Tag Archives: product

9 Landing Pages That Pissed Me Off and What I’d Do to Fix Them

My commentary on marketing — and the world in general — is very polarized. I despise bad experiences. And I get pretty excited when I see exceptional ones.

Friends who know me well have probably at one time or another experienced OBE (Oli’s Bathroom Experiences).

No, not that kind.

OBE is an ongoing rant about the shitty design of bathroom sinks. Weird thing to get angry about? Perhaps. A reflection of my obsession with designing effective and delightful experiences everywhere? Most definitely.

bathroom sink
Image by Till Naujock(link) via TheStocks.

I’m a bubbly person 99% of the time. But the remaining 1% I can be ever so slightly vicious. And it often comes out when I click on Google Adwords ads and see their corresponding landing pages. And of course during my visits to public restrooms.

With that in mind, I’m going to break down some real-life landing page samples that really caught my attention — for better or for worse.

Speaking of attention, I’ll be referencing my ebook, 23 principles of Attention-Driven Design, throughout, so take heed!

1. MultiTouch

multi-touch-high-res-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Above-the-fold experience

Firstly, the headline: “Marketing simplified!”. How original. Instead of simplifying marketing, MultiTouch should focus on simplifying its messaging.

Then there’s the hero shot. Let’s see what this businessman in a suit — who’s reenacting Minority Report for us in a way that’s not at all cheesy —has to offer us. Nothing. And the screenshots? They could benefit from some captions, so I know what’s important or different.

Side note: The company is called MultiTouch — emphasis on “multi.” So why is the guy only using one finger? See what I did there?

Let’s explore what the hero shot should be doing, with a definition from the awesome Angie Schottmuller during a recent webinar all about hero shots:

hero-shot

You’ll notice there are seven qualifying qualities of an effective hero shot: relevance, context, value, emotion, support, education and persuasion. How many of those seven things does our generic business dude pull off? None. Zero. Nada. Zip.

So the next time you’re choosing your hero shot, think of an image for each of the seven qualities. That should put you on the path to a visual that has impact, purpose and benefit.

To quote Unbounce’s own Dan Levy: “Next problem please.“

Subhead fail

Onto the subhead: “Generate leads – Drive sales – Measure ROI.”

Like most subheads, this line adds a little more clarity to the context; however, at this point I still don’t know if MultiTouch offers a software product or provides a service. And that’s critical information for the fleeting visitor to your landing page.

Perhaps MultiTouch could qualify the three statements with a unique aspect of its service to add more clarity:

  • Generate higher quality leads by unique qualifier.
  • Drive higher value or more sales by unique feature.
  • Measure ROI across all channels with our describe analytics feature.

Directional cues?

Throughout the page there are these little back-to-the-top links. This is really old-school web design. People already know how to scroll, so don’t worry about helping them get back to the top of the page. Rather, worry about getting visitors back to the CTA.

If you are going to add linked directional cues, make sure they take visitors back to the form.

Call to Action

CTA screenshot

Yes, I have heard enough — so let’s assume that I have sufficient details to make a buying decision. I’d recommend moving the call to action (CTA) closer to the question, “What is marketing automation you ask?”, using a contrasting color to attract attention (orange would work brilliantly here) and giving it some affordance.

The greater the perceived affordance (the manner in which the design implies how it can be used), the simpler it is to understand the presented interface. In other words, if it looks clickable, it provides a signal to the visitor that it can be used and interacted with.

Here’s a simple diagrammatic exploration of affordance.

Button affordance

One thing to keep in mind, though, is if the button is part of a well designed form (with a container that encapsulates it), affordance is less important, since the form fields imply an interactive element at the end of the form. But when placed in the middle of a page, in the middle of crowded or messy content, strong affordance (coupled with a contrasting color) can help the button stand out and be more of a target of our attention.

Huh?

Next up we have four screenshots of… Unbounce landing page templates. How naughty!

Landing page templates

Might have to have a conversation in a dark alley with these folks.

Features screenshot

And what else do we have here? Really? Powerful features? Stop telling me that your party is awesome, and just throw an awesome party.

Wait, one more section. Check out this delightful messaging…

Landing page screenshot

“WE WILL NOT ABANDON YOU!” Stop scaring visitors away with desperation!

At this point, I’m kinda lost on how to save this page. It needs to be deleted, and started from scratch. Enough. Undo. 404 or 301 this puppy. I’m abandoning you!

2. Get Response

Above-the-fold experience

Is the fold even a thing anymore?

Regardless of your perspective on this, it’s still nice to see a well architected above-the-fold experience.

get-response-650
Click for full-length landing page.

I really like the video hero shot here. When designing a video player, there are several characteristics to consider: the container, caption, poster frame (default image seen prior to clicking play) and play button.

  • In this case, the container is a fairly standard Apple laptop which conveys the online software aspect.
  • Here there is a descriptive caption up top with a nice little directional cue. People are drawn to captions placed in close proximity to images and video, as they lie outside of the container, thus breaking the flow of its perimeter.
  • The poster frame showcases an email template and how it would look on a phone, along with a visual of the tool. It is a little busy though, and could benefit from a simpler visual or some callouts pointing to elements.
  • The play button would be a little more obvious if it used a stronger contrasting color. It’s a good idea to isolate the CTA by not using its color elsewhere. Here it’s at least reserved primarily for the interactive elements on the page, which is good for consistency.

I would like to see this page with fewer links, thereby focusing visitors’ attention only on watching the video and clicking the call to action. Specifically, let’s have a closer look at the “View Pricing Plans” link under the CTA.

In my experience, links placed beneath the CTA tend to cause a drop in conversions. Here the pricing plans link may be a hindrance, and must be verified through testing.


Anything placed in close proximity to your CTA should be A/B tested – it’s a sensitive area.
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Beyond the fold

It’s a very long page, and what I like to do with long pages is to look at the scroll map data to see how far people are getting down the page. If they’re not scrolling, I’d be really interested in doing a long page versus short page test here. In fact, I’ve rebuilt this page in Unbounce to show how quickly you can come up with a new variant to test.

In this video I rebuild the Get Response landing page to create a short version fit for an A/B test.

I spent a few minutes touching up the finer details (text color and page copy) and you can see the final page here.

unbounce logo icon - light backgroundBuild Landing Pages Quickly & Easily in Unbounce Start your 30-day trial now

3. Ford Employee Pricing

This one came to me as a commercial on the radio while driving the streets of Montreal in a little Car2Go. Employee pricing for everyone — woo-hoo! You pay what we pay. Awesome, right?

ford-employee-pricing
Click for full-length landing page.

What the actual?

Let’s talk about the principle of Distraction for a second. The Attention Ratio on this page is 86:1. And nowhere on the page does it mention employee pricing. It’s making me think of bad sinks again. Ever heard of Message Match? Apparently not.

This is a classic case of selfish marketing: expecting me to hunt around the site to find the offer that was advertised.

Do better, Ford. Do better.

And then something interesting happened when I returned to the site a few hours later.

ford-website-upon-return

It seems Ford got its act together a little bit and featured the promo in question. However, it wasn’t there when I (and countless others visited), so it’s still a fail.

There are still a ton of things wrong with the page, but at least Ford’s managed to fix the Message Match problem.

You did slightly better, Ford. You did slightly better. But not when it counted.

4. Zendesk

I love Zendesk as a brand. The team does some exceptional marketing… most of the time. Take a look at the landing page below that was the destination of an AdWords ad. For starters, it’s not a landing page at all — it’s their website. That’s mistake number one. I also want to draw your attention to the order of the copy on the page.

zendesk-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Information Hierarchy

Information Hierarchy is concerned with the order in which the copy on your page is presented — both in literal terms (which comes first) and in terms of the visual dominance (what stands out most).

Here, the primary headline doesn’t tell me anything about the software: “From now on, things will be better.”

Now take a look at the subhead — it contains all of the clarity missing from the headline: “Zendesk is software for better customer service.”

If I’d read the subhead first, I’d immediately know what Zendesk does. I call my solution to this phenomenon The Headline Flip.

Go look at your own landing pages and flip the headline and subhead. Does it add clarity? If so, consider reworking the order or just change the headline entirely to give it more substance.

Then run a five-second test on Usabilityhub.com and ask the question, “What does this product/service do?” to see if you have increased the page’s clarity.

5. KeyShot 5

Remember when I talked about Information Hierarchy? Well, I’m not quite done. Check out the landing page below.

Where’s the logo? Where’s the name of the product? Where’s any form of indication as to what’s going on? I have to get beneath the hero shot and the form before I even get a sense of what I’m looking at.

keyshot-5-650
Click for full-length landing page.

The hero shot is beautiful, but at first glance doesn’t tell me that this page is for rendering software. The keyword I used to get to the page was “animation software,” which provides some context. But still, I wonder if an image or video of the software itself would demonstrate much stronger context of use.

Form(ula)

The form doesn’t do much to clarify the offer, either. Form-first design is when you design your form as if it’s the only thing on the page, allowing it to communicate exactly what will happen when you interact with it.

Here the CTA says “Download,” but it could be way more specific. Rewording the CTA to say, “Download 15-Day Free Trial,” for example, would again help qualify the product as digital software.

Still on the topic of the form: inline field labels suck! They’re a usability – and hence conversion – nightmare.

The reason being that once you click in the field or start typing, the label disappears. You might think this isn’t a big deal, and that people will remember what the label said. Not true. People forget, then they click outside the form so the label shows up again before repeating the exercise.

This is especially problematic on mobile since you often can’t find any space outside the form to click to reset the label. You can click another field, but then you might want to fill in that one — but wait, you can’t see the label.

I will, however, give KeyShot bonus points for using field labels that stay in place when you click the field — disappearing only when you start typing. This is not a bad experience for the most part. And on mobile, there’s a good amount of whitespace around the form to allow scrolling past the form if you want to keep exploring. Now, with all that said, there are a few exceptions to avoiding inline field labels:

  • When there’s only one field, because it’s easy enough to remember that you just need to type in your email address
  • When the label remains static but faded in the background, instead of disappearing when typing commences

Cognitive overloading

Cognitive load describes the build-up of mental fatigue when going through a bad experience. Each complex or confusing aspect of the page adds to this load and impedes our decision-making ability, and ultimately the desire to continue.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the fifth form field. The label is a non-question that’s formulated as a question. “Modeling software?” WTF? Are you asking me whether I think this is modeling software? If you recall my initial reaction above, I didn’t know that the page was for modeling software. This is a stress point, guaranteed to make someone stop and think.

Finally, at the end is a captcha — those evil little buggers that ask you to interpret the squiggly words and type them into a box. If you’re going to include a captcha, at least add some instruction so visitors know what to do.

Subhead woes

yay-business

Further down the page, take a look at the subheads. This is a classic example of “Yay Business” copywriting.

Read them out loud: Easy! Powerful! Fast! Integrated! Accurate! Large data sets!

Gross.

Subheads should convey benefits, which KeyShot hasn’t done. Adding qualifiers to each subhead would add significant value. But that’s enough for this page.

6. RoomKey

Assumptions

A big reason for a lack of clarity on landing pages is assuming your visitors understand your acronyms and jargon. In this case, it’s PMS, which obviously has a more widely understood meaning.

roomkey-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Perhaps the target market is 100% familiar with the term, but I’d be making an assumption, too, if I thought that.

Check out the headline: “Quick implementation of what & training in what with RoomKeyPMS”.

When you look at it like that, you can see there are holes in the headline and its ability to clearly state the page’s purpose.

I’m really struggling to see what the hero shot is trying to convey here, too, apart from the weird cloud computing reference.

To better showcase the app, I’d suggest using a video or an animated GIF — a popular design trend sweeping through the landing page world — or a simple screen capture video set to autoplay. It quickly demonstrates aspects of the interface in a more compelling way, and allows you to showcase an important feature. Check out the short Wistia video we use on the Unbounce homepage (below the image of the dude).

Scannable testimonials

It’s dangerous (not shark-infested-custard dangerous, but still) to assume that people will read your entire page, but if you have good social proof, you want to encourage people to read it.

A rule I like to go by for any big block of text is that if you can’t find an excellent sentence or phrase to highlight, then you have shitty copy.

For a testimonial, you want to break up the text with a bolded statement, and, similarly, if you can’t find one that’s compelling, your testimonial isn’t going to do its job. Try to find that gold nugget that explains the pain relief, benefit or game/life changer and bold it to break up the text.

In this case the testimonial is generic business rhetoric that has almost zero worth. I’d source another, or reach out to the customer again to uncover that gold.

7. Qlik

I really like the value proposition here, primarily because business analytics is a complex and frustrating realm. Qlik claims the software is simple and intuitive — let’s see if we can say the same for the landing page.

qlik-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Overall, I’m a fan of the design, but I can’t help feel that the most important part of the hero shot (the screenshot of the software) has been relegated to being secondary. The two tins are so big — for no rational reason — that the screenshot is too small to read. I’d suggest bumping the size of the hero shot by about 50% and making the surrounding elements smaller.

The most benefit-laden sentence in the opening paragraph is, “Discover more insights from your data in just five minutes.” I’d recommend bolding this and putting it on a line of its own to make sure people see it. It might even make sense to put it in the headline/subhead, or as a caption to the hero shot. Doing so connects the software directly to it’s benefit.

Also, in one of the bullets “analyzing multiple data sources” is referenced — some specificity would be good here. What kinds of sources can I integrate with the software? Will it pull from Google Analytics, AdWords?

Form-First

For the form, I notice a wasted opportunity to include an important subhead that highlights another strong benefit, in case the visitor’s gaze is drawn immediately to the form area, like the example opposite.

8. Adobe

Seriously? You want me to read all of that copy? It looks like a legal document.

adobe-ad-lens-650
Click for full-length landing page.

The design of a landing page will often affect how people perceive the content that’s being given away. If this datasheet is anything like the landing page, it’ll be dull as sh*t.

The only time you’re told what you’re going to get by interacting with this page is that small bold line of copy at the bottom of the left column. It’s a datasheet. What’s a datasheet? Is it industry data? Is it just a list of technical specs about the software?

Give me some bullets that tell me what I’ll learn and why I should care. Add some bolding to the large paragraphs of text, and maybe give me a preview of what’s in the datasheet: a few key highlights and how they will impact my business.

To be frank, the page is a bit cold and corporate.

To quote Unbounce Office Manager Charm Singh: “BORRRRRRRRING!”

In fact, I’m so bored with this page that I’m going to rebuild it in Unbounce to see if I can break apart the content a bit, and put more emphasis on the datasheet part.

In this video I rebuild the Adobe AdLens landing page in just 10 minutes, and make some improvements at the same time.
unbounce logo icon - light backgroundBuild Landing Pages Quickly & Easily in Unbounce Start your 30-day trial now

9. Avalaunch Media

avalaunch-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Readability issues

Readability is an important part of clarity, and the headline is cut off in a way that makes it difficult to parse. I’d consider moving the line break from

“GET A FREE $1,250 PAY
PER CLICK AUDIT…”

to

“GET A FREE $1,250
PAY PER CLICK AUDIT…”

Now each line can stand alone and still make sense. The intro paragraph also suffers from readability issues. The type is so skinny that it looks sketchy on top of the background image.

If you have to squint to read, you probably won’t bother.

Looking at the form, I’m not sure what the process will be to get my free audit. Does Avalaunch do the audit and email it to me? Will it be a consultation over the phone? It’s important to establish a sense of expectation so the visitor isn’t left wondering what’s going to happen. I’d suggest placing this information beneath the CTA or, perhaps even better, above the first form field so the expectation is set before visitors start entering (or not entering) their info.

Next up, the subheads. You’re probably noticing a common thread on a lot of these pages: the subheads are completely throwaway and meaningless to the scanning eye. Let’s run through them:

A simple exercise for better copywriting

Write down all of your landing page copy in a document and make sure every single word is congruent (aligned) with your campaign goal. Start with a skeleton outline so you have the main headline and a series of subheads. When the outline tells a coherent story, move on to filling in the story with the details of your campaign.

Testimonials need meat

The first testimonial on this page is really bad. The customer wanted an increase in search traffic. How much did Avalaunch increase it by? What did Avalaunch do to achieve this?

For the second testimonial, how did Avalaunch help its client achieve their goals? The more specific (without giving away your secrets) the better.

Wrapping up

Phewf. That was a lot of ranting. But hopefully with enough juicy fixes and recommendations that are transferable to your own marketing efforts.

For even more juicy tips and tricks, I’d highly recommend downloading my latest ebook, The 23 Principles of Attention Driven Design, where I explain how to combine data and design to create more persuasive landing pages. It will help you to establish a common language with the designers and marketers on your team, which leads to better design decisions and more enjoyable discussions around conversion.

Originally from: 

9 Landing Pages That Pissed Me Off and What I’d Do to Fix Them

Designing The Most Desirable Product: Exploration of Banknotes Design


As digital technologies are implanted deeper in the world, making more and more aspects of life intangible, it’s hard to imagine the world without any kind of banknotes, or paper money. In the dramatic history of our world, money became not just generic objects of payment, but also symbols of societies.

Designing The Most Desirable Product Of All Time: Paper Money

Combining utility and exclusivity, money is one of the challenging objects to design. And as with any complex task, currency design holds some valuable lessons for us, web designers. This article is an attempt to formulate some of these lessons and, therefore, draw your attention to the inspirational nature of paper money.

The post Designing The Most Desirable Product: Exploration of Banknotes Design appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

See original article here: 

Designing The Most Desirable Product: Exploration of Banknotes Design

3 Brilliant Copywriting Formulas for Crafting More Persuasive Landing Pages

You know that telling a story is a great way to write high-converting landing page copy. Thing is, you might not fancy yourself much of a storyteller. As much as you appreciate a good tale, when you go to spin one yourself, your words fall flat (and so do your conversions).

But what if there was a formula you could follow to piece together a compelling narrative that’s sure to resonate with your ideal customer?

Better yet, what if there was an entire toolbox of formulas you could use?

persuasive-copywriting-tools-and-tips-650

In our latest Unwebinar, expert copywriter and Write With Influence founder Amy Harrison shared three easy-to-follow-but-super-effective formulas for piecing together a captivating story on your landing page.

Watch the webinar recording here, or keep reading for a summary of three new formulas for your landing page copywriting toolbox.

unbounce-blog-cta-webinar-recording-Amy-Harrison

Tell a story no one’s heard before

The story you tell on your landing page should be compelling, but Amy explained that it also has to be unique:

You want to show that what you have is valuable, but also different from the competition.

Even for verticals like real estate where offerings are similar across competitors, you can still stand out by telling a different story.

Easier said than done, though, right? But Amy’s got a tool to help.

Tool: Combination Uniqueness, AKA The Headline Shaker Maker

combination-uniqueness-shaker-maker
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

The table above allows you to break down each of your product or service’s features, along with all the ways it impacts your customers: results, opportunities, problems solved and emotional benefits. And then there’s a column for adding a smidgen of urgency to your offer.

Here’s a table she filled out for a client who offers English courses for international businesses:

combination-uniqueness-shaker-maker-example
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

Amy explained that while you might have similar features to your competitors, laying out all the key elements of your product or service like this allows you to reveal unique elements that you can highlight in your landing page copy.

These were the elements she identified as being most important to her client’s prospects:

combination-uniqueness-shaker-maker-example-highlight
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

With that, Amy was able to put together a strong unique value proposition statement — which she explained is an important building block for writing strong landing page headlines in particular:

Instead of coming up with a headline out of thin air, we’re taking a couple of steps to highlight things that you know are important to your customer.

In other words, instead of having to write headlines based on everything you know about your product, you can craft it out of a few key pieces. The result? Super-targeted, unique headlines that are sure to woo prospects.

Here are some of the headlines she wrote for her client, based on the highlighted elements above:

  • Compete for (and Win) New Business Internationally with Workforce Fluent in English
  • ABC English for Employees: Helping your Business Expand into New Markets
  • See Employees Using English Accurately and Confidently in Just 6 Weeks

Amy explained that these headlines will help her client stand out from competitors offering this service, who might have plain headlines like, “English Classes for Employees.”

Her headlines are targeted to a customer’s interest, which helps the headline sound unique by striking to the heart of what the customer wants.

Or as Amy puts it:


Make your customer feel like your headline is written just for them & you’ll stand out. @HarrisonAmy
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Tell a story that cuts deep with prospects

If you want prospects to believe that you have the solution to their problem, then you need to show them that you understand that problem to begin with.

And as Amy explained, this can be achieved by speaking to your visitor’s symptoms.

Tool: Use symptoms in your copy

Symptoms, Amy explained, are “vivid situations that occur in your customer’s life as a result of the problem that you solve.” While a doctor may know that a flu is the problem, a patient uses different, symptom-based language: they describe their fever, lethargy and aching bones.

Incorporating symptoms into your copy is an effective strategy because they:

  • Get prospects nodding along with you.
  • Show prospects that you have a super intimate understanding of their problem, which makes them more likely to be receptive of your solution.

Amy illustrated with a poor example from another one of her clients, an analytics firm:

analytics-firm-problem-copywriting
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

The issue with the excerpt above is that it leads with the solution without first identifying with the visitor’s symptoms. This is problematic because the company’s competitors offer that same solution. There’s nothing to distinguish the two competitors in the mind of the visitor.

But here’s a rewrite of the above, instead leading with the symptoms of the prospect’s problem:

analytics-firm-symptoms-copywriting
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

This copy highlights a specific symptom that will get prospects nodding their head “yes” and feeling like this firm understands their problem and is uniquely qualified to offer a solution.

Amy also shared a formula for incorporating symptoms naturally into your landing page narrative:

  1. Here’s what you may have recognized (symptoms)
  2. Here’s what causing them (problem)
  3. Here’s what you need to do (cure)
  4. Here’s what’s possible if you do (results)

What does this look like in practice?

symptoms-in-landing-page-copy-amy-harrison
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

Showing this depth of understanding demonstrates to prospects that you understand where you’re coming from — and it paints you as an expert.


Use symptoms in your copy to show that you feel prospects’ pain and are uniquely qualified to help.
Click To Tweet


Tell a story with a happy ending

As much as you want to show prospects that you understand how their problem impacts their life now, you also want to paint a picture of how things could be with the help of your solution.

Aaaand you may have guessed it, but Amy’s got a tool for that, too.

Tool: The Impact Table

The Impact Table is a tool that Amy uses to take each feature and clearly articulate what the impact will be on prospects’ lives — on both a practical and emotional level:

the-impact-table-amy-harrison
Features are hard facts about your service of product, whereas Results and Emotion are the benefits it brings prospects. Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

As Amy puts it:

An Impact Table gives you an at-a-glance view of the transformation you provide to customers – while showing how you do it.

Here’s the Impact Table in action, using an example of a conference company that holds many conferences each year. Note that Amy filled the table out for a single feature:

the-impact-table-amy-harrison-example
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

Amy explained that looking at these individual elements makes it easier for you to then build out sentences for your landing page:

impact-table-build-sentences
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

Here’s an example of copy that she put together for the conference company, based on their Impact Table above:

impact-table-build-sentences-example
Image via Amy Harrison’s recent Unwebinar.

Using the Impact Table ensures that you write landing page copy that speaks to the things that customers are truly interested in. And Amy encouraged attendees to be as specific as possible:

The more specific you are, the more persuasive your landing page copy will be.

Will your landing pages have a happy ending?

Most authors won’t sit down to write a story without having some vision of the beginning, middle and end.

Similarly, before you can tell a unique and compelling story on your landing page, you need to know all your plot points: the things prospects need to hear in order to convert — which is exactly what Amy’s copywriting formulas will help you uncover.

Happy writing!

Read the article: 

3 Brilliant Copywriting Formulas for Crafting More Persuasive Landing Pages

Principles Of HTML5 Game Design


Visual effects in games define their overall look and feel, and gameplay. Players are attracted to high visual quality, which generate more traffic and reach. It’s key for creating successful games and providing a lot of fun for players.

Procedural curved line

In this article I want to present a few ideas of how to implement different visual effects in <canvas>-based HTML5 games. These examples will be based on effects we made in our game, Skytte. I will explain the basic ideas supporting them and provide the effects used in our work.

The post Principles Of HTML5 Game Design appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Originally posted here: 

Principles Of HTML5 Game Design

Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce

“Buy me those chocolates.”

The kid said sternly, pointing his stubby finger at a big jar of sweets on the shop counter as they waited to check out.

The counter guy grinned. I smiled. The mother winced.

She just got cross-selled.

In 2006, Amazon reported that cross-selling and upselling contributed as much as 35% of their revenue.

Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues according to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

There’s no reason why upselling and cross selling shouldn’t work for you. In this post we look at:

What is Upselling and Cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are cousins of well, selling.

Buy a cow from me and I’ll offer you a better one for 50 bucks more: the better cow is an upsell.

What is Upselling?

Buy a cow from me and I’ll throw in a haystack for 5 bucks: the haystack is a cross sell.

What is cross-sell?

Upselling is a strategy to sell a superior, more expensive version of a product that the customer already owns (or is buying). A superior version is:

  • a higher, better model of the product or
  • same product with value-add features that raises the perceived value of the offering

How Macy's Upsell

Upselling is the reason why we have a 54” television instead of the 48” we planned for; the reason why we go for 7 day European Sojourns instead of 5 day simple French Affairs. It’s also the reason why we have unused annual contracts thinning away under silverfish attacks.

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell related products to the one a customer already owns (or is buying). Such products generally belong to different product categories, but will be complementary in nature. Like the hay-stack for the cow, or batteries for a wall-clock.

Cross-selling is a battle ready strategy. Here’s how McD does it: McDonald’s keep their apple pie dispensers right behind the cashier, in full view of customers. A year ago, the head of the U.S. division for McDonald’s Corp., Jeff Stratton, said in an interview that he felt moving the dispensers to the back kitchen area would probably cut apple pie orders by half.

Upsell and cross-sell are the reasons we buy things ‘just in case’.

There is one more popular selling technique known as bundling. Bundling is the offspring of cross sell and upsell. You bundle together the main product and other auxiliary products for a higher price than what the single product is sold for.

What is Bundling in eCommerce?

By bundling together the camera and two very related (even essential) products, Flipkart makes a compelling offer. Notice how there are multiple combos available.

Bundling in Action - Flipkart

Bundling is also quite often used along with a discount to increase the perceived value of the offering. Here’s more on the benefits of bundling.

Pure Bundle or Mixed Bundle?

Pure Bundling is when products are made available only in bundles and cannot be bought individually. Mixed bundling is when both options (individual buy and bundle buy) are made available.

Vineet Kumar from HBS and Timothy Derdenger at Carnegie Mellon University teamed up together and studied bundling as used by Nintendo in their video game market. Revenues fell almost 20% when Nintendo switched from mixed bundling to pure bundling. In the gaming market, prices fall each day, so customers looking to buy just that one thing will choose to wait until it becomes available, likely at a cheaper price.

Similarly, a study on the effect of bundling in consumer goods market, revealed that bundling is a great way to entice high value customers of competitors to switch over. But it does not significantly help category sales; and in some ways even discourages it because different category products are bundled together.

So should you use pure bundling or mixed bundling?

The safest option is to use mixed bundling: offer products individually and as bundle

But why settle for safe when you can A/B test it?

Here’s a way you can use bundling: Specify a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping. Customers who are looking to buy only one item are likely to switch to the bundle in order to raise order value and qualify for free shipping.

Amazon does all of this brilliantly.

How Amazon Does Upsell, Cross-sell and Bundling

Why Is Upsell and Cross-Sell Important for eCommerce?

Upselling and cross-selling is often (and mistakenly) seen as unethical practices to squeeze more out of the customer.

They’d say, ‘the wincing mother in your opening paragraph is proof that customers hate being cross-sold to’.

I disagree, as will any white-hat marketer.

The Mother Who Winced (way better than ‘the wincing mother’) wasn’t the target customer there. The kid was. The kid found value, and he demanded it. The mother didn’t (add dental insurance to the mix), and she winced.

This dilemma of whether upselling/cross-selling is ethical or not, has its roots in the means and ends discussion. The end goal of any business is more profit. It is the means that make all the difference.

Cross-selling and upselling can be used unethically, in a pushy sort of way, to try and make the customer shell out more. But such tactics don’t last long and is often to the peril of such businesses. More on this under the heading “The Fine Line Between A Friend and A Creep”

As a strategy, however, upselling and cross-selling should be used to ‘help customers win’ as illustrated beautifully in this video by Jeffrey Gittomer. Looked at it that way, upselling and cross-selling become more of friendly suggestions and a helping hand to make the ‘right’ purchase.

Remind Bob to buy some batteries along with his new wall-clock

Jack might be looking for something more powerful than an i5 processor, show him the i7, too.

So how does upselling help you?

#1 Increases Customer Retention

If you leave aside impulse buys, customers buy products/services to solve a problem. They are aware of the problem, but might not be aware of the best solution to the problem.

I don’t belong to the Steve Jobs bandwagon, but he got it right when he said ‘people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ Upselling or cross-selling done right helps the customer find more value than he was expecting. You become his best friend.

Best friends return and drive 43% of your revenues.

#2 Increases Average Order Value and Life-time Value

Romance your repeat customers. Do it like Jerry Maguire. And they will show you the money.

Show Me The Money

Should You Upsell or Cross-Sell in eCommerce?

Despite the many ways upsell and cross-sell are similar, there’s a clear winner in terms of numbers.

According to Predictive Intent, upsell can work upto 20 times better than cross-sell.

A little over 4% of all customers who were faced with an upsell bought it while less than 0.5% of customers took bait when shown a cross-sell.

But when it comes to the checkout page, cross-sell kills it with 3% conversions.

PRWD head of usability, Paul Rouke explains why cross-sell works best on checkout pages

Why Cross-Sell Works For Checkout Page

What and How Should You UpSell?

The data from Predictive Intent’s study show that a mere 4% of customers convert on average through upselling. It’s not much, you might think.

4% of customers will buy a better product if offered, and are ready to pay a premium for that.

They aren’t looking for ‘just enough’. They will not shy away from going the extra mile to make sure the product (solution to a problem) is just right.

One of the commonest ways to upsell is to suggest the next higher model. But when it’s just 4% that you are targeting, the margin for error is as thick as the edge of a blade.

To make the most of these unicorns, here are some suggestions on how to upsell:

  • Promote your most reviewed or most sold products
  • Give more prominent space for the upsell, display testimonials for the upsell
  • Make sure the upsells are not more than 25% costlier than the original product
  • Make add-on features like insurance pre-selected and ask customers to deselect if not required
  • If you have customer personas in place, use those to make relevant suggestions
  • Make suggestions relevant by giving context: why should I buy that instead of this?

What do I mean by that?

Don’t just shove a front-loader washing machine in my face when I’m looking at a top-loader; tell me why it’s meant for me: I’m the discerning heavy user, who likes taking extra care of clothes and saving more on electricity.

And always, always, make sure you suggest products from the same category. Don’t ask me to buy a 17 inch laptop when I’m shopping for a macbook air. They don’t satisfy the same needs.

Let’s not forget cross-sell either.

Cross-sell gets up to 3% conversions when used on the check-out page.

Use cross-sell techniques more on the check-out page to tap into impulse buying:

  • Cross-sell products should be at least 60% cheaper than the product added to cart
  • Go for products that are easily forgotten: filters for lenses, earphones for mobile phones, Lighter for a gas stove and of course, scrub for cows.. the possibilities are endless

Here’s how removing cross-sell options from the product page increased order by 5.6%.

If you are manually pushing upsell/cross-sell suggestions, it would be worthwhile to automate the system. Products should be categorized and related products should be tagged so as to enable automation.

Now comes the interesting part.

Why Does Upsell/Cross-Sell Work and How Can You Ace It?

Upsell and cross-sell works when you are able to ease the decision making process of a customer.

In 2006, a study by Bain showed that reducing complexity and narrowing choices can boost revenues by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%.

Upsell Smart By Narrowing Choices

Too many choices can be paralyzing. Professor Iyengar and her research assistants conducted a study on the effect of choices in the California Gourmet market. They set up booths of Wilkin and Sons Jams — one offered an assortment of 24 jams while the other had on display 6 jam varieties.

60% of the visitors stopped by the larger booth while only 40% flocked to the one with lower number of choices.

But 30% of visitors that sampled at the small booth made a buy while only 3% of the 60% visitors to the larger booth went on to make a purchase.

Our ability to make a decision reduces as number of choices increases.

Actionable Tip: Don’t bombard your customers with many choices. If they’ve already said no to an upsell product do not push for it. Think of upsell as a gentle suggestion, not an aggressive sales tactic.

Bundle To Reduce Decision Complexity

Every action the user has to take makes the decision making more complex. Think of ways to reduce the number of actions in a buying decision. We’ve a limited amount of energy to be spent on decision making.

Bundling brings together related products that are of relevance to a customer. Buying them individually involves more decision making, and more steps. Whereas through bundling, in one a customer is able to buy multiple products together.

It’s also important to understand how we make decisions. How rational are we at decision making?

Turns out, not so much.

Customers Make Irrational Decisions

Dan Ariely does a brilliant break down of the irrationality of decision making and explains how we are not always in control of the decisions we make.

Let’s talk organ donations. Bear with me, thank Dan later.

The graph below shows the percentage of people of different countries that agreed for organ donation.

Irrationality of Decision Making - Dan Ariely

It seems the people represented in Gold don’t seem to care about others all that much, while the ones in blue care infinitely. Is that a cultural difference at play here?

But these guys are neighbours: Sweden and Denmark , Netherlands and Belgium, Germany and France. So what’s happening here.

They were presented two widely different consent forms.

Difference in the opt-in forms used

In the countries on the left, people were presented with an ‘opt-in’ form. People had to check the box to opt-in for the organ donation program.

In the countries on the right, people were presented with an ‘opt-out’ form, which meant unless they unchecked the box, they would be opted-in by default.

Surprisingly, people everywhere behaved the same way. They did not take any action and let the default choice be.

Dan Ariely explains our behavior was based on the complexity of the decision.

  • We don’t have complete information on the subject
  • We can’t differentiate sufficiently between the two options
  • We can’t decide
  • We do nothing

Buridan’s Ass: An ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. It will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.

Actionable Tip: So in your purchase funnel, make those little extra features checked by default, and give customers the option to deselect. Make it clearly visible, and never attempt to do it on the sly.

Unsure customers will go with the default selection.

Use Price Anchoring: The Surprising Power of Dummy Choices

A few years back The Economist ran an ad that looked like this

Price Anchoring in The Economist Ad

You get a web-only subscription for $59, a print-only subscription for $125 or both, again, for $125! Needless to say, the print-only option is a dummy choice. Who in their right minds would ever choose an inferior option when the price is the same?

Dan took the ad and took it to a 100 MIT students to see what they would choose.

Price Anchoring At Play - with the dummy choice

An overwhelming majority chose what seemed the ‘best’ option – both print and web subscription at $125. 16% chose the web-only subscription. Nobody chose the print-only subscription at $125.

Dan then took off the middle choice — the print-only one. And ran the test again on 100 people. This is how the opt-in rates looked now.

No Price Anchoring - without the dummy choice

Surprisingly, the majority (68%) people chose the cheaper option when the dummy choice was removed. The print and web subscription that saw 84% subscription in the presence of the dummy choice now got a significantly low 32% subscription rate.

An inferior choice makes a similar but superior choice look better even when other options are cheaper.

Actionable Tip: consider a customer looking at a top-tier entry level DSLR. Show him a mid-level DSLR without add-ons for a marginally higher price and the same mid-level DSLR with add-ons at the same higher price.

Upsell it with the proper communication — how does the mid-level DSLR help the customer win? — and you have a good probability of making the upsell.

The Fine Line Between Being A Friend and A Creep

In 2009, Graham Charlton at eConsultancy tore apart VistaPrint’s and GoDaddy’s checkout process in this post. GoDaddy’s process at the time contained almost 10 steps from selecting a domain name to finally completing the order – most of which were forced cross-sell attempts.

VistaPrint seems to have taken the critique well, and in a post published 5 years later, eConsultancy looks at how VistaPrint revamped their checkout process, making it much more pleasant and much less in-your-face in the process.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Suggest upsells and cross-sells before a customer picks a product
  2. Bombard customers with many cross-sell and upsell products
  3. Sly tactics like hiding pre-selected add-ons in the hope customers don’t notice it

If there’s one thing that is your takeaway from this post, it has to be this:

Upsell and cross-sell techniques should be used as strategies to help customers make better decisions, faster.

The post Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce

Turn Content Into Customers [PODCAST]

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Are your readers on a clear course toward conversion? Image by Marko Derkson via Flickr.

Having awesome content isn’t the be-all and end-all of a successful content marketing strategy. If you’re not being deliberate about how you send your readers down your marketing funnel, you’re not going to see results.

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, co-founder Oli Gardner recalls how Unbounce used an ebook to generate leads before our product was even ready.

Then, Unbounce’s content strategist Dan Levy and Michael Karp of Copytactics discuss tactical ways that you can put your content to work and gain qualified leads in the process.

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In this episode: Stephanie Saretsky chats with Oli Gardner, Unbounce’s co-founder. Then, Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews Michael Karp, founder of Copytactics.

Stephanie Saretsky:  Let’s go back to the very beginning, shall we? Almost six years ago, six men got together and decided to start a business. That business would result in over 2 million landing pages being created. But first, it had to let marketers know that it existed, and that meant generating some leads.

Oli Gardner: I’d never even heard of the term before. I mean, I became a marketer the day we started the company.

Stephanie Saretsky: That’s Oli Gardner, cofounder of Unbounce. And the term he’s talking about is lead generation. The Unbounce blog launched months before the product was ready. And Oli’s early posts focused on educating marketers about what landing pages were and why they needed them. But in order to get people to fork over their e-mail addresses, he needed to put together something even bigger.

Oli Gardner: Kind of a funny story. I decided I wanted to do an ebook for lead gen. And our CTO Carl said in passing to Rick, “What, is he really gonna waste two weeks writing an ebook? Surely there are more important things to be done, like building our website, blah, blah, blah.” I held a two-hour brainstorm, got a whole bunch of stickies on a wall. Then went and pulled an all-nighter, wrote the ebook, came back, slapped it on the desk (digitally) the next day. Kinda of an f you.

Stephanie Saretsky: That f you came in the form of Unbounce’s first ebook, 101 Landing Page Optimization Tips. The ebook took off and generated around 1,200 leads for the fledgling company, which had the team pretty excited.

Oli Gardner: It’s so exciting when you’re starting a company. I remember – same as when we started getting our first – we’d have four customers in a day, and we’d be like, “Ooh, this is so amazing!” We’d get leads. And then you look at them, and some of them are total spam. But then you get some real ones, and you get – the exciting part is when you get ones with an actual company name in them, so not Gmail. That’s kind of exciting.

Stephanie Saretsky: That’s the power of great content. It’s not only beneficial – and dare I say delightful – for the audience you’re targeting, but when great content has a solid strategy behind it, it can turn your readers into eager leads that are pumped to try out your new product. But it’s not as easy today as it was back then.

Oli Gardner: But really, I mean, there weren’t many inbound marketers at that time. There was HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and things like that. But Unbounce was one of the early pioneers of content marketing, to be honest. It was much easier to be special, I think, then. Now there’s just a webinar every 15 seconds and too many ebooks.

Stephanie Saretsky: You gotta redefine the ebook then.

[theme music]

Stephanie Saretsky: I’m Stephanie Saretsky, and this is Call to Action, Unbounce’s podcast about doing marketing better. It doesn’t matter how awesome or delightful your content is; if you’re not being deliberate about how you send your readers down the funnel, you’re not going to see results. You need to have a clear plan that gets people from your awesome content to your leads list because people won’t randomly find their way there. This means we have to get a little bit more creative about how we generate leads. So we spoke to a guy that has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Michael Karp: Michael Karp, and I work at Copytactics.com.

Stephanie Saretsky: Unbounce’s Dan Levy spoke with Michael about generating traffic and turning that traffic into leads, which Michael wrote about in a post for the Unbounce blog, “A Step-by-Step Guide to Generating Leads With Your Content Marketing.”

Dan Levy: Your post is really refreshing to read as a content marketer because so much content about content dwells on that agonizing question of why businesses should be creating content and yours goes straight into the how. That said, I’m gonna ask you to take a step back for a second and explain why you think content’s primary objective should be lead generation.

Michael Karp: I think that lead generation is definitely a top priority of content marketing. But – I’ll explain this in a little bit – I wouldn’t say that it is content marketing’s primary objective.

Dan Levy: Okay.

Michael Karp: I think that content marketing’s primary objective is to gain exposure for your business. I’m sure you’ve heard that there’s this notion that buyers don’t really wanna be sold to anymore. They’re doing more research before making buying decisions and all that. So I would say that your goal with content marketing is to be the business that shows up when these prospects are doing their research. So you wanna get found. You wanna get found in Google. You wanna get found in all these distribution channels online. You wanna get found on social media. And that’s the primary objective of content marketing: to gain exposure and to get found.

And then after that, you start worrying about how you’re gonna generate leads and optimize your website. Because if you don’t have that exposure and you don’t have people coming to you for this information, you won’t be able to generate leads with your content.

Dan Levy: Right. So your content needs to be there in the right place at the right time when your prospects are looking for that information.

Michael Karp: You don’t wanna make that mistake of thinking that if you just produce content, then they will come. I see a lot of businesses who – their blogs are kinda just crickets, you know? There’s not really much going on there. It’s because they have this false information that just blogging is going to bring people to you. But you actually need to promote your content and actively put in the work to get that readership and to get people coming to read your blog. And that’s when it becomes effective content marketing.

Dan Levy: I guess lead generation is a really useful metric to determine whether or not your content marketing is performing – whether it’s ultimately generating leads. But in order to generate leads, you still need to bring in some traffic, as you said. Your traffic, though, in order to be effective, ultimately needs to be made up of potential customers. How do you make sure your traffic is qualified traffic?

Michael Karp: Right, yeah, that’s extremely important. I always say that to get qualified traffic and to get the people coming to your website who are potential customers, you need to create content that solves the same types of problems that your products and services solve. So you don’t wanna go too far with your content to where people don’t need your products and services anymore. People read content and are attracted to content because it solves some sort of need and desire that they have. And if you match the needs and desires that attract people to your products and services with your content, you will naturally attract the people who need and desire your products and services.

Dan Levy: Right. And in your post, you have a lot of different tactics for finding and bringing in that qualified traffic, including some really cool Twitter hacks.

I wanna go straight to something else which I think is a bit less known but I hear people talk about it a lot, which is using online forums or groups or question and answer sites to target niche communities. How do you participate in those forums, though, in a way that doesn’t seem salesy or self-serving?

Michael Karp: Yes, this is a big concern, not so much for solo bloggers like myself, but especially for bigger companies and agencies. It can really hurt their brand image to be too salesy or too self-serving. So what you wanna do, first off, make sure that what you’re promoting is not necessarily your products and services but your content. So make sure you’re promoting content, but make sure it is the most valuable content you can possibly create on that subject.

So the issue arises when people are promoting, like, a 500-word article. Say you go on Quora. You answer someone’s question a little bit, give them some information, and then you provide your content as a natural place to get more information. So when people see that, they read, okay, like, this person knows what they’re talking about. Let me click over here and get some more information.

If they’re disappointed when they get to your website, then they view you and your business as salesy and self-serving, like, you’re just trying to get your traffic stats up or you’re just trying to get people to your website; you’re not really trying to help people. But if they get to your website and they are blown away by the piece of content you created, they completely forget that you even promoted it. They start to thank you for showing it to them.

So it really comes down to the type of content you’re creating and how valuable it is, but then, yeah, also how you’re promoting it.

Dan Levy: So as long as you identify the right questions and provide answers that actually solve their problem, then –

Michael Karp: Yeah.

Dan Levy: – you don’t have that much to worry about. Can you share some tips for identifying those questions that your product or solution happens to have the answer to?

Michael Karp: Yeah, yeah. So there’s this – it’s called the Five Whys method, and it’s for determining your customers’ pain points. You end up asking “why” five times. And you pretend like you’re talking to your ideal customer. And you start off with a very specific problem. So my problem is I’m not generating any leads. Why? Because my site isn’t ready to generate leads. Why? And you go through all of that. And that’s where you start to dig really deep into the issues that your potential customers are having. So that’s one method you can use.

You can also go to places like these forums and Q&A sites and LinkedIn groups and literally just read through all of the discussions that these people are having and create a spreadsheet and jot down the ones that pop up over and over and over again. And these are the questions that you wanna answer. And then go back into these groups and communities and present your content as the answer to these questions.

Dan Levy: So once you have that traffic, you’ve gotta convert those visitors into bona fide leads. One popular technique is through popup forms, which are exactly what they sound like: windows that pop up and ask people for their e-mail address. We’ve talked about using popups on the podcast before. And the question that always pops up is, “Yeah, we know those things convert, but at what cost?” So how do you test whether the increase in leads that you get from these things is worth a potential decrease in user experience?

Michael Karp: That is definitely a major concern. What you have to do is look at your specific website, and you have to test this for yourself. So I would suggest running a split test or doing, like, 30 days with a popup, 30 days without a popup. And measure your change in user experience signals – so like your bounce rate, your time onsite, your pages visited – and measure the amount of leads you generate and how many of those leads converted into customers. And look at how having a popup form versus not having a popup form affected the business objectives that you’re going for.

So I can’t really say – there are case studies that say, “Oh, you need it to do this. You, like, you need to have a popup form.” But in reality, it depends on your business; it depends on your market. If you look at, say, a marketing blog like mine or any of the other marketing blogs that are read by a lot of marketers, they’re used to seeing popup forms. And odds are you’re gonna reach those business objectives better with a popup form than without one. But if you look at more consumer niches, they’re used to more being spammed by popups and stuff like that. So in that case, odds are having a popup form will probably hurt your lead generation. But you can never say that definitively until you test it yourself.

Dan Levy: Have you experienced any blowback from having popups on your site?

Michael Karp: No, I haven’t. And not on my clients’ websites either. I have one client who is in more of a consumer niche. He’s in the commercial drone industry. And we’ve done a little test, and definitely having a popup is leading us to the objectives that we want.

Dan Levy: It’s funny; I think a lot of us share these concerns as marketers. But at the same time, whenever I ask people whether they’ve received any negative feedback, no one’s said anything. So maybe it’s time for us to stop worrying and love the popup.

Michael Karp: Yeah, it could be. And I even saw a case study from Dan Zarrella. He went on the very extreme end of having a popup show up every single time a visitor goes to any one of his pages. So no, like, “If a visitor comes once, it doesn’t show up for ten days.” It showed up every single time. And he didn’t see any major decreases in user experience at all.

Dan Levy: Oh, wow. Huh. I feel like this is the slippery slope that we don’t wanna go too far down. But –

Michael Karp: Exactly.

Dan Levy: – it’s – yeah, that’s interesting. Another technique for capturing traffic that you talk about is something you call content upgrades. I must admit I’d never heard of content upgrades before, at least I hadn’t heard them called that. So what are content upgrades, and why are they an effective way to generate leads?

Michael Karp: So I discovered content upgrades from a case study on Brian Dean’s blog. And he got a 300 – I believe it was 385 percent increase in e-mail conversions from having just two of these content upgrades on his website. I don’t remember the length of the case study, but it was pretty convincing. And a content upgrade is – so if you think about your lead magnets on your website and your opt-in forms, they’re typically site-wide general lead magnets. So you have it, say, in a feature box on every page of your website or in the sidebar on every page of your website, or an opt-in form below the post that’s pretty general.

With a content upgrade, you create a resource that is specific to one piece of content that will help people get the results that you’re teaching, make it easier for them, or make it faster or something like that. So it’ll be like a checklist that instead of reading through every word of your post again, they can just go through the checklist and do it faster. Or like I did for my first Unbounce article. I created a list of resources and links to the resources and what each resource was used for within the steps that I presented in the article. And so it’s very specific. I can’t use that content upgrade on anything else, so it’s specific to that piece of content. And the reason it’s so effective is because this lead magnet is hyper-targeted to the content that person is reading right now. The idea is they have a stronger need for that lead magnet at that point in time than the other lead magnets on your website. So it’s hyper-targeted.

And then the way you deliver it is through a popup light box. So, you’ll basically have a link or a box within the actual content – so between paragraphs in your article – so they’re forced to scan over it. When they scan over it, it says something like, “Click here to download a free checklist of these steps.” They click on that. A popup form comes up, and they put their e-mail address. Then you’ve captured a lead. And then they get redirected to the free resource, and then they can go back and continue reading your content.

So it’s hyper-targeted, it’s within the body of the content so they pretty much can’t ignore it. They can, yes, scan over it and not read it. But it’s much more likely that they will actually scan and read this opt-in rather than something on your sidebar or your feature box or below your post, where they’ve seen these opt-ins before and they’re used to it, so they’ll come to your website and sometimes they’ll ignore it. But if they’re reading your content, then it’s hard to ignore this opt-in.

Dan Levy: And I mean, the key here is that it’s actually providing value to readers because it’s an extension of what they already came for, right? It’s not just a distraction.

Michael Karp: Exactly, yeah. It definitely has to provide value. Otherwise, people won’t opt in. It needs to be something that’s really gonna help them.

Dan Levy: In a way, it’s like the perfect compromise solution to that age-old problem of whether or not to gate a piece of content. It’s like, you keep it ungated to bring people in and benefit from that traffic, but you embed lead gen opportunities throughout the post.

Michael Karp: Definitely. That’s a really good way of putting it.

Dan Levy: Can you talk about how you’ve created your own content upgrades using dedicated landing pages?

Michael Karp: Right. I actually need to upgrade my content upgrades on my blog.

Dan Levy: You need a content upgrade upgrade is what you’re saying?

Michael Karp: Exactly, yeah, a content upgrade upgrade. My content upgrades right now are just .pdf versions of the article. The benefit is just that you can read it offline; you can take it with you on your tablet and all that. But it’s not as good of a content upgrade as I could be making. But either way, no matter what type of content upgrade you have, one of the ways that I’ve delivered it is through a landing page. So if you don’t use a service like – for WordPress, there’s a plugin called SumoMe.

Dan Levy: Right.

Michael Karp: And within that, they have the leads app. And it’s a content upgrade delivery app, pretty much. If you don’t wanna use that, what I’ve done is you can literally just link to a landing page wherever you would put a content upgrade anyway. So you could just put it in brackets and say, “Download this article as a .pdf.” They click on it, they go to a new tab, and then it goes to your landing page, which is optimized for conversion. And then they put in their contact information and get delivered the content upgrade that way.

Dan Levy: So landing pages are obviously our bread and butter here at Unbounce. But I think most people associate landing pages more with AdWords and performance marketing than content marketing. Can you talk a little bit about what a dedicated landing page could do for your content marketing, as opposed to just sending that traffic to your blog or your homepage?

Michael Karp: Right. Definitely. Instead of, like, a sales funnel, I would think of it in terms of a content marketing funnel. So say you create a piece of content, and then you go out and drive traffic to it. You promote it, drive traffic. People come to your blog or they come to the article, they see the link to your content upgrade. They move from the article to the landing page, and then they convert. And that’s kind of the end of your content marketing funnel, and then you go into your sales funnel.

I think the difference between sending them to your homepage, or just sending them to your blog in general, is that you’re gonna convert a lot more visitors with the landing page as a part of your funnel, rather than maybe they’ll opt in to your sidebar or your popup or something like that. If they go – if you include a landing page in your funnel, it doesn’t mean that all of those other opt-ins suddenly go away. It just means you have another highly optimized place for website visitors to opt in. And the more of these you have, the higher your conversion rates are gonna be.

Dan Levy: So the last tactic you mention in your post is a bit more philosophical than the ones we’ve covered so far. You call it genuine content marketing. What does genuine content mean to you, and what does it have to do with generating leads?

Michael Karp: Right. So this is something that came to me when I first started learning about content marketing. It just kind of clicked. And it’s a philosophy that I’m pushing myself with my blog and with my interactions with people. Genuine content marketing comes from having a genuine caring for the people that your business serves, so your potential customers, your actual customers, your clients and all that. And it’s a mindset and a notion that permeates all the content you create and how you promote it into the world and how you then interact with people that come to your blog and all that stuff. It’s just an idea that content is not just a marketing asset. It’s a way to improve the lives of the people that your business serves. It’s a way to improve lives; it’s a way to provide value, I would say.

Dan Levy: Right. And the idea is that if you’re doing that, if you’re providing value, if you’re answering the right questions, then of course people are going to want to sign up for more. And that’s where the lead gen aspect comes in, I guess.

Michael Karp: Yes, exactly.

Dan Levy: Cool. So let’s say I’m ready to create genuine content that brings in targeted traffic and turn it into qualified leads, kinda putting together everything that we’ve talked about so far. Where’s a good place to begin?

Michael Karp: Right. I would say you wanna step back from the metrics and the stats and all that for a bit, and really get down to your mission as a business and what you truly want to do – the type of service you truly want to provide in the world and how you wanna help people. So I would go so far as to actually have a meeting. Sit down with people and brainstorm and map this out.

No matter how big your company or business is, make sure everyone understands this vision, understands this mission. It’s something that I know Apple did very well and something that Steve Jobs was very good at: making sure that the mission is clear cut and understandable, and then letting that permeate through everything including your content. And then move on to all of the tactics and strategies that drive traffic and generate qualified leads and ultimately grow your business.

Dan Levy: That’s really good advice, and I’d add, probably something that’s good to do again every once in awhile. We actually just did something really similar here at Unbounce, even though we’ve been creating content for five and a half years now. As your team grows and your product and your audience evolves, you wanna keep checking in and making sure that you’re starting with “why” and you’re all clear on what purpose your content serves in the first place and why it matters.

Michael Karp: Exactly. You definitely never want to lose sight of that “why” and that purpose.

Dan Levy: Great. Well, I think that’s a good note to end on. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Michael. It was a pleasure.

Michael Karp: Yes, thank you very much for having me.

Stephanie Saretsky: That was Michael Karp, founder of Copytactics. You can find his blog post in this episode’s show notes at Unbounce.com/podcast.

So we’re six months into the production of Call to Action, and we’d really love to hear what you think. So if you have a sec, please drop us an e-mail at podcast@unbounce.com, and we’ll be sure to get back to you.

That’s your call to action. Thanks for listening.

Transcript by GMR Transcription


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Turn Content Into Customers [PODCAST]

4 Stupid Mistakes You’re STILL Making On Your Landing Page

stupid-mistakes-landing-page-650
Are you still making these landing page mistakes? Image by Brandon Grasley via Flickr.

Believe it or not, many of the world’s most aesthetically beautiful landing pages fail miserably when it comes to conversion.

Why? Because when you focus too much on design and not enough on your customers, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and fall into common conversion-killing traps.

In this post, I go through four of the worst mistakes you can make on your landing page, with real-world examples. Fixing even one of these mistakes should result in a serious conversion rate improvement – so let’s get started!

1. Not showing the product

Let’s take a look at this landing page for iMenuPro – an app that allows restaurant owners to design menus online:

imenu-pro-650
Click for full-length landing page.

It’s a nice enough page, right? Solid design, pretty engaging content and it even has a bit of personality. But there’s one crucial thing missing: they never show the product.

iMenuPro is a menu designer, yet we never see any actual menus that have been designed with the tool. Believe it or not, this is an incredibly common mistake.

If this seems like a huge oversight to you, it should. Neglecting to show your product is the #1 cardinal sin of landing page design, and here’s why: humans aren’t just visual learners, they’re visual purchasers.


Do you show & tell? If I can’t see myself using your product, I can’t see myself buying it.
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If I can’t see your product or what it does, how in the world am I supposed to want it? Imagine trying to buy a car that has only been verbally described to you.

The solution

Show your product up-front and clearly. Make it the hero shot of your page.

And when possible, show your product in action.

This technique, called context of use, helps show prospects how your product works and helps them envision themselves using it:

This is precisely the reason that ShamWow has become a household name – they show their product in action with real people, in real situations you can relate to.

Showing and telling will help you convert browsers into customers.

2. Not explaining what you do

It’s all too easy to forget one of the main purposes of your landing page: educating your prospects.

Many prospects who visit your landing page know nothing about you, your company or what it is that you do. It’s your landing page’s job to fill in the blanks. When you don’t do that, you get a page like this:

marketing-genesis-live-650
Click for full-length landing page.

Marketing Genesis is a paid seminar for aspiring marketers – or, at least, that’s what I think it is. They never actually say.

If you carefully read a few hundred words into the text, you’ll eventually infer what Marketing Genesis is, but it takes some effort. They’re assuming that I know something about their business, but I don’t.

They make this same mistake dozens of times throughout this page:

  • The main headline on the page tells me to “Register Now,” but I don’t know what I’m registering for yet.
  • The CTA asks me to click for tickets, but again, what am I getting tickets to?
  • They even assume that I know where the event is taking place (hint: I don’t).

If you’re thinking, “how could someone possibly forget those things on a page?”, you should know that this sort of thing happens with shocking frequency.

When you’re elbow-deep in the goings-on of your own company, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to not know about your company.

The solution

When in doubt, treat your clients as though they know truly nothing about you.

Explain what you do, why you’re better than your competition and how your product can improve your potential customers’ lives.

The people at Webflow do a brilliant job of this – take a look at their homepage:

webflow-650
Click for larger image.

Even though they’re selling a relatively high-tech product, their opening headline tells me exactly what they’re all about in just a few words: “Professional-looking websites without writing code.”

That’s the kind of quick sales pitch we’re looking for.

Note: explaining what you do does not mean telling prospects about everything you do. As we’ll see below, you want to test making your copy as minimal as possible.

3. Using lots of paragraph text

If there’s one immutable truth about your customers, it’s this: whether you’re Apple or a mom-and-pop shop, nobody wants to read the long paragraphs of text on your landing pages.

Take for example this page from Newschool of Architecture and Design in San Diego:

newschool-architecture-design-650
Click for larger image.

They seem like a lovely university, but they fall into a common trap: they’re over-explaining.

In order to get my questions answered, I need to read through at least a few paragraphs of relatively dry copy. I’m willing to bet that many potential students would rather leave the page than put in the effort.

It might feel like your business is too complicated to explain quickly but in reality, even the most complex businesses can be to be boiled down to a series of short, benefit-driven sentences.

If you absolutely need to write a longer page, communicate your unique value proposition up front and don’t write a word more than you have to.

The solution

Be kind to skimmers and impatient users by cutting down on text, focusing on the key points of your service and providing visual examples.

If you routinely have issues with including too much copy, try writing your copy first before even looking at a landing page template.

That way, you’ll be sure to design a page that complements your copy and only includes the words you absolutely need. Not sure what you need? You should test that.

4. Making users choose (or even think)

Many businesses have multiple buyer personas, which makes marketing to them kind of tough.

How do you tailor a landing page to drastically different groups of people while still resonating with your ideal customers? We’ve all heard it before: Try to appeal to everyone and you’ll appeal to no one.

As a solution to this, many companies add a click-through page that asks users to self-select what kind of customer they are. For example, take a look at this landing page by PerfumesForABuck, an ecommerce outlet for cheap fragrances:

PerfumesforaBuck

Before you can see any product, you’re forced to choose between jewelry for men, women and gift baskets. Until you choose, you can’t see anything about the business or their products – and that’s problematic.

When you force users to choose before seeing content, a strange thing happens: many prospects leave and don’t come back.

Forcing choice adds friction – you’re putting extra work on the visitor, and the visitor doesn’t like work. They shouldn’t have to think.

The solution

Even if you have a segmented customer base, you can market to all of them individually without forcing them to make choices. It just takes a little finesse.

If you’re marketing to multiple personas, create separate ad campaigns for each one and drive those separate campaigns to customized landing pages.

Instead of buying clicks for “perfume” in AdWords, buy clicks for “men’s perfume” and send the traffic to a dedicated landing page. This eliminates choice from the equation and helps drive more targeted, valuable traffic to your site.


Don’t make users self-select. Do the heavy lifting with PPC & customized landing pages.
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Wrapping things up

It’s tempting to run tests on granular stuff such as your call to action and headlines.

But doing so can lead you to lose site of the bigger picture: at the very least, are you explaining what you do and showing people what you have to offer?

If you’ve made one of these mistakes, count yourself lucky. An error like this is a huge opportunity for improvement. And many of the mistakes outlined above are relatively easy to fix.

So fess up. Are you making any of these mistakes? I want to hear in the comments!

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4 Stupid Mistakes You’re STILL Making On Your Landing Page

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Build a Killer Conversion Strategy with Nothing but Time and Empathy

Clear Your Calendar
You don’t need to hire an expensive CRO team to do great work. Just be ready to clear your calendar.

Conversion rate optimization is about different things to different people. For some, it’s simply about haphazardly changing elements on a page until people click more, and then it’s optimized! High fives all around!

You should not listen to those people.

If you want to build a real CRO strategy, based on sustainable optimization practices that will help you build a long-term business, ask the real experts. The ones who have staked their reputations and their livelihoods on their CRO knowledge.

This past April 9th, those experts came together to create over 24 hours of free programming, and over 10,000 people attended online and in-person events throughout the world.

We called it CRO Day. Well, we actually called it 2015 International Conversion Rate Optimization Day, but that didn’t fit into a hashtag.

With so many of the world’s top conversion minds sharing their techniques with the world, we thought this the perfect time to distill their wisdom into a punchy blog post!

Read on to learn what pros like Joanna Wiebe, Brian Massey, Talia Wolf and others think is crucial to building a killer CRO strategy that won’t just get you more clicks, but give you a better understanding of your customers.

If you don’t have the money, you’ll have to make the time

Joanna Wiebe and Brian Massey
Joanna Wiebe and Brian Massey, pictured at Call to Action Conference 2014

In their Ask Me Anything About CRO session, Joanna and Brian were asked what they felt the proper budget for a CRO team was. Their answer was instant and simultaneous:

One million dollars.

Okay, great. If you have a million dollars to spend on CRO, hit these two up.

On the off-chance that you don’t, you can work out a rough budget by multiplying the value of your conversions by a reasonable, estimated increase. Brian explained:

If I increase things by 10%, what is my annual increase in profit? That gives you an idea of what the upside is. So if you say, we could make $200,000 more with a 10% increase, yeah, I’m willing to spend $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 on conversion optimization.

If you can quantify the business impact that will come with increased conversions, you’ll have a better idea of just how much you should invest in CRO.

But how do you make CRO work on a small or non-existent budget? Joanna has some choice advice:

Take the budget that you have and apply it to learning. If you don’t have a lot of money, you have to have time. You don’t get to have no money and no time.

Thankfully, there are tons of free resources available that will help you become a CRO expert. (Like the over 24-hours of freely available content that was recorded during CRO day.)

And as Brian went on to elaborate, there are various free or inexpensive tools for analytics, click-tracking, session-tracking and conversion testing that become incredibly powerful once you’ve mastered the CRO basics.


If you can’t invest in a CRO team, spend your time learning to be a team of one.
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For the biggest conversion wins, test content over style

One of the most common CRO anecdotes is that changing the button color will increase your conversions, from anywhere between 5% and 100-billion-percent, depending on who’s telling the story.

It’s true that visual elements like button colors and background images can make measurable differences, but you’re not likely to see a huge impact from just fiddling with graphics. At least, that’s according to Ben Hunt, author of Convert!.

Ben HuntDuring his When CRO Goes Wrong webinar, he presented the results of 50 A/B tests he had run on both his own site and his clients’ sites, and broke down the differences in impact between style changes, content changes and changes that included both.

Ben Hunt's Graph
Comparing 50 A/B tests he had run, Ben realized that content changes far outperformed stylistic ones.

What he found was that purely stylistic changes tended to impact a page’s conversion rate by a mere 5%, and that he’s never reached a double-digit impact with stylistic changes alone.

Color, graphics, typography — does it matter? Yes, a little bit. But look at the content changes. They are typically between 5 and 20% — that’s the normal range when you’re changing content — and generally positive.

When someone comes to your site, they’re looking for real answers to a problem that they can’t solve on their own. Your content — be it copy, video, or informational graphics — is what’s going to provide those answers. So test it and perfect it.

This isn’t to say that strong design isn’t critical to having high-performing landing pages. But if you start by perfecting your message, you can then move on to create a design that supports it.

And that’s a surefire way to generate bigger wins with less effort.


To win big conversion boosts, test and perfect your message, not your color palette.
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Always be testing! No, seriously, do it

Once you’ve tested and discovered elements that perform well, it can be tempting to apply them all across your site and then move on something shiny and new.

While you shouldn’t necessarily spend all of your time iterating on basic elements, you should continue to explore new ideas for every element of your marketing campaigns. After all, the web is always changing, and so is your audience.

Adam AvramescuIf anyone knows about page optimization, it would be Adam Avramescu, head of education at Optimizely. He’s designed an experimental framework to help ensure that you are always learning from your tests, which he presented in a webinar entitled How To Create High-Converting Marketing Experiences with CCD and A/B Testing, which also included our own Oli Gardner.

Experimental-Framework

Adam’s framework is a cyclical process, with the final step leading back to the first. Let’s break down each step:

  • Determine the conversions to improve based on the KPIs that matter to your business (like your existing conversions, traffic, or revenue)
  • Form a hypothesis on how the conversion rate could be improved
  • Identify the variables — elements on your site — that can be adjusted to fulfill your hypothesis, and how they must be adjusted to do so
  • Run the experiment — an A/B or multivariate test — and wait patiently until you have enough conversions to be confident in the result
  • Measure the results and, based on what you can glean from them, decide which conversions you should improve next

As Adam says:

Optimization is a journey, not a destination. If testing is something you’re doing once, you’re leaving money on the table. Instead of testing one thing once, test everything, all of the time.


Hypothesize, test, learn and iterate — and do it all over again. Forever.
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Learn from your losers

Talia WolfIn the Top 5 Obstacles in CRO & How to Overcome Them Hangout, Talia Wolf of Conversioner reminded us that the the purpose of running optimization tests isn’t solely about increasing your conversion rate — it’s about learning from your experiments.

The whole idea of conversion optimization is not just to increase your conversion rate, per se. You want to be able to scale it and learn from the results of your tests. …

When you’re doing CRO the right way and you build hypotheses, and you have a strategy for each test, you are then able to understand the results — fail or win — because they are about your customer.

Bryan EisenbergWhat does it mean for your tests to be “about your customer”? Bryan Eisenberg of Market Motive suggests that instead of being in the business of selling your products, you should be in the business of helping your customers buy them:

Missed clicks, bounced visits and missed conversions are failures. When we throw ads up there and people don’t click, it means that we missed our targets. We didn’t understand them. When they click and they bounce right off, we didn’t satisfy them.

If they go through and they browse several pages but don’t convert, we didn’t help them buy. We didn’t answer all of their objections, answer all the questions they have in order to feel confident in purchasing from us.

Reframing failure not as a failure to convince, but as a failure to adequately address the concerns and needs of our audience will allow you to understand not just went wrong with a losing variant, but why.


Conversion failures are a failure to understand your audience.
Click To Tweet


Play the long game

Conversion rate optimization isn’t about short-sighted “hacks” to get people to click a button that does whatever. If you approach it from that perspective, you might see some short-term gains, but you’ll fail to attract the very best customers for your business. And who are they? These are the questions Joanna recommends you ask yourself:

Who is most likely to buy your product, use it, be happy with it, tell their friends and then come back for more? … Does your value prop resonate with your ideal customer so strongly that they are absolutely willing to part with their money to get what you got?

CRO is a process that you have to invest in. And not just money or your time, but your intellect and your heart. Doing so is what has made the above experts so renowned for their work.

We’re only able to scratch the surface here, but if you want access to the 24+ hours of recordings from CRO Day, head over to the CRO Day website. It’ll take a while to get through everything, so consider starting with the events mentioned in this article. Trust us — it’s worth the time investment.


Continued here:  

Build a Killer Conversion Strategy with Nothing but Time and Empathy

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5 Advanced AdWords Strategies You Can Implement Today

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Does your competition know about these advanced switches and dials in AdWords? Image by Marcin Wichary via Flickr.

As Google AdWords gets increasingly competitive, we search marketers have to sniff around for treasure.

Sometimes that treasure comes in the form of advanced switches and dials found deep within the AdWords interface – the little PPC campaign tweaks that make your ads more relevant and keep you ahead of the competition.

I’m here to share five of those tips and tricks. Let’s get to it.

1. Test in-market audiences

Ever wonder what Google does with the enormous amounts of data they’re quietly collecting about all of us as we sail through a variety of Google products and Google-tracking-infused websites?

A recently-released AdWords feature called in-market audiences makes use of this treasured info.

The idea behind this feature is to allow advertisers to look beyond demographics and target users who have demonstrated that they’re in the market for a specific product based on their web behavior.

Because Google knows when a visitor is actively researching and comparing products, or clicking on similar ads and converting, they can leverage this data to help advertisers reach potential customers on various sites across the web.

Here are some of the available in-market audiences and where they appear in AdWords:

in-market-audiences
In-market audiences allow you to leverage Google’s data to target customers who have shown that they’re in the market for your product.

Let’s say you’re a car dealer and you want to market to people whose web behavior has indicated that they’re planning on buying a new car soon. This feature is a great way to get after this audience using a rich volume of Google’s data.

You can (and should) layer in-market audiences on top of the keywords you’re already targeting in your search campaigns.

2. Try out AdWords dynamic ads

Standard remarketing serves up ads without knowing which specific product a visitor looked at on your site.

But Google recently launched the ability to do product-specific remarketing. Especially for retailers, this is a feature worth testing.

With a little help from your friends at Google, you can determine which products people looked at and serve up remarketing ads featuring those very products.

In other words, you can give people exactly what they want.

Here’s what a dynamic ad looks like:

amazon-socks
As you can see, I recently checked out some socks on Amazon. Don’t judge.

Now as I hang out elsewhere on the web, they’re reminding me that I looked at this item but never bought it. As you can imagine, this remarketing tactic creates highly relevant ads that convert quite well.

Want to give it a go?

Here’s a detailed guide to setting these up.

3. Customize ads with real-time updates

You know that urgency is an important component of high-performing ad copy, but who has time to constantly run promotions, update coupon codes and tweak ad text accordingly? Not you.

That’s why Google has introduced a handy set of scripts that the layman ad copywriter can understand.

For example, you can now tell Google, “My sale begins today and ends in 14 days, so update my ad copy accordingly every time you show it.” You can even use this strategy down to the hour: “Webinar starts in two hours – don’t forget to claim your seat.”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many other dynamic elements in the ad you can control, too. Take the example below, where everything highlighted in yellow is dynamic:

pro-whip-mixer

You can now encode the product name (ProWhip 300), product detail (5-quart), price ($199) and promotion end date (5 days).

Before this type of customization was available, old school AdWords retailers would have to set up a massive spreadsheet where inventory was cataloged and updated. This way, Google could pull in the appropriate product model, pricing and sale parameters.

Now, you can do this with a teeny bit of code simple enough for us online marketers to wrangle directly within the AdWords interface. The times they are a changin’.

For more information on real-time updates, check out this article.

4. Schedule ads to correspond to your sales bandwidth

There’s nothing more frustrating than paying for leads that have gone cold. So why do we run ads that drive leads at 3 AM when there’s no one there to call them back?

In some businesses, your customer will wait for that call – but others are different. When a lead is hot, it’s hot, and after a few hours have passed, a burning need becomes a passive query at best.

To maximize return on ad spend, some companies use ad scheduling religiously. Check out how a PPC ad scheduling strategy drove a 69% improvement in cost per acquisition.

It’s found under advanced campaign settings and it looks like this:

ad-scheduling

This is especially useful if, say, your offices and sales team are located in the Netherlands while your prospects loom large in the US. Or if you determine that your audience is more likely to purchase at a certain time of day.

This simple tweak helps you ensure that you only pay for leads that are hot off the press.

5. Don’t let competitors drain your ad budget

Your competitors are clicking your ads – I guarantee it. There’s a golden hack you can employ to keep from paying for these clicks.

The hack? Use IP exclusions.

There’s a trick for how to discover and block your competitors’ IP addresses, precluding them from ever seeing your ads again. And I’m going to teach it to you.

First, you need to determine your competitors’ IP addresses. You may need to try a few different tactics:

  • Find an email from the company. You can locate the IP address by looking at the email header content. This article explains how.
  • Locate the IP address for the company’s domain name. Here’s an eHow article explaining how to do this. Sometimes companies use a different IP address to browse the web than the one their site is hosted on, so this can be tricky. Give it a shot.

Once you have the IP addresses, just scroll down to “IP address exclusion” in your AdWords settings and paste them in. Here’s what that screen looks like:

ip-address-exclusion

And voilà. Their IPs are now blocked.

Test your way to better ROI

As with any marketing strategy, not all of these tactics will work for everyone.

Ultimately, most search marketers will tell you to test nearly everything. Because you should.

It’s my hope that across these five ideas you’ve been able to find something inspiring.

Which one of these tactics will you try next? Did we forget any of your favorite tricks? Let us know in the comments.


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5 Advanced AdWords Strategies You Can Implement Today

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Promo Code Box on your Shopping Cart Page could be Bleeding Dollars. A/B Test it.

The Company

Bionic Gloves is an online store that designs and sells a range of gloves, such as golf gloves, fitness gloves, and more. Their focus is to provide customers with gloves that have fine grip, comfort, and durability.

To increase sales from their eCommerce shop, they decided to optimize their website. The task was given to Portland-based marketing & conversion optimization agency, Sq1.

The Test

Sq1 performed many tests on the Bionic Gloves website. In this case study I’ll be taking you through an interesting test that was performed on one of the most important pages of any eCommerce website, the shopping cart page. In fact, one study by Surepayroll estimated that each year eCommerce websites lose a whopping $18 billion because of shopping cart abandonment.

To test their hypothesis that removing the ‘special offer’ and ‘gift card’ code boxes from the shopping cart page would result in more sales and less cart abandonment, they set up an A/B test in VWO.

This is how the original shopping cart page looked like:

Bionic AB - Control

The Result

The test was run on close to 1400 visitors for a duration of 48 days. This is how the variation page (without the code fields) looked like:

Bionic AB - Variation

The primary goal that they were tracking was the revenue made. The variation won and increased the total revenue by 24.7%, and revenue per visitor by 17.1%.

Why the Variation Won?

In the words of David from Sq1, “Anytime you leave the door open for a user to leave the conversion funnel – even if it seems like they’d come right back – you risk losing sales. By showing the Promo Code field on the cart, users were enticed to leave the site in search of a promo code. At that point, the conversion process is interrupted and you are more likely to lose potential customers. As such, hiding it was a very logical test.

A shopping freak myself, I wouldn’t lie that I, too, have gone looking for coupon codes a number of times in the middle of my purchasing process. This, as David pointed out, has a number of risks:

  • The sight of the coupon box triggers visitors to look for one on Google and other places. I did a quick Google search of “Bionic Glove”, and look what I found in the auto-complete searches:
    google_search_result1
    google_search_result_2
  • eCommerce websites also risk losing money to affiliates and websites offering deals, coupons, etc.
  • Many a times, visitors end up finding a better deal on another web store.

To avert this, I have seen many websites now show all available coupon codes right on the product page and also on the cart page. Not only does this help them reduce cart abandonment, but also helps them increase their average order value as many shoppers go ahead and buy more stuff to cross the threshold at which coupons can be applied.

See how Myntra, a fashion ecommerce website based out of India, does this beautifully:

myntra_coupon_codes

Let’s Talk

Tell me what you think about this case study in the comments section below. I am also available for intellectual discussions on CRO and A/B Testing which can fit in less than 140 characters on Twitter @taruna2309. See ya!

8 Checkout Optimization Lessons Based on 5+ years of Testing

The post Promo Code Box on your Shopping Cart Page could be Bleeding Dollars. A/B Test it. appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Promo Code Box on your Shopping Cart Page could be Bleeding Dollars. A/B Test it.