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Web Optimization: How to get your customers to say heck yes!

April 7th, 2014 No comments

For e-commerce marketers, and many marketers with a subscription-based business, the value of the products they sell on the Internet is intangible when the purchase decision is made.

So who better to gain some conversion optimization advice from than an A/B tester who specializes in nonprofit marketing, the industry that must communicate the most intangible value of all – goodwill.

We brought Tim Kachuriak, Founder and Chief Innovation & Optimization Officer, Next After, into the studio and discussed:

  • The power of the value proposition
  • Creating a scarce resource
  • Commitment building
  • The value proposition train

I’ve known Tim for several years through his attendance at MarketingSherpa Summits, and am glad to have him as a featured speaker at the upcoming Web Optimization Summit in New York City. In fact, his Web Optimization Summit session was one of the things we worked on while he was in Jacksonville, Fla.

 

Below is a full transcript of our interview if you would prefer to read instead of watch or listen.

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Web Optimization: Traffic without conversion doesn’t matter

April 3rd, 2014 No comments

At Web Optimization Summit 2014 in New York City, Michael Aagaard, Founder, ContentVerve.com, will present, “How, When and Why Minor Changes Have a Major Impact on Conversions,” based on four years of research and dozens of case studies.

To provide you with a few quick test ideas, we reached across the miles to Copenhagen, Denmark, and interviewed Michael from our studios here in Jacksonville, Fla.

In this video interview, Michael discussed:

  • Why he’s so passionate about conversion optimization (and why you should be, too)
  • A pop-up test that generated 142% more newsletter signups
  • The one-word change of call-to-action button copy that consistently produces results (in several languages)

 

Below is a full transcript of our interview if you would prefer to read instead of watch or listen.

  Read more…

Call-to-Action Button Copy: How to reduce clickthrough rate by 26%

March 31st, 2014 6 comments

“Start Free Trial” | “Get Started Now” | “Try Now”

One of the above phrases reduced clickthrough rate by 26%.

 

DON’T SCROLL DOWN JUST YET

Take a look at those three phrases. Try to guess which phrase underperformed and why. Write it down. Heck, force yourself to tell a colleague so you’ve really got some skin in the game.

Then, read the rest of today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post to see which call-to-action button copy reduced clickthrough, and how you can use split testing to avoid having to blindly guess about your own button copy.

 

How much does call-to-action button copy matter anyway?

The typical call-to-action button is small. You typically have only one to four words to encourage a prospect to click.

There are so few words in a CTA. How much could they really matter?

Besides, they come at the end of a landing page or email or paired with a powerful headline that has already sold the value of taking action to the prospect. People have already decided whether they will click or not, and that button is a mere formality, right?

To answer these questions and more, let’s go to a machine more impressive than the Batmobile … to the splitter!

 

A/B/C/D/E split test

The following experiment was conducted with a MECLABS Research Partner. The Research Partner is a large global media company seeking to sell premium software to businesses.

The button was tested on a banner along the top of a webpage. Take a look at that banner below. 

cta-experiment-start-free-trial

 

Five different text phrases were tested in that button. Since I’ve already teased you on the front-end, without further ado, let me jump right into the findings.

 

Results

cta-test-results

 

Those few words in that teeny little rectangular button can have a huge impact on clickthrough.

As you can see, “Get Started Now” drove significantly more clicks than “Try Now.” Let’s look at the relative changes in clickthrough rate so you can see the relationship between the calls-to-action.

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Copywriting: Do you take your prospects on a journey?

February 27th, 2014 3 comments

You’ve seen the statistics. Customers receive 12 million billion marketing messages a day.

Plus they’re busy, and have short attention spans.

So you may think, “I have to get my sales message and value prop to my customers as quickly as possible.”

But your goal as a marketer is not to get quick information in the hands of a customer. It’s to take them on …

 

The buyer’s journey

Let’s use “Star Wars” as an analogy.

George Lucas could have made a two-minute video on YouTube and said, “So … they’re brother and sister. And on top of it, the dude he’s fighting is actually his dad. Weird, huh?”

But if he did, I’m betting he wouldn’t have this level of brand loyalty more than 30 years later.

Storytelling is powerful.

It helps people see a new way of looking at the world. As a marketer, that includes how the world would be with your product or service in it.

By taking your prospects through a story, you help to welcome them into the world of your product, help them drop their defenses to actually hear what you’re saying, and get them to internalize your value proposition.

Your challenge is to decide how every element of your marketing can take them on that journey. For a simple purchase, this journey may happen in a single email or print ad. For a considered purchase, it may occur across an email drip campaign, nurture track or an entire marketing funnel.

You can watch the free MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay, “Copywriting on Tight Deadlines: How ordinary marketers are achieving 103% gains with a step-by-step framework,” to learn more about how story connects to the conversion process.

 

Photo attribution: Star Wars Blog

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Conversion Rate Optimization: Why is split testing so powerful?

February 13th, 2014 4 comments

Imagine if you could split test your life.

Essentially, you would never be faced with a conundrum again. You could choose to both send your daughter to the state school and the Ivy League college.

You could marry your high school sweetheart and that special someone you just met.

You could buy the Prius and the Tesla.

Then, you wait and you measure.

You would finally determine empirically which decision is best.

Of course, you can’t A/B test your life. That’s why there are 7,139 books in Amazon’s decision-making and problem solving category.

 

Don’t guess about your customers – know

But you, as a marketer, can split test. If you don’t know which subject line or headline will work, try them both and let the customer decide.

You can use Web optimization to make the best decisions:

  • Make some assumptions based on what you’ve learned about your customers
  • Use those assumptions to create treatments that test different hypotheses about the customer
  • Split your audience with an equal amount of similar customers being exposed to each treatment
  • Review and validate the results
  • Determine what can be learned about the customer and use that knowledge to repeat the process, becoming a little wiser each time

This process can add “thousands and thousands of dollars” in monthly revenue, as it did for Cars.com.

Web optimization can increase referrals and membership renewals, as it did for AARP.

 

What have you been able to do with Web optimization? Let us shine a light on your efforts.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered the power of split testing.

Of learning instead of guessing. Of experimenting instead of assuming.

You’ve discovered that experimenting and learning easily replace assumptions and guesswork about your customers.

If so, we’d like to hear your story even if the rest of your company has yet to catch up.

Others overlooking the power of this evidence-based technique is what frustrates many successful optimizers.

The good news is there’s a place where marketers can come together and learn what works in website optimization from each other. That place is Web Optimization Summit.

 

This year’s Summit will be in New York City in May. If you have a story, we’d love to hear it. I encourage you to fill out the speaker application and share what you’ve learned with other marketers.

 

You may also like

Customer Theory: What do you blame when prospects do not buy? [More from the blogs]

Customer Theory: How we learned from a previous test to drive a 40% increase in CTR [More from the blogs]

The Web as a Living Laboratory: The Three Most Important Discoveries from Over a Decade of Experimentation [Video]

Customer Theory: What do you blame when prospects do not buy?

February 10th, 2014 No comments

The effort and money that you’re investing in your marketing is predicated on one thing – that you understand your customer.

What good is a print ad, an email or a marketing automation investment if it doesn’t deliver a message that alleviates a customer pain point or helps a customer achieve a goal? They won’t act if the message doesn’t hit them square between the eyes.

Let me give you an example of faulty customer theory. Uber, a mobile car hailing service, is coming to Jacksonville. I recently received a push poll phone call clearly supported by the frightened taxi industry.

The main message seemed to be that Uber is cheaper because it uses unregulated (and, therefore, unsafe) drivers.

 

How often are you delighted by cab drivers?

What struck me was how far off their customer theory was from my actual wants and needs. I, for example, chose to take the BART from the airport to the hotel for Lead Gen Summit 2013 – not because it was cheaper (MECLABS was paying the bill either way, so it was free for me), but because riding in a cab is a miserable experience.

Plus, I’m putting my life in the hands of someone who will cut across three lanes of rush hour traffic with no turn signal to drop a passenger off 45 seconds quicker. Goodbye, safety argument.

The reason Uber, Lyft and other car hailing mobile apps are gaining traction is because they’ve found a way to create a better customer experience. Think about it. When was the last time you were delighted by a cab ride? In fairness, there was one time for me in Los Angeles. A kind driver gave me a quick tour of Bel Air during what limited free time I had on a business trip.

Here’s why the taxi industry struggles to realize the true threat.

 

We will tend to blame external rather than internal reasons when customers don’t buy

You put in so much time marketing your company and your clients that it becomes difficult to see the flaws customers see with unbiased eyes.

This is why A/B testing can be so valuable.

Actually forming hypotheses, testing these hypotheses in real situations with real customers, and then building a customer theory over time that informs everyone in your company about what customers really want is essential.

When you have your customer theory right, marketing can focus on clearly communicating how it can fulfill customers’ needs and wants.

 

Discover what customers want

Of course, A/B testing is only one way to gain customer intelligence. So to gain a perspective beyond my own, I asked Lindsay Bayuk, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Infusionsoft, for her perspective.

“Understanding what your customers want starts with understanding the problem they are trying to solve. First, define who your best customers are and then ask them about their challenges. Next, ask them why they love you,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay said some great ways to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on your target customers include:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • A/B tests (see, I was telling you)
  • Sales calls
  • Feedback loops

The email registration process is another opportunity for learning more about your customers.

Ali Swerdlow, Vice President, Channel Sales & Marketing, LeadSpend, added, “Preference centers are a great way to gather data about your customers. Then, use that data to segment your list and message different groups accordingly.”

Read more…