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How Just One Ecommerce Popup Offer Helped Canvas Factory Generate 1.1 Million in Revenue

Canvas Factory's Popup Success

When you hear ‘website popup’ in a marketing context, my bet is—as a discerning marketer—you all but cringe. Surely these boxes that jump up in the middle of a screen are for low-level marketers. They’re scammy, make you lose your train of thought, nobody likes them,…you’d never use ‘em.

But can you really hate popups if they’re found to drive results?

As heated as the debate can get, Richard Lazazzera, an ecommerce entrepreneur and Content Strategist at Shopify has a fair point in this reply to a comment on his blog post:

Image via the Shopify blog.

And drive sales they can.

By experimenting with popup overlays, Auckland-based Canvas Factory (an ecommerce shop providing high-quality canvas prints) has found a ton of success engaging prospects at exactly the right time.

Using just one popup that appears across several of their domains, Canvas Factory discovered the targeting that worked best for them, and—most importantly—brought in 1.1 million USD in revenue(!) via their offer.

In today’s post, we’ll share Canvas Factory’s story, along with some lessons learned, so that—if you’re tempted—you too can convert more site visitors.

Canvas Factory’s approach to ecommerce popups

Similar to many ecommerce brands, Canvas Factory wanted to convert more of the visitors leaving their site empty handed. They’d realized some prospects only needed a moderate incentive to get over any purchase anxiety, so they had started offering a small discount via a coupon.

Eventually they wondered if the coupon would perform even better if delivered via a popup at the right moment.

Experimenting, they created this popup overlay in Unbounce for their site:

One of Canvas Factory’s domains outfitted with their popup.

They duplicated this one design eight times for running across different domains on certain URLs. The copy was the same for each, offering $10 off someone’s first order in exchange for an email, and only appeared as someone was actively trying to leave the site, once per visitor.

The main difference was location. The brand ran four of these overlays across their product pages on their Australian and New Zealand domains, while another four appeared on the Canvas Factory blog across the same domains.

How’d the experiment go?

The Unbounce popup overlay has now been running from November 2016 to present and in comparing the period before using the popups to promote this same coupon code to now:

  • Canvas Factory has seen a 6% to 9% increase in use of the coupon, and
  • Subscription to their mailing list has grown by over 14.3%.

Now the brand’s marketers can do a better job actively nurturing prospects claiming the coupon, and re-marketing to successful first-time customers.

But in terms of the bottom line? Managing Director Tim Daley says it best:
Tim from Canvas Factory

“Unbounce played a key part in Canvas Factory’s conversion rate optimization activity for our subscriber campaign. This has contributed to over $1.1 million dollars in purchases.”

$1.1 million the brand may not have otherwise seen had they not tried the overlay? If that’s not making you reconsider whether or not your personal distaste for popups should stop you from trying one out, I’m not sure what will.

That said…

How’d the brand track success?

Tim tells us the coupon use was measured by integrating Unbounce popup overlays with their mail platform and their payment gateway CS-Cart:

“This [integration] allows us, per country level, to collect new subscribers, partition [them] to relevant country and then track their individual and group purchase application of the coupon acquired through the popup.”

Ultimately the integration lets Canvas Factory see:

  • How many customers are using coupons + how many discounts are being used total
  • Total revenue before and after coupons are applied
  • Average order value before and after coupons are applied
  • What kind of customers the brand’s attracting with coupons

All very useful factors in understanding how long a campaign like this is feasible for, and experimenting with different discounts.

Want to push your lead data collected via landing pages, sticky bars, and popup overlays through to your mail platforms and other tools? See our Integrations Powered by Zapier and all the connections available right in Unbounce.

It’s all about location: A lesson on why popups in the wrong place are a big mistake

Your gut feeling that popups can be scammy? It’s not far off. If used incorrectly at the wrong time or on the wrong URL of your site, they certainly can be. We’ve all seen these types of popups and they’re maddening.

In Canvas Factory’s case, it wasn’t as simple as create the popup, set it and forget it. In running their Unbounce popup overlay in several locations, they’ve learned placement and timing is critical.

In Tim’s case, he discovered that the blog wasn’t the proper placement for this particular offer, it was simply too soon in the buyer journey to be offering someone a discount. With posts on the brand’s blog aimed to help you take better photos of your kids and other photography tips, this level of awareness doesn’t really align with wanting to purchase right away.

Overall, Canvas Factory’s blog popup conversion rate was 0.18% versus the up to 11% conversion rate they’d seen on product pages where the purchase intent was likely higher.

As outlined above, aim to align your offers with buyer intent.

The lesson:

If you choose the right place for your offer (pricing pages and high commitment URLs in Canvas Factory’s case), you’ll see results because you offered a timely and relevant incentive. In the wrong place, however, you simply won’t see the results you want, and worse, you’ll irritate and annoy your visitors.

Get actionable tips on where to place your popups, and which types of messages perform best in our Best Practice Guide.

So you shouldn’t use popups on your blog?

No—Canvas Factory’s unique experience isn’t to say that popups on your blog won’t work, because they definitely can. You just have to choose the right kind of offer and perfect targeting. Because your blog readers may not be product aware yet, you need to align your offer with the level of awareness readers do have about your company (i.e. they might be open to a free in-depth ebook about the exact topic they’re already reading about).

You might also try directing your blog traffic to an even higher-converting area of your site.

Here’s a super relevant clickthrough popup Seer’s Wil Reynolds uses to offer up more relevant content on his site:

By proactively serving up what prospects might want next, Seer becomes more trustworthy and keeps people engaged on their site longer (which is a great sign in Google’s eyes). You can make traffic shaping like this the goal of some of your popups in locations where a higher-commitment ask doesn’t make sense.

Try an Experiment Yourself

Overall, popups can definitely be annoying when used aggressively or poorly (there’s no arguing that) but, as we’ve seen with Canvas Factory, proper targeting and relevant offers can make all the difference to both marketers and site visitors who can be receptive to proper incentives at the right time.

If you’ve got a great campaign or offer running, a well-timed and targeted popup could ensure all the right people see it and that you don’t leave opportunities on the table.

Try an Ecommerce popup from Unbounce today

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How Just One Ecommerce Popup Offer Helped Canvas Factory Generate 1.1 Million in Revenue

Naming Things In CSS Grid Layout

When first learning how to use Grid Layout, you might begin by addressing positions on the grid by their line number. This requires that you keep track of where various lines are on the grid, and also be aware of the fact the line numbers reverse if your site is displayed for a right-to-left language.

Naming Things In CSS Grid Layout

Built on top of this system of lines, however, are methods that enable the naming of lines and even grid areas. Using these methods enables easier placement of items by name rather than number, but also brings additional possibilities when creating systems for layout. In this article, I’ll take an in-depth look at the various ways to name lines and areas in CSS Grid Layout, and some of the interesting possibilities this creates.

The post Naming Things In CSS Grid Layout appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Naming Things In CSS Grid Layout

Structured Approach To Testing Increased This Insurance Provider’s Conversions By 30%

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.

Problem

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.

Observations

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:

corgi_original

Hypothesis

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.”

Test

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.

corgi_variation

Results

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.

Next Steps

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.
  • Make complex product pages easier to digest.

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The post Structured Approach To Testing Increased This Insurance Provider’s Conversions By 30% appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Structured Approach To Testing Increased This Insurance Provider’s Conversions By 30%

How To Simplify Networking In Android: Introducing The Volley HTTP Library

In a world driven by the Internet, mobile apps need to share and receive information from their products’ back end (for example, from databases) as well as from third-party sources such as Facebook and Twitter.

How To Simplify Android Networking With The Volley HTTP Library

These interactions are often made through RESTful APIs. When the number of requests increases, the way these requests are made becomes very critical to development, because the manner in which you fetch data can really affect the user experience of an app.

The post How To Simplify Networking In Android: Introducing The Volley HTTP Library appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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How To Simplify Networking In Android: Introducing The Volley HTTP Library

If It’s Painful, It’s Broken: Unbounce Blog Team Takeaways from 2016

Since I joined the Unbounce family three years ago, our marketing team has grown from seven to 35. The content team alone has grown from two to 12.

That kind of growth comes with a lot of potential to do exciting things.

But scaling a team quickly also uncovers inefficiencies, and results in a helluvalotta growing pains.

Which is fine, really. I’m not much of a jock, but I know that without pain there is no gain.

giphy

2016 in particular was a really productive year for the content team at Unbounce. We were able to fix a lot of inefficiencies in our processes, and experiment with things that we just didn’t have the bandwidth for before.

In short, we pulled the plug on what wasn’t working and doubled down on what was working.

If you’ll allow me to, I want to share some of our biggest takeaways with you. In part because I wanna show off our gains (#humblebrag), but also because I wanna prevent your pains.

(P.S. Much of this progress can be attributed to an improvement methodology we started using called the Improvement Kata, which could be the subject of its own 10,000-word post. …But you can learn all about it in this 60-minute webinar.)

Process improvements: If something is painful, it’s because it’s broken

When I began work at Unbounce in 2014, I was the main person dedicated to the blog. I spent my days writing, editing and making sure that we maintained our historically high editorial standards.

But I was doing this in a silo, so when we began onboarding more team members who were to contribute to the blog, things started to feel a little painful.

Suddenly, it was evident that we needed new processes. And the only way to fix inefficiencies was to first diagnose them:

  • I was spending too much of my time working with external contributors and responding to queries that I couldn’t focus on content that contributed to big picture business objectives
  • I was used to being a lone wolf, but now my team members needed visibility into which posts were in the pipeline (and at what stage)
  • With more team members, prioritization of content pieces was becoming more difficult

After listing all the pains, we started looking for solutions as a team.

What did the doctor(s) order? You can read about all our process improvements in this post, but here are some of my personal favorites:

  • We killed our “Write For Us” page.
  • We refused to take on any post that didn’t first have a fully fleshed-out pitch (you can steal the template for it below).

Produce better content by getting off on the right foot

Download Unbounce’s blog pitch framework and ensure all your content is 10x content.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

But my favorite change was one that alleviated a ton of pain…

Treat blog posts like campaigns

When I started blogging in 2008, the #1 piece of advice I was given was to establish a posting frequency and then stick to it.

But last year, at marketing conferences and across the web, I began to hear whispers of something different: publish less, but publish deeper.

This suggestion was attractive to me because I’d been working hard for two years to make sure that our editorial calendar was filled with back-to-back actionable articles. I was able to maintain a frequent publishing schedule, but this resulted in me neglecting something far more important: a sound distribution strategy.

We were working hard to create awesome content, but weren’t making the time to be sure that people would take notice.

So in 2016, we started experimenting with treating blog posts like campaigns.

What do I mean by this? Taking the time to plan, write and promote epic posts — the kind of stuff that makes your CMO drop their work and share the post in a department-wide email — even if it means dialing back on publishing frequency.

More specifically, “campaign” posts go through five phases (read about them in detail in this post):

  1. Determine the goal of your post so you can determine later whether or not it was successful (and guide the content of the post).
  2. Do keyword research if appropriate so your post will continue to get organic traffic.
  3. Loop in influencers who can help you amplify your content after you hit publish. Include quotes — as Andy Crestodina said in his keynote at Content Marketing World, “An ally in content production is an ally in content distribution.” Beyond that, start thinking about distribution strategy before you write a single word.
  4. Create custom blog assets that you’d like to see in your own social media feeds. Think of how you can create a consistent design experience across all channels.
  5. Distribute according to a predetermined plan. Milk all your channels for everything they’re worth.

We get so much more out of posts when we take this well-rounded approach — we feel happier and more strategic (instead of feeling like we’re on a content farm). It feels less painful and it actually feels like less work. Here’s another great bit I heard at Content Marketing World:

More of a spirit of experimentation

Optimization is such a core part of our business — we preach it in our webinars, on our podcast, on the blog. “Always be testing” echoes through the hallways to the extent that it’s become a bit of a cliché.

Yet, when it came to actually conducting tests on our blog and other content, we were quicker to make excuses than make time for optimization. Not because we were slackers — quite the opposite — but because we were too focused on furiously pumping out content to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

Until we decided to just do it ✔️️ and were inspired to launch a two week optimization experiment. For the experiment, we halted publishing and focused entirely on optimizing evergreen content. In a nutshell we:

  1. Researched top traffic posts
  2. Freshened up the content of the post to keep them evergreen
  3. Optimized those posts for lead generation (this part was key)

You can read all about our experiment (and how it resulted in 700 new leads for us) in this post. Or just grab the checklist below and get started.

Ready to optimize your high-traffic posts for lead gen?

Steal the exact process that Unbounce used during their two week optimization experiment.
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Our main takeaway? Optimization isn’t just for conversion rate optimizers and performance marketers. Content marketers stand to gain a lot by taking a step back, too. Even if it means temporarily forgetting about your editorial calendar.

More accountability

Everyone is aware of certain inefficiencies and pains within their organization or on their team, but seldom do we make the time to take ownership of these and actually resolve to fix them.

I’d encourage you to take a step back and think about what hurts and what bandaids you have at your disposal. It may seem daunting or like a lot of work at first, but I think you’ll find that it pays off in the long run.

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If It’s Painful, It’s Broken: Unbounce Blog Team Takeaways from 2016

Infographic: How Reducing Webpage Options Can Increase Conversions

reducing form fields

Website owners and executive teams have a tendency to want to add more “stuff” to websites. “I think we should add a contact form to the sidebar.” “Let’s add a slider to the home page that slides through each of our main features!” For the people in charge of conversion optimization, adding “stuff” to a home page or any webpage becomes a living nightmare. They know that the second you add something new to a webpage, the conversion rate is going to change. That’s why Google has a home page gatekeeper. For years it was Marissa Mayer (now the CEO…

The post Infographic: How Reducing Webpage Options Can Increase Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Infographic: How Reducing Webpage Options Can Increase Conversions

Why we are Evolving into a Conversion Optimization Platform

Seven years ago, VWO was created with the aim to make marketers’ lives simpler. With its easy-to-use visual editor, it helped marketers focus on their main job (to increase conversions), than to chase the elusive IT team to get that A/B test running.

In these seven years, searches for A/B testing have gone through the roof, more than a dozen similar tools have entered the market, and A/B testing is now an integral part of marketing. VWO has been used to run some 700,000 tests, optimize close to six billion experiences and generate more revenue for businesses across industries and countries.

To say we are happy and humbled would be an understatement. But what will not be an understatement is to say that we have never felt more committed towards making our customers successful.

In the last one year, we have spent a lot of time looking at data. We have spent a lot of time looking at our most successful customers to figure out what is it they are doing that makes them successful.

And we have found that the businesses getting the most success out of A/B testing are the ones following a scientific process. These businesses clearly define what numbers they are trying to move, identify areas that can be improved, step into the shoes of their visitors to understand their pain-points, run A/B tests based on evidence and are incredibly zen about a few losses on the way.

Marketing might be driving the optimization process, but the culture of optimization seeps through every department in these organizations. The focus is on analyzing results, sharing insights and delivering better user experience all around. A/B testing is not just a hack or a seasonal marketing tactic, it’s an year-round commitment towards a ‘user-first’ philosophy.

These businesses understandably have to depend on multiple tools and products to continuously run this scientific process. They often use one tool to track the bottomline, another to prioritize and chart out the testing plan, another to observe visitor actions and yet another to run A/B tests. Getting multiple tools to work for one single process comes with its own complexities. To get real insights from that pool of data is another challenge.

We at VWO have not merely been observing all this. We have used all these observations in building the new VWO.

The new VWO will enable businesses to run all parts of this scientific process through one platform. The seamless connectivity of data will ensure businesses don’t lose track of the user story at any point of the process, putting unprecedented power in the hands of marketers.

VWO – The first Connected Conversion Optimization Platform

Right from tracking metrics, analyzing visitor actions, creating testing plan to running A/B tests, the new VWO will help marketers do everything optimization at one place, one point. To get a sneak peek into what is coming up, check out vwo.com/evolution.

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Simple Recipes for No-Fail Landing Page Copy [+ Free Downloadable Worksheet]

cake ingredients
Who knew landing pages and cake had so much in common? Image via Shutterstock.

In some ways, building a landing page is like baking a cake. Certain people prefer chocolate, and others like cream fillings, but there are some fundamental formulas (for both cakes and landing pages) that are tried and tested, and proven to produce positive results.

This post is a recipe for a solid vanilla sponge landing page. For advice on design (a.k.a. the buttercream frosting), check out these posts on user experience and essential design principles.

Here are the formulas we’ll cover in this post, using examples from great landing pages:

  • Action words + Product reference = Winning headline
  • Your exact offering + Promise of ease = Winning subheader
  • Your best offerings + Worded in the form of benefit statements + Appropriate sectioning = Winning body content
  • Active words + ‘I want to…’ + A/B testing = Winning call to action

Want to test the formulas out for yourself?

Download our FREE worksheet for creating no-fail landing page copy.
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The header is always active — it wants you to do something. The header almost always directly references the product or service, as well. As Kurt Vonnegut said,

To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

What are active words?

In the same way that active voice makes a sentence stronger by shifting focus onto the subject, active words help to promote action and create urgency. Active words in headers are usually verbs like build, get, launch, unlock, pledge, invest and give.

Here are a few examples of effective, action-led landing page headlines.

Codecademy winning headline
Codecademy’s headline is about as close to perfect as it gets.
Lyft winning headline
Lyft doesn’t use the “Get started” CTA we’ll talk about, but that headline is a winner.
Pro tip: To maximize your conversion efforts, ensure there’s message match between your click-through ad and headline.

Your exact offering + Promise of ease = Winning subheader

Your header is an active statement, introducing your product. Your subheader is the second wave, there to support the header and give visitors a reason to continue reading. In the subheader, you tell your audience exactly what you have to offer, and highlight how incredibly easy the whole process will be.

Easy as pie

Online, all it takes is a few taps and a few clicks to make a potentially big decision, but if it’s not easy, a lot of us won’t bother doing it. That’s especially true of a landing page, which is essentially a 24/7 elevator pitch for your business.

As a visitor to your landing page, I need to know if what you’re offering is going to benefit me, and that by handing over my details, you’re going to do most of the heavy lifting for me (at least to begin with.)

In our model for the no-fail landing page copy, the relationship between header and subheader looks like this:

Header: Introduces the idea or service in an active way (inspire your audience to do something).

Subheader: Backs up the header by giving a reason for your visitor to read on.

Outbrain winning subheader
Ooo, easy setup — just what we all love to see.

This example from Outbrain might not have the prettiest header or subheader, but both illustrate exactly what we’ve been talking about. The header is active, and so is the subheader, which tells you exactly what the main benefits of using Outbrain are, along with the promise of an easy setup.

Your best offerings + worded in the form of benefit statements + appropriate sectioning = Winning body content

The bulk of your landing page copy does the same job as the header and the subheader: it presents the benefits of your product to the user, and encourages them to act.

It’s tempting to go off-piste in the body content, to talk about your values and how you donate half of your profits to charity, but hold off. You need to make sure that your product is one your audience wants first. Stick to the benefits, and expand on those.

Break up your content

You’ll probably have more than one point to make on your landing page, but even if you don’t, breaking content up with headers and bullet points increases the chances of something catching your reader’s eye. It’s the equivalent of a supermarket arranging its products into categories and shelves, rather than bundling everything together in a big bargain bin.

With your body content, just like with your subheader, focus on what you have to offer, why it’s better than the competition’s and how you’ll do most of the heavy lifting should your prospect hand over their valuable email address. Let’s take a look at how MuleSoft connects header, subheader and body content.

Mulesoft body copy

The header: In this case, the header is just what the product is, which is likely the most appropriate approach for this audience.

The subheader: The subheader — or supporting header — focuses on the main benefit of the handbook. Clearly, MuleSoft knows its audience, and is giving it to them straight.

The body: It’s still laser-focused on those main benefits, giving visitors ample opportunity to become engaged.

Pro tip: A landing page is a pitch, and like any pitch, your job is to put forward your best offerings and do your best to secure a follow-up. If you’re struggling to prioritize your offerings, consider the following:

  • What does your product do, and how does it make your prospect’s life easier?
  • What are your product’s most ground-breaking or useful features?
  • Who does your product help?
  • How easy it is to get started?
  • Who else uses your product?

Here’s a great example from Startup Weekend. The body content answers all of the main questions, with no BS:

Startup Weekend landing page copy

Active words + “I want to…” + A/B testing = Winning CTA

Since we’re talking about no-fail copy, like blueprints for you to riff from, we’ll tell you straight up that the most common call to action phrase that makes it to live landing pages, is “Get started”. That’s followed closely by anything with the word “get” in it.

Why does ‘Get started’ work?

It needs to be clear that your call to action is where the next step happens. If you want serious leads, then the call to action button is not the place to test out your funniest one-liners. Just like the header and subheader, the call to action is active, it’s job is to create momentum.

“Get started” suggests a journey, it suggests self-improvement, which is probably why it works better than “Submit” or “Subscribe.” It could also be that “Get started” works because it finishes the sentence we’re thinking when a sign-up is close: “I want to… get started.”

Pro-tip: Best practices are best practices for a reason, but don’t use a “Get” CTA just because I suggested it. Do some research, craft a sound hypothesis and A/B test your button copy for maximum conversions.
Fluidsurveys CTA copy
FluidSurveys‘s button copy is active and timely.
Cheez burger CTA copy
Cheezburger pairs tried and true button copy with another one of our favorite words: free.
blab cake CTA copy
BlabCake uses a slightly different version of the “Get” formula for their coming soon page.

Conclusion

Let’s look at all of the formulas together:

  • Action words + Product reference = Winning headline
  • Your exact offering + Promise of ease = Winning subheader
  • Your best offerings + Worded in the form of benefit statements + Appropriate sectioning = Winning body content
  • Active words + ‘I want to…’ + A/B testing = Winning call to action

What you’ve got in these formulas, is the recipe for a basic vanilla sponge — the foundations of a successful landing page. Put them together and then — like any good marketer — your job becomes testing that landing page to see what works best for your audience.

What are your favorite copywriting formulas? Share ’em in the comments!

Original article – 

Simple Recipes for No-Fail Landing Page Copy [+ Free Downloadable Worksheet]

How to interpret scrollmaps for effective A/B testing

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Do you remember when people used to buy full music albums?

Like, the good ‘ol days of records, cassette tapes and CDs? The days before iTunes made it easy to be a one-off consumer, obsessed with the next, delicious single?

Well… your web page is your hit album. When you created it, you probably envisioned it in its entirety, as the sum of its parts. For you, each section on your page is a part of the narrative.

But, visitors often have short attention spans. They’re hungry for that hit single. Think of the space above the fold as that single. This is the area that captures or loses your visitors. For many businesses, the space above the fold is all anyone will ever see. (Much like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” — did anyone download that whole album??)

call me maybe gif

That said, it’s entirely possible that your target audience still prefers complete albums; these visitors want to examine all or most of your webpage. They are patient, they’re scrollers, they want the whole story.

As a modern marketer, you know that the more you understand about your visitors, the better. Fortunately, technologies exist nowadays that allow you to capture certain aspects of visitor behavior. Scrollmaps and other tools help you visualize the visitor experience: how far down your page are visitors going, what are they clicking, and how are they consuming information?

If you’re doing or considering conversion optimization (and you should be), it’s a good idea to incorporate scrollmaps, clickmaps, and heatmaps into your analytics arsenal.

Scrollmaps are particularly useful because where you’re testing is just as important as what you’re testing. (I’ll get into this more in a second).

If you haven’t explored this aspect of your visitors’ behavior yet, don’t worry. This post is all about how to leverage the tools that are out there so that you’re not only testing the right elements, but you’re testing them in the right place.

What is a scrollmap?

Scrollmaps, heatmaps, and clickmaps are all tools that allow you to visualize visitor behavior on your webpage. Scrollmaps display a visual representation of the amount of time a visitor spent viewing each section of your page.

Scrollmaps speak with colors. Depending on the tool, red, white and yellow generally indicate areas that visitors spent the most time viewing, while teal, dark blue and black indicate areas that visitors almost never see.

How do these tools work?

Three of the most popular scrollmap tools today are Hotjar, Crazy Egg and Clicktale. Each is a little different. Generally, you’ll tell your tool what page and for how many visitors you want it to collect data for.

A big factor here is how much traffic you have on the page. Rather than time, I would look at the sample size included e.g. pageviews or visitors. For low traffic sites you will see [user behavior] patterns emerge with just 2,000 pageviews. On higher traffic sites you might want to bump that up to 10,000.

– David Darmanin, Founder & CEO, Hotjar

Your tool will collect user data until it has sufficient pageviews, then it will generate your scroll/click/heat-map for you.

Take a look at this scrollmap from Telestream, a screencasting and video editing software:

Telestream scrollmap
Revealing scrollmap data from Telestream.

There are a few things we can gather from this scrollmap:

  • Few users are scrolling past the four image tiles, missing the important product features beneath them
  • The data seems to indicate that these 4 images are creating a “false bottom” on this page

These insights can become hugely important when you’re testing. For Telestream, we were able to use this information to form a testable hypothesis (and a winning variation).

At this point, you might be thinking, Wait a sec, do I really need to test anything? If I discover that most of my visitors don’t scroll past the fold, can’t I just move the most important information on my page above the fold?

Yes and no. Let’s say you go for it. You move the information you deem most important above the fold: your call-to-action, your main product value points etc. Maybe you see a spike in conversions, maybe you see a decrease in conversions…maybe nothing changes at all.

There are a few reasons this is problematic:

  1. You’re guessing: How do you know that the information you think is most important will be the most influential for your visitors?
  2. You’ve taken an action, but you haven’t set yourself up to look at cause and effect: Did your changes actually have any effect at all or are external factors at play?
  3. You’ve cornered yourself: You have an outcome, but you’re missing the ‘why’ >> without the ‘why’ it’s tough to move forward.

Without a control, you can’t be sure that your changes had any effect on the outcome. In fact, the only thing that you can be sure of is that you have no way of knowing whether your changes were the cause of an increase or reduction in conversions. You’re left in the dark.

Scrollmaps, while useful, are just a part of the puzzle. They allow you to create more informed hypotheses to test, based on observed visitor behaviors and patterns on your webpage. Testing is the only way to both have confidence in a change and gather further insights about your visitors.

So, yes. You still need to test when using scrollmaps.

Exploring with scrollmaps

At WiderFunnel, our testing program begins in Explore (phase 1 in the Infinity Optimization Process™). Explore is organic and expansive: it’s the data-collection phase. You want to be armed with as much information as possible before you begin hypothesizing.

infinity optimization process
The Infinity Optimization Process is iterative and leads to continuous growth and insights.

A portion of this data-collection revolves around digging into your digital analytics and user research. This is where scrollmaps, heatmaps and clickmaps join the party.

As you can see, these tools provide just a fraction of the data you want to get your hands on before you start testing. But, that doesn’t diminish their importance. For some businesses, scrollmap data can be a total game-changer.

Don’t kill your A/B test before it begins

Let’s say you are not using any extra analytics tools like scrollmaps. You’ve decided to run a test with a single variation. In this variation, you add a new section halfway down your webpage. The test runs…and runs…and runs. The data comes back showing that the variation didn’t make any difference. Naturally, you scrap this test strategy.

Here’s the main rub: when you’re A/B testing, you must capture enough conversions to reach statistical significance. I won’t get down and dirty with statistics in this post (that’s a whole other blog post series). In laymen’s terms, if a variation beats a control with 95% statistical significance, you can assume that 19 times out of 20, the result you’re seeing is not due to chance.

Suffice it to say, you should shoot for 95% statistical significance on every test you run.

If you’re testing on an area of your page that most visitors aren’t seeing, you’ll have a much harder time detecting a change in conversion rate lift. The majority of your visitors won’t see any difference between your control and your variation. If 90% of visitors aren’t scrolling past the fold, and that is where your change is, then 90% of visitors are seeing control vs. control.

The small number of people that do see your test won’t have much impact on the conversion rate because they’re such a small portion of your audience. You would need to run your test for a much longer time to reach 95% statistical significance because the conversion rate lift would be very small, requiring more traffic to detect a change.

We recently reviewed a page for a current WiderFunnel client…

…and saw that just 25% of their traffic scrolled past the fold. As a result, we knew that any test built for that page had to impact the elements above the fold if we wanted to maximize impact for the business. Otherwise, few visitors would be influenced by the change.

If we had designed a test impacting an element below the fold, it would have taken much longer for us to achieve statistically significant results. Nobody (or very few) people would have actually scrolled down the page to see what had been changed. It would be impossible to know whether the lack of impact from our test was due to the change we’d made or to the fact that nobody saw it. It would be a shame if you discounted a great idea just because of poor placement!

Don’t neglect that first single

I’ve talked about the benefit of scrollmaps in better understanding visitor behavior on your webpage. But, I haven’t yet discussed what might be motivating or demotivating your visitors to scroll in the first place.

Remember the music album analogy? It’s entirely possible that your visitors do want to listen to an entire album, but your first single (the space above the fold) turned them off.

Above the fold is where you make a first impression with visitors: good, bad or ugly. If it’s a bad impression, new visitors won’t be motivated to scroll further and will most likely bounce. If you’re just getting started with conversion optimization, it’s a good idea to test above the fold: perfect that opening message and see if they start scrolling!

What do you think about scrollmaps and similar analytics tools? How do you employ these tools in your optimization efforts? What are your favorite tools? Let us know in the comments!

The post How to interpret scrollmaps for effective A/B testing appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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How to interpret scrollmaps for effective A/B testing

Hook ‘Em: The 4-Point Approach to Writing an Effective Blog Post for Your Business

Fishing rod
Image by Jay Mantri.

Never before has there been a better time to reach consumers directly.

But the bar to reach them has also never been higher, with two million blog posts published each day.

People today are completely overwhelmed with choices. (And we know what happens when consumers are faced with too many options.)

They’re being bombarded by blog content all day, everyday, and as a result attention spans have never been lower (less than a goldfish even).

The trick, is to make your brand’s blog posts (a) entertaining enough to stand out from the crowd and get attention, yet (b) possess enough commercial intent to also support your business objectives.

Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts you can implement to repeatedly save you time and drastically increase your odds of standing out.

After reading the next few sections, you’ll know how to craft an effective blog post start-to-finish, giving your content a fighting chance in a crowded online environment.

Part #1: Capture attention with an irresistible headline

As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, people do buy a book based on the cover.

And they buy wine because of the label.

wine bottle

Wine snobs everywhere just groaned, but that’s what a good brand does. It creates a mental shortcut for consumers, which helps them choose in the face of overwhelming choices.

When it comes to online content, it all starts with your headline. It’s the easiest way to quickly get a lot across with a few succinct words. However, the best headlines for commercial content aren’t just ridiculous Buzzfeed listicles.

buzzfeed headlines

Instead, the best commercial headlines play on a deeper, almost primal motivation to capture attention.

The trick here is that you’re not selling topic XYZ, you’re talking about. You’re selling the end result or outcome the reader gets (remember that whole benefits, not features thing?).

Thankfully, there’s an amazing free resource at Headline Hacks that will provide a few templates to follow. Here’s a few quick examples from our own blog.

Example #1: Protect yourself from external threats

The best way to grab attention is through negative messaging. Help protect people from external threats they might be encountering, like this Dreaded AdWords Plateau.

Adwords plateau headline

Example #2: Simplify your chaotic life

People are completely overwhelmed (no need to beat that dead horse again). The promise of simplicity and shortcuts work wonders, like this free one-day content strategy.

Data-driven content headline

Example #3: Teach someone how to do XYZ

Related to the previous example, where you’re providing a tutorial overview or tactical step-by-step approach, like how this agency used personalization to grow its business.

Personalization headline

Part #2: Hook the reader with a compelling “lead”

The job of the first line in an article or blog post is to get you to read the second line… says every lame copywriting book.

Journalists call this passage the “lede” (the douchey version of “lead”), and it helps you quickly establish what the story’s about before diving into the useful stuff.

The idea is that once your headline’s done its job of piquing interest, you have a few seconds to follow up and build anticipation for what’s to come.

Here are three tried-and-true approaches.

Approach #1: Anecdote & story

When people are continuously bombarded by messages and their attention span is almost nonexistent, storytelling helps to provide a simple vessel to get a point across and help people remember it. Anecdotes work the same way, albeit from a personal point of view.

In this post, Joanna Wiebe opens with the Brady Bunch. Yes, the Brady Bunch.

Brady Bunch copy

People read that, and immediately everyone starts nodding their heads in agreement saying, “Yes, Peter was a silly man”.

Depending on your audience, pop culture references can be a big hit. Especially ironic, hipster-esque ones like the Brady Bunch (and I mean that in the best way possible).

Approach #2: Pattern interruption

One of the best ways to stand out, is to literally stand out.

Creating cognitive dissonance by using “pattern interruption” can help you break the mold of what people are expecting to see, which creates intrigue and interest.

You can also create pattern interruptions by using “open loops”. For example, simply asking a question, without answering, can help you skyrocket email responses:

Pattern interruption

Think about one of your favorite sitcoms. Writers create several storylines that intertwine, so instead of finishing one before starting another, they leave “open loops” that keep the viewer interested and engaged to see how it all connects at the end of the day.
For example, Tracey and Jenna get into some crazy argument. But before we can see them hash it out, they cut to Jack and Liz in the writers’ room.

30 Rock

Approach #3: Emotional appeal

People only pay attention to what they care about. You can’t force them to consume your content or share your posts.

And people only buy (as in “purchase” or “buy-in”) when something touches or affects them emotionally (no matter how compelling your ROI spreadsheet is).

How’s this for an example? A personal story that people can empathize with, like overcoming the odds with a debilitating disease and struggling to keep up with medical bills. What kind of heartless bastard wouldn’t read that?!

Emotional appeal

Bonus Approach: All three-in-one like a boss

Want to see all of these in action at the same time? Read this, be amazed and I dare you not to sob like a baby.

Bonus approach

Part #3: Agitate problems before solving them

What do bad blog posts and bad first dates have in common?

They go straight for the sale.

When writing effective blog post copy, don’t forget the foreplay. Build tension, then release.

Diving straight into into the “solution” without proper build up, slow jamz, dimmed lighting and a bubble bath prevents casual readers (who don’t understand a topic like you do, and who are probably multitasking already) the chance to understand and empathize with what you’re saying.

Straight for the sale
Your message, although on-point, falls limp. (Pun definitely intended.)

The easiest way to start addressing your premature solutions is to start with the Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS) formula.

To illustrate, we’re going to use some examples from this case study that covers the creation of this blog post for a client.

Act I: Problem identification

First and foremost, you need to address the root problem head on. These are typically some form of outcome or end-goal that someone won’t be able to attain unless they read the rest of your article.

For example, you can state the problem to build interest, but then add additional context (agitate the pain points) to help people understand what they’re dealing with.

Problem identification

Act II: Agitate pain points

Now that readers identify the very same problem in their own lives, you can address issues and pain points caused by the problem that the reader is probably already experiencing. These symptoms cause the reader’s some level of discomfort, and by agitating them further the reader becomes aware that a solution may be necessary.

You can even use an Open Loop before introducing the solution to keep people guessing and reading longer.

Pain points

Act III: Solve by providing path to outcome

Only when the reader knows there’s a problem can you help solve it. You have the reader’s undivided attention, so your explanation and solution will resonate more.

Here’s where you lay out the specific steps or actions it will take to solve the problem and attain the original promise.

Path to outcome

Part #4: Conclude with an objective

So far so good!

You’ve grabbed attention, opened with a bang and avoided the awkward premature solution.

Now all you have to do is close the deal.

You summarize the main points of the article, wrap up the tiny details and then…?

Crickets.

That’s why people bounce.

Wrapping up an post is straightforward. You’re highlighting key takeaways and giving people something to do (whether that’s explicitly or implicitly)

Ultimately, you need to figure out what you want readers to do now? You have them baited and hooked, so what’s the next step?

It’s NOT “click here to buy XYZ”.

Most people reading blog posts are at the beginning of a relationship. So while they might be aware of the problem or need in their lives, they’re not quite sure about you yet.

Providing an actionable tip could be a concrete, simple way for readers to take action based on what they just learned. Here’s one from Kaleigh Moore on Copyhackers:

Copyhackers actionable tip

Getting readers to take even the smallest step initially is tough, but worthwhile, because engagement builds trust (which is required to sell). And bringing attention to a benefit they experience (as the result of your advice) will do more to build trust that you’re credible, legitimate and worth investing more into.

Alternatively, your primary call to action (CTA) could be a way for readers to get more information on a specific topic, which will help them achieve a desired outcome or avoid an undesired one (the very same one they just spent five minutes of their lives reading about).

For example, you can read all about these 3 copywriting formulas. Then at the end, there’s a simple, relevant way to get even more on the topic by watching a webinar recording:

Copywriting webinar CTA

This is right from HubSpot’s content mapping playbook. First a blog post brings in a new visitor looking to fix a problem. Then a webinar engages the visitor deeper. Last but not least a pricing comparison or demo can help the visitor see the value your solution provides (relative to alternatives). Now instead of 99% of your website visitors bouncing, you’re able to start building a relationship by nurturing your leads until they’re ready to talk.

And once in a rare while, the heaven’s will part, the light shines down, you get a link from The New York Times and a few weeks later it directly delivers a customer worth $25,000+.

New York Times link

The best part

The best part here (besides that I’m almost done talking) is that you don’t have to possess some mystical creativity DNA strand in order to create compelling online content that builds your business.

How content marketing works
Content marketing fails for other reasons (see slide 29 here).

Instead, you need to understand your customers and audience. Figure out what they like and dislike. Then talk about those things. Consistently.

That’s it.

You don’t have to pimp your brand every second. Or talk about your boring company’s un-unique features.

Every other one of the two million blog posts published today already have that covered for you.

The best way to stand out is to simply to care about your customers and what they’re going through.

Then make it clear to them via blog posts that you understand.

And you’re here to help.

unbounce-blog-cta-ebook

Link: 

Hook ‘Em: The 4-Point Approach to Writing an Effective Blog Post for Your Business