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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John Tackett

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

July 7th, 2014

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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John Tackett

Online Testing: 3 resources to inspire your ecommerce optimization

July 3rd, 2014

Optimizing to improve a customer experience can be a little overwhelming when you consider all the nuts and bolts that make up an entire ecommerce property in its entirety.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at three ecommerce resources from our testing library that will hopefully spark a few ideas that you can to add to your testing queue.

 

Read: A/B Testing: Product page testing increases conversion 78%

ebook-retailer-versions

 

How it can help

This experiment with a MECLABS Research Partner is a great example illustrating how testing elements on your product pages that are probable cause for customer concern is the best way to alleviate anxiety.

 

Watch: Marketing Multiple Products: How radical thinking about a multi-product offer led to a 70% increase in conversion

 

In this Web clinic replay, Austin McCraw, Senior Director of Content Production, MECLABS, shared how radical thinking about a multi-product offer led one company to a 70% increase in conversion.

 

How it can help

 One big takeaway from this clinic you need to understand is that strategic elimination of competing offers on pages with multiple products can help drive customers’ focus to the right product choices for their needs.

 

Learn: Category Pages that Work: Recent research reveals design changes that led to a 61.2% increase in product purchases

 

These slides are from a Web clinic on category pages in which Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, revealed the results of category page design changes that increased clicks and conversions across multiple industries.

Read more…

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John Tackett

Online Testing: How to use A/A testing to break through the noise

June 30th, 2014

Getting a lift from your testing efforts can be satisfying and rewarding.

Not to mention, increases in conversion have changed the fortunes of entire enterprises and the careers of the marketers who advocated testing.

But is a lift truly a lift, or is it simply a false positive resulting from natural variation?

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to share an excellent example of using A/A testing (and yes, you are reading that correctly) from Emily Emmer, Senior Interactive Marketing Manager, Extra Space Storage, presented at Web Optimization Summit 2014.

 

What does variance in testing look like?

variance-testing-homepage

 

Here’s the example Emily shared with the audience to help put variance in context using a control and treatment of Extra Space Storage’s homepage.

There is absolutely no difference between these pages except for the 15% difference in conversion.

According to Emily, that’s when you need to start investigating how variance is potentially impacting your testing efforts because there should be little to no difference in terms of performance in identical pages.

“A 15% lift is more concerning,” Emily explained, “because there should be no difference with the same experience.”

 

A/A testing is not A/B testing

variance-testing-explanation

 

Emily also noted a key distinction between A/A and A/B testing that is really important to grasp:

  • A/A testing – Can help you measure the natural variability (noise) of a website by testing an identical experience.

Read more…

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John Tackett

A/B Testing: Product page testing increases conversion 78%

June 26th, 2014

Product pages are arguably the heart of an ecommerce website.

It’s where potential customers learn about your products in a guided conversation that should deliver value and an overall top-notch customer experience.

Consequently, the elements on those pages are also potentially where you’re losing conversions due to anxiety.

At MarketingExperiments, we define customer anxiety as “a psychological concern stimulated by a given element in the sales or sign-up process.”

So how do you identify and mitigate anxiety on product pages?

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to share a recent experiment where an e-book retailer asked that same question and started testing to discover a way to answer it.

But, before we dive in, let’s view the background notes on the test to put the experiment into context.

Background: A large e-book retailer.

Goal: To increase the overall number of e-book sales.

Research Question: Which attempt to reduce anxiety will result in the highest conversion rate?

Test Design: A/B variable cluster split test

 

Side by side

ebook-retailer-versions

 

The team hypothesized that testing key product page elements could help them determine the true impact of anxiety on a product page.

Here is a quick breakdown of the elements the team chose to test in each treatment:

  • Version A – Attempted to reduce anxiety by using security seals
  • Version B – Highlighted compatibility by illustrating the product is multi-device friendly
  • Version C – Provided a synopsis of the content to help customers determine if the e-book would suit their interests at the top of the page
  • Version D – Emphasized quick accessibility to the product upon purchase

 

Results

 product-pages-test-results

 

Moving the product description up on the page resulted in a 78% relative increase in conversion.

  Read more…

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John Tackett

Online Optimization: Testing value prop to grow your tribe

June 23rd, 2014

I have a deep respect for the marketers at nonprofits.

How they deliver appeal and exclusivity to donors, in some circumstances, can potentially make or break solvency.

Consequentially, I would argue testing and optimizing value proposition for nonprofits is vital.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll take a look at an experiment from a Web Optimization Summit 2014 presentation from featured speaker Tim Kachuriak, Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer, Next After, on “selling the intangible.”

Before we begin, here are some background notes on the test.

Background: The Heritage Foundation, a think tank located in Washington, D.C.

Objective: To increase the donation conversion rate.

Primary Research Question: How does value proposition affect conversion rate?

Test Design: Radical redesign A/B split test

 

Side by side

donation-page-experiment

 

Here are the control and treatment versions of the donation pages side by side.

According to Tim, the primary focus for his team was gaining a deeper understanding of how value proposition impacts donor behavior.

 

Treatment

treatment-elements-donation-page

 

In the treatment, Tim and the team identified elements on the landing page that would likely have the greatest impact on value proposition:

  • Headline – Deliver value right up front
  • Bullets – Quickly highlight reasons to donate
  • Testimonials – Share third-party sources who are fans
  • Call-to-action – Make intentions for donors clear and easy

 

Results

donation-page-test-results

 

The treatment outperformed the control by 189%.

Fellow optimization fanatics should also take note here that the winner was also a long-copy page with the CTA below the fold.

Read more…

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