Tag Archives: conversion optimization

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

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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.)

insidepost3

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.

insidepost5

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!

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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.

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

First CRO Certification Course in Italy – An Initiative Supported by VWO

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How can you learn Conversion Rate Optimization in a way that you can apply it easily to any project?  How can you make a low performing website to a highly remunerative one without redesigning it from scratch?

Those are just two of the questions that Luca Catania, Director of Madri Internet Marketing & Head of Marketing of Catchi, answered during the First Certification CRO certification Course in Italy supported by VWO.

The course targeted a wide audience—from people with no experience in CRO to experts in the field. Attendees comprised c-suite executives—Entrepreneurs, Head of Marketing, Managing Directors, Consultants, from more than 20 different industries.

The objective of the training was to teach participants an innovative step-by-step approach to CRO, in which participants are guided to learn a system that they can apply to any business to increase conversion rates, increase leads, increase sales online.

Participants got the chance to learn how to optimize their websites in a real-time setup. Using the VWO platform live in the course allowed the participants to understand and experience how the software can help optimize websites and achieve better conversions.

Do you want to improve you CRO skills? 

You can read interesting case studies and find the dates of upcoming courses in Europe/Australasia, following Luca Catania on LinkedIn.

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First CRO Certification Course in Italy – An Initiative Supported by VWO

Using Personalization To Increase AOV And Conversion Rates

Dear |FNAME|,

As a valued customer, we’d like to…

For many eCommerce companies, the first personalization project begins with FNAME. We have become really good at personalizing emails because we know that it works. Emails personalized with recipients’ first names increase open rates by 2.6 percent.

Shoppers are more attracted to marketing that targets their interests and purchase patterns. This doesn’t only apply to emails–using personalization in your eCommerce branded store is the best way to build a relationship and keep customers converting.

The more often customers return, the better you become at delivering relevant suggestions and content for them. According to an Adobe study, 40% of online revenue comes from returning customers…who only represent 8% of site traffic. Using personalized recommendations, enterprises can build a stronger, more profitable relationship with their users.

Now is the time to optimize revenue opportunities and become better at selling to the right customers at the right time. Read on to learn how to use personalization to drive up average order value, or AOV.

Importance of Good Data

Personalization doesn’t work if you don’t know anything about your customers. The more relevant and accurate data you gather, the more refined and detailed picture you can draw. Customers are happy to help you get to know them too. 75% of shoppers like it when brands personalize products and offers, while 74% of online customers get frustrated with a website when content that appears has nothing to do with their interests.

When customers sign up on your site or check out for the first time, use this opportunity to collect information. This will help you with informed promotion and planning recommendations in the future.

As your relationship grows, you can continue to learn more about your customers.

  • How often are they buying?
  • What is their AOV?
  • What campaigns have converted for them?

Finally, customers have the most information about themselves. Allowing them to personalize their own experience by sharing their gender or interest information is a simple way to ensure that you aren’t showing them irrelevant information or products.

Customer data can come from anywhere, and it’s necessary when personalizing experiences. In summary, look for the following data points:

  • Location/IP address
  • Channel of entry (social/email/Amazon)
  • New or Returning customer
  • Previous searches
  • Shopping history
  • Shopping patterns (based on parameters such as the AOV)
  • Customer segments (people who are like them)
  • Customer-provided information (gender, interests)

Enabling social logins like Connect with Facebook will also help you get demographic information about your customers, without them having to provide it themselves.

Now that we’ve got a good picture of our customers, we can start personalizing their experience. There’re three main ways to do this—by segmenting, history, or trend analysis.

Personalization by Segmenting Customers

There are several ways you can personalize a customer’s experience even without asking for any information. When customers land on your site, you already know more about them than you might think.

Practical Tips

Use geotargeting to show the correct language and currency.

Right now, I’m in Austria, so Wool and Gang default to Austria shipping rates and are showing me prices in Euros. This reduces concerns international customers might have about shipping abroad or currency exchange. Reducing concerns means an easier checkout experience, which means better conversions.

personalization example wool and the gang
Source

Using cookies to know if a customer is new or returning.

If they are new customers, prompt them with a pop-up module to sign up and get a discount on their first purchase. Welcome them to your site, explain who you are, and save their email addresses for future selling opportunities.

Spearmint LOVE offers 10% off for first-time visitors if they sign up for the newsletter. It’s a little bonus that later helps convert visitors at a higher value.

Personalization example Spearmint
Source

Segment on the basis of individual shoppers vs. wholesalers

“Wholesalers” is another segment of customers who have different needs. Individual shoppers want quick, one-off purchases and may not be as likely to sign in or create accounts on branded sites.

But catering to wholesale clients by allowing them to sign in to receive special discounts and review orders without calling an account management team makes the experience much better for them. Clarion Safety sells industrial grade safety labels. This organization has created a special experience for wholesale customers that allows them to use different check-out options, such as “charge to account.”

Personalization example Clarion
Source

Identify and segment by channel as a source of entry

Different paths signal different intents.

If they found your products through Pinterest, they are looking to browse and are more visual. If they clicked an email coupon, they could be price conscious and should be shown more sale items. Get inside your customers’ brains and show them what they want to see—this will provide you the highest chance of conversion.

Personalization by Previous Activity

After a relationship has been established between you and your customers—whether that’s just through visiting or years of purchasing history—you have information about them from their previous activity. Use this information to customize their experience, and upsell and cross-sell products that are relevant to them.

Practical Tip

Before purchasing, visitors go back and forth with regard to an item when not sure. They might visit the same site multiple times in a week. A surefire way to get them to convert is to show them their recently viewed items whenever they visit your website. If you’re able to offer a discount on products that they’ve viewed multiple times, it might help you seal the deal.

EpicTV combines this strategy with a least purchase amount for free shipping. This means that visitors will usually add something from their recently viewed list just to achieve that perk.

Personalization example Epic TV
Source

When customers are viewing their carts, at that instance, you can use previous searches or purchases to suggest complementary items. Red’s Baby uses this method to suggest accessories for the main purchase and incrementally increase the AOV. I added a stroller to my shopping cart, and this site suggested matching accessories—all under $50. At this instance, suggesting other types of strollers wouldn’t be effective.

Personalization example Red's Baby
Source

Think about what it’s like meeting customers in the real world. The more you see them, the more history you have of them. You might know that they have kids or that they like to play squash on weekends.

This context makes personalized recommendations and upsells easier. Try and replicate this online. Shopping at an eCommerce retailer doesn’t need to be impersonal, and it shouldn’t be.

Personalization by Building Patterns

Taking the time to build a better recommendation engine makes sense and helps generate additional revenue. According to Barilliance and data based on 1.5 billion online shopping sessions, personalized on-site product recommendations constitute 11.5% of revenue through eCommerce sites. That’s a big chunk of revenue to miss out on!  

Practical Tip

To optimize across all customer visits, dive into analytics and look for purchasing patterns. Do shoppers tend to return often if they buy a specific item? Do many shoppers buy a combination of items at the same time? Finding and taking advantage of these opportunities can help drive up AOV.

For example, recommending products that other customers bought helps crowd source the best options. Check out these suggestions by Blue Tomato when viewing an item. 

Personalization example Blue Tomato
Source

Flash Tattoos speaks their customer’s language and makes their Recommendation section fun. “You’d also look good in” is a flattering way to suggest similar products across different styles.

Personalization example Flash Tattoos
Source

If customers have viewed the shipping policy and not purchased, they might be hesitant about shipping costs. Try offering free shipping at a certain cart value to convert potentially cost-sensitive customers. Finding these patterns that expose reasons for cart abandonment helps create a better experience for your customers. They’ll feel like you are addressing their concerns before they even ask!

Final Tips

Now that you’re ready to start personalizing the shopping experience, we’ve got a few final tips for you:

When you’re suggesting or upselling, use your screen space wisely:

Remember the purpose of each screen, and don’t distract customers from completing their purchase. On the checkout screen, the single Call-to-Action should be to convert and pay for what they’ve selected. Cluttering the screen with additional products can reduce your overall conversion rate.

Personalization isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it tactic:

You need to constantly reevaluate your metrics, hypotheses, and experiments to keep getting better at selling to your customers. Don’t be afraid to try things out and get personal! Your customers will love it and reward you for it with higher AOVs.

Over to You

Have more ideas on how to increase AOV and conversion rates with personalization? Send us your feedback and views in the comments section below.


Kickstart_Personalization_Guide_Free_Trial

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Using Personalization To Increase AOV And Conversion Rates

Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Launching That Overlay

peter-parker
Be the Peter Parker of overlays. Image via Shutterstock.

You’ve heard it before: “With great power comes great responsibility.

And while Uncle Ben wasn’t explicitly referring to overlays when he said these iconic words to Peter Parker, the same could be said about these handy little conversion tools.

Overlays are modal lightboxes that launch within a webpage and focus attention on a single offer. Still fuzzy on what an overlay is? Click here.

Overlays are powerful marketing tools, not only because they are incredibly effective at snagging conversions, but also because they are so quick to launch.

This combination of power and speed means it’s dangerously easy to launch one without much consideration for user experience. Thus, they’ve developed a bit of a reputation for being effective… and disruptive.

But the disruptive nature of overlays is actually inherent to their effectiveness, because it focuses the visitor’s attention on a single offer. They eliminate the paradox of choice and present the visitor with a simple yes or no question.

However, there are ways to ensure the overlays you launch both achieve your goals and provide value to your visitors.

The first step in accomplishing this is to ask yourself the five Ws:

1. Why are you launching an overlay?

Overlays are most commonly used to accomplish one of three marketing goals: revenue generation, lead generation or traffic shaping.

overlay-goal

Do you want to build your blog subscriber list? Divert traffic to your pricing page? Entice visitors to make a purchase? This is what you need to figure out before you even consider building your overlay.

The marketing team at Hotjar recently implemented an overlay in their lead gen strategy for the first time. But just because it was their first attempt didn’t mean there wasn’t a clear goal. Nick Helm, Director of Inbound Marketing at Hotjar explains:

“We wanted to be able to nurture the new leads coming from different channels and bring them back.”

hotjar-overlay
Hotjar’s premier overlay built with Unbounce Convertables.

If you don’t have a good answer to the “Why” question though, just stop. Overlays, when used irresponsibly, can be intrusive and annoying. So if you don’t have a solid, strategic reason for launching one, hold on until you do.

Nick et al had a clear goal for their overlay and a detailed plan for how to achieve it, and it paid off: “We did get the quantitative results — which for us, measure better than industry standards.”

Your reason for running an overlay might be lead gen, rev gen or traffic shaping (or maybe something completely unique), but just make sure you have one — plain and simple.

Need some inspiration?

Our our latest ebook, 12 Proven Ways to Convert With Overlays, we share a dozen types of use cases you can use today.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

2. Where will you place your overlay?

Overlays offer a reliable way to fill gaps in your funnel, but you need to figure out where those gaps may be.

The easiest way to do this is to visit Google Analytics to determine your highest-traffic pages. Then whittle down the list to only include pages that don’t have a clear call to action — these pages are the low-hanging fruit you can start with to see immediate results.

You should have already determined what the goal of your overlay is; the diagram below will help you decide which of the CTA-free pages pair best with the type of overlay you’d like to launch.

overlay-placement

As you can see, different pages are associated with different levels of buyer intent, and so while a lead gen overlay might perform well on your blog, a rev gen overlay probably won’t.

Now, if you’re a keener and don’t have any high-traffic pages without a CTA then I present you with this anthropomorphic gold star:

giphy-2
Tina star gif via Giphy.

But I also challenge you to consider how you might use overlays on your highest-traffic pages to get even better results (because even though you have a CTA, it doesn’t mean people see it).

Adding an overlay with a complementary offer to your main on-page offer can help bolster the success of your page, because overlays leverage the psychological principle of pattern interruption  to focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer. Your sidebar CTA, on the other hand, can start to blend into the page, so people become blind to it.

Here’s an example from last year’s Digital Agency Day (DAD) signup page:

digital-agency-day

Whereas the signup page’s goal was to get people to attend the digital event, this overlay offered exiting visitors the opportunity to simply get the recordings, even if they couldn’t attend.

The results were some of the best we’ve ever seen: 1,991 full-form conversions on 10,005 views.

3. Who should see your overlay?

The key to high-converting overlays is presenting compelling offers that (1) align with the visitor’s buying intent and (2) are relevant to that visitor’s specific needs or interests. This means targeting, and the more granular you can get the better.

The first thing you want to find out is where your visitors are coming from. If you know that, you can better judge what type of overlay should be presented, because different types of traffic relate to different levels of buyer intent (social traffic, for example, is often less likely to make a purchase than paid traffic).

The following chart further illustrates this.

traffic-sources
Different traffic sources pair better with specific types of overlays.

Another thing you want to think about is whether the traffic consists of first-time or returning visitors, and — if they are a returning visitor — whether or not they’ve already opted in.

Chances are, your page traffic is a mixture of different referral sources and visitor types, so it can be tricky to present an offer that’s relevant to everyone. Fortunately, Unbounce Convertables recently launched referral and cookie targeting, so you can present more relevant offers by customizing the overlays visitors see based on where they’re coming from or what pages they’ve visited before.

4. What is your overlay offer?

By now, you should be seeing a trend — that creating an effective overlay means keeping the visitor experience at the forefront of your mind. And the sweet spot is where your marketing goals align with the goals of the user: you want the sale, they want the bargain; you want the email, they want the ebook; and so on.

So when you consider what your actual offer will be, ask yourself if your overlay is valuable and relevant to your visitor. If it’s not both of these things things, your results will suffer and you risk being obnoxious.

Let’s break this down.

Value

Conveying value means offering your visitor something worth converting for. Here are a few examples:

  1. Offer an exclusive discount, like this lead gen overlay from BustedTees, which offers a generous 40% discount on first orders:
busted-tees
  1. Entice visitors with free shipping, like this rev gen overlay from Diamond Candles:
diamond-candles
  1. Present a free resource visitors can’t resist, like this lead gen overlay from Copy Hackers which offers a free four-part conversion optimization course:
copy-hackers

Relevance

Another thing to consider when deciding on your offer is whether or not it’s relevant to your audience.

Here’s a real-life example: At Unbounce, our analytics showed that a roundup of the 16 Best Digital Marketing Conferences of 2016 was bringing in a lot of organic traffic. Assuming that people who read about marketing conferences are also interested in attending marketing conferences, we served up this overlay (with a ticket discount to sweeten the pot) that directed people to our Call to Action conference microsite:

cta-conf

And, might I point out, the above overlay is also an incredibly valuable offer — $650 savings? Yes please!

5. When should your visitors see your overlay?

We’ve sorted where your overlays should be seen and by whom, but there’s a final piece in the puzzle: When.

You have a few options around when to trigger your overlay, and depending on the type of offer you’re presenting, different triggers may be more effective than others.

Let’s dig in…

On arrival
On-arrival overlays appear when your page first loads. Use this trigger for offers you want users to immediately see (e.g., a coupon code or an event invitation) or for returning visitors who may no longer notice your onsite calls to action.

On scroll
An overlay using an on-scroll trigger will appear once the user has scrolled through a designated percentage of the page. Use it to present relevant offers to users who have implied interest in a topic after spending time on the page (e.g., a free quote) or to catch the attention of returning visitors who may no longer notice your on-site calls to action.

On exit
Overlays that trigger on exit appear when the user moves to abandon the page. Use them for offers that can “save” a potentially lost conversion (e.g., a coupon code or shipping discount) or for offering free resources or collecting sign-ups that enable you to save a user’s details for future communications.

After delay
Sometimes you’ll want your overlay to appear after a designated time delay, typically between five and 20 seconds. Use this type of overlay to present relevant offers to users who have implied interest in a topic after spending time on the page or for returning visitors who may no longer notice your onsite calls to action.

Psst: Unbounce Convertables include all the above mentioned triggers plus on-click trigger, like this one. Use it to present information or forms on demand without cluttering the page (e.g., “click here to sign up” opening an overlay with a form).

Be a conversion hero

That was a lot of information, I know, but as a marketer it’s your responsibility use your powers for good.

And remember: A thoughtful approach to implementing overlays benefits you and your visitor, because your goals are aligned.

Have you had success with overlays? Tell us about it in the comments!

Excerpt from: 

Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Launching That Overlay

Data-Driven Optimization: How The Moneyball Method Can Deliver Increased Revenues

Whether your current ROI is something to brag about or something to worry about, the secret to making it shine lies in a 2011 award-winning movie starring Brad Pitt.

Do you remember the plot?

The manager of the downtrodden Oakland A’s meets a baseball-loving Yale economics graduate who maintains certain theories about how to assemble a winning team.

His unorthodox methods run contrary to scouting recommendations and are generated by computer analysis models.

Despite the ridicule from scoffers and naysayers, the geek proves his point. His data-driven successes may even have been the secret sauce, fueling Boston’s World Series title in 2004 (true story, and the movie is Moneyball).

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What’s my point?

Being data-driven seemed a geeks’ only game, or a far reach to many, just a few years ago. Today, it’s time to get on the data-driven bandwagon…or get crushed by it.

Let’s briefly look at the situation and the cure.

Being Data-Driven: The Situation

Brand awareness, test-drive, churn, customer satisfaction, and take rate—these are essential nonfinancial metrics, says Mark Jeffery, adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management.

Throw in a few more—payback, internal rate of return, transaction conversion rate, and bounce rate—and you’re well on your way to mastering Jeffery’s 15 metric essentials.

Why should you care?

Because Mark echoes the assessment of his peers from other top schools of management:

Organizations that embrace marketing metrics and create a data-driven marketing culture have a competitive advantage that results in significantly better financial performance than that of their competitors. – Mark Jeffery.

You don’t believe in taking marketing and business growth advice from a guy who earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics? Search “data-driven stats” for a look at the research. Data-centric methods are leading the pack.

Being Data-Driven: The Problem

If learning to leverage data can help the Red Sox win the World Series, why are most companies still struggling to get on board, more than a decade later?

There’s one little glitch in the movement. We’ve quickly moved from “available data” to “abundant data” to “BIG data.”

CMO’s are swamped with information and are struggling to make sense of it all. It’s a matter of getting lost in the immensity of the forest and forgetting about the trees.

We want the fruits of a data-driven culture. We just aren’t sure where or how to pick them.

Data-Driven Marketing: The Cure

I’ve discovered that the answer to big data overload is hidden right in the problem, right there at the source.

Data is produced by scientific means. That’s why academics like Mark are the best interpreters of that data. They’re schooled in the scientific method.

That means I must either hire a data scientist or learn to approach the analytical part of business with the demeanor of a math major.

Turns out that it’s not that difficult to get started. This brings us to the most important aspect, that is, the scientific approach to growth.

Scientific Method of Growth

You’re probably already familiar with the components of the scientific method. Here’s one way of describing it:

  1. Identify and observe a problem, then state it as a question.
  2. Research the topic and then develop a hypothesis that would answer the question.
  3. Create and run an experiment to test the hypothesis.
  4. Go over the findings to establish conclusions.
  5. Continue asking and continue testing.

    Scientific Method of Growth and Optimization

By focusing on one part of the puzzle a time, neither the task nor the data will seem overwhelming. As you are designing the experiment, you can control it.

Here’s an example of how to apply the scientific method to data-driven growth/optimization, as online enterprises would know it.

  1. Question: Say you have a product on your e-commerce site that’s not selling as well as you want. The category manager advises lowering the price. Is that a good idea?
  2. Hypothesis: Research tells you that similar products are selling at an average price that is about the same as yours. You hypothesize that lowering your price will increase sales.
  3. Test: You devise an A/B test that will offer the item at a lower price to half of your e-commerce visitors and at the same price to the other half. You run the test for one week.
  4. Conclusions: Results show that lowering the price did not significantly increase sales.
  5. Action: You create another hypothesis to explain the disappointing sales and test this hypothesis for accuracy.

A/B Testing

You may think that the above example is an oversimplification, but we’ve seen our clients at The Good make impressive gains by arriving at data-driven decisions based on experiments even less complicated.

And the scientific methodology applies to companies both large and small, too. We’ve used the same approach with everyone from Xerox to Adobe.

Big data certainly is big, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Step-by-step analysis on fundamental questions followed by a data-driven optimization plan is enough to get you large gains.

The scientific approach to growth can be best implemented with a platform that is connected and comprehensive. Such a platform, which shows business performance on its goals, from one stage of the funnel to another, can help save a lot of time, effort, and money.

Conclusion

Businesses need to be data-driven in order to optimize for growth, and to achieve business success. The scientific method can help utilize data in the best possible ways to attain larger gains. Take A/B testing, for example. Smart A/B testing is more than just about testing random ideas. It is about following a scientific, data-driven approach. Follow the Moneyball method of data-driven testing and optimization, and you’ll be on your way to the World Series of increased revenues in no time.

Do you agree that a data-driven approach is a must for making your ROI shine? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

CTA_FreeTrial_Being_Data_Driven

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Excerpt from: 

Data-Driven Optimization: How The Moneyball Method Can Deliver Increased Revenues