Tag Archives: conversion

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3 Tips to Optimize a Content Offer in Professional Services

So after a great deal of hard work, you’ve managed to get the right piece of content in front of exactly the right audience. Congrats! But don’t pat yourself on the back for too long, because that’s not the end of the story.

What happens after a visitor reads your blog post or watches your video?

Maybe they’ll remember your firm…or maybe not. The key is to use content offers to provide them with more engagements—next logical steps—that will be relevant to their needs, continually reinforcing your expertise and offering more in-depth content or services.

These offers aren’t an opportunity to get suddenly self-promotional in an otherwise educational content offering. Instead, they should be created in the same spirit, pointing visitors toward further resources that they will find genuinely useful: solutions for and perspectives on their actual business challenges.

professional-services_placeit

Below we’ve put together three tips to help you make professional services content offers as effective as possible:

1) Always offer a next step.

Content offers should be bold, attractive, and immediately visible: in the sidebar of a blog post, for example, you might offer an ebook on the same topic, using the book’s cover art to make the offer pop.

Make sure your offers are related to the content a visitor has just viewed. The most important thing is to provide a natural way to continue your relationship with the reader, and for readers to continue to get the information they need from you.

For visitors early in the sales pipeline—those not ready for a sales pitch—this might mean that they exchange their email address for your free, attractively presented ebook. Once you have an email, you can continue to make relevant, targeted offers for progressively closer engagements.

You can see this strategy in action in the content marketing model below:

content model

Content offers point the way for visitors to climb the steps from your most freely available content like blog posts to an ongoing relationship.

So for visitors who downloaded your ebook, you might send an email offering a webinar on the same topic, but going more in-depth or exploring it from a different angle. Then you might offer webinar attendees a free consultation on a related aspect of their business. Once these audiences are ready for a sales pitch, you’ll have their attention.

2) Make your offers clear and succinct.

In content offers, you have to strike a balance between clarity and succinctness, making it absolutely clear what you’re offering without losing your audience’s attention.

So if you’re offering an ebook in the sidebar of a blog post, don’t just say, “See more about this topic.” Instead, your offer might read, “Download our free ebook, Title of the Book.” While being necessarily descriptive, keep those words to an absolute minimum—visitors aren’t likely to read more than a short sentence.

Remember, too, that your content offers need to be focused. You might think you should offer different levels of content on a blog post—a webinar and an ebook, say—for audiences at different points in the sales funnel, but this would be a mistake.

Only use one offer at a time on a given piece of content: any more, and you’ll dilute the effect, confusing viewers and complicating the path forward to closer engagement. A good offer strategy is all about making things both useful and simple for your audience.

3) Know the context of your content.

Think through your content offers as part of your larger content strategy, considering the target audience for each piece and type of content. Offers included in content for first-time readers should require much less effort and commitment than offers for long-time, late stage visitors.

As you create and offer more content, it’s critical to continuously monitor your audience, their interests, and how well your content is connecting with them. Note that “Analyze and Adjust” is the final stage of the content model above. Taking a data-driven approach to your content eliminates the guesswork from finding topics that matter to your target audience—as well as the best way to reach them.

You can accomplish this through careful and ongoing use of Web and email analytics, learning a range of lessons that will help you iterate and improve your content marketing:

  • You may find that certain topics are better suited to visitors earlier or further along in the sales funnel. Often, the interests and needs of prospects differ depending on where they are in the sales cycle.
  • Some subjects will likely prove to have more lasting draw than others. These “evergreen” topics will be a valuable tool, and often they will take you by surprise. Monitoring your Web analytics and finding out what your audience really wants to know about and responding to that need is a key part of the process.
  • A/B testing offers in emails will allow you to learn which design elements, copy approaches, types of content, and other elements yield the most audience engagement. In these types of tests, make sure to test only one element at a time.
  • How are visitors accessing your content? Web and email analytics will reveal, for example, the percentage of your audience using mobile devices to read your content. This may encourage you to produce more mobile-optimized content and think about how to design offers that will be most effective on mobile devices.

The moral of the story here? The better you understand your readers and how they interact with your content, the more effectively you can provide them with offers that will make them more responsive and more engaged, propelling them up the content ladder to build trust and forge a lasting relationship.

As you implement your offer strategy, make sure to give it the same level of thought and creative consideration as your content itself. If you succeed at this, you’ll have set the stage for a content strategy that brings in more leads—and helps them qualify themselves.

 Read other Crazy Egg articles by Lee Frederiksen.

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3 Tips to Optimize a Content Offer in Professional Services

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Using Google Consumer Surveys for Conversion Optimization

Google Consumer Survey’s is a feature from Google Analytics that helps to bring you data directly from the minds of your audience. When creating a consumer survey, Google makes sure your question is getting put in front of the right people; your only job is to ask the right questions and analyze your data.

One aspect of your online success where these reports are particularly helpful is when it comes to conversion optimization.

google surveys

How Google Consumer Surveys Work

According to Adam Heitzman, Managing Partner of SEO Company HigherVisibility, “Consumer Surveys are one of the Web’s best-kept secrets,” and I’d have to agree. You don’t hear too much about the feature, but it is one that can give you the exact data you’re looking to find.

They work just as they sound: You ask a question and then Google will take that question and put it in front of a relevant audience to answer.

Below is a screenshot of the general page that shows you the three easy steps it takes to make a survey happen:

consumer-surveys-1

To break down the process, Consumer Surveys will show your question across different online news sources, blogs, entertainment websites, etc. by either embedding it into the content or including it on a mobile app.

People will answer the question in exchange for being able to read an article, listen to a song, gain a free app, etc. What Google offers in return is up to Google, but typically it’s something relevant to your company (that’s why the audience answering the questions is going to be relevant to your audience).

On that note, the person’s demographics, like age and location, are assumed based on that person’s browser history and IP address (hooray for not having to ask the questions yourself!). If they search for something related to your industry or product, it’s likely they will be targeted by Google to answer your question.

So what types of questions can you ask? Not only can you ask about whatever appropriate subjects you want, but you have a choice as to the “type” of question.

Types of questions include multiple choice, a rating system, side-by-side images, open-ended, and then all of these options coupled with an image. Below is the screen offering you these options.

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How You Can Use Google Consumer Surveys to Improve Conversion Optimization

As you have probably inferred from above, the biggest thing that these survey’s offer is a way to find out what your audience is thinking. By figuring out what they are thinking about your product, your landing page, or your industry in general (or a million other questions you may want to ask), you can optimize your pages for higher conversions.

After all, conversions happen because of your visitors and the thoughts those visitors are having—the more you can understand those thoughts, the better.

Below are a few different things you may want to consider asking, along with how you can use the answers to optimize your website and/or landing page:

1. Ask about landing page or logo preference.

Example: Which logo do you prefer? Which button would you be more likely to press? These are always good questions with two images side-by-side.

Your Move: By including two screenshots of your same website or two pictures of your logo and/or product with slight changes, you can get a vote from a relevant audience as to which they like best. Of course, if they like something better, they’re more likely to convert.

2. Ask about the likelihood of needing a particular product at any given time. 

Example: Do you plan on traveling this summer? Why or why not? This is a great open-ended question.

Your Move: Ask this type of open-ended question to find trends in your industry. For the example above, a travel agent could use this information to decide which packages to feature on the homepage of the website. If people are planning to travel in the fall, feature more fall travel destinations to help improve conversions.

3. Ask how much someone would be willing to pay for a general product.

Example: How much would you be willing to pay for the perfect pair of custom sneakers? The multiple-choice option usually works best for this type of question.

Your Move: By knowing how much someone is willing to pay for something, you can not only make sure you price your product correctly, but you advertise that on your landing pages. Go slightly lower than your average, and make an announcement that most people would pay X amount for X product. Having these statistics could help urge someone to convert, and you know you have that at a price point that really works (also important for conversions).

4. Ask what brand they think of most often when thinking about your industry.

Example: What brand do you think of first when you think SEO agency? An open-ended type works well here.

Your Move: This will give you insight into your real competition (and usually it will be local), so you can visit that company’s website and see what they are doing differently than you. The more aware people are of your brand the more traffic you will have, so spending time trying to give your audience something similar to what they are already responding to is important. Adogy.com has admitted to using this tactic to help gain ideas for their “Work” page.

5. Ask what promotional deal they would like best.

Example: What deal would you like best? Give multiple-choice options like Free Shipping, 20% off, Free Returns, Buy Two Get One Free, etc.

Your Move: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If people are going to click on a deal you’re offering, they’re already well on their way to converting—you may as well use the deal that the highest number of people like!

Extra Uses and Ideas

While conversion optimization is incredibly important and a great way to use the tool, it’s worth mentioning that Consumer Survey’s can give you answers to just about anything regarding your audience. Google highlights eight other possible uses:

  1. Concept and Product Development
  2. Market Trends
  3. Brand Tracking
  4. Marketing Design
  5. Campaign Measurement
  6. Timely Questions
  7. Customer Satisfaction
  8. Custom Survey Portals

Getting Started with Google Consumer Surveys

You can visit this link to get started with Consumer Surveys. It will cost you 10 cents per every question that is completed and $1.10 – $3.50 per completed question if you have participants answered 2–10 questions (10 is the limit). You should have your results within 24 hours.

Have you ever used Google Consumer Survey’s to improve your conversion rates? What did you ask, and did you find the data helpful? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.

The post Using Google Consumer Surveys for Conversion Optimization appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Using Google Consumer Surveys for Conversion Optimization

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82% of Marketers Aren’t Testing Effectively – Here’s Why

As conversion optimization becomes more of a priority in more and more companies, we’re seeing a lot of statistics on how marketers perform their tests, the tools they use and, most importantly, the tests they run.

These statistics are extremely important because they give us a window into what marketers are doing and how we can improve ourselves and our marketing strategies.

New research from Adobe uncovers two critical issues:

  • More than 8 out of 10 (82%) marketers say knowing how to test effectively is “somewhat” or “very” challenging.
  • Even more important (and distressing), nearly half (42%) say analyzing the A/B test results is the hardest part of conversion optimization.

Here’s the problem with that: Many marketing strategies and entire business plans are built on the results of testing and can, at times, completely alter products or services. This is why I chose to take a deeper look into these two stats, find the pain points and offer a few different ways to solve these issues.

Why analyzing tests is so hard

As with anything new, if you’re just beginning to test, it takes time to build a strategy. The most dominant strategy used today is the behavioral targeting strategy, or what many call the “testing elements” strategy.

In this strategy, one landing page is duplicated and gets a few small changes made to it. The most common changes are a different colored call-to-action button (green vs. red), a different title to the page, swapped locations of elements or a different main image.

The structure and the build of the original page remains the same, except for one change.

In the behavioral targeting methodology, we use the data we get on our users to personalize our landing pages—information such as the browser they come from, their geographic location, the time they came to the site and many other factors.

Below is a great visual by Visual Web Optimizer that shows the process of behavioral targeting.

Behavioral targeting

The issue with behavioral targeting (or testing individual elements) is that, once the test is completed and a winner has been declared, it’s difficult to understand the results.

For instance, if I change my main image on a landing page from a smiling woman to a cute puppy and the puppy variation wins, what do the results mean? Should I change my main site image to a puppy image? What have I learned from the test? And what do I test next?

By testing elements and not actual strategies, marketers find it extremely hard to learn from their tests and, more importantly, to scale them.

Unlocking Purchasing Habits

The key to scale, analyze and understand your tests is to test strategies, not elements, or as we describe it at Conversioner, test emotional triggers. Similar to any of your marketing efforts, conversion optimization needs a clear strategy and a plan for scaling based on your audience, not your product.

The idea of testing strategies comes from understanding why your customers want to buy your product or service. We’re not looking for the physical reason; we’re looking for the emotional reason.

People don’t buy products or services because of their features or their price. We buy them because of what they make us feel about ourselves. We see better versions of ourselves with these services/products, and that’s what motivates our purchasing habits.

Once you understand better what users receive from your product emotionally, you will be able to use different designs and elements to trigger these emotions and increase conversion on your landing page.

Testing Strategies

Emotional conversion optimization is based on testing strategies and concepts, focusing on why people buy products and not why they should.

So how does it look in actual practice?

Instead of two duplicated landing pages with one element altered for testing, each landing page represents a completely different strategy—with a different build, colors, images and messaging. The focus on these pages is not the elements. It’s what we want users to feel by landing on our landing page.

In the world of 2-second bounce rates, it’s important to understand that you have less than 3 seconds to convince your visitor that your product or service is the right one for them.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to make your users feel when they arrive on your landing page, you need to make sure they can feel this in less than 3 seconds.

There are two important elements you need to take into consideration to make sure of this:

  1. Our brains process Images 60,000 times quicker than text, meaning the image you show has a huge impact on your audience’s feelings and understanding of your product.
  2. Colors convey different emotions and can be used in many ways to direct users in the right way. You can find more information on the meanings of color here.

Let’s look at 2 case studies to see the difference between testing elements and testing strategies.

Case Study #1

In this case study, we’re taking a look at a presentation company. Their product allows you to build customizable presentations in a fast and easy way for any purpose. They had two immediate goals:

  1. Increase signups – get more people to sign up to their product
  2. Increase new presentations – get more people to complete the funnel and create presentations (not just sign up)

We started out by running our emotional trigger research and finding two main emotional triggers. Then we started building the pages:

  1. One page was built for a more tech savvy persona who prepares so many presentations, they’re starting to look alike and sound boring. The idea was to make sure they feel this product will be much easier than other presentation softwares but, more importantly, their presentations will stand out from their peers and be different.
  2. The second page spoke to a less tech savvy audience who has a hard time creating presentations. These are usually people who don’t create many presentations and find it extremely painful to create one. The landing page’s main goal was to make these people feel comforted and that they’re in good hands.

Variation 1:

Variation 1

Variation 2:

Variation 2

As you can see, each landing page is completely different from the other in design, color and, most importantly, in strategy.

The 10-day test run had 60,000 sessions. The results were a 316% increase in signups for variation 1 and 114.36% increase in new presentations.

Once the test was finished, we then moved on to testing different signup processes and a few other flow elements, but we didn’t do this until we finalized our strategy and realized what we want people to feel, which in this case, was special and different from their peers.

Case study #2

This case study was one of the first we ran for an e-card company. As is common, the company had a few common obstacles:

  • They have many competitors.
  • They’re the most expensive in their industry.
  • There’s no one-time payment, only yearly or monthly subscriptions.
  • Their product is a download product, meaning people have to download it to their computer before they can start using it.

This was their original landing page:

Original - Control

During our research, we worked on finding out what people want to feel from using this product. Finishing the research we mapped out two types of emotional triggers:

  1. Self image – These are people who want to have the best party, have their friends over and make sure they have the time of their lives. They mainly want to feel good about their decisions, plans and executions.
  2. Social image – These people want their friends and relatives to talk about the amazing event they had, the amazing host, the gorgeous invitation they sent and the perfect party in general.

To convey these feelings, we created two different landing pages:

Variation 1:

Variation 1

Variation 2:

Variation 2

Variation 1 won and increased immediate revenue by 65% and, even more interesting, it increased the yearly signups dramatically. What did this mean? People were not only purchasing a subscription, many of them were now committing to a yearly subscription rather than a monthly one.

One thing that is important about emotional targeting is that you don’t need to go to the end of the funnel to make an impact. The common scenario for companies that want to increase their revenue is working on their checkout process first. But with emotional targeting, it’s a good idea to start at the top of the funnel and make your way down.

A simple landing page can change not only the amount of downloads and signups but also the actual revenue without touching the checkout process yet.

The emotional targeting funnel results

The common conversion optimization funnel looks like the image below. You run a test and the results impact the top part of the funnel and then each part of the lower funnel grows a little accordingly.

Optimization funnel

With emotional targeting you can still start at the top of the funnel and yet the results are different. This is the funnel from our second case study. Downloads, for example, grew by 12% as opposed to the 65% in the revenue. This impact was received from a landing page test, not a checkout test.

Emotional targeting funnel

Figuring Out Emotional Triggers

In order to understand why your customers want to buy your product and what they want to feel from using your product or service it, it’s important to understand why people actually make decisions in life and what those decisions are based on.

Believe it or not, our decision-making as humans is mostly irrational. Although we like to think of ourselves as completely rational people who make our decisions according to hard facts and data, we’re far from it.

We don’t know what we want in life. We have no idea what’s good for us and what isn’t. So we typically make decisions according to our surroundings. Meaning we make decisions by the way things are presented to us.

The decision on which car to buy, what insurance to choose, what laptop to get and how to split our checkings account with our partner comes from our surroundings and of what we compare it to.

The way you present your landing page, call to action, messaging and colors have a huge impact on your user’s decision-making and, if you want to help people choose your product, there are certain cognitive biases, or triggers, you should take into consideration.

Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways. They’re basically unconscious thinking patterns or triggers in our brains that help us make decisions. I’ve summed up a few cognitive biases to give you examples. Used right, they can help you convert people quicker and understand what customers are looking for emotionally in your product or service.

4 common cognitive biases

Anchoring

This is one of the most famous marketing tactics. We’ve all experienced it, often unawares.

Anchoring is the tendency to rely on the first piece of information we received when making a decision. For example, the initial price offered as a salary is used to for the rest of the negotiations. Once an anchor is set, all options are considered while compared to the anchor.

Steve Jobs himself used this tactic to sell the iPad when it came out. He told people that the iPad should cost $999 and then proceeded to talk about the iPad while the price was on the screen behind him.

Then he came out with a dramatic announcement that the iPad will only cost $499.

Now compared to $999 that’s cheap. But is it? It only sounded cheap in comparison to the value Jobs had given it.

A few ways to use anchoring to your advantage:

  • On pricing pages – This is a common use. Create one pricing plan much higher than the rest, then present it first so people have the anchor of a higher price and are pleasantly surprised by the “reasonable” price of the others.
  • Limitations - This one is extremely interesting. By limiting something not by time but by number, you can get more people to take an action. For example, you only allow people to invite up to 5 friends. Before the anchor people might have invited only 2, but now that the anchor is placed, the average goes up.

Endowment effect

The endowment effect (one of my personal favorites) is a state of mind in which a consumer’s valuation of an object (any object) increases once they’ve taken ownership of it.

Meaning, once I have something, even for a brief moment I consider it as my own and will not easily part with it (that’s why we have so much old stuff in our houses that we can’t get rid of).

There are many ways and tips for using the endowment effect to its full extent increase conversion. Several ways include:

  • Free trials - The idea is simple. Once a customer has used the product for enough time, customized it and gotten used to it, they won’t let a small thing like a payment get in the way of keeping it. In the 1950s there were door-to-door salespeople who would offer vacuums and other appliances for trials periods, assuring people that they could give them back for no charge at the end of the trial. These were a huge hit. Nine out of 10 (yes, a full 90%) did not give the product back.
  • Exit pops – These are great way to catch your user’s eye before they leave the landing page and tell them that they’re about to lose all their information. Similar to the emotional targeting method, you need to think about how you want people to feel while seeing this pop up.

Decoy effect

This is a great bias for unlocking pricing page success. In general it means that when we’re presented with more than two options, we tend to choose the first option. Weirdly, it looks better even though it might not be.

Many companies use the decoy effect to direct their visitors to a specific pricing plan and increase sales. The basics of this bias is that people look for an easy way to make a decision, one that doesn’t require thinking or analyzing.

(Further tips for using the decoy effect.)

Hyperbolic discounting

This trigger is great for inbound marketing. Hyperbolic discounting is the tendency of people to prefer more immediate rewards that are worth less than larger rewards that are further away.

For example, people would prefer to get less discount on a service right now than to work harder to get a larger discount in the future.

A great way to use this is by offering several coupons and rewards to your customers for inviting their friends, writing reviews and spreading the word. Here are a few proven ways to use hyperbolic discounting for your inbound marketing.

Bottom line

As your conversion optimization tests take a larger part of your marketing effort, it is important to be able to keep these tests scaling and growing.

In order to be testing effectively you should start start focusing on your prospects’ emotional needs. By continuously researching your audience and identifying their emotional needs, you will be able to learn from your tests, understand them and know what to test next.

The post 82% of Marketers Aren’t Testing Effectively – Here’s Why appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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82% of Marketers Aren’t Testing Effectively – Here’s Why

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10 Conversion Psychology Resources That Will Make You a Smarter Marketer

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You don’t have to be Freud to understand how your prospects think. Image by Alan Turkus via Flickr.

Smart marketers know that conversion rate optimization is important.

We run A/B tests to test our assumptions, but we’re sometimes left to wonder what it is about the winning variation that just makes it convert better.

It doesn’t have to be a mystery. The beauty of CRO is that it’s grounded in human psychology. Yep, the stuff you learned about in school.

Understanding peoples’ motivations and behavior – the science of how to persuade – helps you create landing pages that resonate with prospects. More importantly, understanding psychology helps you create marketing experiences that delight and convert.

Here are 10 conversion psychology resources that will help you understand your customers – and make you a better marketer in the process.

1. Conversion Psychology: 10 Ways to Influence People Online

conversion-psychology-10-ways

What you’ll get

Gregory Ciotti‘s ebook is the most thorough introduction to influencing people online you’ll ever find. It’ll teach you patterns of human behavior and how to apply these insights to your marketing to build a loyal customer base.

What you won’t get

This isn’t a step-by-step guide on how to implement the right techniques for your business. The subject matter is quite theoretical – it’s up to you to take the high-level insight and create a plan that best supports your business model.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Personalization helps prospects convert and makes them more likely to become loyal repeat customers.
  • Many people value their time more than money – test emphasizing time saved (instead of money) and you could see a lift in conversions.

2. How to Persuade People Online: 17 Lesser-Known Jedi Mind Tricks

jedi-mind-tricks

What you’ll get

This blog post by Peep Laja will teach you how to leverage the power of influence to help you convert your prospects. Rather than jumping into widely known persuasion principles, it breaks down lesser-known techniques like how to be confident, the art of swearing and getting people to agree with you before you ask for a commitment.

What you won’t get

The principles aren’t explicitly about conversion rate optimization, but they equip you with some interesting psychological principles that you can use to your advantage when framing your offers.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Being confident and talking fast makes you more persuasive – and so can swearing, if you do it tactfully.
  • Balancing your argument by acknowledging opposing points of view can help make your argument more persuasive.

3. 15 Psychological Triggers to Convert Leads into Customers

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What you’ll get

This blog post by Akshay Nanavati will walk you through 15 ready-to-implement marketing tactics to strengthen your conversion rate optimization strategy: from getting attention with controversy to building anticipation. Each tip comes with an actionable takeaway and a first step for getting started.

What you won’t get

The strength of this blog post is in its bite-sized snippets. If you’re looking for in-depth analysis, you may want to pick up a book or two (or three).

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Human behavior is driven by the need to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Understand your prospect and what they want, and you’ll be able to leverage these triggers in your marketing.
  • Our rational minds are always searching for meaning and context – people are more willing to take action if you give them a reason (even if that reason is arbitrary).

4. The Psychology of Conversion Optimization: Psychology of the Brain

psychology-of-conversion-optimization

What you’ll get

This blog post by Stephen Macdonald will give you a crash course on the brain and how it works. What is it about the human brain that makes persuasion and influence principles true?

What you won’t get

This is another high-level theory resource. You won’t get an actionable, ready-to-implement list of tactics, but it’ll give you the knowledge you need to think about your marketing campaigns in a new light.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Conversion rate optimization requires more than a commitment to implementing best practices. As the author puts it, “Best practices will change but humans won’t.”
  • Brands that focus on listening to their visitors and understanding their motivations will be best positioned for success.


#CRO requires more than a commitment to best practices. Customs change – but humans don’t.
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5. The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Consumer Psychology

consumer-psychology
The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Consumer Psychology by Neil Patel and Ritika Puri (shameless plug)

What you’ll get

Neil Patel and I wrote this comprehensive 200-page guide to consumer psychology. You’ll get started by walking through the mind of today’s consumer, learning about color theory, the psychology of pricing and points of friction to avoid. The ebook is jam-packed with small tactics that lead to big results.

What you won’t get

If you’re looking for in-depth theory and case studies, this guide isn’t for you. It’s not an academic paper – it’s designed to be tactical with ready-to-implement marketing ideas.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Today’s consumers do tons of research before making a purchase decision, so make sure you’re playing your part in informing them about your product or service.
  • Different colors convey different meanings to different audiences. Understanding which colors resonate with your audience can help you run educated A/B tests.

6. 5 Psychological Principles of High Converting Websites (+ 20 Case Studies)

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What you’ll get

Though this blog post by Nate Desmond addresses the anatomy of high-converting websites, the psychological principles are worth testing on your campaign landing pages. The 20 high-impact case studies demonstrate how past experiences, simplicity and user-friendly design can contribute to a high conversion rate.

What you won’t get

To get the most out of this post, you’ll need a basic understanding of CRO and related terminology. Don’t expect guidance or an introductory overview. Be prepared to jump in.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Based on past experiences, prospects have certain expectations about your landing page. Understanding and adapting to these expectations will help increase conversions.
  • Your can make your pages more user-friendly (and conversion-friendly) by employing laws of behavioral psychology – but you still need to test.


Prospects have expectations about your landing page. Understand them and adapt.
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7. The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Centered Design

conversion-centered-design

What you’ll get

This Unbounce ebook by Oli Gardner is 68 pages of design-meets-marketing goodness.

It outlines the building blocks of conversion centered design, a discipline which uses design and psychology to create experiences that guide prospects toward completing one desired action.

You’ll learn how to run meaningful A/B tests, how to guide your prospect’s eye and how to leverage psychological triggers to increase the motivation of your leads. Plus, you’ll get a set of ready-to-implement conversion-based templates.

What you won’t get

CliffsNotes or shortcuts – this guide is thorough in both theory and application. Be prepared to take notes and start thinking about how you can apply what you learn to your landing pages and marketing campaigns.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Giving people a preview of what you’re selling (letting them “try before they buy”) can increase conversions and spark a sense of commitment that helps with retention.
  • Simply asking your prospects why they didn’t convert via a survey can give you some of the best insight – and some of the best actionable ideas for your next A/B test.


Talking to your prospects can give you some of the best actionable ideas for your next A/B test.
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8. Are We In Control of Our Own Decisions?

are-we-in-control

What you’ll get

In this TED Talk, professor of psychology Dan Ariely shares some of his research findings that show how human decision making can be unpredictable.

He provides an overview of behavioral economics and shows that our perception and biases sometimes dictate our financial decisions – and demonstrates how consumers can be guided toward making a certain choice.

What you won’t get

This talk is inspiring but it’s not explicitly about conversion rate optimization. It’s up to you to connect the concepts to your campaigns and use what you learn about human behavior to inspire game-changing A/B tests.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • Understanding that customers can make irrational and counterintuitive choices will open up your mind to questioning “best practices” and running A/B tests before you rely on assumptions.
  • Price anchoring and comparing your product to other alternatives (whether different pricing plans or the product of a competitor) can increase the likelihood of conversion.


Customers can make irrational decisions. Question “best practices” and always test for yourself.
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9. Psychology for Marketers: 6 Revealing Principles of Human Behavior

psychology-for-marketers

What you’ll get

This blog post by Ginny Soskey explains when it’s appropriate to use Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion: reciprocity, commitment, authority, social proof, liking and scarcity. It will also teach you how to appeal to consumers’ emotions without being unethical or going overboard (be persuasive without being a jerk!)

What you won’t get

You won’t get real-world examples of each principle in practice, though they do provide hypothetical examples.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • People like being consistent. If you make them commit with a small ask up front, they’ll be more likely to say yes to bigger “asks.”
  • Be likeable. If people like you, they’ll be more willing to do business with you.

10. How to Use the 6 Principles of Persuasion to Create Landing Pages that Convert

6-principles-of-persuasion

What you’ll get

This blog post by Sean Ellis looks at each of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion to show how they can help you optimize your landing pages to generate significant conversion lifts. For each principle, multiple case studies show how other marketers have successfully leveraged persuasion to create landing pages that convert.

What you won’t get

Though these principles worked for the companies represented in the case studies, don’t assume they’ll work every time. You need to test each of the tips to see if they’ll resonate with your audience.

Sneak peek: Lessons learned

  • People have a natural instinct to reciprocate favors, which is all the more reason for you to strive to always deliver value to your prospects
  • Testimonials and other social proof are universally accepted as being effective, but they can backfire if they feel fake.


Social proof is known to improve conversion rates – but it can backfire if it feels fake.
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Brush up on your psychology and become a smarter marker

These conversion-meets-psychology resources are packed with theory, case studies and tips for you to begin applying today.

Though it may be tempting to start with the actionable tactics that you can start A/B testing immediately, remember to make time for some of the more theoretical articles that will give you the skills to think critically and creatively about your marketing campaigns.

If you have a resource to add to this list, please share it in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

– Ritika Puri


freud-psychology

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10 Conversion Psychology Resources That Will Make You a Smarter Marketer

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So You Want to Do a Conversion Audit? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’ve launched your website and are steadily getting traffic, you may feel like the hardest part is over. The truth is, the real work has just begun.

Now your focus shifts from a design/development perspective to a relationship-building, client-centered one. You’re now an inspector, looking for all the little “leaks” in your website that are causing customers not to buy.

There are about as many reasons people don’t buy as there are stars in the sky, so rather than focusing on those, we’re going to look at how to remedy as many of them as possible through a series of steps—a task known as a conversion audit.

conversion auditSource: Placeit.net

What’s a Conversion Audit?

Also known as a website review, a conversion audit looks at your site from your customers’ shoes—pinpointing areas where improvements could be made that would strengthen your conversion rate. Typical areas of focus include design and layout, search engine optimization, social media optimization, checkout process, and content.

Remember that customers arrive at your website from various different points, and with a wide range of experiences. A conversion audit professional takes all of these routes into consideration when analyzing your site. With that in mind, here’s what we look for:

Design and Layout (Both Desktop and Responsive)

Even great looking websites’ conversion rates can flounder. What’s attractive on the surface may not be compelling enough to the end user. With that being said, conversion optimization professionals typically look at things that make it easier for the audience to visually scan the page, including:

Of course, it’s not enough to go on common conversion practices alone. We also look at how the site performs on mobile devices. Since mobile traffic currently accounts for over one third of all web traffic (and is inching closer to the 50% mark), not having a responsive, device-optimized design is just flushing potential revenue away.

responsive

With the advent of technologies like HTML5 and CSS3, there’s no longer any need to develop a separate mobile site. One site can conform to all resolutions and devices. Just go easy on the load time for smartphones!

Search and Social Optimization

You might not think search and social optimization would go together in the same sentence. They produce vastly different conversion results, it’s true. But since customers can enter your website from any number of channels, from an optimization perspective, we typically put these two together.

After all, there are dozens of factors that go into making your site perform well in search, why should those not bleed over into social?

optimized

Moz.com’s graphic on the elements of an optimized page. View full image here

Many people take great pains to optimize their search results, but social seems more like an afterthought, because the traffic is viewed as not as valuable. Let’s face it, how many times have you gone on Facebook to buy something? (Um, never!) But just because the intent isn’t there, doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of these visitors.

A good conversion optimization audit looks at how well your social efforts flow into each other and back to your original website. Because social results can also impact your search engine ranking, you want to have a fluid, seamless flow from each channel. That means doing things like:

  • Customizing your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages to incorporate the same style and tone used on your website.
  • Include branding and graphics from your website on your social properties
  • Promote the same friendly customer service and open discussion on your social channels as you do on your website
  • Give customers on social networks a more engaging reason to interact with you. Surveys, contests and quizzes are all great portals to encourage interaction.

Starbucks has done a phenomenal job of not only responding to customer issues, but also providing a consistent voice, tone and engagement level for all its fans.

starbucks-fb-pinterest

Notice how they invite users to participate by submitting their own photos, as well as voting on a contest for the best artistic cup design through Pinterest. It’s this kind of cross-channel communication that gets people to recommend, discuss and otherwise involve themselves in your offer.

E-Commerce Product Pages and Checkout Process

apple

Apple knows exactly how to design an engaging, beautiful and high performing product page. Click here to see more examples of best practices in e-commerce

A good conversion audit wouldn’t be complete without a closer look at the e-commerce process. This can sound overwhelming, but there are a few key points to consider when auditing your product pages and checkout, including:

  • Always-visible shopping cart, complete with an image of the item added, and the price (along with any discounts)
  • Customization or personalization options (if available)
  • Showing the number of steps to order completion
  • Incorporating free shipping (by far the biggest conversion-producer for e-commerce websites)
  • Use of security and trust seals where appropriate
  • Forms with easy-to-understand errors to let the customer know if they missed or forgot to enter something.

Of course, these are just a few of the many points to consider, but a good conversion audit will take them all into consideration and then make adjustments and test depending on one’s own audience and their expectations.

Content Writing

Browse the Web for any length of time, and you’ll see that for many sites, the content seems more like an afterthought than an integral part of the conversion strategy.

While the tone and voice of the content will differ depending on the audience and brand (you wouldn’t be conversational if you’re selling high-grade technical parts and components), but for most consumer-facing brands, an open dialogue can make a big difference.

chalkfly

ChalkFly, an office and school supply store, uses their content to reinforce that they’re a company you’ll love to do business with.

While every business is different, notable points include reinforcing free shipping, noting the return/exchange policy in plain English, demonstrating your differences in a way the customer can understand, and much more.

Good website content is an art as much as a science, and understanding what compels your users to action is all part of the visitor psychology process.

Wrapping Up Your Audit

It may look overwhelming at first, but a good conversion audit is both thorough and straightforward. By understanding your visitors’ needs and then structuring your site and all of its promotional outlets to meet and exceed those expectations, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition and truly have a site that converts to the best of its ability. Good luck!

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sherice Jacob.

The post So You Want to Do a Conversion Audit? Here’s What You Need to Know appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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So You Want to Do a Conversion Audit? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Dissecting Popup Anatomy: What Works & What Hurts Your Bottom Line

Popups get a bad rap.

To put it bluntly, people hate them.

There’s almost nothing online that’s more annoying than something getting in your way, interrupting your research, FORCING you to take time out just to close a window. Or worse—signing up for an email list you don’t care about just to keep reading.

Sure, things have gotten better from the all-out popup war that led to browser popup blockers, but just because the popup itself has gotten a little more sophisticated doesn’t mean it’s stopped being an unwelcome party guest.

Even in 2013, 70% of people thought irrelevant popups were really annoying, putting them on the same level as lottery scams.

popup anatomy

The popups we grew to hate. All caps yelling, the stench of desperation, and an all-out denial of the fact they’d already lost the reader’s interest.

Why They’re Still Around

But, let’s face it. Popups are still around and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

In fact, the reason they’re still around is because they work—better than almost any other lead generation strategy.

As annoying as the bad ones may be, marketers find popups nearly irreplaceable in increasing blog subscriptions and lead volumes.

In fact, Econsultancy found that an overlay can increase email opt-ins by 400%.

popup - placeitSource: Placeit.net

Bad Popup Anatomy: A List 6 Things NOT to Do

The flip side of this, though, is that a 400% increase in opt-ins doesn’t mean those subscribers are as high quality as the ones that actively seek you out.

Fortunately, you can use popups to dramatically increase your subscribers and leads while keeping quality in check.

When you break down the anatomy of a popup, there are good practices and bad practices, so we’ll explore both. But first, a list of anatomical characteristics to avoid:

1. Don’t use bully language
Your visitors aren’t stupid, so don’t treat them that way. You can’t trick them into giving you their email address by using clever wording and trickery. They can read right through it.

popup anatomy

There’s no need to insult your users like this. They’re intelligent people who can make their own decisions, so respect them for it.

2. Avoid being a conversion sell-out

Sometimes, less is more.

It’s entirely possible that 50 quality conversions can increase your bottom line more than 500 generic ones.

Don’t get caught up in the thrill of a 400% increase until you find out that it’s also significantly impacting your bottom line. When you do your A/B testing and data tracking, use the monetary value of each conversion as your deciding data, not just the number of conversions themselves.

3. Don’t use blanket popups
Blanket popups with generic messages don’t serve anyone, and may be irrelevant to your visitor, turning them off from your website and services forever.

For example, if you have a website that sells health supplements and you’ve got a popup pushing your latest weight loss pill, it might get in front of the eyes of a lot of people, but don’t show it to people who want to boost muscle mass.

Instead of blanket popups, customize them based on purchase and browsing history. At the very least, make them page-specific so you know you won’t be too far off the mark.

4. Don’t hide the X
You might be desperate for people to convert, but hiding the X and making it harder for people to get rid of your popup only makes visitors resent you more.

And, the less they resent you, the higher your chances are for a quality conversion.

5. Don’t get in the user’s way
People get online to do their own thing. They don’t want you to boss them around. If you’re going to use a popup that stops users from doing what they want, you need to have a very easy-to-see escape route.

Better yet, use a popup that doesn’t get in their way at all. It’s less irritating and you won’t get the annoying website reputation.

And the email IDs you do collect will be higher quality ones because it’s more of an elected opt-in than a forced one.

popup anatomy, bottom popup

Econsultancy’s popup is at the bottom of their page. It’s still noticeable, but doesn’t get in the way of scrolling, clicking and reading.

6. Don’t go popup crazy

In short, keep your popups in check and use them in moderation. Don’t use one on every single page, and definitely don’t use multiple popups per visit.

Choose a popup that offers the most value for each landing page, and employ it in a tactful manner. (Not right away, but ideally before they’ve already decided to close the window. Make Web World suggests a 30-second delay.)

The Anatomy of Page-Stopping Popups

Today, the most popular popups are light boxes and overlays. They increase opt-ins, but they do interrupt the user experience by forcing them to look at and interact with the popup.

lightbox, page-stopping popup

As soon as this page loads, a popup stops me from reading and requests me to like their Facebook page, even though I’ve already done so.

There’s a good side and a bad side to both of these, so you can’t really have a 100% win either way: to use them or not.

Since you know you visitors better than anyone else, you’ve got to decide whether or not the leads you get are worth interrupting your user experience and annoying them a little bit. A short stint of A/B testing should do the trick if you’re unsure. But these pros and cons will help you decide where to start:

Pros of Page-Stopping Popups

  • A significant increase in the number of leads and opt-in conversions
  • The ability to catch a reader’s eye with special value offers
  • Can use customized versions of popups to optimize online sales funnels

Cons of Page-Stopping Popups

  • Renders the site useless and forces readers to interact with something against their will
  • Lowering the quality of the visitor experience in exchange for lower quality leads
  • With too many, people become annoyed with your site and may stop visiting

The Anatomy of Hello Bar

Another, more recent popup option that doesn’t impede so much on the user experience is the Hello Bar.

It’s an app that lets you design custom bars that display across the top or bottom of your page—visible to the visitor while he’s scrolling and reading, but doesn’t force him to interact.

Depending on your goals, you can customize formats to drive traffic to a specific URL, collect email addresses, or promote your social media pages.

Even though it doesn’t get directly in the face of the visitor, it’s helped businesses like DIY Themes gain more than 1,000 extra blog subscribers in one month.

hello bar, popup anatomy, more subscribers

When creating your Hello Bar, you get to choose which goal most suits your needs: more traffic, more subscribers, or more social media followers.

Effective Popup Anatomy: 5 Things You SHOULD Do

Though popups get a bad rap for their ability to irritate Web surfers, their reputation shouldn’t stop you from trying them out.

There are ways you can actually make popups valuable rather than irritating, vastly increasing your leads and subscribers while making sure the leads have sales potential.

To make your popups effective:

  1. Be as unobtrusive as possible. To be clear this doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding overlay or page-stopping popups, but it does constant data checking if you do. For example, if you have a valuable well-designed overlay popup that gives you better bottom-line conversions than a message bar across the top of your page, use it. However, if the value of both are equal, opt for the message bar.
  2. Offer real value. Offer users something that will actually help them in return for their email address. Hint: “bi-weekly updates” isn’t nearly as valuable as “7 concrete ways to reduce your ad spend while increasing conversions.”
  3. Have a nice, minimalistic design. Use clear, direct wording with clear, direct images and design layout so your visitors know exactly what you’re offering them and whether or not they want to take part. Clarity wins over confusion every time.
  4. Use respectful language. Don’t try to shame your visitors into agreeing with your offer. It will only make them resent you for insulting their intelligence. Instead, when they feel respected, they’ll have respect for you in return.
  5. Use brand-friendly colors. Bright red and yellow are only acceptable in McDonald’s advertisements. In designing your popups, use your brand colors or colors your brand designer gave you in your color pallet.
popup design, popup anatomy, popup language

Social Triggers offers real value with their well-designed popup, while respecting the visitors who reject their offer.

What’s Worked for Your Business?

What are your thoughts on different kinds of popups? If you’re a marketer who’s employed popups in your on-page marketing, which types gave you the most improvement in your bottom line?

Check out some of Crazy Egg’s other posts on user experience, or read more articles by Chelsea Baldwin.

The post Dissecting Popup Anatomy: What Works & What Hurts Your Bottom Line appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Dissecting Popup Anatomy: What Works & What Hurts Your Bottom Line

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Pro Tips on Using Social Proof to Increase Conversions

Businesses and marketers are increasingly using social proof to create positive customer engagement around their products and services, which in turn can increase conversions that contribute to the bottom line.

After all, it’s not just about getting users to your website, but it’s about ultimately keeping them there to become a real customer. To do that, businesses need to understand exactly what social proof is and what techniques are best for promoting this highly effective marketing strategy.

social proof_placeitSource: Placeit.net

What is Social Proof?

People are driven by certain behaviors, whether they realize it or not, and one of them is sticking with the group. Plenty of research backs this up, such as the Asch conformity experiments. However, social proof in the marketing community simply refers to using these crowds and their input to create positive connections with a brand or business.

Essentially, your business wants to harness this very human urge to connect with other people, whether it’s friends or even anonymous users on the Web. Whenever people are talking about a business, or using its services, or connecting with it in large numbers through social media, this helps other people know that this company has value that people naturally want to be a part of.

Comments, User Reviews & Social Media

Nothing builds social proof like community. And nothing builds community like comments from real people.

Think about the comments that people leave on your landing pages that could lead to conversions. Comments can provide an absurd amount of social credibility if you take the time to respond and provide assistance to people.

The 86 (and growing) comments on this My Advertising Pays community page only drive up conversions and encourage people to buy the product:

community proof

Notice each comment has a personal response. This turned a normal review page into a full-out community where people are encouraged to participate. This “social proof” has only increased conversions for this page.

One of the most popular and effective methods for gaining social proof is through product reviews. A study by Harvard Business School demonstrated that a one-star increase in a business’s Yelp review led to an increase of sales between 5 and 9 percent. The study demonstrates that users are constantly evaluating what others are saying when it comes to making their purchasing decisions.

Amazon is perhaps one of the most famous business models relying on a customer review strategy to sell, especially when it comes to selling products. However, Amazon demonstrates the success of companies that allow users to provide input given the increased trust it produces in potential customers.

Social media is perhaps one of the most important strategies for generating social proof. But, you have to learn to optimize your social media credentials to drive conversions.

Using Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are all about connecting users to your site and landing conversions. In fact, something as simple as demonstrating how many “likes” you have from Facebook on your landing page has been shown to increase conversions even when all other elements between competing sites remain the same.

Publishing Stories & Testimonials

Building a network of stories and shared experiences around your site is important as well. Social proof is achieved when enough of these shared experiences generate other user stories based on the human desire to participate.

Examples include how your company’s app helps or entertains them on a daily basis or how your real estate company has led people to connect with the home of their dreams. No matter what company you’re running, it’s all about finding the human angle that speaks to a wide audience. If people can “visualize” your business’s services in their own lives through storytelling, this builds the social proof they need to connect with your website and company’s services.

A great way to successfully build social proof with users is through video testimonials. Allowing people to picture how others are benefitting from your company helps build an immediate and personal connection.

TopTenReviews did this with their Web hosting reviews and uploaded them to their YouTube channel. Using real people and real feedback data, they started producing videos that added more value and authenticity to their Web hosting review pages:

web-hosting-reviewTry placing a testimonial video directly on your landing page or upfront on your webpage, so it’s one of the first impressions a potential customer has when visiting your site.

Use Numbers Effectively

Statistics can also convince visitors that they should believe in your services. Examples include pointing to the number of clients you have, how many people have signed up for your website’s services, or how many people are using your product.

It’s not about just raw numbers either. If your business has worked with other well-known businesses, think about putting their logos on your website to help you leverage the credibility of other brands people know and trust.

If you’re a smaller business, stick to a smaller scale to generate social proof, such as individual reviews or testimonials that bring a more personal touch. As your numbers become more impressive, think about adding some of them to your website.

Basecamp, a company that provides project management tools to other companies, has a great landing page that you can really learn from:

basecamp-lander As soon as you come to their page, you’re introduced to how many people signed up for their service in the previous week, helping any visitor see that many others value this company. Basecamp also points out that over 15,000,000 people have used their services in total, which immediately indicates the “crowd” has accepted their service.

Additionally, the main page lists the companies that Basecamp works with, such as Etsy, Twitter and even NASA, which helps reinforce the quality of Basecamp’s brand. When you work with big companies like that, you immediately want to point it out. Finally, you can see projects finished by other companies using Basecamp, helping potential customers see how Basecamp’s tools can work for them. All of these factors help build social proof’ for anyone eager to try their services.

Conclusion

In closing, as social media networks have grown and the Internet has become ever more reliant on users and their input to sway public opinion, social proof is more important than ever. By following some of these strategies for building social proof, you can ultimately increase your sales and leads.

Did you like this article? Please check out my other Crazy Egg articles on conversion optimization here.

The post Pro Tips on Using Social Proof to Increase Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Pro Tips on Using Social Proof to Increase Conversions

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Crazy Minimal Homepage Increased Leads for an SEO Service Company from 1.39% to 13.13%

The split testing campaign I am going to talk about in today’s case study was named the “crazy minimal homepage” campaign. The change was no less crazy; the company decided to wipe off their entire homepage and show just the sign-up form.

The Company

TheHOTH is a white label SEO service company. They provide link building services for agencies and SEO re-sellers. On their website’s original homepage, they have a video & a sign-up form (above the fold), customer logos, testimonials as well as other necessary and good-to-have elements.

Here is how their original homepage looks:

thehoth_original_homepage

The Problem

TheHOTH was getting a decent amount of traffic on their homepage but their conversions were pretty low. They tested their headline and added / removed some page elements among other changes. But nothing brought them significant results.

The Research

They decided to dig some data to understand about the people who were signing up for an account. The analysis showed them that most of their sign-ups were coming from referrals, word-of-mouth and direct search.

The Hypothesis

The test hypothesis was that eliminating everything from the homepage and keeping just the sign-up form on the page would increase conversion of visitors to account sign-ups. They wanted to test this, as a substantial portion of visitors coming to their website were already familiar with the brand.

The Test

The company setup a split test with VWO and the traffic was split between 2 versions of the homepage: the original and the minimal homepage with only the sign-up form. The test ran for 30 days and close to 3000 visitors became a part of the test.

Here is how the variation page looks:

variation_page

The Result

The minimal homepage increased account signups for TheHOTH from 1.39% to 13.13%. Needless to say, this was a home run for them.

comparison_image

Why The Minimal Homepage Worked

  • Broadly traffic coming to a website can be divided into 5 mediums: direct, search, social, referral and paid.
    Majority of visitors coming on TheHOTH website were from the direct and referral category. Hence, they had some background knowledge of the company already. This was also true for the social traffic. A very large portion of their search traffic also came from branded keywords (see data from Alexa below). Hence, visitors of the website had a certain level of trust in the brand already. Probably to learn more about the offering the visitors signed up for an account since no information about the service was present on the landing page.
thehoth.com_search_keywords_overview

Challenges with a Minimal Homepage

1) Quality of Leads

A major challenge with having such a design is that many people will enter in to understand the product or service and may later realize that it is not a good fit for them.

Alternatively, this would give the company a lot of leads to educate and convince about the product / service.

Clayton at TheHOTH (who setup this test) explained that they are also concerned about the quality of leads that would enter the system unaware or less aware of the service. They’re solving this by adding more information after signup, reaching out to customers via phone & email, and implementing an educational auto-responder to deliver value to their signups.

2) Additional Pressure on Sales

More number of less quality leads would put an additional level of pressure on the sales department. They would have a hard time differentiating between the already motivated leads and those who entered just to understand the offering.

3) Low Trust

Since there is nothing except the sign-up form on the variation page, users have no way of finding out more about the company. This could lead to low trust.

It would be interesting to see the results of the test with a third variation that has the sign-up form on the left and a testimonial on the right hand side. (something like below)

Test suggestion for TheHOTH homepage

This was one interesting usage of VWO that came our way. I would really be interested in knowing your thoughts on why the crazy minimal homepage worked. And what do you think about it in general? Looking forward to hear from you in the comments section!

The post Crazy Minimal Homepage Increased Leads for an SEO Service Company from 1.39% to 13.13% appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Crazy Minimal Homepage Increased Leads for an SEO Service Company from 1.39% to 13.13%

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Branding & Conversion: Lessons From A Local Mechanic

At its core, marketing can be divided into two facets: direct-response and branding.

Direct-response is the most efficient of the two and results in the most quantifiable results, and that’s why I’ve spent most of my time discussing it in my previous posts. After witnessing an exceptional display of brand-focused marketing, however, I think it’s time we take a look at the branding side of conversions.

When You Need A Mechanic

I recently ran into some car trouble. After sifting through online reviews for local mechanics, I noticed that one company consistently rose to the top of the list. I checked out their website and then took my car in for service.

By the end of my experience, I had never been so thoroughly impressed with a local business. They did everything right and their customer service went far beyond the competition. At the end of the day, all I could think of was, “Business owners at The Daily Egg will want to know about this.”

So here we go: 4 branding lessons from a local mechanic.

1. Trust Is Everything

Like most consumers today, the first thing I did was search for online reviews. Virtually every location had a number of good reviews, but I noticed one in particular had lengthier positive reviews and, more importantly for me, zero negative reviews.

Unlike many local mechanics, this company actually had a website. And not just any website—this website was tailor made to build trust.

Perrys-website

As you can see, you are immediately greeted with a friendly yet experienced-looking face, the same face that greets you when you arrive at the garage. The design is simple and pleasing to the eye, and 80+ 5-star reviews are displayed prominently in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

As you scroll down on the homepage, the copy talks about a family company that has been handed down through the generations since 1968. At this point, I was intrigued, so I gave them a call.

When I arrived at the garage, the mechanic gave me his initial prognosis and described exactly what he expected from a test drive in confirmation of that prognosis. Our test drive resulted in everything he had predicted, giving me a great deal of confidence in his ability to fix the problem.

He also took the time to talk me through the diagnosis along the way and answered every question without even a hint of condescension.

By the time we were back at the garage, I was supremely confident that I had brought my car to the right place. After the checkup was complete, I received both a phone call and email listing exactly what was wrong with the car and which repairs required immediate attention.

The email even included pictures of the damage.

engine-issues

Each step of the process built trust with me and made me want to use this mechanic for future work.

Key Takeaways For Your Business

  1. Intentionally utilize your Web presence to establish trust. Preemptive trust will get customers in the door.
  2. Establishing expertise in your field will make customers less apprehensive about giving you their money.
  3. Continuously build trust throughout the transaction process. You want your customers to walk out the door with even more trust in your business than when they walked in.

2. Make The Entire Process Convenient

The most impressive part of my experience was the convenience. It’s as if my every need was planned for. I experienced ZERO friction.

For starters, the phone number AND store hours were listed prominently on the home page. I didn’t have to dig at all to contact them. Once I made the call, the representative offered to diagnose my issue free of charge. I could come by immediately, and they would be happy to take the car for a drive and let me know what was wrong.

Once I arrived, the mechanic had already been briefed on my car’s reported issues, so I did not have to repeat myself multiple times before getting help. I decided to get the issue fixed, and they immediately offered me a ride back to my apartment and pickup once the work was done.

A few hours later, I received a phone call informing me of the issue and an email with pictures and a detailed analysis of what was urgent, what could wait, and what preemptive measures were recommended.

At each step of the process, Perry’s Automotive made  it extremely convenient for me to get what I needed, even in ways I neither expected nor needed.

Key Takeaways

  1. Imagine yourself walking though a business transaction with your own company. Where can you make that process easier on your customers? What low-cost extras will add convenience and value to your product or service?
  2. Analyze your competition and offer something they aren’t offering. If you can surprise your customer, you’ve already won.
  3. Don’t be afraid of redundancy. I greatly appreciated hearing the same thing on the phone I was reading in the email. Neither the phone call nor the email cost Perry’s a penny extra, but having both improved my experience with their brand.

3. Superficial Extras Work

In many cases, consumers make their decisions based on price and quality. It can be easy to discount the superficial extras companies add in as gimmicks or cheap marketing ploys.

Sometimes, however, the superficial extras really work. I don’t really know how Perry’s stacks up to the competition on a price-to-price comparison, and honestly, I don’t care. Their prices seemed reasonable enough to me, and the trust they built with me was more than enough to make me choose their services, even in the presence of cheaper options. Read here for tips on creating this level of trust on your landing pages.

The finishing touch was the extras.

The first “extra” was the representative’s phone and office demeanor. He was genuine, engaging, and likable the entire time, and he made me feel that my value to Perry’s as a customer had nothing to do with how much money I spent on their services.

A few days after the work was finished, I received a card in the mail, thanking me for selecting Perry’s and inviting me to call with any future questions concerning car issues.

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Feeling positive about their service, I left a review online, and received this via email.

perrys-email

I’m a grown adult. I fully understand that none of these gestures significantly improve the actual value I’m receiving from their service. These are superficial extras, but they work because no one else is doing them.

I’ve never received a card from a mechanic. I’ve never received a thank you email for a review. I rarely experience quality customer service from phone or office representatives. When you put all these things together, I am left with a highly favorable impression of this company’s brand.

Key Takeaways

  1. Identify points in the sales cycle where you can further engage customers through extra outreach.
  2. Don’t limit yourself to improvements in price and quality. Superficial extras, if executed well, can set you apart.
  3. Your phone representatives are the initial face of your brand. Your company’s status in a consumer’s eyes is directly correlated to his or her experience with your customer service reps. Invest in getting this part right.

4. Your Product/Service MUST Be Excellent

From trust to convenience to superficial extras, none of it matters if you can’t competently deliver the goods with your service or product.

I loved the Web presence. I was impressed by the convenience. I appreciated the extras. At the end of the day, however, I wouldn’t have a favorable impression of Perry’s Automotive if they hadn’t done fantastic work on my car.

If your business is easily compared and contrasted with competitors, investing in excellence should be your #1 priority. For business offerings that function more like a commodities, where everyone’s product/service is created somewhat equal, the branding points listed in this article will help you differentiate yourself from the pack.

The baseline of any brand is the actual product/service itself. Once you have that down, use trust, convenience, and meaningful extras to get customers coming back time and time again. It worked on me, and it will work for you.

Bottom Line

Conversion optimization is all about the details of your landing pages — fine-tuning the elements that convey trust, offer a better user experience and moving people to action. These are, bottom line, the same things that drive sales in brick-and-mortar businesses.

If your business is digital. Apply these lessons to your website. If you have a physical business, apply them to both your website and the actual in-store experience. You can optimize your business for conversions, as well as your landing pages.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jacob McMillen.

The post Branding & Conversion: Lessons From A Local Mechanic appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Branding & Conversion: Lessons From A Local Mechanic

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How To Use Scarcity To Increase Conversion Rates

In 1962, Ferrari manufactured a series of sports cars called the Ferrari 250 GTO and sold them for $18,000 each. Only 39 were manufactured in total.

In 2004, a young man put the finishing touches on a website he was working on from his dorm room at Harvard. It was a site where people could connect with each other online, but only Harvard students could access it.

Today, one of those cars is worth over $50 million, making it the most expensive car in the world. And that website is worth more than $150 billion, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world.

When access to something is restricted, by being scarce or exclusive, the perceived value and demand for it increases. We always crave what we can’t have. We want to be the only one to own that rare item, or get admitted to that private club. And we’re willing to pay big.

Facebook wasn’t the first social network but, because they launched as an exclusive club for students of select universities, everyone wanted in. By the time they opened up to the public, they had a massive queue of people waiting.

The Ferrari 250 GTO is 50 years old. As a car, with its outdated technology and safety standards, it has almost no value. But because they are so scarce, they have immense value as a collector’s item.

Scarcity and exclusivity are powerful psychological methods of persuading people to buy. Customers sitting on the fence will be more inclined to purchase when they learn that the product they’re looking at might not be available to them.

While it wasn’t planned, it certainly worked well for Facebook and Ferrari. When implemented correctly, you too can use these methods to boost sales and increase conversions. We’ll look at 6 ways you can do this on your site.

exclusivity - placeitSource: Placeit.net

Limited Quantity

When you shop on Amazon, you might have noticed a large green sign telling you how many units are left in stock. In this example I’m shopping for a t-shirt and, when I click on one I like, I’m told there are only 4 left. I’m already interested in the shirt, but the limited quantity makes me think there’s more to it.

Amazon scarcity message

The effectiveness of this strategy increases with the need for the product. For example, if you want to travel somewhere and you’re looking at tickets online, a message telling you there are only 3 seats left for a certain flight forces you to make a decision quickly. If you don’t book it, someone else will.

Westjet scarcity message

Limited quantity implies that you can only use this strategy for physical products, but that’s not true. Appsumo has a digital product called the Monthly 1k course. It’s basically an online course that can be accessed by any number of people, but Appsumo uses scarcity to nudge people to buy.

Appsumo scarcity message

Here you can see a sign saying there’s only 276 ‘spots’ remaining. You can do the same thing for your digital product or SaaS business and artificially limit the supply.

However, you must be careful when doing this. If you tell people you have only 100 spots then stay true to your word. Stop selling your product after that 100 because, if you don’t, you’ll get called out and people will lose trust in you.

Out Of Stock

Wait, if there’s no stock left of an item, how are people supposed to buy it?

Actually showing that a certain item is not available can help if that item comes with alternative options that are available. Clothing comes in various colors and sizes and, if one size is sold out, it makes the other sizes more desirable.

Threadless does this well. For each shirt, they show you what sizes have sold out and how many are left of the remaining. You can’t purchase the sold out options even if you wanted to.

Threadless scarcity

Going back to the Appsumo example, you’ll notice that the limited ‘spots’ apply only to the Bootstrapper payment plan. Keeping this plan up on the site after all the spots are gone, with a ‘Sold Out’ sign, will serve as a reminder to visitors that they should get the Entrepreneur plan before that too sells out.

Current Demand

Scarcity doesn’t mean your product has to be in limited quantity. High demand for a product can create the same feeling as actual scarcity does, even if there are large quantities of the product.

When Apple announced the launch of the iPhone 5S, it was obvious that there would be huge demand for it. Apple has perfected supply chain management, so selling out wasn’t very likely. That didn’t stop people from camping outside their stores 4 days before the actual launch.

Hotels.com shows you how many people are looking for hotels on their site at the same time you are. First they show you the number of people searching the same day, establishing an overall demand for rooms on their site.

Hotels.com scarcity

Then, when you click through to a hotel, they actually show you how many times that hotel has been booked recently and how many people are looking at it at the exact same time.

Hotels.com scarcity

Hotels.com scarcity

Hotels.com scarcity

On Ruby Lane, you can see how many people have the product you want in their cart already. It urges you to buy the product before they can complete their purchases. The drawback of this approach is, if no one has the product in his or her cart, it looks like the product is unwanted.

Ruby Lane scarcity

Showing that your products are in demand works as social proof, but it also lets shoppers know that if they don’t buy now, someone else will.

Qualification

In the early days of Facebook, to qualify for an account, you had to be a student of Harvard. This almost implied that if you weren’t good enough to get into Harvard, you weren’t good enough to get into Facebook. They piggy-backed on Harvard’s reputation as an exclusive school to build their own exclusivity.

While Facebook was restricted to Harvard, it wasn’t a big deal outside the school. As they expanded to other elite schools, students of those schools became qualified to join the exclusive club. Now they started getting attention everywhere as people realized they too might be able to qualify for the site soon.

While Facebook eventually dropped its exclusivity, Quibb, a network where professionals can share news, doesn’t look like it will. They launched in 2013 and only allow qualified professionals to become a part of the network. You have to go through a manually reviewed application process and only 38% of all applicants get in.

Quibb scarcity and exclusivity

You may think that flaunting their elitism might turn people off, but the Quibb network is so strong that it only makes you want to work harder to get in. They have members from over 17,500 technology startups and companies, justifying their exclusivity.

Like Quibb, if you are pre-qualifying people to use your product or service, make sure you can justify it. No one likes being told they don’t qualify because they are not good enough. Quibb has solid and valid requirements for qualification, and that explains their success.

Memberships

In the movie ‘Up in the air,’ George Clooney is obsessed with collecting air miles. Finally, when he crosses the 10 million-mile mark, he receives a personal metal card with travel perks that most people dream of. It’s an elite status like no other.

In a survey conducted by Deloitte, it was found that businesses with a loyalty program were 88% more profitable than businesses without. Customers who enrolled in these programs spent four times as much as regular customers.

Being able to access restricted perks and deals makes customers more engaged. As part of the inside group, they become more emotionally invested in your company. They spend more on your site so that they can keep their benefits and remain a part of your select membership.

A loyalty program is one way of creating this membership. Customers who spend more on your site receive points or ongoing benefits. The more they buy from you, the more you give them in return.

You can also create a paid membership program on your site, where people pay a subscription fee to receive ongoing benefits. Amazon Prime is an example of this. Instead of giving out loyalty points to people who buy more products from them, Amazon lets any one access perks by paying a yearly fee.

Personal Invite

On April 1, 2004, Google launched a new product called Gmail. At the time, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail were already established, but they had space limitations. Gmail was said to be the next big deal in e-mail, with a whopping 1GB of space!

Everyone was curious about it. The space seemed like a game-changer, but there were also rumors about Gmail making money by reading e-mails and creating ads. It became the talk of the town, but most people couldn’t even access it.

Gmail was being rolled out slowly, on an invitation-only basis. Only someone with a Gmail ID could invite other people to the service, and their invites were limited. Gmail had become an exclusive club, and account holders were the all-powerful gatekeepers.

Everyone wanted an invite and soon people started selling one online for $150 and more. Gmail slowly kept increasing the number of invites till they opened up to the public in 2007, almost three years after they launched. By then, demand was huge, and Yahoo Mail and Hotmail were long forgotten.

Personal invites work because they make the person receiving the invite feel special. Try this on your site by reaching out to your top customers and subscribers and personally inviting them to take part in deals and product launches. Let them know how valuable they are and that they are part of a select few you have chosen.

Be Careful

There’s nothing morally wrong with using scarcity and exclusivity to persuade people to buy from you. You’re simply letting shoppers know that your products are limited and that they should make the purchase sooner rather than later. It only works if they are actually interested in your product in the first place.

However, you need to make sure not to overplay your hand. Creating exclusivity without any valid reasons will turn people away from you. Implying that your products are limited when they aren’t will erode customer trust. The last thing you want is to undermine all that trust you’ve built up over the years. If you’re going to restrict access to your product, let people know why and stick to that.

How are you using scarcity and exclusivity on your site? Has it made an impact on your conversion rates?

 Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sid.

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How To Use Scarcity To Increase Conversion Rates