John Tackett

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

August 7th, 2014

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.

Read more…

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Categories: Landing Page Optimization Tags: , , , , , , ,

Paul Cheney

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

August 4th, 2014

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

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John Tackett

Why Responsive Design Does Not Care About Your Customers

July 31st, 2014

Responsive design, like any new technology or technique, does not necessarily increase conversion.

This is because when practicing Web optimization, you are not simply optimizing a design; you are optimizing a customer’s thought sequence. In this experiment, we discovered the impact responsive design has on friction experienced by the customer.

Background: A large news media organization trying to determine whether it should invest in responsive mobile design.

Goal: To increase free trial signups.

Research Question: Which design will generate the highest rate of free trial sign-ups across desktop, tablet and mobile platforms: responsive or unresponsive?

Test Design: A/B multifactorial split test

 

The Control: Unresponsive design

unresponsive-design

 

During an initial analysis of the control page, the MECLABS research team hypothesized that by testing a static page versus an overlay for the free trial, they would learn if visitors were more motivated with a static page as there is no clutter in the background that might cause distraction.

From this, the team also theorized that utilizing a responsive design would increase conversion as the continuity of a user-friendly experience would improve the customer experience across multiple devices.

The design for the control included a background image.

 

The Treatment: Responsive design

responsive-design

 

In the treatment, the team removed the background image to reduce distraction and implemented a responsive design to enhance user experience across all devices.

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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.

 

Lightboxes 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.

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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.

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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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