Tag Archives: conversion optimization

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CMOs are Becoming CROs: How to Integrate Marketing and Sales to Actually Drive Revenue

Note: This is a guest article written by David Zheng, the Founder of GrowthWit and WiseMerchant and the Head of Growth at BuildFire.Any and all opinions expressed in the post are David’s.

Marketing and sales teams have a reputation for rivalry.

Although they work toward the same outcome, each has a different approach.

As Chip Doyle once pointed out, marketing wants to tell you what to buy, while sales want to hear why you’re buying it (so they can sell you more).

Marketing requires a one-way communication, while sales require a two-way conversation.

But technology and buyer habits are changing all of that. Marketing is no longer a one-way communication, and both teams are relying more heavily on the other to truly understand what the customer wants. Now every task is a Sales and marketing collaboration.

This also means that roles are changing. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) must find a way to play nice.

How the Relationship between CMO and CRO Is Changing

In the past, CROs were mostly responsible for driving profitability and sustainability. It was the job of the sales team to ensure financial success for the organization.

That typically meant putting people on phones to answer customer questions.

The CMO, on the other hand, was responsible for making sure that people knew about the organization—to gain awareness and find new potential markets for the sales team.

They both have the same ultimate goal, but each takes a different path to get there.

sales and marketing alignment activities flow chart
But the Internet changed all of that.

Where once the salesperson was the most trusted source of information about a given product or service, now shoppers have limitless access to information—product data, customer reviews, and so on.

One search gives them all the answers they need.

Customers also have a myriad of touchpoints with any given company. From social media to email outreach to an online contact form, they no longer have to call only one person to get what they need.

This has shifted the role of the CMO to the forefront.

In today’s digital market, it’s about finding ways to not only make people aware of the brand but also trust the brand’s message in the same way they earlier trusted the salesperson over the phone.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the CRO is obsolete. Far from it, sales will always matter.

It simply means that the lines between the CRO/CMO are blurring together in a new way.

sales and marketing alignment for communication with customer

Following some of the Sales and marketing alignment best practices, both parties are now responsible for the financial well-being and reputation of the company. If one fails, the other fails too.

It’s more important than ever that these roles find ways to integrate so that both teams produce real, measurable results.

With that in mind, here are 5 best practices for sales and marketing to help them collaborate to drive revenue.

1. Sharing Sales and Marketing Data for Customer Research

Both marketing and sales use targeted buyer personas to inform their strategies.

According to the Data-Driven Marketing Survey by Teradata, 50% of marketers agree that data is the most underutilized asset in their organizations; but less than 10% use the data in a systematic way.

Salespeople have a leg up when it comes to data, as they’re often the first to develop buyer personas to understand their customers better.

But that data isn’t always accessible to the marketing department.

sales and marketing quality data report January 2017

Marketing teams also need these buyer personas to update its strategies.

The team may need to know whether the customer is a Millennial or a Gen X-er (social media or email?), their income level (affordable or luxury?), and any other behavioral drivers (mobile or desktop?) that might drive their purchasing decisions.

Who knows this data better than anyone else? Salespeople.

The sales team has insights into customer’s goals, mindset, and expectations, and potential obstacles to purchasing.

Marketing needs to have this data to create content and advertising that actually works.

Sales and Marketing Persona comic

To build an effective partnership, sales will need to share the following information with marketing:

  • Sales data:
    • Which products are selling well?
    • Which products are faltering?
  • Customer lifetime value:
    • How low or high are retention rates?
    • How long does the average customer stick around?
  • Internal performance metrics:
    • How fast is the turnaround for a product or service?
    • Are there any obvious bottlenecks?

In turn, marketing should share the following data with the sales team:

  • Traffic and engagement:
    • How many visitors are coming to the site? How many are engaging? Where are they coming from?
  • Email marketing: What are the open and click-through rates for each email campaign?
  • Clicks and conversions: What is the conversion rate of sales landing pages? What are the shopping cart abandonment rates?

With each party measuring these metrics, each can proactively adjust its strategies to achieve better results.

Lead flow for sales and marketing alignment

Marketing can see how its ad campaigns affect the lifetime value, or whether the promises are creating more demand than the team can keep up with (causing bottlenecks), for example.

Sales can see whether there is a significant gap in the sales process (too many people are leaving the website without buying!) or whether or not email is still the best outreach source for certain customer segments.

2. Using Sales CRM Data to Inform Marketing Strategies

Timing is critical in sales.

The sales team has a sense of its current month’s forecast (or even the next month’s) when it comes to the revenue. Part of the job of the CRO is to answer the “when” of the sales cycle.

When is the best time to promote a specific product or launch an outreach campaign? When should marketing initiatives be kicked off? When should sales expect to see results?

best time for sales team to contact customers

The marketing team is the “how” and “what.”

How should that product be promoted based on the sales cycle? Is it a seasonal product or available year-round? How will people be made aware of changes to the product? What is the desired outcome?

Sales should have a good idea of when the best time is to launch a new initiative, according to the purchasing data.

Marketing should know what that initiative should be and to whom it should be targeted, as well as the specifics of the time of the day and week (based on engagement metrics).

sales and marketing emails optimized for the best day of the week

Without both teams working in harmony, it’s possible to launch a revolutionary marketing campaign that doesn’t sell any products at a measurable level.

Here’s an example:

Say you have a 25% conversion rate for every step of the sales funnel. If your monthly sales target for the next quarter is $1 million and your average sales are around $10,000, you need around 100 conversions every month to achieve this goal.

But for some months, sales are slower than others.

Let’s assume that January and February are much slower sales months compared to June and July.

By using this information, the marketing team can determine what offer to include for customers during those months (discounts on orders over a certain price point, for example) in their campaigns.

But this means that the sales team needs a reliable way of identifying these trends, like a sales pipeline CRM, and give the marketing team access to this information.

sales pipeline

Sales should know where leads are coming from when the customers are more willing to buy, and what entices the customers the most so that the marketing team knows how to send out the right offer at the right time.

3. Adjusting Ad Campaigns by Using Sales Data

Advertising is one of the main drivers in sales, and one of the main tasks in marketing.

One of the challenges with advertising is that it’s easy for a company to spend more money compared to earn money.

It’s always a risk. You could drop millions on an ad campaign only to see a moderate sales increase. But this risk gap can be closed when sales and marketing work together to produce a certain outcome.

Take PPC advertising, for example.

For a marketer, a successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign might be the one that just drives engagement.

successful adwords campaign for driving more engagement

If someone clicks a Google PPC ad, goes to the home page, and then clicks through the website, that’s a success.

To that end, marketers may try to use specific keywords to improve website traffic or engagement.

But the sales team cares about one area—sales.

It doesn’t matter if website traffic improves but no qualified leads come from it. They might care if an ad had a high cost-per-click (CPC), and was essentially “ineffective” in producing a real, paying customer.

Sales is looking for revenue, not just metrics.

channel wise breakdown of ROI for marketing

So what does this mean for a partnership between sales and marketing? It means that both have to work together to create the most effective campaigns.

Marketers need to understand the Lead Scoring System (and subsequently, the sales CRM system) so that when they spend money on PPC ads, they know which targeted personas will be most likely to convert.

Both parties need to understand how the marketing funnel works and how it can be combined with the sales funnel to create something new.

new sales and marketing alignment funnelA top-of-the-funnel marketing “lead” (like a website visitor) may not ever turn into a customer, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for sales.

The marketing team needs to know how to measure successful campaigns based on sales data, not on just its own metrics.

4. Improving Brand Identity (and Sales) with Marketing

Not everything that impacts sales is measurable.

A study by Harvard Business Journal found that CEOs tend to favor sales over marketing because sales outcomes are often more “tangible.”

As a CEO puts it, “Why should I invest in more marketing when I can get better results by hiring more salespeople?”

Because of this mindset, many marketing teams are underfunded, and, as a result, underperforming.

suggested percentage of revenue that needs to be spent on marketing.

This is a problem because there are many immeasurable entities that can impact your bottom line.

Brand identity, for example, is not measurable by any metric, yet a brand’s reputation can be a key driver of that brand’s equity.

This is also known as the “halo effect,” or a situation when a customer buys from a brand based on its positive reputation, whether or not the product is truly inspirational.

In other words, the value of a brand can be measured by its marketing.

When Apple began marketing the iPod back in 2005, they put millions into advertising. You may remember the campaign.

marketing of apple ipod comic

Even though iPod (and iTunes) sales made up only 39% of Apple’s overall profits that year, by the end of their marketing campaign, they were hailed as a technology leader and revolutionaries.

As a result, its fiscal year sales in 2006 increased 38% and their profits rose by 384%.

It has since leveraged their reputation as tech innovators to create more and better products, making it one of the biggest companies in the world.

And it doesn’t even sell the iPod anymore.

sales of apple ipod year on year

This goes to show that when the marketing team is properly supported, they can produce results worthy of the sales department.

5. Improving Sales Outreach with Marketing Analytics

One of the biggest contention points between sales and marketing is measuring outcomes.

For marketers, a “good” outcome for an email outreach campaign is high click-through and open rates. However, sales don’t care about click-through rates. It cares about sales.

It might be better to measure your outreach campaign multidimensionally.

measuring content marketing valueOn the other hand, you won’t necessarily get sales if no one opens and clicks through the email.

This is where marketing and sales must come together to identify what a successful outreach campaign looks like.

The marketing team should introduce key analytic tools to the sales team.

While the marketing team can also forward crucial data or statistics, at some point, it inevitably will become an issue of “teaching a man to fish.”

Teaching helps as an economical resource

If the marketing team moves ahead based on important information, the sales team might accidentally ignore crucial statistics that can improve its sales strategy, just because they don’t fully understand it.

This can lead to miscommunication and a negative impact on sales.

If the sales team understands how to use the same tools that marketers use; however, it can create a seamless conversation between the two departments and reduce the odds of an essential piece of data being overlooked.

right marketing or sales tool for your job

Even beyond analytics, sales and marketing teams should a discuss other ways to use technology effectively.

For example, if the marketing team intends to produce content for potential customers on LinkedIn, then the sales team should guide it on best practices for targeted leads on that platform.

Marketing can also assist sales in some of its follow-up endeavors.

If the sales team becomes overwhelmed following up on cold email outreach, for example, the sales team can use a tool like Gmass to automate the process and eliminate the burden on the salesperson.

follow up email tools for sales.

This frees up the sales team to focus on metrics that matter rather than chasing down leads.

But if the sales team doesn’t understand how to use Gmail, they might not be automating their follow-up effectively and miss important sales opportunities in the process.

When marketing and sales work together with the same tools, they can maximize efficiency and move customers through the sales funnel as painlessly as possible.

Conclusion

Even though both the teams have notoriously been rivals in the past, it’s time for sales and marketing team to work together.

This process should be made easier with the addition of technologies that improve the marketing/sales relationships (automation tools like Gmass, or analytic tools like Google Analytics).

It’s important for the two teams to remember that when one succeeds, the other succeeds, even if they approach a problem from different angles.

When marketing is successful at getting traffic or open rates, for example, or improving brand reputation, sales will increase.

When sales are successful at closing leads and measuring their data, marketing will be more effective.

When the CMO and the CRO work together, everybody wins.

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CMOs are Becoming CROs: How to Integrate Marketing and Sales to Actually Drive Revenue

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5 Ways to Optimize Your Website For Converting Visitors into Customers in 2018

One of the central points of a successful website is optimizing your sales funnel for conversion. Here’s a guide to CRO, including the buying cycle and the optimization of your website for each stage.

But what is the buying cycle?

In a nutshell, it is a patterned process customers go through when contemplating a purchase.

In most cases, you can break the buying cycle into three stages.

  • Top of the Funnel: The “awareness” stage when a customer is trying to solve problems, get an answer, or meet a need. At this stage, they are usually unaware of their problem, so you need to show it to them through blog posts, eBooks, and other useful resources.
  • Middle of the Funnel: The “evaluation” stage when a customer is doing research on whether your product or service is a good fit for them. At this point, they already know their problem and they are looking for the best solution.
  • Bottom of the Funnel: The “purchase” stage when your visitors convert and become a customer. At this stage, all you need is the right offer.

breakdown of visitor type to your website

Source

Your marketing campaigns must be different based on what stage the customer is in the buying cycle. Your goal is to move the customer to the next phase of the buying cycle, and your final goal is to get customers to the convert stage or to the bottom of the funnel. At this stage, the customer buys the chosen product.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The average conversion rate is only 3% which means 97% of visitors leave the average website without buying. Improving the conversion rate is essential for all websites. If you ignore it and focus only on driving traffic, you’ll quickly spend most of your money with little to show for it in return.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to optimize your website for the conversion stage. Let’s dive into it!

  1. Optimize your checkout page

Making checkout process fast is a really important requirement for ecommerce sites. Many visitors will leave your website at this point if your checkout process is confusing and slow. For example, a checkout process that goes through more than two pages is likely to result in an abandoned cart.

In order to avoid this, it’s a good idea to show a progress bar to your visitors so they know exactly where they’re at in the checkout process.

Another common practice is to minimize distractions as much as possible. A minimal checkout allows the customer to check out instantaneously and increases the chances of a sale. Don’t have twenty fields on your checkout page, ask only what is required and allow the customer to fill the information in broad, convenient fields.

Ultra.com has the perfect example of a minimal checkout:

Optimize your checkout page for increased website conversion rate.

Now let’s see a bad example – don’t try to copy this one:

Optimize form fields to complete the visitor journey.

  1. Don’t force registrations

Have you noticed that nearly every website you visit asks you to “sign up” or “sign in”? But these accounts are usually forgotten in a few weeks and it just frustrates visitors.

Registrations usually involve extra steps in the buying process and it will hurt your store. Some visitor will leave the site because they don’t want to register. Some will struggle with the registration. Allowing guest accounts can simplify the process for new customers. Guest checkout means that visitors can make a purchase from your store without logging in to an account or saving any information in your database.

impact of shipping and delivery charges on checkout process.

If you want to make your checkout process even easier and less frustrating, allow shoppers to use a social media account. According to research, 66% of consumers prefer using social login.

  1. Shipping and handling costs should be clear

Many websites show taxes, shipping charges and other charges at the end of the check-out process. This is a terrible tactic. It will definitely create a feeling of shock for the customer.

That’s why you should always make the total cost visible as soon as possible. It’s even better if you already highlight your shipping costs on your homepage and product pages.

Using dynamic shipping policy is also a good practice. It means that you display real-time shipping rates to your customers based on their address, and include all costs like in the example below.

Optimize the registration step in your checkout process.

  1. Recover abandoning visitors on-site

Just because a customer adds something to the cart, it doesn’t mean he/she’s going to buy it. In fact, the average ecommerce cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. In other words, 7 out of 10 visitors who add an item to their cart will leave the store without buying. But luckily, there is a way to save these visitors and reduce cart abandonment. It’s called onsite retargeting. Onsite retargeting works by monitoring visitors’ behavior, and when their behavior indicates they are ready for some additional message, it will be displayed to them, usually in a popup. I suggest displaying a popup which either prompts them that they are leaving or provides them an incentive to complete the purchase like in the example below.

use pop-ups to decrease cart abandonment rate

  1. Increase the sense of urgency

Visitors often think “I’ll buy it later” while browsing online stores. They leave, and they never come back – even if they really liked the product. Fostering a sense of urgency is a very effective way to overcome procrastination. You have a number of ways to make your visitors feel like there is a “ticking clock”. For example, you can offer free shipping for a limited number of buyers: only the first 50 buyers. Another option is to show when one of your products is out of stock. It can also increase buyer confidence by implying there is demand for the product and showing a certain number of items have already been sold. You can also set up deadlines for discounts or offer free shipping for a limited time, e.g. 15 minutes. The expiration date of the offer creates a sense of urgency in your customers.

Below, you can see an example where they provide $50 off if the visitors finish checkout within 5 minutes.

offer on exit intent pop up to convince visitors to purchase

Summary

Every customer goes through the buying cycle. Customers want different interactions with you depending on where they are in the buying cycle.

In this article, we were focusing on the convert stage. Optimizing your checkout page and allowing guest registrations are important to prevent cart abandonment. Despite all these efforts, some visitor will still try to leave your site, this is when you need to recover them using onsite retargeting and fostering a sense of urgency.

Using the tips we’ve shared, you’ll be able to optimize your website for the convert stage. You should check all points and see how they work for you.

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12 Conversion Optimization Tricks That Boost Cart Abandonment Results

Note: This is a guest article written by Brett Thoreson , the CEO at CartStack. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Brett’s.

When selling online, cart abandonment is a fact of ecommerce life. Humans have a limited attention span (just 8 seconds long), as we are filled with deliberation, choices, distractions, and doubts. However, there are lots of tools out there to help you minimize cart abandonment, but we can’t eradicate it completely.

However, all is not lost. Customers who have abandoned their carts can still be reengaged. And we’re here to help you with top conversion rate optimization tips that will turn those faltering customers into paying ones.

cart abandonment solution in ecommerce

The Basics

Cart abandonment is when someone visits your website, adds items to their baskets, but for one reason or another, fails to finalize the purchase and leaves the transaction incomplete.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a set of practices that helps you to convert visitors into paying customers and avoid, or turn around, cart abandonment.

Two impactful CRO practices that help with cart abandonment avoidance are:

  • Cart abandonment software: Software that tracks a visitor’s journey on your website to: capture emails and track shoppers while they are on your site, watch for them to abandon a cart, and email them following their abandonment, enticing them back.
  • A/B split testing: Running two versions of your website or page that are identical in intent (such as the checkout page) but different in style, allowing you to compare and contrast conversion rates between the two.

Power of Cart Abandonment Software and A/B Testing on Customer Conversions

Alone, these tools are impactful but together they can work in conjunction to produce much powerful results that will make your conversion rates soar and here’s how:

Cart abandonment software relies on shoppers (website visitors) entering their email addresses on your website form, while A/B testing provides you with the insight to optimize your website to ensure that shoppers (website visitors) input their email addresses.

Simply put, A/B testing converts visitors into leads and cart abandonment software converts leads into paying customers.

How to Use A/B Testing and Cart Abandonment Software to Get Email Addresses

There are lot of CRO tips for use when you are A/B testing to see what changes result in increased email conversions. We’ve put together our favorite tips here:

Where

Where you ask people for their email address, is hugely important and impactful. You can have a banner asking people to sign up. It can be part of a registration form, or you can use your cart abandonment software to produce exit intent pop-ups (displayed when visitors look as if they are about to leave). It is estimated that 35% of lost shoppers can be saved by using exit intent pop-ups, but test this for yourself to see if this is true for your customers.

Opt-In Changes

  1. Location

Visual tracking research shows that we browse websites following an F-shaped pattern, favoring the top and left-hand sides. Test your email address opt-ins at both these instances to see which captures more attention.

visual behaviour of visitors in e-commerce

  1. Color and Font

Choosing the right color and font optimization for your call-to-action button is imperative. We’ll discuss color in a little more detail below. Testing background colors and contrasting text that can make your banner stand out, easy to read, and compelling to complete is a significant use of split testing.

  1. Lead Magnets

Lead magnets offer your customers something valuable in exchange of their email addresses. It can be a downloadable guide on this season’s fashions or a report on the top-rated headphones of the year. Test whether lead magnets work or not; and if they do, test many types. Opt-ins of this nature can see up to a 10% conversion rate.

lead magnets as a solution for cart abandonment

Form-Based Changes

  1. Page Layout

As mentioned earlier, humans are easily distracted not only by outside sources but also by items on your website. For a particular VWO customer, removing the navigation menu resulted in a 100% increase in conversions. Try removing your navigation menu from the form page, to reduce distraction, and removing the option to leave the form, and see if these increase your conversions.

  1. Form Layout

Over 70% of online shoppers abandon their cart halfway through the checkout process, meaning that they are also halfway through filling out your form. Some cart abandonment software applications capture email addresses in real time, even if the visitor doesn’t hit Submit. Therefore, test moving the email address field higher up on your shopping cart and checkout pages, to capture the email address before the visitors abandon the page so that you can send them a follow-up email reminder.

  1. Copy

Words are powerful and emotive: They can make people comply, offer, or turn away. Consider how you are asking for shopper’s email addresses and then test different methods, such as explaining why, using personable language, emotive words, or by using less number of words.

pop ups to stop ecommerce abandonment

  1. Field Population

Do visitors respond better to form fields that are pre-populated with example text (such as example@example.com), blank fields, or fields compatible with Google Autocomplete. Understanding what makes your form easiest to complete should help  enable you to tailor it accordingly.

Exit Intent Pop-Up Changes

  1. Color

A pop-up needs to grab visitor attention, and the best way to do this is with color. Split test different colors that contrast with your website brand colors and “pop out.” You may also want take into account well-known color connotations, which differ across countries, cultures, and genders, such as:

Blue: Security

Purple: Luxury

Red: Urgency

Yellow: Caution

While you can’t adapt your website for everyone, you can adapt it to your customer base by seeing what works best for them.

  1. Offers

A great A/B testing idea can be of using different offers to see which offers appeal to your customers more. Research shows trends such as 90% of online shoppers being influenced by the cost of delivery and discount days such as Black Friday, leading to billions of dollars worth of online sales. Test percentage discounts, free delivery, and money off to see what works best for your target audience.

  1. Wording

Your exit intent pop-up wording is crucial. When issuing a pop-up window, you are walking a fine line between frustrating and enticing your customer. If you are interrupting them, test your wording to make sure it demonstrates a good reason.

  1. Fields

Another useful test for pop-up windows is to include the email address field in the exit intent pop-up itself.  This will enable you to capture user email addresses in real time before they exit the pop-up screen.

pop ups as a cart abandonment solution.

  1. Size

Size matters when designing your exit intent pop-up screen. Should it take up the whole page or just the center? Should it be easy to click or difficult?

Results

A/B split testing is a great way to increase your email address conversion rates. It can be then directly used to fuel your cart abandonment software, with the ultimate aim of re-engaging customers who have abandoned their shopping carts.

There are many other tests that you can try for capturing email addresses before cart abandonment occurs. However, the following 12 are our favorites, because they work. Increasing the number of email addresses you capture before cart abandonment and using these addresses in your follow-up cart abandonment email campaign, you can convert over 20% of lost online sales.

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VWO Partners With HubSpot To Create An 8-Week CRO Planner

It’s 2018, and CRO isn’t just a buzzword anymore! Over the past decade, savvy businesses have been growing by not only investing in traffic acquisition strategies, but also ensuring that visitors to their website are converting into customers.

At VWO, we understand how daunting and time-consuming CRO can seem, so we joined hands with HubSpot to bring you a DIY guide, which will help you learn and implement process-oriented CRO for your business.

DIY Guide to increase website conversions

In our experience of working with 5,000+ customers across the globe, we’ve seen that the journey from start to first few home runs in optimizing conversions usually takes 8 weeks.

Therefore, we’ve designed this guide to take you on a week-by-week journey on how you can lift your conversion rates in a methodical, sustainable manner. Here’s what the 8-week of conversion optimization journey will cover:

  • Understanding the goals and principles of CRO
  • Conducting a conversion rate audit for your website
  • Identifying areas of improvement in your conversion funnel
  • Conducting qualitative research into your visitor behavior
  • Constructing educated hypotheses and prioritizing these for testing
  • Choosing the right experiment and setting up your testing platform
  • Analyzing and learning from your A/B test results
  • Ensuring continuous growth through CRO

…and more!
Guide from VWO and HubSpot on increasing website conversions

After you’ve followed this guide, you’ll be equipped with the know-hows to increase conversion rates time and again, instead of doing it just once.

What’s more, even if your company is young or on a shoestring budget, you would be able to effectively practice conversion optimization in-house, all by yourself.

Grab your copy of The Complete DIY Guide To Improving Conversions in 60 Days here.

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VWO Partners With HubSpot To Create An 8-Week CRO Planner

6 Easy Ways To Learn A/B Testing (Number 6 Is Our Favorite)

Have you always wanted to introduce A/B testing into your marketing skill set but are unsure of where to begin?

Do you think A/B testing is for more technical marketers?

If so, you might be worried about nothing. A/B testing, also known as split-testing, is a common feature of almost every marketing tool these days.

Thankfully, many software products with built-in A/B testing functionality have made implementing A/B tests so easy that laypeople can learn to improve their marketing skills by using A/B tests.

To help you get up and running with your first A/B test campaign, here are 6 tools with built-in A/B testing features that are easy to implement for the average nontechnical person.

Let’s take a quick look at what A/B testing is.

What Is A/B Testing?

In this guide to A/B testing from VWO, it is defined as “comparing two versions of a webpage to see which one performs better.”

The reason why you would want to run an A/B test on your website is to improve conversions. For example, you can A/B test the product photos on your e-commerce website to see if models with beards increase conversions compared to models without beards.

As you can see, with A/B testing, you can follow a process to slowly increase the number of website visitors that convert into customers. If done properly, you can be confident that you’ll always get the same results.

So now that you understand what A/B testing is and the potential benefits of doing A/B tests in your marketing, let’s look at 6 tools that make it easy to run your first A/B test.

  1. Google AdWords

Google AdWords may have been the first tool with built-in A/B testing, so it’s likely where most marketers launched their first A/B testing campaign.

As Google gets paid each time someone clicks one of its ads, it’s in Google’s best interests to help improve the quality of its ads. And to help you figure out which ads are the best, you can A/B test your ads by rotating them evenly to see which has a higher click-through rate (CTR).

To get started on A/B testing in AdWords, go to your campaign settings, click to expand the Ad rotation settings, and then select Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely.

If you want Google to pick the winning ad, select the Optimize: Prefer best performing ads radio button. It’s a good idea to have Google rotate the ads indefinitely and then you can manually pick a winner. This would help you make observations about why some ads perform better than others.

top A/B testing tools

Next, make sure that you have at least 2 ads in each ad group, and then start collecting data.

top A/B testing tools

Unfortunately, AdWords won’t tell you if your data is statistically significant, so you’ll need to enter the impressions and clicks each ad received into a tool like VWO’s A/B split test significance calculator to figure out which ad won.

2. Sumo

If you’re not yet collecting email addresses on your website, you should be.

Adding a pop-up to your website is a great way to grow your email list. One of the easiest ways to install a pop-up is with Sumo.com’s suite of free tools.

Its “List Builder” tool makes it easy to strategically add pop-ups to your website to collect email addresses. But what if your pop-ups aren’t converting well?

Fortunately, you can easily A/B test your pop-ups.

To gradually increase the number of email addresses, you can create variations with different text, colors, or calls to action.

Within Sumo, under List Builder,  click the Tests tab, and then create a new form:

top A/B testing tools

top A/B testing tools

Select the form of which you need to create a variation:

After creating the variation, Sumo rotates both versions of the pop-up and collects conversion data, which will be displayed in your dashboard:

top A/B testing tools

Give your A/B test enough time to collect statistically significant data. After getting a clear winner, you can delete the losing pop-up and create a new pop-up to compete against the winner.

3. Drip

Drip.com is marketing automation software that helps you send personalized emails at exactly the right time.

For example, if you want to send an abandoned cart email 30 minutes after your website visitor added a product to the cart but didn’t complete the purchase, you can create an Abandoned Cart campaign within Drip to send the email automatically.

But what happens if your recipient doesn’t open the email? That’s another missed opportunity.

So, to recover such customers, you want to make sure your abandoned cart email stands out in their inbox and gets opened. Fortunately, you can increase the likelihood of that with Drip’s built-in split test feature.

Within Drip, you have the ability to easily split test the subject line, “From” name, and/or delivery time of the emails in your campaign.

In the example below, you can see how easy it is to set up an A/B test of a subject line:

top A/B testing tools

Next, enter an alternate subject line, and then Drip automatically rotates the subject lines in your abandoned cart email campaign:

top A/B testing tools

Drip also tracks how many times the emails associated with each subject line were opened. After gathering a statistically significant amount of data, you can see in your dashboard the confidence level at which you would get the same results if you let the A/B test running.

top A/B testing tools

After you’ve reached a 95% confidence level or higher, you can stop the losing variation and continue with the winning variation, or create a new A/B test to try and beat the winner.

4. Intercom

Next, we’ll look at the ways you can A/B test chat messages. Fortunately, Intercom makes it easy for you to do this.

Chat messages are a great way to engage your website visitors to increase your conversion rate or just get their email address so that you can market to them in the future.

You can think of a chat message the same way as greeting people when they walk into your brick-and-mortar store. It’s their first impression of you and your brand, so the quality of your greeting can be the difference whether they make a purchase or not.

With most chat tools, you can send “proactive messages” to engage your website visitors. Examples of proactive messages are:

  • “Hello, I’m here to answer any questions you may have.”
  • “Can I help you find a product?”
  • “Do you have any questions about shipping?”

If your proactive message isn’t warm or engaging enough, the visitor may not reply and you may lose a chance to convert them into a customer.

With Intercom, you can A/B test your proactive messages to see which ones have a high open rate. Just create your greeting:

top A/B testing toolsThen use the built-in A/B test feature to create a different greeting for your proactive message:

top A/B testing toolsIntercom will then show each greeting 50% of the time and display the results of the A/B test in your message dashboard so that you can see which greeting has the best open rate:

top A/B testing tools

5. Title Experiments

Did you know that 80% of people who read a headline copy won’t read the rest of the blog post? This is why it’s so important to write great blog post titles.

But how do you know what’s considered a good title? Well, you can split-test your blog post titles to find out.

With a WordPress plug-in called Title Experiments, it’s easy to create 2 versions of titles for each of your blog posts.

Every time you publish a new blog post, just click Add New Title, and then you can write a second variation of your blog post title:

top A/B testing tools

Title Experiments automatically A/B tests both variations, and then you can see how well each one is performing until you eventually pick a winner:

top A/B testing tools

6. VWO

So far, I’ve shown you how to run A/B tests within third-party tools, but what about doing actual A/B tests on your website itself?

Increasing conversions by changing your website’s copy, colors, and layout are where the fun begins when it comes to A/B testing.

With VWO, you can create a hypothesis about how to improve website conversions, and then easily create a variant of your webpage by using its WYSIWYG editor to test against your current page (also known as the control.)

The great thing about A/B testing with VWO is that you don’t have to be technical so that you can do it yourself without the need to hire a developer.

Get started by clicking the Create on the A/B Tests page:

top A/B testing tools

Edit the page you want to A/B test by using its WYSIWYG editor to create a variation to test against the control page:

top A/B testing toolsFrom your VWO dashboard, you can view the results of the A/B test. You can see which variation resulted in more conversions and whether the data is statistically significant so that you can be confident of the results.

top A/B testing tools

Just like the other tools mentioned above, VWO tells you when you’ve collected enough data to make a statistically significant decision about the results.

Conclusion

A/B testing isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s pretty easy to give A/B testing a try, thanks to the built-in features found in marketing software these days.

So if you’re ready to take the leap and want to run your first split test campaign, give one of the above-mentioned tools a try. I think you’ll find that it’s easier than you expected!

Over to You

Have you ran A/B tests by using the tools I just shared? Are there other tools with built-in A/B testing features that you think we can talk about?

It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments!

The post 6 Easy Ways To Learn A/B Testing (Number 6 Is Our Favorite) appeared first on Blog.

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6 Easy Ways To Learn A/B Testing (Number 6 Is Our Favorite)

Conversion Rate vs. Click-Through Rate: What’s The Difference?

Note: This is a guest article written by Malaika Nicholas, the content marketing strategist at Ladder. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Malaika’s.

What Is Click-Through Rate?

Click-through rate (CTR) is a metric, shown as a percentage, that measures how many people clicked your ad to visit a website or landing page.

Why Are Click-Through Rates Important?

For paid ads on Facebook, Google AdWords, and other advertising platforms, the click-through rate directly influences an ad’s Quality Score or Relevance Score.

difference between conversion rate and click through rate

Photo Credit: WordStream

However, note that high click-through rates aren’t always a positive sign. If your ad isn’t targeting the right keywords, or your ad copy, landing page, or offering isn’t helpful or relevant to a visitor, you may end up spending a lot of money on ads that don’t impact your bottom line. Therefore, spend time conducting keyword research to make sure every paid ad is relevant to your ideal customer or target audience.

How Do You Calculate Click-Through Rates?

To calculate the click-through rate on a paid ad, divide the total number of clicks on the ad by the total number of impressions (i.e. the total number of people who saw the ad).

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to multiply your result by 100 to save some extra time calculating the percentage.

Although a lot of marketers may talk about click-through rates in paid advertising, there are several ways to measure click-through rates on other channels.

Say, I want to know how many people visit my website after reading one of my blog posts. In this case, I’ll look at the click-through rate, which will tell me how many people clicked the link to my website from my blog post, out of the total number of visitors to the blog post.

People Who Click Website from Blog Post/Total Number of Blog Post Visitors x 100 = Conversion Rate

What Is Conversion Rate?

Conversion rate is a metric, shown as a percentage, that displays how many website or app visitors complete an action out of the total number of visitors.

Why Are Conversion Rates Important?

For many marketers and entrepreneurs, conversion rates are the most important metric to monitor frequently, because it directly impacts their business’ overall sales and revenue.

Chris Keller from Bizible reinforces this idea and goes so far as to outline 3 reasons why website conversions are more important than web traffic. For one, Keller argues that more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see a spike in sales. This can be the result of several issues: attracting the wrong kind of traffic by targeting wrong keywords, your website content isn’t related to the product or service you’re selling, or your lead capture forms are broken, just to name a few.

Secondly, Keller argues that it is significantly easier and takes less time to increase web conversions than it is to increase web traffic.

Finally, Keller’s last point is that prioritizing optimizing your conversion rate, and then optimizing web traffic—instead of the other way around—would have a greater impact on your business’ ROI and profitability.

difference between conversion rate and click through rate

Photo Credit: Bizible

How Do You Calculate Conversion Rates?

To calculate the Conversion Rate, you’ll divide the total number of visitors to your website or landing page by the number of completed goals.

Pro Tip: You can multiply this result by 100 to save some extra time calculating the percentage.  

It is important to note, however, that this formula will change slightly depending on the type of conversions you’re measuring.

For example, if you’re measuring the Conversion Rate of people visiting your website who turn into leads, the formula will be:

  • Total Number of Leads Collected/Total Traffic to Site x 100 = Conversion Rate

Similarly, if I want to calculate how many website visitors convert into paying customers, the conversion rate formula will look like this:

  • Number of Sales / Total Traffic to Site  x 100 = Conversion Rate

Finally, if I want to measure how many people subscribed to my newsletter after clicking my ad, the conversion rate formula will change to this:

Number of People Who Subscribe To My Newsletter/Total Number of People Who Clicked My Ad x 100 = Conversion Rate

Analytics Tools for Tracking Conversion Rates and Click-Through Rates

While there are several analytics tracking tools that can provide data about Conversion Rates and Click-Through Rates, there’s one tool that reigns supreme: Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is an incredibly versatile tool that allows you to understand who your audiences are, how they behave on your website, where they find out about your business (that is, traffic sources), and how they interact with your website content.

More specifically, Google Analytics allows you to set up Goals, which gives you the ability to track whenever a defined action is taken on your website (that is, the conversion rate), like submit a contact form or make a purchase.

Look at this short video from Google on how to use Goals within Google Analytics to track your conversion rates.

Link to video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMeKXsl7xT8#action=share]

You can also use Google Analytics to track impressions and your ad Click-Through Rate from your Google AdWords campaigns. Here’s a short video that explains how it works.

Link to video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EmXFM1_xEo&feature=youtu.be]

In addition to Google Analytics, you can use any of the following to track Conversion Rates and/or Click-Through Rates.

Conversion Rate vs. Click-Through Rate: Which One Should You Measure?

Digital marketers use both the conversion rate and the click-through rate to measure the success of their marketing efforts. However, as Andrew Chu from MGX Copy notes, click-through rates and conversion rate affect two different stages of the marketing/sales funnel.

At the top of the sales funnel, the click-through rate measures how many people perform an action (such as click your ad) before they get to your website.

At the middle and bottom of the sales funnel, conversion rates measure actions that people take when they’re already on your website, like submit a form, sign up for a newsletter, download an infographic, make a purchase, and others.

As an example, let’s say I want to know how many people visited my website after seeing my Facebook ad. In this case, I would want to determine the click-through rate.

If my Facebook ad earned 100,000 impressions, and 3,500 of those people clicked my ad to visit my website, that makes my click-through rate 3.5%.

Not too bad!

Now, say I want to know that how many people became email newsletter subscribers from the ones who clicked my Facebook ad. In this case, I want to measure the conversion rate.

In this case, of the 3,500 people who clicked my Facebook ad and visited my website, 40 people subscribed to my email newsletter, making the conversion rate about 1.14%.

difference between conversion rate and click through rate

Photo Credit: Ladder.io

So, which metric are you supposed to measure—conversion rate or click-through rate?

The answer depends on which stage in the marketing/sales funnel you want to optimize.

If you want to improve your website rankings or increase traffic to the blog, then you’ll probably want to focus on measuring and optimizing your click-through rate.

If you want to focus on growing your email newsletter subscription list, increasing the number of people who sign up for a free trial, or increasing the number of products you sell online, then focus on measuring and optimizing your website conversion rates.

Actionable Growth Tactics for Improving Click-Through Rates

Here are a few quick tips that can help you improve your click-through rates:

  • First and foremost, conduct some consumer research on your target audience. This will give you a better understanding of what type of messaging your target audience is more likely to respond to.
  • Use Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to find specific keywords your target audience is searching for. Include negative keywords and branded keywords as well in your research.
  • Write ad copy that is enticing and helps your brand stand out. Use power words that convey urgency, authority, performance, advanced technology, scarcity, or social proof.
  • Use high-quality, eye-catching photos in your ads; but make sure your images do not contain more than 20% of overlay text.
  • Make sure the copy, content, and design of your landing pages are aligned with your paid ads.
  • Have a clear and concise call-to-action that makes it clear to the viewer what they can expect after clicking your ad.

For more in-depth information about these tips, look at these helpful resources:

41 Ad Copy Approaches to Increase Ad Click Rates

Google AdWords Tips to Create Highly Converting Search Ads

Actionable Growth Tactics for Improving Conversion Rates

Conversion rate optimization is all about identifying, analyzing, testing, and improving various touchpoints at the middle and bottom levels of the marketing/sales funnel. Here are a few quick tips on how to optimize your conversion rates.

  • Personalize your messaging and user experiences, based on visitor behavior, preferences, or interests.
  • Don’t give up on website visitors who don’t convert right away. Keep them engaged with retargeting ads, where you can display services, products, or offers based on they’ve shown some interest in.
  • Offer customer support throughout the buying cycle. You can offer real-time chat with a customer support representative, provide Help Center informational tutorials and troubleshooting information, or answer questions visitors may have on a dedicated FAQ page.
  • Convert website visitors into potential leads by offering free materials in exchange for their contact information. For example, you can offer a technical white paper, an instructional e-Book, data-rich infographics, or exclusive video content.
  • Give website visitors several opportunities to convert. There’s a slim chance someone will visit your website for the first time and immediately decide to make a purchase. Instead, give hesitant visitors additional opportunities to convert (also known as “micro-conversions”), like giving them a chance to sign up for your email list through a smart bar, display a limited-time offer in an exit-intent pop-up, or allowing them to subscribe to a web browser and mobile push notifications for the latest updates.
  • A/B test various elements of your landing pages, including hero images, call-to-actions, taglines, descriptions, button positioning, the format of contact forms, and others.
  • Add social proof on popular landing pages. Experiment adding customer testimonials, recognizable brands you’ve worked with, or mobile app store reviews and ratings to your website and landing pages.

Also, make sure to bookmark these materials to help bolster your conversion rate optimization strategy:

How To Convert Your Website Visitors Into High-Quality Leads

10 Ways to Build an Actionable Content Marketing Strategy to Boost Conversion Rates

The post Conversion Rate vs. Click-Through Rate: What’s The Difference? appeared first on Blog.

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Conversion Rate vs. Click-Through Rate: What’s The Difference?

What Are Micro Conversions And Why You Should Monitor them

Typically, when we talk about conversions in the eCommerce vertical, we focus on the number of sales generated. Generating more sales is the primary goal for eCommerce businesses.

Converting visitors into buyers is the key to success for your business.

The primary goal of a purchase is always accompanied by smaller goals. Conversion experts call these small goals micro conversions.

Micro conversions are the low-hanging fruits, precisely, actions that lead visitors to the end goal, that is, macro conversions.

This blog focuses on improving micro conversions and how this improvement can impact the overall conversion of online stores.

What Are Micro Conversions and Macro Conversions?

Micro conversions are activities that lead your customers towards the larger goal, that is, macro conversion.

A Micro Conversion is an action, or a set of actions, which provides a strong indication that a user is progressing towards a valuable action on your website. For example, if you are an eCommerce brand, a new user registration would be called a micro conversion.

Common micro conversions might be:

  • A newsletter sign-up
  • Adding products to a cart
  • Downloading an eBook or white paper
  • Subscription to RSS feed
  • Visiting specific pages, for example, product page, category page, the features page, and so on

Why Should You Monitor Your Micro Conversions?

Few visitors would buy a product on your website during their initial visit.

Every visitor converts after a lot of activities, that is, a combination of micro conversions leads to a purchase.

Here are the major reasons that depict the importance of a micro conversion and its impact on your overall conversion rate.

Understanding Your Visitor Behavior

Micro conversions help you paint a picture of your store’s visitors and their activities. Your visitors can be viewed in 2 ways:

The tricky part here is to figure out a way to segment your visitors. When you have a diverse pool of visitors, it’s imperative to understand the traffic you are dealing with. People can be flooding your website for a variety of reasons, as displayed here.


For example, you can now figure out who are the people most likely drifting towards a macro conversion. A visitor checking out your career page might never buy from you. He or she is just checking out your website for career prospects.

Such insights help you identify the perfect pool of visitors you should turn your focus towards, all thanks to micro conversions.

Analyzing the Key Areas to Focus on Conversion Optimization

When you categorize visitor actions on your website as micro conversions, you gain the opportunity to collect a lot of information about your visitors.

Micro conversion provides you with the opportunity to diagnose the key areas on your website and optimize these as separate entities.

For example, as one of the stages of your conversion funnel, a form signup is crucial. If there is a discrepancy here, your next action is to improve signups, which itself is a micro-conversion, a key area that needs to be rectified.

Case Study: Tom’s Planner
Tom’s Planner is web-based project planning software that allows visitors to create and share Gantt Charts and projects. Individuals and businesses can sign up for a free account on their websites and begin using the planner right away.

Their original homepage:

Tom’s Planner wanted to improve its conversion rate. A free trial is a key area of focus for Tom’s Planner. With the help of VWO, Tom’s Planner implemented a test version of its homepage that included a signup form on the first fold of the website.

Its test homepage:

This helped it improve the visitor to free conversion ratio by 43% percent. This is just one of a few examples that showcase how optimizing for micro conversions can lead to a better overall conversion.

You can read the complete case study about Tom’s Planner here.

Allowing You to Nurture Your Leads

When you figure out your ideal set of visitors, it’s important to take advantage of it by nurturing them.

For example, people who sign up for your monthly newsletter on your website. Such micro-conversions provide the perfect “foot-in-the-door” moment to nurture these leads.

Another example is exchanging an initial discount in exchange of a sign-up or email exchange. The discount might also lead to a transaction or might allow an online store to communicate with the visitor through email, thus improving the chance for a conversion.

This micro-conversion strategy has been used by a lot of online stores. For example, HauteLook uses a similar approach to encourage its first-time visitors to sign up for their email newsletter.

Also Read: How a simple tweak increased newsletter signups by 28%?

Measuring Effectiveness of a Communication Channel

One of the categories that falls under micro conversions is customers enrolling for services to maintain a relationship with your business. These could include:

  • Signing up for your Email Newsletter
  • Allowing push notifications
  • Subscribing to your YouTube channel, Facebook, or Twitter feed

A higher rate of conversion for these instances means that your audience is on track for the bigger picture. But what visitors should rather focus on post sign-ups is the interaction through these channels.

These micro-conversions are a good indicator of all these channels and the ones most effective among these. A higher engagement on these channels or signups portrays a strong channel and how your content should be poised relative to your audience.

Building the Right Conversion Funnels

It might have crossed your mind by now. Micro conversions are the perfect way to devise various conversion funnels for your online business.

Think about it for a second about what we spoke at the start of this article. These are the actions that lead people towards a larger goal.

By analyzing the right set of micro conversions in your business, you can figure out the journey your ideal set of customers takes.

For example, consider an eCommerce funnel. This is a series of an eCommerce micro-conversion:

  1. Land on the home page.
  2. Search for the preferred product (Micro).
  3. Land on the product page (Micro).
  4. Add the product to your cart (Micro).
  5. Sign up or log in (Micro).
  6. Check out (Macro).

The customer journey for an eCommerce here, is mostly consisting of a series of micro conversions. By stringing together these micro conversions, you can come out with the conversion funnel for an eCommerce business.

Conclusion

A customer’s journey is far from linear and when you bifurcate the customer journey into various micro-goals, you can concentrate on improving each aspect individually and indirectly improving your bigger goals.

Micro conversions can and should play a vital role in your marketing efforts. These help you track the effort and efficiency of each marketing channel that you are utilizing.

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What Are Micro Conversions And Why You Should Monitor them

Thumbnail

Stop Making These Common Mistakes with Your Website Popups (Includes Examples and Quick Fixes)

Depending on who you talk to, website popups are either a godsend for list building and subsequent revenue creation, or they’re a nuclear bomb for the user experience.

Some can’t stand popups and completely disregard sites that use them (or that’s what they say, at least). And there are even entire websites dedicated to hating on especially bad popups.

However, many marketers are fully charmed to their capabilities for revenue generation, lead collection, and driving attention and conversions in general.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, though.

You can create website popups that aren’t detrimental to the user experience; In fact, if you do it really well, you can even improve the user experience with the right offer and presentation.

We all want to be companies that care a lot about our visitors and make the best popups possible, so it goes without saying, we care about timing, targeting, and triggering (i.e. who we send offers to, when we send them, and what those offers are). After all, the main reasons visitors get annoyed by popups are 1) when they disrupt the user experience and 2) when they offer no value or help:

Fortunately, you can easily solve for these things. In this article I’ll outline common website popup mistakes with real examples, and I’ll cover a few ways to remedy these mistakes.

Mistake 1: Poor timing

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with website popups is with timing. It’s almost always the case that we trigger popups too soon (i.e. right away, no matter the context of the page or visitor).

On an Inbound.org discussion, Dustin J. Verburg had this to say:

“The most hilarious popups are the ones that say ‘LOVE THIS CONTENT? SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE’ because they assault my eyes before I even read two words of the article.

Now I guess I’ll never know if I love the content, because I close the tab immediately and never come back.”

Similar to Dustin, imagine you’re taking break from work to check out GrowthHackers. You find an article on the front page that looks interesting. You open it and immediately get this:

Woah, what’s this full screen takeover? I know this is common today, but most people are jarred by this experience.

Now you may not even remember what the article was, so you’re likely to click away and go back to actual work.

One possible way to remedy this – just spitballing here – could be to add some copy explaining that the visitor needs to click to continue on to the article. Forbes does this (though Forbes could never claim a good user experience without a good laugh):

At least you know where you’re at (the logo is prominent) and what to do (continue to site). But, it goes without saying, Forbes’ experience is not ideal so don’t copy it.

So how do you fix poor timing?

The best possible solution for user experience is to trigger a popup at a time that actually benefits a visitor. On a long-form blog article, this is usually at some point of strong user engagement, either measured by time on site or, better, by scroll-depth and content engagement.

You can do this with an on-scroll popup created in Unbounce.

Once you’re happy with your design, simply set your trigger for when someone scrolls through a certain percentage of the page, or even after a delay you specify:

Click above for a larger, clearer image.

Overall, poor timing is a common problem, and it’s almost never intentional. We simply act hastily when setting up popups, or we spend all of our time crafting the offer and forget that when the offer is shown matters too.

I want to point out, however, that it’s not always a bad decision to throw a popup at visitors on arrival. It’s all about context.

For example, if you’re shopping for clothes, there are a million options available. Therefore, it’s imperative for ecommerce shops to grab your attention as quickly as possible with an attractive offer. This is why you see so many website popups with discounts on arrival on ecommerce sites, like this one from Candle Delirium:

As well as this one from BustedTees:

It’s a very common tactic. We’ll go over it specifically in regard to ecommerce later in section three.

In general, it’s important to analyze a visitor’s behavior and trigger the popup at the exact moment (or as close to it as possible) that someone would want to subscribe/download your offer/etc. It’s a lot of work to tease out when this may be, but the analysis is worth it as you’ll annoy fewer visitors and convert more subscribers or leads.

Fix annoying timing: Consider the user experience. Does it warrant an on-arrival popup? If not, what’s the absolute ideal timing for a popup, based on user intent, behavior, and offer?

Mistake 2: Poor targeting

Poor targeting is a broad problem that’s usually made up of a mismatch between who you’re targeting and what offer you’re sending (though, you could also add in when you’re targeting them as a variable as well).

For instance, if you’re targeting a first time organic visitor to a blog post with a popup that announces a new product feature, you may spur some confusion. Rather, you should try to target based on appropriate user attributes, as well as within the context of where they are in the user journey. A better offer for a first time blog visitor might be an ebook or email course on a topic related to the blog post.

An example of poor targeting is LawnStarter’s guide on their post about where new residents of Birmingham are moving from. It’s a cool infographic-based guide they’re offering up, but the popup is really irrelevant to the content of the post someone’s currently reading in this case:

In another, better example, Mailshake has a massive guide on cold emailing, which would be a daunting read in a single session. It’s probably appropriate, then, that they offer the book up for download via a sticky bar at the bottom of a related article:

There are ways they could improve copy, design, or the offer itself, but the core point is that their targeting is spot on (i.e. after someone’s reading something about cold emailing, and offered up as added, downloadable value).

Now, if I already visited this page and downloaded the playbook, and they still hit me with this offer, then we’d have a targeting problem. They could use the fact that I’m a repeat visitor, as well as a subscriber already, to target me with a warmer offer, such as a deeper email course, a webinar, or possibly even a consultation/demo depending on their sales cycle and buyer’s journey.

The fix for poor targeting

Remember with targeting, you’re simply trying to align your offer with your visitor and where they are in their awareness and interest of your company and product.

This is where the value of progressive profiling comes in. But if you’re not doing that, at the very least you should be aligning the offers on your page with the intent of the traffic on that page.

You can also target offers based on URLs, location, referral source, and cookies. Really think about who is receiving your offer and at what point in the customer journey before you set a popup live.

With popups created in Unbounce, for example, you can use referral source as a way to target appropriate offers to someone who’s come from social traffic, vs. someone who’s arrived via AdWords traffic:

Simply create your popup, and in advanced targeting, select which referral sources you’d like to have access to the offer:

Fix targeting the wrong people at the wrong time with the wrong offer Analyze your customer journey and intent levels on content. Craft offers according to customer journey status as well as on-site user behavior.

Mistake 3: Offers with no obvious value

How many times have you been on a blog that simply wants you to sign up for a mailing list, no value promised or given? Like this:

If you’re an active reader of the blog, maybe this works. After all, you already know the value of the content and simply want to sign up for updates. Makes sense. But I’d wager this type of active reader is a small percentage of traffic, and these people will sign up however they can. Thereby the popup isn’t useful for everyone else.

As we covered before, a much better way to capture attention is with a discount, like Allen Edmonds offers here as soon as I land on the site (on another note, this is a great use of an immediate triggering. It’s not an annoying popup when it delivers me a discount).

This is a super common ecommerce tactic.

It’s a competitive world out there, and giving an immediate hit in the form of a discount is a good way to capture some of that oh so valuable attention. It’s especially common when used on first time visitors to the homepage, as a homepage visitor’s experience is generally more variable and less intent-based (if they land on a product page from a search ad, it’s a bit of a different story).

Here’s an example from Levi’s:

The fact that most ecommerce sites have similar messages nowadays is indicative of a creativity problem, one that presents itself to marketers in any industry. We look to competitors and to the consensus and think that we can’t fall behind, so we replicate tactics.

However, I’m more interested in sites, like Four Sigmatic, that push beyond and implement a creative offer, like their lottery style subscription featured below. (This is one of the only popups I’ve signed up for in months, by the way):

Offering up poor or no value is really the least forgivable mistake if you’re a marketer. Crafting offers that align to your buyer persona is your job. Also, it’s fun. If you have a bland offer, this could easily be the biggest opportunity for lifting conversions, as well as improving the user experience (no one is complaining about awesome offers).

Foot Cardigan does a really good job of offering value and conveying it in a fun way too:

Triggering popups with zero value? Think about ways you can give massive value to your site visitors, so much that they really want to give you their email, and create an offer for this.

Mistake 4: Poor design

If you use Unbounce Popups, it’s almost hard to create an ugly one. Still though, the internet is filled with eye-sore examples:

Design matters. A poorly designed website element can throw off your whole brand perception, which is important in creating trust, value, and in easing friction.

As Ott Niggulis put it in a ConversionXL article:

“Success in business online is all down to trust. You either see something that makes you trust a vendor or you don’t. Trust is also directly linked to conversions – if people leave your website because it’s so badly designed that it makes you seem untrustworthy then you’re missing out on lost prospects, customers, sales, and profits.

Good design = trust = more conversions = more money in your pocket. It’s as easy as that.”

That same article cites a study where 15 participants were directed to Google health information that was relevant to them, then they were asked about their first impressions of the sites.

Out of all the factors mentioned for distrusting a website, 94% were design related. Crazy!

So don’t just put up a poorly designed popup thinking the message will be the focus. Put some effort into it.

Of course, you don’t always need to look like a luxury brand. If cheap spartan is your schtick, then it can work for you. After all, Paul Graham’s site isn’t pretty but it’s so, so valuable:

Image of Paul Graham’s site.

As Aurora Bedford from NN/g explains it, it’s more about matching design to your brand values and objectives:

“The most important thing to remember is that the initial perception of the site must actually match the business — not every website needs to strive to create a perception of luxury and sophistication, as what is valuable to one user may be at complete odds with another.”

No matter what your brand positioning may be, however, make sure you clean up obvious design mistakes before hitting publish.

Fix up bad design: Spend a few hours longer designing your popup, hire a designer, or use a tool like Unbounce with a template.

Mistake 5: Poor Copy

Presenting your offers with clear copy is huge. Most copywriting, not just on popups but online in general, is:

  • Boring
  • Vague
  • Confusing
  • Cringe-inducing

…in that order, I’d wager. Not often do you find crisp, clear, and compelling copy (unless it was whipped up by a professional, of course).

As with the example below, you’re more likely to find copy that’s vague (how many ebooks, which ones, etc.) and cringe-inducing (Rocking with a capital R is pretty goofy):

The copy you write for your popup may be the most effective mechanism you have for converting visitors (outside of the targeting rules). Here’s how Talia Wolf, founder of GetUplift, put it in an Inbound.org comment:

“Many people are trying to capture your customer’s attention too so you need to give them a good reason for subscribing/not leaving.

It’s not enough to talk about yourself, you need to address the customer’s needs: one way is by highlighting the value your customer gains. The other, highlighting what they might lose. (Example: “Join thousands of happy customers” vs. “Don’t lose this unique content we’re giving our subscribers only”

Her website has a solid example of a popup with great copywriting, by the way:

Sometimes, all you need to do is pull your message to the top and make it prominent. Often we try to write clever copy instead of clear copy, but clear always beats clever.

For example, if the following popup led with the money offered for the account, it’d probably be more compelling than their current vague headline:

Mistake 6: Overload

Sometimes websites can get pretty aggressive. Here’s an experience I ran into on Brooks Brothers’ website:

One (pretty value-less) popup that I click out of, only to be followed by another one:

Now, there’s just a lot of clutter going on here. Different colors, different offers, different banners. As a first time visitor, I’m not sure what’s going on. Plus, they have animated snowfall, which adds to the clutter.

This is quite extreme, but it’s not uncommon for marketers to see some results with a popup and go overboard, triggering two, three, even four in a single session. When all of this occurs within 10 seconds of being on the site, things get annoying quickly.

Take down too many popups: Simplify and strategically target any popups on your site. They shouldn’t appear everywhere for everyone, your targeting is key.

The lesson

Popups don’t need to be annoying. Rather, they can actually add to the user experience if you put a little time and effort into analysis and creative targeting and triggering.

If you avoid the mistakes here, not only will your popups be less likely to feel intrusive, but they’ll convert better and they’ll convert the types of subscribers and leads you actually want.

Run a popup experiment of your own See Unbounce templates you can get up and running today.

Link: 

Stop Making These Common Mistakes with Your Website Popups (Includes Examples and Quick Fixes)

6 Advanced Methods To Understand Your Audience And Improve Conversions Using VWO

VWO is the world’s first Connected Conversion Optimization Platform, and we are here to share 6 simple methods that are unique to VWO and would help you derive a winning conversion optimization formula.

So without further ado, let’s begin. Please note that to implement all these methods, you require a trial account with VWO.

Don’t have one? Sign up right now.

1. Segment User Funnels: Find the Right Prospect on Your Website

User journey and conversion funnels are few of the best tools to analyze your visitor behavior and pinpoint the pages, and areas which are the main source of customer drop-offs.

Segmention Funnels based on Customer Profile

VWO provides one of the most precise depictions of user funnels with advanced segmentation options.

There is a wide variety of options based on:

  • Direct Traffic: The segment which consists of an audience that arrives directly to your target page by entering the URL or accessing it through a bookmark.
  • Referral Traffic: The chunk of the audience that might click a referring URL from a website, a partner, or an affiliate.
  • Social Traffic: Traffic that originates from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Quora.
  • New Visitors: Someone who has never been part of any test on a domain before.
  • Returning: Someone who has been part of at least one test on the domain before.
  • Paid Traffic Search: This type contains utm_medium query parameter such as cpc, ppc, and cpa to differentiate from other sources of traffic.

2. Personalize Your Landing Pages for Your Ad Campaigns

VWO’s custom targeting allows you to focus on your ad campaigns by dynamically changing the landing page according to the PPC campaign clicked.

For example, if you have a fashion ecommerce business promoting a bunch of black dresses with different ad copies. The ad group here would require a one-to-one, ad to the landing page, for a different pool of audience clicking the ads.

In the example, we take “black dresses” as the product you are trying to sell. Search queries will differ drastically and your potential customers will henceforth see different ad copies. To cater to individual choices, you might create ad copies like:

  • Black Dresses
  • Little Black Dresses
  • Most Popular Little Black Dresses

This will lead to a PPC campaign like the image below:

PPC Landing Page - One to Many

Even with different ad copies, a marketer won’t be able to mitigate a many-to-one ad to landing page mechanism.

But with the help of VWO, you can create a dynamic landing page and use your PPC’s unique parameters to match the ad group with the correct landing page. This happens because based on the query parameter of an ad, VWO can change the content of your landing pages dynamically. For Google AdWords, it is the globally unique tracking parameter called Google Click Identifier or GCLID.

PPC Landing Pages via VWO

Learn more about how to personalize pages for PPC campaigns by reading this article.

3.  Personalize web pages using URL Query Parameters

A similar approach, like the above, can be replicated for personalizing content on a certain page for various segments of your visitors.

You can add unique query parameters to your website URL and personalize pages dynamically for a variety of audience.

You need to add a customized query parameter at the end of the URLs you are targeting.

For example, if one wants to change the content on a blog post for a given audience, they could assign the blog a query parameter like ‘yousite.com/blog/?=variation1’ where ‘variation 1’ is the parameter, VWO will recognize and change the content dynamically.

Personalized Query Parameters

With this capability, you can change all kinds of content on your website. It can vary from text, images to CSS and HTML properties.

4. Record Live Observations on User Data

Visitor recordings are one of the most sought-after methods to understand customer drop-offs on your website. In live preview, you can figure out the major detractors for a customer or prospect at an individual level.

For example, while going through live recordings, you find an anomaly that’s leading a customer to exit the website without taking the desired action.

To mitigate this issue, a marketer or an analyst can ask the website IT team to make changes. This adds unnecessary steps to a problem that can be easily solved.

Record Live Data on User Observations

A visitor can directly record observations by annotating information directly in the recording itself in VWO. Now your team can collectively view the issue and take corrective measures to improve its customer drop-off rates.

Want to learn more?

You can check this page.

5.  Make Changes to Your Website with Wildcards

For any type of web testing, when we are making a change to a universal element, the change should be consistent throughout your website.

Even if it’s an AB test on a single page, changes made to universal elements have to be consistent. VWO identifies this pain point for a large set of its audience and provides an easy method to do so.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Create a Funnel test.
  2. Define a test page pattern. Make sure that the VWO code snippet is added to all these pages. Enter the test page pattern in the Run test on the URL field.

For example, a test on your website would be defined as http:*//yoursite.com* for the following reasons:

  • The first wildcard (*) ensures that the test element is changed over both the http and https versions of your website.
  • The second wildcard (*) ensures that the changed element is implemented on any page that contains the URL string – “://yoursite.com.”

Change CTA across website

Please refer to this guide for in-depth information about replicating changes across your website.

6. Manage and Refine Your User Data

VWO is equipped with tools that allow you to back your  conversion optimization program with data.

With the VWO’s Plan capability, you can:

  1. Record your observations by using Analyze. A VWO user can record observations directly from heatmaps, click maps, and click area.
  2. Create hypotheses with the help of these observations. After collecting your well-researched observations, organize and use these to create hypotheses.

There are three parameters you must rate on a scale of 1 to 5 for Hypothesis:

  • Confidence: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest), select how confident you are about achieving the expected improvement through the hypothesis?
  • Importance: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest), select how crucial the visitor landing on the test pages (for which the hypothesis is created) is.
  • Ease: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the most difficult, and 5 being the easiest), select the complexity of the hypothesis. Rate how difficult it’ll be to implement the changes identified in the hypothesis.

VWO Hypotheses

VWO leverages Kanban boards so that you can always keep track of your hypotheses in a pipeline format. Apart from that, you can assign each hypothesis a predictive impact score and prioritize it accordingly.

There are a lot of ways in which VWO can improve your conversions. And these methods take minutes to implement on your websites. If you are already using VWO for optimizing your website conversion, we’d love to know your favorite. You can leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

The post 6 Advanced Methods To Understand Your Audience And Improve Conversions Using VWO appeared first on VWO Blog.

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6 Advanced Methods To Understand Your Audience And Improve Conversions Using VWO

Conversion Rate Audit: The First Step Of The CRO Process

Like everything else, there is a perfect timing to start with your CRO process. Rush in without a good understanding and you might just be burning your money for no good.

It is true that finding that “Perfect Moment” for yourself is tough. And it’s tougher to be in that moment and still not know how to start with the Conversion Optimization process.

A few years back, the focus of online marketing was merely increasing the traffic. But at that time, the traffic was easy to acquire. In the 90s, when SEO came into existence and brands started competing to rank better, a lot of marketing channels evolved, giving them the opportunity to get potential customers. With time, the approach and the focus both have shifted to making the most of the existing traffic with CRO.

conversion rate audit

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If you tried A/B testing earlier, understand the importance of optimization, and want to increase your website conversion, continue reading till the end.

This post will help you do a conversion rate audit of your website while using some conversion-centric metrics. And will help you decide if you need to start conversion optimization.

When should you consider Conversion Rate Optimization?

  • If you already have an MVP

According to Morgan Brown, the perfect moment to consider optimizing is when you already have an MVP, or a Minimum Viable Product.

conversion rate audit

Source

  1. If you have substantial amount of traffic

If your website is working and has a substantial amount of traffic with the potential to become your customers, you can consider optimization.

Finding the Gaps

Understand where the visitors are are coming from and what they are looking for. Only then can you serve them with what they need. Attempts where people try to blindly copy conversion practices from other websites mostly fail. Website owners need to understand that each website and each visitor are unique. Find the loopholes in your conversion funnel, and fix these to boost your conversion rate.

So how do we do that?

This is what this Conversion Rate Audit will help you with. It’ll provide you with insights about what is happening on your website, what all needs to be fixed. and how you can fix it.

Some Conversion-Centric Industry Benchmarks

Here are some industry benchmarks that provide you with a perspective of how your website is performing per the industry standards.

Cross-Device and Cross-Browser Compatibility

It is a mandate for any website to be compatible with all the 3 major browsers—Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. Additionally, your website should be optimized for different platforms and devices.

conversion rate audit

(Source)

Based on visitor preference and optimization, the conversion rate differs from one platform to another.

Here are some conversion rate data specific to different devices and platform for Ecommerce:

conversion rate audit

conversion rate audit

(Source)

Page Load Time

No matter how you measure it, a fast page speed is better. Many people have found that faster pages both rank and convert better. Experts suggest that your website should load within 4 seconds or lesser.


conversion rate audit

(Source)

Bounce Rate

As a rule of thumb, you can consider the following table to evaluate your bounce rate.

conversion rate audit

(Source)

conversion rate audit

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You can expect mobile bounce rates to be about 10 to 20 percent higher than those for a desktop.


conversion rate audit

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Net Promoters Score (NPS)

conversion rate audit

In a report published by Temkin Group, you can see the variations of Net Promoter Score, or NPS, for 269 companies across 19 industries. Here are the overall results for the 19 industries:

conversion rate audit

conversion rate audit

(Source)

If you’re looking to implement NPS, follow these steps:

  1. Ask follow-up questions.
  2. Combine it with user research.
  3. Find and fix issues.
  4. Market to promoters.

In case you have a low NPS, you can refer to some tips that can help you improve that.

Industry-Wise Average Conversion Rate

Variables such as product type, product cost, device, and location impact the conversion rate. Moreover, it also differs with your website conversion goal. Let’s take a look at some of the major industries and their average conversion rates.

Non-Ecommerce Sites Including B2B

This is a useful compilation from Marketing Sherpa of average conversion rates by industry sector.

conversion rate audit

Ecommerce

conversion rate audit

conversion rate audit

(Source)

Telecom and Travel

According to Adobe Digital Index (ADI), UK and US conversion rates are significantly lower than those of European countries other than the UK, perhaps because of less competition. Different rates of smartphone adoption has already affected this cross-platform average.

conversion rate audit

Some additional industry data you can refer to:

conversion rate audit
(Source)

Start Your Conversion Rate Audit: Do You Stand a Chance?

Example: Say you’ve an eCommerce store that sells healthcare products. Email marketing gives you the best ROI and sales. In this case, more subscribers equal more sales and revenue. Your main conversion goal can be to increase the number of visitors who subscribe to your list. From here, you can start analyzing and testing your current pop-up boxes, opt-in forms, and opt-in incentives to find what drives the most sign-ups.

This conversion rate audit involves referring to the above industry benchmarks and comparing those with your website metrics.

A mandate before starting with the audit is to have a definite goal.

Here are some major metrics you need to consider for the audit:

  • Page load time: You can use tools like Pingdom and Google Page Speed to get an idea about the page load time for your website. You might want to focus more on important pages like product, pricing, sign-up, and check-out. A high page load time contributes to a high bounce rate and thus, reduces the potential for conversion.
  • Cross-device and browser functioning: Double-check your website compatibility across different browsers and devices. No matter which device or browser is in use, your website should be compatible with all, to avoid drop-offs.

Qualitative Analysis

  • Bounce rate/Exit rate: Check your website bounce rates and exit rates with the help of the analytics tool that you are using. You can focus on particular pages that are most likely a part of your conversion funnel. For eCommerce, you can consider cart abandonment rates along with the first two metrics.
  • Demography and locations: Dig deep and focus on your visitors’ demography and locations. This information plays an important role in conversion, as visitors from different demographies might behave differently on your website. So, all of them should be engaged differently.
  • Traffic sources and channels: Get an idea about the major channels that are working for you and driving traffic to your website. This will help you channelize your efforts toward the most converting channel for your website.
  • Session duration and user engagement rate: Notice how much time your visitors spend on your website and the extent of user engagement. According to HubSpot, 55% of the visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. These 15 seconds is what you get to engage with them. If they are spending even lesser time, then it is an alarm.

Qualitative Analysis

  • User Feedback: For more comprehensive and in-depth insights about your visitors, leverage platforms like VWO and take visitor feedback. Perform a heuristic analysis and on-site surveys to get a better perspective of your user’s expectations. Structure your surveys in a manner that would allow you to get actionable answers. Multiple-option surveys can be one way to go.
  • UX: VWO’s features like Heatmaps, Scrollmaps, and Visitor Recordings provide you with in-depth insights about how your visitors behave and interact with each of your website elements. These will help you identify the common UX patterns being followed by your visitors. These insights show how UX and a CRO process work together.

conversion rate audit

  • Funnel Visualization: Create multiple conversion funnels and understand your visitor journey. Funnels will help you identify the loopholes in your conversion process. Observe where the visitors are struggling with website browsing.
  • Conversion Rate: Based on your conversion goal, track your current and past conversion rates. Having an idea about your website performance over a period of time can help you understand the historic conversion patterns.

Filling the Gaps

Experiencing a low conversion rate is the most common question asked by any marketer. If you are nowhere near the numbers mentioned above, it is a wake-up call for you. It implies that there is a huge gap between what you are providing and what your visitors are looking for.

There you go! This is “the moment” when you start with conversion optimization for your website.

The best approach for conversion optimization is to have a CRO platform that can assist you from researching about what’s wrong with your website (or particular pages), to fixing those errors and targeting your visitors in a personalized manner. This platform can help you understand where your visitors are struggling. You can understand where the drop-offs are taking place, fix those leaks, and manage the entire CRO process at one place.

Common Mistakes while Choosing a CRO Platform

Asking the Wrong Questions

Many marketers end up opting for a CRO platform that does not help them accomplish all of their needs or have limited capabilities. To avoid such situations, you should prioritize enquiring about all the capabilities of the platform. And this can be done by asking the right set of questions. Here are some questions that you should be asking the platform’s support team.

  • Does the platform offer more value beyond A/B testing?
  • Will the platform affect your page load time?
  • Does the platform itself create a test bias?
  • What is the level of customer support?
  • Does the platform help you plan your optimization?

Make sure you have all these questions answered before going ahead with any CRO platform. If you have similar questions about VWO, you can get your answers here.

Not Having a Dedicated CRO Team

Besides using multiple tools for CRO, not having a dedicated team is one of the major pressing issues with CRO that enterprises encounter. According to this post by Econsultancy, the biggest barrier that prevents organizations from improving their conversion rates is lack of resources.

conversion rate audit

You should have a dedicated team or a person who has a strong background in CRO and in-depth industry knowledge.

Wrapping Up

What did this post help you with?

  • Identifying if your website is eligible for a CRO process
  • Reviewing industry benchmarks
  • Auditing your website, based on your website data
  • Avoiding common mistakes while choosing your CRO platform

We at VWO understand that the CRO process can be complex if you don’t have a dedicated CRO team or if you lack any other resources. In such cases, our Services team will be happy to help you. Our team consists of conversion experts with an in-depth knowledge of the CRO industry and the process. Connect with us over a quick call, and we’ll take it ahead from there.

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Conversion Rate Audit: The First Step Of The CRO Process