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Data-Backed Advice for High-Converting Real Estate Landing Page Design [+ FREE TEMPLATE]

You’re designing a landing page for your Real Estate client, and you turn to “best practice” advice articles to help guide the way.

But there’s a nagging voice at the back of your mind:

Does this “best practice” advice apply indiscriminately to my industry? Does this author really know anything about my audience at all?

“Best practices” become “better practices” when they are industry-specific.

When our design team was recently wireframing new landing page templates for the Unbounce builder, they set out to create industry-specific templates that addressed this truth: different audiences belonging to different industries behave differently. They have different pains, different motivators and different disincentives.

Firm believers that data needs to inform design, our design team sourced their research in two key areas:

  1. Data from the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report: The report includes average conversion rates for 10 popular industries, as well as Machine Learning-powered recommendations around reading ease, page length, emotion and sentiment.
  2. High-converting customer landing pages: Our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce landing pages in those industries, and analyzed common design and copy elements across the pages.

Our design team then combined insight from these two key areas of research to build out content and design requirements for the best possible landing page template for each of the 10 industries.

One of these industries was Real Estate, and now we want to share their findings with you.

See a breakdown of their process for designing the Real Estate page template at the bottom of this post, or read on for their key findings about what converts in the Real Estate industry.

Which copy elements convert best in the Real Estate industry?

Word count

The data scientists and conversion rate optimizers who put together the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report found that for Real Estate lead capture landing pages, short n’ sweet is better: overall, they saw 33% lower conversion rates for longer landing pages.

This chart shows how the word count relates to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have word count — on the y-axis, conversion rate.

This was consistent with what the design team saw across high-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in Real Estate: pages were relatively short with concise, to-the-point copy.

Reading ease

The Unbounce Convert Benchmark Report also revealed that in the Real Estate vertical, prospects want simple and accessible language. The predicted conversion rate for a landing page written with 6th grade level language was nearly double that of a page written at the university level.

This chart shows how conversion rates trend with changes to reading ease for the Real Estate Industry. On the x-axis we have the Flesch Reading Ease score — on the y-axis, conversion rate.
According to the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report, 41.6% of marketers in the Real Estate industry have at least one page that converts at less than 1.3% (in the 25th percentile for this industry). Download the report here to see the full data story on Real Estate and get recommendations for copy, sentiment, page length and more for nine additional industries.

Fear-inducing language

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report used an Emotion Lexicon and Machine Learning to determine whether words associated with eight basic emotions (anger, anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise and trust) affected overall conversion rates.

While these emotions did not seem to dramatically correlate with conversion rate in the Real Estate vertical, fear-based language was the exception. We saw a slight negative trend for pages using more fear-inducing terms:

This chart shows how the percentage of copy that evokes fear is related to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have the percentage of copy that uses words related to fear — on the y-axis, conversion rate.

If more than half a percent of your copy evokes feelings of fear, you could be hurting your conversion rates.

Here are some words commonly associated with fear on Real Estate lead capture landing pages: highest, fire, problem, watch, change, confidence, mortgage, eviction, cash, risk…

See the full list in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Calls to action

When our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in the Real Estate vertical, they took a close look at the calls to action and found that:

  • Every page provided a detailed description of the offer
  • Almost all had a “request a call back” or “call us” option (other CTAs included “get more info,” “apply now” and “get the pricelist”)
  • Most did an excellent job of including button copy that reinforces what prospects get by submitting the form
If you use a “call us” CTA on your landing pages, make sure you try out our CallRail integration. This will help you track which calls are a result of your paid spend and landing pages!

Here are some examples of the forms and calls to action on some of our highest-converting Real Estate lead capture landing pages:

The usual suspects (benefits, social proof, UVP…)

Without much exception, the pages featured a lot of the copywriting elements that one would expect to see on any high-converting landing page (regardless of vertical):

  • Detailed benefits listed as bullet points
  • A tagline that reinforces the unique value proposition or speaks to a pain point:
  • And not surprisingly, testimonials. One page went above and beyond with a video testimonial:

Which design elements convert best in the Real Estate industry?

The highest-converting Real Estate landing pages included lots of imagery:

  • Beautiful hero shots of the interior and exterior of properties
  • Maps
  • Full-width photography backgrounds
  • Floor plans

Some examples:

Our designers also studied other design features as basic guidelines for the template they were then going to create.

While these specifics are meant to be taken with a grain of salt (you may already have brand colors and fonts!) they could serve as a good starting point if you’re starting completely from scratch and want to know what others are up to.

Many of the high-converting pages had:

  • San-serif fonts
  • Palettes of deep navy and forest green
  • Orange (contrasting) call to action buttons
The highest-converting landing pages in the Real Estate industry sit at 11.2%. If your Real Estate page converts at over 8.7%, you’re beating 90% of your competitors’ pages. See the breakdown of median and top conversion rates (and where you stand!) via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Behold, the template our designers created

After synthesizing all that research, our Senior Art Director Cesar Martínez took to his studio (okay, his desk), and drafted up this beautiful Real Estate landing page template:

Not only is the template beautiful, it was created by analyzing actual data: what makes for a high-performing landing page in the Real Estate industry via the Unbounce Benchmark Report and high-converting customer pages.

Footnote: The design process

Curious about the process our designers used to develop this data-backed Real Estate landing page template? Here are the steps they followed:

  1. For the 10 highest-converting customer landing pages, they analyzed all common elements (such as form, what type of information is collected, what type of offer, if there are any testimonials, etc). This allowed them to build their content requirements.
  2. They referred to the word count recommendations in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and designed for that word count limit.
  3. They referred to reading ease level recommendations for that specific industry from the Benchmark Report and shared the information with their copywriter.
  4. They sketched out a rough idea of their potential landing page template.
  5. They selected typography and colors relevant to the industry based on what was popular in the 10 examples.
  6. They named their imaginary company in the industry and sketched out some potential logos. They picked photography built out a moodboard.
  7. That helped them gather all the information they needed to build out their template!

See the article here: 

Data-Backed Advice for High-Converting Real Estate Landing Page Design [+ FREE TEMPLATE]

How to Convert More Customers by Adding Perceived Value

What separates a Hermès Birkin bag from a high-quality leather handbag you could buy anywhere? A label, a fancy charm, and about $22,000. But unlike the tangible qualities of a purchase, like the grade of leather used or the fact that the utterly useless bag charm is 14 karat gold, the perception of value is what really separates one bag from the other. One bag contains social cachet and the ability to draw envy from other women – intangible benefits so valuable; it justifies the raised price. The nameless bag, however, has its own set of benefits for a different…

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How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’

Although eCommerce receives most of the limelight, 91.6% of U.S. sales still take place offline. With all the benefits of buying online — lower cost, wider choice, no need to put on pants — how come retail stores are still a thing? According to a study by Ripen Ecommerce, 30.8% is explained by people wanting to be able to touch and feel the products. The second main reason (29.9%) is that people want their items right away. This need for instant gratification is a powerful one. And while a 4D online shopping experience is likely still some years away, there…

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How to Play Into Your Customer’s Need for ‘I Want It Right Now’

The Crazy Egg Guide to Facebook Marketing

The Crazy Egg Guide to Facebook Marketing

If you’re only going to use one social media site for marketing, the chances are it’s going to be Facebook. The now-ubiquitous social networking site has come a long way since its Harvard University origins and has been open to the public since September 2006. Over the years, it has added features that have become synonymous with social media as a whole, including photo sharing, video sharing, messaging and live video. It has also become a platform for other apps and games, has acquired other popular social and messaging networks (most notably Instagram and WhatsApp) and includes advertising. Facebook by…

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Building A Server-Side Application With Async Functions and Koa 2

One of the upcoming features of JavaScript that I especially like is the support for asynchronous functions. In this article, I would like to show you a very practical example of building a server-side application using Koa 2, a new version of the web framework, which relies heavily on this feature.

Getting Started With Koa 2

First, I’ll recap what async functions are and how they work. Then, I’ll highlight the differences between Koa 1 and Koa 2. After that, I will describe my demo app for Koa 2, covering all aspects of development, including testing (using Mocha, Chai and Supertest) and deployment (using PM2).

The post Building A Server-Side Application With Async Functions and Koa 2 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Building A Server-Side Application With Async Functions and Koa 2

I feel, therefore I buy: How your users make buying decisions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

On Sunday, June 19, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The franchise, founded in 1970, had never won an NBA championship.

A few weeks after the Cavs’ victory, Nike released a spot called “Worth the Wait”.

As of this article being published, the video on YouTube has over 5.6 million views.

Every time I watch this video, my throat tightens and I tear up a little. I’m not from Ohio (in fact, I’m from a notorious rival state), the Cavs are not my team, I’m not even a huge basketball fan. But this ad makes me feel. It taps into something deeply human, feelings of community and triumph.

Nike is incredible at this. From their 2012 “Find Your Greatness” campaign to their 2014 ad for the World Cup “Winner Stays” (which has more than 40 million views on YouTube), Nike knows how to elicit emotion.

And it’s clear they spend big bucks to do it. Why?

Because Nike knows that we — consumers, people, humans — don’t buy products or services…we buy feelings.

Chris Goward

Comfort. Acceptance. Power. Freedom. Control. Love. We are all longing to find satisfaction for our intangible desires. If you can provide a payoff for your prospects’ unspoken needs, you will find yourself handsomely rewarded.

Chris Goward, Author, You Should Test That!

The old brain, the middle brain and the new brain

If you’re a marketer, chances are you’ve heard about the ‘old’, ‘middle’ and ‘new’ brains in relation to how we make (buying) decisions. The 3 brains refer to the structure of the brain in relation to its evolutionary history. Here’s a brief overview.

In the 1940’s, Paul MacLean popularized the triune brain theory, where he categorized the brain into 3 parts: Reptilian (old, sensory), Limbic (middle, emotional) and Neocortex (new, rational).

BuyingDecisions_3Brains
Our 3 brains.
  1. The reptilian brain evolved first and controls the body’s core functions from heart rate to breathing to balance. It’s called the reptilian brain because it includes the brainstem and cerebellum (the main structures found in a reptile’s brain).
  2. The limbic brain came next and includes the hippocampus, the amygdala and the hypothalamus. This is the part of your brain that records memories of behaviors that produced pleasant or unpleasant experiences: it’s responsible for your emotions and value judgements.
  3. The last to evolve, the neocortex is credited with the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination and consciousness. It includes the two large cerebral hemispheres and has almost infinite learning abilities.

So, which of the 3 brains buys?

In classic economic theory, consumers are rational economic actors who make choices after considering all relevant information, using the new brain. While this may well hold true for large purchases, like insurance or a house, recent research has pointed to the power of our older brains in everyday purchase decisions (like buying that pair of Nikes).

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux explained “…the wiring of the brain at this point in our evolutionary history is such that connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive systems are stronger than connections from the cognitive systems to the emotional systems.”

LeDoux is suggesting that our brain waves flow from old brain to new brain, meaning our decision-making processes are much less rational than we’d all like to believe.

Moreover, feelings happen before thought and they happen far faster.

We have gut reactions in three seconds or less. In fact, emotions process sensory input in only one-fifth the time our conscious, cognitive brain takes to assimilate that same input. Quick emotional processing also happens with cascading impact. Our emotional reaction to a stimulus resounds more loudly in our brain than does our rational response, triggering the action to follow.

Emotions are powerful.

Neuroscience + Marketing

In recent years, the science dubbed neuromarketing has begun to emerge; it “bridges the study of consumer behavior with neuroscience”. The first piece of neuromarketing research was published in Neuron in 2004 by Read Montagne, Professor of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

BuyingDecisions_Brand
What part of the brain does the “CocaCola” brand trigger?

Dr. Montague studied a group of people as they drank either a Pepsi or Coca Cola while their brains were scanned with an fMRI machine. The results suggested that a strong brand (like Coca Cola) could “own” a piece of a person’s frontal cortex.

This foray into the brain has opened new doors for marketers. In his essay “Neuromarketing: The New Science of Consumer Behavior”, Christophe Morin describes the model behind this new science:

The brain is responsible for all consumer behaviors…we only use about 20% of our brains consciously. Worse, we do not control the bulk of our attention since we are too busy scanning the environment for potential threats. Because nothing matters more than survival, we are in fact largely controlled by the ancient part of our brain know as the R-complex or the reptilian brain.

Morin goes on to quote neuroscientist Antonio Damasio who said, “We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.” We are proud of our thinking abilities, but the fact of the matter is, our brains have relied on instinct for millions of years.

Research would suggest that we can optimize our marketing messaging by speaking to consumers’ reptilian brains.

ConversionXL published a great post on “6 neuromarketing stimuli that speak to the old brain” including:

  • The old brain’s self-centered nature
  • The old brain’s sensitivity to clear contrast
  • The old brain’s love of the familiar
  • The old brain’s responsiveness to openings and finales
  • The old brain’s affinity for visuals
  • The old brain’s responsiveness to emotional persuasion

And we’re back to emotions. To that Nike ad that makes me cry. And then really want some Nikes.

Note: Neuromarketing is not without its critics who voice ethical concerns akin to those that arose in the days of subliminal messaging. There are concerns that this research could lead to manipulation of consumers. It’s up to the marketing community to use this know-how to benefit the consumer first. With great knowledge, comes great responsibility.

System 1 and System 2

Dual-process theory is another cognitive theory about how we make decisions; it originated in the 1970’s and 1980’s and has been developed in more recent years.

The “dual” refers to the 2 cognitive systems we use everyday. In 1999, Professor of Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto, Keith E. Stanovich dubbed the two systems (rather generically) System 1 and System 2 in order to label the 2 different sets of properties. The terminology stuck.

This table showcases clusters of attributes frequently associated with the dual-process theory of higher cognition.

DualProcessTheory
Source: Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition.

Characteristics to note within the intuitive process are fast, nonconscious, automatic, and experience-based decision making. In other words, our intuitive cognitive system is easier, requiring less focus and energy.

It follows that, if you can tap into your customers’ natural affinity for old brain, system 1 decision making, you’ll most likely see an uptick in conversions.

The level of dominance of each process at a particular time is the key determinant of purchasing decisions. Visitors are more likely to add a product to their cart when the emotional process takes control as they are directed by ‘how it feels’ and not ‘is it worth it.’…Advertising is above all a way to groom the emotional state.

– Liraz Margalit, Ph. D., “The Role of Emotions in Our Purchase Decisions

What users want, what they really, really want

It happens often: during our Explore phase, a client’s users will tell us (via surveys and other forms of qualitative feedback) that they want more information to…well…inform their purchase. Users often vocalize a desire for more description, more specs, presumably so that they can make a rational, thoughtful decision.

BuyingDecisions_RationalvsIntuitive
Rational versus intuitive: How do you make decisions?

We also often have clients who come to us, assuming that their users need more information to make a purchase decision, particularly if their product is technically complex. And yet, time and time again, we test more information against a Control and more information looses.

Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.

Of course, you must take this suggestion with a grain of salt. Your users may, in fact, respond to more information versus less (we’ve seen that too!) but given all of the research that points toward “we buy feelings and rationalize our decisions later” it’s certainly worth testing more concise product descriptions, information hidden behind tabs, etc.

We can’t all be Nike, and Nike’s tactics certainly wouldn’t work for all of us. But when you’re considering your customers’ decision-making, be sure to take into account how you can up the feels.

In his book, You Should Test That!, Chris Goward discusses the “Intangible Benefits” of your Value Proposition. This is where the feelings associated with your brand sit. The question is, how can you highlight these intangibles?

Test video case studies and testimonials against written ones (visuals appeal to the old brain). Test copy that emphasizes your credibility and trustworthiness (alleviate consumer anxiety), test copy that emphasizes social proof (tap into consumer FOMO and yearning for community). Make your users feel: happy, sad, afraid, connected, angry.

Because we don’t buy things. We buy feelings.

How do you make your users feel? How do you emphasize the intangible benefits of your offering? Let us know in the comments!

The post I feel, therefore I buy: How your users make buying decisions appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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I feel, therefore I buy: How your users make buying decisions

Looking Back: One Year Of Microsoft Edge (Videos)


In 2015, Microsoft launched its first new browser in 20 years: Microsoft Edge. After 8 months, it’s on a great trajectory but we’re just getting started. Join us to learn about the progress we’ve made, feedback we’ve heard, and a whirlwind tour of improvements coming soon.

microsoft-edge-browser-usage-share-preview

This video is from Microsoft Edge Web Summit, a free conference organized and staffed by the engineers building Microsoft Edge and Chakra. You can find a full day of technical talks covering the EdgeHTML rendering engine, the open-source Chakra JavaScript engine, and developer tools. You can hear what’s next for the web platform that powers Windows 10, straight from the engineers who build it, and you can get an inside look at powerful techniques and new tools to make your life as a developer just a little bit easier.

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Looking Back: One Year Of Microsoft Edge (Videos)

Why Banner Blindness Shouldn’t Scare You

Let me present to you one of the most painful facts from the online advertising industry.

Web users almost never look at anything that looks like an advertisement!

In fact, you are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

As the Internet has evolved over time, web users have become increasingly indifferent to online ads.

And the reason behind such behavior of users? Banner Blindness.

This post introduces you to Banner Blindness and its roots, along with ways to defeat it. The post includes the following sections:

What is Banner Blindness?

It is a phenomenon where website visitors consciously or subconsciously ignore banner ads or any other banner-like elements on a website.

Benway and Lane coined the term “Banner Blindness” in 1998 after they conducted a study on website usability. They found that any information provided through external ad banners and internal navigational banners on a webpage was being overlooked by users. Moreover, users ignored the banners irrespective of the banners’ placement on the webpage. The study concluded that the traditional practice of making large, colorful and flashy banners had little effect in capturing web users’ attention.

It’s noteworthy that the issue of banner blindness has escalated greatly with time.

While the first ever banner ad on the Internet had a click-through rate of 44% (wow!), the current banner ads have a dismal click-through rate of 0.1%.

Interestingly, Banner Blindness is not just limited to the online world. We can find instances of its real-life occurrences, too. For example, during the 2006 elections in Florida, 13% of voters couldn’t cast their votes for their preferred candidate because of a poorly-designed ballot!

Banner Blindness Statistics

Here are some statistics that illustrate the gravity of Banner Blindness as an issue:

Why Does Banner Blindness Exist?

When web users scan or read through a web page, they only look at information which is relevant to them. They tune out everything else that doesn’t provide them with what they need.

This tendency of users has been developed over time, as the frequency of (irrelevant) ads has grown manifold.

Today, websites are bombarding their visitors with a ridiculous amount of ads. In U.S. alone, over 5.3 trillion display ads were served to users in 2012. This means that a typical web user finds more than 1700 online advertisements every month!

With so many ads constantly encroaching their web space, users have learned to focus just on the information pertinent to them.

Users have mastered the art of finding value amid clutter. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

A research by Lapa, too, suggested that web users learn the structure of a web page very quickly,
allowing them to locate useful content faster and avoid ad banners.

Banner Blindness and the Signal Detection Theory

Brandt Dainow, from ThinkMetrics, expertly links Banner Blindness to Signal Detection Theory.

The Signal Detection theory talks about how humans can distinguish important signals from noise in a jumbled environment. For example, even in a noisy party, you are able to tune out all other voices and sounds so that you can listen to the person speaking directly to you.

In the same manner, people visiting a web page are able to tune out unnecessary content (ads and other elements) so that they can go through just the information they need.

How Users Browse Through a Web Page

With the help of multiple eye-tracking studies and click map reports, we have learned a lot about the way users read a web page.

Users don’t fully read a web page. They simply scan through it.

The F-shaped Reading Pattern:

The eye-tracking study by Nielsen revealed that users mostly navigate on a web page in an F-shaped pattern.

Users first read the starting of content — on top of a web page — in a horizontal manner. Next, they move down and read in a second horizontal movement (shorter than the first). And finally, they scan through the rest of the web page’s left-side vertically downwards.

The right-side of a web page is largely ignored by the users. And the right-side is where most of the display ads are placed!

Here’s a screenshot from Nielsen’s study that highlights the ads on web pages using a green box. The image clearly shows how users’ didn’t fixate on the ads.

Banner blindness eye-tracking map

The point has been further supported by a research conducted on text advertisements at Wichita State University. The finding of the research says, “Users tend to miss information in text ads on the right-side of the page more often than in text ads at the top of the page.”

Add-on: Since some websites are serving their content along with a lot of superfluous ads and elements, their whole user experience is suffering. Web browsers are treating it as an opportunity to win over users, by offering ways to improve the users’ browsing experience. Most browsers, as we all know, allow users to activate ad-block extensions for a long time. Now, they’ve gone a step further by providing them with a “reader-view mode” option. Once selected, the option transforms the web-page into a plain-text version, letting users to just view the information they require from the page.

This is how Mozilla’s Firefox does it.

Reader view mode in browser

Banner Blindness in the Mobile Era

The mobile channel is a huge contributor to a lot of websites’ traffic. It has even become the top source of traffic for some websites.

The mobile application market, too, has reached a considerable number of users.

As a result, mobile has emerged as one of the hottest properties for displaying banners ads.

But wait.

Mobile ads, too, suffer from Banner Blindness! Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

Here’s how.

First of all, there are not many choices for banner ads on mobile. The most popular banner dimension of 320×50 pixels covers 82% of all mobile banner ads. This banner is mostly placed on the top/bottom of the mobile screen. Since it does not intrude the main content that users read, its presence is easily overlooked by the users.

Secondly, mobile users spend a substantial amount of time browsing websites and applications ‘on-the-go.’ During this time, users are even more focused towards reading the main content (and ignoring the ads).

Concern Over Banner Blindness Studies

Many of the studies conducted to prove the existence of Banner Blindness, do it on the basis of indirect evidence that participants don’t remember ads. A research in Applied Cognitive Psychology named “Is Banner Blindness Genuine? Eye Tracking Internet Text Advertising” raised doubts over this methodology.

The research argued that “one should be careful before concluding that banners have not been looked at on the basis of users’ memory performance.”

Although the research’s eye-tracking results confirmed that 64% of the text ads included in the research were overlooked by participants, 82% of the participants still fixated on at least one of the text ads.

However, even after fixating on an ad, the participants couldn’t recall if the ad content was incongruous with the web page’s main content.

This highlights the importance of having ads that ‘go’ with the web page on which it’s placed.

6 Ways to Beat Banner Blindness

We’ve seen how Banner Blindness negatively affects the performance of our online ads. But still, there are tricks and techniques that can minimize Banner Blindness and make our ads stand out in front of users.

Let’s take a look at them.

#1 Ad Placement

Place your ads above the fold on a web page to gain more attention from users.

The above-the-fold content works better than below-the-fold content in terms of visibility ratio, time spent, and time to notice.

A study by Infolinks found that 156% more users read the above-the-fold content as compared to the below-the-fold content.

However, the study also found that leaderboard ads — placed at the very top of a web page — aren’t always the best performers. An ad placed on the bottom of the screen (but placed just above the fold) was seen 225% more quickly by users.

Related Post: Is Above the Fold Really Dead?

#2 Native Ads

First things first. What is Native Advertising?

Native Advertising is the practice of designing and presenting ads to users in the same form and function of a web page.

The ads have the same look and feel as the web page’s ‘native’ — or original — feel.

Native ads provide greater context to users, and generally have higher visibility.

There are various types of native ads, out of which search ads, in-feed ads, and sponsored content on websites are the most popular.

Especially, the native in-feed ads on different social media platforms, are currently offering a much higher click-through rate as compared to other ad-units.

Here are examples from Facebook and Twitter.

FB native ad
A native ad on Facebook

twitter native ad
A native ad on Twitter

#3 Behavioral Ads

The Banner Blindness studies mentioned above provide us with some additional information on users’ perception of ads.

80% of users felt that the last ad they saw was irrelevant to them.

Less than 3% of users believed that the ads they saw gave more context to the brand/product the ads promoted.

Ads can get greater visibility if they relate well with users’ interests. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

Behavioral ads offer ad content to users based on their interests and preferences. These ads can be served to users on social media as well as the conventional web.

Under behavioral targeting, there is another advertising practice named “Retargeting” that offers a higher click-through rate.

In retargeting, users are served with ads based on their history of actions on the Internet.

For instance, when users browse products on amazon.com and leave without converting, a retargeted ad displaying the same products can follow them on other websites, prompting them to return to amazon.com.

Related Post: Retargeting Tools and Tips to Skyrocket Your Conversion Rate

#4 Ad Design

When your ads are not native, it is important to give your ads a highlighted presence on a web page. You can do that by tweaking your ads’ design.

Contrast

Ads that have sufficient contrast with the rest of the web page have a higher chance of getting noticed by users.

First, you should know the color schemes of the websites that host your ads. Then, you should decide your ad colors that match your brand AND provide contrast to the host sites’ colors.

When host sites are light-colored, use dark colors for your ads. Similarly, use light colors for your ads when the host sites use dark.

CTA

Include a prominent Call-to-Action (CTA) button in your ad copy (if the goal of your ad is a conversion).

An attention-grabbing CTA will make users fixate on the button and then, on the rest of the ad.

Ideally, your CTA button should have ample blank space surrounding it, so users can identify it easily. The color of the CTA button, too, should have great contrast within the ad copy.

Just like how your ad should stand out on a web page, your CTA should stand out within your ad.

Below is an example of a clean ad with a prominent CTA.

CTA example

Source

Directional Cues

Direct your users’ to your banners using visual cues.

Like this.

directional cue

Source

Another great example of directional cues is pictures of human faces looking at a specific direction.

It is human nature to follow the gaze of other humans. Be it real humans, or pictures of humans, we always try to find out where they are looking.

By including human faces as directional cues in your ad design, users are more likely to interact with your ad.

Here’s an example.

Directional cue

Related Resource: Dutch Major Uses Directional Cues to Improve CTA’s Clickthrough Rate

#5 Innovative Ad Types

Welcome-page ads

These ads appear before the host website loads for a user.

Some of these ads can be closed by the user, to move on to the host site. Other ads make the users wait for a certain amount of time, before the host website opens up automatically.

Forbes.com uses the latter of the two, making users spend at least three seconds on its ad page.

Welcome page ad

Welcome-page ads just might be our biggest weapon against Banner Blindness. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

Website-skin ads

These ads cover the entire background of a website.

Furthermore, as the ads seem like they belong to the host website, users associate the host website’s brand value and trust factor with the advertiser.

Find below an example from IMDB.com.

Website skin ad

Source

#6 A/B Testing

With so many best practices on ad designing (some being mentioned here), it is impossible for one to make an ad incorporating them all.

Additionally, it is equally difficult to know beforehand which ‘best practice’ is actually going to help an ad, and which one will prove to be a dud.

The best way to go about it is A/B Testing.

You can make multiple versions of an ad, and test them against each other to determine which version works the best for you.

Online Advertisement: A Branding Practice

Sure, Banner Blindness makes users avoid fixating and clicking on online ads, but there are still other ways by which your ads can provide value to you.

Apart from initiating conversions, your ads should also spread awareness about your brand.

A research from the University of Chicago — “Banner Ads Work — Even If You Don’t Notice Them At All” — suggested that even the mere presence of your ads on a web page can result in a positive effect on users. The research says, “regardless of measured click-through rates, banner ads may still create a favorable attitude towards the ad due to repeated exposure.”

Let’s continue with the noisy party example from earlier.

You tune out all other noises from the party to only listen to the person speaking directly to you. Yet, when other people from the party mention your name (even in their own conversations), you immediately notice and acknowledge it.

Here again, we find a connection with the Signal Detection Theory.

We still identify relevant information from the noise we have tuned out. And in the same manner, web users process even those ads which they’ve ignored, at some level in their minds.

Your ads, even when unnoticed, can help effect a latent conversion. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

View-through conversion rate is a great parameter to measure the effect an ad has in making users convert in their follow-up encounters with a brand.

Conclusion

Banner Blindness is the reason why online ads get minimal interaction with web users. However, you can beat it by offering relevant ads to users and placing the ads better.

Also, online ads help in building brand recall along with attracting conversions. Therefore, you shouldn’t be judging the effectiveness of ads through their click-through rate alone.

If I missed anything important let me know in the comments section below.

The post Why Banner Blindness Shouldn’t Scare You appeared first on VWO Blog.

Read article here: 

Why Banner Blindness Shouldn’t Scare You

Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce

“Buy me those chocolates.”

The kid said sternly, pointing his stubby finger at a big jar of sweets on the shop counter as they waited to check out.

The counter guy grinned. I smiled. The mother winced.

She just got cross-selled.

In 2006, Amazon reported that cross-selling and upselling contributed as much as 35% of their revenue.

Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues according to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

There’s no reason why upselling and cross selling shouldn’t work for you. In this post we look at:

What is Upselling and Cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are cousins of well, selling.

Buy a cow from me and I’ll offer you a better one for 50 bucks more: the better cow is an upsell.

What is Upselling?

Buy a cow from me and I’ll throw in a haystack for 5 bucks: the haystack is a cross sell.

What is cross-sell?

Upselling is a strategy to sell a superior, more expensive version of a product that the customer already owns (or is buying). A superior version is:

  • a higher, better model of the product or
  • same product with value-add features that raises the perceived value of the offering

How Macy's Upsell

Upselling is the reason why we have a 54” television instead of the 48” we planned for; the reason why we go for 7 day European Sojourns instead of 5 day simple French Affairs. It’s also the reason why we have unused annual contracts thinning away under silverfish attacks.

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell related products to the one a customer already owns (or is buying). Such products generally belong to different product categories, but will be complementary in nature. Like the hay-stack for the cow, or batteries for a wall-clock.

Cross-selling is a battle ready strategy. Here’s how McD does it: McDonald’s keep their apple pie dispensers right behind the cashier, in full view of customers. A year ago, the head of the U.S. division for McDonald’s Corp., Jeff Stratton, said in an interview that he felt moving the dispensers to the back kitchen area would probably cut apple pie orders by half.

Upsell and cross-sell are the reasons we buy things ‘just in case’.

There is one more popular selling technique known as bundling. Bundling is the offspring of cross sell and upsell. You bundle together the main product and other auxiliary products for a higher price than what the single product is sold for.

What is Bundling in eCommerce?

By bundling together the camera and two very related (even essential) products, Flipkart makes a compelling offer. Notice how there are multiple combos available.

Bundling in Action - Flipkart

Bundling is also quite often used along with a discount to increase the perceived value of the offering. Here’s more on the benefits of bundling.

Pure Bundle or Mixed Bundle?

Pure Bundling is when products are made available only in bundles and cannot be bought individually. Mixed bundling is when both options (individual buy and bundle buy) are made available.

Vineet Kumar from HBS and Timothy Derdenger at Carnegie Mellon University teamed up together and studied bundling as used by Nintendo in their video game market. Revenues fell almost 20% when Nintendo switched from mixed bundling to pure bundling. In the gaming market, prices fall each day, so customers looking to buy just that one thing will choose to wait until it becomes available, likely at a cheaper price.

Similarly, a study on the effect of bundling in consumer goods market, revealed that bundling is a great way to entice high value customers of competitors to switch over. But it does not significantly help category sales; and in some ways even discourages it because different category products are bundled together.

So should you use pure bundling or mixed bundling?

The safest option is to use mixed bundling: offer products individually and as bundle

But why settle for safe when you can A/B test it?

Here’s a way you can use bundling: Specify a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping. Customers who are looking to buy only one item are likely to switch to the bundle in order to raise order value and qualify for free shipping.

Amazon does all of this brilliantly.

How Amazon Does Upsell, Cross-sell and Bundling

Why Is Upsell and Cross-Sell Important for eCommerce?

Upselling and cross-selling is often (and mistakenly) seen as unethical practices to squeeze more out of the customer.

They’d say, ‘the wincing mother in your opening paragraph is proof that customers hate being cross-sold to’.

I disagree, as will any white-hat marketer.

The Mother Who Winced (way better than ‘the wincing mother’) wasn’t the target customer there. The kid was. The kid found value, and he demanded it. The mother didn’t (add dental insurance to the mix), and she winced.

This dilemma of whether upselling/cross-selling is ethical or not, has its roots in the means and ends discussion. The end goal of any business is more profit. It is the means that make all the difference.

Cross-selling and upselling can be used unethically, in a pushy sort of way, to try and make the customer shell out more. But such tactics don’t last long and is often to the peril of such businesses. More on this under the heading “The Fine Line Between A Friend and A Creep”

As a strategy, however, upselling and cross-selling should be used to ‘help customers win’ as illustrated beautifully in this video by Jeffrey Gittomer. Looked at it that way, upselling and cross-selling become more of friendly suggestions and a helping hand to make the ‘right’ purchase.

Remind Bob to buy some batteries along with his new wall-clock

Jack might be looking for something more powerful than an i5 processor, show him the i7, too.

So how does upselling help you?

#1 Increases Customer Retention

If you leave aside impulse buys, customers buy products/services to solve a problem. They are aware of the problem, but might not be aware of the best solution to the problem.

I don’t belong to the Steve Jobs bandwagon, but he got it right when he said ‘people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ Upselling or cross-selling done right helps the customer find more value than he was expecting. You become his best friend.

Best friends return and drive 43% of your revenues.

#2 Increases Average Order Value and Life-time Value

Romance your repeat customers. Do it like Jerry Maguire. And they will show you the money.

Show Me The Money

Should You Upsell or Cross-Sell in eCommerce?

Despite the many ways upsell and cross-sell are similar, there’s a clear winner in terms of numbers.

According to Predictive Intent, upsell can work upto 20 times better than cross-sell.

A little over 4% of all customers who were faced with an upsell bought it while less than 0.5% of customers took bait when shown a cross-sell.

But when it comes to the checkout page, cross-sell kills it with 3% conversions.

PRWD head of usability, Paul Rouke explains why cross-sell works best on checkout pages

Why Cross-Sell Works For Checkout Page

What and How Should You UpSell?

The data from Predictive Intent’s study show that a mere 4% of customers convert on average through upselling. It’s not much, you might think.

4% of customers will buy a better product if offered, and are ready to pay a premium for that.

They aren’t looking for ‘just enough’. They will not shy away from going the extra mile to make sure the product (solution to a problem) is just right.

One of the commonest ways to upsell is to suggest the next higher model. But when it’s just 4% that you are targeting, the margin for error is as thick as the edge of a blade.

To make the most of these unicorns, here are some suggestions on how to upsell:

  • Promote your most reviewed or most sold products
  • Give more prominent space for the upsell, display testimonials for the upsell
  • Make sure the upsells are not more than 25% costlier than the original product
  • Make add-on features like insurance pre-selected and ask customers to deselect if not required
  • If you have customer personas in place, use those to make relevant suggestions
  • Make suggestions relevant by giving context: why should I buy that instead of this?

What do I mean by that?

Don’t just shove a front-loader washing machine in my face when I’m looking at a top-loader; tell me why it’s meant for me: I’m the discerning heavy user, who likes taking extra care of clothes and saving more on electricity.

And always, always, make sure you suggest products from the same category. Don’t ask me to buy a 17 inch laptop when I’m shopping for a macbook air. They don’t satisfy the same needs.

Let’s not forget cross-sell either.

Cross-sell gets up to 3% conversions when used on the check-out page.

Use cross-sell techniques more on the check-out page to tap into impulse buying:

  • Cross-sell products should be at least 60% cheaper than the product added to cart
  • Go for products that are easily forgotten: filters for lenses, earphones for mobile phones, Lighter for a gas stove and of course, scrub for cows.. the possibilities are endless

Here’s how removing cross-sell options from the product page increased order by 5.6%.

If you are manually pushing upsell/cross-sell suggestions, it would be worthwhile to automate the system. Products should be categorized and related products should be tagged so as to enable automation.

Now comes the interesting part.

Why Does Upsell/Cross-Sell Work and How Can You Ace It?

Upsell and cross-sell works when you are able to ease the decision making process of a customer.

In 2006, a study by Bain showed that reducing complexity and narrowing choices can boost revenues by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%.

Upsell Smart By Narrowing Choices

Too many choices can be paralyzing. Professor Iyengar and her research assistants conducted a study on the effect of choices in the California Gourmet market. They set up booths of Wilkin and Sons Jams — one offered an assortment of 24 jams while the other had on display 6 jam varieties.

60% of the visitors stopped by the larger booth while only 40% flocked to the one with lower number of choices.

But 30% of visitors that sampled at the small booth made a buy while only 3% of the 60% visitors to the larger booth went on to make a purchase.

Our ability to make a decision reduces as number of choices increases.

Actionable Tip: Don’t bombard your customers with many choices. If they’ve already said no to an upsell product do not push for it. Think of upsell as a gentle suggestion, not an aggressive sales tactic.

Bundle To Reduce Decision Complexity

Every action the user has to take makes the decision making more complex. Think of ways to reduce the number of actions in a buying decision. We’ve a limited amount of energy to be spent on decision making.

Bundling brings together related products that are of relevance to a customer. Buying them individually involves more decision making, and more steps. Whereas through bundling, in one a customer is able to buy multiple products together.

It’s also important to understand how we make decisions. How rational are we at decision making?

Turns out, not so much.

Customers Make Irrational Decisions

Dan Ariely does a brilliant break down of the irrationality of decision making and explains how we are not always in control of the decisions we make.

Let’s talk organ donations. Bear with me, thank Dan later.

The graph below shows the percentage of people of different countries that agreed for organ donation.

Irrationality of Decision Making - Dan Ariely

It seems the people represented in Gold don’t seem to care about others all that much, while the ones in blue care infinitely. Is that a cultural difference at play here?

But these guys are neighbours: Sweden and Denmark , Netherlands and Belgium, Germany and France. So what’s happening here.

They were presented two widely different consent forms.

Difference in the opt-in forms used

In the countries on the left, people were presented with an ‘opt-in’ form. People had to check the box to opt-in for the organ donation program.

In the countries on the right, people were presented with an ‘opt-out’ form, which meant unless they unchecked the box, they would be opted-in by default.

Surprisingly, people everywhere behaved the same way. They did not take any action and let the default choice be.

Dan Ariely explains our behavior was based on the complexity of the decision.

  • We don’t have complete information on the subject
  • We can’t differentiate sufficiently between the two options
  • We can’t decide
  • We do nothing

Buridan’s Ass: An ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. It will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.

Actionable Tip: So in your purchase funnel, make those little extra features checked by default, and give customers the option to deselect. Make it clearly visible, and never attempt to do it on the sly.

Unsure customers will go with the default selection.

Use Price Anchoring: The Surprising Power of Dummy Choices

A few years back The Economist ran an ad that looked like this

Price Anchoring in The Economist Ad

You get a web-only subscription for $59, a print-only subscription for $125 or both, again, for $125! Needless to say, the print-only option is a dummy choice. Who in their right minds would ever choose an inferior option when the price is the same?

Dan took the ad and took it to a 100 MIT students to see what they would choose.

Price Anchoring At Play - with the dummy choice

An overwhelming majority chose what seemed the ‘best’ option – both print and web subscription at $125. 16% chose the web-only subscription. Nobody chose the print-only subscription at $125.

Dan then took off the middle choice — the print-only one. And ran the test again on 100 people. This is how the opt-in rates looked now.

No Price Anchoring - without the dummy choice

Surprisingly, the majority (68%) people chose the cheaper option when the dummy choice was removed. The print and web subscription that saw 84% subscription in the presence of the dummy choice now got a significantly low 32% subscription rate.

An inferior choice makes a similar but superior choice look better even when other options are cheaper.

Actionable Tip: consider a customer looking at a top-tier entry level DSLR. Show him a mid-level DSLR without add-ons for a marginally higher price and the same mid-level DSLR with add-ons at the same higher price.

Upsell it with the proper communication — how does the mid-level DSLR help the customer win? — and you have a good probability of making the upsell.

The Fine Line Between Being A Friend and A Creep

In 2009, Graham Charlton at eConsultancy tore apart VistaPrint’s and GoDaddy’s checkout process in this post. GoDaddy’s process at the time contained almost 10 steps from selecting a domain name to finally completing the order – most of which were forced cross-sell attempts.

VistaPrint seems to have taken the critique well, and in a post published 5 years later, eConsultancy looks at how VistaPrint revamped their checkout process, making it much more pleasant and much less in-your-face in the process.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Suggest upsells and cross-sells before a customer picks a product
  2. Bombard customers with many cross-sell and upsell products
  3. Sly tactics like hiding pre-selected add-ons in the hope customers don’t notice it

If there’s one thing that is your takeaway from this post, it has to be this:

Upsell and cross-sell techniques should be used as strategies to help customers make better decisions, faster.

The post Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce appeared first on VWO Blog.

More: 

Upsell and Cross-sell: Why It Works For eCommerce

Upsell and Cross-sell: Strategies To Boost eCommerce Revenue

“Buy me those chocolates.”

The kid said sternly, pointing his stubby finger at a big jar of sweets on the shop counter as they waited to check out.

The counter guy grinned. I smiled. The mother winced.

She just got cross-selled.

In 2006, Amazon reported that cross-selling and upselling contributed as much as 35% of their revenue.

Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues according to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

There’s no reason why upselling and cross selling shouldn’t work for you. In this post we look at:

What is Upselling and Cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are cousins of well, selling.

Buy a cow from me and I’ll offer you a better one for 50 bucks more: the better cow is an upsell.

What is Upselling?

Buy a cow from me and I’ll throw in a haystack for 5 bucks: the haystack is a cross sell.

What is cross-sell?

Upselling is a strategy to sell a superior, more expensive version of a product that the customer already owns (or is buying). A superior version is:

  • a higher, better model of the product or
  • same product with value-add features that raises the perceived value of the offering

How Macy's Upsell

Upselling is the reason why we have a 54” television instead of the 48” we planned for; the reason why we go for 7 day European Sojourns instead of 5 day simple French Affairs. It’s also the reason why we have unused annual contracts thinning away under silverfish attacks.

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell related products to the one a customer already owns (or is buying). Such products generally belong to different product categories, but will be complementary in nature. Like the hay-stack for the cow, or batteries for a wall-clock.

Cross-selling is a battle ready strategy. Here’s how McD does it: McDonald’s keep their apple pie dispensers right behind the cashier, in full view of customers. A year ago, the head of the U.S. division for McDonald’s Corp., Jeff Stratton, said in an interview that he felt moving the dispensers to the back kitchen area would probably cut apple pie orders by half.

Upsell and cross-sell are the reasons we buy things ‘just in case’.

There is one more popular selling technique known as bundling. Bundling is the offspring of cross sell and upsell. You bundle together the main product and other auxiliary products for a higher price than what the single product is sold for.

What is Bundling in eCommerce?

By bundling together the camera and two very related (even essential) products, Flipkart makes a compelling offer. Notice how there are multiple combos available.

Bundling in Action - Flipkart

Bundling is also quite often used along with a discount to increase the perceived value of the offering. Here’s more on the benefits of bundling.

Pure Bundle or Mixed Bundle?

Pure Bundling is when products are made available only in bundles and cannot be bought individually. Mixed bundling is when both options (individual buy and bundle buy) are made available.

Vineet Kumar from HBS and Timothy Derdenger at Carnegie Mellon University teamed up together and studied bundling as used by Nintendo in their video game market. Revenues fell almost 20% when Nintendo switched from mixed bundling to pure bundling. In the gaming market, prices fall each day, so customers looking to buy just that one thing will choose to wait until it becomes available, likely at a cheaper price.

Similarly, a study on the effect of bundling in consumer goods market, revealed that bundling is a great way to entice high value customers of competitors to switch over. But it does not significantly help category sales; and in some ways even discourages it because different category products are bundled together.

So should you use pure bundling or mixed bundling?

The safest option is to use mixed bundling: offer products individually and as bundle

But why settle for safe when you can A/B test it?

Here’s a way you can use bundling: Specify a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping. Customers who are looking to buy only one item are likely to switch to the bundle in order to raise order value and qualify for free shipping.

Amazon does all of this brilliantly.

How Amazon Does Upsell, Cross-sell and Bundling

Why Is Upsell and Cross-Sell Important for eCommerce?

Upselling and cross-selling is often (and mistakenly) seen as unethical practices to squeeze more out of the customer.

They’d say, ‘the wincing mother in your opening paragraph is proof that customers hate being cross-sold to’.

I disagree, as will any white-hat marketer.

The Mother Who Winced (way better than ‘the wincing mother’) wasn’t the target customer there. The kid was. The kid found value, and he demanded it. The mother didn’t (add dental insurance to the mix), and she winced.

This dilemma of whether upselling/cross-selling is ethical or not, has its roots in the means and ends discussion. The end goal of any business is more profit. It is the means that make all the difference.

Cross-selling and upselling can be used unethically, in a pushy sort of way, to try and make the customer shell out more. But such tactics don’t last long and is often to the peril of such businesses. More on this under the heading “The Fine Line Between A Friend and A Creep”

As a strategy, however, upselling and cross-selling should be used to ‘help customers win’ as illustrated beautifully in this video by Jeffrey Gittomer. Looked at it that way, upselling and cross-selling become more of friendly suggestions and a helping hand to make the ‘right’ purchase.

Remind Bob to buy some batteries along with his new wall-clock

Jack might be looking for something more powerful than an i5 processor, show him the i7, too.

So how does upselling help you?

#1 Increases Customer Retention

If you leave aside impulse buys, customers buy products/services to solve a problem. They are aware of the problem, but might not be aware of the best solution to the problem.

I don’t belong to the Steve Jobs bandwagon, but he got it right when he said ‘people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’ Upselling or cross-selling done right helps the customer find more value than he was expecting. You become his best friend.

Best friends return and drive 43% of your revenues.

#2 Increases Average Order Value and Life-time Value

Romance your repeat customers. Do it like Jerry Maguire. And they will show you the money.

Show Me The Money

Should You Upsell or Cross-Sell in eCommerce?

Despite the many ways upsell and cross-sell are similar, there’s a clear winner in terms of numbers.

According to Predictive Intent, upsell can work upto 20 times better than cross-sell.

A little over 4% of all customers who were faced with an upsell bought it while less than 0.5% of customers took bait when shown a cross-sell.

But when it comes to the checkout page, cross-sell kills it with 3% conversions.

PRWD head of usability, Paul Rouke explains why cross-sell works best on checkout pages

Why Cross-Sell Works For Checkout Page

What and How Should You UpSell?

The data from Predictive Intent’s study show that a mere 4% of customers convert on average through upselling. It’s not much, you might think.

4% of customers will buy a better product if offered, and are ready to pay a premium for that.

They aren’t looking for ‘just enough’. They will not shy away from going the extra mile to make sure the product (solution to a problem) is just right.

One of the commonest ways to upsell is to suggest the next higher model. But when it’s just 4% that you are targeting, the margin for error is as thick as the edge of a blade.

To make the most of these unicorns, here are some suggestions on how to upsell:

  • Promote your most reviewed or most sold products
  • Give more prominent space for the upsell, display testimonials for the upsell
  • Make sure the upsells are not more than 25% costlier than the original product
  • Make add-on features like insurance pre-selected and ask customers to deselect if not required
  • If you have customer personas in place, use those to make relevant suggestions
  • Make suggestions relevant by giving context: why should I buy that instead of this?

What do I mean by that?

Don’t just shove a front-loader washing machine in my face when I’m looking at a top-loader; tell me why it’s meant for me: I’m the discerning heavy user, who likes taking extra care of clothes and saving more on electricity.

And always, always, make sure you suggest products from the same category. Don’t ask me to buy a 17 inch laptop when I’m shopping for a macbook air. They don’t satisfy the same needs.

Let’s not forget cross-sell either.

Cross-sell gets up to 3% conversions when used on the check-out page.

Use cross-sell techniques more on the check-out page to tap into impulse buying:

  • Cross-sell products should be at least 60% cheaper than the product added to cart
  • Go for products that are easily forgotten: filters for lenses, earphones for mobile phones, Lighter for a gas stove and of course, scrub for cows.. the possibilities are endless

Here’s how removing cross-sell options from the product page increased order by 5.6%.

If you are manually pushing upsell/cross-sell suggestions, it would be worthwhile to automate the system. Products should be categorized and related products should be tagged so as to enable automation.

Now comes the interesting part.

Why Does Upsell/Cross-Sell Work and How Can You Ace It?

Upsell and cross-sell works when you are able to ease the decision making process of a customer.

In 2006, a study by Bain showed that reducing complexity and narrowing choices can boost revenues by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%.

Upsell Smart By Narrowing Choices

Too many choices can be paralyzing. Professor Iyengar and her research assistants conducted a study on the effect of choices in the California Gourmet market. They set up booths of Wilkin and Sons Jams — one offered an assortment of 24 jams while the other had on display 6 jam varieties.

60% of the visitors stopped by the larger booth while only 40% flocked to the one with lower number of choices.

But 30% of visitors that sampled at the small booth made a buy while only 3% of the 60% visitors to the larger booth went on to make a purchase.

Our ability to make a decision reduces as number of choices increases.

Actionable Tip: Don’t bombard your customers with many choices. If they’ve already said no to an upsell product do not push for it. Think of upsell as a gentle suggestion, not an aggressive sales tactic.

Bundle To Reduce Decision Complexity

Every action the user has to take makes the decision making more complex. Think of ways to reduce the number of actions in a buying decision. We’ve a limited amount of energy to be spent on decision making.

Bundling brings together related products that are of relevance to a customer. Buying them individually involves more decision making, and more steps. Whereas through bundling, in one a customer is able to buy multiple products together.

It’s also important to understand how we make decisions. How rational are we at decision making?

Turns out, not so much.

Customers Make Irrational Decisions

Dan Ariely does a brilliant break down of the irrationality of decision making and explains how we are not always in control of the decisions we make.

Let’s talk organ donations. Bear with me, thank Dan later.

The graph below shows the percentage of people of different countries that agreed for organ donation.

Irrationality of Decision Making - Dan Ariely

It seems the people represented in Gold don’t seem to care about others all that much, while the ones in blue care infinitely. Is that a cultural difference at play here?

But these guys are neighbours: Sweden and Denmark , Netherlands and Belgium, Germany and France. So what’s happening here.

They were presented two widely different consent forms.

Difference in the opt-in forms used

In the countries on the left, people were presented with an ‘opt-in’ form. People had to check the box to opt-in for the organ donation program.

In the countries on the right, people were presented with an ‘opt-out’ form, which meant unless they unchecked the box, they would be opted-in by default.

Surprisingly, people everywhere behaved the same way. They did not take any action and let the default choice be.

Dan Ariely explains our behavior was based on the complexity of the decision.

  • We don’t have complete information on the subject
  • We can’t differentiate sufficiently between the two options
  • We can’t decide
  • We do nothing

Buridan’s Ass: An ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. It will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.

Actionable Tip: So in your purchase funnel, make those little extra features checked by default, and give customers the option to deselect. Make it clearly visible, and never attempt to do it on the sly.

Unsure customers will go with the default selection.

Use Price Anchoring: The Surprising Power of Dummy Choices

A few years back The Economist ran an ad that looked like this

Price Anchoring in The Economist Ad

You get a web-only subscription for $59, a print-only subscription for $125 or both, again, for $125! Needless to say, the print-only option is a dummy choice. Who in their right minds would ever choose an inferior option when the price is the same?

Dan took the ad and took it to a 100 MIT students to see what they would choose.

Price Anchoring At Play - with the dummy choice

An overwhelming majority chose what seemed the ‘best’ option – both print and web subscription at $125. 16% chose the web-only subscription. Nobody chose the print-only subscription at $125.

Dan then took off the middle choice — the print-only one. And ran the test again on 100 people. This is how the opt-in rates looked now.

No Price Anchoring - without the dummy choice

Surprisingly, the majority (68%) people chose the cheaper option when the dummy choice was removed. The print and web subscription that saw 84% subscription in the presence of the dummy choice now got a significantly low 32% subscription rate.

An inferior choice makes a similar but superior choice look better even when other options are cheaper.

Actionable Tip: consider a customer looking at a top-tier entry level DSLR. Show him a mid-level DSLR without add-ons for a marginally higher price and the same mid-level DSLR with add-ons at the same higher price.

Upsell it with the proper communication — how does the mid-level DSLR help the customer win? — and you have a good probability of making the upsell.

The Fine Line Between Being A Friend and A Creep

In 2009, Graham Charlton at eConsultancy tore apart VistaPrint’s and GoDaddy’s checkout process in this post. GoDaddy’s process at the time contained almost 10 steps from selecting a domain name to finally completing the order – most of which were forced cross-sell attempts.

VistaPrint seems to have taken the critique well, and in a post published 5 years later, eConsultancy looks at how VistaPrint revamped their checkout process, making it much more pleasant and much less in-your-face in the process.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Suggest upsells and cross-sells before a customer picks a product
  2. Bombard customers with many cross-sell and upsell products
  3. Sly tactics like hiding pre-selected add-ons in the hope customers don’t notice it

If there’s one thing that is your takeaway from this post, it has to be this:

Upsell and cross-sell techniques should be used as strategies to help customers make better decisions, faster.

The post Upsell and Cross-sell: Strategies To Boost eCommerce Revenue appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Upsell and Cross-sell: Strategies To Boost eCommerce Revenue