks to be eligible for free shipping. You’d be spending that $8 on shipping anyway right?

If your ecommerce site is charging for shipping, show the total price of the item with shipping directly on the product page. Why? One of the most common reasons for cart abandonment is extra expenses during checkout. You could go even further and let them enter their zip code for more accurate pricing if your shipping isn’t flat rate.

reasons why online shoppers leave without paying

Risk Aversion

There’s anxiety associated with purchasing something online. Especially if you haven’t bought from that site before. Is this company reputable? If there’s a problem will customer service help me? Good ecommerce sites like to break these barriers up front.

7. “100% money-back guarantee. Lifetime warranty. Free returns!”

No-questions-asked returns and lifetime warranties are common marketing tools used in ecommerce. Yes, they elevate the site’s customer service and build credibility. But, these guarantees have also been shown to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

zappos.com return policy

Zappos.com is well-known for their exceptional customer service and friendly return policy. They offer free shipping on all orders and returns, making the risk of buying from their site extremely low. As a result, 75% of Zappos’ sales are from repeat customers who order 2.5 times more product than a new customer in the 12 months following their first purchase. The average order size of these repeat customers is 26% higher than new customers. Not a bad strategy.

If you purchase a product that comes with a lifetime warranty or free return policy, you are more secure with your decision than if you bought a similar product without this guarantee. You’re less likely to be dissatisfied with the product because the company you bought it from stands behind it.

Abandonment Issues

Over two-thirds of shopping carts never make it through to checkout. Ecommerce marketers see their checkout process hemorrhaging sales and take action to motivate you to complete the purchase.

8. “Have a Coupon Code?”

You’re making your way through the checkout process when you spot a box beneath the final price that prompts you to enter a promo code. What do you do? I’ll tell you what I do. I immediately open another browser window to search for those elusive coupon codes to get a discount.

Ecommerce marketers are wising up to this behavior and removing this feature from many shopping carts. According to a study by PayPal, 27% of online shoppers cited searching for a coupon as a reason for cart abandonment.

9. “Express Checkout”

All I have to do is click that one button and I’m done? This ecommerce trick removes the cost of time and thought typically associated with the order process. I like it because:

  1. I don’t have to dig out my credit card and squint at the nearly-rubbed-away CCV numbers
  2. I don’t have to look at upsells
  3. I don’t have to type
  4. I don’t have to think

‘1-Click’ ordering by Amazon is an example of this abandonment-reducing technique.

1-click checkout by amazon

10. The “Where’d You Go?” Email

Next time you abandon a cart, you may get a follow up from that ecommerce site. Abandoned cart emails are growing in popularity due to their undeniable effectiveness. Check out some of these stats provided by SalesCycle:

  • 46% of abandoned cart emails are opened.
  • 13.3% of abandoned cart emails are clicked.
  • 35% of these clicks lead to a purchase back on site.
  • Purchases resulting from an abandoned cart are, on average, 19% higher than ordinary purchases.

salescycle abandonment email data

A lot of people just need a little nudge to get the off the “buy or don’t buy” fence. Even something as small as an auto-generated email can do the job.

Assurance

Whether we like to admit it or not, it matters to us what other people think. We value outside opinion when making our decisions.

11. “5-star rated!”

Our desire for outside approval has a name, it’s called the interloper effect. We like to optimistically think that third-party judgements are unbiased and trustworthy.  We value them so much that 63% of customers are more likely to buy from a site that has user reviews over one that doesn’t. (iPerceptions, 2011).

It’s no wonder why we’ve seen so many ecommerce and review-based websites get hit with phony reviews or generate their own. According to the review site EXPO, customers reviews are way more trusted (12x more) than descriptions originating from the manufacturers.

consumers purchase influencers when shopping online august 2013

Three of the top six influencing factors for purchasing online have to do with third-party opinions.

While most ecommerce websites have review policies in place that prohibit fake reviews, they have very little incentive to police them. Reviews of all kinds help sales, so be wary of fake reviews, arbitrary ratings and generic testimonials the next time you’re browsing products online.

Next time you’re browsing an ecommerce site, keep an eye out for these psychological tricks that are designed to get you to buy. Do you find yourself falling victim to their influence? If you sell products or services online, test some of these tactics on your own site and watch your site become a conversion machine.

How else have you seen psychology applied to conversion optimization?

Keep up with Crazy Egg posts by Griffin Roer

The post 11 Mind Tricks Ecommerce Marketers Use to Make You Buy appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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11 Mind Tricks Ecommerce Marketers Use to Make You Buy

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Why Your Landing Page Should Have at Least 500 Words

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

Here are some examples.

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

500 - 1

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

500 - 2

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

500 - 3

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

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

How? By having more words.

The case for the 500-word landing page

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

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

500 - 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

More words are persuasive

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

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

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

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

More words provide information

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

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

Objective 1:  The user wants to buy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ConversionXL makes this point:

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

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

More words show the benefits of the product or service

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

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

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

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

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

Showing benefits involves a process of listing and explaining.

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

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

500 - 5

More words cultivates trust

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

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

They want to trust your site.

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

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

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

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

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

More words brings the user through a persuasive process of thinking

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

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

Curiosity:  Piqued

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

Objection:  Satisfied

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

Interest:  Engaged

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

More words mean better SEO

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

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

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

Your Guide to Creating a 500-Word Landing Page

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

500 words is the lower threshold.

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

Don’t go overboard.

Can you go too long? Yeah, probably so.

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

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

Organization is everything.

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

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

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

Break it up.

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

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

Images are just as important.

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

Be intentional.

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

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

Use a variety of methods.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

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

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Why Your Landing Page Should Have at Least 500 Words

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How to Create Online Courses that Actually Sell

A few years ago Copyblogger’s Brian Clark said “teaching sells”. Since then it seems that everyone’s trying to sell their expertise via a membership site or online course, or even both. One platform they are using to do this is WordPress.

5 CRO Issues When Selling Online Courses in WordPress

Image: Pixabay

In one way, it makes sense—after all, WordPress is one of the most-used content management systems (CMS) out there, underpinning millions of sites and about half of the most prominent blogs. Since lots of people already run WordPress sites, it makes sense that they would want to do everything from one place.

However, it’s not what the software was originally designed for. That’s why it’s no surprise that people are constantly coming up with new ways to make WordPress sites ideal for course delivery. There are a number of options out there and the platform is being used more and more in educational settings.

Introducing CoursePress

Coursepress

One recent option for this is a plug-in called CoursePress which is designed to turn your WordPress site into an online learning platform or learning management system. It incorporates everything you need to create, sell, grade and report on courses, as well as manage students and teachers. That includes payment systems, video and audio uploads, discussion boards and more.

CoursePress integrates with most WordPress themes and has a built-in theme of its own. The plugin is available in free and paid versions, with a limit of two courses and fewer payment gateway options in the free version.

Of course, if you’re going to create and sell a course online, it’s essential to think about web and conversion optimization right from the start. This will help you attract more course participants and will give you a competitive and financial edge. Let’s use CoursePress to look at how you could lay the groundwork for an optimized course website right from the start.

1. User Experience (UX)

The developers recommend that you think about your course structure in advance. CoursePress allows you to create courses with multiple units. You can have multiple pages and elements within each unit. At this stage, think about user experience (UX), which is a key part of conversion optimization. In particular, consider how users will be able to navigate the course.

course-press-components

MOOCNews suggests that paying attention to this will reduce the time you have to spend on changing course elements later. Meanwhile, online education site Udacity recommends doing user experience research to figure out what people want. Do this either before course setup or after the course is running to see whether you can improve conversions. See our recent article on troubleshooting UX design for tips on this.

coursepress-structure

2. Content Optimization

When you create a new course in CoursePress, you start by creating an overview. This is one of the first elements potential participants will see when deciding whether to take your course, so it’s worth spending time optimizing this content.

Even before your course goes live, you can use the overview on landing pages and split test two different versions of the copy to see which one appeals most to your target market. Do the same with course titles too so you can maximize conversions and win the clicks. Remember to look after search engine optimization (SEO) at the same time.

coursepress-front-listing

CoursePress also allows you to create a course description. That’s not just a longer version of your overview; it’s also the longer-form copy that will help to sell your course.

Again, you can think about the principles of creating high converting landing pages when crafting your description. Killer headlines and subheads, appealing images, addressing pain points by showcasing benefits and features for potential participants are all part of making this work. The goal is to let people know what to expect. Again, you can split test course descriptions to decide which version has the best conversion rate.

coursepress-about

Repeat this principle when setting up individual course units—these will be displayed in a list, providing another option for people to either sign up or click away. Use your writing skills to win the click and get people signed up for your course.

3. Images and Video

As we’ve mentioned before, online video is a conversion magnet. Faces, voices, movement and body language get people’s attention and video is also a great way to answer users’ questions. With CoursePress, you can use video in two ways: as part of the course content, which is a no-brainer, and to create video snippets to help sell your course. Check out these tips on selling with video for help with this aspect of conversions.

While you’re at it, pay attention to the images used as part of your course—these can help boost conversions by providing a human element, making people connect with you emotionally and creating a relationship between you and the course participants.

4. Email Marketing

Email is still one of the best ways to connect with your audience. CoursePress lets you send a variety of customizable emails to registered students. Consider using email marketing best practices to build the relationship with them, including:

  • personalization
  • killer subject lines
  • appealing calls to action

The more you connect with students, the more likely it is that they will remain registered on the course and maybe even sign up for future courses.

5. eCommerce

If you want your course to sell, then you need to look after eCommerce optimization. Among other things that means optimizing and looking after usability issues for shopping carts and checkout pages. CoursePress integrates with MarketPress to support a wide range of payment gateways and currencies, and you can offer discounts too! Check out these tips on reducing user anxiety and see how you could integrate these into your online course.

Testing, Testing

Once you have set up and published your course, test regularly to see what’s working well and what you need to change. Visit your landing page and course pages and try to see it from the viewpoint of an outsider—is UX working well? The good news is that since CoursePress is a WordPress plugin, it won’t be difficult to make quick improvements for better conversions.

Have you used CoursePress or another learning management system? What steps did you take to look after conversion optimization?

CoursePress is FREE and the best way to turn WordPress into an amazing online learning platform. Download it here.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.

The post How to Create Online Courses that Actually Sell appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Create Online Courses that Actually Sell

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4 Reasons Your Traffic Is Increasing But Not Your Conversions

Traffic and conversions. That’s what we want. And we usually start at the beginning, with traffic.

I agree. Traffic is great. Have you ever logged into Google Analytics on a Monday morning and found something like this waiting for you?

traffic spike

That’s a fantastic feeling.

But unless you’re a 16 year old YouTuber with a fame complex, you’re not actually interesting in traffic. You want conversions. You want to see the above graph on your income report, not your Analytics display.

But hold up. Doesn’t more traffic equal more conversions?

Well technically, yes. I’m assuming your conversion funnel is good enough that a 30,000 increase in visitors will net you at least a few additional sales. But you don’t want a few additional sales. If you’ve managed to significantly increase your traffic, you expect to be getting a proportional return on your investment.

So what do you do when the traffic numbers are steadily increasing but your conversions remain relatively stagnant?

Well, like any other problem, you root out the source and fix it. In this article, I review the issues surrounding traffic and conversions, and I’d bet there’s a fantastic chance your problem is listed among them.

1. You’re Acquiring the Wrong Type of Traffic

Yesterday, I Googled a number of search terms: “cookie recipe,” “Jacob McMillen” (don’t judge), “buy panasonic gh2.” and “my onenote notebook disappeared.”

Out of those searches, which was I most likely to follow up with an actual purchase?

The answer, of course, is “buy panasonic gh2.”

When I type in that phrase, I have purchasing already on my mind. On the other hand, if your sexy new laptop brand, QuickNote Notebook, is somehow ranking for “note notebook,” you’re going to be getting a lot of people like me bouncing off your site—people looking for solutions to problems that have nothing to do with your products. It’s safe to say your conversions will be abysmal.

Acquiring the wrong traffic is the single biggest reason your high traffic website isn’t converting. 

It’s a simple concept, but let’s look at another example to see how easily it can affect your business.

You run a financial software company for small businesses. You’ve been reading all about how content is king and a high-quality blog is the way to increase targeted traffic and generate conversions. You understand that small business owners will need an intro-level education to help them understand how your tools work and why they need them.

So you start a blog, focusing on intro-level financial education and providing high-quality content on the basics. You invest in amazing guides, target relevant keywords, and after a few months, you are generating significant traffic to your blog and website. But your conversions aren’t increasing. Maybe your email subscriptions are skyrocketing, but none of this activity is turning into sales.

You do some testing and analysis and discover that instead of business owners, all your traffic is coming from college students. Your keywords are attracting frantic test-takers to your intro guides rather than small business owners in need of financial software tools.

all-nighter-intro-guides

In order for traffic to turn into conversion, it needs to be the right type of traffic. It’s need to be traffic with problems or needs your business can answer.

If your traffic and product/service aren’t lining up, you have two options:

  1. Acquire different traffic
  2. Change your product/service to match your traffic

Personally, I’m a big fan of the second one, because demand is always harder to generate than supply. But #2 won’t be an option for many businesses, so you might need to invest in #1.

But maybe neither of these apply to you. Maybe you have a steady stream of purchase-primed, solution-needing visitors streaming through your site on the daily. Perhaps you have a different problem…

2. Your Offer Isn’t Compelling

As a copywriter who has worked with a wide range of companies, I’ve found small businesses are least likely to have an offer that is truly compelling.

The problem typically isn’t their product or service. They do extremely well locally, where the actual value in their offering is better understood. The problem is that, to compete online, you need something more compelling than local convenience. You need to identify why your product/service is too good for customers to pass up and then tell them about it in no uncertain terms.

If you’re first to market, you don’t need to explain why your product is better. You are the only one offering that product. But very few profitable businesses remain unchallenged. As a 2nd entry, 3rd entry… 129th entry… you need to know exactly what makes your offer stand out.

A big part of this is understanding the real reasons a customer buys your product.

Crazy Egg isn’t selling heatmap software. They are selling easy-to-use data analysis for non-analysts. There are 100 places business owners can go to for in-depth conversion software. Crazy Egg isn’t trying to be the most comprehensive or even the most accurate conversion software.

The idea is simply to provide easy visual access to business owners who want a better understanding of their customer base without a master’s degree in data analysis. Nine dollars a month to stop shadow-boxing and finally start understanding your customers is a compelling offer.

I’ve worked extensively with law firms in increasing their landing page conversion rates. Many of my clients come to me initially with the idea that they need more information on their pages or more descriptive explanations of the legal processes involved. A personal injury victim recovering from a traumatic run-in with a semi truck doesn’t care about the legal process. He doesn’t care about what constitutes “negligence” in the state of California.

This potential customer cares about one thing. He has medical bills to pay, and he wants to know if my client is able get him the money he needs to recover and go back to living his life.

What are you actually selling? What do your customers actually want? There are a number of factors that go into creating your pitch, but if you can’t answer those two questions, you can’t create a compelling offer.

3. Your Interface Is Too Complex (or it’s Malfunctioning)

confused-customers-crazy-egg

Intuitive navigation and adequate site maintenance are a must if you want to convert your traffic. The easier it is to click “Buy,” the more often it will happen.

Every hurdle, on the other hand, drops a few more potential customers out of the conversion funnel.

I was contacted by a prospective client the other week, and when I went to review the website, it took more than 60 seconds to load the home page. 60+ SECONDS!?!?

Forty percent (yes, 40%) of your incoming traffic will abandon ship after just 3 seconds. The stat reports don’t go as high as 60 seconds, but I’d imagine you’re well past a 50% (even 75%) drop rate if your website is still loading one minute in.

Or what about a broken shopping cart? After stand-by flights didn’t work out on my honeymoon, I purchased tickets on Delta only to get an error message at the end. Then I purchased tickets from United, only to also get an error screen. I finally ended up flying American Airlines because they were the only website that could handle a simple purchase through their mobile site.

If you have loads of traffic entering your site, they are probably interested in what you’re offering. If they never seem to buy before they leave, it could be the cash register isn’t working properly… or perhaps customers couldn’t even find the cash register in the first place.

Poor navigation will also gut your conversions. If it’s not immediately obvious to users where they’re supposed to go on your site, they probably won’t stick around to figure it out.

Go ahead and role play as your target consumer. Click on your home page and count how many clicks it takes to finish a transaction. Time yourself. How long did it take? Did you ever have time to twiddle your thumbs between pages? Was everything easy to find?

A broken site is the worst possible reason to lose sales. Never stop making test-runs through your site.

And on the subject of testing…

4. You Aren’t Testing Enough

Let’s say you’re a conversion expert. You know exactly what makes a site convert, and you’ve implemented all the winning features on your site. Or maybe you’ve opted to use a service like GetResponse, and simply use pretested conversion winners for your site’s landing pages.

That’s all well and good, but what if your site is the 1 out of 100 that actually increases conversions with the inclusion of an image slider?

As I talk about extensively in the article linked above, the rules of conversion optimization are a general guideline for what works across a large selection of websites. They mean nothing in terms of your specific site.

The general rule is that more traffic equals more conversions, but if that were always the case, you wouldn’t be reading this article. If you aren’t seeing the same conversion bump with a video that most sites do, maybe your crazy audience actually likes static images sliding incessantly across their screens. Maybe they don’t want images at all. Maybe an 8-bit gif is the Holy Grail your consumers crave.

Who knows? You certainly won’t if you aren’t testing. NEVER STOP TESTING!

If you’ve yet to dive into the world of testing, testing, and more testing, check out my guide to choosing the right testing software for your business.

Click Here for more Crazy Egg articles by Jacob McMillen

The post 4 Reasons Your Traffic Is Increasing But Not Your Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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4 Reasons Your Traffic Is Increasing But Not Your Conversions

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How To Increase Conversion Rates Using Gamification

“The one on gamification is my least favorite, but I think it’s an up and coming tactic, so I’d like to see what you do with it.” That’s the response I got when I pitched this blog post topic, among others, to our editor, Kathryn.

Challenge accepted!

I can see why it’s Kathryn’s least favorite idea. On the surface, gamification seems like a fad. It’s seems to be all about badges and points, yet there doesn’t seem to be a point (pun intended) to it. It’s fun for a while, and it could engage customers, but after some time, who cares?

Case in point, Google News. Back in 2011, when gamification was the hot new thing, Google introduced Badges to its news section. It made things interesting but got boring pretty quickly. A year later, they dragged Badges out into a dark alley, shot it multiple times, and never spoke of it again.

So why are we still talking about gamification? Because it’s not about badges and points! At its core, gamification satisfies a basic human need, the need for rewards.

gamify - placeitSource: Placeit.net

Gamification 101

Gamification is typically defined as the usage of game dynamics and game-playing elements to non-game contexts such as online businesses. But the definition is misleading and takes away from the real value of gamification.

The reason why games are so popular is because of the reward. The reward can be extrinsic, like a trophy, or intrinsic, like a sense of accomplishment. The result is the same, a release of dopamine into our brain’s pleasure center. In other words, rewards give us pleasure.

That’s why, when used correctly, gamification can be a powerful persuasion tactic. It taps into a basic biological process and rewards customers for performing certain actions. When the pleasure produced by rewards outweighs the pain of spending money, gamification leads to conversion.

Reward Structures

So what types of rewards convert best? We’ve already seen that badges, in some cases, don’t work. That’s because those badges were essentially meaningless.

What we need are meaningful rewards. Rewards like a sense of accomplishment are powerful because they come from within us and mean something to us. As the guy who always got picked last on the soccer field, scoring a goal is a much bigger reward for me than winning the championship.

Tit for Tat

Gamification can be as simple as rewarding someone for taking a small action. You don’t need complicated game mechanisms on your site.

Take Dropbox for example. They basically sell storage space online. The free account comes with a few GB of space, but they will reward you with more if you do a few tasks for them.

Dropbox gamification increases conversion rates

As you can see, you’ll get 16GB if you share Dropbox with your friends. It seems like a simple thing to do for so much space, but it’s why Dropbox was able to grow so fast.

The best part is Dropbox is rewarding users with what they are selling in the first place. As you use more space, you become more invested in the app. When you reach your limit, you have to convert to a paid user.

Progress Bars

A progress bar is a useful tool if you want users going through a series of steps. The progress feedback lets users know how far along their journey they’ve come. Getting to 100% gives them a slight reward in terms of personal satisfaction.

Codecademy teaches you to code using an online code editor and a series of interactive lessons. It’s a fun way of learning and a progress bar on top shows how far you’ve come on your journey to becoming a coder.

Codeacademy gamification increases conversion rates

When you finish your lesson and reach 100%, Codecademy cashes in. Just when you’re feeling good about accomplishing something, they ask you to create an account with them so you don’t lose your progress.

The concept of teaching coding online wasn’t new when Codeacademy launched. There were already a fair number of established players, like Treehouse and Lynda. Yet, within 5 months of launch, Codeacademy had reached a million users because of their simple gamification strategy.

Progress bars are particularly useful as an onboarding tool for Web apps and SaaS businesses. A good example of this is Evernote.

Evernote works on a freemium basis, but their conversion rates depend on how much time users invest in the app. Only 0.5% of free users convert to paid within the first month, but after five years of usage, conversion rates shoot up to 25%, way better than most other apps.

That means the longer Evernote keeps a user interested, the more likely he or she will become a paid customer. To do this, Evernote has a progress bar within the app, showing customers what features they have explored and suggesting other features to try out.

Evernote gamification increases conversion rates

I clearly have a long way to go. I guess that’s why I’m still a free user.

Points and Badges

Hang on! Didn’t we say badges were a bad idea?

Google’s Badges were a bad idea, but if you have a system where earning a badge implies getting access to certain perks, then it becomes a good idea.

Yelp started as a site where people could view and review restaurants. Like Codecademy, they weren’t the only one on the block when they started. Competitors like Yahoo Local and CitySearch had been around for years and already had thousands of reviews.

Today, these competitors are long forgotten and Yelp is a verb.

Yelp beat competition with gamification

The big problem that Yelp solved, where others failed, was the catch-22 situation of attracting users and converting them to reviewers. Without reviews you can’t attract users, and without users you don’t get reviews.

But how do you get people to write high-quality reviews time and again without paying them to do so? You know the answer. Gamification!

Yelp created a points and badges system that had meaning. Users were rewarded for writing thoughtful reviews, and if they racked up enough points, they would get a shiny ‘Elite’ badge on their profile page.

The difference was, the badge actually had real world value. Yelp’s Elite got VIP tickets to events, free food and drinks, and other swag that regular users didn’t get. Their reward wasn’t monetary, it was fun and happiness.

Yelp elite

This system helps Yelp convert users into regular reviewers (6 or more reviews) at a whopping rate of 65.8%! Compare that to CitySearch’s conversion rate of 4.8% and Yahoo’s conversion rate of 11.1% and it’s no wonder Yelp crushed them.

Competitions

It’s human nature to compete. Pitting your customers against each other in a competition and displaying their standings on a leaderboard can be a great way to get them to perform a set of complicated tasks.

Autodesk used this for their 3DS-Max game design product. The software costs $3,600 per license, making it a significant investment for anyone interested in the product. To make the purchase easier, they had a 30-day free trial.

They found that prospects were twice as likely to convert to customers if they used the software at least three times during the trial period. The problem was getting them to use the software. Because of its complexity, it had a steep learning curve, and their tutorials weren’t captivating enough.

To solve this they gamified their tutorials. They called each step a mission and awarded points and badges to contestants. As trial users collected points, they would go higher up the leaderboard. The user at the top of the leaderboard would get a prize.

Autodesk gamification increases conversion rates

The results were incredible. The contest increased trial usage by 54% and conversion rates from free to paid by 15%. The biggest impact was the 29% increase in revenue per trial.

Loyalty

Loyalty programs have been around for a while and they work on the same principle as any other gamification strategy. The only difference is you’re rewarding customers with money or the equivalent, like discounts or redeemable points.

For loyalty programs to work, you need to find the right reward size. Too small and no one will care. Too big and you’ll lose money.

Philip Kingsley created a program where customers would earn rewards for purchases, social sharing, recommendations and many other actions. The rewards were called PK points and could be redeemed on the site for further purchases.

PK gamification increases conversion rates

Bonus rewards were also given out when customers made purchases greater than certain amounts to increase average order values.

PK gamification increases conversion rates

Because they sold products that customers would purchase repeatedly, the loyalty program made a lot of sense. Customers started spending more on the site so they could collect points, only to redeem them on future purchases.

Not only did they increase conversion rates by 10%, they also optimized customer value. The number of orders on their site increased 36% as existing customers ordered more, and their year-on-year revenues increased 28%.

Challenge Completed

Gamification is not another fad, and it needn’t be complicated either. A simple reward can go a long way to converting users into customers. As we’ve seen, the best ‘rewards’ are when customers feel like they’ve achieved something.

So what do you think, did I complete the challenge? How are you going to use gamification to increase your conversion rates?

Oh, and be sure to read other Crazy Egg articles by Sid.

The post How To Increase Conversion Rates Using Gamification appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How To Increase Conversion Rates Using Gamification

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4 Time-Tested Ideas to Make Customers Return to Your Site

Running an ecommerce business is a little like fishing in a lake with twenty million other fishermen, some of them equipped with magic fishing nets that attract all the fish in the lake.

While each fisherman out on the waters would love to lay their hands on those magic fishing nets, few take the effort to weave their own nets to catch the biggest and plumpest fish. More importantly, few nets are strong enough to keep bagging the choicest catch in the lake on a long-term basis.

Here are four time tested ecommerce tips to weave that magic net to grab your own super-haul every single day.

Put them to work in your business, and you’ll not only improve your conversion rate, you’ll ensure customers come back time and again, for even higher return on investment.

1. Make Your Website Easier To Use

One of the fundamentals of user experience design is that ease of use trumps nearly every other factor in any form of interactive design. From websites, to apps and physical stores, to furniture, living spaces and urban design; ease of use for the end user dictates how popular the product you created will be.

Easy Use

Source

Whether you choose a plug-and-play ecommerce model like Wix or prefer a more DIY, open-source (and free!) approach like PrestaShop to set up your online store, a snappy, memorable and easy-to-use website is an essential to keep users coming back.

Some key usability guidelines to keep in mind include:

Easy Navigation

Make your website intuitive and easy to navigate. A navigation bar with clearly spelt out website sections and sub-sections helps users find their way around easily.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure your users can find what they are looking for on your site in not more than 3 clicks.

Site Search

Not all users need to browse through endless options to find what they want. Some users arrive at your site knowing exactly what they’ll pick up, right down to the model number and color.

For users like these, a prominent search bar that cuts the chase down to a simple search is all they need. This ensures that even if your categories and sub categories are not spot on, the user will still be able to find what they’re looking for on your site.

Uncluttered, Aesthetic Design

A cluttered website confuses users with too many sensory signals, leaving them at a loss of what to do next.

Make white space your best friend and use it generously across your website. By leaving enough white space on every page, you let users see and absorb each page element individually and help them focus on the most important aspects of your page.

Simple Copy

Keep your copy simple and conversational. Keep your typography and fonts minimal and use your typography to highlight important action items that you want to draw the user’s attention towards.

Test Obsessively

Don’t be part of the ‘build it and they’ll come’ club. In spite of following the most popular design principles to the ‘T’ you might still be missing out on something very fundamental and intrinsic to your business model that will only come to light when a user actually browses through your site with a specific goal in mind.

Design and carry out A/B tests and multivariate tests of the most important aspects of your website—your userflows, calls to action, copy and overall layout—using tools like Crazy Egg to help you along the way.

Mind you, testing is not a one-off activity. Your website is not a static being. There are hundreds of little changes that you carry out on your site on an almost weekly basis.

Your users are not stuck in time either. Their preferences and abilities evolve with time. Hence, it is critical to make website testing a ritual that your site swears by.

2. Churn Out Complimentary Products & Upgrades

HP, Canon, Epson and their ilk have got a critical customer retention principle down perfectly. The printers that they sell may not make them very big money. But the cartridges that these printers require on a recurring basis are cash cows waiting to be milked.

To get users back to your site over and over again, build products that are complementary to the earlier ones sold through your site.

The games that users buy for their PlayStation or X-Box, songs that you buy on iTunes to hear on your iPod, the travel insurance that you buy on your air ticket are all examples of complementary products that make users go back to the original service provider on a repeated basis.

Complementary

Source

Another great way to keep ‘em coming back is to build upgraded versions of your existing products and promoting the upgrades as must-have, cutting-edge features.

To be fair, this approach works best for successful products that have already made a niche for themselves in the market. With a newer and better iPhone launched every couple of years or a new desktop operating system upgrade that comes along every few years or even a faster, more efficient processor being released on a regular basis, Apple, Microsoft and Intel use the product upgrade principle to their advantage.

3. Provide Great Value

Offering your users great value is not equivalent to offering rock-bottom prices. Great value can mean fantastic quality at prices on par with competition. It could mean a huge variety in SKUs. It could mean unique designs unmatched by anyone else.

A free product thrown in with the purchase or a free service contract are examples of value that make a customer return over and over again.

Value

Source

Whatever the value paradigm is in your industry, strive to offer it without charging a premium for it. Customers know value when they experience it once. A brand that offers great value the first time can be assured of a repeat visit, as no matter how wealthy a customer may be, being a value-seeker while shopping is an innate quality hardwired in all of us.

Research confirms this fact. An Ipsos study of affluent individuals in the US (with a minimum household income of $100,000) showed that 74% of these shoppers believed that good value for money was more important than the price tag of the item itself.

A successful example of perceived great value is an offering like Birchbox. For a monthly subscription of just $10, users get beauty product samples whose cumulative value is a lot higher than their monthly subscription amount.

4. Always Be Useful

A brand that goes out of its way to make users’ lives easier is one that will stick in their minds for a long time to come.

Don’t just sit tight after your user makes their first purchase. Reach out to them and offer them tips and tricks to best use the product that they just bought. Educate them about alternate uses for your product and complementary items that team well with it.

Longevity

Source

Offering users ideas on how to improve the longevity of their product or how to service it best to keep it in good shape are always appreciated.

Remind users to get a refill or renew their subscription (if it applies) to get them to come back on time and not experiment with other service providers.

Use big data and personalized communications to create product cross sells based on user information. Emails like ‘You bought item X. We think you might like item Y’ help to prod users in the direction of their next purchase.

In Closing

You don’t need me to tell you how important repeat customers are. You’ve probably heard it all a hundred times before. We all understand and agree that the bottom line for a successful business is its ability to get customers to keep coming back over and over again.

Whether your customers pay you in cash, credit or bitcoins, the only way to keep them coming back to your site is if you make their first experience memorable (in a positive way!) and a real breeze, and then follow it up with subtle reminder tactics to ensure top of mind recall.

Have any ecommerce tips that have worked for you? Share them with us and spread the love!

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Pratik Dholakiya.

The post 4 Time-Tested Ideas to Make Customers Return to Your Site appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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4 Time-Tested Ideas to Make Customers Return to Your Site

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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.

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