Posts Tagged ‘Value Proposition’

Website Analytics: How to use data to determine where to test

May 28th, 2015 6 comments

At MarketingExperiments, we use patented heuristics to evaluate websites, emails and other digital mediums. 

Often people think that a heuristic evaluation is a purely qualitative approach to a problem. This can be true, but when you combine quantitative analytics with the qualitative knowledge you increase the power to make meaningful change.

This post will show relevant metrics for three of these elements that any marketer — from beginner to advanced — can use to discover opportunities for improvement.


Step #1. Look at the qualitative elements of your website

Often people just ask for data dumps. To make matters worse, they want it in a very short time. On top of that, most data scientists use purely what they are comfortable with: numbers.

To add context and save time, you must evaluate the site to see where you should focus your data analysis.

Put yourself in the customer’s mindset and go to your site. If you own creative or design, try to remove those biases as best as possible. What makes sense to you or feels like the right amount of information may be completely overwhelming to a customer who isn’t familiar with your product or industry.


Look for things that are broken, functions that are clunky, images that don’t make sense or add value and difficulty in completing the conversion. You must objectively look at all the pages in the conversion path and be familiar enough with them to make sense of the data that you pull.

Pull data to illuminate the points you saw to give validity to the theory. Key heuristic elements and data help prove the problem.


Step #2. Understand motivation

Motivation cannot be affected, but it can be matched.  Use the traffic reports below to determine who is coming, how they are coming and why they are coming.

Sources and mediums

The source is the specific place where the traffic originated and the medium is the type of traffic. Google is an example of a source, and the medium would segment this traffic by direct, organic, paid, email, etc.

Knowing where the traffic is coming from tells us about:

  • The types of users — For example: young, old or tech savvy
  • User brand awareness — Having more organic than paid traffic can mean users already know you and your products.
  • Email — Users are on a list and have engaged with you before.


Match the motivation of search traffic by looking at what keywords were used to find the link to your site.

If the majority are branded, then you can spend less real estate on your site telling people who you are with primary level value proposition. If the majority is nonbranded, then you know you must put value proposition about your company and products directly in the customer’s eye-path.

Next level

Look at the landing pages people visit most often, and look at the bounce and exit rates. If these are high, you haven’t aligned with the motivation of the visitors.


Step #3. Insert value proposition

There are four main levels of value proposition:

  • Primary — about your company
  • Product — about your available offerings
  • Process — what steps need to be taken to convert or what happens post-conversion
  • Prospect — telling potential customers why they should be doing business with you


It is important to use value proposition in the right place to increase the perceived value of the offer as you increase the perceived cost — which could be taking action or giving personal information.

Previous page

Look at pages such as “About Us,” “Contact Us” and “FAQ” and run a previous page report. This will show you where visitors need more value proposition to keep them in the funnel.

You can take it a step further and see where visitors went next by running a Next Page Report, which shows the areas where customers needed more information.

Exit Page Report

Find your top exit pages and then look at them to see if there is value proposition on those pages. If there isn’t, then add the appropriate value proposition. If there is, maybe the value proposition needs updating. This update could be as simple as changing where it is and what it says.

To understand what goes into a proper value proposition, review these five questions from a MarketingExperiments interview with Michael Lanning, the inventor of the term.

Scroll metrics

Often I see websites where the value proposition is on the page, but it is too low on the page or too outside the eye path to ever be seen.

See how far people are scrolling on your pages to determine the placement of your value proposition.

Next level

Look at responses of customers to determine the best and worst aspects of your product(s) so that you can highlight the best and message against the worst. Also, look at your competitors and compare products so that you can highlight why your product is the best for the potential customer.


Step #4. Address friction

Friction is the amount of effort someone has to give to complete a conversion. Look at the key funnel steps and run these reports.


Every website has many friction possibilities, so focus on those specific to you. Look at form fields, product pages, carts, calls-to-action and other places that may be difficult to navigate.

“Previous” and “Next Page” reports are a great way to isolate friction. If you see that a high rate of visitors are bouncing between steps or between the cart and shopping, then some element of friction is most likely causing them to not want to complete the step. If people are going to the “Contact Us” page at the same point repeatedly, then they most likely have had enough with trying to complete the purchase online.

Form tracking

Set up events or click tracking to help identify friction (especially at places where people enter information). If you see a high drop off rate at a particular part of the checkout, then the friction has overwhelmed the visitor. You can test shortening or removing information or explaining why the information is necessary.

Internal search traffic can also be used to help identify friction in the purchase process. If common search terms are product related, it is too difficult for the user to get the relevant information they are seeking. If it is mostly related to process, then you can address those elements in the purchase path.


You can follow Benjamin Filip, Manager of Data Sciences, MECLABS on Twitter @benjamin_filip.


You might also like

Gain actionable ideas for optimizing conversion on your landing pages from Ben Fillip at the MECLABS Institute Marketing Lab at IRCE in Chicago

Beginner’s Guide to Web Data Analysis: Ten Steps to Love & Success [From Occam’s Razor]

Digital Analytics: How to use data to tell your marketing story [More from the MarketingExperiments blog]

Value Proposition: 4 key questions to help you slice through hype [More from the MarketingExperiments blog]

Value Proposition Development: 5 insights to help you discover your value prop [More from the MarketingExperiments blog]

Process-Level Value Proposition: How marketing can leverage the value it creates

May 18th, 2015 No comments

If I am your ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than your competitors?

This is the essential value proposition question, and many major business decisions must be made to truly discover and deliver on your company’s value proposition — from the CEO down to the intern.

But today, let’s focus on the small stuff to raise this question for you …


What minor changes can you make right now to deliver a better value for your customers?

Once you have the big stuff taken care of, once marketing has communicated (and sometimes even created) value, sometimes the little touches make all the difference. They are the tipping point to help your ideal customer decide to choose your product or service instead of your competitors’.

Let me give you an example.


Really, they’re more than just stickers

My wife and I needed to buy some Mother’s Day cards, so we stopped by Deerwood Village, a shopping center near our house. As soon as we swung into the parking lot, we were confronted with three choices right next to each other that all likely offer Mother’s Day cards:

  • Publix (a grocery store)
  • CVS (a drug store)
  • Hallmark Gold Crown store (a gift shop)

We decided to buy the cards at the Hallmark store, and a simple but profound thing happened at the checkout. The cashier handed us stickers.

But, they weren’t just stickers. They were a signifier.

When she was done ringing us up at the cash register, she said, “Wait. Let me give you some of these to put on the back of the envelopes.”

With that, she reached down and counted out four gold crown stickers.

  Read more…

How to Construct a Customer-Focused Remarketing Campaign

May 14th, 2015 10 comments

To start, think of a consumer on your ecommerce site.

They scroll through the carefully selected featured content on your site. For some reason, something on the screen catches their eye, and they click through to one of your product pages. Their eyes rest on the framed image of your product and travel through the concise product description.

After a few seconds, their mouse hovers over that all-mighty CTA: “Add to Cart.” They click …

… and then they leave. Just like that, one of your customers has fallen out of the funnel, abandoning their cart as well as their possible transaction with your company.

Speaking as an editor at MECLABS Institute (MarketingExperiments’ parent company) and as a consumer for over 20 years, I feel comfortable saying that we customers are a fickle crowd. In the few minutes and steps it takes from adding a product to the cart to actually checking out, a million different things can happen to prevent purchase.

Marketers need to be ready to battle everything — from customer frustration with the purchase process to simple distraction.

Thankfully, an abandoned cart does not have to mean a lost transaction. A cart abandonment email campaign can be an excellent, though underutilized, way to reconnect with your lost customer and potentially make a purchase.

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, when asked what types of automated emails their organization deploys, surveyed marketers ranked “Shopping cart abandonment” as dead last at 11%. However, 51% of surveyed American adults found these emails to be helpful.

Here are three tips to help you save your next ecommerce sale.


Step #1. Make your checkout process simple and transparent

This first step is a little counterintuitive for this blog post, but it’s essential. In an ideal world, you would never need to utilize a cart abandonment campaign because your customer would never abandon their cart.

To cut down on the number of abandonments and create an easy and pleasant checkout experience, you need to keep seven things in mind:

  • Be upfront about shipping costs and information
  • Relieve customer anxiety (especially when it comes to secure payment methods)
  • Make checkout available to all customers, not just registered users
  • Continue to present value throughout the checkout process
  • Make the whole process quick and easy
  • Employ persistent carts

My colleague, Lauren Pitchford, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS Institute, wrote a great guide about creating the best checkout experience possible, which really explores these aforementioned ideas in-depth.


Step #2: Determine if a cart abandonment campaign is right for you

Like I mentioned before, this isn’t an ideal world, and customers are going to leave cart items. This is where a cart abandonment email campaign can really be beneficial.

These emails serve several purposes, two examples of which are:

  • Reminding customers about the wonderful merchandise they clicked away from
  • Serving as a point of communication between your brand and the consumer

But it’s important to remember that these campaigns aren’t an ecommerce panacea.

A recent Chart of the Week from MarketingSherpa (sister company to MarketingExperiments) explored what customers thought of cart abandonment remarketing.

 Q. What are your views of reminder emails that tell you when you have an item in your online shopping cart that has not yet been purchased?

Read more…

How to Avoid Losing the Value of Your Value Proposition

When a customer comes to a page or an ad, one of the primary questions asked in their subconscious is, “If I am your ideal customer, why should I buy from you, rather than your competitor?

The answer to this question is, essentially, your value proposition.

However, what happens when you’ve formed a perfect value proposition, but it’s not giving you the results you wanted? You’ve filled out the worksheets, read all the articles on value proposition and followed all the rules you know. So, how is it that you’ve done everything, seemingly right, but it’s still not working?

For a quick example, let’s imagine for a moment that you’re reading through an online article. As you’re reading, you see the following advertisement on the side of the page with the caption, “Let’s look at the world a little differently.”

When we look at this ad, the first thing we see is the text in all caps; “Retired old man intercepted on his way out of the bank.” Below that is a confusing image of what looks like a diagram, followed by, at the very bottom of the page, what appears to be the value proposition: “Open happiness.”

The customer is left with the question: What can I do here?

Read more…

Email Marketing: Improve subject lines in 7 steps by using the right words, in the right order

April 27th, 2015 1 comment

It can be easy to overlook the importance of a subject line when crafting an email. After all, it’s just one line. The email itself is where most of the magic happens. However, without an effective subject line, only the most motivated customers will open your email to see what’s inside.

In a recent MarketingExperiments Web clinic — “The Power of the Properly Sequenced Subject Line” — the team revealed how to improve email performance by using the right words, in the right order.

After analyzing many tests in the Research Library,  two key principles to finding success with subject lines were discovered:

  1. Many marketers worry about their ability to write persuasive copy, but the marketer’s art is not persuasion; it is clarity. Indeed, when the marketer represents an authentic value proposition, clarity is persuasion.
  2. We are not optimizing subject lines; we are optimizing thought sequences. The most effective subject lines emphasize the “get” and imply the “ask.”

From these principles and other discoveries the team has made about customer behavior, a checklist of seven questions was developed. These questions can then be used as seven steps to follow when crafting your email subject lines.


Feel free to share the checklist, and if you’d prefer something a little more printer-friendly, download the “Crafting Effective Subject Lines” PDF. The PDF also includes the two key principles for your reference.

Read more…

Direct vs. Indirect Creative: Which ad is better?

April 20th, 2015 No comments

Most people spend their lives trying to avoid ads. Not me. This may make me a complete marketing nerd, but I actually enjoy reading ads. I have for some time now. I love studying the different approaches of persuasive communication. I love attempting to uncover the underlying value propositions under each ad. I love just seeing how other marketers are attempting to communicate value to their potential customers.

Recently, I was on a Delta flight to San Diego, and I began to sift through the different ads in the Delta Sky Magazine. The first ad that caught my attention was an ad from Little Caesars. Now, I am no Little Caesars expert by any means, but its brand real estate in my brain up to that point was simply this: We do cheap pizza.

This ad was trying to combat that perception in a decently creative way.


Ad #1: The creative (indirect) type

The ad was mostly made up of white space (or perhaps orange space). The first positive thing about this ad was that it stood out from the other pages. It also had one bold image in the middle — an industrial mixer. A single line of ALL CAPS text centered beneath the mixer simply stated, “Saving the commercial mixer from becoming extinct.”


Now, there are very few elements to this ad. Its creative is simple and elegant. Its creative also takes an indirect communication approach. David Ogilvy (widely hailed as “The Father of Advertising”) would be proud.

What are they trying to say by putting a big picture of a commercial mixer? What do you think the implied value proposition is? What is the message underneath the creative approach?

Read more…