Tag Archives: conversion optimization

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20 Conversion Optimization Tips for Zooming Past Your Competition

20 Conversion Optimization Tips for Zooming Past Your Competition

Conversion optimization (CRO) is one of the most impactful things you can do as a marketer.

I mean, bringing traffic to a website is important (because without traffic you’re designing for an audience of crickets). But without a cursory understanding of conversion optimization—including research, data-driven hypotheses, a/b tests, and analytical capabilities—you risk making decisions for your website traffic using only gut feel.

CRO can give your marketing team ideas for what you can be doing better to convert visitors into leads or customers, and it can help you discover which experiences are truly optimal, using A/B tests.

However, as with many marketing disciplines, conversion optimization is constantly misunderstood. It’s definitely not about testing button colors, and it’s not about proving to your colleagues that you’re right.

I’ve learned a lot about how to do CRO properly over the years, and below I’ve compiled 20 conversion optimization tips to help you do it well, too.

Conversion Optimization Tip 1:
Learn how to run an A/B test properly

Running an A/B test (an online controlled experiment) is one of the core practices of conversion optimization.

Testing two or more variations of a given page to see which performs best can seem easy due to the increased simplification of testing software. However, it’s still a methodology that uses statistical inference to make a decision as to which variant is best delivered to your audience. And there are a lot of fine distinctions that can throw things off.

What is A/B Testing?

There are many nuances we could get into here—Bayesian vs. frequentist statistics, one-tailed vs. two-tailed tests, etc.—but to make things simple, here are a few testing rules that should help you breeze past most common testing mistakes:

  • Always determine a sample size in advance and wait until your experiment is over before looking at “statistical significance.” You can use one of several online sample size calculators to get yours figured out.
  • Run your experiment for a few full business cycles (usually weekly cycles). A normal experiment may run for three or four weeks before you call your result.
  • Choose an overall evaluation criterion (or north star metric) that you’ll use to determine the success of an experiment. We’ll get into this more in Tip 4.
  • Before running the experiment, clearly write your hypothesis (here’s a good article on writing a true hypothesis) and how you plan to follow up on the experiment, whether it wins or loses.
  • Make sure your data tracking is implemented correctly so you’ll be able to pull the right numbers after the experiment ends.
  • Avoid interaction effects if you’re running multiple concurrent experiments.
  • QA your test setup and watch the early numbers for any wonky technical mistakes.

I like to put all of the above fine details in an experiment document with a unique ID so that it can be reviewed later—and so the process can be improved upon with time.

An example of experiment documentation
An example of experiment documentation using a unique ID.
Tip 1: Ensure you take the time to set up the parameters of your A/B test properly before you begin. Early mistakes and careless testing can compromise the results.

Conversion Optimization Tip 2:
Learn how to analyze an A/B test

The ability to analyze your test after it has run is obviously important as well (and can be pretty nuanced depending on how detailed you want to get).

For instance, do you call a test a winner if it’s above 95% statistical significance? Well, that’s a good place to begin, but there are a few other considerations as you develop your conversion optimization chops:

  • Does your experiment have a sample ratio mismatch?
    Basically, if your test was set up so that 50% of traffic goes to the control and 50% goes to the variant, your end results should reflect this ratio. If the ratio is pretty far off, you may have had a buggy experiment. (Here’s a good calculator to help you determine this.)
  • Bring your data outside of your testing tool.
    It’s nice to see your aggregate data trends in your tool’s dashboard, and their math is a good first look, but I personally like to have access to the raw data. This way you can analyze it in Excel and really trust it. You can also import your data to Google Analytics to view the effects on key segments.

This can also open up the opportunity for further insights-driven experiments and personalization. Does one segment react overwhelmingly positive to a test you’ve run? Might be a good opportunity to implement personalization.

Checking your overall success metric first (winner, loser, inconclusive) and then moving to a more granular analysis of segments and secondary effects is common practice among CRO practitioners.

Here’s how Chris McCormick from PRWD explains the process:

Once we have a high level understanding of how the test has performed, we start to dig below the surface to understand if there are any patterns or trends occurring. Examples of this would be: the day of the week, different product sets, new vs returning users, desktop vs mobile etc.

Also, there are tons of great A/B test analysis tools out there, like this one from CXL:

AB Test Calculator
Tip 2: Analyze your data carefully by ensuring that your sample ratio is correct. Then export it to a spreadsheet where you can check your overall success metric before moving on to more granular indicators.

Conversion Optimization Tip 3:
Learn how to design your experiments

At the beginning, it’s important to consider the kind of experiment you want to run. There are a few options in terms of experimental design (at least, these are the most common ones online):

  1. A/B/n test
  2. Multivariate test
  3. Bandit test

A/B/n test

An A/B/n test is what you’re probably most used to.

It splits traffic equally among two or more variants and you determine which test won based on its effect size (assuming that other factors like sample size and test duration were sufficient).

ABCD Test Example
An A/B test with four variants: Image source

Multivariate test

In a multivariate test, on the other hand, you can test several variables on a page and hope to learn what the interaction effects are among elements.

In other words, if you were changing a headline, a feature image, and a CTA button, in a multivariate test you’d hope to learn which is the optimal combination of all of these elements and how they affect each other when grouped together.

A Multivariate Test

Generally speaking, it seems like experts run about ten a/b tests for every multivariate test. The strategy I go by is:

  • Use A/B testing to determine best layouts at a more macro-level.
  • Use MVT to polish the layouts to make sure all the elements interact with each other in the best possible way.

Bandit test

Bandits are a bit different. They are algorithms that seek to automatically update their traffic distribution based on indications of which result is best. Instead of waiting for four weeks to test something and then exposing the winner to 100% traffic, a bandit shifts its distribution in real time.

Experimental Design: Bandits

Bandits are great for campaigns where you’re looking to minimize regrets, such as short-term holiday campaigns and headline tests. They’re also good for automation at scale and targeting, specifically when you have lots of traffic and targeting rules and it’s tough to manage them all manually.

Unfortunately, while they are simpler from an experimental design perspective, they are much harder for engineers to implement technically. This is probably why they’re less common in the general marketing space, but an interesting topic nonetheless. If you want to learn more about bandits, read this article I wrote on the topic a few years ago.

Tip 3: Consider the kind of experiment you want to run. Depending on your needs, you might run an A/B/n test, a multivariate test, a bandit test, or some other form of experimental design.

Conversion Optimization Tip 4:
Choose your OEC

Returning to a point made earlier, it’s important to choose which north star metric you care about: this is your OEC (Overall Evaluation Criterion). If you don’t state this and agree upon it up front as stakeholders in an experiment, you’re welcoming the opportunity for ambiguous results and cherry-picked data.

Basically, we want to avoid the problem of HARKing: hypothesizing after results are known.

Twitter, for example, wrote on their engineering blog that they solve this by stating their overall evaluation criterion up front:

One way we guide experimenters away from cherry-picking is by requiring them to explicitly specify the metrics they expect to move during the set-up phase….An experimenter is free to explore all the other collected data and make new hypotheses, but the initial claim is set and can be easily examined.

The term OEC was popularized by Ronny Kohavi at Microsoft, and he’s written many papers that include the topic, but the sentiment is widely known by people who run lots of experiments. You need to choose which metric really matters, and which metric you’ll make decisions with.

Tip 4: In order to avoid ambiguous or compromised data, state your OEC (Overall Evaluation Criterion) before you begin and hold yourself to it. And never hypothesize after results are known.

Conversion Optimization Tip 5:
Some companies shouldn’t A/B test

You can still do optimization without A/B testing, but not every company can or should run A/B tests.

It’s a simple mathematical limitation:

Some businesses just don’t have the volume of traffic or discrete conversion events to make it worth running experiments.

Getting an adequate amount of traffic to a test ultimately helps ensure its validity, and you’ll need this as part of your sample size to ensure a test is cooked.

In addition, even if you could possibly squeeze out a valid test here and there, the marginal gains may not justify the costs when you compare it to other marketing activities in which you could engage.

That said, if you’re in this boat, you can still optimize. You can still set up adequate analytics, run user types on prototypes and new designs, watch session replays, and fix bugs.

Running experiments is a ton of fun, but not every business can or should run them (at least not until they bring some traffic and demand through the door first).

Tip 5: Determine whether your company can or even should run A/B tests. Consider both your volume of traffic and the resources you’ll need to allocate before investing the time.

Conversion Optimization Tip 6:
Landing pages help you accelerate and simplify testing

Using landing pages is correlated with greater conversions, largely because using them makes it easier to do a few things:

  • Measure discrete transitions through your funnel/customer journey.
  • Run controlled experiments (reducing confounding variables and wonky traffic mixes).
  • Test changes across templates to more easily reach a large enough sample size to get valid results.

To the first point, having a distinct landing page (i.e. something separate and easier to update than your website) gives you an easy tracking implementation, no matter what your user journey is.

For example, if you have a sidebar call to action that brings someone to a landing page, and then when they convert, they are brought to a “Thank You” page, it’s very easy to track each step of this and set up a funnel in Google Analytics to visualize the journey.

Google Analytics Funnel

Landing pages also help you scale your testing results while minimizing the resource cost of running the experiment. Ryan Farley, co-founder and head of growth at LawnStarter, puts it this way:

At LawnStarter, we have a variety of landing pages….SEO pages, Facebook landing pages, etc. We try to keep as many of the design elements such as the hero and explainer as similar as possible, so that way when we run a test, we can run it sitewide.

That is, if you find something that works on one landing page, you can apply it to several you have up and running.

Tip 6: Use landing pages to make it easier to test. Unbounce lets you build landing pages in hours—no coding required—and conduct unlimited A/B tests to maximize conversions.

Conversion Optimization Tip 7:
Build a growth model for your conversion funnel

Creating a model like this requires stepping back and asking, “how do we get customers?” From there, you can model out a funnel that best represents this journey.

Most of the time, marketers set up simple goal funnel visualization in Google Analytics to see this:

Google Analytics Funnel Visualization

This gives you a lot of leverage for future analysis and optimization.

For example, if one of the steps in your funnel is to land on a landing page, and your landing pages all have a similar format (e.g. offers.site.com), then you can see the aggregate conversion rate of that step in the funnel.

More importantly, you can run interesting analyses, such as path analysis and landing page comparison. Doing so, you can compare apples to apples with your landing pages and see which ones are underperforming:

Landing Page Comparison
The bar graph on the right allows you to quickly see how landing pages are performing compared to the site average.

I talk more about the process of finding underperforming landing pages in my piece on content optimization if you want to learn step-by-step how to do that.

Tip 7: Model out a funnel that represents the customer journey so that you can more easily target underperforming landing pages and run instructive analyses focused on growth.

Conversion Optimization Tip 8:
Pick low hanging fruit in the beginning

This is mostly advice from personal experience, so it’s anecdotal: when you first start working on a project or in an optimization role, pick off the low hanging fruit. By that, I mean over-index on the “ease” side of things and get some points on the board.

It may be more impactful to set up and run complex experiments that require many resources, but you’ll never pull the political influence necessary to set these up without some confidence in your abilities to get results as well as in the CRO process in general.

To inspire trust and to be able to command more resources and confidence, look for the easiest possible implementations and fixes before moving onto the complicated or risky stuff.

And fix bugs and clearly broken things first! Persuasive copywriting is pretty useless if your site takes days to load or pages are broken on certain browsers.

Tip 8: Score some easy wins by targeting low hanging fruit before you move on to more complex optimization tasks. Early wins give you the clout to drive bigger experiments later on.

Conversion Optimization Tip 9:
Where possible, reduce friction

Most conversion optimization falls under two categories (this is simplified, but mostly true):

  • Increasing motivation
  • Decreasing friction

Friction occurs when visitors become distracted, when they can’t accomplish a task, or simply when a task is arduous to accomplish. Generally speaking, the more “nice to have” your product is, the more friction matters to the conversion. This is reflected in BJ Fogg’s behavior model:

BJ FOGGs Behaviour Model

In other words, if you need to get a driver’s license, you’ll put up with pure hell at the DMV to get it, but you’ll drop out of the funnel at the most innocent error message if you’re only trying to buy something silly on drunkmall.com.

A few things that cut down on friction:

  • Make your site faster.
  • Trim needless form fields.
  • Cut down the amount of steps in your checkout or signup flow.

For an example on the last one, I like how Wordable designed their signup flow. You start out on the homepage:

Wordable

Click “Try It Free” and get a Google OAuth screen:

Wordable 0auth

Give permissions:

Wordable permissions

And voila! You’re in:

Wordable Dashboard

You can decrease friction by reducing feelings of uncertainty as well. Most of the time, this is done with copywriting or reassuring design elements.

An example is with HubSpot’s form builder. We emphasize that it’s “effortless” and that there is “no technical expertise required” to set it up:

Hubspot Form Builder

(And here’s a little reminder that HubSpot integrates beautifully with Unbounce, so you’ll be able to automatically populate your account with lead info collected on your Unbounce landing pages.)

Tip 9: Cut down on anything that makes it harder for users to convert. This includes making sure your site is fast and trimming any forms or steps that aren’t necessary for checkout or signup.

Conversion Optimization Tip 10:
Help increase motivation

The second side of the conversion equation, as I mentioned, is motivation.

An excellent way to increase the motivation of a visitor is simply to make the process of conversion…fun. Most tasks online don’t need to be arduous or frustrating, we’ve just made them that way due to apathy and error.

Take, for example, your standard form or survey. Pretty boring, right?

Well, today, enough technological solutions exist to implement interactive or conversational forms and surveys.

One such solution is Survey Anyplace. I asked their founder and CEO, Stefan Debois, about how their product helps motivate people to convert, and here’s what he said:

An effective and original way to increase conversion is to use an interactive quiz on your website. Compared to a static form, people are more likely to engage in a quiz, because they get back something useful. An example is Eneco, a Dutch Utility company: in just 6 weeks, they converted more than 1000 website visitors with a single quiz.

Full companies have been built on the premise that the typical form is boring and could be made more fun and pleasant to complete (e.g. TypeForm). Just think, “how can I compel more people to move through this process?”

Other ways to do this that are quite commonplace involve invoking certain psychological triggers to compel forward momentum:

  • Implement social proof on your landing pages.
  • Use urgency to compel users to act more quickly.
  • Build out testimonials with well-known users to showcase authority.

There are many more ways to use psychological triggers to motivate conversions. Check out Robert Cialdini’s classic book, Influence, to learn more. Also, check out The Wheel of Persuasion for inspiration on persuasive triggers.

Tip 10: Make your conversion process fun in order to compel your visitors to keep moving forward. Increased interactivity, social proof, urgency, and testimonials that showcase authority can all help you here too.

Conversion Optimization Tip 11:
Clarity > Persuasion

While persuasion and motivation are really important, often the best way to convert visitors is to ensure they understand what you’re selling.

Stated differently, clarity trumps persuasion.

Use a five-second test to find out how clear your messaging is.

Conversion Optimization Tip 12:
Consider the “Pre-Click” Experience

People forget the pre-click experience. What does a user do before they hit your landing pages? What ad did they click? What did they search in Google to get to your blog post?

Knowing this stuff can help you create strong message match between your pre-click experience and your landing page.

Sergiu Iacob, SEO Manager at Bannersnack, explains their process for factoring in keywords:

When it comes to organic traffic, we establish the user intent by analyzing all the keywords a specific landing page ranks for. After we determine what the end result should look like, we adjust both our landing page and our in app user journey. The same process is used in the optimization of landing pages for search campaigns.

I’ve recommended the same thing before when it comes to capturing email leads. If you can’t figure out why people aren’t converting, figure out what keywords are bringing them to your site.

Usually, this results in a sort of passive “voice of customer” mining, where you can message match the keywords you’re ranking for with the offer on that page.

It makes it much easier to predict what messages your visitors will respond to. And it is, in fact, one of the cheapest forms of user research you can conduct.

AHRefs Keywords
Using Ahrefs to determine what keywords brought traffic to a page.
Tip 12: Don’t forget the pre-click experience. What do your users do before they hit your landing page? Make sure you have a strong message match between your ads (or emails) and the pages they link to.

Conversion Optimization Tip 13:
Build a repeatable CRO process

Despite some popular blog posts, conversion optimization isn’t about a series of “conversion tactics” or “growth hacks.” It’s about a process and a mindset.

Here’s how Peep Laja, founder of CXL, put it:

The quickest way to figure out whether someone is an amateur or a pro is this: amateurs focus on tactics (make the button bigger, write a better headline, give out coupons etc) while pros have a process they follow.

And, ideally, the CRO process is a never-ending one:

CRO Process

Conversion Optimization Tip 14:
Invest in education for your team

CRO people have to know a lot about a lot:

  • Statistics
  • UX design
  • User research
  • Front end technology
  • Copywriting

No one comes out the gate as a 10 out of 10 in all of those areas (most never end up there either). You, as an optimizer, need to be continuously learning and growing. If you’re a manager, you need to make sure your team is continuously learning and growing.

Conversion Optimization Tip 15:
Share insights

The fastest way to scale and leverage experimentation is to share your insights and learnings among the organization.

This becomes more and more valuable the larger your company grows. It also becomes harder and harder the more you grow.

Essentially, by sharing you can avoid reinventing the wheel, you can bring new teammates up to speed faster, and you can scale and spread winning insights to teams who then shorten their time to testing. Invest in some sort of insights management system, no matter how basic.

Full products have been built around this, such as GrowthHackers’ North Star and Effective Experiments.

Effective Experiments
Tip 15: Share what you learn within your organization. The bigger your company grows, the more important information sharing becomes—but the more difficult it will become as well.

Conversion Optimization Tip 16:
Keep your cognitive biases in check

As the great Richard Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

We’re all afflicted by cognitive biases, ranging from confirmation bias to the availability heuristic. Some of these can really impact our testing programs, specifically confirmation bias (and its close cousin, the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy) where you only seek out pieces of data that confirm your previous beliefs and throw out those that go against them.

Experimenter Bias

It may be worthwhile (and entertaining) simply to run down Wikipedia’s giant list of cognitive biases and gauge where you may currently be running blind or biases.

Tip 16: Be cognizant of your own cognitive biases. If you’re not careful, they can influence the outcome of your experiments and cause you to miss (or misinterpret) key insights in your data.

Conversion Optimization Tip 17:
Evangelize CRO to your greater org

Having a dedicated CRO team is great. Evangelizing the work you’re doing to the rest of the organization? Even better.

Evangelize your CRO
Spread the word about the importance of CRO within your org.

When an entire organization buys into the value of data-informed decision making and experimentation, magical things can happen. Ideas burst forth, and innovation becomes easy. Annoying roadblocks are deconstructed. HiPPO-driven decision making is deprioritized behind proper experiments.

Things you can do to evangelize CRO and experimentation:

  • Write down your learnings each week on a company wiki.
  • Send out a newsletter with live experiments and experiment results each week to interested parties.
  • Recruit an executive sponsor with lots of internal influence.
  • Sing your praises when you get big wins. Sing it loud.
  • Make testing fun, and make it easier for others to join in and pitch ideas.
  • Make it easier for people outside of the CRO team to sponsor tests.
  • Say the word “hypothesis” a lot (who knows, it might work).

This is all a kind of art; there are no universal methods for spreading the good gospel of CRO. But it’s important that you know it’s probably going to be something of an uphill battle, depending on how big your company is and what the culture has traditionally been like.

Tip 17: Spread the gospel of CRO across your organization in order to ensure others buy into the value of data-driven decision making and experimentation.

Conversion Optimization Tip 18:
Be skeptical with CRO case studies

This isn’t so much a conversion optimization tip as it is life advice: be skeptical, especially when marketing is involved.

I say this as a marketer. Marketers exaggerate stuff. Some marketers omit important details that derail a narrative. Sometimes, they don’t understand p values, or how to set up a proper test (maybe they haven’t read Tip 1 in this article).

In short, especially in content marketing, marketers are incentivized to publish sensational case studies regardless of their statistical merit.

All of that results in a pretty grim standard for the current CRO case study.

Don’t get me wrong, some case studies are excellent, and you can learn a lot from them. Digital Marketer lays out a few rules for detecting quality case studies:

  • Did they publish total visitors?
  • Did they share the lift percentage correctly?
  • Did they share the raw conversions? (Does the lack of raw conversions hurt my case study?)
  • Did they identify the primary conversion metric?
  • Did they publish the confidence rate? Is it >90%?
  • Did they share the test procedure?
  • Did they only use data to justify the conclusion?
  • Did they share the test timeline and date?

Without context or knowledge of the underlying data, a case study might be a whole lot of nonsense. And if you want a good cathartic rant on bad case studies, then Andrew Anderson’s essay is a must-read.

According to a study...
Tip 18: Approach existing material on CRO with a skeptical mindset. Marketers are often incentivized to publish case studies with sensational results, regardless of the quality of the data that supports them.

Conversion Optimization Tip 19:
Calculate the cost of additional research vs. just running it

Matt Gershoff, CEO of Conductrics, is one of the smartest people I know regarding statistics, experimentation, machine learning, and general decision theory. He has stated some version of the following on a few occasions:

  • Marketing is about decision-making under uncertainty.
  • It’s about assessing how much uncertainty is reduced with additional data.
  • It must consider, “What is the value in that reduction of uncertainty?”
  • And it must consider, “Is that value greater than the cost of the data/time/opportunity costs?”

Yes, conversion research is good. No, you shouldn’t run blind and just test random things.

But at the end of the day, we need to calculate how much additional value a reduction in uncertainty via additional research gives us.

If you can run a cheap A/B test that takes almost no time to set up? And it doesn’t interfere with any other tests or present an opportunity cost? Ship it. Because why not?

But if you’re changing an element of your checkout funnel that could prove to be disastrous to your bottom line, well, you probably want to mitigate any possible downside. Bring out the heavy guns—user testing, prototyping, focus groups, whatever—because this is a case where you want to reduce as much uncertainty as possible.

Tip 19: Balance the value of doing more research with the costs (including opportunity costs) associated with it. Sometimes running a quick and dirty A/B test will be sufficient for your needs.

Conversion Optimization Tip 20:
CRO never ends

You can’t just run a few tests and call it quits.

The big wins from the early days of working on a relatively unoptimized site may taper off, but CRO never ends. Times change. Competitors and technologies come and go. Your traffic mix changes. Hopefully, your business changes as well.

As such, even the best test results are perishable, given enough time. So plan to stick it out for the long run and keep experimenting and growing.

Think Kaizen.

Kaizen

Conclusion

There you go, 20 conversion optimization tips. That’s not all there is to know; this is a never-ending journey, just like the process of growth and optimization itself. But these tips should get you started and moving in the right direction.

This article:

20 Conversion Optimization Tips for Zooming Past Your Competition

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Results From Our Latest A/B Test: Here’s The New VWO Logo!

Over the past 8 years, we’ve made some key (and some minor) changes to the look and feel of our brand. Around this time last year, we revamped our website for the launch of VWO Conversion Optimization Platform™.

As an organization that thrives on a culture of experimentation, we are always looking into data to discover insights for optimization. By turning our opinions into hypotheses, we test changes for almost everything which could have a significant impact on the business, and then derive the next logical step. Based on this simple framework, we recently made a minor change to the VWO logo. Before we delve further into the hypothesis behind this change, look at the logo in its full glory:

The Hypothesis: Making The Letters V, W, and O Prominent Will Improve Readability

In the beginning, our product was called Visual Website Optimizer. However, over the years, people (including us) fondly started abbreviating it to VWO. This is what the VWO logo looked like during this gradual change:

More recently, we dropped the accompanying text “Visual Website Optimizer” completely, and also started referring to our product as just “VWO.”

With this change, we realized that it would be hard for someone unfamiliar with our brand to read or understand our logo. We hypothesized that if the letters “V,” “W,” and “O” were made distinguishable, the brand name VWO would stand out more clearly.

The Test: Conducting an A/B/C Test to Choose a Winner

After the hypothesis was finalized, our design team created a new variation of the logo, per the new specification. Next, we decided to test the hypothesis by conducting extensive user testing through 5-second tests on UsabilityHub.

Five-second tests are a method of usability testing, where the participants are shown a visual for only 5 seconds, and then asked questions corresponding to it.

For our tests, we selected a sample of participants from across the globe, with varying demographics, location, and other attributes. They were showed the 3 variations of the logo—the existing one, the proposed one, and the one with VWO written as well-spaced plain text. Next, we asked the participants the question “What do you read?” to which they had to type in a response.

For the proposed logo, we got 90% of them answering “VWO”, as opposed to only 66% for the existing one. For the variation with VWO written as well-spaced text, the response was around 96%.

The Result: Reinforced Belief in the Potential of Testing

As an obvious next step, we decided to make this minor update to our logo which can now be seen to be live across all our digital properties. We’re proud of the fact that the basic tenets of experimentation continue to give direction to our efforts.

If it wasn’t for validating our initial, seemingly insignificant hypothesis, VWO wouldn’t have got a brand new identity. We strive to uphold this culture in our organization for the years to come.

What do you think of our new logo? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Results From Our Latest A/B Test: Here’s The New VWO Logo! appeared first on Blog.

Continued: 

Results From Our Latest A/B Test: Here’s The New VWO Logo!

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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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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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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

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

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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

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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)