Tag Archives: story

Using CSS Grid: Supporting Browsers Without Grid

When using any new CSS, the question of browser support has to be addressed. This is even more of a consideration when new CSS is used for layout as with Flexbox and CSS Grid, rather than things we might consider an enhancement.
In this article, I explore approaches to dealing with browser support today. What are the practical things we can do to allow us to use new CSS now and still give a great experience to the browsers that don’t support it?

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Using CSS Grid: Supporting Browsers Without Grid

Infographic: Your Brain On Visualization

I’m not going to lie – visual communication is incredibly more effective than just using plain old text. I’ll prove it to you. Which set of instructions is quicker to understand and more effective overall? This: Or this: Obtain a pair of scissors. Hold the bag out in front of you. Locate the perforated seam at the top of the bag. Using your scissors, carefully cut along the perforated line. Discard any excess trimmings. The bag is resealable – so close after using to preserve freshness. Which set of instructions is going to help you get the job of opening…

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Infographic: Your Brain On Visualization

Infographic: Typography In Emails – The Divine Story of Modified Typeface

If you have ever had to hand-code an email, then you know how insanely difficult it can be to get your email looking just right. I would say it’s more tedious and tricky than regular web development. This infographic does a good job of showing you how to get your typography licked for your email campaigns. If you’re going to be serious about keeping your brand styling consistent across all marketing channels, then this is one area not to overlook. Take a look at the infographic below to know all the tiny details of lassoing your typography for your future…

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Infographic: Typography In Emails – The Divine Story of Modified Typeface

From Idea To Development: How To Write Mobile Application Requirements That Work

Why write requirements? Well, let’s imagine you want to produce a mobile app, but you don’t have the programming skills. So, you find a developer who can build the app for you, and you describe the idea to him. Surprisingly, when he showcases the app for the first time, you see that it is not exactly what you want. Why? Because you didn’t provide enough detail when describing the idea.

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From Idea To Development: How To Write Mobile Application Requirements That Work

Building a next-level optimization program with Heifer International

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A little over a year ago, Harper Grubbs, Director of Digital Marketing at Heifer International, began his search for a conversion optimization partner.

As luck would have it, one of Heifer’s partners pointed Harper in the direction of WiderFunnel. Harper did some research and decided to reach out…and so began a very exciting partnership.

This is the tale of how an international charity organization and a growth agency joined forces to the benefit of all: client, agency, donors, and so many in need.

Heifer’s Director of Digital Marketing, Harper Grubbs, tells his side of the story.

Who is Heifer International?

Founded in 1944, Heifer International is a charity organization working to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities.

Based in the “teach a man to fish” philosophy, Heifer International provides livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to help farmers around the world who are struggling for reliable sources of food and income.

client spotlight teach a man to fish
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

Their holistic approach is designed to help communities become drivers of their own change by cultivating income and nutrition, improving the environment, empowering women around the world, helping communities create social capital, and encouraging families that receive support from Heifer to “Pass on the Gift®” to others in their communities.

Of course, to do what they do, Heifer relies heavily on donations made on their website.

Harper Grubbs

We receive a significant percentage of our donations as an organization through the website. So, it’s very important that our website be effective, that it work as well as possible and provide our visitors with an optimal experience. And that’s where WiderFunnel has come in for us.

– Harper Grubbs

Searching for the right partner

Harper and his team had been doing conversion optimization in-house and with the help of external digital marketing consultants for a number of years, but they just weren’t seeing the desired effect.

They found that they were running a lot of experiments, but were not getting significant, projectable results that would actually impact Heifer’s bottom line.

Harper wanted to take Heifer’s conversion optimization efforts to the next level. So, he began the search for an external partner: a new team and new resources that he could rely on to supplement his existing team.

Harper Grubbs

We realized we needed a more structured approach to our optimization efforts, and we needed more resources to do it. We were really taxing the resources we had and weren’t devoting as much time into conversion optimization as it needed.

– Harper Grubbs

When Harper heard about WiderFunnel, he did his due diligence and discovered our LIFT Model framework and structured approach to optimization: “We were really impressed with the strategic approach [WiderFunnel] brings to optimization,” says Harper.

WiderFunnel's LIFT Model details the 6 conversion factors.
WiderFunnel’s LIFT Model details the 6 conversion factors.

Harper reached out, and before long, we were LIFT-ing Heifer’s website, together.

Getting in the donor’s head

With Heifer, the WiderFunnel strategy team really wanted to dig into donor motivations and develop experiments that would help answer questions like:

  1. What fundamentally motivates someone to feel charitable?
  2. Are donors sensitive to how others site visitors are donating? Do they respond to social proof?
  3. How many product choices is too many?
  4. Does positive versus negative messaging/imagery have an effect on donations?

Some of the experiments we have run tap into psychological principles, such as Robert Cialdini’s Rule of Consistency, which states that people want to be consistent in all areas of life; once someone takes an action, no matter how small, they strive to make future behavior match that past behavior.

We put this principle to the test in one experiment, asking Heifer users to self-identify as a donor type when they land on the site.

client spotlight psychological persuasion
What kind of donor are you?

We found that once someone starts thinking of themselves as a “donor”, their need to remain consistent kicks in, resulting in more donors for Heifer! This is just one of the many psychology-inspired tests we have run and are running with Heifer.

“WiderFunnel has incorporated some really interesting psychological and behavioral principles into the strategy of our optimization efforts. This has given us the ability to learn things we never would have understood on our own, it has given us better insights into how people are thinking and what they’re doing and why they do what they do on our website.

This has given us the ability to apply these aspects to other parts of our work so that when we are developing new features and functionality, we can consider ‘How do these principles apply to what we are doing currently?‘” explains Harper.

Harper emphasizes that the psychological testing we have done has yielded some of the clearest test results he’s ever seen, which has led to better overall website results.

The science of partnership

Several months into the engagement, the partnership had really begun to gel.

WiderFunnel Optimization Strategist, Michael St Laurent, and Optimization Coordinator, Ervin Cho work closely with Harper and his team to continue to transform Heifer’s conversion optimization program and overall user experience.

“We aren’t just optimizing their digital experiences, we are optimizing the relationship,” explains Ervin. The two teams need to be properly integrated to ensure that all of the valuable ideas from each side are being heard and tested.

We credit several of WiderFunnel’s consistent process requirements for the partnership’s success.

client spotlight partnership
A good partnership has many touchpoints.

Weekly meetings

Each week, Mike and Ervin meet with Harper and his team. Together, they review the experiment pipeline: What’s in the pipe right now? What are the new ideas each of us have? After some discussion, they prioritize what to tackle next and funnel each test idea into their shared pipeline.

Mike also recently went on-site with Heifer and some of their partners to brainstorm ideas and determine the best ways to share WiderFunnel’s learnings among partners (and the best ways to learn from what Heifer’s partners are doing).

One key decision-maker

Rather than going through multiple contacts for experiment approval, Mike and Harper are able to determine next steps together.

Open communication

Transparency is a necessity. Both the WiderFunnel strategy team and Heifer’s team are open and communicative about what is working and what isn’t working. We don’t hide anything from them and they don’t hide anything from us.

Collaboration and fresh ideas

Harper Grubbs

The team that we’ve worked with has been really impressive in terms of their level of knowledge and their sophistication with how they approach testing. They have brought a lot of insights to the team that we would not have had ourselves through their experience with other companies they have worked with.

They have just really exceeded our expectations in terms of delivering good strategy and delivering a sound project management approach, and having a good structure for how our website is optimized.

– Harper Grubbs

Harper and his team know their mission and their donors, but, at WiderFunnel, we have run thousands of tests. We have seen what works over and over again, and we have seen what fails over and over again. When Heifer approaches us with upcoming changes, we are able to give their team expert advice on how to improve the experience.

“Behavioral research drives a lot of what we do with Heifer,” explains Mike. “It’s not necessarily about knowing the specific industry, it’s about understanding what fundamentally motivates people to feel charitable, and looking at ways we can leverage that across the site.”

Harper explained that he is really excited about the level of partnership his team is achieving with the WiderFunnel team. “We’re really working to integrate the WiderFunnel team with our own team and are working more collaboratively, to integrate the strategy, approach, and ideas that they have.”

Harper’s goal for the future of Heifer’s partnership with WiderFunnel: “Every piece of work that we do informs the next, and we have one, single, combined approach to our website strategy.”

The post Building a next-level optimization program with Heifer International appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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Building a next-level optimization program with Heifer International

Are You Marketing Kryptonite? Then Stop Trying to Persuade Without Telling a Story

Paul Smith had his work cut out for him. The associate director of Proctor Gamble’s market research department had just 20 minutes to make a successful pitch to upper management. He needed to secure additional funding for new research techniques. To that end, Smith spent the last three weeks fine-tuning his speech and perfecting his PowerPoint presentation. He couldn’t have done a better job at preparation. On the day of the meeting, company CEO A.G. Lafley entered the room, greeted everybody, and sat down to hear Smith’s speech. But Lafley didn’t look once at the screen displaying Smith’s PowerPoint slides….

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Are You Marketing Kryptonite? Then Stop Trying to Persuade Without Telling a Story

How Agency RevUnit Used Unbounce to Turn Up Conversions for School of Rock

How Agency RevUnit Turned Up Conversions
Digital Marketing Agency RevUnit rocked the house for their client by turning a deceptively simple idea into a 400% lift in PPC conversions.

When I first met Seth Waite over a Google Hangout a few weeks ago, he mentioned that his agency, RevUnit, had done some “pretty fun things with Unbounce” for clients.

It took a little while for me to understand what Seth really meant by “fun;” he meant innovative, experimental digital marketing that actually moves the needle on results. I’ll admit, fun isn’t the first word I’d use to describe Seth’s story.

It’s genius.

It’s also deceptively simple.

Based out of Las Vegas, Seth is the CMO at RevUnit, a full-scale digital agency that takes pride in their ability to “Build Small. Learn Fast. Iterate Often.”

This is the story of how Seth’s team at RevUnit used Unbounce to iterate a PPC — and it all started with a simple audit.

A little bit of background

RevUnit’s newest client, School of Rock, had a little bit of an Adwords addiction. Their PPC spending was on overdrive. But the ROI? Well, there was room for improvement.

School of Rock is a music school with more than 160 franchise locations worldwide. They came to RevUnit after experiencing poor-performing Adwords campaigns with a specialized PPC agency. Lead acquisition via PPC for new enrolments was slow and lagging.

School of Rock’s main goal was to drive new student enrolment to individual franchises.  In other words, they needed to get more students signed up for music classes at one of the more than 160 locations worldwide.

The question was, how could they increase enrolments and lower the cost of acquisition at the same time?

It all started with a simple audit

Before digging in and building new campaigns from scratch, RevUnit performed a full audit of School of Rock’s Adwords account concentrating on keywords, ads and landing pages.

The AdWords account consisted of 160+ campaigns, 800,000+ keywords and 160+ landing pages. It’s important to note that each campaign represents a franchise location (for instance, “School of Rock Scottsdale” is a single campaign) and each of those franchises locations had their own dedicated landing page.

During the audit Seth’s team found some pretty common mistakes, particularly with the landing pages associated with each campaign. Here’s what they were working with in the beginning:

Problems with the “before” landing pages:

  • Pages were very slow to load. Search engines like Google see this as a poor experience for users, and as a result, penalize pages with a lower quality score.
  • The lead forms embedded into each landing page were pretty long. Too many form fields can cause visitors friction, meaning they’re less likely to complete the form (and more likely to bounce).
  • There were some general design and copy issues, the biggest being that content was not designed for easy reading. While there was a lot of information on the pages, it not tell a compelling story.
  • The pages did not mirror their upstream ads. Without a strong message match, visitors are more likely to bounce, again resulting in a lower quality score from Google.
  • Campaigns weren’t enabled with click-to-call tracking so it was impossible to measure how many phone calls were generated from Adwords activities.

Seth’s team hypothesized that if they tackled each of the problems above, School of Rock would yield better results from their AdWords campaigns.

But (and this was a pretty big ‘but’), they couldn’t really afford to tackle 160 different landing pages without knowing for sure.

Here’s the good part

Instead of jumping in willy nilly, Seth’s team decided to use Unbounce to create a template for just one of the franchise locations. Basically, he created a single landing page to test out his hypothesis. The idea was that if the template actually increased enrollment for one of the franchise locations it could be replicated for others.

Sidnee Schaefer, RevUnit’s Senior Marketing Strategist, then went to the whiteboard with Seth and other members of the team to design the new strategic landing pages. After creating a mockup of the new page’s layout, Sidnee jumped into the Unbounce builder to implement the design.

The newly designed landing page template aimed to follow a story that is easy-to-digest and comprehend while presenting a clean and well-structured format. The page was built to create the shortest path to conversion without sacrificing need-to-know information.

According to Seth,

Every brand has a very different story and we knew how important it was to tell the story of how School of Rock is different than the average music school. We designed the page to reflect this brand positioning.

For the new School of Rock landing pages, content was strategically placed into sections covering who, what, where and why (including reviews). “We kept the copy clear and strong to avoid burdening people with too much information,” says Seth.

RevUnit also used Zapier to bridge a connection between Unbounce and School of Rock’s CRM system, so new leads go directly to franchises once submitted.

The result of RevUnit’s pilot was pretty convincing: a 75% increase in average weekly conversions and a 50% decrease in cost per conversion. And, all these new leads were acquired using half the budget.

Whew.

But that’s not all.

Seth didn’t stop with “good enough” – that’s just not his kind of fun.

Here’s the even *better* good part

The cherry on top of this masterminded plan is how RevUnit implemented Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) to really match Google search queries with the landing page’s headline.

DTR is an Unbounce feature that lets you tailor the text on your landing page to match keyboard parameters, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and other sources, using external variables you can attach to the URL.

DTR automatically updates specified content on your page (like a word in your headline) based on a visitor’s search query. RevUnit used DTR on their client’s landing page to ensure each visitor was served up the most relevant copy possible.

Seth explains:
DTR_!

We used dynamic content on the landing page which allowed us to show personalized content to different site visitors based on keywords and locations from the ads. This helped us match the perfect ad with the perfect landing page.

In other words, when a searcher types in “drum lessons, Scottsdale, AZ” dynamic text replacement (DTR) is used to match the landing page headline with the Google search query. As a result, when the visitor clicks through to the School of Rock landing page, the headline would look something like this, “Scottsdale Drum Lessons.”

A strong message match between the traffic source (PPC ad, social media, dedicated email or otherwise) and the landing page headline helps visitors understand that they are in the right place (and prompts thoughts like “yes, this is exactly what I was looking for!”).

According to Seth, here’s why DTR was a game changer for this campaign, “because our PPC keyword strategy was very focused on instrument lessons (guitar, piano, etc), we’d need five landing pages (a different landing page for each instrument type) for each franchise location.”

This would have normally been a painful and timely undertaking but, as Seth put it, “Unbounce had a solution.”

Here’s how they used DTR:

We strategically designed the pages with DTR in mind, so that instrument keywords could be placed throughout the page. Instead of having to create 750+ landing pages, we only had to create one for each franchise location.

The results

After the pilot’s stellar performance, Seth knew with confidence that it was time to roll it out to the rest of the 160+ School of Rock franchise locations.

Again, the results were incredible:

The number of monthly conversions improved 5x, by 250%, and the cost per conversion decreased by 82%. School of Rock has seen a huge improvement to their ROI on AdWords and their lead volume is stabilized.

What did the mean for School of Rock? Well, according to Seth, the “average value of improvements made based on customer lifetime value is potentially a 400% increase in yearly revenue based on new leads.”

The numbers are impressive but the best part of this story is that it’s easy for data-driven marketers to replicate. Start with a guess – a hunch, a hypothesis, an idea – and test it out. In other words, “Build Small. Learn Fast. Iterate Often.

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How Agency RevUnit Used Unbounce to Turn Up Conversions for School of Rock

A Framework For Brainstorming Products

Brainstorming is notorious for being unstructured and often unactionable. People get in a room with some Post-its and whiteboards and expect the great ideas to happen. The problem is, even if there are great ideas in the room, there is often no clear-cut way to decide on what ideas to take action on.
Building a new service for a Fortune 500 company using applied user story mapping. That’s me facing the camera.

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A Framework For Brainstorming Products

Web Development Reading List #135: Boxy SVG, How To Keep Up, CSS Frameworks

After spring has started marvelously, this week brought us some snow again. But today, the sun is shining, it’s getting warmer, and nature is flourishing. Inspired by the fresh green of spring, I’d like to announce The Evergreen List. This is a sub-part of my reading list, collecting important links that stay relevant over a longer time so that you can find them more easily. Give the page a try and if you have feedback, just email me.

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Web Development Reading List #135: Boxy SVG, How To Keep Up, CSS Frameworks

5 Weird Methods Well-Known Brands are Using to Drive Traffic (That You Can Do Too)

When it comes to getting visitors to your website, more is always better. But getting traffic that’s engaged, interested and active? That’s another story. In this article, we’ll look at some of the more uncommon ways businesses and organizations have used to not only drive traffic to their websites, but traffic that converts. 1. Turn Something Ordinary into Something Meaningful CAPTCHAs. Those ubiquitous spam-fighting devices full of letters and numbers that we enter to prove we’re human. We see them everywhere online yet seldom give a second thought to them. A civil rights group came up with a clever solution…

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5 Weird Methods Well-Known Brands are Using to Drive Traffic (That You Can Do Too)