Carmen Weeks

Ecommerce: How parent brands can reduce user friction and anxiety

July 28th, 2014

The MECLABS Conversion Heuristic is what we use when optimizing our Research Partners’ websites – and now for me as a research analyst, it’s become second nature to optimize every website I encounter.

I say this because truthfully, it’s one thing to simply memorize and understand a formula. But when you’re able to conceptualize and apply it, you own it.

For instance, I was recently window shopping on one of my favorite sites, HauteLook, a members-only ecommerce website that offers limited-time sales of leading brands in fashion, home décor, skincare, and occasionally, luxurious vacations.

I’ve shopped there countless times before, but this time my HauteLook experience was different, thanks to seeing the site from the perspective of an analyst.

 

Light boxes are not a warm welcome

hautelook-homepage

 

When you get to the HauteLook homepage, you are immediately greeted by a mandatory registration squeeze before you can arrive to the “members only” section, where the sale events are displayed.

Right away, this form causes new users anxiety and potential frustration.

(Editor’s Note: MarketingExperiments defines friction as a psychological resistance to a given element in the sales or sign-up process. Anxiety is a psychological concern stimulated by a given element in the sales or sign-up process.) 

Here’s one problem with front-end registration: The visitor is not able to see what the website offers that might match their motivation to visit the site.

In short, what is the squeeze costing you in sales?

By not allowing a visitor to see what your website offers prior to asking them to join might cause them to exit prematurely because they don’t want to go through the trouble of signing up.

This leads me to my main point:

hautelook-signup

 

Ultimately, one word got me through the gate of anxiety the first time I was here – Nordstrom.

 

Use parent brands for surrogate credibility

In my example, you’ll see copy that identifies HauteLook as a Nordstrom company, which immediately alleviated my concerns and was the first thing to convince me to move forward with the registration.

Using an established brand as a third-party credibility indicator is a great way to help reduce customer anxiety.

Kudos to HauteLook for using an established and well-known brand to relieve anxiety and help increase the sign-up rate while also aiding visitors in making more informed decisions.

 

Test your way into delivering a better customer experience

Being able to see websites from a customer’s perspective paired with the knowledge I’ve acquired at MECLABS has made me realize how friction and anxiety can play into a user’s decisions – including my own.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can optimize your customer experience, feel free to check out some of the resources below.

 

You may also like

Ecommerce: 3 landing page elements to help increase product emphasis [More from the blogs]

Online Testing: 3 resources to inspire your ecommerce optimization [More from the blogs]

E-commerce: 5-question checklist for eliminating products [More from the blogs]

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Categories: Ecommerce Tags: , , , , , ,

John Tackett

Email Marketing: Copy test increases clickthrough 37%

July 24th, 2014

Converting attention into interest is really the sole purpose of copywriting.

How you approach that task in your marketing efforts can make a huge difference in the results.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll look at how some tactical copy changes increased one company’s clickthrough rate by 37% to help you craft effective copy of your own.

But first, here are a few snippets on the test.

 

Background: Company selling audio equipment and accessories.

Goal: To increase clickthrough rate.

Research Question: Which email copy approach will generate the highest clickthrough rate?

Test Design: A/B/C variable cluster split test

 

Controlemail-copy-test-control

 

In the control, the MECLABS research team hypothesized the email utilized a headline that was not immediately clear, thus undermining the value of the offer.

 

Treatments 

email-copy-test-treatments

 

Here is a simple breakdown of the differences in the treatments:

  • Treatment 1′s email tweaked the headline to focus on the aesthetics and performance value of the product.
  • Treatment 2′s headline was centered on the overall value proposition of the product.

Read more…

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John Tackett

Value Proposition: 4 key questions to help you slice through hype

July 21st, 2014

I was originally going to write this blog post to help marketers spot hype in their green marketing claims.

But then, I had an epiphany.

Why focus exclusively on green marketing that may have gone awry at the fringes?

Hype in marketing is far from exclusive to the green crowd and honesty is needed in every claim your marketing makes.

I decided to think a little bigger – much bigger – by sharing four key questions you should ask about any marketing claim to help you slice through hype and deliver true value to customers.

 

Question #1. Is our claim tangible? 

value-tangible

 

Our senses love being rewarded, so if your claim offers tangible value, the nature of it should connect directly to the customer experience.

For example, let’s look at the copy above from a recent experiment on green marketing.

The “green value” is in the nature of the manufacturing process and is directly connected to the quality of the product.

This leaves one more thing to consider when crafting tangible claims: Does the nature of the claim actually make the end product more appealing?

 

Question #2. Is our claim relevant to customers’ needs?

relevant-claim

 

I like these examples because all of them, while noble in cause, do not directly connect to a relevant problem a customer is having.

For example, I live in Florida and my desire to avoid sunburns gives the SPF of a sunscreen a greater relevance to my needs than just about any other claim.

Consequently, this is where focusing on claims that are relevant can mitigate the risk of associating products with ideas or causes that are abstract.

A biodegradable pen is nice to have. A biodegradable pen with 12% more ink than the next guy is even better.

The power of relevance rests in crafting copy that deals directly with any key concerns already present in the mind of a customer.

  Read more…

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John Tackett

2 Vital Questions Every Marketer Should Ask of Lead Gen Forms

July 17th, 2014

We’ve all seen them.

Web forms that ask for an exhaustive amount of information in exchange for a paltry white paper – or worse, a static thank-you note that lets someone know Sales will soon start their phone and inbox bombing runs.

But is this truly the best we can do to serve prospects effectively through a balanced exchange of value?

I think not. In a world where Web 2.0 is here, mobile is soon to be the new desktop and content is king, lead generation must do a better job of offering value for a prospect’s information.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll look at the two most important questions every marketer should ask about their Web forms to help refine the lead generation process.

 

Question#1. Does our form only collect the information that is really, really needed?

Assessing the importance of the information your form collects is one of the best places to start.

Far too often, older forms are part of legacy marketing practices, or even worse, I would argue, are new forms with inadequate strategy planned around them.

However, no matter where your form falls in terms of strategy, here are two important questions you should ask about your Web forms:

  • What information do you absolutely need to collect in the form?
  • What additional information would be nice to have?

This will help your team identify which fields can be trimmed so that you’re only asking for information that is highly targeted and relevant to your sales process.

Also, don’t forget to build a review process for your forms that give them a health checkup at fixed intervals. It could be six months, a year, maybe even two – so as long as you dedicate time to assess a form’s effectiveness and performance in meeting business goals.

 

Question#2. How can I increase the perceived value of every field in my form? 

web-forms-value

 

I love the illustration above because it really drives this point home. This is truly how most prospects see form fields.

It is how I see them.

It’s probably how you see them, too.

It’s also how you should mercilessly look at your own form fields when assessing the value they are delivering to prospects in exchange for the desired information.

Consequently, if the value of what you’re offering is not perceived as being worth more than the information you want from prospects, then why should they give it to you?

Read more…

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John Tackett

Ecommerce: 3 landing page elements to help increase product emphasis

July 14th, 2014

The elements on a product page are often one of the most underutilized tools a marketer has at their disposal. I say this, because let’s be honest, I’d wager few folks think of design elements on a product page in a “tool mindset.”

But in some respects, that’s exactly what they are, and ultimately, that’s how you will determine the kind of customer experience you build in ecommerce.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to share three elements you can tweak to help emphasize important products and maybe even increase your revenue along the way.

 

Element #1. Size 

product-page-elements

 

Here’s an excellent example of how resizing a product image can help you place emphasis on it.

In the control, there were three products on the right sidebar and they were all equally weighted – that is a problem.

Nothing really stood out, which made drawing a clear conclusion for customers a little difficult.

In the treatment, instead of having three separate products on the page, the marketers hypothesized that a single product with a dropdown selection for a computer operating system would increase conversion.

Their hypothesis was right – the results from the tests included a 24% increase in revenue.

 

Element #2. Color 

email-product-testing

 

Here is another example of using elements in an email that you should pay close attention to because products are not trapped on pages in storefronts.

That perception is far from reality.

According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study (download a complimentary copy at that link), email is one of the biggest drivers of ecommerce traffic.

In the treatment, the number of products were reduced, and bright red copy was used as supporting emphasis. I’m not fluent in Italian, but in any language, that is a good thing.

As you can see, color emphasis and copy now drive this email. From the changes in the treatment, I can intuitively understand the desired outcome:

  • I can order something at a great price
  • I get something free (gratis) as a thank-you gift
  • It only takes three easy steps to order

The treatment delivered a 24% increase in revenue with the right changes needed to have a powerful impact.

Read more…

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Daniel Burstein

Copywriting: How to tip the scale so customers act

July 10th, 2014

When writing copy for promotions, content and advertising, many writers tend to be pulled between two possible directions: creativity on one side, and communication on the other.

How can I be creative and still effectively communicate the ideas I have?

 

Think like the customer

Creativity and communication are not the two opposing forces in the customer’s mind. The customer is weighing these two decisions:

  • What is the value of this?
  • How much will it cost me?

“Essentially the prospect, even if at a subconscious level, engages in elementary math: VfAc - CfAc, which is to say, they subtract the perceived cost force from the perceived value force,” said Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, parent company of MarketingExperiments.

This idea is illustrated in the heuristic below to help you see the net force of the value proposition:

 value-proposition-foce

 

You can dive deeper into the above heuristic in the MECLABS Value Proposition Development Course.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at two key copy elements – one very close to an actual purchase and another much farther up the funnel – and see what value and cost factors the customer might be considering.

 

Key Copy Element #1. Button copy

 

“Select Lodging” vs. “See All Rentals”

 

The button copy on the right achieved a 427% higher clickthrough rate than the button copy on the left.

This was not a single-factor test; other elements were changed on the landing pages that likely affected conversion rate, as well. You can see those in the full MarketingSherpa webinar replay of “Web Optimization: How one company implements an entire testing strategy every day.”

But, this is still a good example of weighing value and cost.

“Select Lodging” subtly implies more cost. The language puts the monkey on the customer’s back. Now, the prospective customer has to take the time to look through different options. Cost is about much more than just money. In this case, the cost is time (a form of mental cost). Of course, this button also implies the cost of actually purchasing the lodging (a form of material cost).

On the flipside, “See All Rentals” implies more value. Nothing is asked of the prospective customer. Instead, there is an offer to the prospective customer. Essentially, the copy conveys there are many rentals for the customer to view.

Read more…

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