Posts Tagged ‘friction and anxiety’

Transparent Marketing: 3 tips to help build your online credibility

August 19th, 2013

Building credibility can be tough, both in your professional life and in your marketing.

At times, it can even feel a little like pushing a boulder uphill. It takes a lot of work to move a very small distance and the slightest mistake can wipe out all those hard-earned efforts.

Luckily for most of us, we don’t have to push the boulder of trust by ourselves. We have teams of peers willing to help and you have customers that can help if you empower them with the right tools.

So in today’s MarketingExperiments Blog post, I wanted to share with you three tips you can use to help others do your bragging for you.


Tip #1. Give customers real estate on your site to share their stories

Today’s customers are more than just a revenue stream …

They are brand advocates who write reviews on sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon that will ring louder than your marketing ever will. The savviest marketers understand offering customers a home to share those reviews and stories can add credibility to your products and services.

Take Volkswagen’s Stories page, for example, that pretty much turns customer testimonials into content marketing.


Another great example is Apple’s Support Communities page, where users help each other with tech support questions.


It’s all made possible simply by offering customers a little real estate on your website to share their stories and build communities.


Tip #2. Ask third-party supporters for endorsements

Another group of people that can do wonders for your credibility are third-party supporters.

You may ask, “Who are these people?”

Well, these are unbiased people or groups who endorse your products or services without a direct connection to you. That unbiased tip of the hat can carry some sway of merit with potential customers.

One classic example of third-party support would be the inclusion of a third-party rating system logo on your website, like the Better Business Bureau rating.

Published reviews mentioning your product or service in magazines like CNET or Fortune can also serve as third-party testimonials in addition to customer reviews.

Also, use security verifications in your sales funnel such as McAfee Secure or Symantec to mitigate customer anxiety and reduce friction.

A few simple changes and endorsements from trusted third parties can be worth much than what meets the eye!


Tip #3. Don’t forget to look to your data for answers

While customer testimonials and third-party endorsements offer support for right-brained consumers, quantified statistics provide support for the left-brained.

It is one thing to say your company has a high level of customer satisfaction, but if the customer satisfaction rating is more than 90%, your customers need to see it.

Have you sold more than a million units of your product or service? Show it!

As Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, says, “Clarity trumps persuasion.” One way to be clear is through quantification.

You want to communicate your credibility whether it is through expertise or another form of success. Let the numbers speak for you. In fact, a Research Partner of ours saw a 201% increase in sales leads after vague statements were replaced with quantitative statements based on their success, such as, “Trusted since 1972” and “210 million U.S. consumers.”

Read more…

Landing Page Optimization: 262% increase in lead rate

January 16th, 2013

Here is a test from our Landing Page Optimization online course

Background:  A B2B company offering business VoIP telephone services

Goal:  To increase the number of quote requests

Primary Research Question:  Which quote process will generate more total leads?

Approach: Multifactor split test



Read more…

Website Optimization: 3 quick win changes you can test right now

November 30th, 2012

Recently, one of our former students leveraged the power of social media to share his frustrations with the results of his optimization efforts in the Linkedin discussion group of our sister company, MarketingSherpa.

Joel Levitt, who works as a management consultant, is also the owner of a small online business that offers disk storage solutions. Joel attended our Landing Page Optimization and Value Proposition Development training sessions (links are to the online certification courses), and applied what he learned in the sessions to his homepage afterward.

The results he anticipated have been less than optimal because, according to Joel, the metrics he is tracking indicate that his treatment page is performing worse than his original.

“I must have missed something big, but I can’t figure out what it is,” Joel said in his comments on LinkedIn.

So today’s MarketingExperiments blog post is going to help Joel with a few optimization test ideas that he can add to his testing queue – a few quick wins to get his page on the right track. Our hope is that you can use this real-world example to help inspire test ideas for your own sites, as well.

So let’s look at the homepage for Joel’s site:


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Joel sent us this screenshot of the site, which I took to a peer review session for test brainstorming. At the session, I asked Lauren Maki, Optimization Manager, MECLABS, if she could provide Joel with a few test ideas to add to his queue. Here were some of her suggestions:

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A/B Testing: Learn about testing hypotheses from a 200% increase in chocolate consumption

November 16th, 2012

Last year around Christmas, I decided to offer Hershey’s Kisses in a bowl at my desk to the people that regularly walked by my office and came in for calls. When the candy didn’t disappear too quickly, I felt like I needed a test to figure out what was going on. When I asked people, they didn’t really know why. They just either wanted it or didn’t.


Customer Theory Question: Why do people not take the candy? After all, it is the season of giving, and I want to give it away!

So, I started doing my research, and I came across our property manager, Mike W.  He had asked me where all the Hershey’s Kiss wrappers were coming from because he had been picking them up around the office.

Of course, I didn’t tell him it was me, but I then had a hypothesis:


Hypothesis #1: People do not take my candy because they fear the wrath of our property manager. Either that or there is just something about the Kiss’ packaging that gets on my prospects’ nerves.

Test #1: Hershey’s Kisses vs. Hershey’s Miniatures


Same chocolate — extremely similar servings — but the package of the Miniatures is easier to take off and throw away for some people. Will the packaging have an effect on how much chocolate disappears from my bowl?

FRICTION (difficult of wrapper), ANXIETY (wrath of property manager)

Results: More of my candy started to disappear! However, not a whole lot more (like 20% more). Thus, I could conclude that some people didn’t take candy because of the effect of the packaging (possibly due to anxiety) but there are still more people to reach.

So I then wondered … Now that I have the Miniatures up, why are they not taking more?

  Read more…

Shopping Cart Abandonment: 7 simple steps to completing the sale

November 5th, 2012

You spent years creating a valuable email list that gets Kim Johnson to opt in. Then, you craft an amazing email that inspires Kim Johnson to click to the landing page, where your marketing prowess is again on display, and Kim Johnson adds your product to her cart. And then… And then… Nothing. But why? And, what can you do to avoid this scenario as much as possible?

Well, at least you’re not alone – 88% of consumers have abandoned an online shopping cart without completing their transaction, according to a Forrester study. While you cannot eliminate cart abandonment, and many factors are out of your control (some customers just weren’t ready to purchase), you do have the ability to reduce abandonment.


 If you want to reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates, follow these seven simple steps:

  Read more…

E-commerce: Checkout page test sells 36% more vacations

October 31st, 2012

Identifying and optimizing a few elements early in your sales funnel might give you a few quick wins, but what about the bigger picture of thinking about your entire sales funnel and long-term solutions for fixing the revenue leaks deeper within your checkout process?

In today’s MarketingExperiments blog post, we’ll show you a checkout page experiment and two questions that every marketer should contemplate beyond their testing.

But first, let’s take a look at some of the research notes on the experiment. 

Background: A consumer company specializing in vacation rentals

Goal: To increase the number of vacation confirmations

Primary Research Question: Which page will yield the highest conversion rate from billing information to confirmation?

Test Design: A/B multi-factor split test



Click to enlarge


The control featured a two-step horizontal design that shaded and separated Step 2 (second half of the form) until a “Continue” button was clicked, allowing users to move forward in the checkout process.

Once users completed the second step, they would click a second “Submit Reservation” button.



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The treatment changes the form design from a two-step horizontal flow to a vertical design with minimized form fields. The treatment also reduces the calls-to-action to a single “Book My Vacation” button.



Click to enlarge


The treatment outperformed the control by a relative difference of 36% at a 98% level of confidence. So what can we learn from this experiment?


What you need to understand

When I asked Kyle Foster, Research Manager, MECLABS, about what we can learn from this experiment, he offered two takeaway questions that marketers should ask themselves:

  • Do I understand my sales funnel completely? – Kyle explained that every lift you discover in your sales funnel is a direct increase to your ROI, and thinking about your sales funnel holistically will give you the greatest possible leverage to discover those lifts.

Kyle added that thinking about your sales funnel on a larger scale can also help identify potential revenue holes deeper within your funnel. “You want to plug the holes in the bottom of the bucket by fixing the end of a broken funnel prior to bringing in more traffic.”

  • Am I thinking beyond the data? – Similar to his suggestion on thinking about the sales funnel, Kyle explained that marketers should also think beyond their data and short-term goals to gain a greater insight on developing a testing cycle that will produce better results.

“Sometimes you just have to use a little common sense in treating areas that will have a greater impact,” Kyle said.

He further added, “Aside from testing individual page elements, marketers should really take into consideration the overall areas of opportunity that exist by thinking about where the problems are now and where new problems might exist in the future.”


Related Resources:

Landing Page Optimization: 3 test ideas from a WordPress landing page

Optimization 201: Fix the broken leg before you fix the broken toe

Landing Page Optimization: 4 test ideas for a free-trial, lead gen form page

Form Optimization: 3 case studies to help convince your boss (and Sales) to reduce form fields