Conversion Rate Optimization Blog

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This blog is brought to you by the team at Invesp, a conversion optimization company.


Meet the authors of the invesp blog: Ayat, Khalid, Stephen, and Masroor.

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By Stephen Da Cambra on October 20, 2014 4:48 pm

How can your conversion optimization be in a rut? You have an ongoing AB testing program, you stay on top of your analytics’ conversion goals, bounce rates, traffic sources, etc., and you know which are your best performing digital marketing channels.

You’re set.

And there’s the rut.

You’re never set.

woman stuck in a rut of conversion rates

Everyone knows how fickle customers can be and how constantly digital marketing evolves. Yet we continue to pour more resources into finding set-play solutions to most of our digital marketing hurdles. While we are convinced of the efficacy of being constantly aware and reactive to many digital benchmarks, those to which we pay attention are overwhelmingly numbers-based.

Think about it, you probably know the number of visitors you get; you likely have a good idea of bounce rates and you certainly stay on top of how many conversions you get.

But did you know that over 20% of your keyword research is obsolete from the moment it’s completed?

How big of a rut are you in? Despite years of research, testing and analysis, average online conversion rates continue to languish in the low single digits for ecommerce and lead generation. Bricks and mortar retail conversion rates are 700% higher. While it’s not really fair to compare online and offline commerce, it gives you an idea of the depth of the rut.

And what do we do about it? We keep tracking and reacting to the numbers and we tend to ignore many many of the ‘softer’ digital marketing tactics to which we cannot easily apply a numeric value.

  • Persona Creation – If you don’t use personas, you may think they’re a waste of time; after all, who doesn’t know their target customers? If you use personas, you probably wonder how anyone can market or optimize conversions without them.Personas are fictional amalgams of your customers’ personalities, lifestyle and buying habits. Their purpose is to give you a clear idea to whom you speak when you create your marketing messages.You should use a number of different personas to represent different personality types. Many automated online marketing and sales packages include handy modules to create many personas and assign them to new contacts.

    personas graphic

    Whether you do it by hand or use a package, the problem is that personas, like your customers, are not static. And the longer they remain so, the further away they will get from being a true reflection of your current markets.

    World events, competing messages, the weather; anything that might affect walk-in customers’ buying habits, should be reflected in your online personas. And as all of those factors change almost daily, your personas should change almost as often

    Of course it’s impossible to adjust your personas so frequently, but the mere fact that you should underlines the folly of doing the opposite: never changing them. Start thinking about dynamic personas.

  • Email Database Optimization – ‘Whoa’, you say. Yes, you get the idea that optimizing your online marketing can’t be based on static data and numbers, but you have an active and aggressive program to make sure your email marketing database constantly grows. In other words, if there is anything that’s dynamic about your digital marketing, it’s your email list.But the rut is to think that dynamism is a one way street of list building.email graphic

    ‘20% of the pea pods contain 80% of the peas’ – There’s perhaps no better example in digital marketing of the Pareto Principle than your email database. Statistics show that email open rates are 400% higher and click rates are 500% higher for initial emails versus subsequent messages.

    But, when it comes to email benchmarks, we are stuck in the numbers game of list size and we are afraid to reduce it. But if you want to instantly increase your open rates and click-through rates, start weeding out the 80% of addressees who rarely react to your messages.

    Start focusing your efforts on your new leads and customers. They are, overwhelmingly, the ones who listen and take action.

  • Keyword Research – Long ago, or at least in pre-google times, marketers used things like focus groups and consumer surveys to discover the thought processes their customers went through during the buying cycle. Those were the best tools available, but they are at once brilliant and flawed. Brilliant in that they put the focus on the customer and not the product. Flawed because of the intermediation of time between the completion of the research and the delivery of the messages it fostered.For the first time, keyword research gave us insights into the very moment that consumers seek out the information they need to make a purchase.That little gem of a trait quickly made keyword research a basic tactic in even the simplest of marketing programs.

    keyword research graphic

    If the overriding point of this post is that it’s a mistake to set and forget any part of your digital marketing, keyword research is the most salient example. From the very moment you finish your research, its effectiveness starts to deteriorate significantly.

    16% to 20% of the keywords your customers use in searches have never been used before. So even the most effective research today will uncover only 80% of the terms your potential customers will use tomorrow. And, presumably, those new terms will replace many of those that show well in your research resulting in a significant number of under-performing keywords almost from the time you spot them.

    And that process will further ravage your research as time goes on. Yet we continue to spend gobs of cash on one-time keyword searches.

The temptation to set-and-forget these digital marketing tactics is difficult to deny. Who can afford to develop dynamic personas, to keep email lists fresh and to weed-out under-performing keywords in favor of timely terms?

But can you afford not to do so?

Critical reviews of at least some of the promotional messages in your email inbox is like doing your conversion optimization homework. It exercises the lessons you learn from testing and experience. Someone could talk to you all day long about the benefits of matching subject lines to headlines, but until you experience a spectacular failure, or feel a bond to a well-matched message, you really don’t make an emotional connection with the lesson – and you don’t learn it as well.

email conversion tactics

Landing Pages & Email Messages: They are two separate channels with significant differences, from purpose to personalization. But what seems to be missing from the thinking of many email designers is that there are significant similarities too. In many cases, the only difference between the two is that emails are pushed and landing pages pull.

Even on a completely personalized cart abandonment re-targeting email, many of the best practices of conversion optimization for landing pages apply. From the aforementioned subject line/email headline match (ad copy headline/page headline match in landing pages), to having clear calls-to-action, a lot of what you know about landing page optimization doesn’t need to be reinvented for email optimization.

But you wouldn’t know it by looking in your Inbox. Here we go:

Social Media Today
I feel so bad. I really like SMT; I read lots of their content and have attended more than a few of their webinars andall have been good. That’s why the email message below is so surprising. It would be difficult to design and write a less inspiring email.

  • No Headline – OK, considering this email is written as a message more than in a landing page style, the fact that the first sentence reinforces the headline is good enough.
  • No Image – If the email asks the reader to ‘imagine…’; then imagine what an image would do for the look, feel and delivery of the message – and the email’s conversion rate.
  • No Link on the Logo – At first I thought it was me. Maybe the universally accepted best practice of making your logo clickable doesn’t translate to emails. Wrong. A flight through at least 10 other emails found that all have links on the logo. The best of them have links to a landing page that matches the email message.
  • Copy – Benefit-driven copy may not be ideal in every situation. But toss the customer a tidbit at least. Except for the word ‘free’ in the headline, the first sign of a benefit is in the last line of the first paragraph. Maybe. Other than that it’s all “Imagine…’ this and ‘Do you want to learn…” ….  zzzzzz.

Email message - Social Media Today

The Drake Hotel – Toronto
Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to see where this critique is headed before we get there, don’t read the following statistic, as reported by marketingland.com:

  • Percent of emails opened on mobile devices: 66

Background: Unlike it’s larger, more famous namesake in Chicago, Toronto’s Drake is a small, trendy boutique hotel located in the ‘coolest’ English-speaking neighborhood in the world, (according to Vogue anyway). Nuit Blanche is trendy, night-time arts festival held annually in a number of cities around the world, including Dallas, Minneapolis and San Antonio in the U.S..

With that prelude, you could imagine how it tickled my suburban heart to get an email from The Drake inviting me to their Nuit Blanche BBQ. Visions of chatting wittily about the latest Michael Gondry video, while sporting my pastel-colored jeans, danced in my head.

And you could imagine the equal and opposite confused disappointment when met with the following after opening the message on my phone.

Email message Drake Hotel

  • Headline Mismatch – The email subject line gives The Drake three chances to confirm at least one of its promises in the email headline. They miss them all. Indeed, the email’s headline ‘County Update’ is not only miles away from anything in the subject line, but also from anything I associate with the hyper-urban Drake. (It refers to the recent opening of their country counterpart).
  • Image Mismatch – Like the headline, that’s not The Drake I know.

Not only does The Drake completely miss the opportunity to confirm that I’m in the right place by reinforcing the subject line in the headline, but it’s like they go out of their way to make me wonder if I’m even in the right email. An email that promises to be about three urban events should not kick-off with a promotion for a new country inn.

Mirvish Productions
First, you’re not having calendar confusion. ‘Thanksgiving’ in the email below refers to the Canadian version, which is on October 13th this year.

Email message from Mirvish

Is this a near-perfect email message? It’s not the prettiest, but here’s evidence to support a ‘yes’ vote:

  • Headline – While the headline, ‘Flash Sale!’, does not match the subject line, ‘$1 Tickets for 24 Hours Only’, the sub-headline does and, considering the headline is displayed in a masthead format, it adds prominence to the sub-head.
  • Urgency – Being a holiday-based promotion, clearly you better order sooner than later.
  • User Experience – It is here that this email becomes exceptional. Having established that urgency is in order, the email gives you exactly what you want, “How to Order”. The perfection of the tactic lies in the fact that the sender wants precisely the same thing. And then the copy eliminates any uncertainty or concern with clear instructions for both online and offline ordering. Brilliant.
  • CTA Buttons – So how is it that an email that does so much so well has “Buy Tickets’ CTA buttons that are grey on grey? Hopefully the answer is that the designers tested and found this to be the best color combination. But, judging from the vast majority of test results on button color, that’s unlikely.

Bonus Points – The mobile version of the message manages to accomplish all the good stuff too. Yes, the ‘How to Order’ info isn’t visible, but the heading just above the fold tells the reader that it’s there.

mobile email message - mirvish

Want to learn more about how to get higher conversions from your email messages and/or landing pages? Ambush your inbox. It’s like homework, but a lot more fun.

The current stats indicate that 3 out of 4 consumers now notice retargeted Ads. Needless to say, businesses are quickly revising their opinion of Ad retargeting, with one in five marketers now having a dedicated budget for retargeting. In the following infographic, “Ad Retargeting in Numbers – Statistics and Trends”, we will be illustrating how Ad retargeting is affecting brand retention and purchase decisions.

Ad Retargeting in Numbers  - Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp

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How Retargeted Ads Affect Purchase Decisions

Affect %age
User reminded to revisit retailer’s website 8.65%
User responded to special offer in the Ads 7.37%
User ignored the Ad 46.15%
User put off by the Ads 37.82%

 

Stats On Consumer Concern After Seeing Retargeted Ads

Some consumers show concern when Ads follow them after they visit the websites of certain retailers, while others don’t bother much.

Concern level %age
Very concerned 18.87%
Somewhat concerned 34.80%
Neither concerned, nor unconcerned 29.41%
Somewhat unconcerned 6.86%
Very unconcerned 10.05%

 

46% of search engine marketing professionals believe retargeting is the most underused online marketing technology.

The average click-through rate for display Ads is 0.07 percent, while the average click-through for retargeted Ads is about 0.7 percent.

Website visitors who are retargeted with display Ads are 70% more likely to convert on retailer’s website.

Main Objectives Of Retargeting

Objective %age
To acquire customers 56%
Build brand awareness 42%
To acquire competitor’s customers 11%

 

Retargeted customers are three times more likely to click on your Ad than people who haven’t interacted with your business before.

26% of customers will return to a site through retargeting.

56% of respondents to a survey listed FBX as one of the types of retargeting tactics that they use – up from 41% in the previous survey.

50% of marketers said their retargeting budget will increase in the next 6 months.

Main Types Of Retargeting

Retargeting type Total Agency Brand
Site 87.9% 87.4% 89.0%
Search 64.9% 68.8% 54.9%
Email 26.1% 22.5% 35.2%
Creative 29.8% 32.9% 22%
Other 3.1% 3.0% 3.3%
By Stephen Da Cambra on September 24, 2014 2:14 pm

Does anyone fully appreciate the critical importance of every element of their landing page strategy and design towards the overall success of their entire digital marketing campaign(s)?

It doesn’t seem so, judging by the majority of landing pages we come across.

Whether you’re trying to generate leads or make a sale, your landing page is the most crucial element of your entire digital campaign. It is the ultimate tipping point in a series of tipping points. It is where your visitor either becomes a lead or customer – or scampers away unconverted.

And that’s why landing pages are so important. If there is an issue with any one part of your landing page, it has the potential to negate your entire campaign: including PPC & SEO budgets, your content marketing, social media, web design, and so on.Landing Page Makeover Guide 01

The Landing Page Makeover Guide

Like any makeover, optimizing your landing page is not a one-time proposition. Makeovers don’t last and you must constantly review , measure, analyze and adjust each of the following areas, and others, to keep your landing pages, and digital marketing, in peak condition.

  1. Prepare for AB Testing: Want to make sure your landing page is perpetually optimized? Before you do anything, start planning your AB test program. If there is anything that we underestimate about landing pages, it is that they can always be improved; always ‘made over’. While you may not be able to layout the specifics of your testing program until the elements of the landing page are in place, developing a mindset of ongoing testing from the start will improve the chance that it becomes a fixture of your program, which is as it should be.
  2. Design for Personas: You need to know to whom you speak before you can convert anyone. Personas, or composite profiles of your typical target customers, are essential to determine the elements you need on your landing page, the content and configuration of each element and the overall design of your page.At a minimum, you should have at least one persona for each of the four main human personality temperaments: logical, caring, impulsive and aggressive. Even if your offer is aimed mainly at one personality type, each type is not absolute, and within each one are different aspects of the others.
    Landing Page Makeover Guide 02
    Not only should your persona profiles be as complete as possible, they should also constantly change and evolve, just like your customers do. Each personality type you target might react differently depending on variables like economic climate, the sales season, or their age.
  3. Have Multiple Pages: There are hundreds of millions of potential customers surfing the web right now. It is a grave mistake to think that one single landing page will appeal to them all. It’s a mistake not only because you risk missing a huge swathes of your market, but also because of how relatively easy it is to create multiple versions of each landing page.
  4. Create Context - If you change your landing pages as the seasons change, or by geographical region, or time of day, or according to any other pertinent variable, you can improve conversion rates by making them more relative to those variables than a static page.
  5. Measure Your Marketing - Similar to call-tracking with different telephone numbers, if you have different landing pages for different sources of traffic: for example one for PPC ads, one for organic results, one for each social media channel; you can make each one more pertinent to the source and measure the performance of each source.
  6. Reassure Your Customers: Regardless of which page your customers land on, it must quickly reassure them that they are in the right place. Make sure your headlines and/or visual cues match or reinforce the content of the social post or ad copy from whence the customer came.
    Landing Page Makeover Guide 04Landing Page Makeover Guide 06

    Benefit Driven Copy - Like form follows function, features follow benefits. Instead of writing: ‘our new red buttons make our landing page easier to use’, which puts the feature before the benefit, write something like ‘Easy to use landing page has all the answers you need.’
    Landing Page Makeover Guide 03
    Benefits give customers confidence that they have found something that solves their need/want.

  7. Be Graphic: The debate over the effectiveness of long copy versus short copy on landing pages will probably never end. But regardless of which one you choose, the graphics or images on your page are at least as important as the copy. But only if you make every one count:• Answer potential questions by showing benefits/features of your product or by demonstrating how it works
    • Show social proof with user generated images
    • Prove value with a chart
    Landing Page Makeover Guide 05

    High Quality - Regardless of how you choose to use visuals on your landing pages, make them of the highest quality possible. There’s no excuse for fuzzy images or poor video production.

  8. Cure the FUDs: Fears, uncertainties and doubts that is. No matter how savvy, every visitor has questions, needs guidance and/or requires assurances that yours is their best option.• Use credibility symbols, including industry associations, security precautions and/or awards to reinforce the integrity of your company and soundness of your offer
    • Keep data collection forms to minimum to reduce anxiety over information disclosure.
    • Clearly indicate ‘next steps’ to guide the visitor towards conversion
    • Highlight customer testimonials so visitors know they are not alone in accepting your offer.

    Ultimate cure for the FUDs: Landing page personalization.

  9. Go Beyond the Conversion – While this is not an element of an individual landing page, it helps to reinforce the decision the customer made to convert if you follow it up with a confirmation, thank you or additional offer.

We called this a Landing Page Makeover “Guide” for a reason. The points outlined are guidelines to makeover your page for higher conversion rates. It’s not a rule book. There are no rule books for conversion optimization. If rule books existed, all landing pages would be fully optimized.

Clearly they are not. And until you get 100% conversion rates, you can always improve your page.

It starts before they arrive and doesn’t end when they leave.

You may never know where the journey of discovery, engagement and conversion begins for your customer in relationship to your business and/or its products. It may start in a conversation overheard in an elevator, or with the glimpse of a package, or in some other unknowable way.

And while the starting point may be difficult to pinpoint, you should do everything you can to make sure the end point never arrives. It’s less expensive to re-engage repeat customers and they generate five times more revenue per visit than first timers.

Customer Journey Maps

Regardless of when it starts and finishes, the more of that journey you predict, measure and analyze, the more you will be able to improve your customer experience.

Customer journey maps focus on one or any combination of the overall journey, the path through your website, the process the customer follows on a landing page or any other single or series of interactions you have with your customers; online or off.

The milestones on the map are the touchpoints of customer interaction. A good journey map will include the following sorts of information at each point

  • The Stage of the Buying Cycle – Is the customer just becoming aware of your offer or is she about to buy?
  • The Activity at the Point of Interaction – Is she on an online forum or in the store?
  • Triggers & Drivers – Depending on the stage she is at, what are her motivations for being there? What needs or wants must she to fulfill at that particular point of the journey?
  • FUDs – Each touch point is like a crossroad. When the customer reaches it, she faces fears, uncertainties, doubts and questions about what is the next step and whether or not she should take it.

Below is a good example of a customer journey map, in this case for a home theater, from the Harvard Business Review.

Notice that it maps the journey past the point of purchase to include the ‘out-of-box-experience’ (OOBE), which increasingly gains acceptance as an important part of the overall customer experience.

Customer Journey Map 01

Some of the factors that go into your journey map making, like the customer’s activity at the point of interaction, are relatively easy to track. Perhaps they clicked on a PPC ad or responded to a Facebook promotion.

But it’s not nearly as easy to determine some of the other factors, especially the FUDs.

Unfortunately, those difficult to determine factors are at least as important to converting and keeping an online lead or customer, if not more so. The nature of the web, both in the virtually infinite options it offers to divert your customers’ attention and in the element of uncertainty that surrounds the exchange of information and the successful completion of a purchase, makes your web customers notoriously skittish. And it’s very difficult for you to know exactly what causes the skittishness at each point on your map.

One way to do so is with AB testing, which helps you find the option customers prefer. While AB tests are necessary for improving conversion rates, in terms of a journey map, you would need a fairly extensive testing program to cover all the points along the way. And, while that program might show you what works better to keep the customer on the path to conversion, it doesn’t tell you exactly why it works, or what FUD you solved.

Listening to Your Customers

The best way to know what issues and questions your customers face is to go straight to the source – the customers themselves. But, the traditional means of getting customer feedback, like questionnaires, don’t get their input at the moment that the issues arise, which means that input is tempered.

Fortunately or not, customers are online right now talking about their experiences with purchases and businesses. And many of them are doing so as they go through the same touch points you need to track on your journey map.

  1. Customer Reviews – Not only does the customer journey continue past the purchase, they also continue past the OOBE. Check out the review below from Amazon.com. The customer actually likes the product, but gives it only three stars ‘because Amazon has a habit of dropping the price on things after you buy them’. Hey, Amazon, can you think of something to improve this customers experience?CJ02
  2. Unboxing Videos – Chronicling the aforementioned OOBE has fostered the popular Youtube meme of ‘unboxing’. How popular is it? Just enter ‘unboxing’ into your YouTube search window to find out. One recent video on the unboxing of an Apple iPhone 6 clone got almost 6 million views in a month.As ‘unboxing’ videographers try to outdo each other for more viewership, the usefulness of some videos is questionable. But once you learn to avoid the view-bait, the remaining videos offer some real nuggets of customer feedback, delivered unfiltered at the moment that issues arise.Check out this video from the popular eleventhgorgeous YouTube channel. There’s tons of the obvious feedback you’d expect in a comparison of packages from cosmetic subscription services Birchbox and Ipsy. But it’s the feedback you get from unexpected places that can be most valuable. At 1:36 of the video, one of the on-camera personalities talks about a shopper reward points system and, almost under her breath, mentions that she always forgets to use her points. A reminder to take advantage rewards points would probably improve that person’s customer experience.

  3. Social Media – Customer experience is affected by every element of your site and your customers perception of it. Check out this tweet about an image the customer saw on an Amazon product page. Can’t say I blame him.Customer Journey Map 03
    Customer Journey Map 04

Like every other aspect of your digital marketing, from persona development to conversion optimization, the more effort you put into your journey maps, the better they will be at guiding you to offering a better customer experience.

Conversion rates are five to ten times higher in bricks and mortar (B&M) stores than on ecommerce sites.

Why? What are the differences between a B&M store and an online store that would account for such a huge gap?

While the answers are many and varied, in both cases, customers’ in-store experiences are a major determinant of whether they convert. Did they easily find what they were looking for? Did they have a good impression of the store? Did they get through the checkout in a reasonable time?

Customer Experience 01

If ‘customer experience’ is paramount to conversions, then you need to look at what are the differences in the experience between a B&M and online store to find out why conversion rates are so much higher in one.

Again, there are lots of them, so let’s just look at some major ones.

  1. Customers are ‘captive’ in the B&M store. Online, they can bounce at any time with a single click. And it’s impossible to change that.
  2. The customer can ‘touch and feel’ the merchandise in a B&M, they can try it out, or try it on, or simply feel how heavy it is. These experiences are impossible online.
  3. B&M stores offer immediate, human, face-to-face purchase assistance, which is, once again, impossible online.

Blast. It looks like it’s impossible to replicate the experiences customers enjoy in-store versus online. So why bother to even try to improve online customer experience?

The Answers are Compelling

  • 83% of online shoppers need help to complete a purchase
  • 89% have stopped shopping online after experiencing poor customer service
  • 71% expect to get online help within 5 minutes
  • 200% more chance customers will share bad experiences versus good ones
  • 82% say quick issue resolution is a top element of customer experience
  • 66% mentioned ‘shipping costs’ as a reason for abandoning their online shopping cart
  • 71% are more likely to buy based on a social media referral
  • 41% of online sales are from repeat customers (who presumably had a good experience the first time)
  • 500% higher revenue per web site visit – repeat customers ($10.24) vs. new customers ($2.06)
    (invesp.com)

Had Enough?

Just in case the answer is ‘no’, let’s look at it another way. Forget the numbers. Think about if you wanted to buy something; let’s say a new pair of shoes, and you went to a B&M shoe store get them. And let’s say you encountered the following:

  • All the shoes were displayed behind glass
  • You couldn’t hold them or try them on
  • You wanted to know if your size was available, but there was no sales help in the store. Or when you asked, the answer was ‘I don’t know.’
  • There was another very similar store right next door. It had all the same shoes, you could try on as many as you liked, and your personal sales assistant quickly answered all of your questions.

Which store would you buy from?

Thoughts for Improving Online Customer Experience

Sometimes things seem impossible because of the massive gap between where you are and where you want to be.

“How can I illuminate this huge sports stadium if all I know to do is light a candle.”

But if, instead of focusing on the seemingly impossible leap you must ultimately make, you focus on taking the first small step towards your goal, each step can make a big difference.

“Putting this aluminium pie plate behind the candle doesn’t help light the stadium, but I can do more work on the problem in a brighter room.”

Below are small steps that some sites are taking to begin to close the three major customer experience gaps between B&M and ecommerce stores that we listed above.

1. Hold Customers ‘Captive’

Who knows if you’ll ever be able to stop your customers from bouncing off your site.

But take a look at what you see when you land at shoedazzle.com:

Customer Experience 02

The ‘fashion quiz’ alone is a great way to engage customers and hold their attention. But then ShoeDazzle gives the customer a near irresistible offer. The customer can have ‘stylists’ pick shoes for them, based on the customer’s feedback. Suddenly, thoughts of bouncing begin to fade. And then comes the “Shop your heart out!” call-to-action.

Oh yeah, there’s also a ‘75% Off’ offer.

Bounce? What’s that?

2. Temper the Inability to “Touch & Feel’

While the technology to do so may not be as far away as you think, it’s still not possible to hold an online product in your hands.

That’s not a problem for many of the purchases we make online, like books, music and travel. But for other items, like clothing, it can be a source of uncertainty for the consumer. What does the fabric feel like? How heavy is that sweater? And, most most importantly, what happens if I want to return the item?

Uncertainty is a bad experience for an online customer.

More and more ecommerce sites address that uncertainty by offering not just free shipping, but free returns. Now the customer can buy the product, check it out, and return it if it doesn’t work.

Uncertainty gone.

Customer Experience 03

Zappos.com

Customer Experience 04

Nordstrom.com

Customer Experience 05

Amazon.com

3. Lend an Ear if You Can’t Be There

If 83% of online shoppers need help to complete a purchase, what do you think would improve their experience of your site?

Live chat.

Customer Experience 06

NoMoreRack.com

But don’t do it on the store’s schedule, like Foot Locker does:

Customer Experience 07

FootLocker.com

You need to be there whenever your customer needs help. 24/7, like Zappos:

Customer Experience 08

Zappos.com

How can your ecommerce or lead generation site offer a better customer experience? Make that experience the highest priority of your site design and conversion optimization. Start with the examples of others, then take the lead.

When people talk about advertising, 9 out of 10 they’re probably referring to online advertising. Online advertising has proven to be extremely profitable both for small and large businesses. Reports indicate that around 95% of Google’s revenue comes from online advertising. That’s saying something! The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month but only half of them are ever viewed. However, businesses have sharpened their tools and are filtering the Ads that are not being viewed. Responses generated from non-viewable ads were filtered out and only the good stuff was retained. By doing so, businesses have managed to improve brand lift by 31%. To know more, check out the following infographic on “Effectiveness Of Online Advertising– Statistics And Trends”.

Effectiveness Of Online Advertising - Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp

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Some Facts:

  • Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display Ads.
  • Click rates for display Ad campaigns average only 0.1%, which means that only one in a thousand Ads in a campaign is clicked.
  • Overall average in-target rate is 44%, with significant variance seen across product categories
Category %age in-Target
   
Computer /Technology 64%
Telecom 60%
Travel 53%
Media/Entertainment 52%
Auto 50%
Finance 46%
Health/Wellness 42%
Retail 42%

 

Percentage In-target by Age and Gender

Male Female
Age %age Age %age
       
18-34 42% 18-34 35%
18-49 45% 18-49 43%
21-34 33% 25-49 37%
25-34 33% 25-54 36%
25-49 32% 35-64 31%
25-54 42%    

 

Overall Average In-view Rate Is 46%

Category Average In-view Rate
   
Travel 49%
Health/Wellness 48%
Computer/Technology 47%
CPG 47%
Media/Entertainment 46%
Retail 45%
Auto 40%
Finance 40%
Telecom 36%

 

  • On average, 4% of Ad impressions were delivered outside the intended geography.
  • 72% of campaigns had at least some impressions that were delivered adjacent to inappropriate content.
  • Non-human traffic, including fraud, ranged from 4 to 11%.

How People Respond To Online Ads

Response Type %age
   
By clicking on the Ad 31%
By searching for product, company or brand 27%
By typing company web address in their browser 21%
Researching more information about a product 9%

 

  • Over 70% of marketers fail to target consumers with behavioral data.
  • Nearly 60% of digital video advertisers lack tools and timely data to measure digital video campaigns.
  • Nearly 75% of respondents listed viewabilty and brand lift as the metrics that would most influence digital video advertising tactics
  • More than 80% still currently rely on impressions and clicks to measure digital video Ads
  • “Mid-roll” video ads placed in the middle of a video had the highest completion rate of 97%
  • “Pre-roll” Ads placed in the beginning and “post-roll”ads placed in the end yielded drastically smaller completion rates (74% and 45% respectively).

20-second Ads had the least completion rate of 60% in our data set, with 15-second and 30-second Ads completing at higher rates of 84% and 90% respectively.

By Stephen Da Cambra on August 28, 2014 6:23 am

It’s like watching a train wreck. Everything rolls along nicely, then you sense something is wrong and suddenly it’s off the rails.

I’m talking about online sign-up forms and processes. If it seems harsh that I describe some as ‘train wrecks’, think about it this way: digital marketing and conversion optimization are about calling on your customers to join you in a voyage of discovery. And any bump along the way can derail your customers from the path.

The journey begins the moment customers become aware of your value proposition and it continues at least until they convert, but it really should never end.

As we all learn more about how to make our customers’ experience better, there’s a refreshing ‘smoothness’ in ad copy, landing pages, calls-to-action and other conversion milestones, versus even just a few years ago.

But if there is one conversion point that continues be a bump in the road, it’s the sign-up form.

Like every other conversion point, no one can tell you what will be the most effective form for you, your products or your customers. You must test to find that out.

But the things that conspire to make your form ineffective are crystal clear because the success of your sign-up form, like everything else along the path to conversion, depends on your customers’ experience of it. Anything that makes the customer uncomfortable, uncertain or that seems wasteful will make the form less effective at capturing data.

A Quick Example of a Sign-Up Form Train Wreck

The following sign-up process follows so many commonly accepted best practices that it’s not the best example of a train wreck. But it shows that the wheels can come off on even a well-planned journey.

Everything Rolls Along Nicely: After clicking on the CTA in the ‘70% Off’ promotional email, the following brilliant sign-up form is presented. With just a single field to fill out, the shopper thinks: “no problem, just my email address and I get to take advantage of 70% off. I’m willing to give that much personal information in return for that value.”

And there’s more:.

  • The copy is well written and laid out. The ‘70% Of Every Day’ value proposition is clear
  • The call-to-action is the most obvious element on the page
  • The advice that preferences can be changed any time and that the company has a privacy policy helps alleviate apprehensions that the customer may have
  • And there are lot of big, colorful and bright images showing me how I can use my 70% savings

Effective Sign-Up Forms 01

Then You Sense Something is Wrong: After choosing an item to buy, the customer is presented with the following screen on the way to the checkout.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 02

So what’s wrong with that screen? Again, the only thing that’s required at this point is an email address. Not a difficult request, but didn’t the customer already give her email address? Why does she need to enter it again? Not to worry, there’s a good chance the customer still perceives it as a fair exchange for value and is not perturbed enough to become one of your shopping cart abandonment statistics.

Suddenly It’s Off the Rails: In one simple step, the customer goes from having to enter her email address just twice, to being forced to submit it a fourth time.

Why?

Effective Sign-Up Forms 03

And the fourth request for an email address isn’t the only thing that puts this one off the rails. Check the Privacy Policy copy. In the first stage of the sign-up process above, the customer is invited to ‘read our full privacy policy’. It’s a great way to tell customers that, if the security of their information is a concern, they have quick and easy access to the policy.

But by the third form page, the copy changes to: ‘by creating an account you are agreeing to our privacy policy’.

Hold the phone. Agreeing? Agreeing to what? In addition having to enter her email address an inordinate number of times, the customer is now also forced to review the privacy policy in its entirety to make sure she is comfortable with everything to which she must ‘agree’.

This sign-up process has gone off track.

The Most Effective Sign-Up Form? You Don’t Even Know It’s There

OK, before we begin this section, I understand the following example only works for an online service like Babbel’s. And when I say ‘most effective’, it is so only in my humble, subjective opinion and in comparison to the other forms I reviewed for this post.

But rarely have I been hooked so well.

I live in a country that has two official languages: French and English. I’ve always felt guilty about my lack of understanding of French. Except for ‘bonjour’, ‘au revoir’ and ‘ou est la salle de bain’, I’m hopeless. So when a call-to-action to learn French came from Babbel, I took it.

The journey began with a simple first step, two choices, easy, painless, no worries.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 04

Even when the subsequent screen asked for my age group, it raised no flags. If I was concerned about privacy, I could choose any age group I wanted.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 05

Then, suddenly, I’m learning. And, considering it’s part of my French vocabulary as outlined above, I knew the answer. Cool.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 06

After answering a series of similar questions, I was given a phrase-matching exercise, which I also aced. And I now have a score (gamification). And a gauge of where I am in the process. And all I’ve told them so far is that I’m a beginner and the age group I belong to.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 07

Look at this: I’ve completed the first round. And they say I’m ‘very good!’ My first name? Yes, sure, let’s go! (Notice that Babel doesn’t actually ask for your name.)

Effective Sign-Up Forms 08

Now, is the following bit where it gets difficult? But they only ask that I ‘Please answer these simple questions.’ No sweat.

Android, Just right. Online advertising.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 09

Password? Yes, I want to get in on this action again. Email? Well, everyone asks for that and I give my junk mail address anyway. And my score is down to zero, so I’m anxious to start racking up the points.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 10

Effective Sign-Up Forms 11
After I confirm my email address, look what happens: I’m already into a French course.

Effective Sign-Up Forms 12

See what happened there? To make sure I had the best customer experience possible, Babbel made their conversion path a game of learning and made me feel that I was going where I wanted to go, not where Babbel wanted me to be.

On the way, and with me hardly even noticing their effort, Babbel managed to find out the following from me:

  • First name, which they used to personalize the rest of the path.
  • Age group
  • Mobile OS and device type
  • Immediate feedback of the effectiveness of their product
  • Which of their marketing channels worked to get my attention
  • Acceptance of their Privacy Policy and Terms of Business
  • Email address

Not a bad haul of data.

Again, the Babbel example may not apply to very many situations. But hopefully it at least shows that the focus of the most effective sign-up forms is not only on what information you need from the customer, but also on how you can remove the bumps on the customer’s conversion path experience and turn it into one that makes her willing to give you that information and more.

So many landing pages, so little time. They come at you from your email box, web browser and search results. It’s so bad that we tune most of them out. At least I do.

So I thought I’d ‘stop and smell the roses’ (or is it ‘cow chips’?) of the landing pages that come my way to see what best practices are used, where I think pages could be improved and what optimizers might consider for their next round of AB tests.

Let’s Call it ‘The Good, The Bad and The Study’

The glut of landing pages makes it impossible to discuss them all. Below is a random cross-section of examples from one morning’s worth of PPC ads.

This is an unscientific review. You’ll note that these landing pages are quite different from each other and that’s a good thing. It means that some are scant on conventional best practices, but hopefully they are so in search of new paths to the customer’s heart. It makes it difficult to review each page from a single checklist. Besides, landing page design and optimization is still an art. And who wants to read a scientific art review?

Hopefully the points covered will at least serve to get you to look  at these and other landing pages more critically, arrive at your own conclusions and use them to improve your testing and results.

QuickBizStores.com

landing page review 01

The Good: Lots of highly visible calls-to-action for a Free Trial. This tells you the designers took the time to define a clear conversion goal for the page and they are going for it. CTA buttons appear twice above the fold and once below. They get support from a variety of easily scanned, bulleted copy that is generally benefit-driven. The product is for those who do not have the time and/or inclination to set up a complex ecommerce system, so the designers have wisely left the tech talk for later.

The Bad: What? We’ve hardly met and you want my name and address? And if I give it to you it means we have an ‘agreement’? What kind of customer do you think I am? The sign-up form in the top left, a spot where most people start their scan of a web page, is misplaced. Customers have not yet received enough information to answer the questions and concerns they have before they are ready to go to second base.

AB Test Suggestion: Move the ‘QuickBizStores Total Ecommerce Platform’ paragraph to above the sign-up form window. It’s short enough that the form, copy and portfolio animation (is that what it is?) will still be above the fold, but the customer gets the chance to be wooed by a little copy before being asked to enter into a relationship.

1DollarWebHost.com

Landing page review 03

The Good: Well designed with good, benefit-driven content. A lot of information is conveyed above the fold, but the design doesn’t seem too busy. It helps that the information is parceled in a number of different devices, including the headline, image (especially the piggy bank), paragraph, bullets,
text box, etc..

The Bad: Once you go below the fold, it’s like you’re in a parallel universe where CTA buttons don’t exist. It’s good that the designers expand upon and add to the information delivered above the fold. But regardless of how good it is, asking visitors to scroll back up the page to take the call to action forces them to take a step backward at a moment when they may be ready to take the ultimate step forward to become a customer. It’s good to have a CTA button on hand should it be needed.

AB Test Suggestion: Try adding testimonials, social proof or at least a brief portfolio/customers section. Calming the customer’s fears, uncertainties and doubts, especially for an offer that many may find ‘unbelievable’ (free website, $1 dollar hosting), makes more sense here than on most other sites.

Delmoco.com

landing page review 04

The Good: The ‘good’ in this page is that it is not terrible. Relatively clean design – even if some of the elements struggle to remain aligned in the standard ‘twentythirteen’ WordPress theme. Good effort to include conversion-boosting components, including big imagery, testimonials, a short entry form, video and bulleted benefits.

The Bad: Where’s the call to action above the fold? Yes, if you look closely you’ll spot it – or them; there are multiple, competing calls to action – but they should be ‘bonk-on-the-head’ obvious. In this case, the CTA that’s above the fold, (a white button on a white background) is the least noticeable main element on the page. Tsk, tsk.

AB Test Suggestions: Must stick with the CTA buttons on this one. First, try a color, any color other than white, for the ‘Request a Quote’ button. Second, try copy that implies a benefit on the “Consultation Request’ CTA button. Or at least something other than ‘Send’.

YP.ca (Yellow Pages)

landing page best practices review 04

While I’m not sure how big the companies are in our first three examples, they’re not likely to be on par with Apple and Microsoft and not as likely to have access to the same design and conversion optimization resources. While Yellow Pages is also not Apple or Microsoft, they were huge long before most of us could fathom the idea of a computer hardware or software company. In any case, we should see some higher-end design and conversion tactics here.

The Good: This is the only one of our examples to prominently feature direct contact information above the fold. But that’s it. While there’s nothing really wrong here, there’s also nothing remarkable.

The Bad: The call-to-action button. On a page headlined “Put ads right in front of customers who are actively searching for your products or services’, which is a fairly exciting prospect, the CTA reads ‘Let’s Talk’. Let’s talk? Talk shmalk. I want to do what it says in the headline. And I want to ‘Get Started Today’ or ‘Build My Business’ or ‘Turn my Website into a Customer Magnet’ or at very least ‘Get a Free Consultation’, but ‘Let’s Talk’? Nah, I don’t want to do that.

AB Test Suggestions: Get rid of the fine print below the CTA. Don’t even test it. Just get rid of it. No one wants to ‘submit’ and/or be ‘bound’ – at least not on a Yellow Pages site.

MailerLite.com

Landing page review 02

The Good: Just about everything. Within 10 seconds of landing, I know how easy the product is to use, that I can try it for free and that the company has ‘Happy Customers’ – who started with that same free trial. And the site does all that in 10 words. It’s simple and brilliant.

The Bad: The site needs to be a heck of a lot more brilliant to make sure no visitor has even a single question about the product, the company or anything to do with either one. Why? Because there is no telephone, email or contact information of any sort on the landing page. Check it out. The words ‘Contact’, ‘Call’, ‘Telephone’ and/or ‘Help’ do not exist on the landing page, nor do the terms ‘Get in Touch’ or ‘Customer Service’ or anything like them. Nowhere. Not even in the footer menu. Good way to ruin a good thing.

Oh, wait, in what must be the most glaring example ever of ‘two peoples separated by a common language’ (mailerlite.com is UK-based), if you have a question on MailerLite.com you must click the ‘Support’ link in the navbar. Then, suddenly, you have more contact information than you know what to do with:

  • A nice, quick query form
  • An email address
  • Separate US and UK telephone numbers
  • A ‘Knowledge Base’
  • Two ‘customer service’ people
  • The founder of the company
  • Even a mailing address in Lithuania

Yet not the faintest sign of any of it on the landing page. Brilliant.

AB Test Suggestions: You have three guesses.

OK. That’s my two cents – and some extra change – on these web pages. I would love to get your feedback.

The mobile shoppers who read product reviews on social media channels show a higher conversion rate – as much as 133% higher. On a grand scale, this conversion represents billions of dollars of business worldwide. The online population is increasing by leaps and bounds and more and more people are influenced by opinions shared on social media. Social media celebrities such as vloggers and serial product reviewers tend to have a huge impact on people’s perception of product quality. Businesses are noting an increased level of impact that positive and negative reviews have on purchase behavior.

The question is, what kinds of figures do social media commerce trends translate to? The following infographic, “US Social Commerce – Statistics and Trends” provides you the answer to your query. We’ve dug up some interesting facts on the actual sales that happen due to social media opinion and how much sales is due to social media referral. This infographic will focus solely on the trends and stats of social commerce within the US. We will be focusing specifically on the period 2012 to 2015, given social media’s massive surge and public influence during this period.

US Social Commerce - Statistics and Trends

 

Infographic by- Invesp

To Publish this Image on your Blog or Website . Copy this code

US Social Commerce Sale Between 2012 to 2015 (in Billions)

Year Social Commerce Sales (in Billions)
2012 3
2013 5
2014 9
2015 14

 

Did you know that social commerce sales are forecasted to represent 5% of online retail revenue in 2015?

Did you also know that positive product reviews online can bump up a product’s price by 9.5%, while negative reviews have an 11% chance of changing a person’s intent to purchase?

Most Popular Social Commerce Features That Are Integrated On Leading E-Commerce Sites

Social Commerce Feature Others Top 25 Companies
Facebook Like Button 58% 86%
Pinterest Pin It Button 61% 82%
Twitter Tweet Button 60% 86%
Google+ Button 42% 39%
Ratings & Reviews 73% 82%
Product recommendations 84% 82%
Social shopping applications 8% 86%
Social Login 15% 82%

 

Average Order Value By Social Referrer

  Social Referrer Average Order Value
Polyvore $66.75
Instagram $65.00
Pinterest $58.95
Facebook $55.00
Reddit $52.96
Vimeo $50.75
Twitter $46.29
LinkedIn $44.24
Google+ $40.00
YouTube $37.63

 

33% of consumers have acted on a promotion on a brand’s social media page

85% of orders from social media sites come from Facebook.

Percentage Of Social Orders Originating From Facebook(By Industry)

Industry Percentage Of Orders
Photography 98%
Sports & Recreation 94%
Pet Supplies 94%
Dropshipping 93%
Jewelry & Watches 92%
Clothing & Apparel 87%
Food & Beverage 86%
Home & Garden 83%
Web Design 81%
Health & Beauty 81%
Music & Movies 80%

 

Top US E-Retailers By Percentage Of Traffic From Social Networks

US E-Retailer Percentage Of Traffic From Social Network
Zappos 10.16%
Fab.com 25%
Nomorerack.com 35%
Victoria’s Secret 8.5%
Nordstrom 8.33%
Nike 8.4%
ShoeDazzle.com 10.5%
Foot Locker 5.72%
Wayfair 7.13%
Cafepress.com 9%

 

 

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