buyer personas

The B2B marketing funnel is under attack, especially in the B2B lead generation space. Find out what is — and what should be — taking its place.

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We like funnels. We like them because they provide us with some sense of progress in our marketing efforts.

We have advertising programs to get people’s attention.

We use copy to build interest.

We use testimonials and case studies to build desire.

We have calls to action everywhere.

This is the classic AIDA funnel. Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It’s a direct marketing approach that falls down in the long sales cycle reality of B2B marketing.

The demise of the funnel has been discussed for some time now. However, the discussion of what comes next has been unsatisfying to me.

The solutions that purport to step into the funnel’s place come with their own baggage. Hubspot offers up the Flywheel and customer delight. Lead scoring attempts to add value to the interactions someone has had with us. The more interactions, the more likely they are to be a prospect. But this approach treats the funnel more like a swarm of flies. People seem to swarm around our content until, finally, and unpredictably, they qualify for a call.

Carman Pirie believes there’s something better than a funnel or a swarm, and his agency delivers that something better. Kula Partners focuses on manufacturers all of whom have this long-cycle B2B sales challenge. Carman the Co-founder and he’s happy to put another nail in the coffin of the funnel. My question for him is, what comes next?

“The funnel is leading a lot of marketers — who function within a complex B2B sales environment — down a lot of really wrong paths. It’s making them think about attracting people into the universe in the wrong way. It makes them think about how to deal with people once they get into the universe in the wrong way. And it and it makes them think about how sales ought to engage with those people, I think, in a fundamentally flawed way.”

Our conversation around this question was interesting and enlightening. If digital marketing is more like a swarm, how is a swarm of bees different than a swarm of flies?

“You know that the frameworks that we use to think about our work really shape the work that we create.”

Replacing the B2B Marketing Funnel

Maybe you should develop a Firmographic profile. What kinds of companies would actually buy your product? What are the titles of the people who research and influence solutions like yours? Who else in the company are weighing in on the decision.

Then, take a few of your internal experts to lunch. Some of them would love to help you create some content that makes your prospects better buyers of your product or service.

Now go science something.

Resources and links

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.

Brian Massey, the Conversion Scientist shares what are user personas and how to create them. He also unveils the reason your visitors are ignoring you as illustrated by Brad Pitt.

Your visitors are ignoring you because you are not talking to them.

Do you know who you are selling to?

Do you really know?

Lately, there has been a pretty intense debate over the importance of user personas, with many in the CRO community saying they are misleading or even unimportant.

In my experience, user personas can be incredibly powerful, but only when they are used in the correct manner.

What Are User Personas?

A user persona is a way to summarize and communicate everything you know about a specific customer segment in a way that allows you to make good design and copy decisions.

Personas are built from market research, directly observed data, and behavioral data. A persona will typically be depicted as a fictional individual who is described like a real person in an attempt to communicate the essence of the segment they represent.

Segments, on the other hand, are more frequently defined by their demographics: their age, income, gender, and geographic location. This is of little value when you want to create messages and experiences that persuade and convert.

When we can turn an intangible customer segment into something tangible, like a person, our team will tie our marketing and optimization efforts together to hit the mark.

The writers write for the same person. The design team designs for the same person. Fewer choices are made based on their personal preferences.

User personas are often presented as a one-page document, but it’s important to understand that like the fictional person embodying the persona, the document itself really doesn’t matter. What matters is our understanding of the segment.

User personas help the entire team work toward a similar goal and deliver a uniform user experience.

User personas help the entire team work toward a similar goal and deliver a uniform user experience.

So why are user personas popular in the first place? What are the benefits?

  1. Help us identify and understand their problem
  2. Help us identify and understand their behavior
  3. Help us use the right messaging
  4. Help us increase customer lifetime value (LTV)

User personas are primarily about understanding them during a visit to your website or mobile app.

We aren’t trying to understand them as a person. We want to understand them in the context of their visit to our site.

If we have a better picture of the challenges our prospects are dealing with and the pain they are experiencing, we can better inform, educate, and direct their attention to your brand’s solutions.

User personas are also about identifying and understanding behavior. As you collect data on your target audience and start segmenting it into groups, you begin to develop a better understanding of how and where each segment spends its time online.

This understanding allows for better targeting of marketing efforts like ads or content, and allows you to run significantly more efficient and effective marketing campaigns.

Speaking to a segment we aren’t a part of is challenging… if not impossible. We see missteps online every week, where “out of touch” agencies create ads that serve to actually alienate the group of users they’re trying to reach.

User personas help us speak the language that will resonate with the segments we are after, or to sometimes, hire copywriters from those segments who can create the right messaging when we can’t.

Finally, personas can hep us set up our expectations of and strategies for LTV. Defining user personas helps us better understand how to increase LTV for certain segments, but it also helps us identify which segments will tend to naturally have a higher LTV.

That all seems pretty great, so where do businesses go wrong with user personas?

The Brad Pitt Shuffle: How User Personas Save Us

The Brad Pitt Shuffle: we’d all like to think that our target market is pretty sexy. It’s good looking, it has money, it has style.

If you’d like to keep up this charade because it makes you feel better, by all means. But if you’re ready to figure out why your marketing campaign isn’t working, it’s time to remove yourself from this little dance and turn yourself into the Digital Dr. Frankenstein you really are.

Use all of the resources you have at your disposal to create the ideal fake customer – those archetypical users. You’ll realize that you can target users with your campaign in a way you didn’t think possible. Listen to Brian’s keynote summary to get an idea of what we mean.

When we design for everyone, we design for nobody. As we craft our copy and our ux design, we start off laser focused with targeted, effective messages. Then, our message becomes less specific, less targeted, less about anyone in particular.

Here’s how it happens.

When a business starts thinking user personas, they have an ideal customer in mind. I like to call this persona their Brad Pitt.

We imagine our visitors as perfect, like Brad Pitt.

We imagine our visitors as perfect, like Brad Pitt.

Brad is attractive. He’s young. He’s got lots of money. He’s going to come to our website and buy! We love this guy!

So we begin targeting Brad with our messaging.

“Because handsome is a choice.”

We hope our messaging will speak to our ideal customer segment.

“I can choose handsome by buying your clothes!”

But then something happens. The writers ask, “Are we ignoring females?” Based on the persona, the answer is, “Yes.” But the sales manager begins to think about women giving gifts.

Brad Pitt in a dress. We water down our buyer personas as we find more segments.

Strong positions get watered down when we don’t follow our personas.

Then the designer says, “All of our images are of warm places. Won’t some of our customers live in colder places?” The guidance of our persona says our products won’t appeal to cold weather.

But the Marketing Manager thinks, “People could be going to warmer places. Go ahead and design both for those living in the cold and those living in warm places.”

Our imagery gets diluted.

What if we want to speak specifically to a segment in a warmer climate?

Brad Pitt in a crazy setting. The picture we keep in our heads of our buyers becomes muddled.

The picture we keep in our heads of our buyers becomes muddled.

Basically, the target persona keeps expanding, and businesses keep attempting to try and speak to everyone at once, resulting in the mess you see above.

This is the big mistake.

Businesses are still trying to find Brad instead of realizing that there is no single Brad. There are multiple Brads.

Segmentation Is The Key To Successful User Personas

Just like the roles Brad plays, user persona Brad isn’t one person. Our job is to break this persona down into segments – aka real user personas – and market to each individually.

Break your perfect buyer persona into segments.

Is your website is designed for one mashup customer segment that doesn’t exist at all?

User Personas vs. Buyer Personas

Personas are a common part of most mature web design processes. However, “buyer personas” seek to understand prospects as they are.

User personas seek to understand a visitor to a website. They are personas addressing a specific time in a prospect’s life.

Here’s why this is important. The same person will come to your website with different personalities.

Take Jennifer, for example, a persona for a plumbing company. She is 35 years old and is remodeling her bathroom. She is in a high-income bracket and prefers modern design for her home. She works part time teaching painting at the local community college. She likes wine, live music and art galleries.

When researching plumbers for her remodel, she will be very methodical. She’ll want to understand the plumbing companies past successes, professionalism and their insurance coverage. She’ll want to know if they’ve done work for any of her neighbors. She’ll want to know if they work with the tile she ordered.

Now, take the same woman, Jennifer. She’s 35 years old and her sink is leaking, threatening her new wood floors. When researching plumbers to save her investment, she only needs to know two things: how quick can they come and what is their number.

Same buyer. Two user personas. Two very different design approaches.

Two different scenarios for the same buyer.

Two different scenarios for the same buyer.

In my opinion, buyer personas don’t provide enough information for me to design a persuasive online experience. We all have our own interpretations of them. User personas are designed to limit interpretation.

Here’s a story that illustrates that.

A copywriter is reviewing a buyer persona and reads that this visitor makes $175,000 per year. “Wow,” she thinks. “That is almost three times my salary.” She writes copy for a person that lives in a large house with an immaculate lawn, and drives an expensive car.

The executive who will be reviewing her work also reads the same persona. “Hmmm”, he thinks. “How can anyone own a home if they only make $175,000 per year?”

When the executive got the copywriter’s work, he rewrote it completely because he felt the copy was talking “above” the target buyers. The result did not persuade visitors to convert.

If we focus on some key components of the user persona, we can avoid these mistakes.

The Key Components of a User Persona

The user personas we use at Conversion Sciences are taken from the book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? and Buyer Legends by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. These are the personas that will help us design high converting websites.

Here are the components of our user personas.

1. Demographics

Just a little, and only things that will influence messaging and persuasion. We like to include a name and a picture.

2. Description

The basics of what she does and her situation. Save the details for the Customer Commentary.

User Persona Example Part One: Basic description and demographics.

User Persona Part One: Basic description and demographics.

3. Mode of Persuasion

What mode of research is this user visiting us in? Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? provides four Modes of Persuasion that define how you should message this user persona.

How to layout a webpage for different modes of persuasion.

How to layout a webpage for different modes of persuasion.

Methodical: Will make decisions logically and deliberately on her visits. Needs the details, plans, and fine print.

Spontaneous: Will make decisions emotionally and quickly on his visits. Just needs a reason to act.

Competitive: Will make decisions logically and quickly on his visits. Likes to know what’s in it for him.

Humanist: Will make decisions emotionally and deliberately. Wants to know how she will feel if she takes action.

Here’s an example of the Methodical Mode of Persuasion.

Example of the Methodical Mode of Persuasion

Example of the Methodical Mode of Persuasion

4. Customer Commentary

When I write a customer commentary for one of our clients, they often want to put it right on the website. It is written from the perspective of the user persona, and really builds empathy for the segment.

Note that Buyer Legends recommends writing in third-person.

Example Customer Commentary

Our business runs on relationships, and there’s no better time to build relationships than at our annual “Meitex Meetup”. This is when our employees get to build relationships with partners and customers that will influence the business for the remainder of the year.

This is an important event and my company expects perfection. If I don’t have to twist arms and pull teeth to get that perfection, then all the better.

We are planning a conference, but what we want is an experience. We want our customers and partners to remember the experience, but we don’t want an environment that makes it difficult to talk and build relationships. We’re not considering Disneyland. I intend to provide a structured, professional and comfortable meeting environment with a few planned surprises, and NO unexpected surprises.

Here’s what it will look like:

Customer commentary example.

Customer commentary example.

5. Driving Points

This lists the things that made this user persona visit our website today. It can be anything:

  • A tip from a friend
  • A ad click
  • A search
  • Direct mail
  • TV Ad
  • Email

6. Funnel Points

Where will the visitor land on your website. Typically, this will be the home page, a landing page or blog content page.

7. Points of Resolution

This is where your copywriter and designer will spend their time. It lists the things that this user persona must uncover before she will take action. These are the things that must be on the site for you to persuade them.

As you might guess, this list is longer for the deliberate visitors: Methodicals and Humanists.

For our Methodical Penny Planner, it looks like this:

Points of resolution for our methodical user persona example.

Example points of resolution for our methodical user persona.

8. Conversion Beacons

How will you call this visitor to take action. Your calls to action will often be content that addresses the above points of resolution.

Map your offers and calls to action, which are called Conversion Beacons.

Map your offers and calls to action, which are called Conversion Beacons.

9. Current Baseline Metrics

It’s often helpful to summarize the current performance of your campaigns and website for this user persona. You can use this to measure the progress you make after you begin to optimize based on your work.

Baseline metrics and recommendations can be drawn from this kind of user persona.

Baseline metrics and recommendations can be drawn from this kind of user persona.

10. Get All This in One Document

Are you Methodical or Humanist

If you are reading this as one of our deliberate decision makers, you just might take advantage of our offer below. If you are a quick decision maker (Spontaneous or Competitive) you probably hate all of this work. You want to get started!

That’s OK. This article is for our Methodicals and Humanists. We have plenty for the rest of you.

This is how user personas work.

Online retailer iNature Skincare® sponsored a video that turned into a phenomenon.

Released on October 29, 2014, the Comfortable: 50 People 1 Question video had garnered over 4 million views within two weeks.

iNature Skincare had sponsored a viral hit.

Unfortunately, sales did not rise as much as one would think. Why not? It is not uncommon for viral videos to fail as buy-ral videos.

We took a look at their site and felt that they hadn’t mapped the visitors journey appropriately.

The Visitor’s Journey

In this case the visitor’s journey starts with being moved by the video. It should then move to becoming aware of the brand, to understanding why the brand sponsored this video, to considering their products, and then to purchase.

I feel good. I want to feel good some more.

After viewing the video, we feel pretty good. Or sad. Or nostalgic. These feelings aren’t typical when considering skin care products.

As viewers, our first response is to get more of this feeling. The most common way to extend the feeling is to share with others. This is clearly happening.

However, iNature Skincare should be enabling this next step. I would have liked to know why iNature sponsored this video.

How does my feeling relate to the sponsor?

iNature Skincare’s viral video is benefiting other brands, brands not nearly as closely aligned with it.

For me, PS Print is getting the love from this video because they are advertising here. This is most likely a retargeted ad. I think iNature Skincare should be here.

Other advertisers are getting the benefit of this viral video through advertising.

Other advertisers are getting the benefit of this viral video through advertising.

My recommendation was that iNature Skincare should ask the producer to add an overlay or advertise on the video with a message that says, “Why did iNature Skincare asked 50 people this question? Our story.” This would run before the filmmaker, Jubilee Project had a chance to make their pitch at the end.

This ad would allow visitors to take the next step in the journey. If you were producing such a video, you would want to use the end of the video to bring the viewers to the next step.

The sponsor shares my values.

The ad would need to bring the visitor to a page that answered the question posed.

Every ad should bring the visitor to a page that continues the journey. Home pages are notoriously bad at that.

The page should communicate that there was a reason for the effort, and tie the message to it’s products. We really don’t have to work too hard to do this. The message, in words and pictures would be:

We chose to sponsor this video because one of the people interviewed was clearly impacted as a child by acne and eczema. Our products could have helped. We’re still working on the Mermaid Tail.

If I have skin problems, my next question should be, “Really? How?”

The sponsor can solve a problem I have.

iNature Skincare has strong proof of the effectiveness of its products. It has an award-winning package design that lends it credibility. But we must honor the visitor’s journey.

Now is the time to begin building out the company’s value proposition in words and images.

I felt that the compelling proof found in a study was their most powerful statement of the power of the product. This study was small. Eight babies were treated with their product and the results measured on two scales. The before and after pictures are available on the site.

This page offers compelling evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the products. Click for full image.

This page offers compelling evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the products. Click for full image.

The results on this page are unclear, but the pictures are powerful. The product is effective and save enough for babies.

What product did this? Unfortunately, iNature Skincare leaves the visitor hanging on this page. This is an ideal time to introduce the product that had such an impact and offer more information. This could be done in the right sidebar area of the page.

A mockup of the Consumer Study page with a next step for the visitor.

A mockup of the Consumer Study page with a next step for the visitor.

I would also add products at the bottom of this page.

I can afford the product that solves my problem.

The visitor now needs to do a cost/benefit calculation. It’s time to introduce the product and complete the value building process. For iNature Skincare, the product page does a good job.

I recommended putting a picture of the product used and a link to learn more about the product. The page that featured the product was imperfect, but provided a good deal of information.

The iNature Skincare product page.

The iNature Skincare product page.

This was a good next step because after providing the product information and the price, the presented the next step in the visitor’s journey.

Should I buy now? Can I delay?

The next step in the journey is the choice. So far, the question in the visitor’s mind – “Should I go on?” – has been an easy one to answer. Each click offered more relevant information in the journey.

Visitors that don’t have skin problems have fallen away. Now we are talking to those who need our product.

It’s time to bring them to choice.

This is the job of the call-to-action button. For most ecommerce sites, “Add to Cart” tests well as the call to action. It is presented here in bold read.

This is the traditional next step in the buyer's journey for ecommerce sites.

This is the traditional next step in the buyer’s journey for ecommerce sites.

The button is very wide, and almost doesn’t look like a clickable button. It also lies well down the page. It could be missed. Nonetheless, it offers a natural next step in the visitor’s journey, an important final step.

If, at this point, the visitor does not purchase, then we can assume that

a) they just weren’t ready

b) we didn’t do a good enough job of building value

Price is rarely the issue. When I tell you that your product is too expensive, they mean that you didn’t do a good enough job explaining the value to me.

Could iNature Skincare entice more of these lost visitors to buy?

The Complete Journey

We’ve mapped out a journey from first exposure through to purchase.

  1. A good feeling from branded content
  2. Discovering a brand that shares my values
  3. The realization that the brand solves a problem I have
  4. Understanding the product’s value proposition
  5. The decision to buy
  6. Finalizing the transaction

Each point along the way holds an opportunity for optimization. Here are some opportunities for iNature Skincare to improve these waypoints.

Let Your Visitors Find Their Own Journey

For many visitors, we will not know where their journey started. So, we have to make it easy for them to create their own journey.

iNature Skincare as a non-standard design. The navigation bar is in a sticky band along the bottom, instead of along the top as is expected by most visitors.

This cuts 110 pixels off of the page height, space which could be used to further the value proposition.

The floating navigation bar at the bottom of the takes up precious space.

The floating navigation bar at the bottom of the takes up precious space.

Every page on the site needs to offer a next step toward evaluating the products. There are no next steps on the Our Story, About, Dry Skin or Before and After pages.

Every page should answer a question and continue the journey.

If you are stuck on designing your buyer journey, I recommend you buy Buyer Legends from Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. They outline a process for laying out powerful stories that marketers can actually implement.


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
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This is a guest post written by Melissa Sawyer

The internet has revolutionized many aspects of modern life, from the way we work, to the way we shop. E-commerce is an industry built entirely around the internet. Purchases in e-commerce occur solely within an online environment eliminating the elements of physical interaction that using a traditional brick and mortar store brings.

For it to be viable for customers to shop online instead of at a brick and mortar store, the online experience needs to be convenient and practical – more so than using the physical store. In many cases, this will manifest in the form of cheaper products and a wider variety of stock than a small store could offer.

However, the strength of a brick and mortar store will always be that the customer leaves with the stock then and there. The item is theirs immediately, without any further delay. Shoppers are willing to wait for their items only if the online shopping experience is easy and free of complications.

Excellent service and efficient delivery are just as important as a well designed site

Many online shoppers are simply there to browse. They place items in their basket, but ultimately pull out of the transaction at the end. This is what is known as shopping cart ‘abandonment’. Since online shoppers can easily comparison shop, it is important that the experience is of the highest standard. This extends beyond just how a site functions, and is applicable right up until the product has been successfully delivered to the customer.

Internet shoppers will always be influenced by the aesthetics of an online store. If it works well and looks good, customers will be happy to give you their money. Businesses know this and spend large amounts of money on web development. However, a flashy site but poor customer service is a sure fire way to alienate customers and ensure that they won’t return.

One of the biggest criticisms online retailers face is poor delivery of purchased items. Goods arriving late, damaged, or failing to arrive altogether are common issues with online retail. The New York Times recently ran a piece that highlights the some of the issues online retail face, particularly shipping mistakes.

Certain hiccups are bound to happen from time to time, but if those issues are resolved well, then the customer is more likely to return. If missing or damaged items are dealt with professionally, and swiftly, then a customer will be more likely to give their businesses in the future. However, if a customer is left waiting a long time for an inadequate resolution, then you can forget it.

Steps can be taken to prevent delivery mishaps

It seems painfully obvious, but a well placed ‘fragile’ sticker on a package can work wonders. People will tend to be more careful if they know the item will be easily damaged. Packing orders well is another must. If orders from your e-commerce site keep arriving broken, then your packaging may be to blame just as much as an heavy handed courier or delivery staff.

Selecting a reputable company to carry out your deliveries is essential. As always in the world of business, reputation is everything. Choose someone you know has a good track record of quick, safe deliveries. It is even better to use a company that offers recorded delivery, especially if real-time tracking of shipments is offered. This offers peace of mind to online stores who dispatched the order, and customers who eagerly await the goods that they have paid for. After all, if any complications arise, it will be your job to explain this to the customer. This is a small detail that is often overlooked and can be extremely damaging to customer relations.

Many online retailers opt to do as money.co.uk suggest and protect their items during the delivery stage through the use of ‘goods in transit’ insurance. This means if items are lost or damaged while it is being delivered, then they are covered and costs can be recuperated.

If your store operates locally, and runs its own local delivery service, then it may be an idea to fit delivery vehicles with a vehicle tracking system. This allows you to see the driving habits of delivery staff, with some systems being so advanced that they can analyze the sharpness of turns and harshness of braking. These can be valuable tools for stamping out any aggressive driving that may be responsible for damaging products in transit.

Ultimately, e-commerce is built upon trust

Online shoppers put their trust into online stores to a greater extent than in physical shops. There is a massive degree of faith involved. Online shoppers cannot inspect the items themselves, so are trusting online retailers that the products they order bare resemblance to what is presented on screen, but also that they will be delivered within the time frame stated.

People flock to online shopping due to its ease and flexibility. The majority of time, this will prove to be a smooth experience, but even small errors cost businesses money. It is important to remember, just because an order has been placed and the products have been shipped, it does not signify the end of an online retailer’s relationship with a customer.

The Conversion Sciences Lab requires long hours of focused attention. Needless to say, we have to keep ourselves in shape to do good work. I keep my svelte shape in part by performing some physiological experiments on myself at Lifetime Fitness. The things I do would make me laugh if I was watching.
(C) 2012 Life Time FitnessAs part of Lifetime my membership, I am graced with the monthly magazine Experience L!fe. The March issue featured the article “A Plan for Happiness.”
Finally! A plan.
The plan for happiness begins with some convincing proof, citing a study by a PhD on some three-thousand people. Based on this research, the good doctor found that, “If you can prevent stress from happening by planning, you’re going to be much better off.” He offered three steps:

        

  1. Make a List before you go to bed each night
  2.     

  3. Prioritize and tackle the first two or three things immediately
  4.     

  5. Break down big tasks into 15-minute chunks.

Now, if you are like me and some three-fourths of the population, you will find this list laughable. This kind of disciplined and controlled regimen works for one kind of person, but not for most of us.
Now imagine that your online business was paid based on the happiness achieved by its visitors. This one recipe would not be a very profitable, because it only appeals to one personality “mode.” Based on Myers-Briggs research, there are at least four major personality modes, or temperaments, and I discuss them in my most recent Search Engine Land column.
How would we write our happiness recipe to appeal to each of the four personality types and why do you care? First of all, you care because the job of your website is to make your visitors happy. That is when they buy from you.
The list provided by our eager PhD is ideal for the Competitive types, who are often found to be on a mission to improve their life. They are goal-oriented and disciplined.
However, our Spontaneous visitors live for impulse and action. Their plan for happiness might be:

        

  1. Make a list if you go to bed. Make your list with an Etch-a-sketch or Lite-Brite to make it fun.
  2.     

  3. Prioritize. Then tackle the first two or three things that grab your interest in the morning.
  4.     

  5. Break down big tasks into “Squirrel!”

Humanists, on the other hand make decisions based relationships and how something makes them feel. Their stress relief formula might be:

        

  1. Make a list before you go to bed of the people you wish were snuggling with you. Call them to talk.
  2.     

  3. Prioritize the first two or three things on someone else’s list. Tackle these for them.
  4.     

  5. Break down big tasks and have a task party with each of your friends getting one 15-minute chunk.

Finally, our Methodicals are going to be suspicious that three steps is sufficient to solve a problem like happiness. They need information, data and detail.

        

  1. Make a list before you go to bed each night.
  2.     

  3. Do a gap analysis of this list against the previous night’s list. On weekends, include a trend analysis.
  4.     

  5. Prioritize the list, but do not tackle yet.
  6.     

  7. QA the prioritized list using the list prioritization guidelines.
  8.     

  9. Complete a task requirements document (TRD) for each.
  10.     

  11. Identify resources required and procure missing materials.
  12.     

  13. Execute.
  14.     

  15. Have 15-minute progress reviews to ensure there has been no task scope creep.

Do you identify with any of these? Tell us in the comments. Read more about them in Advanced Landing Page Techniques: Searcher Personas. They are the modes of persuasion that the Eisenberg brothers define in their book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? which I highly recommend.
How is your site making its case to the four kinds of visitors you have coming to your site?
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The Dollar Shave video went mega viral because it is “funny”, right?
But to understand why and how it is funny you need to break it down and analyze what motional strings it is playing. Only then will you truly understand its success.

Michael is fed up. Who isn’t?

The major emotional theme of the video is “Fed up-ness”. At the heart of this Fed up-ness lies of course Dollarshave’s value proposition to customers who are fed up with paying for overpriced razor blades. But there’s more.
The whole body language of CEO Michael Dubin says “I’m fed up”. He just can’t sit or stand still, he needs to move, he’s on a mission. He’s fed up with political correctness as he proclaims that the blades are F***ing great. He’s fed up with over-paid tennis players. I think he’s even fed up with being fed up.
This goes right into the core of the American peoples’ feelings. Not only are they fed up with the Razor blade monopoly, they’re fed up with Washington, they’re fed up with no jobs. They’re also fed up with being fed up.

Michael takes matters into his own hands

By doing so he becomes an agent for the aspirations of Gillette-enslaved Americans. When they buy blades from Dollarshave, they’re not customers, they’re proactive change agents who can create change and fortune by their own actions. Together with Michael they enact their shared American dream.
Remember the payoff in the video?
“Isn’t it about time?”
It’s not a product or service statement. Actually not even a statement. It’s just about how you feel when you’re fed up and want to take matters into your own hands. Like Michael.

Michael is one of us, not one of them

Look at Michael’s office. It’s a mess. You’ll find similar offices all over the country. Except of course at Madison Avenue. It’s as far from that as you can possibly get. In any case Michael seems to spend most of his time in the warehouse.
Michael would not pay an agency tons of cash to make this video. If you know a little bit about video production you can see it’s professionally made. Still it’s created to preserve an amateurish look and feel. That’s not by coincidence.
And Michael obviously can’t play tennis.

Michael is American

Ok, the flag at the end is obvious, but when you think of it the American theme runs right through the video.
There’s an homage to the ancestors (Grandpa with Polio). The evil villain is a foreigner (a Swiss tennis player). There’s a reference to the Vanderbilts.
It might not be as obvious to you as it is to me (I’m Swedish), but it’s there for sure.

Michael talks to….. Yeah, Michaels

Michael is a former marketing exec. Does he need to save dollars on his shaving in order to be able to keep the kids in school? I don’t think so. He just thinks it’s about time.
So when crafting the video for the launch campaign Michael needed to decide what people he should appeal to. – “What is the persona of my early adopter?”, is the question he must have been asking himself.
And I think the answer is – “People like myself!”. People who think the Swiss Army knife approach of Gillette is starting to look ridiculous. People who don’t need to save on their shaving. People who just have this feeling that something should change. Not for rational money-saving reasons, but for emotional reasons.
Others will come later. Who really need to save on their shaving. Who wants more proof of the quality of the blades. Then we’ll see other campaigns designed for them. But for now Michaels want to wake up thousand of Michaels around the country.

Michael creates an Experience

I listened to Jared Spool at Conversion Conference SF a couple of months ago. He said that every innovation goes through three phases; Technology, Features and Experience, being the final one.
Gillette is clearly about Features, with their vibrating handle, flashlight, 10 blades and backscratcher (according to Michael). They’re trying to sell us a Shaving Experience which is an Experience around the use of the product.
Michael, on the other hand, spends exactly 5 seconds to talk about the features of the products in the 94 seconds video. Dollarshave creates an Experience around how we see ourselves as individuals and how we want to live our lives. This is infinitely stronger.
We react much stronger to messages about our identity than our actions. I guess Michael knows this.
So if and when you decide to buy those blades you’re not just shaving – You’re participating in a collective experience designed to enforce your self-image as a strong and active American who thinks “It’s about time”.
John Ekman is the Chief Conversionista of Conversionista! He is regarded as a Swedish authority on Conversion Rate Optimization. According to John, a Conversionista is someone deeply and crazily passionate about improving Conversion Rates. You can find more inspiring posts on John’s blog.

Groupon emails appeal to all of the buyer personalities.

Groupon emails appeal to all of the buyer personalities.

Whatever you think of deals site leader Groupon, you can’t argue with their amazing success.

Since 2007, Groupon has built an email list of 50 million subscribers and have kept them enraptured even though they send an email almost every single day.

Is it the deals? I would argue that it is not. Groupon: Is it the Deals or the Copy?

Find out how the layout and copy of their daily inbox offering keep people on their lists and reading day after day.

An easy way to model your best visitors into 4 modes of research, the limits of demographics for buyer personas and how to overcome them, how to use analytics to uncover persona behavior. And we finish up with a fun conversion quiz to test your knowledge.

Demographics can lie to you. In fact, they often do. This makes them very unreliable when you are trying to make decisions about what to put on your website.

How demographics mislead us and how analytics can set us on the right page again.

The Content, headings, copy and images all impact the success of your site. Knowing how to develop these components for your particular audience is the key to higher and higher conversion rates.

I will guide you towards understanding your target audience showing you:

  1. An easy way to model your different buyers.
  2. How demographics often mislead us.
  3. How to find your ideal customers in your analytics.
  4. Then you get to test your own knowledge in the Conversion Quiz: What to Test?!

Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas

So you have a fantastic testing tool. You have this opportunity to test things on your pages, increase your conversion rates, move your business forward, hit the goals that you want.

The question is, what are you going to test?

Unless you have unlimited traffic, you can find yourself spending months trying to test through all the options.

I’m going to show you some basic principle that will help you better understand who you’re marketing to and help you choose the first thing to test.

You’re going to take a scientific approach and develop a list of hypotheses that are most likely to move things forward for your business or digital marketing strategies. Make those the first things that you’re going to test, and then we’re going to play the conversion quiz show.

An Easy Way to Model your Best Visitors: The limits of Demographics

First of all, the ground rules. Your business has only three or four customers living in thousands of addresses.

There are only three or four people coming to your website or your other online marketing from thousands of computers. And the point here is to try to sell to everyone.

And if you try to optimize a website for anyone that could be coming to the site, you are going to end up optimizing for no one. You’re really not going to learn very much. And the marketing you’re doing is not going to land.

Specificity is the hallmark of good conversion, high conversion rates.

So how do you get specific and target the right people that are coming to your site?

The answer is: you want to know who those best customers are, target the best customers.

What you’re doing is going to effectively target a much wider audience of those that are coming in. And it’s going to have this effect, those that are not as qualified pretty quickly are going to go away.

Let’s talk a little bit about demographics. We want to find and understand those three or four who are really the key visitors to our site that we really want coming.

Demographics is not sufficient.

Here’s a great example. Where does someone making $175,000 dollars a year live?

The marketing director might think $175,000, how can you even afford a house on that salary? The copywriter on the team might say, wow, with $175,000. I’d live in a mansion.

This is a simple illustration of why demographic segments don’t really give us the information that we need to know what to test.

Buyer Personas and Triggers

The key here is triggers. We don’t want to understand who people are. We want to understand why they’re on our site right now.

And if we can understand those core stories, we get some really powerful insights that are going to narrow down the content we’re making, how we’re talking to people.

Let me give you this example. Here is a woman, early 30s, and she needs a plumber because she wants to remodel her bathroom. So, she’s going to come to a plumbing website. She’s going to be interested in:

  • Are they bonded?
  • Are the crews qualified?
  • Do they work with the materials used?
  • Have they done anything with anybody else in my neighborhood?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • She’s going to really want to dig in because this is a big expenditure.

Same woman, same demographic has a leak and the water is about to ruin her new wood floors. She doesn’t care about whether you’re bonded at this point. She does not need any references. All she needs to know is:

  • that you have trucks traveling the city
  • that you can be there quickly
  • and the phone number.

Same demographic, two very different sets of of conversion strategies that we would put in place on the plumbers’ website for those.

Four Modes of Research to Model Buyer Personas

Here’s a great model that the Eisenberg brothers put together in their book, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark. And it divides visitors into what we call their mode of research. They call it their mode of persuasion.

But this is how people are coming and how they want to get information on your website.

And there are two indices. They can be making decisions very quickly or very deliberately, very methodically, and they’re going to make decisions, emotionally or logically. And you’ll see how powerful this is.

We give this quarter some names.

The Competitives

The first quarter are those who make decisions quickly and logically, we call them competitives. These guys are goal oriented. They’re looking to solve a problem. They’re looking for something specific. They know what they’re looking for. And so they’re going to come to your website expecting you to help them drill down into what they’re looking for very quickly.

The Methodicals

The methodicals, on the other hand, make decisions deliberately and logically. They’re going to need more information. Methodicals don’t like the human touch. And in fact, they are probably not even going to call you. They already know, most of the answers to the questions that they might ask.

The humanists

The humanists make decisions very deliberately and very emotionally. These are some of the hardest folks to convert. They are looking for relationships in general. They want to know who they’re dealing with. They want to know the personalities of the company. And people in relationships are at the center of how they make decisions.

The Spontaneous

And then finally, the spontaneous visitors. They’re going to make a decision quickly. They’re going make a decision emotionally and they are looking for action. They’re activated by action. They’re not going to spend a lot of time doing research. This is the crowd that lends credence to the statistics you hear that you only have 8 seconds to get somebody’s attention on your website. That is not true, except for this kind of a visitor.

Understanding Buyer Personas Mode of Research

So let’s apply this to our early 30s woman, if she’s remodeling her bathroom, she’s probably going to come in a very methodical mode. She’s going to take time, research and take time to make a decision.

However, she’s going to be very spontaneous if you show her on the site, we have an emergency number. Here’s the number. She’s not going to think twice. She’s going to take action.

How to Use Analytics to Uncover Persona Behavior

Now, for those of you in the audience who might be a little competitive or methodical as you like to look at things logical, I’ve got a way of dicing this up, using analytics.

This is an illustration of how we can use what we learn from our analytics systems and from our tests to apply to this.

On my website, I can measure a couple of things. One of the things I can measure is how much time someone spends per visit. I can also measure how many pages they visit.

Time on site tells me if they’re spending a lot of time on site, then the approach is more deliberate.

If they spend less time then they are probably more quick decision making.

Visiting a lot of pages. I would think they’re proceeding in a more logical manner as opposed to fewer pages where they’re going to have more emotional triggers.

So I’ve given them these names.

  • Bouncy Bob, the guy that didn’t spend any time on the site only visits a few pages and includes those people who are unqualified and bounce away.
  • Lost Lucy, she’s spending not very much time on the site, but she’s visiting a lot of pages. And I call her Lost Lucy, because it’s like somebody trying to find what they’re looking for. This could be a frustrated competitive.
  • Methodical Mary. Lots of time on the site. She’s going to look at a lot of pages.
  • And One hit Juan, he’s going to spend a lot of time on site but he may only hit one or two pages. On my site there’s video pages where Juan is all over. He’s going to spend 40 minutes watching some video. That may be the only page that he looks at.

So when we put these into our analytics, we can get some interesting profiles. Of course, you may discover you have a high bounce rate due to more technical reasons and here’s how to fix your conversion problem.

Here’s a neat dataset that I have access to and 66% of the traffic is bouncy.

The first thing you might say is “I need to talk to my advertising guys because they’re not sending qualified traffic”. Conversion rate is very low 0.05%. About 7.6% of that traffic would qualify as a lost Lucy.

Again, a very low conversion rate. If these are those competitives that are coming, looking for something and we’re not doing a good job of selling it to them, we need to look at that. We need to get that conversion rate up. That’s a fair amount of traffic.

Juan in this data set was almost 6% of the traffic, a little bit better conversion rate 0.7%. So we’re doing something right.

But look at Mary, 23% of the traffic and she’s converting at over 3%. Here is an opportunity, 23 percent. What can I do to make sure that Mary is getting that information? She needs to make that deliberate and logical decision that she wants to make.

This is a great way that personas can play out in analytics.

How to Leverage Buyer Personas Mode of Research

So, let’s talk about how we use this. Let’s say we know what the stories are. We know we’ve got buyer personas coming in certain research modes and we may have someone in all of those research modes.

How does that affect our decisions? I’m going to show you some examples. Don’t go out and change your pages based on this, because the Conversion Scientist told you this is the way to lay it out.

These are some examples of things that you would test first if you knew who your personas were.

First of all, we’re all aware of the fold, the dreaded above the fold. We want that to appeal to our quick decision makers, our spontaneous and our competitors. We’ve got to get their attention above the fold because they’re not likely to scroll and stick around unless they see something relevant.

And below the fold, our consumers are methodical, who are a little bit more studied, paced and deliberate in their decision making, are more likely to scroll and see the information there.

What to Test with Competitives

So let’s look at our competitives. What would we put above the fold? Well, again, these guys know what they’re looking for, so we need what I call PAY-OFF copy.

We need a what’s in it for me headline and lots of what’s in it for me copy it them very quickly. Let them know why they need to stick around and take action.

These guys again, if your navigation is not satisfying them, give them a search box so that they can get to what they’re looking for.

They are looking for relevant pictures. They’re scanning for a reason to stick around and by relevant, I certainly don’t mean to stock photos that so many of our B2B sites have of pretty people. They want something that tells them they’re in the right place or at least on the right trail.

Spontaneous Buyer Persona Hypotheses to Consider

For our spontaneous type, quick facts, these guys are not going to spend a lot of time. If we can, above fold, give them the basic information they need to take action and give them an obvious way to take action, these guys will do that.

Bulleted benefits, details that they need to make a decision on the sale such as price. And a quick summary of what other people think of that are some ideas.

And then anything else that you want to support there, if you’ve got a guarantee, or anything to support the decision, it needs to be done in a very high contrast way. I facetiously call these the bright, shiny objects. But someone who is looking for ways to take action is going to be drawn to those.

Ideas to Test on Methodicals

Now, the methodicals, this one is a little bit of an exception. So above the fold, they’re going to be looking for a logical navigation.

And we all focus a lot on our basic tree navigation, our main navigation primary NAV. It appeals very much to these guys and to people who aren’t finding anything on the site.

But below the fold, you will want the details. These guys want to process that. They want to understand the details of how something works or what the details of the product are, depending on what you’re doing.

Also below the fold for humanists, we could put some social proof. So they’re looking for, again, a relationship and they put a lot of stock in what people think of a product. So the reviews and testimonials, those sorts of things would be valuable for them. And trust symbols, again, based on the relationships. If you have third party symbols, if you’re a member of associations, if you won awards, those will generally resonate with more humanist visitor.

These are the first things to test. As I said, don’t go off and just change things. This is where you want to start.

Fun Conversion Quiz to Test your Buyer Personas Knowledge

So that’s all very illustrative. Hopefully you’ve absorbed what I’ve said and you understand the concepts here. And we’re going to find out.

The way this is played is I’m going to describe a persona that is coming to a business and I’m going to provide 4 alternatives sources of things that we could test.

Your job is to tell me which ones you would test first. This one’s a gimme. So this is a practice.

The business is a plumber. This persona we’re calling Miriam the trigger is the sink is leaking profusely on new wood floors. Her mode of research: she’s coming to the site in a spontaneous mode.

What calls to action should we test first with this sort of a visitor?

  1. do we want her to contact us?
  2. do we want to provide her with a phone number?
  3. do we want a big red button that says emergency hotline with that number?
  4. big red button that gives her a vanity 800 number?

Actually, you might want to test both 3 and 4. She’s not going to be as interested in whether or not she’s paying a toll and an 800 number might sound like a national company.

So perhaps number three will be the one that we first test.

Let’s move on to another example.

The business sells sports equipment online. James is a soccer player, he plays to win and he spares no expense on game. His trigger, his teammate brought some hot new gear to the game and he is interested in keeping up. He’s coming in competitive research mode. He knows what he’s looking for.

What categories would we put in front of him? eCommerce sites typically divide things into categories functionally. So which ones would be the first ones we would test for him?

  1. Is it going to be soccer equipment?
  2. Is it going to be hot new products?
  3. Is it going to be editor’s choice
  4. Is it going to be best deals?

The twos and threes seem to have it, and I agree. So, hot new products is definitely what he’s looking for, an editor’s choice, something that the editors have found that is exceptional may also appeal to him. But I would say number two is awesome.

Why isn’t best deals the choice? Because he’s not looking to save money. He’s looking for what’s new and hot.

Let’s say we’re writing copy for a business software manufacturer, Roy is an operations manager. His boss asked him to research some workflow software. And now his job is kind of on the line. He’s spending somebody else’s money. So he’s going to come in a more methodical mode and take his time. This is a big decision.

What style of copy would appeal to Roy?

  • Number one, something like “Our on-demand software provides the best of breed solution to quickly drive performance information to the right people in an organization.” Just sounds like a viable value proposition.
  • Number two, “New IBM case study. Business Transformation achieved using SOA and other technologies for Texas Health and Human Services Commission.”
  • Number three, a page that’s got a lot of detail, charts, graphs.

What do you think is going to appeal to our methodical Roy? I thought he would the IBM case study would appeal to him if it was relevant.

If it was a business like his or a specific problem like his or if he knew what SOA meant, number two might be a good one to test. But I think 3 would be the first thing that I would try.

This is a pet kennel business. Sarah, is a sales engineer, and she travels and she has these doggies that she loves and she needs a safe place for them when she goes on her business trips. And since these are her dogs and she’s very religious oriented, she’s going to come in a very humanist way.

So when she comes to our site, what headlines would we pick for her?

  1. The best price in town on kenneling services.
  2. Our trained staff looks forward to caring for your pet.
  3. The largest kennel in the city.
  4. Or give your dog a vacation.

What do we have here? Everybody seems to agree on to give your dog a vacation may also appeal to her. But I would say number 2 would be the first thing that I would test on this is our trained staff.

Again, relationships. You’re talking about your employees, not your business. That sort of language is going to appeal to a humanist.

All right, last one. The businesses: IT software. This is Rick, he’s an IT admin. Trigger: one of his servers is down and he needs a quick way to diagnose the problem. His mode of research: competitive. So you’re going to present him with a form, a demo form.

What text would you put on a button that would more likely ensure that he would finish the form and click the button?

He’s coming in a competitive mode. He knows what he’s looking for. He could also model as spontaneous. But since he’s an IT guy and he might be a little bit more logical about his decision making.

  • Number one, Free demo. Submit.
  • Number 2, Free demo. Start demo.
  • Number three. Free demo. Next step.
  • And number 4 Free demo. Download now.

Both 2 and 4 are good. To start the demo says I am about to get close to doing a download. Now I’m about to get closer to what I need to solve the problem. Submit, what is he submitting to? And next step sounds like, am I really getting there? Is there something else going on? He may bounce back and try a different site and download the demo there.

How Buyer Personas will Rock your Conversion Rates Summary

So this is one simple facet. I don’t know if you’re familiar with buyer personas, but they are a powerful tool. There are other facets because more commentary can give you great insights and the keywords, the list of what we call points of resolution, pieces of information they need to feel comfortable taking action is very important, where they’re coming from.

Are they coming from a search engine on certain keywords? Are they coming from an ad?

All of these play into a persona’s profile and each of them help you make better decisions about what to put on your site and what to be testing to get more people to convert to deals and move the business forward.

Ultimately, personas tell us and the entire team why they came. And if you’re dealing with managing a team, perhaps that is putting up the website, you’ve got designers, developers, it guys, copywriters, photographers, videographers, depending on the kind of content you’re putting out there, aren’t all of them going to have a different view of the customer?

You can give personas to each one of them and they will very quickly get an idea of who they’re designing for, who they’re creating for, etcetera.

It’s a very powerful tool for the team.

Webinar: Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas

Watch it now.

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Thanks to Maxymiser for the opportunity to share this information with you.

iStock_000008395106MediumI am somewhat embarrassed to tell you that I’m doing a webinar with a really interesting company – Maxymiser – but that we really blew it on the title.
The irony is that the webinar is all about designing websites and content that appeal to your most valuable visitors.
You are valuable to me, yet I still named the webinar… I’m embarrassed to admit it…
“Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas”
See the full webinar on demand.
Now, if you’re interested at all in website conversion, I should know that you don’t wake up at night saying, “Wow! I need to accelerate my online business!”
You certainly don’t spend your day in a cold sweat, wondering how to “optimize for buyer personas.”
So, why did I name this webinar “Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas!?”
Because sometimes I make the same mistakes you are making in your marketing. I’m trying to come up with titles and headlines and copy that appeal to everyone, when I should be focusing on you, a real business with real conversion concerns.
So here’s my promise: I’m going to tell you who should be part of this webinar, straight up, and you can go about your business if it isn’t you.
If you want to know what color your Add to Cart button should be, you’re going to hate this webinar.
If you want to know how to get your team to stop writing titles like “Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas,” you’re in the right place.
If you’re looking for ten steps toward better landing pages, you’re going to be disappointed (but you will be entertained).
If you’re frustrated that your website isn’t doing better, and you’re not afraid of change, you should be here.
If you like presentations named “Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas”, you’re not going to like Accelerating Your Online Business by Optimizing for Buyer Personas.
We’re going to have more fun than that title suggests.
We’re going to talk about personas, which I know is very conceptual for many of you. You are dismissed.
For the rest of you, I offer a clarity of direction and purpose that few website teams can claim.
And we’re going to see if you learned anything, by finishing up with “What to Test: The Conversion Quiz.”
Yes, online marketing should be fun.
So, please ignore the title and come if you want to learn:

  1. An easy way to model your best visitors into four “Modes of Research”
  2. The limits of demographics and how to overcome them
  3. How to use analytics to uncover persona behavior
  4. The Conversion Quiz: Test your ability to apply personas to on-page tests

Pretend we named the webinar something more interesting.
Watch the replay here. I promise you will learn something valuable.
 
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