HTTPS is a must for every website nowadays: Users are looking for the padlock when providing their details; Chrome and Firefox explicitly mark websites that provide forms on pages without HTTPS as being non-secure; it is an SEO ranking factor; and it has a serious impact on privacy in general.
Additionally, there is now more than one option to get an HTTPS certificate for free, so switching to HTTPS is only a matter of will.
Paid Ads > Webinar > Email Nurture > Push for the Sale Traffic Generation > Lead Magnet > Nurture > Grab the Sale Exit Intent > Lead Capture > Reengagement Series > SELL Funnels. Everywhere I turn in the world of internet marketing all I see is advice on how to create the most basic yet aggressive sales funnel. We’re told to push users toward the end goal. An end goal which is collecting their email address or increasing sales. And often, there’s little or no talk about how to progress from the funnel’s end goal. And that presents a…
CORGI HomePlan provides boiler and home cover insurance in Great Britain. It offers various insurance policies and an annual boiler service. Its main value proposition is that it promises “peace of mind” to customers. It guarantees that if anything goes wrong, it’ll be fixed quickly and won’t cost anything extra over the monthly payments.
CORGI’s core selling points were not being communicated clearly throughout the website. Insurance is a hyper-competitive industry and most customers compare other providers before taking a decision. After analyzing its data, CORGI saw that there was an opportunity to improve conversions and reduce drop-offs at major points throughout the user journey. To help solve that problem, CORGI hired Worship Digital, a conversion optimization agency.
Lee Preston, a conversion optimization consultant at Worship Digital, analyzed CORGI’s existing Google Analytics data, conducted user testing and heuristic analysis, and used VWO to run surveys and scrollmaps. After conducting qualitative and quantitative analysis, Lee found that:
Users were skeptical of CORGI’s competition, believing they were not transparent enough. Part of CORGI’s value proposition is that it doesn’t have any hidden fees so conveying this to users could help convince them to buy.
On analyzing the scrollmap results, it was found that only around a third of mobile users scrolled down enough to see the value proposition at the bottom of the product pages.
They ran surveys for users and asked, “Did you look elsewhere before visiting this site? (If so, where?)” More than 70% of respondents had looked elsewhere.
They ran another survey and asked users what they care about most; 18% of users said “fast service” while another 12% said “reliability”.
This is how CORGI’s home page originally looked:
After compiling all these observations, Lee and his team distilled it down to one hypothesis:
CORGI’s core features were not being communicated properly. Displaying these more clearly on the home page, throughout the comparison journey, and the checkout could encourage more users to sign up rather than opting for a competitor.
Lee adds, “Throughout our user research with CORGI, we found that visitors weren’t fully exposed to the key selling points of the service. This information was available on different pages on the site, but was not present on the pages comprising the main conversion journey.”
Worship Digital first decided to put this hypothesis to test on the home page.
“We hypothesized that adding a USP bar below the header would mean 100% of visitors would be exposed to these anxiety-reducing features, therefore, improving motivation and increasing the user conversion rate,” Lee said.
This is how the variation looked.
The variation performed better than the control across all devices and majority of user types. The variation increased the conversions by 30.9%.
“We were very happy that this A/B test validated our research-driven hypothesis. We loved how we didn’t have to buy some other tool for running heatmaps and scrollmaps for our visitor behavior experiment,” Lee added.
Conversion optimization is a continuous process at CORGI. Lee has been constantly running new experiments and gathering deep understanding about the insurance provider’s visitors. For the next phase of testing, he plans to:
Improve the usability of the product comparing feature.
Identify and fix leaks during the checkout process.
State Of Buyer Personas 2016 established that approximately 60% of the survey respondents took their first-ever buyer persona development initiative within the last 2 years—a result similar to the previous year survey on personas.
It has been almost two decades since the term “persona” was first coined and used by Alan Cooper in his book “The Inmates Run the Asylum.” However, organizations still struggle to develop personas effectively. As a result, the gap between what the consumer wants and what companies provide has widened.
Look at this survey graph for a quick look into the mistakes that can taint customer-business relations, when the latter does not know its ideal customer well:
In this blog post, we walk you through the process of creating effective personas, how your business can benefit from these, and why these should be a part of your conversion optimization strategy. Let’s begin:
How to Create Effective User Personas
To create personas that are effective, it is important to first understand what personas should not be:
A demographic profile
A market segment
A documentation of behavior based on a research that lacks data
Having listed the “nots” of personas, let’s deep-dive into what effective personas comprise and how to develop these. Research, qualitative and quantitative, is the foundation of personas. When based on research, personas unveil:
What your users want to accomplish?
What drives your users’ behaviors?
What do your users think?
What are their expectations?
What will make them buy?
What could be their reasons for hesitation?
What could be their hindrances?
To develop personas that can give you insights as deep as finding answers to the above questions, and a few more tough ones, we advise you to:
Use Qualitative Research.
Use A/B Testing.
Perform Competitor Analysis.
Using Qualitative Research
Qualitative research tools such as on-page surveys, in-person interviews, and so on can help you uncover the expectations and motivation of a user.
We list some use cases for on-page surveys to help you understand how these can be wisely used for gathering information that is required for developing effective personas:
Use Case 1. Understanding Purchase Decision
Understanding customer motivation for buying a product plays a significant role in replicating the buying behavior. If you knew precisely what motivated a visitor to buy from you, it is the next step to motivate other visitors in the same direction.
What you could ask?
Did you find what you were looking for?
What motivated you to complete your purchase?
What triggers to use?
Goal Completion: As soon as a user completes a signup form or makes payment for items in the cart, this survey should pop up to understand the true motivation behind the purchase.
Use Case 2. Determining Purchase Satisfaction
It is important to know the purchase satisfaction level to determine if there are reasons that can stop them from buying or make them buy from elsewhere. It can also help you categorize people who have high or low purchase satisfaction levels, if you are able to observe a pattern.
What you could ask?
On a scale of 0–10, 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how satisfied are you with your last purchase?
The reason behind your rating. What do you think is good/bad about buying from us?
Analyzing the information that you have from your survey:
With regard to the question on purchase satisfaction levels, the information that your users reveal can be smartly analyzed to create user personas. Let’s say that you have an online apparel business. Running such surveys can help you:
Identify users who are not at all interested in your product (those who rate you between 0–3), users who do not have a firm opinion on your product (4-7), and users who have purchase satisfaction levels (8–10).
Understand the reasons behind high and low purchase satisfaction levels for all categories of users mentioned in the previous point.
Identify patterns, if any, in those rating your product high/low. For example, do those who rate the product on a scale of 8–10 buy the product because of “fresh styles and patterns,” do most of these people fall in the age group (20–25), and so on.
Build user personas based on this information.
What triggers to use?
Time spent on a page: Show the survey after visitors spend “X” seconds on the first webpage they visit. Target the survey using custom targeting to those who have made an online purchase earlier from you.
Asking these questions at the right time can help you fetch actionable information, uncover user motivations, as well as apprehensions.
Similarly, exit intent pop-ups and in-phone surveys also help you find out if your product/service is providing the value that your users and/or customers expect out of it.
Your qualitative research findings can then be dissected to create personas. Consider an example:
You are an eCommerce business selling antiallergic bedding. Your in-phone customer interview and on-page surveys help you determine one of your persona “Jane” with the following attributes:
Aged 32, she has very sensitive skin, which is prone to allergies.
She is willing to pay a little more if the product quality is good.
She also cares about the product being eco-friendly.
Your qualitative research would further help establish:
Jane’s motivation to buy your product: The bedding suits her needs, is priced just what she thinks is right, and can be found easily online.
Jane’s mindset while making a buying decision: She cares about her health and skin. She will not risk investing in any product that can cause allergies. She is also quality-conscious.
Jane’s bottlenecks to buying: She might return the product if she does not find it comfortable and per the quality that she expects. Style and comfort go hand in hand for her.
When you have conducted qualitative research and listed down motivations, bottlenecks, and mindset, you need to gather insights on what your user/customer is doing online. So the next logical step is to unveil Jane’s onsite behavior.
For example, using form analysis can help you identify the form fields that lead to customer hesitation or customers abandoning the form.
Using A/B Testing
Let’s say that you have listed a few findings about your personas, after conducting an in-depth research. However, you want to be as sure as possible. The following attributes can be put to test:
Comfort vs. Style
Discount vs. Buy One, Get One Free
Value of free shipping and free returns
A/B testing can help you narrow down to attributes as close as true to your real users. Whatever assumptions, observations, and opinions you have about your users, you can A/B test them to find out what your ideal users associate more with.
Performing Competitor Research
Digital intelligence tools can help you dig deeper into competitor data to analyze their traffic. Using such tools, you can find out where your competitors are putting their effort into—social media, mobile, content, email marketing, and so on.
After you have an idea of where your competitors’ major efforts go into, you can work backward to identify the audience they are targeting for creating user personas. This elaborate and well-researched post on medium will tell you how you can crack competitor research to create user personas for your business.
Benefits of Personas for Your Business
Mathilde Boyer, Customer Experience Director at the House of Kaizen, lists 5 ways in which every business can benefit by using personas.
“Personas shouldn’t only be created to trigger user empathy within an organization. They should be built with a practical application in mind so that they can be instrumental in a Conversion Optimization Strategy. Validating personas through actual user data and connecting them to target audiences increases their ability to drive business strategies.
Creating and leveraging user personas brings 5 key benefits to Marketers and Product Owners.
Connect research insights
Develop a unified view of your customers and prospects by identifying commonalities and unique attributes to provide a deep understanding of motivations, anxieties, decision making styles and moments when users find inspiration.
Strategically manage marketing budget
User personas allow you to prioritize target audiences and shift spend based on channel performance for individual audiences. Maximize your marketing investment by focusing your efforts and budget on the profitable leads.
Develop powerful brand and product storytelling
User personas can be leveraged to tailor storylines and bring your value proposition to life. They are key to understand aspirations, desires and perceptions of your customers. They are also crucial to strike the right note with unique content created to move buyers from interests to purchase.
Go beyond marketing silos
User personas allow you to ensure continuity and complementarity of messaging and creative across all user touchpoints (ads, website, emails, offline campaigns, customer service script, sales pitch, etc.).
Prioritize product roadmap
User personas should be a valuable levier to inform your product development cycles and ensure that new features are developed to solve evolving prospects’ problems and needs.”
Other than the benefits that Mathilde talks about, personas are also helpful in bringing uniformity to every department of the business regarding who their customer is. From customer service representatives to sales to marketing to the administrators, everyone is aligned to consumer goals. This helps everyone across the business keep their ideal customers happy, and thus increase overall satisfaction as well as retention.
Why Should Personas Be a Part of Your CRO Program
Protocol80 compiles some interesting facts on why personas are awesome. We list 2 of these here as evidence on why personas should be a part of your conversion optimization program.
“In the case of Intel, buyer personas surpassed campaign benchmarks by 75%. They were more cost efficient than the average campaign by 48% DemandGen Report.
In the case of Thomson Reuter, buyer personas contributed to a 175% increase in revenue attributed to marketing, 10% increase in leads sent to sales, and a 72% reduction in lead conversion time.”
Personas can help you improve conversions by:
Improving your personalization efforts.
Helping enhance product user experience.
Improving Personalization – Content
Personas help bring in more clarity on crafting tailored content that appeals to the target audience of the business. Consider an example:
You are an eCommerce business. One of your user persona is say, Mary – The Loyal, with some of the following characteristics:
Visits your website frequently
Makes a purchase every month or two
Does not purchase expensive products
Does not buy more than 2 or 3 products in a single visit
Is fashion-conscious, but does not compromise with quality
As you understand the buying behavior of this user persona, you can run campaigns with content specifically focussed at converting these users. For example, when Mary-the loyal visits your website again, you can personalize recommendations based on her last purchase, which might interest her into making a purchase.
Enhancing User Experience – Design and Development
At the design and development level, personas work as a research tool for businesses intending to enhance browsing/buying experience for their online users. These personas that are based on usage goals, browsing and exploring behavior, as well as pain points, tell the why behind the actions that users take on a website.
Such information is critical for designing any product or service. Understand, relate to, and remember the ideal user Mary-The Loyal throughout the entire product development process. The following design and development problems can be sorted by making user personas a part of the process.
When design teams do not have an understanding of which design elements on the website to prioritize. In this case, design and development teams end up wasting time on either developing or optimizing features that their ideal customer, Mary-The Loyal, does not use.
When design teams are finding it difficult to pitch their proposal to the management. This is where they can use actual data to enhance their idea and show the actual problem they are trying to solve by making the proposed changes.
Mathilde adds to how personas help enhance user experience.
“From a UX perspective, user personas are crucial to prevent self-referential design as they allow to focus the efforts on the needs of the customers and help be mindful of designing experiences as if we, marketers, were the end users.
Data-driven personas are also the foundation to map out customer journeys and ensure full alignment between user needs or perceived needs and the relevancy and length of the experience they have to go through to achieve them.
Personas become extremely powerful when they are taken beyond their naturally descriptive focus and provide a predictive view on how your product or service improves your ideal customers’ lives once they’ve used it for a certain time. The predictive side of personas is a key asset to design future-proof products and experiences.”
To Wrap It Up
When you make personas a part of your strategy, you are trying to maximize value for your ideal users. Here’s how Alan Cooper explains this concept in The Inmates Are Running The Asylum:
“The broader a target you aim for, the more certainty you have of missing the bull’s-eye. If you want to achieve a product-satisfaction level of 50%, you cannot do it by making a large population 50% happy with your products. You can only accomplish it by singling out 50% of the people and striving to make them 100% happy. It goes further than that. You can create an even bigger success by targeting 10% of your market and working to make them 100% ecstatic. It might seem counterintuitive, but designing for a single user is the most effective way to satisfy a broad population.”
Ultimately, filling the gap between the product value as perceived by your ideal user and the actual value that your product provides, will help you convince and convert your users into buyers.
It’s about time that we take a step back and have a little chuckle at ourselves. Image via Shutterstock.
Plenty of products and services help people, making them healthier and happier. For those things, marketing is great — but sometimes, the way we talk about ourselves is absurd. Yeah, I said it, it’s absurd, but it’s all right because this post has a happy ending (stay tuned).
If you work in any sort of marketing role, you might have noticed that as a collective, we’ve done something incredible:
We’ve turned buzzwords into real, salaried jobs.
You can be a Growth Hacker these days, or a Content Marketer. If you work somewhere really cool, you might even be a Conversion Ninja. Plenty of people do these jobs (myself included) and one day we’ll have the awkward pleasure of explaining to our grandchildren what it was like being paid to be a Solutions Architect, or a Dev Mogul.
“Neat, grandpa! Did you invent a new form of calculus?”
“No, son. But I had over 25,000 Twitter followers. I was an influencer.”
This is the part-time nihilist’s guide to all those marketing terms you hate (but need). It might also clarify why your parents will never understand what the heck your job is.
Homer gets back to basics with marketing. Video: Fox.
Disclaimer: This post tears down marketing terms and the idea of becoming an influencer. We hope that it is popular and that you share it. We see the irony, and we’re disgusted by it, so just move on, okay?
Being considered an “expert” or a “genius”
To be considered an expert in most other professions, you need to have studied and practiced for years and years and years. You study, you’re tested, you pass, you advance. After what feels like a lifetime of this, people trust you as a voice of authority, as an expert.
Pro tip: Inclusion in a listicle or roundup guarantees automatic employment — should you want it — with some of the most prestigious companies in Silicon Valley.
There are expert marketers, of course: people who have been to school, who dedicate their lives to the craft of combining insight and communication into the most irresistible calls to action. But if you’ve got a profile photo, maybe a Linkedin Premium account, and a byline on somewhere like Unbounce (Hey, that’s me!), you might be considered an expert.
This will do one of two things to you:
It’ll make you lazy, because you’ll think that you’ve reached the top of the mountain. (By the way, there’s no top. There’s no mountain either.)
It’ll scare the crap out of you, and you’ll work your ass off to become a genuine expert, or at least, someone with useful insights.
I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s the second one.
Bonus option: You’ll develop a nasty case of Imposter Syndrome, where you’ll live in constant fear of being called out. It’ll make you triple your efforts, but it’ll never be enough.
Pursuing “thought leadership”
As a marketer, when you have a good idea, you call it a thought leadership piece and you milk it until it’s red and sore. Never mind the idea that “thought leadership” sounds like some sort of mind control, it’s just damned impressive that we managed to turn the act of having ideas into a tool for marketing.
In a way, being considered a thought leader is a lot like being considered an expert. Not so long ago there were real thought leaders, people like Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.. Now, all you need to do is tip that scale from 9,999 followers to 10,000 and praise, be! You’re a thought leader.
“One of us, one of us, one of us.” Video: Fox
Free infographics and ebooks
The only real way to tell whether a post is legitimate — whether the author’s really serious about the information they’re giving you — is to check for an associated infographic or ebook. At Unbounce, they call these in-post giveaways Conversion Carrots. Some other places call them Lead Magnets. I call them necessary evil.
“Can we make it go viral?”
I once worked at a place where a department, armed with five grand, asked us if we could make them a viral video. In their defense, they didn’t understand the process of how something becomes viral (another gross marketing term), so points at least for the thought. But directly asking for a viral video, or setting out with the intention of making a viral video, is like marrying a stranger for the tax benefits, and not because you love them.
Hey bud, if you RT me, I’ll RT you.
As a marketer, you want eyeballs. You’re hungry for eyeballs, you want to pour them all over your website. Some people have lots of eyeballs looking at them; those people are called influencers, and if you’re kind to them, sometimes they’ll let you borrow their eyeball collections.
People with a lot of eyeballs in their collection tend to be good at making things go viral. They often make infographics and eBooks, as well. They are the Aaron Orendorffs of the world (Hey, man!), and they are all-powerful.
“We simply could not function without his tireless efforts.” Video: Fox
“Epic,” “unicorn,” “guru,” etc.
No, it’s not. No, they’re not. No, you’re not.
“We need more user-generated content.”
The idea behind user-generated content is sound; it’s word-of-mouth for a digital age. Having a strategy to develop user-generated content, though?
Do you ever watch those videos publications like Gothamist do on some donut shop in Brooklyn that’s been around for 140 years? You think, “Wow, they must have a lot of user-generated content!” No, they just make great donuts. If you want your users to generate more content, just make stuff they like.
“Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp!” Video: Fox
Time to follow in mommy and daddy’s footsteps?
For over 20 years my dad spent most of his days with his hands plunged into ice water, gutting and slicing one fish at a time. I spend my days trying to get prospects to type their names into a CTA form field. In those final years before the sun explodes and we’re all plunged into an every-man-for-himself scenario, who’s going to be more useful? My money’s on the old man.
I told you that there was a happy ending, and in a way, the sun exploding and annihilating everything from Mercury out past Pluto is a happy ending. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, from your parents and their grinding manual labor jobs, to us word-pickers and graph-checkers who moan when we can’t find the right long-tail keywords to optimize conversion rates. One day everyone that’s left will go together, burning up with all the finest email lists, and all the leads. It’s all going to be fine.
People make some great stuff, and for the short time we’re here, it’s up to us to help get it in front of as many of the right people as possible. That’s your job, and it’s a fun one.
What are some of the marketing terms you hate to need? Drop them in the comments below, then download this free infographic. Jokes, there’s no infographic.
In case you hadn’t noticed – though I’m guessing you have – consumption of online video has been steadily rising in recent years. According to a forecast by Cisco, video will represent 80% percent of all consumer-based internet traffic by 2019. In the information age, the average person has a shorter attention span than a goldfish, and unless your content is extra special, people are unlikely to pay attention. A compelling video stands out from generic mass marketing and communicates your message more impactfully than text-based content. In terms of generating engagement, text-based content simply can’t compete with sensory-rich, emotive…
The best color for your CTAs. What hero images work best. How to tweak your headlines. Writing conversion focused copy. All of these are the bread and butter of writers like me. We know these articles are going to grab attention because, well, people are always looking for an easy fix. Marketers the world over dream of changing their button color and seeing a 200% increase in conversions. They fantasies about using a headline template that’ll skyrocket their income, and honestly believe that a better hero image could save a failing business. And so we create content that plays to…
The following is a case study about how Tough Mudder achieved a 9% session uplift by optimizing for mobile. With the help of altima° and VWO, they identified and rectified pain points for their mobile users, to provide seamless event identification and sign-ups.
About the Company
Tough Mudder offers a series of mud and obstacle courses designed to test physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. Events aren’t timed races, but team activities that promote camaraderie and accomplishment as a community.
Tough Mudder wanted to ensure that enrolment on their mobile website was smooth and easy for their users. They partnered with altima°, a digital agency specializing in eCommerce, and VWO to ensure seamless event identification and sign-ups.
Research on Mobile Users
The agency first analyzed Tough Mudder’s Google Analytics data to identify any pain points across participants’ paths to enrollment. They analyzed existing rates from the Event List, which demonstrated that interested shoppers were not able to identify the events appropriate for them. The agency began to suspect that customers on mobile might not be discovering events easily enough.
On the mobile version of the original page, most relevant pieces of information like the event location and date, were being pushed too far down below the fold. In addition, lesser relevant page elements were possibly distracting users from the mission at hand. This is how it looked like:
The agency altima° decided to make the following changes in the variation:
Simplified header: Limiting the header copy to focus on the listed events. The following image shows how this looked.
List redesign: Redesigning the filter and event list to prominently feature the events themselves. The following image shows the same:
Additionally, an Urgency Message was added to encourage interested users to enroll in events nearing their deadline. See the following image to know how it was done:
For these three variations, seven different combinations were created and a multivariate test was run using VWO. The test experienced over 2k event sign-ups across 4 weeks. The combinations of variations are shown below:
After 4 weeks, Variation 2, which included the redesigned event list, proved to be the winning variation. This is not to say that other test variations were not successful. Variation 2 was just the MOST successful:
The winning variation produceda session value uplift of 9%! Combined with the next 2 rounds of optimization testing, altima° helped Tough Mudder earn a session value uplift of over 33%!
Why Did Variation 2 Win?
altima° prefers to let the numbers speak for themselves and not dwell on subjective observations. After all, who needs opinions when you’ve got data-backed results? altima°, however, draws the following conclusions on why Variation 2 won:
Social proof has demonstrated itself to be a worthy component of conversion optimization initiatives. These often include customer reviews and/or indications of popularity across social networks.
In fact, Tough Mudder experienced a significant lift in the session value due to the following test involving the addition of Facebook icons. It’s likely that the phrase Our Events Have Had Over 2 Million Participants Across 3 Continents warranted its own kind of social proof.
The most ambitious testing element to design and develop was also the most successful.
It appeared that an unnecessary amount of real estate was being afforded to the location filter. This was resolved by decreasing margins above and below the filter, along with removing the stylized blue graphic.
The events themselves now carried a more prominent position relative to the fold on mobile devices. Additionally, the list itself was made to be more easily read, with a light background and nondistracting text.
The underperformance of the urgency message came as a surprise. It was believed that this element would prove to be valuable, further demonstrating the importance of testing with VWO.
Something to consider is that not every event included an urgency message. After all, not every enrolment period was soon to close. Therefore, it could be the case that some customers were less encouraged to click through and enroll in an individually relevant event if they felt that they had more time to do so later.
They might have understood that their event of interest wasn’t promoting urgency and was, therefore, not a priority. It also might have been the case that an urgency message was introduced too early in the steps to event enrolment.
How did you find this case study? There are more testing theories to discuss! Please reach out to altima° and VWO to discuss. You could also drop in a line in the Comments section below.
You’re a marketer, and a dang good one at that. You follow best practices. You always send campaign traffic to a dedicated landing page. You make data-driven decisions. You do post-mortems on all your campaigns and record your learnings.
But still, your visitors are dropping off your website without converting, leaving you with no way to nurture or convert them at a later date. And it sucks.
Things are no different for us at Unbounce. Despite our best efforts, we still miss out on a ton of conversions. Whether folks aren’t ready to hand over their information, or they simply aren’t finding what they’re looking for, they just. Don’t. Convert.
We knew there had to be a solution…
Overlays allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.
It’s a win-win really. You want the sale, they want the bargain. You want the email, they want the ebook.
But just like with any marketing tool (landing pages, emails, etc.), overlays need to be relevant, timely and valuable in order for them to be effective.
As you may have heard, Unbounce recently launched Convertables, a suite of easy-to-install overlays which can be triggered on-arrival, after delay, on scroll and on-exit. But before releasing Convertables to the masses, we were diligently testing overlays on our own web pages.
Two experiments in particular stand out, in which we used overlays to collect leads for online partnership events. In total, we were able to collect 3,200 leads and signups. We also learned a thing or two about how to maximize conversions, while at the same time respecting the goals of the user. We’d like to share our results and learnings with you.
Digital Agency Day: Sign up to get the recordings
On January 28, 2016, Unbounce and HubSpot co-hosted a brand new online event just for digital agencies. We called it Digital Agency Day (and sometimes, internally, “DAD,” because we’re goofs).
Digital Agency Day consisted of a combination of in-person and virtual events, bringing together expert speakers from the world’s top agencies and agency partners to share actionable advice on analytics, reporting, growing retainers, new business strategy, conversion rate optimization and much more.
In total there were 18 online events, with 6,500+ participants across 101 countries. Yep, you read that right — 6,500 participants. Many of which were captured via a hyper-relevant lead gen overlay.
The main goal of the Digital Agency Day microsite was to get people to register for the live event. But anyone who’s hosted a webinar or similar online event knows that getting attendees can be tricky. People just don’t want to commit, for fear they’ll be too busy to attend or have scheduling conflicts. Digital Agency Day was more than a single webinar, but the same perceived friction existed.
The Digital Agency Day microsite. (Click for full image.)
We had to find a way to capture those visitors who just couldn’t commit to the live event before they left the site.
An overlay triggered on exit was the perfect solution. But rather than asking for visitors to sign up to attend the event, as was the goal of the microsite, the overlay prompted visitors to enter their contact info in exchange for the recordings.
How it performed
We weren’t all that surprised that the overlay worked, due to its high level of relevance. That said, even we were a little surprised by the whopping 19.03% conversion rate.
In the end, we chalked up its success to relevance, value and timeliness — the trifecta of effective overlays.
Relevance: The offer was similar yet complementary to the on-page offer.
Value: Rather than blocking a day off in their calendars, visitors could simply sign up for the recordings to watch at their leisure and cherry pick the ones that were relevant to them.
Timely: The offer was presented on exit, as visitors were about to abandon. Had it been triggered on arrival or after a delay, visitors who wanted to participate in the live event may have been confused.
Pro tip: While best practices indicate using no more than two form fields on your overlay to maximize conversions, you may opt for more should you require additional information to qualify or disqualify leads. At Unbounce, for example, we often qualify leads based on a four-field form. The trade-off here may be fewer conversions but with the benefit of qualifying or disqualifying leads right off the bat. Of course, this is something you’d want to test for yourself.
Want more overlay best practices?
Download Unbounce’s free guide: Best Practices for Creating High-Converting Overlays
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.
CRO Day: Click through to get the recordings
After the success of Digital Agency Day, we decided to adapt the format for CRO Day — a full day of webinars for conversion-driven digital marketers.
Featuring five webinars, two panel discussions, one AMA, one Slack workshop and one… Five-Second Landing Page Showdown, CRO Day was a smashing success — thanks to amazing participants, dedicated team members and one kick-ass overlay.
Like Digital Agency Day, the goal of the CRO Day microsite was to get people to register up for the live event. But not everyone can commit to a full day of events.
We included some fine print on the page indicating, “Can’t make it? No worries! Sign up anyway and we’ll send you the recordings.” but it would be easy to miss.
The CRO Day microsite. (Click for full image.)
Again, we needed a way to isolate the message that if you couldn’t make the online event, you could still get the recordings.
Overlays are so effective because they focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer… like getting free recordings.
Unlike the overlay for Digital Agency Day, we experimented with a traffic shaping overlay, which directed visitors to a secondary signup page focused just on getting the recordings after the event.
Typically, traffic shaping overlays are used to move visitors from low-converting pages (like your blog homepage or ecommerce category pages) to high-converting pages, but in this case we used a traffic shaping overlay to entice abandoning visitors with an alternate offer.
The flow looked like this:
How it performed
Pretty. Darn. Good.
Using the traffic shaping overlay, we directed 27.31% of abandoning visitors to a secondary sign up page.
Once on the page, 67% of visitors converted, filling out a six-field form!
Again, this overlay was relevant (a similar yet complementary offer), valuable (forget blocking off your calendar — watch the recordings you want, when you want) and timely (visitors were shown the overlay on-exit after they had seen the initial offer).
However, there’s another key principle at play here: Specificity.
When will I get the recordings? The very next day. Can’t get much more specific than that!
By specifying that the recordings would be emailed to visitors the day after the event, we were able to boost our credibility, presumably resulting in more signups.
Tips, tricks and takeaways
Using the Unbounce overlay guiding principles, you can build overlays that convert like crazy… but not at the expense of visitor experience.
When planning your own overlay campaigns, keep in mind the following:
Make it relevant. If your visitor is reading a blog post about waterproof watch reviews, your overlay better not be about bikes. Rather, it should be complementary, like an overlay that directs the visitor to a features page about one of the watch models.
But don’t present the same offer. Presenting the exact same offer on the overlay as on page is annoying and needy. Don’t be that dude.
Make it valuable. Asking visitors for their personal info is a big deal. Make sure what you’re offering in exchange is of equal or greater value.
Those email metrics may provide you with more insight than you thought. Image via Shutterstock.
The components of an A/B test are pretty straightforward: change some stuff, compare key metrics, deploy winner, repeat.
So when you start an A/B test on your email, this is the sort of process you fall back on. You brainstorm a couple of alternate subject lines, test them on a small segment and send the winner to everyone else. This is a great way of making sure you’re sending the better of two ideas, but does it really mean you’re sending better email?
Instead, today we’re going to focus on the benefits of A/B testing for the future. That means turning your results into actionable guidance for feature planning, branding, sales and retention strategies.
Maximizing is not always optimizing.
It can be really tough figuring out which features need the most attention, not to mention prioritizing improvements your top users would be most excited for. Email can help!
A simple email teasing upcoming improvements to X or Y feature can give you valuable insights for your next product planning session on what changes actually pique a user’s interest.
Similarly, you can test something like, “What would you like to see added to feature X” vs “…feature Y.” Even if you get little to no feedback, the comparative open rates can tell you a lot about which features people want to see updated.
This can be especially insightful for startups, because setting the wrong priorities for your development team can hamstring your growth. In cases like this where the stakes are higher, it may be more powerful to subtly present options and observe responses than to straight up ask.
The problem with asking users what they want directly. Image via Frankiac.
What if you’re getting ready to launch a new feature or plan an event, but you’re torn on what to call it. Simply run a test with a sneak peak email to your most engaged users and see what gets their attention.
This one may feel a bit weird, because branding of your product and features can feel really personal, but it’s also really important, so why leave it to your gut when you can test?
You don’t even have to build out a fancy announcement email, because you’re just looking for opens, indicating that initial spark of interest. The body can be a simple, plain text save the date or a link to a survey or something.
For the rest of your emails…
Write a click-worthy subject line every time with our Subject Line Cheat Sheet.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.
Sales materials development
Good email testing can also translate to benefits for your sales team. Imagine their eyes lighting up when you pass them a document illustrating how your highest value customers engage with different phrasings of your core features.
There are a couple of interesting ways to execute on this, but I think the most practical is to build an onboarding email with links to your features, and then test headlines for each section (bonus points if you randomize the order to satisfy the statisticians in the house).
You could also stretch this across multiple emails in your onboarding drip campaign, or send a one-off “What’s new” update.
Now that you’ve figured out which features resonate most with your high-touch users, it’s time to figure out what gets people hooked on your product or service in the first place.
There are a ton of ways to accomplish this in the traditional on-site manner, but how does email fit into the picture?
The most obvious option here is to use the information you gleaned to craft a killer onboarding campaign that introduces new users to the most beloved features first. That strategy, however, is really focused on top-of-funnel retention. Today, I want to take a look at the other end: churn prevention.
There are, of course, some users that were never a good fit to begin with and will churn regardless. But for those that just never got the hang of things, the most common move is to hit them with a “Hail Mary email” — one last-ditch effort to win them back.
A lot of times this comes in the form of a direct note from someone asking what they could have done better, but why not use that space to run some tests? Not just to squeeze out a few more opens on a low-converting email, but to see what actually gets people’s attention. Then you can take the stuff that works, and work it into your onboarding campaign to keep people from ever getting to the Hail Mary state.
These are, of course, not the only ways that you can incorporate your learnings from tests into other aspects of your marketing, but it’s a great start if you don’t have a process like this in place.
The structure you build out to track and share the results from tests like these can be tremendously helpful for the whole team — not just in the ways I’ve outlined above, but also in just keeping everyone on the same page and in line with what your customers want to hear.
Have anything to add? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.