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7 Ways to Ensure Your Next Webinar is a Success

perfect webinar

Webinars are one of the most popular tools used by marketers for lead generation. Not only are they great for generating demand but they’re also a less pushy way of nurturing cold leads. The reason is that you are offering to provide information that your audience will value in your webinars. You can also demonstrate your expertise and showcase your knowledge of the industry and domain using webinars. However, webinars can be truly beneficial for your company if they are planned and implemented well. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the things you need to do to ensure…

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7 Ways to Ensure Your Next Webinar is a Success

Sort and Measure Method: Doing User Research from Product Reviews for eCommerce A/B Tests

 Note: This is a guest article written by Devesh Khanal, Founder of Growthrock.co. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Devesh’s.

It’s well established now that elite conversion optimization firms and experts do extensive user research to generate high-quality test ideas. Without this research, companies will resort to just “gut instinct” and guesses, instead of having a list of evidence-backed hypotheses.

But the typical suite of conversion optimization “user research” tactics falls into a small set of familiar categories:

  • Use heatmaps/scrollmaps.
  • Survey users on site.
  • Watch session recordings.
  • Do live user testing.

These are perfectly fine methods of learning about your user. This article, however, will focus on a treasure trove of user feedback that most ecommerce sites are underutilizing despite having abundant amounts of it: product reviews.

Product reviews give you a window into the psychology of the most qualified customers ever, those who purchased.

You can learn:

  • What features or benefits do they value?
  • What features or benefits do they not value?
  • Why did they purchase?
  • What words and phrases do they use to describe the products and benefits?

It’s also free and fast; the reviews already exist on your site; and there is no need to pay for participants or wait to collect data.

But the key to successfully using product reviews is in having a method to analyze them quantitatively. So you can extract actionable, numerical takeaways, not just vague high-level ideas.

Here, we’re going to tell a story about a quantitative method of analyzing open-ended feedback like product reviews. We call this method the Sort and Measure method. The information you can extract from it helps uncover which benefits are most valued by customers which can help shape copy and site design choices. The ideas you extract from applying this method can lead to better, more data-backed AB test hypotheses.

Analyzing Product Reviews to Improve Product Page Copy

In this case study, we analyzed hundreds of product reviews for the site Amerisleep.com, a multimillion dollar online mattress company in the United States.

amerisleep__shop_eco-friendly__memory_foam_mattresses

Using our observation, we were able to quantitatively rank how important different benefits were to the users—comfort, pain, relative temperature regulation, environmental manufacturing, cost, returns, shipping, and more.

Knowing how important these benefits were allowed us to craft detailed, long form product detail pages with confidence. Instead of guessing, we had real data that told us which benefits mattered and which did not.

If you have a 7- or 8-figure ecommerce brand, it’s possible that you can get the same results with this technique. Let’s meet the company.

Meet Amerisleep: An Online Mattress Leader with Multiple Product Benefits

Online mattresses is an ultra-competitive space right now. Amerisleep is a leading player in this space. It has a high-end mattress that it feels has several advantages:

  • (Comfort) Specially designed memory foam
  • (Options) Available in 5 different firmness levels
  • (Environmental) Manufactured in an environmentally friendly process
  • (Temperature) Designed to avoid overheating
  • (Cost) More affordable than retail memory foam mattresses
  • (Returns) They have a great “sleep trial” policy

Having lots of benefits sounds great, but it leads to unanticipated site design challenges.

The Problem: Which Benefit to Emphasize?

Imagine you are the VP of Ecommerce for Amerisleep and also in charge of AB testing new product detail page copy to improve sales.

It’s nice to have a lot of product benefits, but it means that you have some predicaments when improving your product detail pages:

  • Which of these benefits should you emphasize?
  • If you list all of them, will it overwhelm the shopper?
  • Do shoppers even care about [insert benefit]?
  • Which benefits should you put at the top of the page, and which down below?

How People Solve This: On-Site Surveys

How would you solve this problem and understand which benefits are more important than others?

The most typical ecommerce user research method for extracting this information is ask users in an on-site survey. This is a useful method and can work. You use a Hotjar, Qualaroo or VWO style poll and ask shoppers which benefits they care about.

  • You could ask an open-ended question: What are you looking for in a mattress?

what-are-you-looking-for-in-a-mattress

  • You could ask a multiple-choice question: Which of these benefits of a mattress is most important to you?

This is a solid method of starting to understand your users. If you do this consistently, in our experience, you’d be ahead of a lot of competitors.

But this method has a key drawback—you don’t know how qualified the respondents are.

This is especially an issue for high-end brands. What if you get lot of responses about the price being too high, but the respondents weren’t your target customers and weren’t ever going to buy from you anyways?

This is where product reviews become extremely useful.

Product Reviews: You Already Have the Answers on Your Site

A great way to solve this problem is to survey only users who have bought the mattress. You can do this on the success page by asking: What were the key reasons you bought your mattress from us today? But the vast majority of successful ecommerce brands already have these survey results on their sites: these are in the form of product reviews.

Product reviews are exactly what benefits users consider important: it’s a survey of only customers who bought, and it’s open-ended and in their own words.

Note: The case study in this article used a buyer verification process for leaving reviews. If such a process doesn’t exist, it is possible that non-buyers could leave reviews. But in our experience, most stores have too few reviews, not too many.

Reviews also have a tendency of being brutally honest (something many store owners know too well), as many will include criticism of what they didn’t like and what could be improved, even though they bought anyways.

Sort and Measure Method: Extract Quantitative Answers to Make Decisions

But how are you going to turn product reviews into actionable information to inform your product page redesign or any other AB test on your site?

Enter the Sort and Measure Method. Here’s what it is, in a nutshell.

Casual Browsing: A Recipe for Personal Biases

Typically, what happens with survey data at an ecommerce company is that it’s emailed around and discussed a bit, and people then interpret it how they want.

One person says: “I told you, most of the reviewers were talking about back pain relief!”

Another employee says: “Well, what really struck me were the ones saying our environmental manufacturing was important.”

The debate can be never-ending. Most companies end up going with decisions based on either who is the loudest or who is the most senior.

For example, even before we used this technique, we did a large redesign and rewrite of their product detail pages. Using VWO to A/B test the redesign, we got a great, 14% lift in checkouts – a lift that’s worth 7 figures annually.

Although this was a great result, we had email exchanges like this between me and the copywriting consultant we partnered with, debating where to put emphasis. Here is an email I wrote to him about a certain benefit I felt wasn’t that important:

img_6600_png

Here is his email to me:

brian_response-min

Like I said, these debates are never-ending and get you nowhere. That’s why, while this test was running, we started using the Sort and Measure Method. Before the test was even over, we had a quantitative understanding of which benefits did and did not matter to Amerisleep customers (not prospects, but customers who actually bought).

Now, we don’t have to spend additional time and resources AB testing features and benefits that we know very few customers care about, and we don’t need to have endless email debates about what matters—we have data.

The Sort and Measure Method requires some manual effort, but it can be outsourced and the results are worth it. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Sort

You list the product reviews in a spreadsheet:

testimonials

Then you go through them one by one, create categories for common themes, and mark which categories they fall into.

sort_and_measure_2-min

It’s totally fine for a product review to be “sorted” into multiple categories.

As you work your way through the list, you’ll notice new categories and refine the list a bit, that’s okay. You’ll need to take a second pass to get it right.

Step 2: Measure

Now you just total up how many times certain categories are mentioned and you have your results, which any spreadsheet can do for you easily.

Here are the results for our analysis of Amerisleep’s product reviews, except that we’ve removed the benefit, to maintain data confidentiality.

amerisleep_user_research_results

(Yes, reviews are public information; and you can do this analysis for Amerisleep yourself, so it’s not really confidential…but will you? Probably not.)

Think about how useful this is. For the two smallest bars, we were able to clearly agree that this was not something happy customers talked about often.

amerisleep_user_research_results-1

That means:

  • We don’t need to have mentions of those benefits take up a lot of space, or be above the fold.
  • We should not prioritize AB testing to optimize sections that talk about these benefits.
  • We should not prioritize testing these benefits in the ad copy.

Benefits of the Sort and Measure Method

We were able to use this method to understand which benefits were valuable to customers and which were not. This understanding has allowed us to focus our testing efforts on the copy that emphasizes the benefits that matter to our customers. Thus, the Sort and Measure Method has become a useful tool in our user research arsenal.

Try this method yourself on your own store. Doing so will give you information on improving site functionality, help you identify friction points that could be hurting sales, and help you create better data-backed AB test hypotheses.

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The post Sort and Measure Method: Doing User Research from Product Reviews for eCommerce A/B Tests appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Sort and Measure Method: Doing User Research from Product Reviews for eCommerce A/B Tests

Are You Missing this Vital Ingredient In Your Content Strategy?

How to focus content
Focused content… infinitely better than blurry content. Image via Shutterstock.

Let’s be honest.

Running a business blog is hard.

Deadlines loom. Good writers are hard to find. And even the good ones will miss deadlines or disappear when you need them most.

The result is often content for content’s sake.

You end up publishing a post that isn’t the quality you’d like. Or a post that’s only “sort of” related to your brand’s message, products and offers.

There’s no harm, right?

Wrong.

One of the least talked about but most critical elements of a strong content marketing plan is focus. Those posts that are almost on-topic or loosely related to your brand message can actually dilute your brand and confuse people about what you do, not to mention negatively impact your SEO.

Like it or not, you must focus your content, and that takes commitment and discipline from everyone involved.

To put it bluntly, great writing isn’t the hallmark of successful content marketing.

Focus is.

It’s time we get back to the basics. A strong blog focus will make the entire content creation process easier — and get you the results you’ve been looking for.

The impact of a loose blog focus

I get it. Talking about focus is easy. Finding your focus is hard.

That’s why you see high-traffic, industry-recognized blogs that still lack focus. When they started out, they didn’t know what their focus was. They were doing what we’ve all done, trying out different topics until they found what worked.

At some point, they have to focus. As do you. Because not focusing your content does more harm than good.

Lack of focus muddies your brand

What do you sell? What’s your site about? If your content doesn’t have a tight focus, you’ll hear these questions a lot.

That’s because there’s a disconnect between your content and your offers.

Content marketing is much more than branded publishing. It’s attraction marketing. If it’s doing its job, it should call out your best prospects and weed out everyone else. It should reflect your values, your voice and your brand promise.

Teabox may be taking a loose-focus approach that, over time, could muddy their brand. Below, I’ve taken screenshots of three recent posts. The first two posts are good. But look at the third one.

Teabox example of on-topic blog content
Teabox example of on topic blog content
Teabox example of on-topic blog content

This is a good example of what I’m talking about. By creating a While It Steeps category, Teabox opened the door to blog about other topics, from music to literature.

Right now, that may work. It’s definitely a creative approach to content — adding variety and human interest to the blog. But if I only look at the blog, I have to wonder what Teabox is about. Do they sell tea, or are they a media company?

Off-topic content creates negative SEO

Off-topic posts may be entertaining, but they can seriously undermine your SEO strategy. Your audience may see the connection, but search engines won’t.

Teabox’s music and literature posts are a good example.

From a content perspective, these posts are engaging and creative for existing visitors. But they’re not likely to attract new tea drinkers.

For instance, the post “In Music: Yin and Yang” is an audio file of Schubert’s Impromptu no.2 in E flat major, Op.90 and has the keywords “classical music” and “schubert.”

The post “The Entertainer” is an audio file of The Entertainer and has the keywords “scott joplin” and “ragtime.”

Are these really the keywords a tea vendor should rank for?

By pursuing these keywords, Teabox is telling search engines that it’s as much a music blog as a tea blog. These posts won’t likely win a page-one rank in SERPs for the music files, and they won’t attract tea drinkers at all.

So what’s the point?

A blog is your best source for organic traffic, but you need to attract qualified traffic. The only way to do that is to keep your posts on topic.

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Unfocused content makes it harder to leverage for sales

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. To leverage your content for sales, you need to be able to make offers that are relevant to your posts.

Think about Teabox’s music posts. They’re likely to attract visitors who love the arts but have no interest in tea. These people aren’t prospects and won’t respond to tea-related offers. Not only is it okay to exclude them, it’s for the best.

Besides, from a conversion standpoint, traffic from non-tea-drinkers will dilute the effectiveness of any promotion Teabox wants to make.

As Brian Massey says in his book, Your Customer Creation Equation,

“There are two ways to increase your conversion rate:

  • Get more visitors to take action, or
  • Bring in fewer unqualified visitors.

Which strategy is more important? To get the high conversion rates you want, you must master both.”

There’s a degree to which content is advertising for your brand. You promote it in social media and optimize it for search — why? To attract traffic. But not any traffic. The point is to attract qualified traffic that will fall in love with your brand and respond to your offers.

To do that, your content needs to be meaningful for your business and your audience. It can entertain, persuade, educate or convert, but it needs to do that for your best prospects — not the web as a whole.

Distilled content guide
Image via Distilled.

This graphic shows you the possibilities when it comes to creating content. Notice that you can use a wide variety of formats. But don’t take that as license to create content on a wide variety of topics.

Again: Your content should create interest in your brand and curiosity about your offers, which means it needs to be highly focused on the topics related to your products.

So how do you find your content focus?

Sometimes your focus is baked into your brand. Teabox’s focus is tea.

But sometimes it isn’t so obvious. If that’s the case for you, these three steps can give you a head start.

1. Start with your products

If your content focus isn’t obvious, you need to reverse engineer it, starting with your top products/services or your core message. If you had to pick one “umbrella topic” that covers everything you do, what would it be?

That’s your core topic.

Next, jot down the supporting ideas and/or topics that you generally talk about when presenting your core message. These should be the topics or ideas that help you stand out from the competition.

If you aren’t sure, try answering these questions as you think about it:

  • What do you do that’s unique to your brand?
  • Why do you do it?
  • How do you do it?
  • Who do you do it for?

2. Tighten even more

Based on your products, the discussions you have with customers and the answers to the questions above, list two to five topics that are central to your brand.

For instance, Neil Patel’s QuickSprout talks about traffic and conversion. SEO used to be its core topic, but since search algorithms have changed, it now revolves mostly around content.

Quicksprout blog

The blog doesn’t use categories, but if it did, they would probably be content, traffic, and conversion.

In most cases, you only want two to five supporting ideas. Your umbrella topic (core message) should be the main topic of all your content. That’s “what you talk about” as a brand.

Your supporting ideas should be the categories of your blog. Any topic or idea that falls outside this list should be considered off limits.

Remember Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi?


Yeah. You need a content Nazi for your brand. Identify a handful of topics that relate to your brand offering, and then tighten the focus of your content so your content attracts your best prospects — and no one else.

3. Keyword research

Once you know the topics you’re going to focus on, you’re ready to pick the keywords you should rank for. My favorite tool for this is Ahrefs — using one tool, you can do keyword, content and competitor research, making it easy to pick your target keywords.

Keep in mind, if you’re in a competitive industry, you may not be able to rank on Page 1 of Google for the generic topic you cover, but you can rank for long-tail keywords or for related keywords.

Ahrefs gives you the keyword difficulty (KD) for each keyword, so you know how accessible it is. For example, “content,” “marketing,” and “content marketing” may be so competitive that you’d have a hard time ranking for them, but “define content,” KD of 36, might be accessible.

Ahrefs keyword difficulty

To clarify, keyword difficulty is a score that ranges from zero to 100, with 100 being the most difficult. The KD that’s right for you depends on your domain authority and number of backlinks, or referring domains, you’ve acquired. According to Ahrefs, to rank well for a KD of 10, you should have backlinks from 10 different websites, and to rank for a 90 KD keyword (such as “content” from the screenshot above), you’d need backlinks from 756 different websites.

Bottom line, with a tighter content focus, you can pick a cluster of keywords you’d like to rank for and begin creating content that could help your brand show up in the SERPs.

It won’t happen overnight, but by focusing your content, you have a much better chance of succeeding.

Now do it

The number one complaint I hear from content marketers is, “We’re doing everything we’re supposed to do and it isn’t working.”

If you aren’t getting the results you need, the issue may not be style or format or even writing quality. It may simply be that you aren’t focused enough in the topics you cover.

Onsite and off, you need a tight focus for your content.

It’s tempting to create off-topic content simply to meet your next deadline or entertain your visitors. Don’t do it!

Find your focus and stick with it. A clear focus allows you to create higher quality content with less effort — and finally get the results you’re looking for.

What about you? Have you successfully found your blog focus? What’s your biggest challenge with narrowing the focus of your content?

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Are You Missing this Vital Ingredient In Your Content Strategy?

Are You Getting Cheated When Buying A WordPress Theme?

I’ve been around the block quite a bit as an SEO specialist, and in my experience website speed has emerged as an increasingly important search engine ranking factor over the last few years. Google, in particular, considers website loading speed to be very important and has made it one of the more important factors in its ranking algorithm.
How does speed affect your rankings? The truth is, as with everything concerning Google, we don’t really know — we cannot isolate that factor alone.

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Are You Getting Cheated When Buying A WordPress Theme?

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How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

cta-conf-ab-testing-cover

How do I optimize my landing page when I don’t have enough traffic to A/B test?

It’s a question that Unbounce customers ask regularly, and one that plagues any marketer who wants to optimize their landing pages but just isn’t blessed with the traffic of a Fortune 500 company.

So it was no surprise when the question came up during the A/B testing panel discussion at the 2015 Call to Action Conference.

Luckily, conversion experts Ton Wesseling, Peep Laja and Michael Aagaard had all the answers. And it turns out that marketers with more humbly-sized traffic streams are going to be okay.. We can all breathe easy, because as Peep put it:

You can still optimize even if you can’t A/B test.

Even if you don’t have the 1,000 conversions per month recommended by our panel experts, you still have options for optimizing your campaigns. Read on to find out how.

Figure out where and why you’re losing conversions

A/B testing isn’t just about figuring out how you can get more conversions. It’s about learning why you aren’t getting more conversions in the first place.

That’s where conversion research comes in: digging into analytics and crunching numbers to determine where your biggest conversion lift opportunities lie. Regardless of whether or not you have enough traffic or plan to A/B test, Michael underlined the importance of this step:

“If you don’t have enough traffic to get proper data out of it, then [A/B testing] isn’t really helpful. But one thing that’s always helpful is doing the research – because you need that anyway.”

Michael related a story about some research that we did on our free trial landing page. When someone arrives at the page, it looks like all they need to do is enter four pieces of information to get a free trial:

image00

But when someone clicks the CTA button, a whole new set of form fields is displayed:

image02

When Michael looked at the data, he discovered that a significant number of people were abandoning the process at this step, where the actual signup process is revealed to be more complicated than the first stage of the form implies.

That discovery led to us taking a good, hard look at the process, and Michael is now working on optimizing that page to make it a more delightful, streamlined experience for marketers looking to try out Unbounce.

None of that would have been possible without researching where people were abandoning the process. But by learning the exact point of friction, Michael can continue testing and iterating towards new designs that aren’t burdened by similar issues.

Peep summed this up nicely:

If you don’t know what people are doing on the page, you’re in the dark. You need to record what’s happening on your page in order to identify connections between certain behaviors and conversion rate.

Conduct qualitative research by asking questions

Your landing page has one purpose: to convert visitors to leads or customers. We do that by appealing to our visitor’s needs. But, as Peep says:

If you don’t know what matters to your customers, you have to figure it out, or you can’t  optimize.

If you don’t have enough traffic to get quantitative feedback through A/B testing, you need to spend time gathering qualitative feedback. That means actually speaking with your customers to get to know them and their needs.

Ton agreed:

Talk to your customers. They’ll give you great answers on what they’re looking for that can help you a lot.

During the CTAConf copywriting panel, expert copywriter Amy Harrison of Write With Influence discussed getting to know your customers in order to address their needs.

Amy believes that too many marketers start by presenting the solution, because we know what the solution is – our product – and we know how we want it to be perceived. The problem is that if someone comes to your landing page and you’re not speaking specifically to their needs, they’re won’t relate to your solution.

What Amy does is take a few steps back and start with identifying the symptoms that a person might experience that would lead them to need your product. What problems are they experiencing, and how can you relate to them?

That’s what AppSumo founder Noah Kagan was forced to ask himself when he emailed 30,000 people about his new entrepreneurship course, How To Make A $1,000 A Month Business, and only 30 people purchased it. What went wrong?

ConversionXL reported that he sent a survey to everyone who clicked through but didn’t convert and asked them, among other questions, “Why not?” And then he rewrote and redesigned the page to address the most popular doubts.

Unsure if it works in your country?

image01

Worried it’s not for you?

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Failed before and not sure what will be different now?

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Images sourced from ConversionXL

Noah adjusted the copy to address all of his prospects’ biggest fears, and used their own language to inspire himself. That strategy echoes back to advice that Joanna Wiebe, the copywriting mastermind behind Copyhackers, wrote on this very blog back in 2012:

If you want to write great copy, swipe it from your visitors, customers and prospects.”

Don’t be afraid to take big risks

When you can test the impact of every change on a page, iterating individual elements for small wins is one way to grow your conversion rate over time. But when you don’t have the luxury of testing against tons of traffic, you’re unlikely to move the needle with mere iteration. As Ton advised:

Most small things make a small impact. You have to take bigger risks to get bigger rewards.

This is actually one of the things that Joanna herself addressed during her Call to Action Conference talk, Death to Fear And Laziness! How to Push Yourself to Write Sticky Landing Page Copy.

In her talk, she presented an A/B test she ran on two sets of ad copy. The one on the left is the control, and the one on the right is the (rather bold) variant. Or as Joanna referred to it, not trying vs. trying.

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The message on the left is what Joanna refers to as “word-shaped air”. There’s words there, sure, but what does it really say? The variant takes a huge risk by using words that might be stereotypically perceived as “negative,” avoiding the empty pleasantries of the control.

But this language is how their real audience actually talks and thinks. And the gamble paid off, with a 124% increase in clicks.

Whether you’re actually running an A/B test or simply changing something on a page and waiting to see the results, there’s one unwavering truth:

You never know until you try.

Stop stressing and start testing

There’s no arguing that testing and experimentation are the heart of conversion rate optimization.

But A/B testing is just one kind of test; you can still make huge conversion gains without it, simply by researching your weaknesses, talking to your customers, and taking real risks. Rarely is there such a thing as a bad test, or a useless result.

If you’re still not convinced, or just want to learn a lot about testing in not-a-lot of time, check out the full Actionable, Practical A/B Testing panel. If every good test starts with research, I can’t think of a better place to start learning.

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How Do I Optimize My Landing Page When I Don’t Have Enough Traffic to A/B Test?

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6 Open-Ended Questions That’ll Transform Your Landing Page Copy (And Your Business)

open-ended-questions-650
Image by Dennis Hill via Flickr.

For a long time in our early days, Groove was really bad at learning from our customers.

In one of our first surveys, we asked mostly multiple-choice questions.

Why?

Statistics.

We assumed that the best way to get value from a survey would be to use multiple-choice questions, gather enough responses to make our results statistically valid and then easily sort the responses.

And so we asked questions like:

1-survey-question

Unfortunately, the answers were less than helpful. We assumed that we knew what our customers felt, and so we boxed them into our preconceived notions.

The responses were all over the board, and they never told us anything meaningful that we could act on to change our business.

That is, until we started experimenting with open-ended surveys.

We were hesitant at first; open-ended questions make for messier surveys and more work. How would we easily parse the responses?

As it turns out, it was a little bit harder, but the results were massively more useful and the insights we gleaned were a huge part of what let us reposition our product and go from $30,000 to more than $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

Here’s why:

  1. Open-ended questions don’t force your customers into your assumptions. You’ll finally hear what they really think, rather than which of your views they most agree with.
  2. Open-ended questions are a goldmine for landing page copy. We already know that in copywriting, we should be using the words that our customers use. What better way to come up with those words than by collecting hundreds of examples directly from your customers?
  3. Open-ended questions can still be useful with smaller sample sizes. You don’t need to collect thousands of responses. Because of how rich and insight-packed they are, even 40 or 50 responses to thoughtful, strategically crafted questions can give you big, business-changing results.

Now that’s not to say that multiple-choice questions are necessarily bad. In fact, they can be very useful in the right circumstances.

For example, when you’re collecting customer feedback on your product, multiple-choice questions can help focus your customers on the the parts of your product you’re most interested in testing.

But in the initial stages of collecting information on emotional insights like your customers’ needs, hopes, goals, fears and dreams, we’ve found that open-ended questions work much better.

We’ve spent years honing our customer development survey questions, and below I’ll share the ones that we’ve found most useful.

1. Tell me about your experiences with [X]

In this question (and in the next one), “[X]” refers to the function that you want to help your customers perform.

For example, for Groove, [X] is “managing customer support emails.”

For Unbounce, it might be “creating and testing landing pages.”

This question allows the customer to walk you through their thought process in their own words, helping you spot the key terms they use to convey their feelings about it. You’ll be able to capture their tone and sentiment (Is it generally positive? Or filled with seething hatred?), as well as other elements you might miss with multiple choice responses.

Responses to this question have helped us uncover some insights that were completely missing before. For example, we learned that collaboration was just as important, if not more important, to our customers than productivity (the original “big benefit” of Groove). That insight allowed us to address that need in our product and copy:

2-customers-language

The more we addressed collaboration in various channels — our site and landing pages, our onboarding flow, our support emails — the more engagement we saw.

2. What’s the biggest problem for you with [X]?

Businesses are built by solving your customers’ problems. The better you understand their problems, the more effectively you can help to solve them.

And asking open-ended questions about problems lets you get super-specific in your copy.

For example, when Laura Roeder was building the landing page for her Social Brilliant product which helps small business owners with social media marketing, she could have simply assumed that her customers thought that “social media is hard and confusing.”

Instead, she dug deep, talked with her audience, asked open-ended questions and extracted the precise language they used to describe their problem.

Check out the excerpt below from her landing page – how much more compelling does this sound than the generic approach?

3-precise-language

3. What are your biggest frustrations with problem [X]?

Now let’s further break down the customer’s “big problem” into individual frustrations.

The responses to the “what are your biggest frustrations?” question will help you understand your audience’s motivation for buying your product:

  • Are they spending too much time on it?
  • Are they spending too much money on it?
  • What aspects of their current solution suck the most?

Don’t assume. Let them tell you.

Why do you think Amazon, on one of their long Kindle product pages, starts with an image of a kid next to copy about how much more drop-resistant the Kindle is than the iPad mini?

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It’s not an accident. Amazon knows that a big frustration of the audience for this page — parents — is how easy it is for an expensive tablet to get broken in a household full of kids. The iPad reviews are full of these concerns:

5-iPad-reviews

By understanding their customers’ frustrations, Amazon can address them in the copy on their product and landing pages.

And while you might not have access to thousands of reviews of your competitors’ products, you can achieve much of the same by asking the right open-ended questions.

4. How are you currently dealing with the problem?

How is your audience dealing with the problem in this exact moment?

Are they ignoring it?

Are they using some clunky, hobbled-together solution that they threw together themselves?

Are they paying for software they hate?

Great copy is relatable, and the only way to be relatable is to know what your audience relates to (duh). By digging into their status quo, you can write copy that they’ll connect with deeply.

Notice how HipChat, a team chat app, specifically calls out how many businesses still clumsily deal with team communication, “losing momentum with reply-to-all wars and buried email messages.”

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Anyone who’s been bogged down in “reply-to-all wars” — myself included — will know exactly what HipChat is talking about here. It feels like the copy was written just for me.


Great copy paints a picture of where your customers are & how you’ll take them where they wanna…
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5. What else have you already tried to solve the problem? What else are you thinking about trying?

If the problem you’re solving is important enough, then you’re probably not going to be the first solution your customer has tried.

And in fact, often the biggest objection that your customers have — at least in our experience — will be some variation of “but nothing else has worked for me, why would this be any different?”

In order to address that objection, you need to learn exactly what those alternatives have been and what other alternatives they’re considering.

Once you have that insight, you can guide your prospect to the best decision.

Notice how on this ConversionXL landing page, one alternative — working with another agency — is dismantled, point by completely reasonable point.

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Face it. Your customers are considering alternatives to doing business with you. Neglecting that is a mistake.

Help them work through the other options along with you and show them why you are the best choice.

6. What would solving that problem allow you to achieve?

You’ve learned where your audience is — now it’s time to learn where they want to be. After all, if you’re going to be the one taking them there, you have to sell them on the ride.

This question will help you learn exactly what your audience desires most so that you can help them achieve that. It’s what your “ultimate promise” will be.

On the Copyblogger Authority program landing page, they could have promised “we’ll teach you content marketing.” It would’ve been an easy and obvious lead.

But how many of their customers want to be “taught” content marketing? No, they’re not going to pay if the promise is simply to be taught. They want to become experts.

And so…

8-ultimate-promise

Notice the powerful messages here:

  • “Become a content marketing expert” is an extraordinarily strong promise that speaks directly to the end result that the reader actually wants. Much stronger than “learn content marketing.”
  • “Around a Dollar a Day” is a subtle way to make the program feel more affordable than saying “Around $30 a Month” or “$360 a Year.” Of course, you’re not actually paying a dollar per day; your credit card will be charged in monthly or annual intervals. The psychology behind this is the same reason that the “just pennies a day” messaging in charity campaigns is so effective.
  • Even the description of the Authority community in the top right corner furthers the point that the page is about the customer (who wants to accelerate their skills and success) and not the company.

Writing landing pages with this type of sophisticated nuance is only possible if you’re asking your audience the right questions.

Why asking the right questions is so important

In the world of doing business online, we have a fascination — an obsession, even — with data. Collecting it, analyzing it, talking about how much of it we have.

And so we often make strategic decisions, like what kind of questions to ask our customers, based on how much data we get. This leads to big surveys full of closed-ended questions.

But when we’re talking about deeply understanding our customers, especially early on, we don’t want data. We want answers.

Answers give you the foundation for product development and landing page copy that resonates with your audience. Once you have that, you can go nuts collecting data and optimizing your conversion rates to grow your business.

But first, get the insight you need to build a strong foundation by asking the right questions to get the best answers.

Link: 

6 Open-Ended Questions That’ll Transform Your Landing Page Copy (And Your Business)

When Editors Design – Controlling Presentation In Structured Content

Thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices, a new generation of designers and CMS developers has found the religion of Structured Content. Once the domain of semantic markup purists and information architects, structured content models are at the heart of most multi-channel and multi-device Web projects.
At Lullabot, we often work with media, publishing and enterprise clients. Those businesses produce so much content and manage so many publishing channels that keeping presentation and design-specific markup out of their content is an absolute requirement.

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When Editors Design – Controlling Presentation In Structured Content

The Process of Creativity

The creative attribute has always been a highly debated and researched component of the human psyche. The “designer” job title seems to be one that calls to the more creative minded among us and according to some, requires the highest level of creative processing. This idea does lend itself to the truth, web designers are called upon to find creative solutions every day. However, we certainly aren’t alone.
Contrary to previous belief, creativity does not limit itself to the “right-brained” artistic types.

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The Process of Creativity

How A/B Testing And Analytics Can Make You A Better Designer

Metrics can be a touchy subject in design. When I say things like, “Designers should embrace A/B testing” or “Metrics can improve design,” I often hear concerns.
Many designers tell me they feel that metrics displace creativity or create a paint-by-numbers scenario. They don’t want their training and intuition to be overruled by what a chart says a link color should be.
These are valid concerns, if your company thinks it can replace design with metrics.

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How A/B Testing And Analytics Can Make You A Better Designer

Utilizing The Power Of Recycling In Web Design

Truth be told, I am a philistine. When people talk about recycling, I don’t think of saving the planet.
In my earlier post, “Lessons Learned: Productivity Tips For Running A Web Design Business,” I wrote about how we can reuse and recycle what we do in the Web industry to save time and money.
Now let’s explore the subject further. We will look at how we can recycle existing work (done by ourselves or others) in order to be more efficient.

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Utilizing The Power Of Recycling In Web Design