Tag Archives: conversion optimization

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.)

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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.

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.

Taken from:  

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

The post Data-Driven Optimization: How The Moneyball Method Can Deliver Increased Revenues appeared first on VWO Blog.

Excerpt from: 

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

Your Brain is Lying to You — Become a Better Marketer by Overcoming Confirmation Bias

23-10-1

I’m going to ask you a personal question, and I want you to be honest. Don’t worry, you don’t have to say it aloud, so no one will know. Here it goes:

Have you ever resisted or ignored a piece of information because it posed a threat to your worldview?

(Maybe you saw a headline that went against your political conviction and your reaction was, “I’m definitely not going to read that.” Or perhaps you left out a few not-so-impressive data points in your campaign report so it looked a bit better than it really was.)

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, favoring information that confirms your worldview is extremely common human behavior.

This “filter” serves a practical purpose, as it helps us conserve cognitive energy and navigate life with stable beliefs — imagine how hard it would be if we were open to every single piece of information we come across in life?

Unfortunately, being biased towards information that confirms what we already believe often leads to errors in judgment and costly mistakes in marketing (and life in general).

If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves marketing to an imaginary target audience made up of our own biases and assumptions – without even noticing it. The result is marketing that falls short and fails to have any real impact on the audience.

Marketer: Meet Your Own Worst Enemy

Our predisposition to filter and interpret information in ways that confirm what we already believe is what psychologists have identified as confirmation bias (also referred to as my-side bias).

Though it is largely unintentional, my-side bias often limits our capacity for objective analysis.

Encyclopedia Britannica cites that “[i]n studies examining the my-side bias, people were able to generate and remember more reasons supporting their side of a controversial issue than the opposing side. Only when a researcher directly asked people to generate arguments against their own beliefs were they able to do so.”

Let’s use the 2016 US Presidential Election as an example. Both candidates had done things that brought into question whether they were suited to be the next president of the USA.

Most Trump supporters were concerned with confirming that he was a better candidate than Clinton, whereas Clinton supporters were concerned with confirming that she was a better candidate than Trump. And supporters on both sides were willing to overlook some relatively big faults in their preferred candidate — while pointing fingers at the opposition for not seeing the faults in their own candidate.

“Confirmation bias also surfaces in people’s tendency to look for positive instances. When seeking information to support their hypotheses or expectations, people tend to look for positive evidence that confirms that a hypothesis is true rather than information that would prove the view is false if it is false.”

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.

The current fake news controversy is another good example of confirmation bias in action. Objectively speaking, every single person (including politicians and journalists) should have a vested interest in journalistic integrity and truthful coverage of current events. Nonetheless, many of us are preoccupied with confirming suspicions that the “other side” is peddling fake news – rather than actually getting to the bottom of fake news in general.

Confirmation bias can also lead us to seek out sanctuaries where our beliefs and opinions aren’t challenged. Platforms like Facebook let you fine-tune your News Feed to let in only the things you agree with. If something you don’t agree with does slip through your filter, you simply block it. If someone says something you don’t agree with, you simply unfriend them. And so on and so on until you’ve built your own perfect little confirmation bias bubble where all your opinions are validated and opposing ideas are crushed swiftly so they don’t pose a threat.

The tendency to favor one’s own views poses a serious threat to any discipline that seeks to uncover the truth about the world — science is a perfect example.

If a scientist only looks for data confirming a desired outcome, the study will be fundamentally flawed since it will revolve around finding confirmation rather than information. As a consequence, the conclusions will be biased towards a specific result and therefore worthless.

That’s why the Scientific Method is so important when you are doing research. It dictates that you should attack your hypotheses from all possible angles and actively seek evidence to the contrary.

When you’ve tried everything to disprove your own hypothesis and it still stands true, that’s when you know you’re onto something.

However, even scientists have a hard time staying true to this principle.

aagaard-post-confirmation-bias-people-generally

Save Your Marketing From Confirmation Bias

As I hinted at in the intro, confirmation bias can have detrimental effects on your marketing. In the rest of the post, I’m going to walk you through three common pitfalls and give you tips on how to avoid them.

Pitfall 1: Marketing to an imaginary target audience

If we as marketers want to be able to influence other humans and have actual impact on their buying decisions, we first have to understand who they are and what the world looks like to them.

If we aren’t careful, confirmation bias can get the best of us, and we can end up marketing to an imaginary target audience made up of our own assumptions and biases. Such a limited view can make it very difficult to understand the behavior of others, especially when that behavior deviates from what you expected.

aagaard-confirmation-bias-we-do-not-see

This often leads to generic marketing that fails to have real impact on the audience — or worse, lack of empathy and a tendency to blame the user rather than asking yourself how you could have improved the experience for the user.

Here’s an example to illustrate: I was working for a client that sold an expensive and complex digital subscription-based product. Their website featured very short product pages consisting of an image and a few paragraphs of sales copy. The underlying assumption was “people don’t read online” and therefore you shouldn’t bother them with detailed information.

When we started doing customer surveys, it turned out they had a lot of important questions and concerns that simply weren’t being addressed on the website — everything from “How does the subscription work?” to “Are there hidden installation fees?”

Based on this new insight, we built new product pages that addressed as many questions and concerns as possible — the hypothesis being that the better the prospect understands the product, the more likely they’ll be to convert.

The new pages were super information dense compared to the original ones, which worried the client. Nevertheless, within the first 14 days of testing the new pages we saw a significant five-figure increase in revenue.

The client was obviously happy, but more importantly, they gained a new found appreciation for customer research.

How to avoid marketing to an imaginary audience

1. Accept the fact that you could be wrong

If you default to assuming that you’re right, you won’t be particularly motivated to look for new information — what’s the point when you’ve already decided that you’re right?

On the other hand, if your starting point is that you could be wrong, you’ll be much more open to new information and alternative explanations. Having an open mind is very important first step if your goal is to uncover the truth.

In practice, this means approaching your own ideas with healthy skepticism and keeping an open mind towards alternative hypotheses. Look for evidence for and against your conclusions — that way you can qualify your assumptions and validate whether you are onto something that’s worth dedicating time and money to pursuing.

2. Get input directly from your target audience

You can waste oceans of time sitting in a room with other marketers philosophizing about what your target audience wants, but getting input directly from your target audience is by far the best way to qualify your ideas and challenge your assumptions.

My approach is to get user insight as soon as possible.

Depending on the case at hand, I choose the method and tool that’ll help me get the best insight as fast as possible. My trusty toolbox includes:

  • Web analytics
  • Feedback polls (check out my recent webinar with HotJar)
  • Customer interviews
  • Usability testing (both in-house and remote)
  • Surveys
  • Click/scroll maps
  • Session recording
  • Form analytics

As Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce, I spend about 60% of my time conducting research to better understand our target audience — how they perceive our product and what makes them tick. I believe that their answers are more valuable than my gut feeling.

My career as a CRO has been full of aha moments facilitated by research. Customer interviews in particular have led to profound discoveries that cast light on the fact that I had completely misjudged the target audience and what was important to them.

Usability testing can also have significant impact on your approach. When you see your own users struggling to make their way through something like your checkout process, you gain a lot of empathy for them. It becomes evident that they aren’t “stupid.” This tactic is especially effective with very proud and/or stubborn clients who didn’t see the value in investing in research. Show a few usability tests conveying the genuine frustration real customers feel, and even the most hardheaded CEO will have a newfound interest in improving things (and your job will be much easier).

Conducting a customer interview?

Here are 10 questions you can ask recent customers to get the insights you need to reverse engineer a successful conversion experience.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

Pitfall 2: Ignoring evidence that challenges your assumptions

Confirmation bias poses a serious threat to your data quality, and you need to keep it in check so you aren’t fooled by your own research. I love the loop in the image below because it so beautifully captures a very common pitfall that one could call the bane of researchers:

aagaard-confirmation-bias-flowchart
I’ve worked with bona fide scientists with PhDs who forgot all principles of the scientific process because they got excited about research confirming their hypotheses. Image source.

From personal experience, I know how a dataset can become vastly less interesting when you find out that it is actually telling you the opposite of what you were expecting.

And because our jobs depend on us delivering results, it can be very tempting to tweak the data just enough that we come out on top if you put your mind to it, you can easily find correlations in your data that simply have nothing to do with the real world.

Here’s a great example from tylervigen.com. This chart clearly shows an extremely close correlation (99.26%) between the divorce rate in Maine and per capita consumption of margarine from 2000 to 2009. Based on this dataset, the conclusion is that staying away from margarine is critical to a long and happy marriage (at least if you live in Maine).

divorce-rate-in-miane

Examples like this illustrate how vital it is to be disciplined enough to continue your quest for the truth and bold enough to admit that you could be totally wrong.

The long-term effects of collecting biased data can be catastrophic. When we start to see false observations as the truth, we become removed from reality. And the more removed from reality we become, the less impact our marketing will have on our audience.

How to avoid ignoring evidence that challenges your assumptions

1. Approach your data with a healthy dose of skepticism

It is easy to be skeptical of data presented by others — less so when it’s your own data.

That’s why it is important to get into the habit of questioning your own findings and conclusions. Always approach your findings with a healthy dose of skepticism and ask critical questions:

  • Did I use appropriate research methods?
  • Was my approach to data analysis appropriate?
  • Did I introduce bias during the study (e.g., asking leading questions)?
  • Was my sample representative of the population or segment I wanted to learn about?
  • Was my sample large enough to be meaningful?

Train your mind to look for cracks in your theories. And when you do find a crack, attack it from all angles, instead of sweeping it under it under the carpet.

I know it hurts, but trust me when I say that in the long run it’ll pay off. The goal isn’t to prove you were right, the goal is to get insight and learn something.   

2. Actively look for signs of confirmation bias in your research and data

Confirmation bias can be very difficult to spot unless you actively look for signs of it. Signs include:

  1. Favoring certain data and/or omitting information because it serves your personal agenda better than the truth.
  2. Tweaking your conclusions to support what you set out to prove.

Take a step back once in while and take a critical look at what you are doing.

Again, having the guts to admit that you might be totally wrong is crucial. Otherwise you’ll likely default to defending your preconceived notions rather than challenging them.

Pitfall 3: Generalizing observations to an unrealistically large group

Another very common error in judgment caused by confirmation bias is exaggerating your findings and to a group much larger than the actual sample size.

Confirmation bias blurs the lines and can trick you into thinking your observations are more meaningful than they actually are.

aagaard-confirmation-bias-comic

A classic example is the good old button color test. Finding out that a specific color works best on one single landing page does not in any way shape or form mean that it is guaranteed to work on another landing page. A green button would clearly not stand out on a page where everything else is green — in this case, a red or orange button would likely be better choices for contrast.

This seems painfully obvious in hindsight, but I still run into people who say stuff like “That shouldn’t be red, everybody knows that green is always better!”

Generalizations like this are very convenient. They simplify the world and vastly reduce your need for analysis and critical thinking. Unfortunately, they also hide the truth very effectively.

How to avoid generalizing observations to an unrealistically large group

1. Ask yourself, “How many examples do I actually have?”

One or two instances of something does NOT mean that you can apply it directly to another case. You have to be able to recreate it over and over again before you can establish it as a “rule.”

If you see good results from sending a one-line email in connection with a very simple and highly desirable offer, it does not mean that you’ll see the same good results in connection with a high-scrutiny, expensive and unknown offer. (Just as having one or two bad experiences with someone from another culture does not mean that every experience with someone from that culture will be equally bad.)

The solution here is actually very simple, but it takes a lot of training and discipline to make it a natural part of your decision-making process. So always be critical of your own findings and don’t jump to conclusions based on limited evidence. Keep yourself in check by looking for more examples of the thing you observed.

2. Learn statistics

Another solid (albeit more time-consuming) solution is to learn statistics from the bottom up. Stats are there to serve as a reality check in the sense that they provide some very useful rules that go a long way in ensuring that your findings are in fact valid and not due to chance.

In fact, every time you look at any data point, stats are involved. And if you don’t understand statistics, it’s difficult to scrutinize the data being presented to you from a tool or colleague.

Not sure where to get started? Check out these resources:

Closing Words

Our brains do a lot of work for us on autopilot. And while it’s comforting to think that we are in control of everything that goes on, the truth is that we reach a lot of decisions without fully understanding the process that lead to them.

Learning how your brain works and the things that impact your decisions will help you think more clearly and make better decisions. What’s more, it’ll help you understand yourself and the people around you much better — important skills that can improve your marketing results and your life in general.

I’ve introduced one of the most pervasive cognitive biases we humans struggle with, and given you simple tips for how to identify and deal with it as a marketer. In the weeks to come, try using some of my tips. Remember: the more you practice, the easier it gets.

Source: 

Your Brain is Lying to You — Become a Better Marketer by Overcoming Confirmation Bias

What Do Conversions, Your Homepage and Vodka Martinis Have in Common?

We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in yet another kickoff meeting, tasked with the impossible: find a way to get more conversions from your homepage with less manpower, fewer resources and a shoestring budget. P.S., can you get it done before the end of Q1?

You leave wondering if it’s too late to take the afternoon off and just let the vodkas martinis slowly wash the pain of your work life away:

Vodka Beach party for conversions, sake!

Don’t give up just yet.

One marketing team used their homepage, existing resources and some savvy know-how to increase conversions on their homepage from 0% to 6%… and you can, too. Read on to find out how (and save those martinis for a victory party)!

The Kiva Microfunds case study

Meet Adam Kirk, Head of Marketing for the US borrower program at Kiva Microfunds, a non-profit organization that connects low-income entrepreneurs all over the world with interest-free loans. Adam explains:

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcLAAAAJGFkNzJmOGRhLTg1ODgtNDg2MS04MWFkLTExZTYwYTYzYjg2ZgWe’ve done just under 3000 loans to date in the US and over half have been to women-owned businesses, over half to people of color and over half to low income households.

Compared to other lenders in the biz, Kiva is impressively over-indexed in these categories — they’re clearly impacting the people who need it the most.

One of Adam’s main key performance indicators (KPIs) for the US borrower program is loan application completions.

His goal: first generate enough leads from the homepage… then drip content that encourages prospects to sign up for a loan.

His struggle with meeting this goal?

We know that when borrowers hit our homepage, they’re clearly interested in Kiva. But a lot of those visitors don’t do anything once they get there: they bounce.

Adam’s team is tiny (as in…it’s just Adam and an intern running all their marketing programs) and support is scarce. Without a ton of engineering resources, tools and A/B testing options, Adam needs to be scrappy about the projects he tackles.

The overlay conversion play

After doing some research, Adam decided his homepage needed a little something extra to give his abandoning visitors a softer step towards conversion.

His solution?

Use an overlay to focus attention on a single offer and grab email sign-ups for the monthly Kiva newsletter.

exit-delay-trigger_v2What is an overlay?

Overlays appear on top of a page’s content (in a lightbox), focusing the user’s attention on a single offer. They can be triggered on entrance, on exit, on scroll, after delay and on click.

That way, Adam would give visitors a quick next step before leaving and capture their contact information for future follow up (when they’ve warmed up to taking a loan).

Since he was already using MailChimp, he was able to quickly throw together some copy and design to test their free overlay tool on his homepage.

Adam talks about the goal and design of the pop up, laughing:

Well it was pretty ugly. It was just one form field and we couldn’t do any kind of targeting so it literally popped up all the time, after five seconds on the homepage.

To test it, Adam got scrappy and split his homepage traffic 50/50 from a total of 10,000 visitors a month. He then set the overlay live and waited to see if it would make a difference.

Despite the drawbacks, Adam’s experiment worked. From that overlay alone, 3-4% of visitors who would have exited instead entered their email address.

Boom! 150 net new leads from one “ugly” pop-up!

Testing Unbounce Convertables

Adam had reaped the benefits of an overlay, but was ready to start more segmented targeting, so he decided to give Unbounce Convertables a shot. He explains:

I had already shown how the first overlay worked despite its simplicity, so I figured, why not do something now with actual logic behind it.

With the same goal in mind and an arsenal of design and copy in his back pocket, Adam got his Unbounce overlay live in only five minutes.

Since his goal was to provide value by giving abandoners an easy next step before they leave, he set the overlay targeting to appear on exit to new visitors only. This ensured that users would only ever see the overlay once, and that it’d only be presented to people who were getting ready to exit (some visitors to their homepage were likely ready to take action).

Here’s what his overlay looks like:

Kiva Homepage Unbounce Convertable
Screenshot of the Kiva Micrfunds Homepage Convertable

The results?

Of people trying to leave the Kiva borrower hub, Adam’s team is now capturing 6-7% of them. That’s 3x the conversions from what the original overlay provided.

It doesn’t end there. Adam now uses the thank you page (also an overlay) to shape his traffic to the Kiva community.

Showcasing a smiling business owner, the goal of the thank you is to put a face to the loan and entice potential borrowers to click through and read more:

Post-Conversion Thank-You
Screenshot of the Kiva Microfunds Post-Confirmation Thank-You

From farmers and foodies to artisans and app developers, the Kiva community is filled with real-life success stories of Kiva-funded entrepreneurs.

Kiva Community Page
Screenshot of the Kiva Microfunds Community Page

The results from traffic shaping?

We’re still testing! But I’m pumped to see what we can do next.

Lessons learned

Adam and his team at Kiva were able to stretch their existing resources, time and manpower to generate some pretty impressive conversion results — all with overlays.

So next time you’re in a kick-off meeting, tasked with the impossible, think of Adam’s success and remember:

What do conversions, your homepage and vodka martinis have in common?

The answer is VICTORY.

Cheers!

Psst. Already a customer? Log into Unbounce now and start using Convertables at no extra cost. You can use the same drag-and-drop Unbounce builder to drive conversions on both your campaign landing pages and your website!)

View article: 

What Do Conversions, Your Homepage and Vodka Martinis Have in Common?

Conversions Are for Closers: Using Conversion-Centered Design Principles to Inspire More Clicks

The campaign conversion path is often a long and windy trail that consists of your prospect having objections and you effectively countering them.

If you’ve done your job properly, your prospect will eventually end up at a crossroads: one path leads to a conversion and the other to the back button — or worse, your competitor.

Of course, we know which path you want them to take… but how can you make sure you’ve done everything possible to close the deal and make sure they take your desired path?

More importantly, how do make sure you earn your coffee?

coffee is for closers
Didn’t you know? Image via weknowmemes.

Conversion-Centered Design (CCD) is a framework for leveraging principles of persuasive design, copywriting, and psychology throughout the campaign process to nudge your visitors toward a conversion.

The CCD principle of Closing is about studying the area around your CTA, the design of your CTA and the copy you use to inspire a click.

There are several factors that influence the decision to click — some are positive some negative.

Negative influences

Negative influences include what I refer  to as “stop words”: words, phrases or graphical elements that are placed in close proximity to your CTA which may create a moment of pause as your visitor contemplates their meaning.

Words such as “spam” in privacy statements below your CTA have been shown to decrease conversions because they plant a negative inference in the mind of your prospects right at the point of conversion, when they might otherwise not have been thinking that way.

Trust seals – especially when there are several banded together – are commonly used with the goal of increasing confidence, when in reality they can sometimes come across as desperate, causing reflection like “Why are they trying so hard to convince me of the security of this transaction? Is it not really secure or trustworthy?” More often, the key to a secure transaction is the presence of the lock icon in the address bar that denotes that the page uses a secure socket layer (SSL).

Psst: Did you know? All professional level Unbounce plans include SSL on custom domains. Start a free 30-day trial today and see the difference SSL makes on your conversion rates.

Positive influences

Examples of positive influences are statements that reduce anxiety at the point of conversion.

For instance, being explicit about how long it will take for a call back gives people a point of reference. “We’ll respond to your request within four hours” is much stronger than no statement at all. Placing this short statement either directly above or below your CTA will ease the anxiety at the perfect moment

For a webinar registration, mentioning that the session will be recorded eases the anxiety of not being able to attend, encouraging people to register anyway.

Button copy

Another critical part of the conversion equation is what you actually write on your buttons: your call to action.

At Unbounce, we’ve looked at our customers’ landing pages to learn more about the impact of different words and phrases in CTA copy. And some of the data is quite surprising…

The price of free

Contrary to popular belief, I’ve found in several A/B tests that the word “free” can have a negative influence on conversions.

I think in part this is because we are all becoming savvier about marketing practices. Giving your email to a company is a form of social currency and thus is not free. We understand that we’ll be marketed to via email — making the reference to “free” seem a little like a bait and switch.

On the microsite for our Landing Page Conversion Course (below), I used a Qualaroo survey widget to ask what was preventing people from starting the course. Two common answers were “How much does it cost?” and “I don’t know how much it is.”

LPCC-a

Based on that feedback, I hypothesized that reiterating that the course was free in close proximity to the CTA would result in more conversions (clicks on the button).

I used my photo (as the author), and in a subtle way mentioned that the course was free.

LPCC-b

The result of the A/B test?

ab test results
For this test, I split the traffic 10/90. This was to accelerate the speed of the test based on knowing from historical data that the current champion consistently converted at 26%.

The new treatment lost by 14%.

What made this treatment lose? Was it my face? (I hope not.) Was it the word free?

This got me thinking about the power of the word “free.” We dug deep into our customer data and discovered the following impact of including the word “free” in a CTA (versus not mentioning it).

free vs no free

As you can see, across 20,000 landing pages, CTAs without the word “free” converted on average 16.8% better than those with the word “free.”

So if free doesn’t work… What does?

closingtable-1
Data shown represents lead gen landing pages only (pages with a form).

The chart above illustrates some other words that are commonly used in CTA copy, and their effect on conversion.

As you can see, even a slight variation in button copy can affect conversion rates. But before you go changing your CTA copy, it’s important to note that these are average conversion changes based on aggregate data. Therefore, use the data to inform your A/B tests, not to make off-the-cuff changes.

After you close the deal

Think your job is done after you’ve snagged that conversion? Think again.

As a optimizer, you should think of what a possible next step could be, and design an experience to ask your new lead/customer to take that action.

This is where the CCD principle of Continuance comes in. Read on to learn more about Continuance or download a PDF of the entire CCD framework to read at your leisure.

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*Feature image via Shutterstock.

Original post:

Conversions Are for Closers: Using Conversion-Centered Design Principles to Inspire More Clicks