What drives people to sign up for digital subscriptions, especially when similar content can be easily obtain elsewhere for free? To answer this question, MECLABS Institute recently completed a survey of 900 U.S. consumers who spend at least three hours a week reading print or digital news content and earn at least $40,000 annually. Academic and industry experts were also interviewed as part of the research.
Banners take up precious space on landing pages and too often don’t do enough to turn prospects into customers. Yet marketers are forced to work within their constraints.
The latest MarketingExperiments Web clinic outlined how to make every banner a conversion-driving opportunity, because even the smallest changes can make an impressive difference. To prove it, Mike Loveridge, Head of Digital Test and Learn, Humana, Inc., a healthcare insurance provider, presented banner tests from his organization. Take a short break and find out what he discovered here: Site Banners Tested: How minor changes led to a 433% increase in clickthrough for Humana.
Here’s the boon and the bane of banners: They’re often the very first thing that people see when they arrive on the landing page. That means if they aren’t optimally presented, you’re going to lose customers immediately. But optimized banners can drive more prospects than ever before, and it doesn’t take much effort.
Consider this banner that was on Humana’s homepage.
Simple, direct and bare. When your company and process is known around the world, a blank page with little competing content can not only work, but it can work really well.
Simplicity is key. Take a look at Google’s homepage:
What about new visitors? Imagine coming to this page for the first time, with little to no context of the company. What is this company? If I type something in that text box, for example, where will it take me?
Simplicity is not always a key to effective website optimization.
Simplicity is the reduction of friction, but clarity is the optimization of the message. A simple message is not necessarily a clear message.
Take a look at a test we ran with a physicians-only social network that allows pharmaceutical companies to conduct survey research and promote products to their audience. The goal of this A/B split test was to identify which microsite would generate the most total leads.
Check out the control below. Can you find the value proposition?
“The conversion sequence is actually a function of understanding the offer. We are not optimizing the product, we are optimizing the offer. As such, we are focused on two aspects: the content and the presentation.” — Flint McGlaughlin, On Improving the Conversion Sequence
The goal for most marketers is conversion. Often other metrics, like open rate and clickthrough, are tossed by the wayside for the “all-powerful” conversion.
I recently came across a test in the MECLABS research library that spoke to the idea of optimizing an offer through content and presentation. It also lent itself to the other side of metrics — elements such as conversion.
This company (which has been anonymized) offers a testing software for certification exam preparation in the form of a subscription model. For this test, an email was sent out to their customers apologizing for a new, somewhat confusing, pricing structure.
Once the link was clicked, customers were brought to a landing page which had different subscription models to choose from. Here is what the control looked like:
Much like Dory, Ryan Hutchings, Director of Marketing, VacationRoost, taught us that even when we aren’t gaining the results we want, just keep testing.
Ryan was one of the presenters at MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Web Optimization Summit 2014, where he discussed his marketing experience at VacationRoost — an ecommerce vacation rental wholesaler. During his session, Ryan shared how he and his marketing team were able to:
Increase the company’s total conversion 12%
Run more than 50 tests in a year
These results were achieved by employing simultaneous tests for large and small projects. The tests Ryan utilized ran on two separate testing methodologies and allowed VacationRoost’s small marketing team to make the most of its resources.
Because VacationRoost is an aggregation of several smaller companies, the company currently has many different websites and Web properties it has to maintain. “For a marketer, it’s ideal because I have this whole entire playground to essentially do whatever I want with,” Ryan said.
However, not every test leads to overwhelmingly positive results. So what do you do when your costly testing is met with failure?