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Landing Page Optimization: 5 factors that lead to (and prevent) conversion

August 18th, 2014 1 comment

Anytime we share research about overall conversion rate benchmarks, I give the same caveat – while it’s helpful to understand conversion rates for your peers, the bigger question you must ask yourself is how to improve conversion rates on your own landing pages and in your own funnels.

 

Is there a methodical way to increase conversion?

While marketing has tended to be dominated by the marketer with the “golden gut” or the star direct response copywriter, other disciplines in the enterprise – from manufacturing to IT – have developed methodological processes to improve quality and consistency.

The MECLABS Conversion Sequence Heuristic is an attempt to bring the same discipline, rigor and sustainable success to the marketing department. It is part of a patented repeatable methodology (patent number 8,155,995) developed by Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingExperiments), based on years of testing and research of real product and service offers presented to real customers.

conversion-sequence-heuristic

 

For long-time MarketingExperiments readers, you might be very familiar with the Conversion Sequence Heuristic and have, hopefully, been using it to improve conversion in your own tests. (If so, let me know. We’d love to share those results to inspire other marketers.)

But since the Conversion Sequence Heuristic helps more new marketers discovering it for the first time every year, it helps to occasionally revisit this fundamental approach to marketing every now and again.

Read on for a cursory look at the factors that affect conversion, and if you’d like a more in-depth understanding of how you can apply this heuristic to your own landing pages and marketing efforts, you can take the Landing Page Optimization Online Course.

 

Probability of conversion

The Conversion Sequence Heuristic is not an equation to solve. Rather, it is a heuristic, or thought tool (i.e., really cool checklist) to use as you work on landing pages and other marketing offers.

You can never guarantee conversion, but by making (sometimes subtle) changes to the right areas, you can increase the probability of conversion. This heuristic helps you identify those key areas.

 

Motivation of user

The numbers in front of the different elements of the heuristic indicate how much they impact the probability of conversion. All of the elements are not equal.

The motivation of the user is the single most important factor affecting conversion.

To see why, let me give you a simple example using myself as the customer. I am a huge Pearl Jam fan. If Pearl Jam came to Jacksonville, Fla., I would find a way to be at the concert, even if their ticket selling process, sales funnel and landing page were not optimized. I am highly motivated.

The motivation of the user is also the only element of the Conversion Sequence Heuristic that you cannot change. It is intrinsic in your potential customers.

You can, however, gain an understanding of your potential customers’ motivations to better tap into those natural motivations and better serve your ideal customers while improving conversion.

Read more…

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5 Traits the Best Calls-to-action All Share in Common

August 7th, 2014 6 comments

One of the most common questions we receive at MarketingExperiments about optimization is, “What is it that actually makes a call-to-action effective?”

In truth, there are a lot of factors to consider, so in this post, we’ll take a look at five traits the best CTAs all seem to share in common based on our testing research.

 

Trait #1. Alignment

principle-of-alignment

According to Jon Powell, Senior Executive Content Writer, MECLABS, alignment is when “a call-to-action needs to be aligned to a specific customer need or desire. And what I mean by that is, do they like the color blue or do they like the color red?”

In the example above, the original CTA assumed customers will find value in understanding their problem. However, the treatment call-to-action tested to discover if customers find more value in a proposed solution.

In this case, the treatment increased clicks 7% and conversion 125%.

 

Trait #2. Timing 

 

Great CTAs are delivered in a conversation with customers at just the right time. In the experiment above, you can see where the CTA was located in the control and treatment, which indicates how timing plays into effective CTAs.

The control page presented arriving customers with a CTA almost immediately.

In the treatment, the CTA was moved to a time-delayed pop-under. The problem for these customers was they missed the opportunity to convert interest into action, which explained why the treatment decreased conversion 29%.

 

Trait #3. Absorption 

principle-of-absorption

 

Effective CTAs are easy for the customer to absorb as they are scanning the page. They are highly intuitive for customers to understand and engage with.

Here’s what absorption looks like in a real-world CTA test.

In the control, the MECLABS research team hypothesized the primary CTA for creating an email alert was difficult to clearly see in the design that used the small bell icon to imply notification functionality.

The treatment design was adjusted to ensure customers would see the opportunity to create a free alert, resulting in a 2,793% increase in email alerts created.

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Stock Images Tested: Does ethnicity in marketing images impact purchases?

August 4th, 2014 5 comments

Does ethnicity in marketing images affect a campaign’s performance?

Besides being an important marketing question, it’s also an interesting social question.

The MECLABS research team asked this question because they needed to find the best performing imagery for the first step in the Home Delivery checkout process for a MECLABS Research Partner selling newspaper subscriptions.

The test they designed was simple enough:

Background: Home Delivery ZIP code entry page for a newspaper subscription.

Goal: To increase subscription rate.

Research Question: Which design will generate the highest rate of subscriptions per page visitor?

Test Design: A/B variable cluster split test

 

Control: Standard image of newspaper on welcome mat

ethnicity-test-control

 

Treatment 1: Stock image of African American man reading newspaper

ethnicity-test-treatment1

 

Treatment 2: Stock image of older Caucasian couple reading newspaper

ethnicity-test-treatment2

  Read more…

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Ecommerce: 3 landing page elements to help increase product emphasis

July 14th, 2014 No comments

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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Landing Page Optimization: What a 29% drop in conversion can teach you about friction

July 7th, 2014 No comments

I’m sure most of you have heard the old proverb: The road to ruin is paved with the best of intentions.

In fact, if you have a different version of it, feel free to share it in the comments below.

The proverb is a great example of the subtle dangers in optimizing a process with no perspective on how the big picture is potentially impacted by those changes.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to take a close look at a checkout process experiment and what we can all learn from this company when it comes to identifying the subtle dangers in optimization that often accompany intention.

 

Friction is a psychological reservation toward your desired outcome

friction-on-page

 

Before we get started, I want to first explain what friction is. MarketingExperiments defines friction as “a psychological resistance to a given element in a sales process.”

So when you optimize to reduce friction, you’re really optimizing to reduce the reasons a person has for not taking your desired action.

Also, friction exists everywhere, but the slide above does a really nice job of providing a simple illustration of reducing fiction in a form.

 

You may make a process shorter … 

difficulty-checkout-process

 

Friction is not always so easy to identify and eliminate. Take a look at these two versions of a checkout process for example.

Version A is a three-step cart checkout process that is a little lengthy.

The MECLABS research team hypothesized that by shortening the steps into a one-page accordion checkout process (Version B), they could reduce length-oriented friction.

 

… but it’s no guarantee that it’s easier for a customer

 treatment-conversion-decrease

The accordion-style checkout in Version B decreased conversion 29%. Ouch!

But there’s an even more important question here: Why did an increasingly popular checkout process get trounced by the process that looks more burdensome?

  Read more…

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Landing Page Optimization: Testing green marketing increases conversion 46%

June 5th, 2014 2 comments

Green marketing is a tactic built on the premise that environmental preference will hopefully equal customer preference.

But does green marketing truly have an impact on customer purchase behavior?

In today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at an experiment that was featured in a recent Web clinic that put green marketing to the test.

Before we dive in, let’s review the research notes on the test.

Background: A mid-sized furniture company selling mattresses.

Goal: To increase the overall number of mattress purchases.

Research Question: Which credibility approach will produce the highest rate of mattress purchases?

Test Design: A/B variable cluster split test

 

Control

green-marketing-control 

During the Web clinic, the MECLABS research team explained the featured product was one of only a few mattresses that are currently GreenGuard Gold certified.

Consequently, they hypothesized the certification had little emphasis on the page design and was not communicating the full value of the certification.

 

Treatment

green-marketing-treatment

In the treatment, additional copy was added to increase the emphasis on the full value of the GreenGuard certification.

 

Results

 green-marketing-results

 

The additional GreenGuard copy increased conversion nearly 46%.

Read more…

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