Discover how to create top converting registration forms for your website or landing pages. Don’t let the design of your form hurt your conversion rate.

Are your forms stopping your visitors from converting on your site? Follow these guide and create the highest converting registration forms ever. Of course, this will not preclude you from testing what works and what doesn’t work on your site and with your audience. Read on!

Steps for Creating Top Converting Registration Forms

I recently went to a website to buy a new keyboard for a laptop. I found the site with the right price and delivery and put the keyboard in my cart.

When I went to checkout, the first question on the billing form was Gender.

Gender?

Why does an electronics part manufacturer need to know if I’m a man or woman?

It introduced enough doubt in my process that I left — I abandoned my order.

The unfortunate statistic is that 86% of visitors abandon forms of all kinds.

It’s doubly heartbreaking when they do so in their cart, because that costs you ready buyers.

How to Create the Highest Converting Registration Forms: 13 Key Tips

The thirteen recommendations made here will set you on a path to reduce your abandonment rates. My favorites are:

  • What am I signing up for? Use a title that explains why the user needs to sign up. Keep this intro short, sweet and simple. Make sure your call to action matches the title. Be more creative than a “Submit” button.
  • Show them their password (who said invisible passwords was a good idea?) Let them pick if they want to see it or not.
  • Put errors in an obvious place and make them visible. Make sure to read the last section on how to use error messages as a conversion opportunity.
How to create top converting registration forms: informational messages make for a smoother conversion path when they are located close to the corresponding field. Easy to notice and to understand.

How to create top converting registration forms: informational messages make for a smoother conversion path when they are located close to the corresponding field. Easy to notice and to understand.

Here’s the rest of the recommendations for creating top converting registration forms.

  • A social signup option can speed up the form filling process and help you create the best conversion registrations forms.
  • Leverage Autofill whenever possible or offer preset options. This is especially true on mobile devices. Nothing more annoying than fumbling around with a form.
  • Make the most of mobile devices. Enable only relevant keypads as required on the field. Make it easy for your visitors. Don’t make them switch to a numeric keypad or keyboard to enter the zip code or phone. Use specific HTML input types. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll avoid friction in this crucial conversion moment.
  • Explain why you need the information and what you expect them to enter. Just because it’s evident to you, does not mean it’s clear to everybody. The same applies to mandatory fields.
  • Limit the number of fields in your form. Don’t drive your prospects away at the mere sight of the longest form ever.
  • Billing address same as shipping address? One checkmark will take care of filling up the fields – internally, of course.
  • Multi-step forms. Split. Split. Split. Research shows that multi-step forms outperform their single-step registration forms. Especially when asking for sensitive information (such as phone) or when the form is too long. Adding a progress bar will entice your prospects to keep going as they are almost done.
  • Google’s UX researchers found that aligning labels top-left of the fields increased form completion time. This is because it requires fewer ‘visual fixations’. Basically, your eyes scan downwards faster. You are forced to scan in a zig-zag motion when the labels are placed to the left of the fields. The exception is when you are using always visible inline form field labels.
  • Did I mention speed? You can make your website as fast as possible, but slowing down like molasses at the time of filling out a form is unacceptable. Make sure your forms load fast and don’t slow down your page speed to increase conversions.
  • Make sure you are GDPR compliant. You have to ask permission for each and every opt-in.

Ready to AB Test? Read on!

UX Design Guide for Form Validation to Lift your Conversion Rates

Forms are a key component of Landing Pages (in addition to Offer, Image, Trust and Proof). When a visitor considers completing a form — for lead gen, to subscribe or to purchase — it is the moment of truth.

So, it is sad that so many forms work to chase these ready customers and prospects away. Forms are meant to have a conversation with the user. One that guides them all the way to the conversion with the best UX possible.

Form validation used to be a “developer” thing and we need to make it a marketing thing. Forms are placed at your sales funnel’s most crucial moment, the conversion. Therefore, it is only logical that improving the UX would help lift conversion rates.

Here are four elements to consider as you guide development of your website forms in these areas to avoid confusion:

1. When to Show Validation Errors: The right time to inform  the user about problems or success

Consider the two main types of form validation: Inline validation and Post-Submit validation.

Inline validation checks field entries as the information is entered.

Post-submit validation validates entries after submitting the entire form. The visitor doesn’t know if the username they chose was already taken or if their email address was entered incorrectly until after they click the button.

If mistakes were made and the form re-loads, the visitor must manually search for the incomplete fields, and correct them. This adds friction to a shopping cart checkout process or a newsletter signup. This hurts completion rates.

Post-submit validation also suffers from scroll confusion. When the page reloads, the error messages often appear off-screen. The visitor may not know that there’s even a problem with their entry until they scroll around. This is a bigger problem on mobile devices where screens are smaller.

Our recommendation is to use inline validation so users can adjust, learn, and correct as they move from field to field. Inline validation is especially effective for the username and password fields, or any field with strict input requirements.

Instagram makes good use of "always visible inline field labels." Discover how to create top converting registration forms for your website or landing pages. Don’t let the design of your form hurt your conversion rate.

Instagram makes good use of “always visible inline field labels.”

Don’t limit messages to errors. Success validation messages are always helpful and encouraging. For example, a simple check mark by the field can let the user know their username was accepted and it’s unique.

2. Where to Display Validation Errors: Right place for validation messages

When messages are located close to the corresponding “failing” field, they lead to a smoother path for conversion. They become easier to notice and to understand.

You may be tempted to add the error messages by the Submit button. But there are only two occasions where you can display the error or validation message next to the Submit button.

The first is  when you perform an post-submit validation and there was no page reload.

The second is when the error affects the whole form, as may happen with a dropped mobile connection, and the page was not reloaded.

In any case, if there was a reload of the page, display the validation errors at the top of the page.

Wave accounting software registration form. Great location for the informational password field. Their social proof is very persuasive.

Wave accounting software registration form. Great location for the informational password field. Their social proof is very persuasive.

3. Right color or Right Graphic Representation

Did you know that 1 in 12 men have some degree of color blindness? Source: Color Blindness

Color blindness is more prevalent among males than females, because the most common form of color vision deficiency is encoded on the X sex chromosome. Source.

In spite of this, if you follow the rules (blue is informational, green is success, red is an error and yellow as a warning) even color-blind visitors will understand the meaning.

If red-green color blindness is the most prevalent - one in twelve men are color blind - should you rely solely on color to get your message across in your registration forms? Image source: Pinterest.

If red-green color blindness is the most prevalent – one in twelve men are color blind – should you rely solely on color to get your message across in your registration forms? Image source: Pinterest.

I recall asking a friend of mine – yes, he was color-blind – how could he tell the traffic signals apart. His answer was, “I know where they are placed.”

We don’t have specific placements on forms, but we can take advantage of icons. And these have rules as well: X for error, checkmark for success, exclamation point for warning and “i” for informational messages.

4. Clear and persuasive language for error messages

A red symbol notifying you that there is an error and no explanation of what it is or how to fix it can lead to form abandonment. It becomes extremely frustrating for users that may be trying to register for your demo or buy from your online store when they don’t know what they did wrong.

Instagram's sign up form error messages are not helpful to the user. There is no clear explanation on how to fix them.

Instagram’s sign up form error messages are not helpful to the user. There is no clear explanation on how to fix them.

If all problems are opportunities, then error messages and error pages are generally missed opportunities. Marketing should be policing the errors reported on their website, messages that have traditionally been written by a techie in IT.

Clear and persuasive language for error messages can actually work in your favor, improving the user experience and increasing conversions.

I’ll give you an example. A few months ago I had to make a doctor’s appointment. The receptionist scheduled me for the following day with the nurse practitioner. I asked if I could see the doctor – best dermatologist in this neck of the woods – and her answer was “No, you will have to wait until she comes back from vacation.” Which happened to be 3 days later.

What do you think would have happened if she would have said, “Of course. She will be back from vacation on this date. But we can get you in tomorrow if you’d like to see her nurse practitioner”. She could have probably have persuaded me to see the NP.

Wayfair's newsletter sign up form has a confusing call to action button text. What will happen after I press continue?

Wayfair’s newsletter sign up form has a confusing call to action button text. What will happen after I press continue?

Related Reading: Why is my Conversion Rate Dropping? 8 Common Reasons

How to Write Great Error Messages

Follow these guidelines to write error message that won’t have your visitor feel like an idiot.

  1. Get rid of IT jargon. Say goodbye to “Submit”, “Send” or “Error”, not only do they have different meanings in English language, they have a negative connotation putting the blame on the user.
  2. Clearly and simply identify the error and give the user a solution.
  3. Never blame the user. Rephrase your error messages or better yet, provide your website visitors with informational messages so they know what to enter in the first place.
  4. Provide a way to contact you, be it chat, email or a customer service number, in case the user needs your help to solve the issue.

Nothing is more worrisome than your website conversion rate dropping. You’ll want to know why, so you can fix it. Breathe. Here’s where to check.

Watching your conversion rate drop is not fun. It will make you lose sleep until you know what’s causing it. And maybe worse until you see it climbing back up again.

Fortunately, any drop in conversion rate has an explanation and one or more solutions.

Bringing it back may be just a matter of time, but just waiting is never a good answer. Sudden drops in conversions can be quite frustrating if you do not know where to dig. Do you agree?

It may be some of the obvious culprits that are to blame for your website conversion rate dropping – website redesigns, landing page changes, new offers, pricing, promos, or sales. But if it’s not obvious, keep calm. Go through this checklist and get it taken care of.

 

Keep calm and read this post if your conversion rates are dropping.

Keep calm and read this post if your conversion rates are dropping.

1. Those Devilish Tracking Codes

It happens. You may believe your analytics tracking codes, also called tags, are working and reporting on your conversions without a hitch. You may find that’s not the case anymore. Incorrectly installed tracking codes could be the cause of your conversion rate dropping.

Maybe they got corrupted when making small tweaks to your site or when implementing a new campaign or when versioning a landing page.

Retrace your steps. Try to remember what you have modified lately. Yes, this is when you’ll realize you should make it a habit to use Google Analytics’ Annotations. This is a great way to easily find the changes you’ve made, changes that may have broken your tracking.

To make sure all of your analytics tracking codes work as they should, we recommend Google Tag Assistant. This is a plugin for your Chrome browser. It will tell you if your tracking is setup properly on any page of your site. Heed the recommendations in the tool. Nothing should be misconfigured.

Here are some places to look:

  • Did you launch any new landing pages? If so, are the tracking codes setup on them?
  • Did you release any new offers? Make sure you’re creating goals in Google Analytics for all of your reports, demos, trials and purchases.
  • Did you add any third-party tools to your site or ecommerce plugins? Make sure they are properly integrated with Google Analytics.

2. Conversion Rate Dropping due to Lack of Browser Compatibility?

Google Analytics has very handy reports to identify where the problem may lie. Check for a significant drop in conversions for a particular browser. Your major browsers include Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox & Edge and on mobile, Android and iOS.

Found it?

Browser testing: Target Chrome 71.0.3578.98 / Windows 2008 R2.

Browser testing: Target Chrome 71.0.3578.98 / Windows 2008 R2.

Now we test the Target website on Chrome 51.0.2704.103 / Windows 2008 R2. Notice the differences.

Now we test the Target website on Chrome 51.0.2704.103 / Windows 2008 R2. Notice the differences.

Finally, Target website tested on Firefox 30.0 / Debian 6.0.

Finally, Target website tested on Firefox 30.0 / Debian 6.0.

Test your checkout flow, your forms, on-exit intent pop-ups, even your landing pages with that browser. Keep in mind that not all browsers behave in the same way on every operating system. Therefore, you have to check on Windows, Mac and Linux, at the very least. Has some of your website’s CSS or Javascript become obsolete?

Google Analytics has a very handy report for this: Audience > Technology > Browser

Google Analytics browser report.

Google Analytics browser report.

Then select the Ecommerce report. You’ll be able to look for browsers that underperform.

If it’s not a particular browser, check for mobile, tablet, desktop or amp technical bugs or issues. Is an element of your responsive landing page now hidden from view on a mobile device?

3. Don’t Underestimate Website Performance

If your server or your CDN are experiencing glitches, or your website is suffering from a sudden slow down in page load speed, you may not have dropped your organic rankings yet but your customer UX has degraded.

Moreover, your visitors are currently sending those unhappy experience signals to search engines. Ouch!

Check the Search Console coverage report to make sure you didn’t have any 500 internal server error. If so, talk to your hosting company or sys admins to have them resolve it.

Google Search console coverage report. Is your server or CDN misbehaving? Could this be the cause of your conversion rate dropping?

Google Search console coverage report. Is your server or CDN misbehaving? Could this be the cause of your conversion rate dropping?

Now take a look at the Google Analytics speed reports and compare it with the previous period. A slowdown of the average server response time will point to a need for additional server resources or to a software upgrade. If the average page load time is the one that has increased and you are running a CMS like Magento, Shopify or WordPress, start digging into extensions, plugins and image sizes.

Improve visitor experience by addressing page load speed issues.

Improve visitor experience by addressing page load speed issues.

I guess, pinpointing why your website conversion rate is dropping can get a bit technical, huh?

4. Have you Forgotten to Optimize for Mobile Devices?

Ok, you already checked that your site was displaying correctly when you checked for technical issues. But, it’s possible that your mobile customers require a different conversion experience than the one you crafted for your desktop users.

Access Google Analytics and compare traffic for devices under Mobile Audience overview year over year. Maybe it’s time to contact our Mobile CRO experts. We wrote the book on it.

 

5. Your Marketing Personas Changed Behaviors

Usually, customer behavior takes quite a long time to reflect negatively on your conversion rates. So, concentrate on other issues unless you’ve noticed your conversion rate dropping for a while.

If the latter is the case, maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at your marketing personas. Times do change.

6. Conversion Rate Dropping with a Traffic Increase?

A decline in traffic volume can obviously decrease the number of conversions and possibly your online shop conversion rate. But what if there’s an increase in traffic? Yes, even an increase in traffic can badly affect a website’s conversion rates.

First things first. Make sure you identify the traffic source that has experienced a decrease in conversion rate. Is it the same as the one whose traffic volume increased? Remember to check their landing page functionality. If that’s not the problem, review a few of these scenarios.

6.1 Paid Traffic Increase

A lower conversion rate with a paid traffic increase could be pointing to non-relevant campaign targeting or to a lack of understanding what will persuade your visitors to buy or try your products or services.

Maybe you need to put things in perspective and understand that in some occasions such as Black Friday, prospects perform a lot of comparison shopping. Therefore you may experience much higher traffic driven by your social or ppc campaigns but a decline in conversion rates. I bet you are spending more on these campaigns as well, aren’t you?

Optimize your ad copy and landing pages accordingly so your site won’t be left behind in this increased competition and avoid significantly lower conversion rates.

Answer this, have you been running the same campaign for a long time? People are clicking but not converting? Maybe it’s time to change the landing page.

Examine each step of your funnel and look for weak points. Arm yourself with Heat Maps. They can definitely help you identify what your visitors are seeing or missing. Engage in split testing and get those conversion rates back up.

6.2 Sudden Surge in Social or Organic Traffic Volume

A spike in social or organic traffic may be attributed to the creation of clickbait blog posts. The problem with these articles, is that while traffic may increase, these visitors tend not to convert – at least not immediately. You will experience a perceived “drop” on conversion rates as a similar number of conversions are being diluted in higher traffic. Social traffic tends to react faster than organic, so look for correlations there first.

6.3 The Attack of the Bots or Ghost Spam

Bots can also generate a sudden growth in direct or referral traffic. It’s quite easy to identify those bots on analytics – unless they were spectacularly well coded. This is rarely the case. Bots don’t have gender, age and they have 100% bounce rate.

They will produce the same effect as any spurt in irrelevant and non-converting traffic: declining conversion rates.

6.4 Are You Emailing Less?

Email is one of the highest converting traffic sources for most businesses. If you have reduced the frequency of email or have changed the kind of email you are sending, this may impact you overall conversion rates.

Nothing more worrisome than your website conversion rate dropping. Evidently, you’ll want to know why so you can fix it. Breathe. Here’s where to check.

Nothing more worrisome than your website conversion rate dropping. Evidently, you’ll want to know why so you can fix it. Breathe. Here’s where to check. This image has been designed using resources from Freepik.com.

7. Blame Seasonality for Your Conversion Rate Dropping

Does your conversion tend to drop at this time of the year? Seasonality usually causes a very rapid change in conversion rates and it may be accompanied of lower traffic or not.

If your traffic has not changed, compare with last year’s data and see if you are following trend. We tend to think of seasonal changes as holiday times but professional services like website design tends to drop during those times.

One of the most interesting seasonality drops I have ever seen happens in the wedding services industry every New Year’s eve. I guess one celebration offsets the planning of the other. So, tread carefully when making website changes without considering these seasonal effects or they could play against you.

The same seasonality may affect traffic, therefore always keep track of decreases or increases in seasonal trends.

8. When your Competitors Cause your Conversion Rate to Drop

If your conversion rate is dropping and you cannot find anything wrong with your site or with your actions, you may want to check what your competitors are up to.

Maybe they are running a special discount or a promotion that drives conversions away from you. Monitor their actions and respond accordingly. This may help you address some of the conversion loss.

Of course, lower conversion rates don’t mean as much as Return on Investment (ROI), so don’t leave that metric aside, You may be alarmed because you see your conversion rate dropping but in the end, that’s not what really matters What counts is your bottom line. Looking at a single conversion rate could be narrowing your view of the business, especially on this day and age of omnichannel marketing.

And, if all else fails, you can hire Conversion Sciences for a CRO Audit. Having a pair of expert eyes analyze your site, your 360 degree customer journey and review your conversion rates is always a plus.

Sales funnel or full funnel conversion optimization? Which should you use and when? It all depends on what you want to understand.

Full funnel conversion optimization – or the Conversion Sciences Profit Funnel™ – provides the analysis and insights needed to help positively impact your business bottom line. Analyzing a sales funnel helps improve those issues found in a specific buying process.

There is nothing wrong about analyzing a sales funnel conversion rate or a sales funnel model for a specific segment of a customer journey. But your online business will definitively benefit from performing a Profit Funnel™ or full-funnel conversion optimization as well.

A highly experienced team of conversion experts can leverage both models when optimizing, instead of narrowing the view and hurting profits. An inexperienced conversion consultant will only see a siloed series of sales funnels, evaluate them independently and make decisions based on their own unique ROAS instead of their interactions.

Deliver double-digit sales growth every year, year after year. Increase revenues and profit. And shorten your sales cycle with our ecommerce and lead generation solutions.

Let’s review the key differences between sales funnel and full funnel conversion optimization or Profit Funnel™. We’ll begin with a great example of both models, a definition of a full marketing funnel. Finally, we’ll cover their differences in scope and the metrics used by each funnel.

Happy customers means returning customers. The starting point for full funnel conversion optimization is the customer blueprint and guess whose CRO audit services include a map of the customer journey for your online shop? Conversion Sciences.

Happy customers means returning customers. The starting point for full funnel conversion optimization is the customer blueprint and guess whose CRO audit services include a map of the customer journey for your online shop?

Example of Sales Funnel vs Full Funnel Conversion Optimization

Imagine an addiction treatment center that offers both low-cost at-home testing kits and treatment programs. Their at-home drug testing kit sells for $10, and it costs $5 to manufacture and ship. Their treatment programs start at $15,000.

They have an effective social media presence, paid campaigns to engage and attract their target market. And they also provide valuable resources for people with addiction problems and for their loved on their website. These range from informational articles to online quizzes to help find out whether or not one is suffering from an addiction and what is the best course of action.

Ok. Time to tackle sales funnel optimization. If they analyze their PPC sales funnel they will realize that it is costing them $20 in ad spend to convert each home testing kit sale. This added to the manufacturing and shipping costs may lead them to determine that this $10 sale is costing the company $25. But they are not looking at their profit margins, they are simply calculating Return on Ad Spend or ROAS.

Thus, they may decide to turn off the ad spend and stop this failing campaign because they “lose” $15 per sale. Or they may attempt to improve a Google Ads campaign that is already performing quite well.

But what if this addiction treatment center looks at the full-marketing funnel or Profit Funnel™ instead?

They would find that 20% of their customers have repeated their kit purchase every 3 months.

By the same token, they have not estimated the impact that their content development and social media efforts have on those conversions. And they were attributing the sale to the last touch-point.

As the buyer journey is not limited to a single channel, analyzing a single sales funnel could narrow your business focus and marketing assessment scope.

Moreover, this treatment center finds that 2% of the people who purchase their $10 test later sends a loved one to their center for a $15k treatment program. Those $20 in ad spend for each testing kit sale got the family to notice their services and inquire about their drug-rehab program. Therefore, for every 100 tests they sell, an average of 2 patients will join their treatment program generating a minimum of $30,000 in revenue.

Before I became the CMO, I was more focused on how we were spending our marketing budget than on how marketing could help drive long-term business objectives.But thinking like this holds businesses back. Marketing should be valued for its long-term potential, rather than its short-term efficiencies.

-Monty Sharma, CEO and CMO, Jenny Craig

So, What is Full Funnel Conversion Optimization or Profit Funnel™ Optimization?

As we have noticed, a full funnel evaluates the 360 degree customer journey with a company or brand. Its goal is not only to acquire a customer but also to understand, nurture and improve their relationship and experience with the brand.

It focuses on not only pre but post-transaction because it takes into account how this will affect the probability of increased number of subscription renewals or sales, lower customer rotation, lower customer acquisition costs, and increased profit margins.

As we can clearly see, even though it’s called a funnel, this model looks more like an infinite loop with many potential touch-points throughout the buyers journey, over time and across a multitude of devices and online/offline experiences.

Have you even thought of people interacting with your site or buying from you via Alexa? Full funnel analysis and optimization will deliver a more cohesive personalized experience to your online customer segments.

Have you even thought of people interacting with your site or buying from you via Alexa? Photo: Grant Ritchie via Unsplash.

1. Sales Funnel vs Profit Funnel™ or Full Funnel Optimization: Differences in Scope

One of the main differences between sales funnel and a full funnel conversion optimization is its scope. The oftentimes narrow span of a sales funnel is overshadowed by the number of elements or touch-points that a Profit Funnel™ considers.

Let’s check them out.

Single Path vs Infinite Loop: Are you optimizing for Omni channel yet?

The most evident difference between the sales and the Profit Funnel™ models lies in their reach. Highly restricted to a specific conversion path for the sales funnel versus a very broad view of the customer journey for the latter.

While most sales funnels are focused on a single transaction (such as a lead, sale or subscription) the full funnel or Profit Funnel™ acknowledges the entire lifetime of a potential customer or client. Its purpose is to allow us to take a step back and look at the entire customer journey or full marketing funnel and help optimize by what is most profitable without discarding the customer experience.

One Decision Maker vs Multiple Stakeholders

Have you been optimizing for a single decision-maker? Maybe you were leaving some marketing personas out of the equation. The higher the ticket price, especially for B2Bs, the higher the likelihood of having more than a single decision-maker involved in the purchasing process. Most companies will include different stakeholders’ input through the funnel and each one of them may further or delay that coveted B2B sale.

Sales funnel conversion optimization targets one person. Profit funnels recognize there is often more than one decision-maker.

Conversion Sciences Profit Funnel™ recognizes and accounts for this fact. Trying to optimize a single funnel to convert this lead is short-sighted, when understanding the 360 degree customer journey and optimizing for it, will significantly increase conversions and boost profit margins.

Single Device vs Cross-Device

We often find – when auditing a client’s conversion efforts – that their sales funnels don’t include mobile customers. Addressing this gap via mobile conversion optimization efforts has increased their profits manyfold.

The Profit Funnel™ recognizes the value of determining which of those platforms holds the highest potential for each particular conversion and finding a way to best optimize each path.

Sales funnels often focus on increasing conversions on a certain page on either mobile, tablet, or desktop. Thus, leaving out the reality that customers will interact with your brand, product or service in multiple ways and through as many devices as exist.

Have you even thought of people interacting with your site or buying from you via Alexa?

Full Funnel Conversion Optimization Enables a More Personalized Online Experience

The data-driven strategy of optimizing the full marketing funnel helps you identify consumer segments. Behavioral information can be collected in-store, online, and post-visit. The insights derived from this analysis helps you craft and deliver online personalized experiences to boost conversions and increase their contribution to your bottom line. All the while deriving insights to improving your marketing strategy.

“You are engaging with the consumer on an intimate level — they are telling you what products are interesting. That customer data is one of the most important things to grow your brand.” – Kate Kibler, Timberland’s VP of direct-to-consumer.

For high-traffic sites, Conversion Sciences offers the latest martech stacks – ML and AI-powered – via the Conversion Catalyst AI™. Our Conversion Catalyst AI™ builds a predictive model that identifies which visitors are ready to buy, and delivers the perfect experience so that they are more likely to buy from you. So you can deliver the most optimized experience be it on your website, on wearable devices, voice search, augmented-reality or any of the myriad of experiences the IoT brings us.

Full funnel analysis and optimization will deliver a more cohesive personalized experience to your online customer segments.

2. Sales Funnel vs Full Funnel Conversion Optimization Metrics

It’s hard to take a look at your full marketing funnel and try to gauge how well it’s working besides ROI and profit margins. But following those metrics without fully understanding which effort or efforts made the difference, is no way to run a business either. But lucky you. Full funnel is optimized with your bottom line in mind and a bespoke full funnel attribution will help you identify what’s helping and what’s hindering your conversions.

Therefore, the difference between sales funnel and full funnel conversion optimization is that you will end up concentrating your marketing spend on those efforts who bring in profitable returns. Much better than looking at a measly conversion rate. right? ;)

Sales funnel conversion optimization targets one person while Profit funnels recognize there is often more than one decision-maker.

Sales funnel conversion optimization targets one person while Profit funnels recognize there is often more than one decision-maker.

ROAS vs ROI

Are you narrowing your business focus down to sales funnels and conversion rates? Are you making decisions that affect your whole business by a simple ROAS? Or are you leveraging a 360 degree customer blueprint to improve your company’s profit margins?

Do you need your customer journey mapped? Check out Conversion Sciences conversion rate optimization audit services.

In the addiction treatment center example, when the sales funnel was not profitable (its ROAS was negative), they could have shut down the ad campaign. But when they looked at the full funnel (in-patient treatment registrations), the ad investment was profitable and it justified the initial losses in the funnel. It had a positive ROI.

Thus, by using both metrics, you can isolate those efforts whose ROAS may be positive but not their ROI, which takes into consideration not a single digitally advertised campaign but how each contributes to the business profit margins. And you can spare from killing efforts with negative ROAS because, in the end, their revenue-generating power is much larger than the one calculated from the revenue from ad campaign/cost of ad campaign.

By doing so, you change the focus to driving business performance, not just advertising performance.

Single Attribution vs Custom Attribution

Going back to the addiction treatment center example. There are things they do that contribute to their bottom line – such as informational blog posts, quizzes, etc. But their attribution model assigned the conversion value to a single Google Ads campaign.

People have several contacts with a brand before they even consider converting on that landing page, clicking on that PPC ad or that Instagram shoppable image. Which means that any and all contributions along the 360 degree funnel, or full funnel or Profit Funnel™ must be taken into account and their value toward each of the conversions (testing kit purchase, treatment) attributed properly to measure its impact on revenues and on profit margins.

While a single touch attribution model is a fast and simple way to allocate credit to a campaign, full funnel must use a bespoke or custom attribution model to understand what is working and what is not.

It’s common yet dangerous and naive to make assumptions about which touchpoint to attribute credit for a conversion. Oftentimes these assumptions are created from unrecognized personal bias and proven false through data analysis. This is one of the biggest reasons that analyzing all metrics is vital to a company’s long-term success.

Building a smooth customer journey is key to business and revenue growth. Here’s how to create a sales funnel that works in just 5 minutes.

You may not believe you already have one or more sales funnels in place, but all businesses do. Maybe it’s not working as expected. Or perhaps you would like to make it more effective. Follow these steps to create a sales funnel in 5 minutes that will have customers buying from you in no time at all.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

But first things first. Let’s quickly refresh the definition of a sales funnel.

A sales funnel is a hypothetical or ideal journey you would like a prospect to travel to become a lead or a customer. This is why sales or revenue funnels are also called “customer journeys” or “customer blueprints”.

They can be as simple as a one step Click to Call Google Ad, where the button is your opt-in point or as complex as need be. Especially for those businesses where lots of lead nurturing is needed for prospects to convert.

Call only ads are best used when there's a sense of urgency to the offer. Isn't this one of the shortest sales funnels ever?

Call only ads are best used when there’s a sense of urgency to the offer. Isn’t this one of the shortest sales funnels ever?

Keep in mind, while you are building your sales funnel, that the best functioning ones are those that reduce friction. That is, they do not add unnecessary barriers or hurdles to the sales process.

Ready, Set, Let’s See How to Create a Sales Funnel in 5 Minutes

One of the sales models that is most frequently used in customer blueprints and customer journey mapping is the AIDA model, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, it maps how people make purchasing decisions. And, in spite of the technological developments, its importance and effectiveness has not diminished as humans have not changed their buying decision making process since then.

Whatever tactics you use to qualify leads and drive them closer to taking the desired action will change accordingly to where the lead is within the funnel: top (TOFU), middle (MOFU) or bottom (BOFU). It essential to understand how the funnel works from the moment you make the first contact (TOFU) with your ideal future customers to the moment where you convert those leads (BOFU). Keep in mind that each one of these components depends on the others.

Creating a sales funnel is as simple as defining the desired action and the target audience and then drawing the path between those two. And as complex as making it function successfully.

Here’s how to create a sales funnel (or improve the one you have) in 5 minutes.

AIDA model applied to customer journey mapping.

AIDA model applied to customer journey mapping.

To Create a Sales Funnel First you Need to Generate Awareness

Attracting attention or generating awareness works best when you know your target audience media habits. You’ll be more successful if you advertise your brand, your products and/or services where the majority of your prospects already are.

These prospects may be currently looking for what your product or service provides or they may not. Those potential leads that are intently searching for a service similar to yours will notice relevant messages much more than those that are not.

For example, if someone is ready to upgrade to a new car, they will feel as if there are more automobile ads than usual. It’s because they are more aware. Generating awareness for your brand might be easier in this case. Funny how the brain works.

On the other hand, you may generate awareness amongst prospects with related needs. They are not looking for what you sell exactly. For example, while browsing their Facebook feed or reading a blog post, a person looking for a higher paying job may stumble upon a college or university they didn’t previously know existed.

Once you know where to find the vast majority of your audience, you can decide on a way to generate awareness about your brand. Usually these tactics range from PPC campaigns, TV or radio ads, billboards, blog posts, trade show participation, referrals, direct mail, email campaigns, online search results, all the way to super outrageous publicity stunts. You get the idea. Don’t craft the copy or the creative yet.

Have you chosen a tactic to introduce your prospects to your brand? Great! You’ve got the first step of your sales funnel covered. (Don’t overthink it) Move on to the next step.

Guiding customers through the buying stages: how to create a sales funnel that works in 5 minutes.

Guiding customers through the buying stages: how to create a sales funnel that works in 5 minutes.

Second Step: The Interest Awakens

To create a solid sales funnel, you have to drive your prospects to click, call, download, sign-up, or visit you. And even though this happens at the last stage, you need to present the reasons why your are worthy of consideration in order to make it happen.

Do you have an eCommerce site and are offering free shipping? Is your SaaS fulfilling a productivity need that is important to your lead? Or do your cars flaunt the features your prospective buyers are searching for?

Related reading: 7 Conversion Copywriting Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

You need to know your customers and their behaviors, habits, and motivations to cut through the noise and to offer them something they recognize as useful or relevant.

This is the time to entice and convince them as to why they need your product or service.

Third Step: Pick Me! Pick Me! or the Sales Funnel Desire Stage

You presented your benefits properly and showed value to your prospect. Now it’s time to elicit desire. Congratulations! You are in the middle of the funnel (MOFU).

Keep an eye on your goal, your lead has to desire your product or service above any other.

Hence, you should keep educating and positioning your brand as the solution to their needs and problems. This is the stage where you shine a spotlight on those benefits. Testimonials, case studies, product comparisons, and customer reviews work well here.

This is also the stage where you match your product or service benefits to the prospect’s needs to clear up any barriers to the sale. This is a critical stage in which website traffic often fails to convert.

Do not miss out on these 20 Landing Page Best Practices to Kickstart Your Conversion Lift

Fourth Step: Ask for the Sale

It seems to go without saying that any good sales funnel ends with a purchase. The biggest mistake people make when using the AIDA model, though, is to assume the sale will happen organically once the other steps have fallen into place. It won’t. Unlike an actual funnel, what goes into a sales funnel doesn’t always reemerge at the end. And people tend to not take action unless they’re asked. So, pay attention to your calls to action – the worst mistake sales people make is not ask for the close.

What’s your call to action? How will you prompt them to fill out the form, complete their shopping cart purchase, have a one-on-one call or meeting or do whatever final action you want them to take to complete their customer journey?

Purple mattress on exit intent pop up offer (BOFU).

Purple mattress on exit intent pop up offer (BOFU).

Maybe you’ll offer them a free assessment, or a last minute discount if they complete the transaction right away. Take a minute to decide as the BOFU stage is the most crucial since it’s where you ask for the sale.

Ta Da! 5 minutes to build a sales funnel without writing a single line of copy — yet.

Would you rather have the conversion scientists identify your customer journeys to help you build your funnels? Then, check out our Conversion Rate Optimization Audit Services.

Sales Funnel Examples

Now that we’ve created our customer journey, let’s take a look at a couple of sales funnel examples for inspiration.

I think we covered one with the call only PPC ads example. Great for a local business like a personal injury attorney or a plumber, locksmith or any organization whose concern is to make the phone ring. Another requirement for successfully using this type of sales funnel is a sense of urgency to your product or service.

Purple mattress provides visitors with a humorously informational and convincing MOFU tactic on their landing pages with their zany videos backed by scientifically proven data. We may be a bit skewed as they also wear lab coats but go ahead, play the video and tell us what you think – unless you decide to buy a mattress first. ;)

A typical lead generation sales funnel example that remains mostly on the TOFU stage is to offer a Free Book, Research or White Paper to visitors – organic or paid. Take them to the next stages of the funnel by offering a one-time offer or a free consulting session. Keep qualifying the lead and close it with a call or an in person meeting.

Once you have a funnel ready an implemented you will want to test it, so we leave you with 9 Imaginative Approaches to AB Testing Landing Pages to get you started.

Experience a lift on your contact form conversion rate. Know what form of form you should have on your lead generation site. These best practices designed to increase contact form conversion will definitely help.

Contact forms are the most common way of beginning a conversation between a company and a prospect. In this article, we’ll show you how to get more prospects to fill out your form without reducing the quality of those leads.

What’s the big deal with forms? They have fields. You fill out the fields and you get something you want.

So, why do so many of your visitors fail to fill out your forms?

There is some psychology and some science to getting more form fills, whether you are trolling for leads or asking your visitors to buy something. The folks at SingleHop have done a study and it is exactly what we’ve seen in our testing of contact forms. You’ll learn a lot about increasing contact form conversion from this little infographic.

Contact Form Fields: How Many is Too Many?

As a general rule, the more fields you have, the lower your conversion rate. However, the leads you do acquire will be better qualified. The best way to find the right mix is to A/B test your contact forms.

Generally speaking and to increase contact form conversion, you should avoid:

  1. Fields that ask for qualifying information that can be found out on a phone call, such as purchase timeframe.
  2. Drop-down fields that may not contain an answer accessible to the visitor, such as title.
  3. Drop-down fields that imply something, such as number of employee ranges.
  4. “None of your business” fields, such as mobile phone, yearly revenue or social security number.

Best Practices to Increase Contact Form Conversion

While you may think your website is selling your product or service, what it’s really selling is a sales call. You must convince the visitor to complete your form.

There are four components that will help you achieve this.

Build Trust

You can build trust by including your phone number and contact information. Sometimes they will call you.

On a mobile device you should optimize for phone calls.

Provide Social Proof

Your contact page should present testimonials and endorsements to make visitors feel comfortable completing the contact form.

Add Value

Make sure you are building value. What’s in it for the visitor if they fill out the form?

  • Who will contact them? A salesperson? A consultant?
  • Will there be a hard sell?
  • How long will the call be?
  • What questions will be answered?

Sell the call to increase contact form conversions.

Use Risk Reversal

You can significantly remove barriers to completion by simply presenting your privacy policy on the form. While these are rarely read, they indicate that you care enough to have one.

Lead generation solutions that deliver. Contact us to generate more and better leads fast.

Get the Call to Action Right

On a contact form, the call to action usually lives on the contact form button. The call to action should communicate what will happen when it is clicked.

Studies indicate that using first person improves conversion rates. Test changing “your” to “my”.

For example “Download your free report” is second person. “Download my free report” is first person.

Experience a lift on your contact form conversion rate. Know exactly what form of form you should have on your lead generation site. Infographic.

Contact forms infographic.

The Best Lead Capture Forms

The best contact forms don’t assume the visitor wants to fill out the form. Only lonely people fill out such forms.

Instead, your form should give visitors a good reason to complete the form, and build trust with them and explain the value of completing the form.

This is an important step in their journey to solve a problem.

Treat it as such.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

Heatmaps are just the first step to obtaining useful insights on your website visitors. Today we’ll find out how heatmaps helped increase prospective student inquiries by 20% for a University and have a chat with Andrew Michael of Hotjar. Find out what he has to say.

Andrew Michael | Understanding Your Users: Leveraging Tools to Grow Your Website

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Resources and links discussed

How Heatmaps Helped Increase Prospective Student Inquiries by 20%

We were looking at the heatmap report for the website of Northcentral University, a non-profit online university headquartered in Arizona.

Reading a heatmap report is like looking at a weather radar, but instead of blobs of green, red and yellow showing us where rain is falling around us, a heatmap report shows us where visitors are clicking on a web page.

And it was raining clicks in an unexpected spot on the NCU website.

Specifically, visitors were clicking on one of the fields in the middle of a form, and only on that field. Not the name field, not the email field. The majority of them weren’t completing the form.

So, why were visitors so interested in this one field?

It was an important question, as this form was the primary invitation to get more information on the University. It was on almost every page, ready to start a more in-depth conversation with any visitor.

The field visitors were clicking on was “program of interest”, a dropdown field that listed the degrees offered by NCU. It was meant as a way for prospective students to tell NCU which degree program they were interested in.

These prospective students were using it as an information source.

While the copy on the page was regaling visitors on the value of NCUs one-on-one learning, it’s 100% doctoral professors and it’s diversity, visitors were telling us that they had one question first.

Do you offer a degree program I’m interested in?

At least, this was the hypothesis. So we designed a test.

At the top of every page, we placed a dropdown menu that listed the university’s programs, just like that on the form. When a degree program was selected, we took them to the part of the site that described that degree program.

Half of NCUs visitors would see this dropdown. The other half would not. They’d have to use the dropdown in the form.

When we measured the results, the visitors who saw the dropdown in the page were 20% more likely to fill out the form completely, requesting information.

This indicated that the change would increase prospective student inquiries by 20%, a very significant improvement in the key metric for the site.

The current site offers a complete section designed to help visitors find a degree program they’re interested in.

This is something that we would not have been able to find any other way than through a heatmap report. It doesn’t show up in analytics. No one would have complained.

This is the power of a class of report called user intelligence reports.

Anyone who knows how to read rain chances from a weather radar can use this kind of report. More and more of us are doing this.

These reports are surprisingly easy to generate and the tools are inexpensive.

You can bring people to websites all day long but if it’s not optimized and it’s not user friendly and you’re going to lose all day and you just can end up throwing money down the drain.

Leading the way is a company called Hotjar. On today’s show we’re breaking down HotJar with Andrew Michael. A tool focused on helping you understand your users. Andrew got into marketing because he’s intrigued by psychology – understanding what drives people’s decisions.

An Insightful Chat with Andrew Michael from Hotjar

Intended Consequences podcast with Hotjar's Andrew Michael

Intended Consequences podcast with Hotjar’s Andrew Michael

Time is precious for overburdened marketers. On this show, we seek to understand which tools are truly valuable, and which are just giving us “interesting” insights.

We install something like Hotjar on every one of our client sites when optimizing.

Tools like Hotjar are a part of what I call ‘the golden age of marketing’. These tools are continually evolving, getting easier to use and less expensive.

These are the tools that buy you more time to be creative, ground breaking and successful.

We start off the podcast talking about all of the things Hotjar brings to the table under a single subscription. Then we talk about the outcome of leveraging tools like this – how do they actually empower marketers serve their online prospects better?

Listen to the Podcast. It’s well worth it.

When You Get Back To The Office

I’m not a shill for Andrew. I just know these tools are a great value and easy to learn.

When you get back to the office, i recommend that you do a trial of Hotjar. Add it to your homepage, or one of your “money” pages where you ask visitors to take action. Setup a heatmap report on it.

Let it run for a few days, and then look at the scroll report. This report tells you how far visitors are scrolling on your page. This is one of the first things we look at when we start analyzing our clients’ sites.

Where is the report turning blue? This is the place on the page that visitors stop reading. Look in the blue area. What key content are they missing?

If more than half of your page is blue, you have a scroll problem. Visitors aren’t being engaged enough to get through your content.

Reasons for this include: false bottoms, where visitors think the page ends when it doesn’t. It can mean that your content isn’t engaging them enough high on the page. It can mean that you’re not handling a key objection.

Your strategies include moving key content to the top of the page, putting arrows, chevrons and “v”s on the page to tell visitors to keep going, or re-thinking the story you tell on this page.

Don’t be discouraged. This is progress! Next, share this report with your design team and see what they think.

This is how pages get better and businesses grow.

You can get all these links discussed on this week’s episode in our shownotes. One thing to remind you all of is that Hotjar is a freemium model so it’s one you can definitely

Alright scientists, that’s it for this week.

Andrew Michael | Understanding Your Users: Leveraging Tools to Grow Your Website

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It may not seem intuitive business to business brands to implement live chat for B2B conversion optimization. But live chat is no longer only reserved for B2C brands. While Live Chat hasn’t become popular with B2B decision maker just yet, more organizations are adopting this rich media tool to support their conversion optimation efforts.
Live chat can not only assist with customer service, but it can help with customer acquisition and retention. In fact, studies show that live chat can increase conversions by up to 20%.
Furthermore, customers who live chat are three times more likely to make a purchase. When it comes to customer service, live chat shows higher rates of consumer satisfaction when compared to all other customer service touchpoints.
With the uses of live chat for conversion optimization clearly established, it’s time for a complete how-to guide. Here is all you need to know to make live chat work for you in 2018.

Don’t Skimp on Security

For live chat for B2B conversion optimization to be productive, your audience must be assured that their data will be kept private. A full two-thirds of brands promise security to their live chat customers. Doing the same would be wise, and an overall great move on your part.

Put Experts at the Helm

Customers using live chat want instant answers to their questions, which means that proper and thorough training, as well as modern communication, are the orders of the day.

Integrate Add-On Solutions

Live chat can be effective all on its own, but you can enhance your efforts by adding click-to-call functionality and screen sharing solutions, for instance. Both of these technologies will make engaging with customers easier.

Add Live Chat Data into the CRM 

Your live chat agents should be trained to enter all consumer interactions into the CRM to ensure all data is up-to-date. Better yet, you can integrate live chat with your CRM to ensure data is transferred automatically.
Live Chat integrated with Infusionsoft, for example, allows your agents to recognize your customers instantly, making the interaction more personal and efficient.

Live Chat integrated with Infusionsoft

Live Chat integrated with Infusionsoft

Use Preset Responses Appropriately

It’s common for your agents to field the same questions day in and day out, and pre-set responses can help to break the monotony. However, ensure that staff is trained to use preset responses so that customers always know they’re talking to a person instead of a robot.
Instead of
“I am going to put you on hold for a moment.”
you can be more relaxed, such as,
“I’m going to place you on a brief hold while I look up this answer. I’ll return in a moment.”
While still canned, it’s a bit more personal and could reasonably have been typed live by your agent before hunting for the customer’s query response.
It is important to note that a preset response used inappropriately or at the wrong time can make the consumer feel ignored and frustrated, which should be avoided at all costs.

It’s Not About You or the Agent

Your live chat representatives should be trained to focus on the person they are interacting with and their needs. All organizational and personal agendas should be kept at bay until the consumer’s problem is resolved.

Pass on Information Quickly

If the person on the other end of live chat needs to open a support ticket or wants a call back from the head of IT, then that information needs to be passed on right then and there and followed up with.
Consumers should be able to feel confident that live chat agents always have their best interests at heart, and will fulfill all promises made.

Test Live Chat Often

Don’t just set live chat on your website and then forget about it.
Every so often, test the functionality of your live chat integration, and determine if anything can be improved upon, such as the colors, language used, training of your staff, preset responses, or the add-ons that can only improve enhance this amazing consumer-facing channel.

Make it Personal

Agents should be trained to ask for a customer’s name straight away. Using the person’s name and other identifiable information, such as their birth order, job title, and even location, can help to build rapport, and that’s always great for business.
Take SnapEngage, for example. The brand tells web visitors precisely which experts they’ll be chatting with, making the interaction helpful and personal.

Tell visitors who they'll be talking to

Tell visitors who they’ll be talking to

Use the Best Software

In 2017, the best rated Live Chat software options included Live Chat, Capterra, and HelpCrunch. Olark, Smartsupp, and GetSiteControl were some other honorable mentions. They were chosen for their ease of use, availability of convenient add-on options, and ultimate reliability.

Arm Agents with the Proper Collateral

Your Live Chat staff should be trained to disseminate marketing materials depending on which stage the consumer happens to be at along the buyer’s journey.
From awareness to the consideration stage, presenting solutions to consumers in the form of marketing collateral helps to build trust, with 77% of chat users reporting that Live Chat helped to improve their perceptions of the companies they interact with.

Training Should Include Consumer Education

While assisting customers, Live Chat agents should be aware of any opportunities to inform and educate. B2B sales cycles are on the longer side, and the more education your agents can provide the better.
All that education will successfully sway the customer in your favor when it comes to deciding between your organization and the other guys.

Collect Data

While not the focus of any Live Chat interaction, there is no hard and fast rule that you can’t mine your customers for relevant and valuable information.
For example, just before the Live Chat session ends, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the person if the website performed to their needs. Did they find your content to be of the highest quality? Were their pain points addressed? Did they find the navigation to be intuitive or way too difficult to figure out?
Don’t take up too much of the person’s time, but at the same time, you should never let a customer interaction go to waste.

Action-Specific Chat

You don’t always have to use Live Chat to sell a first-time customer or provide customer service.
Virgin Airlines, for example, only uses live chat to upsell customers who have already made a purchase. Crazy Egg reports that brands that use live chat for upselling report a 15% higher additional order value.

Go Responsive

40% of respondents said that they would be willing to connect with a brand via live chat on a mobile device if such an option were offered. The lesson is clear. Go responsive or get left behind.
LeadForensics makes Live Chat available on desktop and mobile for ease-of-use no matter which device you’re using.

Make Live Chat available on desktop and mobile

Make Live Chat available on desktop and mobile


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Give a Rundown

If you want to be extra helpful, provide your customers with a copy of the live chat transcript. That will keep your brand and the conversation fresh on their mind, which can contribute to lead generation and brand loyalty.

Don’t Be Intrusive

While it is acceptable to have a LiveChat box pop up after the visitor has remained on a page for a certain duration of time, you should not bombard the visitor with popups, noises, or anything else. Live Chat should be available when needed without harming the user experience.
Take pet insurance brand PetPlan, for instance. The Live Chat tag is out of the way and unassuming until it’s needed. That’s how web visitors prefer it.

Live Chat tag is out of the way and unassuming until it’s needed

Live Chat tag is out of the way and unassuming until it’s needed

Add Chat to Email

Inserting a “Chat with an Agent” in your emails to give your customers instant access to a help agent anywhere they happen to be.

Analyze Customer Behavior

Agents should be aware of how your customer has interacted with your site leading up to visiting live chat. This insight into the actions of your consumer can help your agent further provide targeted assistance, leading to a more satisfying interaction overall.

Use Live Chat for B2B Conversion Optimization on Important Product Pages

Mark Tuchscherer, co-founder, and President of Geeks Chicago recommends using live chat on those pages where you tend to have a lot of drop-offs. Live chat can help to overcome hurdles and objections, and that can sometimes be all it takes to earn the deal.

live chat for conversion optimization can help to overcome hurdles and objections

Live chat can help to overcome hurdles and objections

Conclusion

Live chat for B2B conversion optimization can be used to assist customers, generate leads, qualify leads, entice conversions, and foster loyalty. To accomplish all of this, all of the above points about live chat could be condensed to the simple advice of: Be immediate with your audience, be helpful, be knowledgeable, and always pass of information accurately and on time. That’s a helpful live chat agent, which is precisely what customers should expect from your world-class brand.

Phone lead generation is still a highly effective way to reach prospects. Give these 8 advanced tactics for increasing your B2B telephone leads, sales and outbound ROI a try.

Telephone sales aren’t what they used to be. It took only 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect in 2007. Today, it takes around 8 attempts, more than doubling the difficulty of landing sales over the phone.

But as you know, phone sales certainly aren’t dead. They just require a higher level of strategy and mastery. A study by Baylor University found that it takes roughly 7.5 hours to secure one referral or appointment through cold calling methods. If you only have one dedicated phone salesperson, your company could have one new appointment or referral every day via cold calling.

For most B2B businesses, where phone selling strategies are most commonly found, one lead per day per salesperson represents a very strong ROI.

Today, we’re going to help you sell over the phone like a modern pro.

Here are 8 Advanced Tactics for Increasing your B2B Telephone Sales

1. Take Timing Seriously

In sales, as in many areas of life, timing is everything. You will often accomplish more during peak hours than you do the rest of the day. So even if you are in a position that requires around-the-clock calls, it’s important to be at peak efficiency during those peak hours.

So when are those peak hours?

An in-depth study out of MIT gives us several interesting insights:

  1. The best time period to contact leads is between 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  2. The best second best time period is between 8:00-10:00 a.m.
  3. The worst time period to call is between 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  4. The best days to call are Thursday and Wednesday.
  5. The worst days to call are Tuesday and Monday.

It’s worth checking out the study, because these aren’t insignificant differences. For example, calling on Thursday versus Tuesday increases results by an average of 50%. Calling at 4:30 p.m. versus 11:30 a.m. increases results by an average of 114%!

Timing might seem cliche, but what other tactics do you know of that can immediately double sales?

2. Call The Right People and Present them with the Right Pitch

I’m going to borrow and re-spin an example from Jason Quey.

Sid works at a large SaaS company. When it comes to larger tool purchases, he makes the decisions. However, Sid rarely creates content for the team. Tyler is in charge of content.

If your sales team is attempting to pitch a solution to the content problems Tyler is facing, appealing to Sid around those challenges won’t be effective. The best way to pitch Sid is very different from the optimal way to pitch Tyler.

The Gartner Group reports that in a company of 100-700 people, an average of 7 people are involved in buying decisions. If you aren’t tailoring your pitch around these people, you will struggle to succeed in B2B phone sales. There’s no getting around that.

For help identifying and reaching decision makers, check out this guide from Lead Forensics.

3. Lay The Groundwork

We know that cold calls can work, but there’s a way to make them work better. UNC professor Dave Roberts said it best, “Cold calling is old fashioned… Aim for hot calling.” The more prepared you are when you call, the better that call will generally go.

We live in an age of the internet and social media. Before you call a prospect, Google them. Learn everything that you can before ever making the call. This can help you know what the customer’s needs are, what their objections might be, and what interests them. You may happen upon what their biggest pain is right now.

You can even make some level of initial contact before calling:

  • Connect via shared acquaintances
  • Comment on their social posts
  • Mention them in a blog post or comment
  • Etc.

There are many ways to make a superficial connection with someone that quickly turns you into a known entity versus a cold call. For more tips on laying the groundwork, check out this article by Owen Matson, Ph.D.

4. Follow A Sales Script

There are no downsides to using a sales script… only to using one poorly.

When used correctly, having a sales script results in the following benefits:

  1. They force you to create and refine a consistent sales methodology.
  2. They allow you to provide a baseline for your entire sales team’s performance.
  3. They allow sales reps to spend less time thinking about what they’re going to say and more time listening to the potential customer.
  4. They provide talented sales reps with a strategic baseline off of which they can improvise.

To learn how to create your own sales script, check out this guide from Close.io.

5. Navigate Objections

Navigating objections is a central part of any sales process, but there can be a bit of a misunderstanding about this issue.

Some objections always need to be covered and getting out in front of them can be beneficial. For example, if your product is twice as expensive as every other competitor, it’s almost guaranteed that issue is going to come up, and addressing it before the customer does gives you the chance to frame it in a positive light.

Not all objections are created equal, however, and sometimes, bringing up certain objections simply bogs down the sales process and creates doubts that weren’t there to begin with. Instead, have a plan to overcome these objections IF they are brought up.

For more on covering objections, here’s another top notch guide from Close.io.

6. Stop Talking. Ask and Listen.

Listen. Listen. Listen.

The more your prospect is talking, the better your chance of closing the sale.

Outbound sales and inbound sales follow up are an inherently aggressive activity. You are on the offensive. You are seeking out people to sell them something. But often, the solution is simply to slow down and get out of your own way.

The best sales scripts and salespeople are focused on asking the right questions. The prospect doesn’t need you to create challenges for them. They have numerous pitfalls and problems on the path to their goals. Your job is to create a situation where the prospect is articulating those challenges… not you.

Ultimately, B2B sales isn’t about tricking people into getting a product or service that doesn’t work for them. It’s about matching beneficial solutions to the businesses that need them, and that requires a two-way conversation.

Don’t miss out on How to Pick a Conversion Optimization Consultant for your Online Business

7. Focus On Customer Value

Your goal as a salesperson is never to sell someone on a price. Your goal is to sell them on value – such incredible value that the price seems like a no-brainer.

It’s very, very important that you focus on this value BEFORE discussing pricing, for a number of key reasons.

First, if pricing is brought up first, your product/service will be evaluated as a commodity. Once a number has been mentioned, everything will be filtered through that number. You will have zero leverage in presenting your value.

Second, if you don’t pitch you value before getting to pricing, the prospect will consider the pricing based on their preconceived assumptions about the value of your product class. And remember, they aren’t currently using your product, so it’s likely they don’t consider the value to be worth the cost.

Finally, if you don’t understand the prospect’s needs before you get to pricing, you might propose a price that is too low or too high. Too high, and the conversation is essentially over. Too low, and you won’t be considered a serious player. Without getting to know the prospect first, you are playing a dangerous guessing game.

8. To Close Is To Follow-Up

You already probably know your “hook, line, and sinker.” You have your closing speech down to a science. That’s great, but just know that you will talk to a person several times before they’re ready to hear your golden pitch. According to Marketing Donut, 80% of sales require 5 (yes, FIVE) follow up calls. 44% of salespeople quit after just 1 follow up. Don’t be a quitter!

Also, stop leaving the follow-up in the customers’ hands. Don’t say, “Give me a call if you’re interested.” Geoffrey James, author at Inc. said, “I’ve read dozens of so-called sales letters and sales emails that end with a suggestion that the customer should call or contact the seller…The people who send these letters always complain that they don’t get any responses. No kidding–you’re asking the customer to do your work for you.”

Instead, change your follow-up strategy and set up a time to talk again. For instance, “I’m going to call you next Wednesday, after you’ve had time to look at everything, so that we can discuss whether it makes sense to continue discussing our offer.”

Conclusion: Upgrade Your Phone Game

Telephone sales are more challenging than ever, but they are worth the trouble. Use these 8 advanced tactics to improve your B2B sales calls and close more sales.

Do you need help increasing the number of inbound leads? Would you like your phones to ring more often? Find out how Conversion Sciences can help with results-driven lead generation solutions.

Rachel Africh Headshot

Rachel Africh

Contributor: Rachel Africh is the CMO of TheLeadsWarehouse.com and is an expert on marketing tactics and generating targeted leads that convert for sales industry professionals.

What if I invited you to go on a trip to nowhere?

Sounds absurd doesn’t it?

Without knowing the ultimate destination, you can’t just pack your bags and leave.

The same is true with PPC.

The ultimate destination of a PPC campaign is the conversion, and when it comes to getting new users in your conversion funnel, few marketing strategies are as effective as pay-per-click advertising.

While a typical PPC campaign is reasonably easy to implement, getting real ROI tends to be a challenge for those who aren’t educated on paid advertising. Initial results are often disappointing and a poorly run campaign can lose a lot of money in a very short amount of time.

As I alluded to above, finding success with PPC ads is all about knowing where you are taking prospective customers and then optimizing the journey in such a way that the maximum number of people convert in the end.

Today, we’ll be looking at 8 proven strategies for optimizing our PPC campaigns to maximize conversions. We’ll start out with the basics, for anyone who isn’t caught up, and then we’ll move on to some more advanced techniques.

1. Make Sure Your Ads Are Consistent With Their Respective Landing Pages

This first point is simple but often overlooked. Your ads should match the landing pages they lead to.

According to iSpionage, PPC ads account for 64.6% of clicks for keyword searches that imply high commercial intent. This means that when users see your ads and click on them, they often have immediate buying intent.

If the landing page’s copy and images don’t match the ad, it can throw ready customers off and cause you to lose the sale.

For optimal results, it’s important that the PPC campaign ad:

PPC ad for Guitar

PPC ad for Guitar

…. match the landing page users see when they click through:

PPC landing page for guitar

PPC landing page for guitar

Go through you ads and make sure they match. Make sure the copy and images are consistent and that users see what they expect to see when they click-through to your landing page.

2. A/B Test Your The Landing Pages

This one’s an obvious inclusion on this blog, and instead of trying to summarize a complex subject, I’ll simply say that split testing your landing pages is a mandatory step in optimizing a PPC campaign.

Here are some of Conversion Sciences’ numerous resources on the subject.

  1. The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing
  2. The Proven A/B Testing Framework Used By CRO Pros
  3. The 20 Most Recommended A/B Testing Tools

Remember that testing is an ongoing process. No matter how good your initial results are, you can always improve.

3. Turn On Retargeting Ads

The remarketing cycle

The remarketing cycle

Most people that come in contact with your brand don’t follow a straight and orderly path to purchase. First time visitors often need more exposure to your brand before they feel comfortable pulling out their credit card.

Retargeting is a form of advertising that allows brands to “retarget” website visitors by placing a retargeting cookie on the visitor’s browser. This allows the brand to display ads to visitors after they leave the site and continue on to other sites like Google, Facebook, or the Weather Channel.

At its core, retargeting ads work based on a social psychology phenomenon known as the familiarity principle, which states that people develop a preference for things simply because they are familiar with them. Thanks to this effect, retargeting ads have become one of the most effective tools in marketing, resulting in 24% visitor return rate and a 1046% rise in branded searches

To learn how to run your own retargeting ads, check out this in-depth guide from WPCurve.

4. Choose Keywords Wisely & Employ On-Page Optimization

Keywords are very important when running a PPC campaign with Adwords.

Google’s #1 goal is for users to find what they are looking for, whether they click on organic results or paid ads. Accordingly, Google will rate your PPC landing page for relevance to your target keyphrases, similar to how it rates organic landing pages.

The less relevant your page is to the keyphrases you are targeting, the more expensive your bid price will be. The more relevant your landing page is, the more favorable your bid rate will be.

This is why selecting the right keyphrases and then building optimized landing pages around those keyphrases is so important. You’ll want to treat your landing page as though you are attempting to rank it organically

It can also be helpful to use keyword groupings, which can increase your CTR and Quality Score while lowering your CPA.  And of course, don’t forget to incorporate long tail keyword targeting as well.

For a more in-depth look at keyword selection in PPC, check out this guide from WordStream.

5. Be Sure To Specify Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are your friend

Negative keywords are your friend

When setting up a PPC campaign, you will come across a field that gives you the option to select negative keywords.

Negative keywords are words that have no relevancy to your product or offer. For example, if you are an online retailer of clothing, but you don’t sell children’s clothing, you can use negative keywords to filter out any search with the words “children” or “kids” in them. This way when people are searching for kids clothing, your ad will not show up.

Negative keywords can have a huge impact on the success of your PPC campaign. They will not only cut wasted ad spend but also eliminate unqualified traffic from seeing your ads. This will result in an increased in Click Through Rate (CTR) and a reduced Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), saving you tons of money over the course of your campaign.

To be even more effective, use broad or phrase match types when choosing negative keywords. Also be sure to add the plural form of the negative keyword you have selected also to cover all your bases

6. Optimize Your Ads By Device

Users behave very differently across each device, yet many advertisers today haven’t caught up to that reality. Optimizing ads by device type is mandatory in 2017, which is why Google introduced device level bidding in AdWords last year, allowing advertisers to have greater control over how they display ads.

How you utilize desktop versus mobile channels will depend on your product or service. If you’re selling a product online you likely are seeing a trend towards more mobile purchases. According to a CMS Report the average smartphone conversion rate is up 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rate. Service based businesses are also reaping the benefit of mobile with 88% of consumers visiting or calling a business they found through search within 24 hours according to a Google Mobile Movement Study.

For more on optimizing across device, check out some of Google’s resources and walkthroughs.

7. Make the Sign Up and Check Out Process Easy

 

Simple conversions are usually best

Simple conversions are usually best

When possible try to make the next step for your visitors simple and straightforward. One way to do so is to reduce the number of fields on your sign up form. A study conducted by Quicksprout showed that by limiting the number of form fields to only 3 can result in up to a 25% conversion rate. While 3-5 fields falls to 20% and greater than 6 fields can result in less than a 15% conversion rate.

Again A/B testing is required here; test different signup forms and use the one that gets the best result.

Moving forward you should disclose the next steps to ease the anxiety of the buyer.

Explain what is going to happen

Explain what is going to happen

Try showing the checkout page in stages so you don’t overwhelm them all at once with dozens of form fields. Set expectations for shipping prices and times early so they don’t feel deceived when they reach the final checkout screen. The more transparent and straightforward you are about the purchase process the more the client will trust your brand. Which means a higher conversion rate and in all likelihood you’ll creating a recurring customer.

Symbols near sign up forms and placed in the checkout section of your site can have a profound effect on conversion rates. Including a privacy policy will increase signup form rates and will aid in eliminating all their doubts about getting spam or junk mail.

Add trust indicators

Add trust indicators

Show trust seals to confirm to the buyer that your system is secure and their personal information is safe.

More trust indicators

More trust indicators

Accept different modes of payment to make it more convenient for the users to buy. And lastly do not forget to have a good confirmation page to ensure the customer about the order being placed. Make it clear the order went through and use the opportunity to add some personality to your brand. Humanize the experience by adding some humor or sharing a funny gif or picture. A great example of this was used by CDBaby.com where they created a visual of the journey your newly purchased CD would look like from the warehouse to your front door.

8. Highlight Special Offers In Your Ads

Highlight your special discount in the ad itself

Highlight your special discount in the ad itself

Offering special offers and discounts to your customers is a great way to quickly draw visitors to your site.The key to special offers is using the right words to motivate potential customers to navigate to your page and learn more. Words like Sale, Off, Now, Best Sellers, and New will grab your potential customers attention and entice them to click through.

If you are giving discounts for a limited time period, don’t forget to mention it because people are more likely to rush in when the offer is for a limited period. Words like Act Now or Limited-Time Offer pack a punch and encourage customers to act fast.

Make your offer worthwhile and drive home the benefits of shopping with your website. Make it clear if you have free shipping and your ship times are 2-3 days. Give them a sizeable discount (20% or more). A/B testing different discounts and offers are highly advisable as well.

Don't forget the matching landing page

Don’t forget the matching landing page

Conclusion

PPC is one of the most reliable channels available to marketers, but there’s not a lot of room for error.

In order to get real ROI, you have to really dial in your campaigns, and that can only be accomplished with consistent optimization and testing.

If you’ve been thinking about getting started with PPC or unsatisfied with your PPC performance, hopefully I’ve been able to give you some helpful pointers today.

Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on these tips and if you have any of your own to add.

Dinesh Thakur is the co-founder of Ads Triangle, a Google Partner and Bing Ads Accredited agency. He is a Google Adwords expert with a passion for PPC and has helped hundreds of businesses grow their revenues through pay per click advertising.

For many of our clients, a phone call is worth seven to ten times more than a form fill. This means that we want to maximize the number of calls, but don’t want to completely shut down the forms on these sites.

Why Phone Calls are So Valuable

Phone calls are typically most valuable to businesses selling high-dollar and high-consideration products.
The term “high-dollar” is subjective. It can mean anything from plastic surgery to mortgage loan applications.
“High-consideration” products and services are those for which the stakes are high, and the buyer will generally do more research before buying. Cars, appliances, and vacations are some examples of considered purchases.
Phone calls are also valuable in markets in which doing nothing is a real option. For example, addiction treatment centers will want to get a prospect on the phone knowing that they will want to delay treatment for their addiction.
For these businesses, a human being will often have more success moving a prospect to a close than the website alone.

Please Add Me To Your CRM

When someone completes a form on the site, you know where the information goes. Someone gets an email. A record is added to the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Lead counts are tallied for your weekly marketing report. Some get contacted. Some don’t. Some get the autoresponder they had hoped for. Most don’t.
Form leads too often wither in the CRM freezer. How can we thaw out our lead funnel and give sales what they need to generate revenue?
Phone Calls. Because phone calls don’t get cold.
Phone calls are answered and voice mails are returned. There is no CRM icebox where your contacts can be sent to chill while everyone updates their lead reports.
Even if you have highly sophisticated marketing automation campaigns that move people through the sales funnel, none of them is as efficient and successful as a human being — listening, answering questions, and handling objections.
In our experience, [pullquote]a phone call is worth between 500% and 1,000% (that’s five to ten times) more in revenue than a completed form will generate[/pullquote].
The business wants more calls. Your sales team wants more calls. However, marketing is rewarded for leads. This is the problem.

Making the Phone Ring

There are three kinds of people coming to your website who need to talk to someone. They won’t be satisfied by completing a form or reading a report.

  1. Those who visit looking for a number to call. We want to make sure that they find the number they are looking for.
  2. Those who would call if incentivized. We want to make it attractive for them to pick up the phone.

There is a group of those who just don’t want to talk to another human under any circumstances. We want these folks to complete the form.
When you say, “Let’s put a phone number on our site because someone might actually call,” you are thinking of the first group, those who will call. This is not going to be effective for the second group, those who might call.
Embrace the phone, or they will go someplace else.
Evaluate the location of phone numbers on your site the same way you would evaluate call to action buttons. The phone number needs to be prominent, frequent, but not too pushy. Below we talk about where to place phone numbers.

You Can’t Take Credit For What You Don’t Measure

In order for this to work, dear marketer, you first need to get credit for these calls. Instead of slapping the company sales number on the website, you need to be able to measure calls sent from the site. Inexpensive services will give you a unique number. We use Grasshopper for our 800 number service. Google Voice is a source of local phone numbers. Counting calls will be largely done by hand.
To tie calls back into an analytics package, we’ve worked with a number of services, including Dialogtech, FiveNines, Five9, Convirza, and Invoca. This allows you to calculate a conversion rate with more accuracy.
Watch our phone leads webinar with Convirza.
The ways these packages work are different and beyond the scope of this column. Nonetheless, they let you take credit for real activity in sales.

Nail The Offer

We too often think that those who would prefer a call will think of calling. It ain’t true. Someone predisposed to call still needs to understand why they should call and what to expect. The only number that doesn’t need a call-to-action is 9-1-1.
Those who bother to write an invitation alongside their phone numbers resort to engaging messages such as, “Call,” “Call us,” “Call us today,” or the daring “Contact us.” None of these offers a why or tells you what to expect. Adding an exclamation point doesn’t help.

Home Instead Senior Care is really working hard to get visitors to pick up the phone.

Home Instead Senior Care is really working hard to get visitors to pick up the phone.


There are four things that you can use to make your phone number more enticing to those who would call:

  • Alignment means that your “call-to-call” mirrors the need of the visitor. Often, it is sufficient to match the invitation in the ad or link what brought them to the page.
  • Adding Emotion shows that you relate to their real non-logical pain or desire.

In the example above, “Struggling with caring for a parent” would be aligned, but not emotional.
“Feeling guilty about caring for a parent?” definitely carries emotion. If you think that this kind of message is too bold, think again. We had a 43% increase in calls for an invitation that read, “Ready to stop lying to yourself? We can help. Call …”
Emotion is a powerful tool.

  • The visitor wants Clarity about what will happen if they call. Who will be on the end of the line? Will they be an expert? Will they try to sell me or educate me? Can I call on weekends? Be clear about what will happen on the call.
  • Finally, you must build the Value of the call. Like all good calls-to-action, the call-to-call must reek of WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”). It has to promise enough to the visitor that they would prefer to call you over any alternative. Lay it out there.

These four components — Alignment, Emotion, Clarity and Value — make for effective calls-to-call, and are great for other calls-to-action as well.

Put Things In The Right Place

Just sticking the number in the upper right corner isn’t going to get you those calls that make you powerful. The number should be there, as this is where callers look. But the other two places that make the phones ring are:

  • In the headline at the start of content.
  • About 75% down a page of content.

The following image shows a wireframe of a typical content page with proper placement of calls-to-call. We’ve tested them all over the page.
a wireframe of a typical content page with proper placement of calls-to-call. We’ve tested them all over the page

Smartphones Have Phones

On your small-screen mobile site — as opposed to your tablet-formatted website — click to call is an intuitive way to get more calls.
[pullquote]For our call-oriented customers, their mobile sites now out-convert their desktop sites.[/pullquote] How do we do it? Here are some steps.

Make the phone numbers click-to-call

Click to call is crucial for mobile conversion rates.

Click to call is crucial for mobile conversion rates.


Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Write “Tel” links explicitly.

Keep Calls to Action Available in Sticky Header or Footer

This sticky header offers several ways to take action.

This sticky header offers several ways to take action.


You never know when the visitor will have the information they need to take action. Plus, they may find it’s their turn in line and need to take action quickly. These are mobile devices, you know.

Reduce Forms

Completing forms on a mobile device is grueling, frustrating and could scare the children. Look for ways to take action that don’t require long forms to fill.

Ironically, this is for a Webinar on mobile marketing. Too many fields.

Ironically, this two-screen form is for a Webinar on mobile marketing.


Consider using auto-fill from a social network, like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Filling in forms on mobile is hard. Consider social login auto-fill.

Filling in forms on mobile is hard. Consider social login auto-fill.

Bonus: The Power Of A Long, “Nasty” Form

If you’ve read this far, I have a bonus for you. You may have noticed an item on the wireframe image above: “Long, ‘Nasty’ Form.”
To maximize the number of calls you get and cast fewer of your visitors into the frigid desert of the CRM, make your forms long, and ask for some personal info. Yes, this is the opposite of what we tell you to do when you want visitors to fill out a form.
This will cook your noodle. When trying to maximize the number of calls we get, a long, nasty form works better than no form at all. That’s right. No form generates fewer calls.
I think this highlights the way our visitors assign a price to their time and attention. On its own, a phone call may seem “expensive”. However, when a long, nasty form is on the page, it makes the cost of taking action by form more “expensive”. The call looks cheap by comparison.
This is a pricing exercise, but the cost isn’t money. It’s time and attention.
The power of a ringing phone gets noticed. If visitors to your site start calling your sales team, it will be noticed. You need to be able to measure the calls and toot your own horn as well. Unlike leads, calls have a power beyond a graph in a PowerPoint presentation. To become an indispensable marketer, make the phone ring.
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This article first appeared on Marketing Land.