Tag Archives: conversion optimization

Announcing The New Version Of VWO: World’s First And Only Platform For Conversion Optimization

I’m proud to announce the launch of next evolution of VWO. This version has been a long time coming, so the details of what we are launching are going to be long but exciting.

VWO - Connected Conversion Optimization Platform

When VWO was launched 7 years ago, we changed the way marketers did A/B testing by making it stupidly simple to set up and launch A/B tests. We cut down on the time and effort required to launch a test, from weeks to minutes. Since then, more than a hundred thousand A/B testing campaigns have been launched in VWO by thousands of customers. We have numerous case studies where our customers have seen double-digit improvements in metrics that matter to their businesses (average order value, signup rate, and so on). The success of web testing (A/B, split-URL, and multivariate testing) for a range of brands has established that it works and any brand not doing testing is a dinosaur still stuck in subjective debates where the highest paid person’s opinion (HiPPO) usually wins.

While A/B testing works, the mystery of which A/B tests to do still remains unsolved. Yes, you can throw darts on the board randomly and some may strike at the center, giving you a significant improvement in your funnel metrics. But it’s a fact that successful A/B testing is still a dark art. Over the last 7 years, we’ve customers across the entire spectrum of maturity.

A/B Testing Maturity

  1. Stage I – No A/B Tests
  2. Stage II – Occasional A/B Testing
  3. Stage III – Process-oriented A/B Testing
  4. Stage IV – A/B Testing is a part of the company culture

VWO, when it first came out in 2010, caused online marketers to move from Stage I to Stage II. What we’re launching now will lead marketers to move from Stage II to Stage III. (Stage IV refers to companies which live and breathe A/B testing not only in web functioning but also in every other thing they do.)

What Is Process-Oriented A/B Testing, and Why Should You Care?

As the name says, process-oriented A/B testing means that A/B testing is no longer “let’s try to change button colors and see what happens.” Many companies new to A/B tests start by testing all low-hanging fruits and get quick wins. These early wins may seem great because these show the potential of A/B testing. However, many of these companies then hit a roadblock—what to do next? At this stage, either they abandon A/B testing completely or realize, through trial-and-error, that their next step should be to approach A/B testing in a process-oriented way.

Running your A/B testing program like a process means taking the following steps:

  • Set a target to increase the conversion rate by a specific percentage and time, and select the tests that are most likely to deliver.
  • Generate web testing ideas by doing a thorough research on your audience’s behavior and determining the causes of funnel drop-offs or abandonment.
  • Implement a proper prioritization framework to select tests that have best trade-offs of effort versus results.
  • Ensure that your testing velocity remains intact (or increases) week after week. (After all, most tests fail, so more testing equals more chances of success.)

The process-oriented A/B testing platform looks something like this:

ab-and-web-testing-process

This is a process that our most successful customers use. We observed that customers who followed a process for their A/B testing and conversion optimization efforts were 2x more likely to increase their conversion rate, compared to the ones who did only tactical testing.

When we compared why some customers approach A/B testing and conversion optimization as a process while others did on-and-off testing, we noted that:

  • Our customers cited lack of resources for doing tests frequently.
  • Many customers were bogged down by using multiple tools needed to support the entire process (for tracking funnels, spreadsheets or docs for managing test ideas, session recordings, surveys, and of course VWO for testing).
  • Many customers said that they weren’t aware that A/B testing could be approached in a process-oriented way. Except for a few digital agencies, nobody was showing them a better way.

After numerous conversations about what we had to do, it was clear. We had to build a platform that would empower our customers to run A/B tests efficiently, all at one place and through one integrated platform. The same platform will now provide a foundation for Stage II companies—that do A/B testing occasionally—to approach conversion optimization in a process-driven manner.

The New VWO: From a Web Testing Tool to a Conversion Optimization Platform

Here’s what we’re launching:

VWO CRO Platform

As you’d notice, it’s a pretty big leap from what we were earlier (web testing tool) to a conversion optimization platform. Let me unpack the capabilities of the new VWO and what it would mean for you.

The VWO Conversion Optimization platform brings everything you need to run conversion optimization in your organization on one platform. It does this by providing the following capabilities in an integrated fashion:

TRACK

VWO Track Capability

  • This capability allows you to measure funnels and goals on your (desktop and mobile) website, right there in the VWO dashboard.
  • This capability provides a single source of truth for your funnel conversion rate so that you can easily decide which part of the funnel you should “fix” next and for which segment of visitors should you be fixing the funnel.

ANALYZE

vwo-analyze-capability

  • This capability includes tools such as session recordings (see playback of visitors interacting with your website), on-site surveys, heatmaps, clickmaps, scrollmaps, and form analytics.
  • This capability lets you dig deeper into visitor behavior (from multiple angles) and find out what’s causing some visitors to abandon your website or landing pages.

PLAN

Plan Capability of VWO

  • This capability provides you and your team one dashboard to record and prioritize your observations, ideas, and hypotheses; and help you select ideas for your next web tests.
  • Imagine this to be like Trello or Jira for your conversion optimization.

TEST

VWO CRO Test Capability

  • This capability lets you test and experiment through multiple ways, such as visual A/B tests that do not require coding, multivariate tests, and complex tests that can be set up by using JavaScript and split traffic tests.
  • This capability has been our forte, and we have enhanced it in numerous ways with this release.

TARGET

  • This capability lets you deploy your winning tests or provide a specific experience to your target segment.
  • This capability also allows you to slice-and-dice your user segments and improve the conversion rate, for different segments by targeting a specific experience to them.

You would imagine that building all this technology would have been hard. Well, “hard is an understatement,” as I can imagine VWO’s engineering team saying. Some of the technology we got from our acquisition of Navilytics in 2015, but most of it is built in-house. All VWO teams worked hard for many months, because we have a deep conviction that one integrated platform has more advantages for marketers than juggling with different tools.

The value of an integrated platform is a bet we are taking and we are confident of demonstrating that value to marketers all over the world. When you take the new VWO for a test drive (see below, on how to get access), you will see the power of integration first hand but if you need a few examples of what this integration can do, see the following use cases:

  • You set up the funnel in the VWO Track capability and discover that for a specific segment, your checkout rate is much below average. What’s causing that drop?
    You immediately use the VWO Analyze capability to look at session recordings for that segment, look at form analytics, and fire up an on-site survey to ask why that specific user segment is abandoning sign-up.
  • You immediately use the VWO Analyze capability to look at session recordings for that segment, look at form analytics, and fire up an on-site survey to ask why that specific visitor segment is abandoning sign-up.
  • While looking at the form analytics in VWO Analyze, you realize that the checkout form accepts a US phone number only and the segment from UK has a low conversion rate. But then you see that you received a few responses from the survey that you ran by using VWO Analyze. The most common response is that your UK visitors are not sure whether you ship to UK or not. Now you have another insight here.
    But now your problem is which one to test. Plus, you also have many other such ideas from your last week’s idea brainstorm with your team. You are flooded with ideas, but don’t want to lose these 2 observations. You then remember the VWO Plan capability and use the form tool and survey to record the 2 observations in VWO Plan. (This is in addition to your team continuously using the VWO Chrome plug-in to record ideas from your and your competitors’ websites.)
  • You fire up VWO Plan and prioritize your ideas by attaching the expected effort versus expected results. When you are done, you realize that “Lack of shipping-to-UK information while we look like the US website” is the best among other ideas to test.
    From that observation, you get into the VWO’s Test capability where you set up a quick test that takes you 10 minutes. All you need to do is to mention “We ship to UK free of cost” when the visitor is from UK. (An added advantage of this link is that all your observations and notes regarding “Lack of shipping-to-UK information while we look like a US website” get attached to this test so that you can revisit this anytime in future. Your hypothesis was wrong. It will be great to have this context while looking at results, wouldn’t it?)
  • Your VWO test concludes, and you have a winner. You know that your IT team takes time to implement it at the back end, so you use VWO Target to make the winning version live for all UK visitors.
    After a week or so, you go back to VWO Track and see an increase in the checkout rate for UK visitors. You are happy, tell your colleagues and boss, and they are happy too.
  • You repeat this process over months and accumulate your wins, losses, and insights at one place, that is, the VWO CRO. As a result, your success rate increases with each passing month.

Early Feedback on the VWO Conversion Optimization Platform

We did not develop the new version of VWO in isolation. Various components of the VWO platform were co-developed and tested with customers. Their feedback was instrumental in developing the entire platform in an integrated fashion. Here’s some early feedback:

VWO conversion Optimization Testimonials

Wait, There’s More: VWO Services

For our customers who do not have sufficient resources for implementing and using the VWO platform, we have agency partners and an internal team who supplement the efforts of our customers’ teams. We provide design, development, and CRO consultants through our newest offering—VWO Services. So, you can depend on us from software to services for managing your conversion optimization and testing program end to end. Learn more about VWO Services.

FAQs: Conversion Optimization Platform

Q: How much does the VWO conversion optimization platform cost?
A: We offer 3 plans for the VWO conversion optimization platform, with each plan tailored to your team’s needs and maturity of Testing. You can look at Pricing on our website or contact sales for a detailed demo and consultation.

Q: I’m an existing customer. How and when do I get access to the new version?
A: As an existing customer, we have added a free 30-day evaluation in your account that you can activate at any point in time.

Q: I want to try out the new VWO Conversion Optimization platform. How do I get a trial version?
A: If you are trying VWO for the first time, then you can register for a free trial on our website and get started.

Q. I am an existing customer. Does this mean prices have increased for me?
A. Not exactly. We now have 2 products—Web Testing (A/B, Split URL, and Multivariate testing) and Conversion Optimization platform. As an existing customer, you can continue to use the Web Testing product and see absolutely no change in prices and your plans. However, if you wish to try out the new capabilities of the Conversion Optimization platform, then you would have to select one of the newer plans and pricing.

Q: How do I reach out to your sales team?
A: You can reach us at sales@vwo.com or visit our contact page for any sales related query.

If you have more questions, you can refer to the FAQs here or reach out to us at sales@vwo.com.

Get Started with VWO Conversion Optimization now

The best way to get started with VWO Conversion Optimization is to explore our new website and take a tour of the platform here: VWO After you are convinced that VWO will help your team move faster with funnel and conversion optimization efforts, sign up for a free trial or give our sales team a shout-out.

For feedback, comments, or questions, you can also reach out to me (the CEO) at paras@wingify.com.

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Announcing The New Version Of VWO: World’s First And Only Platform For Conversion Optimization

Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

As a travel marketer or agency marketer servicing the travel industry, you have a tricky gig. You need to convince your prospects to spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time.

Meanwhile, your prospects are increasingly wary of the legitimacy of your offers (thanks a lot, Fyre Fest).

Here’s to hoping your vacation is memorable, but not in a meme-worthy kind of way.

Your challenge then is to effectively convey trust on your travel landing pages. Doing so can help ease prospects’ conversion anxiety, resulting in more travel leads and sales for your business.

The importance of trust on your travel landing pages

We often talk about the importance of trust and credibility on your landing pages — this isn’t a new idea.

But for some industries, a lack of trust can have hugely detrimental effects on conversion rates.

In a recent analysis of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform, data scientists found that travel landing pages can realistically achieve conversion rates of at least 12%. Even more impressive is within the travel and tourism industry, the very best pages convert over 25% of their visitors (schwing!).

Notice the dramatic conversion rate difference between percentiles? If you’re part of that percentile getting 2.1% or lower conversion rates, your pages have lots of room for improvement. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

If you’re not hitting these benchmarks, it might be time to take a hard look at your marketing and ask yourself if you’ve done enough to make your prospects trust you.

And don’t worry if your answer is “No” or “I’m not sure.” We’ve compiled four data-backed ways to boost trust on your travel landing page. Use them as a jumping off point for your optimization efforts.

1. Bolster your copy with trust words

Using an Emotion Lexicon to analyze copy, Unbounce data scientists found evidence that visitors to travel landing pages have slight concerns about the legitimacy of the offers.

However, they also found that using at least 7% (and up to 10%) of your copy to establish trust could result in conversion rates that are up to 20% better.

Notice the uptick in conversion rate once trust-infused copy is used more liberally? Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Unbounce data scientists found that these are some of the words that impart trust on travel landing pages:

enjoy, perfect, secret, top, team, guide, save, personal, spa, food, planning, policy, provide, star, award, real, share, friendly, recommend, school

(Keep in mind, though, that these words were generated by an algorithm and should still be applied using common sense. Just adding the word “spa” to your page — especially if you don’t offer spa services — is not going to increase your conversions.)

The travel experts at Nordic Visitor do a great job of using trust words to build confidence on their Iceland site. It’s not a landing page per se, but the same principles apply.

“Team,” “planning,” “provide” and “personal” are all words found to positively convey trustworthiness. Adding these and other trust words to your copy could be the subconscious nudge your prospects need to convert.

Take stock of the trust words you’re using in your marketing, and particularly on your landing pages. If they’re looking a little sparse, test out using confidence-building words to describe destinations in detail.

2. Cut copy that brings up emotions of fear and anger

Just as trust words can drastically improve your conversion rates, words that subconsciously trigger fear or anger will have a negative impact on travel landing page conversion rates.

In fact, Unbounce data scientists found that if even 1% of page copy reminds your visitors of feelings of anger or fear, you could be seeing up to 25% lower conversion rates.

No one wants to be angry while on vacation. Image via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Words that may instill fear or anger in your prospects include:

limited, tree, money, hot, desert, endless, challenge, treat, fee, feeling, rail, stone, bear, buffet, bang, cash, cross, despair

So instead of…

“Feeling endless despair this Canadian winter? Warm yourself up with a limited-time-only vacation in the hot Mojave desert.”

Try…

“Escape the Canadian winter at a five-star award-winning vacation rental in sunny California.”

Get even more industry-specific emotion and sentiment copy suggestions

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how emotion and sentiment may be impacting conversion rates in your industry.
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3. Leverage social proof to build visitor trust

Persuading your prospects to put their trust in you is tricky business, and it’s even trickier when it comes to travel, because they’re likely working with a tight budget and only a few weeks of precious vacation. They don’t want to take a leap of faith — they want a sure thing.

A proven strategy for easing prospect anxiety is to use social proof. It’s the “everybody’s doing it” mentality that helps convince your prospects to convert.

Testimonials

When you let your satisfied customers sing your praises, your credibility goes through the roof. Including testimonials on your travel landing page can have a positive impact on how trustworthy your prospects perceive you to be, but not all testimonials are created equal.

To best enhance your chance of conversion, heed the following testimonial commandments:

  • Be specific
  • Include a photo of the person
  • Avoid hyperbole (i.e., This pedicure literally saved my life!)
  • Choose testimonials that demonstrate the transformative effect of your product or service on the lives of your users

Nordic Visitor takes it one step further with a video testimonial from several happy customers:

Don’t tell your prospects how great you are, show them with real live, happy customers.

Reviews

Similar to testimonials, including reviews on your travel landing page can help convey trust to your prospects.

The luxury travel designers of Jacada Travel have embedded reviews from Trustpilot, a reputable online review community, directly into their landing page.

Awards

If you recall, the word “award” is associated with trust on travel landing pages. So if your company or client has won any reputable awards, be sure to flaunt ‘em.

Tour guide company Kensington Tours not only includes several trust seals on their travel landing page, they also mention in their Adwords ad that they’re a National Geographic award winner.

Highlight awards strategically to build confidence in your offers.

4. Security measures

Persuasive trust-infused copy and social proof are wonderful, but when you’re collecting travel leads and even money, you need to assure your prospects that their data and money is safe.

There are many ways to do this, but the two most impactful strategies are to enable SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and to include trust seals.

SSL

SSL creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor’s browser. It’s identified by the little lock icon and the “https” (vs. http) in the top left-hand side of your browser search bar.

Enabling SSL on all your web properties (but especially on your lead gen and ecommerce landing pages) assures your visitors that they’re not at risk of being hacked.

Psst: SSL is available on all paid Unbounce plans. Don’t publish a landing page without it!

Trust seals

Trust seals help to reinforce the message that your landing page is secure. These can be obtained by whichever third-party security vendor handles your SSL certificate, and easily added to your travel landing page with a few lines of JavaScript.

Nordic Visitor nails it yet again with a trust seal from GeoTrust and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017, further reinforcing their credibility.

All aboard the Conversion Cruise

A lack of trust in any industry can hurt conversion rates, but in the travel industry the stakes are extra high.

Fortunately, this means the opportunities to improve your conversion rates are plenty. And if you nail the whole trust thing down, you could be seeing some of the highest conversion rates across any industry.

Leveraging a combo of effective copy, social proof and security measures, you can make your prospects forget about the stress associated with booking a vacation. Skip that trip to Poor Conversions-ville and instead put your feet up with a Mai Tai in hand on the Conversion Cruise.

For even more data-backed conversion insights in the travel industry, or for insights into industries such as health, finance, higher education and more, download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Get data-backed conversion insights across 10 popular industries

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report to see how your conversion rates stack up against the competition — and how to improve them.
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Launching a travel landing page from scratch? Try out one of our travel landing page templates, designed specifically to boost conversions.

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Travel Marketers Have a Trust Problem

Future-Proof Your Marketing with Call to Action Magazine

The Call to Action Magazine
A good marketer is like a doomsday prepper (bear with me here…)

Instead of preparing for a global cataclysm, learning about water storage and building bunkers, they’re constantly on the lookout for ways they can proof their marketing for, or get ahead of, inevitable and dramatic changes to the marketing landscape.

Frequent and mysterious algorithm changes. New ad platform features. Emerging trends, dying fads. Amidst all this, only marketers who understand these new conditions — then adapt and innovate within them — will see exponential returns.

At Unbounce, we’ve been really lucky to have a network of expert marketers around to ask about the always-changing marketing landscape. We can turn to forward-thinking strategists like Mirum’s Mitch Joel, Moz’s Rand Fishkin, Love Your Customer’s Claire Suellentrop, and even our in-house-experts, like Alexa Hubley, Carl Schmidt and CRO Michael Aagaard. We ask them things like:

  • What does the ever-increasing prominence of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning mean for marketers and their jobs?
  • Are “tried-and-true” frameworks like the buyer persona still relevant, or are there new ways of digging deeper to speak more closely to my target market?
  • Have traditional SEO tactics become completely outdated? Why are the most successful SEOs now becoming well versed in conversion rate optimization?
  • How can you use data to inform your marketing without letting personal biases get in the way?
  • Should marketing stop after the conversion? (Or is customer marketing where it’s at?)

These are questions we’ve seen tossed around recently in our newsfeeds and at conferences.

So we set out to help answer them.

In Call to Action Magazine, we aim to address these questions and dig into some of the recommendations the experts in our network have shared — those that will help you create exceptional marketing no matter what new algorithm comes along.

So, what do you say? Do you want to get lost in the rubble… or do you want to learn how you can future-proof your marketing?

Ready to Future-Proof Your Marketing?

Call to Action Magazine is filled with recommendations from marketing experts to help your marketing thrive — no matter what algorithm gets changed tomorrow.
By accessing the magazine, you’ll receive actionable marketing content from Unbounce. 
You can unsubscribe at any time.

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Future-Proof Your Marketing with Call to Action Magazine

How Indian Brands Drive Conversions On Independence Day

How Brands Drive Conversion on Independence Day

The Indian Independence day is right around the corner. For consumers in India, it’s a day of rejoice and celebration. And, for marketers, it opens a box of opportunities.

For marketers, the opportunity to leverage spirit of Independence translates into consumers’ buying decision for marketers.

In India, especially during major festivals and occasions like Independence Day, you can expect cutthroat rivalry among major brands. And yet, there are big winners in such intense situations.

How does this happen?

What are the strategies and tactics that these brands deploy to successfully pull off a nationwide campaign?

We studied various campaigns of India’s largest online brands to find out the answer.  

And we saw that there were five different ploys deployed to pique the interest of the average online consumer in India that resulted in the success of these campaigns.

1. Tapping into consumers’ emotions

Independence Day is the time of the year when citizens are filled with joy and hopes for prosperity for the whole nation. Marketers very well understand these emotions and know how to leverage these to their advantage.

A fitting example would be the outstation campaign by Ola, one of the largest cab aggregator in India.

When the Independence day is close to a weekend, people love to travel a lot. Weekend getaways are popular among the public, and folks love to spend time with their friends and relatives at places nearby.

Ola appealed to its customers’ emotions by offering them outstation deals during the Independence week. The company even offered an INR 300 discount for its first-time outstation users. Ola also partnered with Club Mahindra and Yatra to offer deals on hotel stays.

Ola Outstation Email

Ola encourages taking a holiday while thinking about it as a viable brand for traveling to nearby getaways.

2. Limited Period Offer

The sad part of these festive sales and offers is that these need to end after a short span. These campaigns generally run from 2 to 5 days around the festival.

For example, Flipkart Freedom Sale which celebrates India’s spirit of Independence only ran for 4 days, so people had limited time to buy what they wanted to.

Freedom Sale Flipkart

Most consumers plan their purchases for such special occasions to get the best deals for the intended product. For others, marketing events, sales, and giveaways always take place with an expiration date.

Setting up such a trigger pushes prospective buyers to make purchases fast, to avoid missing out on the deals.

3. Creating a Sense of Urgency with the help of Micro Events

Some brands build upon the limited nature of the sale and go out all guns blazing to create a sense of urgency.

On top of the limited nature of the sale event, there are few micro-events incorporated into the sale that runs for a few hours to minutes. These sales are exclusive to people who can decide and act fast as they come with an additional discount.

Amazon does this very well with their lightning deals, which generally last from 2-6 hours throughout the event (which itself is 4-day long). The lightning deals have an additional discount on an already stated discount. The catch is the limited time and the sense of urgency it creates.

amazon-lighting-deal

If people have to buy a product which has a lightning deal, they can add it to their cart and checkout under 15 minutes or the deal is gone forever.

4. Exclusive Product Launch

These festive events also leverage their audience’s interest by providing exclusive product offers during a sale.

It is highly useful to build anticipation among shoppers. And, in India, Amazon attracted consumers from the smartphone market. India is known as the mobile-first country, where over half the population owns a smartphone.

keyone-launch

Amazon saw huge boosts in sales due to Smartphone and had exclusive launch of various devices such as Blackberry KeyOne, LG Q6, and the Oneplus 5’s Soft Gold variant. The result was a massive 10X increase in the sales for Amazon through just their Big Indian Sale Event.

5. Omnichannel Promotion and User Experience

Most major brands understand their users and customers. India is predominantly a mobile-first market with a decent penetration when it comes to computers. People love to shop using their mobile devices as well as use their laptops or PCs to make a purchase.

And most users want omnichannel access to the brand of their choice. We saw that a major chunk of brands embraced this philosophy over the Independence week.

For instance, my primary communication happens on my cell phone and brands saw my interaction on cell phones were far more than the email or website and therefore most of the promo I received was over mobile push or in-app rather than through email or website.

Grofers Freedom Sale

Also, there were deals that promoted usage of multiple channels to buy products. Grofers offered an INR 100 discount to shoppers who were open to buying stuff using their mobile app.

Appeal to Your Customers’ Emotions; Don’t Stop Experimenting

Customers are spoilt for choices when the whole nation is celebrating. In these times, marketers need not be intimidated or overwhelmed by their customers. They have to leverage these emotions and keeping building experiences with the help of experimentation.

These are major strategies that have been successfully demonstrated by brands to be effective. You need to understand emotional cues of your customers and accordingly create an effective campaign.

By tapping into your customer’s cognitive tendencies, you can build healthy, long-term relationships with your customers.

The post How Indian Brands Drive Conversions On Independence Day appeared first on VWO Blog.

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How Indian Brands Drive Conversions On Independence Day

How To Increase Website Conversions With The Right Messaging

 Note: This is a guest article written by Josh Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing at Privy. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Josh’s.

Let’s cut right to it. We all suck at conversion. According to E-marketer, 98% of online traffic leaves a site without filling out a form or completing a purchase. That means you have missed a chance to start building a relationship with potential customers. While it’s easy to shrug off a low on-site conversion rate, imagine if you owned a physical store and 100 people walked in… and 98 walked out without interacting with a represented or making a purchase. You’d be pretty sad, right? Yet, that’s what most of us are doing in our online stores and are not able to increase website conversions.

Why Do We Do This To Ourselves?

For starters, most organizations are thinking their product far more than they are thinking about conversion. If you’re a publisher, that might be the articles you are producing. If you’re an online store, it’s literally the products you are sourcing, merchandising, and selling. If you’re a non-profit, it’s the services you are providing to the world.

They are also likely thinking about how to drive site traffic. Whether that is through building a social media presence, paid search, radio, or even print ads.

And they may have even hired someone to think about the customer or member experience and how to keep those people engaged and generating word of mouth. But they often forget the middle, critical piece of the funnel, which is on-site conversion.

For the (much) smaller group of organizations who are actively trying to drive conversion, most fall into one of two camps. They either take a very passive approach because they don’t want to be too salesy. Or they take an overly aggressive approach with forms coming at a visitor from all angles, blocking a site’s core content.  But that’s not what good salespeople do. They take what they know about a prospect (in this case, a site visitor) and they use that to craft a message.

What We Know About Site Visitors

Through the magic of digital marketing, we know a lot about a site visitor without having to ask. While some people may find this creepy, for marketers it is an untapped goldmine of messaging opportunity.  For example, we can usually answer the question:

  • Where did they come from?
  • Is this their first visit?
  • What page are they on?
  • How many pages have they looked at?
  • What language do they speak?
  • What device are they on?
  • How much is in their cart?

What Do You Do With That Information?

While most organizations who have started thinking about conversion might have a simple opt-in form pop-up for visitors to their site, those who are focused on it can use the information we know to their advantage to create a more targeted experience for visitors to their site by crafting different messages based on who they are and what they have done. For the example below, I am going to imagine an E-Commerce company selling women’s clothing and I want to offer a 10% discount to new customers who sign up for my email list. While you probably wouldn’t want to hit someone with ALL of these messages, you can see how your core message might change based on what you know about a visitor.

Question What we know Messaging Strategy
Where did they come from? The visitor clicked on an Instagram ad featuring a specific blue swimsuit . Try featuring the product that they already expressed interest in within your message. “Looking for a new swimsuit? Get 10% off your first purchase by entering your email below.”
Is this their first visit? They have visited before but have never bought anything from you. Don’t treat them like a stranger! “Welcome back to my store! We’ve just launched a new product line. Sign up below to get 10% off your first purchase.”
What page are they on? They are on the “About” page of your site and not actually shopping. Try a “stay in touch” message over a discount. “Sign up to hear about new products and special offers.”
How many pages have they looked at?

AND

How much is in their cart?

They have looked at 7 different pages in your store without adding anything to their cart, which means they are browsing but are not yet sold. “Having trouble finding what you are looking for? Sign up and we’ll let you know when we launch new products and give you a 10% discount for your first purchase.”
What language do they speak? The visitor’s primary language on their browser is spanish. “¡Bienvenidos a mi tienda! Regístrese abajo para obtener un 10% de descuento en su primera compra.”
What device category are they on? The visitor is on a mobile device, which is a great cue to slim down your text. “Sign up today for 10% off your first purchase.”

How To Deliver The Message

There are two things that you need to think about when delivering the message to your site visitors: timing and format. Let’s look at the format first :

1- Targeted displays – There are three categories of display types that drive the most on-site conversions.

– Popups: Popups, also known as lightboxes, typically display in the center of the website, or sometimes as “fly outs” in the corner.

– Bars: A full width bar that typically sits either on top of your site, or at the bottom.

– Banners: A more subtle interaction that sits at the top or bottom of a site, but starts in a “hidden” state until triggered, then rolls into sight at the desired time.

Pop-Ups for Increasing Website Conversions
Pop-Up for Targeted Display


2-
Chat
More and more often, successful online stores are investing in automated and live chat to help reduce the anxiety that consumers feel before making a purchase from a new retailer. In fact, the availability of a “live” person on your site accomplishes two important goals:

– It allows people to ask any questions ahead of completing a purchase. Especially for larger ticket items, this inspires confidence that they are making the right decision

– It tells them that if something goes wrong with an order, there is a real person they can reach out to for help. The combination of those two factors makes shoppers more likely to hit the buy button.

Chat for Increasing Website Conversions
Engaging Visitors through Chat

3- Video
The third way of delivering the message that can have a huge impact on conversion is the use of video. Unlike static images and text, video helps bring your products to life and gives you the chance to both explain why someone should buy and put the product in a real life context. Or in some cases, lets you tell a broader story of how the product came to be in the first place.  Here’s an example of one I love (and am desperate to own.)

Product Videos for Increasing Website Conversions
Product Videos for Capturing Visitor Attention

Triggering Your Messages

The second consideration is deciding when to trigger each of your messages. There are four primary ways you can trigger a campaign to your desired audience.

  • Timer: The time trigger simply enables you to determine when to display your campaign, based on how long a visitor has been on your site. It could show immediately when a visitor lands, 10 seconds later, etc.
  • Exit intent: This trigger is growing in popularity. Exit intent tracks your visitors mouse movement, and if the visitor appears to be leaving or “exiting” your site, you can use that as a trigger for your campaign.
  • Scroll percentage: Show your campaign once a visitor has scrolled down your page a certain percentage.
  • Tabs: Tabs, or other visual calls to action can be customized to fit in with your site layout, and when clicked, trigger your campaign to display.

Which Converts Best?

Ultimately any combination of targeted messaging delivered through displays, videos, and chats will improve your conversion rate. We’ve looked at thousands of campaigns and found that each of the display types and triggers can be effective.  Because investing in video can take significant resources (time and money), I recommend starting with display and chat to deliver the right message at the right time. Once you have videos on hand, you can embed them on your product pages to level up your product content and add them into your displays to get them in front of shoppers as they navigate your site.

In terms of display types, banners are actually the highest converting format largely because they are less subtle than a simple “bar” but less frustrating to visitors than pop-ups that interrupt the browsing experience before a visitor has had a chance to consumer any of your content. In addition, we find that triggering a campaign in less than thirty seconds from the time a visitor lands on your site (or a specific page) is most effective in driving conversion.

Setting that data aside for a second, recent trends are showing that among the most impactful things you can do if you operate an online store is actually combining a pop-up with an exit intent trigger that serves as a “cart saver.” Simply put, if someone is visiting your store and attempts to leave by closing the browser tab or clicking the back button, you can show a message with a special offer that gets them to sign up and/or keep shopping while giving you permission to market to them in the future.

Exit Intent Pop-Ups to Increase Website Conversions
Exit Intent Pop-Ups

Walk. Jog. Run.

So, where do you get started? You don’t need to craft custom messages for every audience and every page on your site right out of the gate. We suggest thinking about one or two of your most common audiences and creating targeted offers and messages just for them that you can track, test, and adapt before rolling out a full on-site conversion program.

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How To Increase Website Conversions With The Right Messaging

How To Conduct Competitor Research For Better Conversion Optimization Results

Note: This is a guest article written by Shane Barker, a renowned digital marketing consultant. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Shane’s.


You want to increase your conversion rate. And you’ve implemented several CRO, or conversion rate optimization, strategies to help you do so. But have you considered researching about your competitors?

Understanding competition is crucial for the success of your business in every aspect. It will help you determine what you’re doing wrong, and what you can do better. It will also help you identify and capitalize on the weaknesses of your competitors.

In this post, you’ll learn the basics of conducting competitor research to enhance your CRO efforts.

#1: Identify Your Top Competitors

Before beginning your research, you need to know whom to research. Who are your biggest competitors? The simplest definition would be businesses where your target customers can get the same kind of services or products you offer.

Include both direct and indirect competitors.

  • Direct competitors are businesses that sell the same products or services as you.
  • Indirect competitors are those who sell products or services that fulfil the same need.

For example, Burger King and McDonald’s would be considered direct competitors because they have similar product offerings, that is, burgers. But Pizza Hut or Domino’s would be an indirect competitor of both Burger King and McDonald’s. Although they’re both fast food joints, Pizza Hut and Domino’s specialize in pizzas while the other two specialize in burgers.

Here are some of the ways you can identify your top competitors to conduct competitor research:

Google Search for Relevant Keywords

Make a list of keywords relevant to your business, and conduct a Google search using those keywords. The businesses that show up on the first page of your search results are your top competitors. List them for further research.

Let’s say you’re a wedding planner based in Sacramento. You can conduct a Google search using keywords like, “wedding planning in Sacramento,” “wedding planner in Sacramento,” “wedding planner Sacramento,” and so on.

Your top competitors in this case are the businesses that show up in the local pack and whose ads are displayed on the top of the page.

image8
You can find more competitors on the actual websites that show up in your search results. For the above example, if there are any sites that list wedding planners in the Sacramento area, you would need to check out those as well.

image1

Use SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a highly effective tool for identifying your competitors and determining their performance. All you need to do is type your website URL in the search bar and then click Start.

image5
This step generates an overview of your site’s ranking and traffic, as shown in the screenshot below. As the goal here is to identify competitors, you need to click the option that says, “Similar Sites,” as shown on the left sidebar.

image2
You will then get a list of some of the websites similar to yours, which you can sort based on the extent of similarity or ranking. Add them to your list so that you have a clear idea about who your competitors are.

Additionally, click each of these results to check where the websites stand in terms of ranking, traffic, and so on. This performance analysis can be used as part of the third step in this guide.

image11

#2: Try Out Your Competition

Another important step in competitor research is to experience their services or products first-hand.

When dealing with ecommerce stores, try ordering from them. Analyze every aspect of the purchase process to identify what they’re doing right and what mistakes they’re making.

Maybe they’ve implemented a chatbot to help their shoppers find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. To improve your CRO, consider adding a chatbot to your website as well.

You should also analyze the user experience (UX) of your competitors’ websites. Ensuring a good user experience is an essential part of successful CRO.

To analyze the UX of your competitors, ask yourself questions such as:

  • How easy is it for you to navigate your competitor’s website?
  • Are there too many distractions on any of their webpages?
  • Are you having a tough time reading the copy because of a bad font choice?
  • Is the process of completing a purchase easy?

Additionally, analyze their post-purchase service to see how well they respond to customer complaints. These questions can help you understand more about your competition. Analyze their services to determine what they’re doing well, what you can improve on, and what mistakes you should avoid.

In the case of a brick-and-mortar shop, try visiting the establishment to experience its service. Make a note of the store’s ambiance, how friendly the staff is, how well they present their products, and so on.

You can also ask the opinions of friends and family or your customers who have visited the place.

#3: Analyze Competitor Performance and Strategy

This is one of the most important steps in competitor research. When you think of analyzing their performance and strategy, several aspects may come to mind. Not sure what exactly to prioritize, or where to start?

Analyze the following to conduct your competitor research more efficiently:

Traffic and Ranking

One of the key factors to consider when analyzing the performance of your competitors is their ranking. Find out how they rank for specific keywords, and compare their performance against your own.

For competitor performance analysis, you can use SEMrush, which you can access for free. You also have the option to upgrade to one of their paid plans, which allow for more results and reports per day.

In the screenshot below, the tool gives you a report on the website’s paid and organic search traffic. Using this tool, you can compare the amount of branded traffic and non-branded traffic and get some insight into the PPC campaigns of your competitors.

image7

SEMrush can help you find out what your competitors are doing right so that you can use those opportunities to improve your CRO efforts.

The tool will also give you a list of keywords for which each website is ranked, along with the position and search volume for each keyword.

image6
SpyFu is another useful tool for conducting competitor research. The tool helps you find your competitors on typing your website URL in the search bar.

The most useful aspect of this tool is that it identifies the top organic and paid keywords used by your competitors. It also helps you to identify the keywords you share with your competitors.

image4

Link Profiles

Link profiles is another important aspect to help you conduct competitor research. According to Moz, link profiles are among the top search ranking factors.

A good link profile will improve your website ranking, which will improve its visibility. The more visible your website is, the better your chances are of improving traffic. Increased traffic often leads to higher conversions.

This means that you need to conduct competitor research to find out where they stand in terms of backlinks. Find out which websites are linking to them and how many backlinks they currently have. This will help you determine what backlinking goals you should set and which websites you should target through your backlinking efforts.

You can use basic tools such as Backlink Checker from Small SEO Tools to check which pages are linking to your competitors. For more detailed reports, you can use the two tools mentioned earlier, SEMrush and SpyFu.

SpyFu gives you a list of pages linking to your competitors. In addition, it shows the number of organic clicks and domain strength of the websites linking to your competitors.

image3
SEMrush is even more comprehensive. It gives you a report on the number of backlinks your competitor has and the number of domains linking to these backlinks.

image10

Also, you can use SEMrush to view the top anchor texts being used to link to your competitors.

image9

Landing Page Strategy

In addition to your competitors’ performance, you need to determine their ability to impress their audience. This means that you need to analyze their landing page strategy and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself:

  • How strong is the headline?
  • Is the value proposition clear?
  • Is the landing page design aesthetically pleasing?
  • Are there any visuals on the page?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask when analyzing the landing pages of your competitors.

Pricing Strategy

When you conduct competitor research, it’s also important to analyze their pricing strategy. Their rates maybe are more competitive and, therefore, your target customers are choosing them over you.

What can you do to present your rates in a more appealing manner to enhance your CRO efforts?

  • Are your competitors offering multiple pricing options?
  • Are there any guarantees that make their offers more trustworthy?
  • Do they compare various pricing options?
  • What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of their pricing strategies?

Next Steps

Now you know more about how to conduct competitor research to improve your conversions rate optimization strategy. Next, you need to make a list of the top strengths and weaknesses of each competitor based on the data you have collected.

For example, one competitor’s top strengths may be an excellent landing page design and a good backlinking strategy. But the same competitor could be lagging in terms of organic search ranking and customer service as well.

From this list, you can identify opportunities to improve your CRO efforts. Your competitor research can also provide you with insights into the mistakes you should avoid and ways to improve your service so that it stands out from your competitors.

Got any questions about the tips provided here? Feel free to ask them or to share your ideas in the comments below.

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How To Conduct Competitor Research For Better Conversion Optimization Results

The Complete Guide To Using Personas To Optimize Your eCommerce Website

State Of Buyer Personas 2016 established that approximately 60% of the survey respondents took their first-ever buyer persona development initiative within the last 2 years—a result similar to the previous year survey on personas.

It has been almost two decades since the term “persona” was first coined and used by Alan Cooper in his book “The Inmates Run the Asylum.” However, organizations still struggle to develop personas effectively. As a result, the gap between what the consumer wants and what companies provide has widened.

Look at this survey graph for a quick look into the mistakes that can taint customer-business relations, when the latter does not know its ideal customer well:

thunderhead-biggest-mistakes-companies-make-with-customers-apr2014In this blog post, we walk you through the process of creating effective personas, how your business can benefit from these, and why these should be a part of your conversion optimization strategy. Let’s begin:

How to Create Effective User Personas

To create personas that are effective, it is important to first understand what personas should not be:

  • A demographic profile
  • A market segment
  • A documentation of behavior based on a research that lacks data

Having listed the “nots” of personas, let’s deep-dive into what effective personas comprise and how to develop these. Research, qualitative and quantitative, is the foundation of personas. When based on research, personas unveil:

User Motivation

What your users want to accomplish?
What drives your users’ behaviors?

User Mindset

What do your users think?
What are their expectations?
What will make them buy?

Friction

What could be their reasons for hesitation?
What could be their hindrances?

To develop personas that can give you insights as deep as finding answers to the above questions, and a few more tough ones, we advise you to:

  • Use Qualitative Research.
  • Use A/B Testing.
  • Perform Competitor Analysis.

Using Qualitative Research

Qualitative research tools such as on-page surveys, in-person interviews, and so on can help you uncover the expectations and motivation of a user.

We list some use cases for on-page surveys to help you understand how these can be wisely used for gathering information that is required for developing effective personas:

Use Case 1. Understanding Purchase Decision

Understanding customer motivation for buying a product plays a significant role in replicating the buying behavior. If you knew precisely what motivated a visitor to buy from you, it is the next step to motivate other visitors in the same direction.

What you could ask?
  • Did you find what you were looking for?
  • What motivated you to complete your purchase?
What triggers to use?

Goal Completion: As soon as a user completes a signup form or makes payment for items in the cart, this survey should pop up to understand the true motivation behind the purchase.

Use Case 2. Determining Purchase Satisfaction

It is important to know the purchase satisfaction level to determine if there are reasons that can stop them from buying or make them buy from elsewhere. It can also help you categorize people who have high or low purchase satisfaction levels, if you are able to observe a pattern.

What you could ask?
  • On a scale of 0–10, 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how satisfied are you with your last purchase?
  • The reason behind your rating. What do you think is good/bad about buying from us?

Analyzing the information that you have from your survey:

With regard to the question on purchase satisfaction levels, the information that your users reveal can be smartly analyzed to create user personas. Let’s say that you have an online apparel business. Running such surveys can help you:

  • Identify users who are not at all interested in your product (those who rate you between 0–3), users who do not have a firm opinion on your product (4-7), and users who have purchase satisfaction levels (8–10).
  • Understand the reasons behind high and low purchase satisfaction levels for all categories of users mentioned in the previous point.
  • Identify patterns, if any, in those rating your product high/low. For example, do those who rate the product on a scale of 8–10 buy the product because of “fresh styles and patterns,” do most of these people fall in the age group (20–25), and so on.
  • Build user personas based on this information.
What triggers to use?

Time spent on a page: Show the survey after visitors spend “X” seconds on the first webpage they visit. Target the survey using custom targeting to those who have made an online purchase earlier from you.

Asking these questions at the right time can help you fetch actionable information, uncover user motivations, as well as apprehensions.

Similarly, exit intent pop-ups and in-phone surveys also help you find out if your product/service is providing the value that your users and/or customers expect out of it.

Your qualitative research findings can then be dissected to create personas. Consider an example:

You are an eCommerce business selling antiallergic bedding. Your in-phone customer interview and on-page surveys help you determine one of your persona “Jane” with the following attributes:

  • Aged 32, she has very sensitive skin, which is prone to allergies.
  • She is willing to pay a little more if the product quality is good.
  • She also cares about the product being eco-friendly.

Your qualitative research would further help establish:

Jane’s motivation to buy your product: The bedding suits her needs, is priced just what she thinks is right, and can be found easily online.

Jane’s mindset while making a buying decision: She cares about her health and skin. She will not risk investing in any product that can cause allergies. She is also quality-conscious.

Jane’s bottlenecks to buying: She might return the product if she does not find it comfortable and per the quality that she expects. Style and comfort go hand in hand for her.

When you have conducted qualitative research and listed down motivations, bottlenecks, and mindset, you need to gather insights on what your user/customer is doing online. So the next logical step is to unveil Jane’s onsite behavior.

Running visitor recordings, heatmaps, and form analysis will give you different insights into your buyer’s or user’s onsite motivations, constraints, hesitations, and restraints.

For example, using form analysis can help you identify the form fields that lead to customer hesitation or customers abandoning the form.

VWO Form Analysis
VWO Form Analysis

Using A/B Testing

Let’s say that you have listed a few findings about your personas, after conducting an in-depth research. However, you want to be as sure as possible. The following attributes can be put to test:

  • Comfort vs. Style
  • Discount vs. Buy One, Get One Free
  • Value of free shipping and free returns

A/B testing can help you narrow down to attributes as close as true to your real users. Whatever assumptions, observations, and opinions you have about your users, you can A/B test them to find out what your ideal users associate more with.

Performing Competitor Research

Digital intelligence tools can help you dig deeper into competitor data to analyze their traffic. Using such tools, you can find out where your competitors are putting their effort into—social media, mobile, content, email marketing, and so on.

After you have an idea of where your competitors’ major efforts go into, you can work backward to identify the audience they are targeting for creating user personas. This elaborate and well-researched post on medium will tell you how you can crack competitor research to create user personas for your business.

Benefits of Personas for Your Business

Mathilde Boyer, Customer Experience Director at the House of Kaizen, lists 5 ways in which every business can benefit by using personas.

“Personas shouldn’t only be created to trigger user empathy within an organization. They should be built with a practical application in mind so that they can be instrumental in a Conversion Optimization Strategy. Validating personas through actual user data and connecting them to target audiences increases their ability to drive business strategies.

Creating and leveraging user personas brings 5 key benefits to Marketers and Product Owners.

  1. Connect research insights
    Develop a unified view of your customers and prospects by identifying commonalities and unique attributes to provide a deep understanding of motivations, anxieties, decision making styles and moments when users find inspiration.
  2. Strategically manage marketing budget
    User personas allow you to prioritize target audiences and shift spend based on channel performance for individual audiences. Maximize your marketing investment by focusing your efforts and budget on the profitable leads.
  3. Develop powerful brand and product storytelling
    User personas can be leveraged to tailor storylines and bring your value proposition to life. They are key to understand aspirations, desires and perceptions of your customers. They are also crucial to strike the right note with unique content created to move buyers from interests to purchase.
  4. Go beyond marketing silos
    User personas allow you to ensure continuity and complementarity of messaging and creative across all user touchpoints (ads, website, emails, offline campaigns, customer service script, sales pitch, etc.).
  5. Prioritize product roadmap
    User personas should be a valuable levier to inform your product development cycles and ensure that new features are developed to solve evolving prospects’ problems and needs.”

Other than the benefits that Mathilde talks about, personas are also helpful in bringing uniformity to every department of the business regarding who their customer is. From customer service representatives to sales to marketing to the administrators, everyone is aligned to consumer goals. This helps everyone across the business keep their ideal customers happy, and thus increase overall satisfaction as well as retention.

Why Should Personas Be a Part of Your CRO Program

Protocol80 compiles some interesting facts on why personas are awesome. We list 2 of these here as evidence on why personas should be a part of your conversion optimization program.

“In the case of Intel, buyer personas surpassed campaign benchmarks by 75%. They were more cost efficient than the average campaign by 48% DemandGen Report.

In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175% increase in revenue attributed to marketing, 10% increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72% reduction in lead conversion time.”

Personas can help you improve conversions by:

  • Improving your personalization efforts.
  • Helping enhance product user experience.

Improving Personalization – Content

Personas help bring in more clarity on crafting tailored content that appeals to the target audience of the business. Consider an example:

You are an eCommerce business. One of your user persona is say, Mary – The Loyal, with some of the following characteristics:

  • Visits your website frequently
  • Makes a purchase every month or two
  • Shares reviews
  • Does not purchase expensive products
  • Does not buy more than 2 or 3 products in a single visit
  • Is fashion-conscious, but does not compromise with quality

As you understand the buying behavior of this user persona, you can run campaigns with content specifically focussed at converting these users. For example, when Mary-the loyal visits your website again, you can personalize recommendations based on her last purchase, which might interest her into making a purchase.

Here are 11 examples of personalization that you can read about. We simply love how Netflix serves content based on past user views.

Enhancing User Experience – Design and Development

At the design and development level, personas work as a research tool for businesses intending to enhance browsing/buying experience for their online users. These personas that are based on usage goals, browsing and exploring behavior, as well as pain points, tell the why behind the actions that users take on a website.

Such information is critical for designing any product or service. Understand, relate to, and remember the ideal user Mary-The Loyal throughout the entire product development process. The following design and development problems can be sorted by making user personas a part of the process.

  • When design teams do not have an understanding of which design elements on the website to prioritize. In this case, design and development teams end up wasting time on either developing or optimizing features that their ideal customer, Mary-The Loyal, does not use.
  • When design teams are finding it difficult to pitch their proposal to the management. This is where they can use actual data to enhance their idea and show the actual problem they are trying to solve by making the proposed changes.

Mathilde adds to how personas help enhance user experience.

“From a UX perspective, user personas are crucial to prevent self-referential design as they allow to focus the efforts on the needs of the customers and help be mindful of designing experiences as if we, marketers, were the end users.

Data-driven personas are also the foundation to map out customer journeys and ensure full alignment between user needs or perceived needs and the relevancy and length of the experience they have to go through to achieve them.

Personas become extremely powerful when they are taken beyond their naturally descriptive focus and provide a predictive view on how your product or service improves your ideal customers’ lives once they’ve used it for a certain time. The predictive side of personas is a key asset to design future-proof products and experiences.”

To Wrap It Up

When you make personas a part of your strategy, you are trying to maximize value for your ideal users. Here’s how Alan Cooper explains this concept in The Inmates Are Running The Asylum:

“The broader a target you aim for, the more certainty you have of missing the bull’s-eye. If you want to achieve a product-satisfaction level of 50%, you cannot do it by making a large population 50% happy with your products. You can only accomplish it by singling out 50% of the people and striving to make them 100% happy. It goes further than that. You can create an even bigger success by targeting 10% of your market and working to make them 100% ecstatic. It might seem counterintuitive, but designing for a single user is the most effective way to satisfy a broad population.”

Ultimately, filling the gap between the product value as perceived by your ideal user and the actual value that your product provides, will help you convince and convert your users into buyers.

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Eating Our Own Dogfood – How To Optimize For Revenue As A SaaS Business

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we at VWO are very passionate about experimentation.

Not only have we built a product around A/B testing and conversion optimization, but we are always looking for ways to run experiments on our website.

Recently, we got our entire team to actively research and contribute ideas for optimization on our website and ran multiple tests. This post is a narrative of what we did after.

Who Is This Post for?

This post will help SaaS growth-hackers, marketers, and optimization experts to predict the business value from a test.

The aim of this post is to not only share the tests we ran on our website, but also introduce a revenue-based framework that predicts the business impact of an A/B test and prioritizing on the basis of it.

Revenue-Based Optimization

Need for a Model

After we propelled our team to suggest ideas for testing, we had more than 30 hypotheses looking at us, but no distinct way of knowing which of these to take up first. Of course, there is a range of prioritizing frameworks available, but we particularly wanted to look at the ones that would directly impact our revenue.

This framework helped us project the potential impact on the revenue from each test. Here’s what we did:

Step 1

We decided to identify high-impact pages and winnow the pages that were not as important for our business, that is, pages where no goal conversions take place. We looked at Google Analytics for pages with the:

  • Highest Amount of Traffic
    (We used “New Users” to nullify visits by existing customers.)
  • Highest Number of Goal Conversions
    (Goal conversion, which contributes to your overall business goal, is the main goal for your website. In our case, this meant all qualified lead-generating forms. A free trial or request a demo qualifies a visitor as a lead with a genuine interest in our product; or, as the industry popularly refers to it, a Marketing Qualified Lead.)

This gave us a list of pages which were high-value in terms of, either traffic generation or last touch before conversions.

We identified the following key pages:

  • Free-trial page
  • Request-a-demo page
  • Homepage
  • Pricing page
  • Features page
  • Blog pages (All)
  • Contact-us page

Step 2

Our main objective was to project an estimated increase in the revenue due to a particular test. If your test increases the conversion rate by say 20%, what would this mean for your business and, in turn, the revenue?

This is how our marketing funnel looked like:

VWO Marketing Funnel

Note: You should use data from the recent 3–6 months, and the average (mean) of each step. This is to accurately reflect what to expect from your testing and be relevant to your business.

For each of the “Key Pages” we identified in the first step, we also dug out the corresponding numbers at each funnel stage. We’ve explained each stage of the funnel and how it is calculated:

a) Key Page Traffic: The total number of pageviews per Key Page (new users in our case). You can find the data in Google Analytics.

b) Total Conversions: The total number of leads generated from each particular page. If there is an additional qualification your company follows, source this data from your preferred CRM or Marketing Automation software. For example, at VWO, we use Clearbit to qualify our leads in Salesforce.

c) Opportunities: The total number of opportunities generated for your sales team. This data will be available in your CRM; make sure to count qualified opportunities only.

d) Customers:  The total number of customers created in a month.

e) MRR (New): Or monthly recurring revenue, means revenue booked on a monthly basis; you can use this to estimate annual recurring revenue, or ARR, as well.

Step 3

Now that we had all the numbers needed in our arsenal, I decided to calculate some more internal benchmarks. This gave us the performance of our marketing and/or sales funnel.

  1. We computed the conversion rate of a particular page, using the following formula:
    Existing conversion rate = (Total Conversions Key Page Traffic); this is represented as %
  2. The conversion of your leads into opportunities:
    (Opportunities ÷ Total conversions) × 100, represented as %
  3.  The conversion rate of opportunities into customers:
    (Customers ÷ Opportunities) × 100, represented as %
  4.  The average revenue per user or ARPU:
    Total MRR  ÷ Total number of paying customers

Now all you have to do is to impute these numbers in this template.
Revenue-based Testing Model
The model uses all of that data and projects how much revenue increase or decrease you can estimate based on your test results. This estimate can give you a good idea of where to begin or prioritize your testing.

Step 4 (Optional)

This is where it may get tricky. At VWO, we sell both Enterprise plans and Standard plans. So to be fair, we must estimate each cohort with separate data and individual conversion rates.

For example, Opportunity creation % for an Enterprise plan may be lower, but a Standard plan is easier to convert. You may want to decide what type of plan do you want to focus on.

We, for instance, used website traffic and Alexa rank as the benchmark for lead qualification. We attributed more value to the leads that came in through key pages and prioritized them.

This led us to the next step, which is the qualification rate of the said lead of high value. This rate may be in the range 30–50%, depending on your definition.

It was interesting to note that each page had a different qualification rate. For example, we get better quality leads from our Request a demo page than we do from our free trial or blog post page.

Tests Conducted:

After we had the model in place, we played around with the increase or decrease in our conversion rates. This was to identify what would be our best optimization opportunities?

The free trial pages and the home page were among the high-priority pages, in terms of the impact of revenue. (Unfortunately, I can’t share the exact numbers with you.) We first looked at the hypotheses on the free trial page:

Test 1 – Free Trial Page

Our hypothesis was “Illustrating VWO features and social proof on the free trial page will compel users to sign up for the free trial.”

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like in VWO.
hypothesis-free-trial

Bonus tip: VWO has recently launched a new capability called PLAN that lets you manage and prioritize your testing hypotheses. To learn more about this capability, visit the VWO evolution page.

This is what the control looked like:

Free Trial Control

Our heatmap data also showed a lot of users clicking the features page after accessing the free trial page.

Screenshot of heatmap data:

Heatmap Screenshot for test

We created a variation which included the features we offer to solve this issue. Here’s a screenshot of the same.

This is our current free trial page:

Free Trial Page(New)(Variation)

We ran the test for over 2 months. The result was an increase of 6% in our conversion rate, which led to increased revenues.

Test 2 – Request a Demo CTA (A/B Test)

The main CTA on the homepage has been the free trial CTA. The headline on the homepage was “A/B Testing Software for Marketers.”

The hypothesis for the test was “We will get more qualified leads through a request a demo CTA on the homepage.”

This is what the control looked like:

Homepage Control

We came up with a more targeted copy and changed the existing CTA to Request A Demo. Here is what the variation looked like:

Homepage variation

We also wanted to change our positioning due to our foray into Conversion Optimization. The results from this test were that our variation beat the control and had more than 31% improvement in the conversion rate.

Based on the first example, we have already implemented the new free-trial page as our main free-trial page now. Based on the second test, we updated our current home page.

All in all, this model helped us correctly predict the best optimization opportunities, make our testing better, and more strategically aligned to business goals.

Let me know your experience with this model and how you go about testing.

Would love to hear your feedback on this!

Free-trial CTA

The post Eating Our Own Dogfood – How To Optimize For Revenue As A SaaS Business appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Eating Our Own Dogfood – How To Optimize For Revenue As A SaaS Business

Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

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I know you’re busy, so let’s cut to the chase.

Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference is back on June 25th – June 27th in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.

What’s in it for you?

First off, we’ve carefully curated a star-studded speaker lineup that includes the likes of Mari Smith, Scott StrattenKindra Hall and Rand Fishkin. See the full agenda here. (Fun fact: We made a pledge to have 50% female speakers this year, and we stuck to it.)

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Additionally, unlike other conferences where you’re torn between tracks, this conference is single-track. No need to miss a thing or weigh up your love for PPC or CRO. You can have it all and bring back stellar takeaways to your team on each of their respective specialities. #Teamplayer

We’re also working closely with our speakers to ensure talks are as actionable as possible. (This is our conference’s promise).

Explore the topics below to see featured talks and get a sense for the ones most exciting to you:

PPC
SEO
Copywriting
Social
CRO

Jonathan Dane — The PPC Performance Pizza

Jonathan DaneIn this session, Johnathan will cover 8 ways to make any PPC channel work with positive ROI. He’ll guide you through a simple framework, The PPC Performance Pizza, that will double performance on any PPC channel, from Google Adwords to Facebook.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use search, social, display, and video PPC to your advantage
  • Which channels and offers work best in tandem for more conversions
  • The frameworks KlientBoost uses to double your performance within 90 days

Rand Fishkin — The Search Landscape In 2017

Rand FishkinMuch has changed (and is changing) in SEO, leaving us with an uncertain future. In this talk, the one and only Rand Fishkin will share his view on the search landscape 2017, dive into data on how users behave in search engines, explain what the election of Donald Trump means to site owners and, most importantly provide you with the essential tactics every marketer should embrace to be prepared for the changes.

You’ll learn:

  • How has search behavior changed and what does it mean for marketers seeking organic search traffic
  • What new tactics and strategies are required to stay ahead of the competition in SEO
  • How might new US government policies affect the web itself and future platform and web marketing opportunities

Amy Harrison — The Customer Disconnect: How Inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible

Amy HarrisonWhen you write copy, there are 3 critical elements: What you KNOW about your product, what you WRITE about your product, and what your customer THINKS you mean. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to have a disconnect between all three, and when that happens, customer’s don’t realize the true value of what you have to offer. In this talk, you’ll identify any disconnect in your own marketing, and learn how to write copy that breaks through the noise, differentiates your brand, and speaks to your customers’ desires.

You’ll learn:

  • How to recognize if you even HAVE a disconnect
  • How to beat the blank page – know what to include for every piece of copy you create
  • How to make even commoditized products sound different and fresh to your customer

Mari Smith — Winning Facebook Advertising Strategies: 5 Powerful Ways To Leverage Your Results & ROI

Mari SmithFacebook is constantly adding new features, new products and new ad units. What works today and what’s a waste of time and money? How should marketing teams, agencies and brands focus their ad spend for maximum results? In this dynamic session, world-renowned Facebook marketing expert, Mari Smith, will answer these questions and more.

You’ll learn:

  • Simple processes for maximizing paid reach to build a steady flow of top qualified leads
  • How to make your Facebook advertising dollars go much further, and generate an even higher ROI
  • The top ten biggest mistakes marketers make with their Facebook ads and how to fix them

Michael Aagaard – Your Brain Is Lying To You: Become A Better Marketer By Overcoming Confirmation Bias

Michael AagaardHave you ever resisted or ignored a piece of info because it posed a threat to your worldview? If you answered “yes,” you’re like most other human beings on the planet. In fact, according to the last 40 years of cognitive research, favouring information confirming your worldview is extremely common human behaviour. Unfortunately, being biased towards information confirming what we already believe often leads to errors in judgment and costly mistakes in marketing. But how can we overcome this?

You’ll learn:

  • The facts about confirmation bias and why it is such a dangerous pitfall for marketers
  • A framework for becoming aware of and overcoming your own confirmation bias
  • Hands-on techniques for cutting through the clutter and getting information rather than confirmation

Did we mention the workshops?

We’re bringing back workshops (see Sunday’s tab on the agenda) and we’ve tailored the topics based on your feedback. We’ll be talking hyper-targeted overlays, how agencies can leverage landing pages and getting people to swipe right on your landing page. The best part? They’re all included in your ticket price. Most importantly, marketers who purchase CTAConf tickets, get notified first once registration for workshops opens. Workshops were standing room only last year and we’re bringing them back bigger than ever, so first dibs on registration’s a real bonus.

Finally, we want you to have a ton of fun while you learn. We’re talkin’ 8 food trucks, incredible after parties, all the dog hoodies you can handle, wacky activities and full access to the recordings of every session. SPOILER: we’re looking into renting a Ferris wheel (seriously, this is a thing).

Convinced? Grab your tickets here.

(Hey, blog reader. Yeah, you. We like you. Get 15% off ticket price when you use discount code blogsentme.” That’s cheaper than our early bird price.)

Want to see the excitement in action?

Here’s a peek at what we got up to last year:

The countdown is on

Regardless or whether you’re a PPC specialist, conversion copywriter, full-stack marketer or living that agency life, we’ve got something in store for you. Our workshops and talks touch on everything marketing: pay-per-click, agencies, copywriting, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization, branding and storytelling, email marketing, customer success, search engine optimization and product marketing.

Check out the full agenda here.

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See you at the conference (and on that Ferris wheel)!

Grab your tickets here and remember to use discount code “blogsentme” at checkout for 15% off that ticket price!

Read the article: 

Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report – Average Conversion Rates by Industry and Expert Recommendations

Benchmark conversion rates by industry
The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report is filled with industry-specific data, graphs and actionable takeaways.

What is a good conversion rate for my landing page?

If you knew the answer to this question, you could get more out of every optimization dollar you spend. Armed with this one “little” data point, you could double down on pages with lots of growth potential or confidently switch gears to focus on other projects because you know your page is performing well.

But here’s the problem:

  • Companies in different industries use a wide range of landing page copy, traffic generation strategies and product offers. Because of this, average conversion rates across industries vary dramatically.
  • This one “little” data point isn’t really so “little.” Conversion rate benchmarks are the function of a ton of variables, requiring access to hordes of data (not to mention people with the skills to mine and interpret that data).

Scientifically grounded answers to, “What is a good conversion rate?” just haven’t been available… until now.

We created the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report by analyzing the behavior of 74,551,421 visitors to 64,284 lead generation landing pages created in the Unbounce platform over the last quarter, using a rigorous scientific methodology and our proprietary machine learning technology.

How do your landing page conversion rates compare against your industry competitors?

Get the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and find out.
By entering your email you’ll receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

For 10 popular industries, we’ll share:

  1. An overview of average conversion rates per industry (the graph on the left).
  2. A summary of how marketers in that industry are performing (right):
real-estate-industry-specific-example-benhcmark-page
The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report is filled with charts, graphs and actionable takeaways for 10 of our customers’ most popular industries.
  1. Industry-specific copy recommendations from our team of data scientists and conversion marketing experts (who have interpreted the data in the report for you). For each industry, we explore how the following factors could be impacting your conversion rates:

    • Reading ease
    • Page length
    • Emotion and sentiment

Our goal isn’t just to help you answer the question, “What is a good conversion rate for my landing page?”

Our goal is to eliminate some of the guesswork so you can build higher-converting landing pages, better prioritize your work and get back to the strategy and creativity that drives your business.

Download the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report (FREE)

Data-driven insights on average conversion rates per industry (+ expert copywriting advice)
By entering your email you’ll receive other resources to help you improve your conversion rates.

Taken from:  

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report – Average Conversion Rates by Industry and Expert Recommendations