5 Strategies to Entice Consumers to Binge-Watch Your Product Videos

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Continue watching.

These two words are infamous in the world of video streaming. When consumers are hooked, they want more to watch.

“Content marketers should consider the binging trend a sort of case study. All of the elements that make us binge are lessons,” says Kari Matthews, a content writer for technology companies.

“We can do what these [television] shows do, in our own way, in our own industries, to make the most of our content and build our brands.”

Work with your team to engage customers with binge-worthy product videos. Get them excited about your brand and ecommerce services.

Try these five strategies below to entice your consumers.

1. Cater to Diverse Audiences

Normally, experts suggest creating content to serve a select group of people. But when it comes to product videos, you may want to take a different approach.

You want your content to be shareable. So, it must serve several different audiences. And that includes people who will never purchase your product.

“Remember that not everybody who buys, buys today, not everybody who consumes content shares it, and not everybody who shares content buys,” states Scott Allan, chief marketing officer at AddThis.

“Instead of focusing on capturing leads, create memorable content that customers will draw on when they or their friends are ready to make a purchase.”

So, produce content that people can share with their family and friends. Focus on moments that everyone can relate to, like laughing with friends, hosting a summer barbeque, or attending a college football game.

Below is the noteworthy Dollar Shave Club product video. Not everyone who shared this content bought the shavers, but it did go viral and reached their target audience.

If your company wants avoid vulgar language, think of your product video like a PG-rated film. For instance, most Disney movies are meant for kids to enjoy, but they have enough common themes to engage the parent.

Don’t be afraid to serve more people with your videos. The goal is to spread the word.

2. Develop A Backstory

For product videos to gain your audience’s attention, the content must discuss more than the product. Yes, content must go beyond talking about your company.

In other words: Tell a story that emotionally attaches people. It’s all about showing your audience a new perspective. And giving them a different insight that humanizes your brand.

Studies show that “Americans alone consume over 100,000 digital words every single day, but 92% say they want brands to tell stories amongst all those words.”

The same holds true in the world of video. A written product description isn’t good enough. And a video regurgitating similar information is just awful.

According to For Dummies, a “backstory refers to everything that occurred in your story’s past. A character’s backstory may include family background, job history, psychological condition, and any memories you create for that person from childhood on.”

Instead, bring your videos to life with characters and a plot. Give the actors names and set up an environment where the product is being used, not displayed.

That’s what Amazon did when they introduced its Echo. Rather than giving consumers a run down of the product features, the eCommerce giant showcased the product’s value in a simulated setting.

Get creative. Show, don’t just tell consumers about your products.

3. Create Episodic Content

According to Netflix, the network’s 83 million members watch more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies every day. That’s a lot of time in front of a screen.

But what keeps viewers coming back for more?

One reason is access to uninterrupted content. Consumers don’t need to worry about commercials. Advertisements don’t get in the way of their favorite shows. Therefore, they can focus on viewing what they love the most.

Another reason is the addicting show plots. A great television show contains episodes that leave the audience wanting more. People constantly want to know what’s going to happen next.

Will the main character finally locate the killer? Or will the antagonist prevail and destroy his enemies?

are-you-still-watching-parks-and-recImage Source

Episodic content has people on the edge of their seats. And that’s how your team should set up product videos.

Shoot multiple videos with cliffhangers. Get consumers intrigued about your brand culture and latest product benefits.

“Episodic content enhances the credibility of your brand as people become more and more familiar with you and what you are about. This builds trust and value with your target audience,” says Kerri Ponder, a writer at Crowd Content.

One product video is fine. But a bunch can get customers hooked on your ecommerce brand.

4. Notify Customers of Updates

Your customers are busy. They have to manage both their work and home schedules.

So, sometimes certain things get forgotten. And that’s perfectly fine.

That’s where are your team steps in. Remind your customers of your new product videos.

There’s an old marketing adage: The Rule of Seven. It says that a “prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you.”

Create a special website pop-up telling them about new videos. Keep customers informed by sending notification emails leading up to the launch.

Your business already sends updates about new terms and conditions. Mimic the technique for product videos.

hulu-terms-and-privacy-emails

“Getting people excited about content that is perhaps not yet fully done whets their appetite and keeps them talking about you and your brand, days ahead of when your campaign or content actually is released,” writes Shanna Cook, senior social media manager at Nokia.

Like any marketing tactic, don’t over do it. Reminders can become nuisances if they are sent every single day. Take a look at your internal data and set times best suited for your target audience.

Ask customers to sign up for your email list for product video announcements. There’s power in notifications.

5. Offer an Instant Reward

Everyone enjoys special gifts for their efforts. Reward customers for taking the time to watch or share your video.

Customers want to be delighted. They desire instant rewards that help them today, not tomorrow. So, stay away from mail-in rebates or points that can’t be redeemed today.

For example, at the end of a product video, offer a 10% promo code. And think beyond discounts. Give away exclusive access to a webinar or a free eBook.

Christian Karasiewicz, a social media marketing professional, suggests the following:

“Develop a video to showcase your expertise or further educate your viewers, then include a YouTube card that leads your audience to related material. This can be a transcription, checklist, infographic, SlideShare or downloadable PDF…”

YouTube cards are notifications that appear in your video. It’s a small rectangular box at the top right corner. It gives your viewers a preview of the message. Check out the video below on how to add cards to YouTube videos.

Analyze which rewards consumers like the most. Then, start offering instant rewards for watching your product videos.

Binge-Worthy Content

On-demand video is attracting consumers to brands. The best ones hold the audience’s attention and keep them engaged.

Aim to create product videos for a diverse audience. Give your videos a backstory. And notify customers of new releases.

Produce captivating product videos. Let consumers continue watching.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.



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7 Reasons Your Site Isn’t Ready for A/B Testing

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You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into perfecting your website and you want to get the maximum return from that investment. To achieve that goal, you’ve studied dozens of blogs on conversion optimization techniques. You’ve poured over countless CRO case studies, and you have a few tools to help you run A/B tests.

Before you start split testing to get those conversion gains, pause for a second. I don’t think you’re quite ready yet.

There are plenty of free tools to help you test your optimization – not to mention paid options from Optimizely to OptinMonster that’ll help you explore different facets of your site’s performance – so just about anyone can run A/B tests. But it’s not a matter of simply understanding how to do it.

The problem is that your site just isn’t there yet. A/B testing isn’t for everyone, and if it’s not done at the right time with the right conditions, you might end up accumulating a lot of false data that does more harm than good. Before you invest anything in testing and extensive optimization, consider these seven points:

1. The Traffic Volume Isn’t There

google-analytics-low-traffic-numbersIf this is what your traffic numbers look like, don’t bother A/B testing

There’s no doubt that A/B testing can be highly useful for businesses that want to improve their conversion rates. Having said that however, a lot of businesses shouldn’t bother with A/B testing.

Small businesses that are trying to grow, startups, e-commerce businesses in their early years and other micro businesses simply don’t have the traffic and transactions to accurately perform A/B tests. It takes a significant amount of traffic to provide accurate, measurable results.

In a post from Peep Laja of ConversionXL, he provided an example using a sample size calculator from Evan Miller, where the baseline conversion rate is entered. He then entered the desired lift.

sample-size-calculator-ab-testingImage Source

You can see from this image that in order to detect a 10% lift, the tool recommends at least 51,486 visitors per variation.

If the traffic isn’t there yet, you can still optimize your site based on audience data you’ve gathered, but A/B tests won’t be helpful for a while and they might produce false information.

2. You Don’t Have Anything to Test

A lot of websites function as a general brochure for a company with minimal conversion points. If you run a B2B site or you have a freshly-created site with little more than a contact form and an opt-in, then it’s too early in the game to start running concurrent A/B tests.

new-wordpress-siteIf your site is content-lite then it’s probably too soon to start running tests.

Even if the volume of traffic is adequate to run accurate tests, you may not see a significant lift from a general opt-in or estimate request form. For most businesses, the amount of effort and cost that would go into designing variations for the tests just to get a small lift around micro conversions isn’t worth it.

The same applies to newer e-commerce stores.

Your time would be better spent with your analytics, where you can set up goal tracking, creating marketing campaigns, and developing your content offers and resources. The A/B testing can come later once you have more to offer and traffic has grown substantially.

3. You’re Not Sure What Matters

Do you know what the choke points, leaks, and sticking points are in your funnel? I’m referring to the places where you’re losing prospective customers, as well as where you’re gaining the most.

Before you can run any kind of tests, you have to understand what matters, because some elements are more important than others.

For example: a marketing agency is driving visitors to their estimate request page. They spend a significant amount of time optimizing that page with A/B testing variations and micro changes. After extensive testing, they find that their efforts made very little difference with virtually no impact on their conversions.

Instead, they should have looked for mistakes in their funnel leading up to that page. Maybe the content that led the visitor to that point was where the changes needed to be made. Maybe the search intent of the customer didn’t match the content they found.

Another example: a brand selling shoes online puts a great deal of effort into optimizing and testing product pages, only to realize that the lift in conversion was insignificant. Instead, they could find ways to improve the average order value or review their funnel in Kissmetrics to find the biggest leaks where customers are dropping off and fix those problems instead.

kiss-saas-funnel-opportunity-spottedDon’t know where to test? Find where you’re losing customers (and money) with the Kissmetrics Funnel Report.

If you randomly try to test what you think matters, then you’ll only be wasting time.

One study from Forrester showed that 60% of firms surveyed saw improvements in their website when they used a data-driven approach to design. It’s important to take the time to research what really matters to your business so you know what to optimize and where to make changes.

4. You’re Copying Content

While a competitor site (or any site for that matter) might look like an attractive design that your customers will probably engage with, you can’t waste time testing if you’ve played copycat.

Any tests you run after replicating their design and content will only be wasted. If the solution was as simple as copying what we thought worked well for our competitors (or even conversion case studies) then every e-commerce website would function exactly like Amazon.

The fact is, websites are highly contextual and they should relate to both the audience and what you’re promoting. Wal-Mart and Whole Foods are in the same business of selling food products, but they cater to completely different audiences and sell vastly different products.

If I stacked up my own services against another marketing agency offering identical services, there would still be contextual differences in how we market, how we service customers, the channels we use to engage them, and how we direct traffic to our sites.

You need to make sure your website is designed specifically for you, your channels, your audience, etc. before investing in testing.

5. The Data Isn’t There

The more capable you are with analytics tools like Kissmetrics or Google Analytics, the better off you’ll be. But, if the extent of your knowledge consists of checking traffic quantities, referral sources, time on page and bounce rates, then you’re only scraping the surface.

google-analytics-low-aquisition-dataIf you don’t know what data you need to monitor while A/B testing, then testing is a waste of time.

You have to approach your testing and analytics with a problem so you can find an answer in the data. That way, you can identify issues and confirm what aspects you need to change.

Learning a bit more about your analytics can tune you into:

  • How site elements or offers are performing
  • How your content is performing and whether it is keeping people engaged
  • What people are doing on your site and the routes they typically take
  • Where people are landing, as well as where they’re leaving
  • Where your funnel is losing money

The data won’t specifically tell you how to fix problems; it’s just a starting point where you can discover actionable insights. Without that data, and without the ability to interpret it, A/B testing is pointless.

6. Your Site Has Usability Issues

When was the last time you tested your website in a browser other than the one you typically use? Have you tried going through your entire site on a mobile device?

Have you ever performed a full usability test with a variety of browsers and devices?

This is something a lot of marketers don’t consider when they start A/B tests. Ignoring usability issues, tech problems, and bugs is a huge mistake, though. Even minor bugs and slow load times can dramatically impact your conversion rates.

Just a one second delay in load time can drop conversion rates by as much as 7%.

You won’t get accurate results from A/B testing if segments of your audience are bailing due to usability issues. Some of your audience may never make it to your conversion point, and even if they do, their progress could be hindered by bugs or load times that will ultimately skew your results.

This misinterpretation could lead to changes and further variations of elements that are actually part of your winning, optimized design.

7. You Don’t Know Your Audience

Audience research should be one of the first steps of any marketing strategy. If your goal is to drive lots of traffic to your site with content marketing and paid advertising, I would hope you’ve done some measure of audience research.

Without it, you’re shooting blindly into the darkness and hoping to score a bullseye.

Researching and defining your target audience gives you in-depth information about who you’re targeting, such as their pain points, interests, behaviors, demographics info, and more. That information helps you craft compelling copy, winning headlines, and attention-grabbing offers.

buyer-personaA target customer profile. How well do you know your target market?

Without it, you’ll resort to guessing what to change about your copy, headlines, offers, and calls-to-action. Every variation you test will be just as random as the one before it, and you likely won’t see any significant change in performance.

Know who you’re marketing to before you make a large investment in A/B testing.

Testing isn’t for Everyone

While there’s a wealth of articles and advice online telling you test everything you do and to A/B test every variation, you don’t have to. For many statups and growing online businesses there just isn’t enough traffic early on to create an accurate sampling with measurable results.

Focus on growing your business for now. As you grow traffic levels, learn more about your customers, and targeted traffic increases you can start testing variations to go after those micro wins.

Do you use A/B testing on your site or landing pages right now? Have you found issues with the quality of your results? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.



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36 Creative Landing Page Design Examples: A Showcase and Conversion Critique

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Psst: This post was originally published in 2013, but we recently gave it a refresh during our two-week publishing hiatus. Since launching the Unbounce Marketing Blog, this post has become one of our top-performing posts of all time. We hope you enjoy the read.

It’s landing page examples time.

I’ve compiled a list of 36 landing page designs to critique. Most of them are awesome, some need a bit more work and a few are downright awful (as a lesson of what not to do). Each will get my customary “what I like” and “what I’d change or test” so you can get some ideas and inspiration for your next page.

Here are the landing page design principles I’ll be using as a framework when delivering the critiques:

  1. Encapsulation:
    This is a classic technique used to hijack your visitors eyes and create a tunnel vision effect. You can think of it like creating a window on your landing page where your CTA is the view.
  2. Contrast & Color:
    Some say button color is important, but this a falsehood. In reality, it’s the contrast of the color that you need to focus on. A green CTA may well outperform red in some circumstances, but if the page is dominantly green, that green button is going to get hidden among other page elements. If you focus on contrasting colors you will be much more successful at making it stand out. In the case of the green page, a red button would be suitable.
  3. Directional Cues:
    Call attention to the most important page elements by using strangely placed and angled arrows. Tie a sequence of arrows together to define a path for the visitor to follow, ending at your CTA.
  4. Whitespace:
    Give your page elements breathing room to produce a calming effect and allow your CTA to stand out from the rest of your design.
  5. Urgency & Scarcity:
    Common psychological motivators are the use of urgency (limited time) and scarcity (limited supply).
  6. Try Before You Buy:
    By opening your product to scrutiny before the purchase you appear confident. This increases trust and is an important factor in boosting conversions.
  7. Social Proof:
    Social proof is created by the statistics and actions of a particular crowd and it can greatly enhance the “me too” factor. The major benefit is a level of authentic believability.

A practical application

To demonstrate how to apply these landing page design concepts, I’ll show a before and after template design example. The purpose of this particular template is to facilitate the download of an ebook in exchange for the standard name and email.

Note: This template is available for use within the Unbounce landing page platform suite of landing page templates.

The template: before landing page optimization

landing page template
An ebook landing page template without the aforementioned landing page design concepts applied

The template: after landing page optimization

landing page template conversion centered design
An ebook landing page template with the aforementioned landing page design concepts applied.

36 landing page examples critiqued for conversion

Are you excited to see some sweet examples? You should be… there are 36 of them. Most are from Unbounce customers, but I’ve thrown in some scary ones too, just to mix it up, and to scare you into making your own pages better.

I’m sure this isn’t your first landing page rodeo, so saddle up, get your design hat on and take a ride with me down landing page lane.

Let the critiques begin…

Create Higher-Converting Landing Pages Using Conversion-Centered Design

Download this ebook and become an expert at building delightful, high-converting marketing campaigns.

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1. Mobile Commons

mobile commons landing page example

What I like

  • Clear and enticing headline: Your headline is the first thing that people need to see on your landing page, and Mobile Commons does a good job of utilizing its headline to describe what it does, and make you want to keep reading to “Find out why” .

What I’d change or test

  • No back up to claim of 10x conversions: Stating that you’ll get a 10x conversion improvement is a very bold claim. It would essentially mean that someone converting at 10% would have a conversion rate of 100%, which isn’t attainable. It would be more effective to have a customer testimonial talking about the conversion improvement they achieved.
  • Button copy needs to describe it’s purpose: This is a simple one to remedy. Your CTA button should always explain explicitly what will happen when it’s clicked, for two reasons: firstly, so people will know what they are going to get, and secondly, so there is another element on the page backing up its purpose. In this instance, I’d suggest something along the lines of “Arrange a call back to discuss a mobile solution”.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Nicely encapsulated form area: Design principle #1 talks about the use of encapsulation to bring attention to your form areas. Mobile Commons again does a nice job here, making sure the conversion area stands out from the rest of the page and making it clear where you need to go to complete your interaction with the page.
Color and Contrast Button color: The CTA should be changed to stand out more from the rest of the page. Right now the blue is swallowed up a bit. It is a nice contrast to the form background, but overall the page has conflicting colors. If you stood back and looked at this page, you’d be hard pressed to identify the most important element. Some of this could be resolved by moving the customer logos to the bottom of the page, potentially in greyscale to prevent them from conflicting with the rest of the page.
White Space Crowded page could use some whitespace: Design principle #4 talks about the use of white space to improve the clarity and reading experience of your page. By making the page a little longer, Mobile Commons could make each part of the message more clearly chunked into digestible blocks. It could also draw more attention to the testimonial, by shifting the left column away from the form.
Social Proof Powerful testimonial: The testimonial from the CEO of Tumblr is very compelling. It’s a brand that many are familiar with and lends a lot of credibility to the page.

2. Macquarie University

macquarie university landing page example
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

This one’s hard to critique. It’s a really good landing page. Oh, but there is the dreaded Submit button again! Tsk Tsk. There are a few things I’d suggest to keep the landing page experience intact. Firstly, I know people are afraid to remove links (or “leaks” as I call them), but you really don’t need to cite every claim you make at this point. It’s not a whitepaper, it’s a marketing device. Secondly, the form area needs a little work. I’ll describe a hypothesis for each.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

The form area:

By enhancing the messaging of the form area to explain, and focus on, the purpose of the page, the clarity of communication will improve and encourage more people to complete a form they know will benefit them. This will also increase the number of relevant and qualified leads.

Page leaks:

Distractions remove people from the reason *you* have paid them to be here. Removing all links on the page so there is only one action will increase the engagement with the page’s conversion goal, increasing form completions and reducing the bounce rate.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • Clarify the form’s purpose: The form header is your one chance to describe the reason why you’re asking for personal data. Here the wording suggests that you complete the form to “Register to their event”. Yet, having skimmed (that’s all people will do) the page copy, I see no mention of an event. And the dreaded Submit button does nothing to clear it up. Will you receive information about the university based on your level of study (Current? Desired?) or a prospectus for available courses? So my test advice is to say exactly what you will receive in the header, and reinforce that in the CTA.
  • Never submit: You were warned.
  • Leaky page: Take away all of the links on the page (except for the privacy statement). If you really need to link to something, do it in a lightbox to keep prospective students on the page.
  • Add a FAQ: You can remove the need for so many questions by opening a FAQ page in a lightbox that addresses all of the questions you are currently answering via external links. This will reduce your total points of interaction to three: The CTA, privacy policy and the FAQ.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation This is an obvious one. The form is nicely contained in its own box, which helps it stand out from the image behind it.
Directional Cues The arrow may be small, but it’s a reminder that the form is where the action’s at. Knowing this right off the bat relaxes the mind so that it can explore the content on the page, knowing that you know where to go if you decide to continue on.
White Space The form area is nicely separated from the content, and there is a lot of breathing room all around the main image. A really good demonstration of how to use white space properly.

3. American Bullion

american bullion landing page example
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

Oh dear. What am I supposed to do with this one? It’s a great page. So I’m going to do a 180 here and talk about what I like about it.

What I like

  • Descriptive headline: The headline tells you what the page is about in three words.
  • Simple intro paragraph: Describes what you’ll get for completing the form.
  • Perfect form header and CTA: A descriptive form header and button copy.
  • Supporting information: Everything you need to know is pretty much above the fold, but if you’re not convinced then you can check out a large amount of social proof below including: testimonials, media mentions and trust symbols.

The only thing I would add to this page would be a sub-header above the three steps to say what they are about: such as “About Gold Investing”.

Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation I’m being spoiled today. Another form that’s sitting nicely in a container. ‘Nuff said there.
Color and Contrast This would be *really* good if the bottom blue area was a different color — perhaps just a dark grey. Then the only blue area would be the form container, which would really pop out. I also like how the trust logos are knocked back by being in greyscale. This keep them visible but not conflicting with more important areas.
Social Proof There’s a ton of social proof logos on display here, although I think the lower set of logos is overkill. The two testimonials could use a different treatment to make them stand out as quotes rather than the current design that makes them look like a block of text like the rest of the page.

4. Florida Hospital – TAVR

tavr landing page
Click image for full-size version

Another excellent landing page. Although I don’t get a clear sense of what TAVR is right away (the tiny description of the acronym is hard to see). If you have highly targeted ads, then you need to make sure the headline is a clear match with them.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By being more explicit in the headline about what TAVR is, more people will be able to relate, staying on the page and completing the form as a result.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis

  • Headline change: I would test using the full name of the procedure, placing the acronym as a second element.”Is Valve Replacement (TAVR) Right for You?” followed by an explanation of what the acronym and procedure are in the first intro paragraph.Note: I can’t say if this enough information for people to understand it.
  • Optimize for Pay-Per-Click: If there are any paid ads (AdWords, etc.) driving traffic to this page, I would change the header to be text with a graphical background, compared to having one giant image. This would increase the Quality Score and the test would compare the change in Quality Score by making the header bot-readable.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation I love that form encapsulation is really sticking as a staple design principle. I do have one suggestion here, but it’ll be covered in the color section.
Color and Contrast Here’s a great example of using a single color hue for the majority of the page. Which really opens the way for the use of color and contrast to make your form area stand out. By choosing a color that opposes blue, you’d really attract attention. Here you could try the deep red. You might then change the button to be white.

5. SweetIQ whitepaper download

whitepaper download lead gen landing page
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

This is a fairly standard whitepaper/ebook download page; however, the underlying design doesn’t support the aesthetic you’d expect from a brick and mortar targeted page. As an electronic document delivered online, it’s important to make it obvious that it’s for local businesses.

There are a couple of ways to do this. Use imagery to show physical businesses, either on the ebook or the background of the page or make the CTA very explicit about the local aspect.

Another thing to mention here is that the copy doesn’t really say anything about what you are downloading! Is it a report? An ebook? This absolutely needs to be addressed.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By focusing on the local business aspect in the CTA, there will be a better understanding of the local brick and mortar business relevance and more targeted downloads (creating better qualified leads).

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis

  • CTA copy: I would test the current CTA copy against something more explicit like “Download your location based whitepaper now”, with a short supporting line beneath the button that says “For brick and mortar retail businesses”.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Again, I’ll defer to Mr. contrast here.
Color and Contrast The form area stands out really well on this page. You can’t help but notice it. In this instance I’d try going for a red button to make it stand out from the main color palette. Here, the page is so simple that there’s no real visual complexity to compensate for, but you should still get in the habit of practicing separation.
Try Before You Buy Whenever you have an ebook/whitepaper/report to offer, you need to provide a preview. Sometimes, having a short Slideshare presentation on your page to showcase part of your content can bump your conversion rate (but you need to test).

6. Benchmark

benchmark-th
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

There are two different CTAs on the page, both in color and copy. These could use more consistency, and represent what the next step will reveal (I’m assuming the homepage).

No clear value proposition. I don’t know how the company differentiates from the 100 other email service providers out there.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By including a strong value proposition that illustrates why Benchmark is unique, people will be more willing to click through to the next step.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • Tagline: There could be a tagline right next to the logo (to use some of the wasted space up there) that helps define the company right away. After all, Benchmark doesn’t say email to me.
  • The primary headline: This could be stronger, again, differentiation is key here. Why should I care about Benchmark? What’s the main difference? I’d suggest a two-level headline, where the main header explains the core benefit, and the secondary headline backs it up with supporting information (stats, number of customers etc.) Then I’d move it over the top of the first paragraph and video.
  • Image or video of the software in use: Instead of focusing on a testimonial at the first level, I’d include some bullet points that support the headline again — and a video or screenshot of the software. (Then move the testimonial further down).

Test it and see…

Design principle How’d it do?
Social Proof The page talks about small business, and then features giant companies as the supporting proof of success. There seems to be a mismatch of company size that could make people perceive their offering is targeted toward the enterprise market.

7. Spousal immigration to Canada

immigration to canada landing page
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

Well this is a first! An infographic on a landing page. Very cool. Although time consuming to read.

The opening headline is too situational, rather than descriptive. It would be stronger if it were simplified, rather than cute. The infographic has it right: “Sponsor your spouse to Canada”.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By changing the page title to directly describe the purpose of the page, the bounce rate will be lowered, and conversions lifted.

Replacing the infographic with key facts in written form will improve the clarity and time spent reading, resulting in more people completing the form, as they will have a better idea of what the benefits of using FWCanada are.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • Page title: Change the page title to “Sponsor your spouse to come to Canada” and use a subheader that says something like “Let FWCanada make your sponsorship easy”.
  • Replace the infographic: Take the key points out of the infographic to inform readers who can apply, who can be a sponsor and how to apply. Probably in the form of an intro paragraph and sectioned sets of bullet points.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation It’s hard to stand out on this page as it’s made up entirely of boxes. I think the best thing that could be done for this page would be to add some white space to let it breathe.
White Space As I mentioned, this would be the saving grace for this design. By shuffling the page elements around, to offer up the required information before the call to action and by creating a better hierarchy of information, the page wouldn’t make you jump around wondering which order you should be consuming it in.
Urgency and Scarcity I think I’d urgently move away from an infographic and back to regular content, even though it’s a novel idea.
Social Proof The goal of the company here is to perform a legal procedure. For this reason it really needs some strong social proof. It’s the perfect service to leverage success stories. I would be reticent to try using this page without to be honest.

8. Falcon Social

falcon social landing page example
Click image for full-size version

Thoughts

This page is actually a microsite, so I would first suggest ripping out the header and footer navigation to increase the on-page engagement and turn it into a promotion-specific landing page.

What Falcon Social does really well is something that I’ve been preaching for a long time, namely the use of lightboxes to show extended content without leaving the page. This happens if you click any of the ‘Learn more’ links.

However, the page lacks explanation of what the solution provides prior to asking someone to start a free trial. This could include having an introductory paragraph beside the video that mentions how long the trial is along and include a benefit statement.

Hypothesis for A/B testing

By changing the CTA copy to a benefit-driven statement and telling the customers what they will get when they sign up, more people will start a trial.

A/B testing advice

Suggestions on what to test to prove the hypothesis:

  • CTA copy: To test different CTAs, I’d run the original against a core benefit CTA such as “Grow Your Brand Socially” and a third CTA that says “Grow Your Brand Socially” with a smaller supporting “x-day free trial” directly beneath the button.
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast The CTAs on this page really stand out. If you try squinting at the page, they are rich with stark contrast.
White Space Having the space surrounding the main content area (on both sides), it gives the page a less cramped feeling. If you try to imagine the content going all the way to the edges — maybe to try and reduce the height of the page — it would be much harder on the eyes. There is a lot of content here, so it could still use a little more space vertically.
Social Proof This is a good way to use testimonials. It starts with a customer list, then moves on to hear what some of them are saying. In general the information hierarchy is nicely done on this page: intro, details, supporting statements.

9. Manpacks

What I like

  • It’s sexy: Predictable response? Yes, absolutely. That’s the whole point.
  • Validation: They jump right into showing off the famous publications that have featured their company. From a design perspective, the grey monotone prevents a mishmash of color, preventing any visual distraction from the call to action (CTA).
  • Value propositions: The main content on the page answers two simple questions: “What is it?” and “Why should I care?”
  • Testimonials: The second is one of the funniest I’ve read. “Socks as a Service” — genius.
  • Removal of doubt: The subtext below the CTA lowers the perceived risk, which can improve the click-through-rate (CTR).

What I’d change or test

  • Tagline: To make it more immediately clear what the purpose of the page is, I’d add a succinct tagline beside the logo.
  • Main title (core value proposition): There are a couple of ways to use a headline: A) use a very clear statement of what you are offering to enable an understanding of the purpose of your page, or B) entice your visitor to want to keep reading by using a seductive headline. They’ve gone with B here, presumably in an attempt to catch your attention and increase curiosity (or to push a particular button). For a test, I’d try approach A and make it really clear from the get go — what Manpacks is (this would work really well with the tagline to help pass a five-second test).

The example below shows an alternate page they created, presumably to speak to a different segment or create a different emotional trigger.

Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Here the rule of encapsulation is applied to the content. Adding the blue container separates the main content area nicely, making the reading experience much simpler.
Social Proof This is the best and funniest example of a testimonial I’ve ever seen, and fits the fun brand perfectly. The Tweet on the bottom-right contains the phrase: “Socks as a Service” playing off the SaaS acronym. Brilliant. Always makes me laugh.

10. That reset button is what I’d click

Notice the big red button on the bottom-left? Reset what? Your business idea? Your design skills? I just hope something magical happens when you click it.

What I like

Nothing… Awkward!

What I’d change or test

Unlock the potential for what? Living in a cul-de-sac in a Florida gated community? Be a little more specific about what the purpose of the page and offering is.

11. Sugar Daddies

What I like

Again, not much to boast about here.

What I’d change or test

Okay, if rich men are your thing, go for it. Who am I to stop you? But unless I’m mistaken, shouldn’t they at least be men? Three of these look distinctly female to me. BTW, I searched “get rich quick” while searching for examples, and this is what I got — I guess marriage/dating is one method.

I get that the hot women are there to help sell the idea (to the men) of using money to “get what you want”. But still, throw in a few statements of what the “service” provides. You’ll get more conversions if people know what to expect. And maybe add a little class. #JustSayin.

12. Zen Web Solutions

zen web solutions landing page example

What I like

  • Good message match on form: It’s important in form design to ensure that your form header matches the copy on the button. This really focuses the purpose of the page. Remember never to use the word “Submit,” as this breaks the rule and you lose the supporting information. So great job here.

What I’d change or test

  • Client results are hard to decipher: The client results image is an important part of the page header, yet it doesn’t really make much sense. I’m not sure what membership services are, so this could use a more descriptive image and supporting statement.
  • Form purpose could be simplified: Currently, the form has two purposes. A phone number to contact the company to discuss business, or to download a marketing guide. As the form action is to get the guide, I wouldn’t muddy the waters by having the phone number in there. I’d suggest placing it beneath the form area as a secondary action. Hit them with the free content first and then the request for them to call. You could also test flipping them into the opposite order.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues I like the way the “Find out how we can help you” statement has an arrow after it, pointing the way to the form, and the next step.
Color and Contrast There are quite a lot of orange elements on the page. By choosing a button color that’s not within the orange range you will make it stand out more. Blue or green would be good, and I’d also bump up the size to make it more dominant. The form container could also use a little something to make it stand out from an otherwise flat page.
Social Proof The testimonials also have a success metric net to them, which is a smart strategy. However, it could be communicated more effectively if it was written out, rather than trying to play with an image. Bad use of design.

13. Certify

certify landing page example

What I like

  • Expectations are communicated next to the form: Beneath the form header, you are told that someone will contact you within 24 hours

What I’d change or test

  • The video poster frame should be more enticing: A poster frame is the image that is visible on your video before the play button is clicked. In many cases this is left to be a screenshot of the start of the video. It can be more effective to have a descriptive and enticing benefit statement as the starting point — to make people want to watch.
  • Asking for contact too early: One thing I would test is the placement of the form. It’s good to be above the fold for the most part, but when you are asking someone to engage in communication with you, you might want to expose them to more information about your product offering first. It could be as simple as putting a few bullet points in place of the form and nudging it down a bit. This could mean that you need to move the third feature block somewhere else, and switch it to two or four. Or you could extend the header area to be longer, and balance the design by putting a relevant statement beneath the video, talking about a benefit of the service. Or you could switch the testimonial into this spot.
  • Never submit: Change the button copy to say something like “Please contact me for further information”. Polite and to the point.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation As I mentioned above, if you shifted the form down to sit half in and half out of the main header area, you could encapsulate it nicely in a design element that really separates it from the surrounding elements, by virtue of how it would break existing lines.
Color and Contrast The color choice for the two CTAs (just one please, tsk tsk) does contrast with it’s surroundings, but something about the design is just awfully flat. But at a distant glance they do stand out.
White Space There is some generous white space in the main content area which lets your eyes flow down the page through the content. It would be enhanced further by using a larger type size, with an appropriate line height to give the copy room to breathe also.
Try Before You Buy Video product demos are always a good window into what you are offering, and can simplify the subsequent content consumption as you can easily scan to seek out any remaining holes in your buying process. In this example, you could easily skip the 1, 2, 3 content below the video as it’s covered in the video.
Social Proof The subheader of the page is actually a testimonial which clarify the purpose of the product at the same time as adding social proof.

14. FluidSurveys

What I like

  • Clear value proposition: The headline is very simple and leaves no doubt about the purpose of the page and the product. And it’s nicely backed up by a well written explanation of some of the core benefits directly below.
  • Highlighted testimonial: The brushed highlight of the testimonial gives it a bit of extra design zing and prevents the page from feeling too text heavy.
  • Contrast: They chose two nicely contrasting colors to highlight important elements. The free label, and the form CTA.
  • Context of use: Their choice of imagery lets you know that the product can produce mobile-ready polls.
  • Validation: Like the example above, they provide a strong sense of trust by including a set of logos.
  • They’re Canadian! Woot!

What I’d change or test

  • Remove the footer navigation: Any extraneous navigation on a landing page can lead your visitors down the wrong path. I’d recommend removing the footer nav to simplify the available choices.
  • Explain the logos: Add a small label (like example #1) to explain that they are client logos (or sites that have featured/written about them).
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast Color is used here to set up the informational hierarchy appropriately: top, middle, bottom. Which allows you to visually break the information into three pieces, speeding the reading process. The CTA also stands out as the only green element on the page.
White Space Very simple layout with a spacious design. Let your eye wander around the page and you’ll see how easy it is to identify each block of information. Remove the footer navigation and it would be even stronger.
Social Proof Just a little touch of design behind the testimonial helps to make it stand out as different from the content section above it, helping to set a visual barrier that keeps your eyes in place when you are reading the three chunks above.

15. Golden Sands

What I like

  • Experience: It immediately makes me want to go on holiday and stay in a luxury hotel. The pillows are literally selling me softly.
  • Price: Travel is very much about price, and they get that out of the way right off the bat, so you can move on to the finder details after unerstanding if you can afford it or not. #smrt

What I’d change or test

  • The form header: Apply now? For what? It’s unclear what you’re applying for — I thought it was a booking site, but apparently I have to apply for something. Make it clear why people are filling out your form.
  • Primary value proposition: There’s no clear statement of what the page is for or what you’ll get. I’d try moving the hotel logos from the top and adding in a strong value prop.
  • Exclusive: There is a mention of an exclusive preview invitation, but it doesn’t explain what you’re being invited to. I’d also make this stand out more if it’s an important selling point — perhaps using some visual cues to draw the viewer’s eye.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation The use of opacity for the form container is a good example of drawing just enough attention to the form, while still following the soft design aesthetic of the page.
White Space The use of darker areas on both sides of the content helps to drive you through the content in the middle of the page, like a funnel.
Social Proof Good and bad. The Trip Advisor certificate of excellence let’s you know that a recognized authority has validated the company. The testimonials shown are anonymous, which reduces their impact (as they could have been made up). Always ask permission to use a testimonial and include the name of the person providing it for extra trust points.

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16. Echodemic

What I like

  • Opening statement: The opening sentence describes their offering perfectly and succinctly.
  • Honesty: It tells you the cost, so you can weigh up the potential value associated with extending your brand reach.
  • Clear contact method: The big phone number increases the trust factors by letting you know there are real people to deal with.

What I’d change or test

  • Move the form: Stick the form above the brand logos.
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast On this page, my eyes have no idea what to do. They jump around all over the page, trying to find an area of importance. The contrast needs to be knocked way back and be aligned better in terms of heavy vs. light. Don’t even get me started on the form. Even if you manage to work your way down to it, it’s so bland and nondescript, with no real purpose attributed to it.
White Space Re-architecting the page to focus on one element alone with two columns of visually related content would greatly simplify the reading process.
Social Proof The Facebook follower number lends some credibility to their appeal, as it’s what they are selling as a service. But not enough to really inspire confidence. I would remove this until the number is significant. How are the logos connected? Are they just hotel names to help you understand the point of the page? Or are they existing customers? Make this clear with a title if they are customers.

17. Demandforce

What I like

  • Market share: They already seem to have a 30% market share — invest.

What I’d change or test

  • Big form: There are only two required fields, so don’t make a visitor feel like they are taking on a long labor to get information. Scale back to just name and phone number. And don’t start the conversation with “Fill in this form.” That’s the equivalent of walking into a clothing store and being told to buy a bunch of clothes before you even try them on. Seduce, or even coerce, but don’t instruct.
  • Call to action: The visitor isn’t really looking to sign up — they’d probably respond more to “Request Tour” or “Get Started”.
  • Footer: The links in the footer, other than Privacy, are just distractions. Get rid of as many leaks as possible to keep conversion high.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation I like the inverted color of the form container here. The white stands out nicely from the solid background (to steal a comment away from Miss Contrast).
Social Proof As seen on!: Right at the top is a testimonial that describes a benefit and associates the product with a third-party authority, and then backs it up with a great quote from the company showing how it made them extra money (who doesn’t like that!?) — they even have an Amazon review 🙂

18. Boost Your Search — free audit

What I like

  • ROBOTS: We like robots.

What I’d change or test

  • Stick to your guns: Choose one action and stick with it. In cases like this, the email lead is not nearly as valuable as the customer.
  • Make two pages: Differentiate the actions “Free audit” and “Paid Plan” into separate landing pages so you can segment the traffic from channels like PPC.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Too much. Too much.
Directional Cues There’s a tiny one in the form header, but that’s only useful if your eyes can stop darting around the screen.
Color and Contrast Separation of colors with contrast: This is my biggest problem with the page. Everything is in the same three colors, making it super hard to distinguish what the intended conversion goal (interaction point) of the page is. I would try to knock everything back to be within the same basic color hue, so the pricing grid can stand out. I’d also make the two pricing tiers on the outside, the same muted color, to make the recommended (center) tier the most dominant.
White Space None.
Urgency and Scarcity Only the need to run away.
Social Proof Back it up: Cite the sources (statistics and testimonial) show that you didn’t just make them up to get the sale.

19. Eureka Report

What I like

  • Red, White & Black: The color scheme is classic and trustworthy; this is clearly business oriented.

What I’d change or test

  • Wait what: The product, Eureka Report, is overpowered by the incentive. Am I getting the Eureka Report or Time Magazine. Fix the hierarchy so it’s clear what the purpose of the page is. Try switching the positioning of the 10 reasons block and the form block.
  • Top x: As popular as Top 10s are, smaller lists are punchier and more memorable. Try 5 or 7 — that will give you a littler more space to play with too.
Design principle How’d it do?
Urgency and Scarcity This is design principle #5, and is utilized in the top-right corner with a deadline. It would be even better if it were located beside the form, to increase the urgency of the action you are taking.

20. Monsoon — the value of association

What I like

  • Modern tech: Speaks to a very specific modern technology sector (catches the HTML5 nerds is what I’m saying).
  • Why?: Strong section on the importance of the company’s technology.

What I’d change or test

  • Mobile Apps: The purpose *appears* to be to build mobile apps, but it’s buried in small text beneath the main imagery — much better to use large text to convey the message and *then* follow it up with “context of use” images where you see apps used on mobile devices.
  • Talk to us: Why? What is the benefit of talking to you about your project? Try adding a direct benefit beside the CTA that says “Talk to us about your next project, so that we can a,b,c the hell out of it…!”
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation The form is above the fold and contained nicely, although it could use a little more contrast and a visual cue to point out that this is what you want the customer to do.
Social Proof Clients: Put the title above the images so it’s clear why they are there.

21. Dev Auditions

What I like

  • Clear value proposition: It’s clearly about hiring better people — focused on dev. But the headline could be clearer (see below).
  • Walkthough: The three-step process paints a simple picture of how the company operates.
  • Close with the benefits: I like the start, middle and end of this page. Like a good story it leads you through what you need to know, ending with what you’ll get and a closing CTA. +1.

What I’d change or test

  • Clearer headline: “Hire Smarter” is generic — if you’re looking at dev hires then make the dev logo bigger or change the main headline into something with greater clarity such as “Hire Smarter Dev Talent”.
  • Types of position: As it’s recruiting, I’d include some scope of the types of talent covered as development can be wide ranging. What are your areas of expertise, and geographical boundaries?
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast Here the color choices create a series of segments as you move down the page, and each piece of content stands out well from it’s containing area without becoming a distraction to the page as a whole.
White Space The page is nicely separated with visual chunks, which always aids the reading process. All in all, this has a nice professional feel about how the content is presented. I would spend time on this page.
Social Proof After a while some logos start to become less powerful. Everyone has them, so you need to get creative about their use. My recommendation is to try and position an actual quote from a company in context with a semantically related piece of content, such as a feature description.

22. RightSignature

What I like

  • Clear info about what you’ll get, including freebies for extra incentive: The text beneath the button helps put the visitor at ease by describing what will happen next — and the addition of some free usage is a good incentive to sign up.
  • A headline that describes exactly what the product does: I love this headline. It’s so clear and to the point that you couldn’t fail to understand what the service does instantly.
  • Demonstration of simplicity: The three-step design below the main area makes it really quick to understand how the service would be used, which will limit the number of bad leads you’ll get as they know what they’re signing up for.

What I’d change or test

  • Nothing!: I could go on all day about why I like this page, but I have too many more to write so I’ll stop now. Great job, RightSignature.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation The first thing you see on this page is the form — it’s beautifully positioned and designed for clarity using the rule of encapsulation. And it will always be above the fold.
Color and Contrast The dominant color on the page is also the most important, which makes you consume the content in the right order.
Social Proof High profile testimonials: Big trust factors come from these testimonials as they help describe the benefits through the use of well-chosen quotes, at the same time as showing off the exposure the service has received.

23. Monetate ebook

What I like

  • Design of ebook image shows professionalism: By having a nicely designed cover you show that time and effort went into its creation (as opposed to a boring plain white cover).
  • Simple bullets break down why you would want the ebook: The headline for the bullets “You’ll learn” really sets the tone that it’s useful, and listing what you will get out of reading it (as opposed to what’s in it) is a much stronger benefits-driven approach.
  • Clear definition in headline of what you’ll get: Sometimes it’s nice with an ebook to know it’s not War and Peace. By limiting this to 10 tips, they stand a good chance of increased conversions by providing an easy to consume resource. While long ebooks can be authoritative, they often go unread.

What I’d change or test

  • Social sharing location: People are more inclined to share something right after they actually get it. So I’d suggest placing the social sharing buttons on the form confirmation page. This also has the benefit of removing distractions from the main page.
Design principle How’d it do?
Try Before You Buy People react well to the psychology of try-before-you-buy, so adding a preview of the ebook (first chapter or a few choice pages) would help people know what they are exchanging their personal data for.

24. Go Fun

What I like

  • Not much, I’m afraid.

What I’d change or test

  • Change the informational hierarchy: The first thing you see is “SIGN UP NOW,” which is very aggressive, as there’s no real supporting reason to go with it. Message match is critical for conversion, so make this first statement match the ads/link text people are arriving from.
  • What is this?: There is no description of what Go Fun is. Most people’s reaction to confusion is to hit the back button. On further exploration, there is a tiny portion of small text that explains what it is. This should be big and prominent. They are asking for 20 emails of your friends, you need some serious trust factors on the page to give out your friends’ emails.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation and Contrast The contrast of the primary area puts some focus on the form, but the form is so overshadowed by the text that it tends to disappear.

25. Fast Track Sales

What I like

  • Strong headline explains value prop in seconds: They sell homes fast, and they explain it fast. Great headline.
  • Form headline and CTA explain clearly what you’ll get: Nuff said.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Clearly the form is the most important area of the page. Both through the contrasting form container and the fact that the dude is holding it.
Directional Cues You might consider the large man a cue of sorts; he uses direct eye contact to draw you into that part of the page.
Color and Contrast The CTA stands out nicely on the page, drawing your attention to the form.
Social Proof A strong set of press logos adds trust to the perception that they have a good public track record.

26. OCD — clinical trials

What I like

  • CTA asks a question: Questions are very powerful persuasion devices, and placing one on the CTA (button) can help people convert as they want to know the answer.
  • Photos help relieve the pressure: By showing pictures of regular, everyday happy people, they put you at ease by de-stigmatizing a common issue that can affect anyone.

What I’d change or test

  • Move the social buttons: As I keep saying, put these on your confirmation page. If people have just converted they are more likely to share.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues If the color of the bottom section weren’t orange, the arrow above the form area would carry more weight, and would pull you from the word OCD down to the form.
Color and Contrast Here the contrast takes your attention away from the form, and is a little bit over the top visually. Don’t stare too long.

27. Learn French

What I like

  • Use of video: The page is kept simple because the video removes the burden of extra copy, a good technique for enhancing page clarity. It’s also quite an emotional video about the founder’s reason for starting the company after marrying someone from a foreign country. Very authentic.
  • Differentiation: The way they leverage the concept of a conversation rather than just learning words, seems likely to be more appealing to potential customers.
  • Clear CTA: Learn French. Yup.

What I’d change or test

  • CTA copy: I’d try changing the button text to “Learn Conversational French” to maintain the concept of the page.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues There is a small one above the form, but it took me a while to notice it, which is the opposite of the point.
White Space The content areas areas are broken up well by the imagery. I would make the text bigger and more spacious to enhance the readability.

28. Kingsley Judd Wine Investments

What I like

  • Wine!: Gotta like that.
  • Two-word headline: You don’t get much simpler than that. In just two words they’ve told you exactly what the page is about.
  • Beautifully simple and compact design: The blurred image is clear enough to convey the vineyard feeling, while pumping the form box right out at you. Great use of contrast for the form container and button.
  • Incentive: Having an opt-in for a free prize draw is a good way to entice conversions.

What I’d change or test

  • Terms & Conditions: If you are going to have a prize draw, you should have a link to Terms & Conditions.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues The arrow above the form is subtle but helps to tie in the statement above it with the container. It actually worked in reverse for me, leading my eye up to read the text.
Encapsulation Beautifully done.
Color and Contrast The red button is a smart design choice here. Not only does it stand out, but it connects visually with only one other element. The word WIN.
White Space Lots of it. Especially below the main banner area. Very easy on the eye.

29. Box

Box---Simple-Online-Collaboration--Online-File-Storage,-FTP-Replacement,-Team-Workspaces-560
Click for full-size image

Box is a file-sharing service based out of Los Altos, California. Over the last seven years they’ve raised $248 million of venture capital funding.

What I like

  • Does what it says on the box (see what I did there?): The headline copy says it all: No jargon involved. Simplicity appeals, especially when it’s solving a very real business problem. This kind of language also helps with SEO, as it mirrors the kind of query someone might use when searching for a file-sharing solution. This is backed up with good clear subheadings, which aid the eye when skimming content.

What I’d change or test

  • Weak integration of video: The folks at Box have decided to make the video fade into the background of the header image. I didn’t even see it when I first arrived. This is one of those times where it pays not to try and be clever. I’ve run tests that made it clear that showing the video on the page converts better vs. expecting people to find your link to pop it up.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Your eyes are immediately drawn to the form area due to the low impact white area to the left. Coupled with the form header, you get what’s going on very quickly (that it’s a free trial). However, adding a benefit statement into the header would explain what signing up for a trial would mean for you.
Social Proof A statement of a large customer base can increase confidence that they’ve been around a while.

30. GoToMyPC

GoToMyPC-560
Click for full-size image

GoToMyPC is an online service for remote-access to your home and work computers.

What I like

  • Clear copy: Features aren’t the strong point here. The main point is that you can access your computer remotely. GoToMyPC focuses on a headline and copy that sells the benefits in simple language. Jargon is a real killer for landing pages, so unless you have a very niche audience, don’t fall into its clutches.
  • Layout: The layout of a page should read as we would read a book. This page does that, creating a logical journey: headline, image and description, sign-up, post sign-up actions.

What I’d change or test

  • The form position: Switching the form to appear on the right vs. left (and vice versa) is a common test that can show surprising results. Different cultures read in different directions, so give that a try. Switched around, it would also let you read the “Works on” before you deal with the form.
Design principle How’d it do?
Color and Contrast The dominant element on the page is the CTA. Great. Not so much. The word “Continue” says nothing about the purpose of the page/form.
White Space Very little white space on this page. As a result I found my eyes jumping around a lot — mainly fighting between the desire to read the content at the beginning and the “Try It Free” statement. There should be a strong headline at the top to prevent this (but that’s not so much white space as it is content design).

31. CarFax

carfax-th
Click image for full-size view

What I like

  • Straight to the point: The main headline asks a question that immediately weeds out anyone that’s arrived here mistakenly. “Buying a used car?” Why yes! I’m in the right place.
  • Online vs. offline: The page asks for the car’s VIN — but you’ll most likely only get that by looking for it on the car in person. Luckily they have a mobile page, too, so you can do it on a smartphone. Winning points!

What I’d change or test

  • Nothing. I love this page! They clearly had some smart people architect and design the page.
  • Button copy: Okay, I’d change one minor thing. The CTA should say “View Report” instead of “Go”.
Design principle How’d it do?
Encapsulation Here they encapsulate three pieces of content, which helps you read the content in stepped chunks.
Color and Contrast They use the color blue well to lead you to an interaction. First you read the headline, “Buying a used car?” and then you immediately jump down to the next blue area — the button that says “View Sample Report”. That’s a nice connection and communication flow.
Try Before You Buy They have a sample report for you to look at right off the bat. This is a great way to develop confidence in your visitors, letting them know what’s in store for them.

32. Oprah Sweepstakes

oprah-th
Click image for full-size view

What I like

  • Media brand match: This is what I talked about at the start. There is a clear correlation between the landing page and the magazine cover. Oprah consistently appears happy, using a strong personal connection (direct eye contact) to make you feel comfortable.

What I’d change or test

  • Submit: Apparently Oprah’s designers didn’t read my last landing page examples post. The word “Submit” says nothing about what will happen when clicked. I’d change it to a double line CTA that says:

    First line: Subscribe to O Magazine
    Second line (smaller text): To be entered in the $25k sweepstakes

  • Headline and subheader could be better: It’s a double purpose page — subscribe to the magazine and get entered into the sweepstakes. But the headline only says subscribe (not to the magazine) so it could be read as “subscribe to the sweepstakes”. Minor point, but clarity is important. You don’t want have to read all that fine print.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues Oprah creates a strong connection with visitors using the direct eye contact approach. You can use line of sight as a directional cue, or you can trap people on your page by looking directly at them.
Color and Contrast The CTA stands out only because of it’s size. Otherwise it’s visually hidden amidst the overall color scheme. I don’t think it’s a big deal here though as there is no other interaction point on the page to fight with it.
White Space The text on this page is horribly crushed together, making it really hard to figure out the convoluted details of this double-barreled offer.
Social Proof Oprah. That’s enough right?

33. Intuit

intuit-th
Click image for full-size view

Yet more proof that the big guys are doing it right. This is an excellent landing page. Here’s why:

What I like

  • Benefit-based headline: The headline indicates that there are other options out there, but this is a better way to do it. Instead of describing what it does it uses a benefit to enhance the headline.
  • Use of directional cue: Using directional cues aids the persuasive nature of a page — here an arrow is used to point you in the right direction.
  • Descriptive CTA: It’s obvious that you are going to start a free trial.
  • Social proof: The page is littered with social proof indicators: impressive list of customer logos, security symbols and an Editor’s Choice award.

What I’d change or test

  • How much is it? There’s no mention of how much it will cost after the 30-day free trial. A good way to include this is to say: “Free for 30-days then pick a plan starting at $xx”.
  • No credit card required: This is very important information to know, yet it’s buried as small text. I’d recommend making it subtext in the button to reinforce the lack of a signup barrier.
Design principle How’d it do?
Directional Cues The blue arrow certainly makes it clear what you are supposed to do and works nicely with the contrasting color of the CTA.
Color and Contrast The CTA stands out from the rest of the page, but other than that it’s a bit cluttered.
White Space To reduce the clutter, extend the length of the page a bit to let it breathe. It feels like someone asked for the whole thing to be squeezed into as small an area as possible.
Social Proof Here’s an example of client logos that works for me. The reason being that they explain their target consumers (large Fortune 100 companies). At least, I hope that’s the target market! (I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not as I write this). So maybe I take back my statement 🙂 I do definitely like the “Editor’s Choice” badge — which further reinforces that this might be a lower level consumer product.

34. Adobe Test & Target

adobe-th
Click image for full-size view

What I like

  • Accidental genius: When the page loads, the form takes about 2 seconds to appear. Clearly being pulled dynamically from a server somewhere. However, what it does is draw your attention to the form as soon as it loads. Personally I love it as a persuasion device.
  • Pixel perfect headline: The use of whitespace around the headline couple with it’s clarity of communication make for a great headline.
  • Hierarchy of content: Adobe break the content nicely into nicely flowing chunks:
    • Page purpose
    • Benefit statement
    • Target market based benefit bullet points
    • Action statement

    Copy this flow of content — it’s really good.

What I’d change or test

  • The submit button — jeez: Make it say “Get our Whitepaper”.
  • Required? Make it clear which fields are required; this will make the form appear shorter than it is.

The blandness of this page works to it’s advantage to make the CTA stand out. Honestly though, the page is so simple that it would be hard to squeeze much conversion lift out of it, without attacking the number of form fields, which would be my first plan of action.

35. Is this for kids making money?

Here’s another shocker.

Looks like you can play with toys while making wads of cash at the same time. Sounds like my kinda gig.

What I like

I hit the back button the moment I saw this site.

What I’d change or test

I came back to look at the landing page for this post. It’s beyond confusing. First off, I’d extract the content from the banner looking thing at the top of the page, as it looks like an advert, which will make people gloss over it. And it has the most important info in it! What the site is actually about.

36. Who eats electronics to lose weight?

What’s more scary than a big fake movie guy with a giant knife? Knocking on a door that says come in, we have comfy sofas and free beer, and then falling 300ft out of a building (the door led to the outside on the 20th floor) cos they lied and what you wanted wasn’t behind the door. Where is this going? Good question.

What I liked

This page isn’t bad…

What I’d change or test

While the page isn’t bad, the landing “experience” is bad. Why? I searched for “weight loss.” I know there are tablets for that, but not usually the 9-inch electronic variety. And the bunny ain’t gonna save you this time. TELUS.

Stop bidding on irrelevant keywords!


Well there you have it — 36 landing page designs analyzed, critiqued, enjoyed and ready for copying and perfecting. I hope you were able to take away a lot of juicy ideas for your next design. Tell you what? Why don’t you jump into the comments and let me know? I’ll see you there.



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The 7 Principles of Conversion-Centered Design [Free 56-Page Ebook]

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I’d like to meet the person who goes into IKEA to pick up a new fridge and walks out with only the fridge. If you’re like me, you inevitably wind up with a car full of junk products, an ice cream in one hand and two hotdogs in the other.

That’s because IKEA stores aren’t designed to help you achieve a single goal.

conversion-centered-design-principles-ikea-650
That’s a pretty crappy attention ratio. Image credit: ALEXANDER LEONOV via Shutterstock.com.

They don’t care about the “optimal route” to the cash register — they want you to snake in and out of the showrooms. They want you to stop and fantasize about chopping imaginary vegetables on their impeccable countertops.

If you’re shopping for a new fridge and you know that’s all you need, you’re better off going to an appliance showroom, where the goal is clear: Get your gadget and get out.

This focus on a singular goal is the same focus that lies at the heart of our latest ebook:

Maximize Conversions Using Conversion-Centered Design

Download this ebook and become an expert at building delightful, high-converting marketing campaigns.

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margin: 0 auto;
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By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

For a marketer, conversion means convincing a visitor to do one thing and one thing only. Not one of many things, not accomplishing it in under seven seconds, not successfully navigating from one point to another — just completing a single business-driven objective.

Conversion-Centered Design (CCD) helps you design experiences that guide the visitor towards completing that one specific action, using persuasive design and psychological triggers to increase conversions. In other words, it’s about persuasion.

And as you’ll learn, persuading your prospects to take the desired action you want them to take doesn’t have to be difficult (especially when you’re not distracting them with 99¢ hotdogs).

You’ll learn:

  • The theory behind each of the 7 CCD principles (Attention, Context, Clarity, Congruence, Credibility, Closing, Continuance) and how they affect conversion rates.
  • How to leverage the principles to create and optimize high-converting marketing campaigns.
  • Why landing pages are instrumental to improving the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

You can grab the framework as a downloadable ebook above, or check out the content on our interactive site here.



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Leaking Leads? Here’s How to Plug Your Analytics Gaps

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Full funnel attribution is the dream.

A pipe dream.

In most cases.

Because a majority of the time, you’re nowhere close.

Campaigns are tagged. Sometimes.

You track incoming calls. Like 5% of the time.

You’ve got lead reports. Which go up-and-to-the-right at least.

It ain’t your fault. Our tools are limited. Cross-department assistance tricky. And marketing channels exploding.

So here’s a simple process to help you take back control, hopefully eliminating all of those little gaps where leads commonly leak out of your funnel and mess up your reporting efforts.

The Great Analytics Gap: Where Exactly Are Your Paying Customers Coming From?

How many leads did you get this month from Twitter?

How about email?

Most likely, those numbers are wrong.

Not because you made a mistake. But because your analytics platform did.

See, most basic analytics programs like Google Analytics are good. But not smart. (They’re also free, so we can’t complain too much.)

For example, your Email and Social leads this month are probably understated (only getting credit for a fraction of their overall performance), while your Direct ones are overstated (getting more credit than they really deserve).

Sometimes the swing can be 60%!

If campaigns aren’t tagged properly (and let’s be honest, who tags Tweets with any regularity), analytics programs will have a tough time picking up the referral source. Especially if these visits originate from desktop programs like Tweetdeck (does that still exist?) or Outlook (which you’re probably forced against your will to use).

These are tiny examples, but the problem persists.

Even when you’re tracking conversions, with monthly reports going to bosses and clients highlighting Goals with the sources that drove them, you might only be seeing a tiny slice of the overall pie.

Just recently, I’ve seen multiple clients spending tens of thousands of dollars on ads each month, going off of surface level information.

The phone rings, which is great. But why those calls are coming in is anyone’s guess. And nobody has a clue how many paying customers or revenue is tied back to the initial spending efforts.

Think about that. Organizations spending a majority of their marketing budgets on a single channel with tracking… kinda, sorta, setup. But not really.

Couple this with the fact that most smaller organizations use ‘niche, industry’ tools like legacy proprietary CRM’s that offer ZERO API’s and absolutely no integration possibilities.

So they’re forced to cobble this stuff together, manually.

If this stuff was being tracked properly, you’d almost instantly be able to:

  1. Save money on the losing campaigns that aren’t performing.
  2. Increase revenue by spending more on those that are.

And then you get a promotion. Or a raise, at least.

Fortunately there are a few techniques you can use to help shed more transparency and accuracy into your analytics. They’re not all encompassing, but they’re relatively easy adjustments to set up to help you practically solve this problem once and for all.

Click Tracking: The Basics of Campaign (or UTM) Tagging

I already know what you’re thinking.

UTM codes blah blah blah. Use any number of builders like the Google URL Builder to drop your URL in and idiot-proof your results.

Obvious.

But here’s the thing.

Many times UTM codes aren’t used properly. Or aren’t used holistically as a way to measure channel performance for conversions.

So let’s look at it more practically, organizing campaigns properly to make sure we’re tracking almost every single possible use case that might not get picked up by our analytics programs.

The easiest way to accomplish this campaign-wide approach is through inbound traffic segmentation. Which is shorthand* for, “Create a ton of landing page versions & funnels for each traffic source so you’re able to clearly see how and where click-conversions are coming from, thereby making analytics and reporting simple”. (*Not really.)

And while there is no shortage of tools to do this stuff for you, we still like to manage client campaigns in a simple, collaborative Google doc so everyone can quickly edit and update.

marketing-campaigns-spreadsheet

You can also do the same thing for social channels too, breaking it down even further into the primary ones you choose to plan your campaign’s content and messaging strategy ahead of time.

social-campaigns-spreadsheet

All of this time-consuming, upfront work will eventually pay dividends by making funnel analysis a breeze.

(Brilliant segue coming…) You know what also makes funnel analysis a breeze?

Kissmetrics does this with a visualized funnel reporting tool that can help you analyze all of this raw data and make faster (not to mention, more accurate) marketing decisions.

ecommerce-email-funnel-segmented-campaign-name

Call Tracking: Gain Insight into Inbound Lead Sessions

Any lead-based company will tell you that good, old-fashioned inbound phone calls are still the best.

Invoca analyzed more than 30 million phone calls and found that they have 30-50% conversion rates (compared to only 1-2% for clicks).

That same study found that 70% of calls are coming from digital channels. And yet, we don’t know where.

Or why. As in, what did you do to drive those people to call in the first place? (So you can easily do more of it and take home a nice bonus this year.)

Setting up unique phone numbers on each advertisement or sales collateral is an obvious first step. Duh – your AdWords campaigns are undoubtedly already using phone call tracking.

But…

What happens when those people click to your website instead of calling right away?

Especially if we’re talking any type of consultative sale, they’re going to click around your site for a bit. Maybe even leave, and come back, several times before pulling the proverbial trigger on someone to work with.

The first step towards limiting the amount of information you don’t know is to setup dynamic call tracking that focuses on individual customers.

This way, you’re accounting for the multi-device, multi-event, and multi-channel journey (that already happens over half the time).

CallRail is one of my new favorites to do this. You’re able to create a pool of phone numbers based on the average amount of real-time website visitors you get.

callrail-dynamic-number-insertion

These dynamic phone numbers will substitute the primary one already on your website pages, and automatically stick with one website visitor while they browse around all of your pages.

Not only can you then see a complete web session history, but also start tracking multiple sessions over time from the same customers.

callrail-customer-profile

That extra insight gets you one tiny step closer to being able to close out the big black hole that is your offline phone conversions.

There’s also a CallRail and Kissmetrics integration to help you better understand how offline phone calls fit into the customer’s website and app activity, email engagement and more. You’ll also be able to analyze how phone calls play a broader role in lifetime value of a customer (comparing with those who don’t call) and see which specific activities they complete immediately before or just after each call.

But before we can run off to implement, there’s still one last thing to figure out.

How to match all of this stuff up with your lead and customer data to see where buyers (not leads) are coming from.

Lead Tracking: Determining Which Leads Are Converting

It’s time to bring it home.

You’ve got basic campaign tagging properly organized, to limit the number of sessions that slip through your analytics cracks. And you’ve set-up dynamic call tracking to monitor people who may visit your site or call your offices multiple times prior to purchase.

Now we need to line that data up with your lead database.

My completely biased opinion is that HubSpot is one of the best solutions for this problem. Which is no surprise, given my company is a HubSpot partner who receives a nice bonus check every time we sign you up. 🙂

But what if you didn’t appreciate the blatant, selfish sales pitch? Or have the extra budget available? Or you just use some other CRM?

Another (albeit, more manual) solution is to use the excellent (and free) LeadIn to begin turning form submissions into actual people.

Once setup, you can integrate this with a few basic email-marketing services to go freaking nuts on hacking your marketing stack.

leadin-hubspot-on-wordpress

You can also begin exporting this data (I know, who the F-exports manual data anymore) and matching it up with whatever lead-based CRM you use – no matter whether they provide integrations or not.

Ideally, you need to know that John Smith just signed up with your company for $X. And John Smith came from a phone call, through AdWords, targeting the term Y.

In aggregate, a tool like Kissmetrics (surprise!) can then connect all of these dots, finally aligning paying customers (and revenue) back to the marketing channels (and decisions), which generated each.

revenue-report-segmented-data

Conclusion

Most of us are making decisions based on incomplete information.

That’s life.

The analytics gap problem is only made worse when companies commonly have their own legacy tools that don’t play nice with whatever marketing ones you’re using.

But when clients and bosses are putting LOTS of money on the line, it’s up to us to make bold decisions on how or where to best spend it.

That becomes exponentially easier once you set up proper click tracking for the common online channels people are using once they see, hear or read about your latest campaign. And buttoning-up offline conversions like phone calls can help you finally see how many of those leads you’re collecting are transforming into paying customers.

The tips here might not be a perfect solution.

But they can get you significantly closer than where you probably are now.

About the Author: Brad Smith is a founding partner at Codeless Interactive, a digital agency specializing in creating personalized customer experiences. Brad’s blog also features more marketing thoughts, opinions and the occasional insight.



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From Campaigns to Conversions – How to Make Sense of the Data You’re Presented With

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It’s the question on every marketer’s mind – “How do we turn these impressions, clicks and conversions into something that drives results for our company?”

The fact is, you have a lot on your plate. From new product launches to generating interest to reaching new markets and paying attention to customer sentiment, there’s a lot to juggle. Being able to not just make sense of the data you’re gathering, but also turn that information into actionable insights is a must-have skill in today’s competitive markets.

The good news is, it can be learned – easily.

The Problem with Reach

customer-interactionWhen everything is measured in terms of reach and impressions, we start creating goals that don’t really measure the results we want

In many cases, campaigns are founded with the wrong goal in mind. Everything is measured in “reach”. We look at impressions as the de facto measurement standard when it barely scratches the surface of measuring a consumer’s true interest and intent.

The end result, when focusing too much on reach and impressions, is that you might make a boatload of sales, but not be able to map them definitively to any specific campaign or strategy. Even if people first hear about your product through traditional media (TV, print, newspaper), they’re very likely to go online and do some more research – and that’s where things like reviews, ratings and testimonials can make a significant impact.

Another issue is that most advertising programs assume a straight path to conversions, when the result is anything but. The customer could go from print awareness to online research at your website, but then go offsite to look up user reviews, do some comparison shopping, seek out coupons, watch a product unboxing video, look over the company’s Facebook page to see what people are saying, double-back on the comparison shopping engine to find the best deal, and so forth.

The fact is, the conversion path isn’t pretty and that’s because it’s too often tied to wisps of numbers that don’t make any meaningful and measurable impact on the bottom line.

Mapping Campaigns to Results

advertising-channelsChanging techniques to focus on revenues and relationships requires a change in how we think about campaigns

So how do you tie your campaigns into the kind of insights that deliver the results you need? Let’s take a look at some common types of campaigns and how they can be adjusted:

E-Commerce Sales

E-Commerce relies heavily on the power of reviews, testimonials and coupons – so combining these in a way that makes sense (such as putting reviews of that particular product below the customer’s item when they go to view their cart) will help reduce cart abandonment rates and seal the deal.

Automatically adding in a coupon (especially for free shipping) only serves to sweeten the deal, and greatly reduces the risk that the customer will go offsite to search for coupons – and potentially to a competitor.

Don’t forget the service after the sale either. Following up to inquire about how the customer likes the product, if they’ve used it yet or have any questions are crucial for keeping your brand front-of-mind in a way that’s helpful, not intrusive.

New Product Launch

New product launches are by far the easiest processes to map. Since initiatives are just getting off the ground, you can more easily segment and monitor them across all channels. But even with that kind of segmentation in place, it’s worth noting that few customers who “Like” a particular brand (for a discount, sample or whatever) seldom return to that page.

Your main goal in measuring results with new product launches should be to get customers to visualize their lives made better as a result of having your product in it. Your best customer may not say a lot or interact a lot on social media, but they will tell friends and family about you – and that speaks volumes more than any advertising can.

Brick and Mortar Sales

If your product is featured in traditional storefronts, there’s a lot you can do to help increase conversions. Create a coupon code for a specific retail chain or even a specific locale so that you can tie results directly to that specific campaign.

Help thwart showrooming (where customers browse in store but buy online) by price matching. Don’t force customers to jump through hoops to get the advertised price, either. Move the conversion needle even more by offering users a social coupon. This is one that can be shared with friends, but must be printed and brought to the store to redeem. You can track the success of the campaign through social analytics or the number of coupons redeemed.

There Is No Best Choice

One of the most common questions from the C-Suite with regard to conversions is “which channel drives the most?” Here again, there’s too much of a focus hinging on pure numbers and not more valuable (but intangible) things like customer sentiment, recommendations, brand awareness and so on. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to discovering which channel brings the greatest ROI – because there isn’t a single channel that does this all the time, for everyone, with every product.

Oftentimes, it’s a mix of initiatives that drive the best results. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Look at the mixes of what’s driving the most engagement or converting the most first-time users into paying customers – that’s the avenue you want to improve conversions on.

How Kissmetrics Can Help

If you’re using Kissmetrics, we’ve made it incredibly easy to see which marketing channels are sending the most profitable visitors.

We do this by using different channels. These channels include visitors who are referred directly to your site, who come by way of a third party, by email, and much more. But simply knowing where they come from is only part of the equation.

What you really want to know is — which visitors are bringing in the revenue?

And because Kissmetrics tracks users, not sessions, you can easily tie revenues to people. This is done by setting up the Revenue Report. Set it up once and let it start tackling the data effortlessly. You can even import your existing sales data if you wish.

segmenting-by-product-line-revenue-report-kissmetrics

An example of a Kissmetrics revenue report segmenting revenue by product category

The most valuable aspect of the Revenue Report is seeing which channels drive your biggest profits — not necessarily the most traffic or even the highest quality traffic — but pure revenues. As stated, you can even segment by marketing channel, so you’ll learn not only which campaigns resonate with your target audience, but what that means in terms of your bottom line.

Map It Out

under-constructionAlways look at strategy from a point of constant improvement rather than a “once and done” campaign

Some of us marketers are just visual learners who perform best when an idea is fully mapped out – so don’t hesitate to do this if you feel it will give you a better idea of how to move forward. Draw a horizontal “timeline” showing the different touch points where your customer interacts with your product or service in any way. Then, draw a vertical line showing the stages of the sales funnel.

Now look at it carefully and see where and how the different areas intersect and mingle with each other. Are there areas where customers are dropping off considerably? Are there touch points where the customer isn’t getting the help or clarification they need? When you map out the process, it’s amazing the findings that will suddenly come to light!

No matter what, going from campaigns to conversions isn’t about looking at the raw data as win or lose. It’s about looking at the big picture of which campaigns cultivated the kind of customer sentiment and brand awareness you want while minimizing friction or cart abandonment. And more often than not, these kinds of results will come from many different campaigns and channels.

It requires a shift in how you think about conversions and how they tie into overall customer retention, to be sure, but making that shift and looking at initiatives in terms of wide-reaching strategies rather than one-off campaigns can make a significant difference in all areas of business.

Have you integrated any of these ideas into your own campaigns? What kind of results have you gotten? Share your thoughts and comments with us below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!



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The Three Metrics You Need to Know Before You Waste Any Time on A/B Tests

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It’s hard to argue that split testing (also know as A/B testing) is changing the face of marketing. According to Unbounce, 44% of online businesses are using split test software. And software products like Unbounce and Visual Website Optimizer are making it ever easier. Split testing, done right, with good context, can put a stop to all the guesswork, anecdotal conclusions, and correlation/causation errors that can abound in marketing circles.

But it’s not without risks: split tests are expensive to run, requiring investment for both software, and staff/consultants to run the tests. Not to mention the opportunity cost of lost time exploiting other profit levers in your business.

All of which underscores the importance of testing the right metrics in your business, and the potential cost in time and resources of testing the wrong ones.

While I can’t speak for all businesses, what I’ve seen again-and-again with clients and peers is businesses gravitating toward what’s easy to test – landing pages, checkout pages, email subject lines, and sales pages (all of which can be extremely important in the right context) – rather than what’s important.

That’s why one of the most meaningful changes you can make in your business is to implement a process for identifying which parameters to test and optimize. Below are 3 metrics you need to know before you spend one more minute split testing.

1. List-to-Sale Conversion Rate

What if I told you one simple calculation would tell you whether to optimize any conversion metrics between an opt-in and a sale, or to look elsewhere? That’s what the list-to-sale benchmark gives you. “List-to-sale” is the percentage of buyers of your product or service over a given time period relative to the number of opt-ins to your email list for the same period.

Say in a given month you get 1,000 opt-ins to your email list, and in that same month, you make 55 sales of your flagship product. Wondering whether you should go with a webinar funnel instead of an email onboarding sequence? Whether to incorporate video into your sales page? Whether to change the color of your “buy now” button?

The answer to all of them is “no”, and I didn’t even need to take a look inside your funnel. Why? With 55 sales, you’re converting at a staggering 5% list-to-sale.

To calculate, just take the sales in the last 30 days and divide those by opt-ins over the same time period.

list-to-sale-conversion-rate-formula

Some readers will be noticing the absence of a sales cycle in that calculation (i.e. since it takes days-to-weeks and several touch points to make a sale. We should be comparing this month’s buyers to last month’s opt-ins). You can control for this with a simple average:

  • Take the last 4 months, and average the opt-ins over the first 3
  • Then average the sales over the last 3.
  • Then perform the same percentage calculation. (Sales divided by opt-ins)

For example, say you’re calculating in August:

  • First you’d average the monthly opt-ins for April, May, and June. Let’s just say the average is 1500.
  • Then you’d average the sales from May, June, and July, in order to leave a 30-day lag. Let’s say that average came out to 75.
  • Dividing the sales by the opt-ins, and you’d get 5%.

The benchmark you should be aiming for? 1-2%. Below that, go nuts with split testing parts of your funnel. Above 1%, look elsewhere.

Above 2%, and I’d seriously consider raising your prices. In the hypothetical case of the 5% from above, I’d immediately double the price.

Next, and especially if your list-to-sale conversion is at-or-above the 1-2% benchmark, it’s time to look at your traffic.

2. Opt-in Conversion Rate

The vast majority of businesses I work with have list-to-sale conversion rates closer to benchmarks than their opt-in conversion rates. Put another way, if they’re wasting any resources split-testing their funnel or sales copy, they’re completely ignoring the sizable cohort of website visitors who never even see the offer because they bounce off the site.

As with list-to-sale conversions, you can do a back-of-the-napkin calculation for opt-ins. Just count your new subscribes from the last 30 days and divide it by total website visitors during that same 30 days.

The benchmark to aim at for opt-in conversion is 10%.

If you haven’t ever found your opt-in rate before, my guess is you’ll be astonished how low it is. I’ve seen it as low as 1-2%.

Luckily, there’s a simple strategy to improve it:

  • Find the individual opt-in rates of your biggest webpages and your 10 most popular content pieces. (If you’re using a plugin like SumoMe or OptinMonster, you can set up the software to tell you your opt-ins for each page.)
  • Look for the “outliers” – content pages often perform worse than home and about pages.

Once you’ve identified the worst-performers, perform this simple checklist (from lowest-hanging-fruit to more subtle)

  1. Can readers find your opt-in offer, or is it buried below the fold or ¾ of the way down a blog post?
  2. Are you giving your visitors only one thing to do on each page or post, or are you offering 3 different giveaways on various parts of your page?
  3. This is not the type of page you want to create if you’re looking to increase opt-ins.

    too-many-ctas-blog-postDon’t give your readers more than one choice when optimizing for opt-ins

  4. Is your opt-in offer not just well written, but well copywritten? Does it specify exactly who it’s for, describe a clear, specific benefit, and emphasize the urgency for opting in? (Even high performing opt-ins can usually be improved).
  5. Are you requiring your subscribers to double-opt-in? This will lower your opt-in conversions. Many founders I’ve talked to like to use a double-opt-in because it seems more “polite”. In my opinion, making somebody go off the page to get the freebie they just gave your email address for, let-alone to wait up to 20 minutes for it to arrive in their mailbox isn’t particularly polite. When I give my email address to get a lead magnet, I want it now – not after reconfirming my email address and waiting 20 minutes for the email.

Split-test ninjas take-note: if you’ve read this far, and your opt-in rate is indeed garbage, there’s ample opportunity to split test:

  • Two versions of a homepage with different opt-in copy/design.
  • Two versions of an exit-pop on a popular content piece.

Go nuts.

3. Traffic

If you’re among the extremely lucky minority with list-to-sale conversions at-or-above 2%, and opt-in conversions at-or-above 10%, and you’ve raised your prices, I have some disappointing (although kind of good) news: split testing is not a good fit for your business.

Here’s the question to ask: Are your monthly sessions at least 50% of your list size? (i.e. if your list has 2,000 subscribers, are you getting at least 1,000 uniques per month?) If not, you need a traffic strategy. Don’t waste your time A/B testing anything.

While I’m a conversions expert and not a traffic expert, here’s a quick decision tree:

  • Determine your market size. If you could 5x your traffic, are there enough people in your market to support it?
  • Implement a content/syndication/guest-post strategy ASAP. It’s practically the only guaranteed winner across all verticals, but it can take up to a year to bear fruit.
  • Consider hiring a paid traffic expert for one month to test customer acquisition costs from various paid sources. Choose the most profitable and double down while you wait for organic traffic to grow.

Bottom line: the same month spent split testing two opt-in offers on a homepage, landing page, or content page, could provide a 2-4x increase in revenue (by, say, improving an opt-in conversion rate from 1% to 4%), while the same time and money spent trying to boost an already maxed-out sales conversion rate would have a much smaller return.

That’s why a little context can save you thousands.

About the Author: Nate Smith is a direct-response copywriter and funnel expert who helps businesses scale by exploiting their most powerful profit levers. Nate is founder of 8020MarketingGuy.com.



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Have You Registered for CRO Day 2016?

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CRODay blog cover image

Remember when you were a teenager and you wanted to get your [insert body part here] pierced because, “literally everyone is doing it”? And your mom was all, “Oh come on, [insert your first name here], would you jump off a bridge because everyone was doing it?”

Well, in most cases Mom was right. Trends are called trends for a reason: they come, they go and they might leave you with an undesirable extra hole in your head.

There is an exception, though: conversion rate optimization (a.k.a. CRO).

CRO Google Trends graph
Google Trends report for Conversion Rate Optimization over the past 10 years.

Everyone’s doing it — even the presidential candidates. And if you’re not doing it — or you’re not doing enough of it — you could be letting conversions, and thus sales, slip through your fingers and into the hands of your competitors.

So what’s a savvy marketer to do but trawl the internet for posts on “How to Conversion Rate Optimization”? (Please don’t search for that, it’s not English.)

Enter CRO Day.

What is it? CRO Day is a full day of online events for conversion-driven digital marketers. Events include five webinars, two panels, one Slack workshop, one AMA… and a five-second Landing Page Showdown.

When is it? Thursday, September 29, 2016.

Where is it? Your couch, your office, wherever you are most comfortable learning all things CRO. All Unbounce-hosted CRO Day events are 100% online.

Who’s gonna be there? You. And me. But also: Andre Morys, Talia Wolf, David DarmaninPeep Laja and many, many more.

What are the highlights?

  • The Five-Second Showdown. Join 10 conversion experts and host Oli Gardner as they dissect and improve CRO Day attendees’ landing pages based on the ol’ five-second test.
  • An epic panel discussion featuring Joanna Wiebe, Joel Klettke and Kira Hug. The topic? How to Write Killer Copy Without Being Shady.
  • Some of your most burning CRO questions answered, like “I have all this data, but what do I do with it?” and “How can I get more conversions out of your traffic?”
  • Community events! If you’d like to host a webinar or in-person event to celebrate CRO Day or if you want to join in on an existing event, check out our Community Events Agenda on Inbound.Org

Don’t miss out on the online digital marketing event of the year. Register today!



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How to Turn Online Marketing Leads into Online Marketing Sales

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If you’re doing online marketing right, you should be driving a steady stream of inexpensive, qualified leads to your sales team.

That means tons of sales and profit for your business, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Often, you may be sending all the right leads to your sales team, but they simply aren’t turning into sales.

What’s going on?

Is it a problem with your sales team? A problem with your leads? Maybe, but often, the problem is simply a marketing-sales mismatch.

When Things Go Wrong

A few months back, we were using paid search to drive leads for a client. We thought we were doing a pretty good job, but there was a problem—our leads weren’t turning into sales.

To be honest, this came as a surprise.

We had a lot of experience in this particular industry, so we knew our campaigns were driving a lot of high-quality leads.

In fact, from a marketing perspective, our campaigns were a hands-down success! We were sending hundreds of high-intent leads to their sales team at a great cost-per-lead.

What more could you ask for, right?

In our experience, they should have been closing at least 10% of these leads…but they weren’t. As it turned out, they were only closing 1% of their paid search leads.

wait-what

What were we doing wrong? 

On paper, everything looked great, so I called the client to get his thoughts. His answer was both candid and insightful:

“Jake, the leads are great. We don’t have a lead problem. My sales team just doesn’t know how to close these leads.”

Now, this problem isn’t unique. I’ve seen it before. Great online marketing can get leads in the door, but it can’t make them close.

That job rests on the shoulders of the sales team.

So, if you want your online marketing to yield great results, your job doesn’t end with lead generation. You need to make sure your sales team knows how to get those leads to close.

Turning Leads Into Sales

With online marketing, you control all aspects of the lead generation process: targeting, ads, landing page content and call-to-action.

The problem is, while you may intimately understand your leads, your sales team might not really know where your leads came from, why they reached out and what they are looking for in a business.

And, unfortunately, if your sales team doesn’t really understand their leads, they are going to have a hard time closing them.

In order to successfully close online marketing leads, your sales team needs to understand a couple of key things about their leads:

You’re Not the Only Business After Their Business

When it comes to online marketing, you can’t expect leads to sit still.

If someone is interested enough in what your business has to offer to reach out, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ve reached out to your competition, too.

However, first to call is first to close.

In fact, 50% of leads end up choosing the company that reaches out first

New leads are also 100x more responsive if your sales team reaches out in 5 minutes instead of 30 minutes and several thousand times more responsive if you’re reaching out within 5 minutes vs a day or two later.

Fortunately, most of your competitors wait hours or even days to respond to new leads, so if your sales team is quick on the draw, they have a good chance of being the first to respond, make contact and close the deal.

The Internet is a Distracting Place

When it comes to online leads, you can assume that by the time you reach out, they’ve already moved on to something else.

Maybe it’s a competitor’s site. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s back to whatever they were doing before your ads caught their attention.

Whatever the reason, they usually aren’t sitting around waiting for your call.

That means your leads are probably distracted and might miss (or ignore) your first few contact attempts. So, if you want to get a hold of your leads, your sales team can’t just send one email and call it quits.

In fact, it takes a minimum of 8-12 contact attempts to get a 90% contact rate. Even if you’re only after a 50% contact rate, your sales team will still need to make at least 6 contact attempts.

The only problem is, most reps only make 1-2 contact attempts per lead. As a result, internet leads are only contacted about a quarter of the time.

You fight tooth and nail to get those great leads in the door and sales only contacts 25% of them?

epic-fail

Imagine what would happen if your sales team started reaching out 8-12 times and achieved a contact rate of 90%. That would increase your contact rate by 360%.

If your sales team’s contact-to-close rate stayed the same, contacting 3.6x more leads would result in 3.6x more sales. Can you imagine how that would affect your business?

Getting Marketing and Sales in Alignment

In addition to giving your sales team insights into what tactics work best for online marketing leads, there are a couple of things you can do on the marketing side to improve sales performance.

Talk to Sales!

Online marketing leads convert because they believe that your company has the solution to their problems. Your sales team’s job is to confirm that belief.

However, if your sales team isn’t making good on the promises of your marketing, your customers will feel betrayed and they won’t want to buy.

To avoid this, your sales team’s message needs to match your marketing message.

Yes, that means you’ll have to talk to your sales team about the intent, pain points and goals of your leads, but guess what? The better your sales team understands where their leads are coming from, the more effective they will be at closing sales.

In my experience, getting marketing and sales on the same page will make your online marketing effects far more effective and can drive millions in added revenue for your business.

There is Such a Thing as Too Many Leads

If you’ve got your campaigns set up right, online marketing (especially pay-per-click marketing) is pretty simple.

Insert the money, out come the leads.

Now, you and I both know that there’s a ton of work behind that equation, but if you’re feeding too many coins into the marketing machine, the resulting surplus of leads can make your sales team a little lazy.

As a result, ambitious sales reps might be tempted to sift through your leads to pick the ones that will be easiest to close.

They’ll look like superstar salesmen, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that their lead-to-close rate is actually terrible.

Even though these “rockstar” reps look like they are closing a lot of deals, they waste a ton of expensive leads. In many cases, companies will end up paying more for those wasted leads than they’ll earn off of that “all star” rep’s closed sales.

So, how can you avoid this?

Easy, just keep your sales team hungry.

If you’re putting less money into the marketing machine, your sales reps will pay more attention to the individual leads they’re getting. 

However, you want to be careful with this tactic. Give your sales team too few leads and you’ll hurt productivity and morale.

So, if your sales team is begging for more leads, up your marketing budget. On the other hand, if you’re not getting any requests for more leads and your close-to-sale rate isn’t doing so hot…you might want to dial back your marketing spend.

Conclusion

It’s hard to make a profit off of online marketing if your sales team doesn’t know how to close your hard-won leads.

But, if you’re willing to work with your sales team, your marketing campaigns will not only produce profitable leads—they’ll produce profitable sales.

And isn’t that what online marketing is all about?

You’ve heard my two cents, now it’s your turn.

In your experience, how have sales short-changed your online marketing efforts (or vice versa)? How have you helped your sales team work more effectively with paid search leads?

About the Author: Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO and fearless leader of Disruptive Advertising, an online marketing agency dedicated to using PPC advertising and website optimization to drive sales. His face is as big as his heart and he loves to help businesses achieve their online potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.



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How Personalization Can Help You Close Leads and Win Customers (with Examples)

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Remember the last time you landed on the Amazon homepage and saw a bunch of recommendations based on your browsing habits?

Or that time when you got an email from your favorite airline thanking you by name and even mentioning your home city?

This is the power of personalization.

Personalization is easy enough to understand: the process of crafting personalized experiences for individual customers through data.

The data is pretty clear: personalization is good for your customers and your bottom-line.

  • 75% of customers say that they like when brands personalize the shopping experience for them (Aberdeen Group).
  • 74% of online customers get frustrated with website when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests (Janrain).
  • 86% of customers say that personalization affects their purchase decision (Infosys).
  • Marketers who personalize the user-experience and are able to implement the changes see on average a 19% uplift in sales (Monetate).

In this post, I’m going to help you understand personalization and show you how you can use it in your business.

Three Types of Personalization

Broadly speaking, you can divide any kind of on-site personalization into three categories:

1. Product-Specific Personalization

In this type of personalization, you show customers products based on what others have bought, or products that go well together (also called “affinity analysis”).

Essentially, it’s a way to upsell additional products based on what the customer is already viewing.

As an example, consider how Amazon shows you popular product combinations (“Frequently Bought Together”):

amazon-frequently-bought-together

Amazon also shows you products viewed/bought by other customers:

customers-bought-viewed-after-product

According to one study, this type of personalization generates the highest revenue for E-commerce stores:

personalied-product-recommendation-type-usage

It works due to three reasons:

  • Knowing that there are others who’ve bought similar products acts as powerful social proof, improving conversions.
  • Product recommendations are served right when customers are ready to buy. Think McDonald’s “Would you like fries with that?” upsell.
  • It encourages customers to view more products. Even if they don’t buy them, you get additional data and customers get exposed to new products.

This type of personalization is relatively easy to setup since it doesn’t require user-specific data. You can even set up product combinations (aka “Frequently Bought Together”) manually if you have a small inventory.

Similarly, setting up recommendations based on behavior of other customers (aka “Customers Who Viewed this Also Viewed”) is relatively easy if you have data on your customers’ behavior flow.

2. User-Focused Personalization

This personalization-type focuses on crafting customized experiences for every user.

You can further divide it into two sub-categories:

A. Data blind personalization

In this case, you know nothing about the user, so you gather key information right on the landing page itself.

For example, NakedWines asks you specific questions at the start to give you a personalized shopping experience. The more information they have on you, the better wine they’d be able to recommend.

nakedwines-survey-questionnaire

Unless you have a lot of customer data, most of your personalization will be data blind. You’ll have to use tactics to quickly gather customer information when they land on your site (more on this below).

Alternatively, you can personalize your site depending on information you already know – the user’s location, browsing device, referral source, etc.

For example, if you browse LLBean.com from Mexico, you’ll see an alert in Spanish notifying you about international shipping. LLBean can easily get this data from your browser itself.

ll-bean-geolocation

B. Data backed personalization

Users who’ve registered or bought something from your store fall into this category. Since you already have some data on these users’ preferences and shopping behavior, you can use it to create personalized experiences/recommendations.

For example, look at Amazon’s “You might also like” or “Inspired from your browsing history” recommendations.

amazon-inspired-by-your-browsing-history

Or Amazon’s “Featured Recommendations” based on recent history:

amazon-featured-recommendations

Data-backed personalization is a powerful tool for improving your conversions. Since it’s based on past user-behavior, you can show highly accurate recommendations to customers and increase your customer LTV.

3. Real-Time Personalization

Real-time personalization is a personalization technique that uses data collected from visitors to create personalized shopping experience on the fly.

In a way, it’s another form of data blind personalization, except it works in real-time.

For example, take a look at Burton’s real-time weather-based personalization. Based on the weather at the user’s location, a tile on the homepage adapts and shows relevant products to buy.

burton-real-time-weather-personalization

Here’s another example from Volcom. Depending on your location, you would see two entirely different pages:

volcom-personalization

Real-time personalization often creates serendipitous “wow” moments for your customers. Using it too much, however, can leave visitors confused. Some users might even see it as an invasion of their privacy.

If you must use it, use it sparingly.

Before You Start Personalization: Things You’ll Need

We’ve seen how personalization can help you increase conversions while also improving your customer experience.

Before you can start the personalization process, however, there are a few things you’ll need.

1. The right audience

Unless you have a treasure trove of customer data and a crack team of data scientists to make sense of it (like Amazon), most of your personalization tactics will revolve around your “ideal” buyers.

These are buyers who have the money, the motivation and the need for your product.

The best way to identify this ideal audience is to create a thorough customer profile. This should more than just a brief statement like “Men who are above the age of 40 and who like sports”.

Instead, your “ideal buyer” customer profile should include the following:

  • Demographic information: This may include age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status, income, and more.
  • Psychographic information: This information is about the customer’s psychology, interests, hobbies, values, lifestyle etc.
  • Firmographic information: This is more relevant to B2B businesses. Information on company name(s), size, industry, revenue etc.

How do you find this data?

This post from Chloe Mason Grey is a good place to start.

Most businesses will have multiple “ideal buyers” (say, a shoe store that sells running gear as well as formal dresswear). Use the data you gathered above to segregate your customers into distinct customer profiles.

2. The right message for the right customer

Different messages resonate with different customer profiles. Your 50-year old customer who buys $400 formal footwear isn’t going to respond to the same message as the 20-year old buying skateboarding shoes.

The next thing you’ll need for personalization, therefore, is the right messaging for different customer groups.

For example, if you sell software for businesses, you may want to show different landing pages for different segments of your target market.

DemandBase, for instance, mentions a customer’s company name and custom image (in this case, Salesforce) on its landing page:

demandbase-salesforce

Ideally, you should have separate messaging for each of your identified customer profiles.

For instance, suppose you identify two ideal customer profiles for your shoe store:

  • Millennials under 25 who buy cheap casual shoes, read Complex magazine and buy 10+ video games every year.
  • Professionals above 35 who buy expensive, but quality formal shoes, read niche fashion sites and occupy senior management positions.

You can then craft personalized messaging for both these customer profiles.

For your millennial buyers, for example, you might send them an email informing them about a new sneaker recently reviewed by Complex. For your older buyers, you could send them a personalized email about a classic Alden shoe that pairs perfectly with a quality suit.

Organize these messages in a “Messaging Matrix”, like this:

messaging-matrix

3. The right place to show your messages

Now that you know who your audience is and what messages resonate with them, it’s time to figure out where they hang out.

Ask yourself: which websites and social networks do they visit frequently? Do they regularly check their emails? Are there any apps they can’t live without?

Doing this will ensure that your personalized message reach your audience at the right place.

For example, if your customer research shows that most of your audience spends much of its time on email instead of reading blogs, investing time in personalized blog posts will be a waste of time.

Use this data to prioritize your message distribution. If you’ve worked out the message to get more conversions, then make sure you place it where the traffic is high (and of high quality).

For instance, Target shows its personalized recommendations right after you add a product to cart:

target-guests-also-bought

This will likely have strong conversions since it shows up right when the customer is ready to checkout.

How to Use Personalization in Your Business

By now, you should have:

  • A detailed profile of the “right” customer(s)
  • Messaging that resonates with these customers
  • A distribution system to deliver this messaging to your ideal customers.

The obvious question now is: how do you actually apply all this to personalization?

In this section I’ll share some strategies for using personalization.

1. Focus on capturing data

Data is the heart of personalization. In any personalization campaign, your focus should be to capture as much data as possible. This should include data for both logged-in and raw users.

Here are a few questions you should have answers to:

  • Traffic source: Where does your traffic come from? What devices and browsers do they use?
  • Behavior flow: What other pages do your visitors view? How long do they stay on these pages? Do they click/purchase anything from these pages?
  • Engagement metrics: What pages do your visitors engage with the most? What parts of the page do they spend the most time viewing?
  • Subjective data: Can customers actually find what they were looking for on your site? Use on-site forms to ask users such questions.
  • Click behavior: What links do your users click on? What links to they ignore?
  • CRM data: What part of the buying cycle are your users in? Use your CRM data to figure this out.
  • User data: When did your customer sign-up with you? How many products have they purchased from you? What is their average order value? Where are they located?
  • Search data: What keywords are customers searching for on your site?

Besides the above, you can also collect data when a user lands on a page and customize the experience on the fly. A very simple example of this is Lufthansa asking users what region and language they want to see the site in:

lufthansa-my-country-language

Here’s another example from Doggyloot. Instead of simply sending customers to the homepage, Doggyloot shows them a custom landing page based on the size of their dogs.

doggyloot-custom-landing-page

You can gradually ask for more and more data from the user to create more customized experiences. For instance, on the Sales Benchmark Index homepage, users are asked to choose their current role:

sbi-choose-your-role

Based on their choice, users are sent to a page with handpicked posts from the SBI blog:

sbi-personalized-page

If a user downloads an eBook or guide, SBI shows them additional content recommendations:

sbi-similar-blog-posts

Even the most basic data can help you create personalized experiences. JetBlue, for example, sent out customers a “happy anniversary” email to thank them for signing up.

jetblue-happy-anniversary-email

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need your own data to run personalized campaigns. Most ad platforms will likely already have lots of data you can leverage to create such experiences.

For example, you can run two Facebook campaigns:

  • Campaign #1: Targets 20-something first-time entrepreneurs who like TechCrunch and Hacker News.
  • Campaign #2: Targets CIOs at large companies who read CIO magazine and subscribe to niche industry blogs.

Since you’ve already qualified your audience, you can now create two custom landing pages for each of these two customer profiles.

For instance, your campaign #1 landing page might say “If you love Hacker News, you’ll love our tech community as well”, while the second landing page might share a whitepaper on a topic recently shared by CIO.

This is very raw personalization (if any), but it’s a quick alternative to combating a lack of data.

2. Personalize based on current position in the buyer’s journey

A user you’ve already touched multiple times wants to see very different things than a user landing on your site for the first time.

By combining data from your CRM, you can personalize your experience based on the user’s current position in the funnel.

For example, you might email a user late in the funnel a discount coupon to close the deal. A first-time visitor, on the other hand, can be sent to a personalized page with a beginner’s “how to guide”.

Lynton, an inbound marketing agency, shows this landing page to customers who haven’t been converted to leads yet (i.e. they are in the Awareness stage):

lynton-non-converted-leads

After Lynton has qualified the lead, it shows a custom landing page (for inbound marketers):

lynton-custom-landing-page

If you don’t have CRM data, you can also use keyword data to estimate the user’s position in the buyer’s journey.

For instance, if you’re selling analytics software, a user who searches for “what is analytics?” is likely in the “Awareness” stage. A customer who searches for “analytics software discounts” is probably in the “Decision” stage and can be shown a different page.

HubSpot, for example, has dedicated landing pages for “what is inbound marketing” (an Awareness stage keyword) and “best inbound marketing software” (a Consideration stage keyword).

inbound-marketing-consideration-awareness-stages

3. Personalize based on user’s past behavior

If the user has interacted with your business earlier, you can use that data to personalize her current experience.

For example, a customer named Emily (who has already bought from you in the past) lands on your site. However, instead of her usual USA location, she seems to be browsing from Europe. You can change your site to show prices in Euros, or give her shipping information for Europe (while also greeting her by name).

There are a few things you must consider when personalizing your content based on past customer behavior:

  • Positive behavioral indicators: If you dig through your analytics, you’ll find that certain behavioral indicators signal a high conversion chance. For example, suppose your data shows that customers who view an item > 4 times are highly likely to convert. A personalization campaign that focuses on such customers would be more successful.
  • Exclude repeat customers: Showing personalized campaigns to customers who’ve already bought the same (or similar) products recently is a waste of resources. Dig through your analytics to exclude any such customers from your campaigns.

One easy way to personalize on-page content is to use “Smart Content”. This is content that essentially updates automatically based on available user data.

For example, on the “Play Like a Girl” homepage, new visitors see this message:

welcome-to-play-like-a-girl

Logged-in users, however, see a personalized greeting:

play-like-a-girl-personalization

Here’s another example from Nike showing how even simple data (in this case, the user’s gender) can help create a more personalized experience. Male users see the page on the left, while females see the page on the right:

nike-male-female-website

You can use user-data to personalize everything from landing pages to CTAs and forms. In fact, HubSpot’s data shows that personalized CTAs regularly outperform non-personalized CTAs:

hubspot-personalized-ctas

4. Personalization based on data from other users

This strategy involves using data from other users to personalize a user’s shopping experience.

For example, suppose your data shows that repeat customers prefer downloading whitepaper #5 while new customers read whitepaper #2 multiple times. You can use this information to push new users to the right download in your emails.

To make better use of customer data for serving personalized recommendations, there are a few things you need to know:

  • Ensure segment overlap, if possible: Instead of making blind recommendations based on-page behavior, show recommendations of similar products bought by customers in the same segment. For example, if you know a user belongs to the “millennial movie lover” segment, consider recommendations based on what other customers in this segment also bought, instead of generic recommendations.
  • Limit price variance: A customer looking at a $20 product isn’t very likely to buy a recommended product that costs $200. Setup maxima and minima prices for your recommended products to improve conversions.

The “customers who viewed this also viewed/bought” personalization is the best example of this. Besides what Amazon does, you can also push conversions up by showing the difference between what customers viewed and what they actually bought.

Target does this exceptionally well:

guests-also-viewed-ultimately-bought-target

If you don’t have a lot of customer data, you can also do product-level personalization. For example, ASOS upsells other clothes worn by its models with a section titled ‘Buy the Look’ after you add a product to your cart.

asos-buy-the-look

This technique is effective because the customer can see how the other items already fit together. Plus, it doesn’t require extensive user-data.

Another example that uses very little data is this landing page from Barilliance showing the number of marketers who’ve downloaded an eBook recently:

barilliane-personalization-whitepaper

Conclusion

Personalization is a powerful strategy for increasing conversions, but it is also easy to get overwhelmed by it.

If you haven’t already put this system in place by now, start small by using personalization on your top-converting pages. Split test personalized vs. non-personalized versions of these pages to see whether your users respond to these changes.

Remember that you don’t have to personalize every part of your site, just the bits that matter.

And finally, always keep testing.

About the Author: John Stevens is a seasoned marketer and entrepreneur. Currently, he’s the founder and marketing head at HostingFacts. He also helps businesses select better site building tools at WebsiteBuilder.org.



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