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Archive for the ‘Site Design’ Category

Test Your Marketing Intuition: Why did this treatment outperform the control by 53%?

January 11th, 2012 2 comments

In this world, there are systems that underperform. It is a fact of life. A quick look at the world’s distribution of wealth is all anyone needs for proof of that. It happens all the time on a macro level. And when a system doesn’t just underperform but is truly broken, it usually means you need to tear it down and start from scratch.

And while it may not be humanly possible to do that for the world’s economic system, it’s very doable with your website.

Our websites are simply little systems that should present enough pieces of our value proposition in the right sequence to our ideal customer so that they take the desired action. You can make many tweaks to your site to improve how well it does that … and in so doing, improve conversion.

But for some websites, the system is broken. A new approach is needed. At MECLABS, we call this a category shift.

 

How can I implement a category shift for my website?

To implement this category shift, you need a radical redesign.

A radical redesign is simply an experimental approach in which the experimental treatments are “radically” or “categorically” different from the control.

While definitions are certainly interesting, it’s probably easier to give you an example of a radical redesign. So here’s a radical redesign experiment we recently ran with one of our research partners to flesh out that definition. It also happens to be the same experiment we’ll study in-depth for today’s free Web clinic at 4:00 pm EST: Rapidly Maximizing Conversion: How one company quickly achieved a 53.9% lift with a radical redesign.

  Read more…

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Affiliate Site Redesign: How to drive qualified traffic to a merchant’s offer

November 11th, 2011 1 comment

Affiliate marketers have it tough these days. So many affiliates are attracted by the promise of building a business without having to involve themselves in the details of actually filling orders. With a marketplace so saturated, it’s difficult to get any kind of ROI out of affiliate campaigns.

So, how can affiliate marketers increase their ROI?

The same way a merchant would increase its ROI: by providing enough perceived value to guide the prospects to, and through, the offer.

Of course, increasing ROI is always easier said than done. And because that’s part of the job of our research analysts, Adam Lapp, Associate Director of Optimization teaches an optimization training class every Thursday here at MECLABS. In it, Chris Rochester, one of our research analysts, developed a treatment homepage for affiliate website Safari.com as a thought exercise.

 

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Now, before I go any further and show you Chris’ treatment, it needs a heavy disclaimer. Because Safari.com was submitted by one of our Web clinic audience members, we didn’t have any actual metrics for the site. In other words, Chris may not have made the suggestions he did in the treatment had he seen the real data behind the site.

Fortunately, our Associate Director of Optimization, Adam Lapp, developed some example metrics Chris could work from. So here’s some imaginary background for you…

  Read more…

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Hidden Friction: The 7 Silent Killers of Conversion

August 15th, 2011 24 comments

Friction is one of the greatest obstacles to your conversion process, and though most marketers currently have some idea of what Friction is, many are only seeing half the picture.

When asking marketers to identify the Friction associated with a conversion process, the response is often very confident. Usually, the number of form fields on a page will be pointed out first, the number of steps in a process next, and occasionally a third comment might focus on the length of the individual pages themselves. The overall consensus from marketers is that if you can eliminate these simple elements, then you can eliminate Friction.

However, our research suggests that most of the Friction in a conversion process goes undetected. Further, this “hidden” Friction often is the most lethal to conversion. So, in this post I wanted to lay out 7 of the most undetected ways that Friction might be threatening your conversion rates. I have dubbed these The 7 Silent Killers of Conversion.

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Website Redesign: Wondering what to test? Just ask your customers

August 10th, 2011 No comments

When planning a testing and optimization cycle, there are plenty of marketing elements to tackle — landing pages, pay-per-click ad copy, form fields and more. The question is: What test will provide the biggest impact?

A great place to start is to ask your customers.

CrazyEgg, an analytics company that creates heat map data visualizations for websites, did just that when beginning a complete overhaul of its website.
Read more…

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Website Messaging: How clarity once again trumped persuasion to the tune of a 200% boost in conversion rate

May 23rd, 2011 No comments

“Clarity trumps persuasion.”
Dr. Flint McLaughlin, Managing Director (CEO), MECLABS

The above statement has become somewhat of a mantra around the MECLABS offices. Not only because it’s quotable, but also because of just how applicable it is across all facets of marketing. Whether discussing a simple print ad or a complex integrated campaign, at the end of the day our goal as marketers is clear – tell people what you offer and why they should buy from you. If you’re clear in your messaging, there’s no need for persuasive tactics that don’t directly support your value proposition.

Still, it’s somewhat ironic that simplifying a marketing message can be such a complicated process. In this post, we’ll be looking into a recent test conducted on the website of a large international financial services company, pointing out why even the most basic offerings were diluted by an overly complicated process and unclear calls-to-action. Read more…

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Homepage Optimization: How sharing ideas can lead to more diverse radical redesigns

April 29th, 2011 4 comments

It was time to get radical at Senior Optimization Manager, Adam Lapp’s optimization class, and once again I was there to document it all for your reading pleasure. Because I care, naturally.

Since my last post, the student body has grown, and we now have five new research analysts eager to learn. Due to our uneven number, Adam decided to pit all of the analysts against each other for his optimization competition, instead of taking the usual team approach. This time around, their challenge was to create the most effective radical redesign for the Arbor Day Foundation homepage (which was submitted for live optimization during our Homepage Web clinic).

But before I show you the original page, I’d like to add that this lesson not only sharpened our optimization skills, but also proved that great minds don’t always think alike. And, believe it or not that can be a really good thing.

Diagnosing the homepage

Now, let’s get to down the “nitty gritty”…here’s the audience submission:

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Before being given the task to create radical wireframes for the original homepage, Adam and the class discussed the page’s main issues. Here is their analysis the key problems visitors might face:

  • The logo is too small. It gets lost in the page and also doesn’t help the visitor know exactly where they are
  • There’s not a clear focus on the page

o   It has a confusing top navigation

o   It has three equally weighted columns (Trees, Programs, Lend Your Support)

o   It also has confusing objectives (Where do I click, what can I do on this page?)

1. What is the difference between a membership, a donation and buying a tree?

  • Unclear call-to-action

o   The first and largest call-to-action a visitor sees is “Visit the tree nursery”

o   Makes the visitor ask, “What is a tree nursery? Is this a place to buy trees or a clever metaphor for a type of product or page?”

o   Visitors have unclear expectations of what the next page will be and are a little lost at this point.

Radical Solutions

After pointing out these issues, the analysts had to figure out how to tie in all these objectives together into one goal. And when it was time to present their radical wireframes, each analyst came up with a completely different design and goal in mind (remember the original page had several objectives).

Each submitted wireframe focused on one of the following goals:

Click to enlarge

-Directly pushing a membership

  • The headline is action oriented, specific and includes a membership incentive
  • It drives the visitor’s attention to a primary call-to-action (become a member)


Click to enlarge



-Getting visitors to donate and help the Arbor Day Foundation’s mission

  • Headline immediately says where you are
  • The options on left let visitors know what to do on the page (donate/help)


Click to enlarge



- Giving the gift of a tree or allowing visitors to pick 10 trees for themselves now

  • Page objective is simplified and the incentive of 10 free gifts with donation is emphasized
  • De-emphasized supporting column with core information about the foundation


Click to enlarge



-Engaging visitors with an interactive game

  • Headline tells visitors exactly where they are
  • Focuses on letting visitors interact and become familiar with the product through question game



Click to enlarge

-Pushing all objectives in a new navigation-focused design

  • Visitor can quickly choose a path from the easy to see, simple, and short left navigation on the top portion.
  • Has a rotating banner will draw the eye path to the four most important objectives, then presents four core values in a controllable (and testable) sequence



Five heads are better than one

These five separate takes on one Web page got us thinking about the brainstorming process and how important it is for marketers to create a blissful marriage between individual ideas and teamwork.

In a marketing team, not everyone is going to think the same way, but this doesn’t mean that these differing thoughts can’t turn into a great collaborative effort.

This reminds me of the weekly peer review meetings we have at out lab, where the research team gets together and reviews Web pages as a team. Usually, one person starts off the conversation and then another person bounces off an idea about that topic, sometimes agreeing or challenging the previous comment. The idea here is to brainstorm in the correct way, by being open to different ideas and avoiding groupthink. Of course, not every idea is a good idea, which is why you have to test.

This is exactly what happened during Adam’s class. Each analyst initially came in with a different idea for the homepage and after everyone’s thoughts were put on the table, each individual thought grew into one improved and cohesive approach to developing treatments.

“If one person in charge of this page only relied on their own ideas, we may not [be] able to achieve the highest level of success,” Adam said. Of course, this hypothetical collaborative effort would have to be tested to make sure it’s actually effective.

“There’s no such thing as expert marketers, only expert testers,” Adam said. “AND the best way to get diverse test ideas is to leverage other people with other ideas.”

Lesson learned

In the end, even though it started as a free-for-all competition, with the right guidance and frame of mind, it turned out to be a great team effort.

Now that we’ve learned that lesson, I would love to start a collaborative effort with the audience, and ask you to share your ideas to optimize this homepage. Feel free to use the comments section to get this brainstorming session rolling.

Related Resources

Homepage Optimization: Radical redesign ideas for multivariable testing

Homepage Optimization: Creating the best design to quickly meet multiple visitors’ needs

Informed Dissent: The best marketing campaigns come from the best ideas

Landing Page Optimization: What cyclical products can learn from CBS Sports

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