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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
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We were very surprised by the marquee results of a TrustRadius survey on Conversion Rate Optimization.

While 72% of the companies surveyed have implemented some CRO processes, only 18% of them consider CRO as “Part of their DNA”.

We would speculate that many of these 18% of companies are in very competitive commodity industries, such as travel, office supplies, and pet apparel. In other words, they had to optimize or die.
These aren’t the only industries in dire need of optimization, however. While CRO isn’t a zero-sum game, you do not want to find yourself playing catch-up with your competitors. As this survey shows, CRO is a key competitive advantage online, just as SEO has been.
TrustRadius is in a unique position to conducted a survey of businesses. They offer some of the most helpful reviews of business software on the Web, and were able to get 4100 companies to complete the survey. This is statistically significant stuff.
Here are some of the highlights from their survey.

  • 58% of companies spend more than $10,000 per year on digital analytics, while 44% spend that much per year on A/B testing tools.
  • 59% of companies have plans to spend more this year than in the previous year on digital analytics tools, but only 48% plan to increase spending on A/B testing tools. Download the TrustRadius Buyers Guide to see what they are spending that money on.
  • The vast majority of companies (91%) use between two and ten digital analytics tools regularly.

Check out the full report now and then give Conversion Sciences a call to see what you can do to inject CRO into your DNA.

As Conversion Scientists, we obviously eat this stuff for breakfast.  We’ll show you how much money you could be making with our 120-day Conversion Catalyst™ program.  It’s free, and it’s invaluable.
Jump on a call with us at (888) 961-6604.  You’ll be glad you did.


Brian Massey is a professional website optimizer. He runs the company Conversion Sciences and is the author of the book Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Formulas of The Conversion Scientist.
In this interview, Alex Harris uncovers:
1. The real reason Conversion Optimization works.
2. How his company gets the most out of a website.
3. A secret trick for getting higher conversion rates out of sliding headers.
Visit Alex Harris Marketing Optimization Blog.

Listener comments

Christine Draper said, “I was struck with your point about people being drawn to movement. Love the idea of a high converting slideshow.”
Paul Colaianni said, “Wow, great take away on the static image test. Gotta try that! Great interview for sure!”
ClearlyInfluential said, “Thanks for the advice!”
Celest Horton commented, “Such a great interview alex harris – alexdesigns. I LOVE Brian’s stressing the importance of optimization is really understanding one’s listeners or followers so that we can really work harder to serve them and it becomes a win / win situation!”
Justin Williams liked when Brian said, “Our definition of optimization is understanding your visitors.” He commented, “I certainly agree with you on this one. Great advice, Brian!”
Charlie Poznek quoted Brian saying, “With every test, you learn something.” He continues, “So very true! Test, test, and test some more to get the most information you can. Thanks for a great episode!”
Anthony Tran was very kind, saying, “Wow Brian is truly the expert in this arena. I learned a ton from listening to this episode. I like how he mentioned that the best way to ask questions is to make sure it’s an open-ended question … something that can’t be answered with a simple yes. Get’s your audience wondering and wanting to learn more.”
Amber Hurdle liked Brian’s comment that, “You have to address [the offer] before you have permission to talk about yourself.” She said, “Wow. That is the best part of it all. I have so much room to grow, but I do try! This is simply more to pull from as I move forward. Thanks, gents!”
FireStartersFireStarters said, “Great advice from Brian! Reminds me of measure twice, cut once to get it right. Thanks for the highly valuable interview Alex, great as always and looking forward to leveraging moving forward.”

Today we have a guest post by Derek Hooker, Chief of Search Marketing at White Shark Media™.
Google AdWords is a very impressive advertising platform. It provides us with numerous tools and features to work with and make our campaigns better. As long as you have the right mindset, resources and strategy, you can make your campaigns rock!
I’ve always said: “you just have to get creative and analytic with the tools you are provided with.”
So with that in mind, I decided to create this sort of guide with twelve ways to advertisers take their campaigns to the next level, especially when focusing on conversions. Please keep in mind that the features and techniques listed below are not sorted in any priority order. You decide which ones to implement first based on your specific case:

1. Start Rotating Ads to Optimize for Conversions

Ad Rotation is a basic feature that you put in place when you’ve already accrued a certain number of conversions (no specific number) and have started converting regularly. This feature gives you the power to rotate through several different ad versions to find out which works best for a given set of keywords.
It only makes sense to have your ads “Optimize for Conversions” when that is your main purpose, but when is it not? If you’re “Optimizing for Clicks”, you’re assuming all clicks turn into customers at the same rate. The ads that serve more and receiving the most clicks are not always the ones driving leads and customers.

2. Ad Scheduling Bid Adjustments

When it comes to e-commerce you may want to have your campaign running 24/7, since customers can complete a purchase online 24/7. However, certain times of day may generate lots of expensive clicks, but few purchases.
Use adwords to report on the hours of the day and days of the week to when your customers are really converting.
It may pay to schedule ads for e-commerce campaigns that exclude early hours of the day (after midnight and before dawn). I call this the “zombie hours” because I rarely see customers taking action during these hours. At these hours, customers just browsing around and this turns out to be a big expense that leads to higher cost per action (CPA) and lower return on ad investment (ROI).
You may see something different. It makes sense to exclude some hours and adjust bids based on the times you are experiencing more conversions.
For example, in the screenshot below you can see that I started doing ad scheduling (4 am – midnight), because in this particular case, there were very little to no conversions between these hours. Hence, I’ve raised bids on Tuesday and Friday to maximize the conversions on these days, since they convert very well, at a lower cost and lower position.

3. Location Target Bid Adjustments

If you’re running a nationwide campaign or one that is targeting multiple locations (states, cities, metro areas, etc.), take some time to figure out where most of your conversions are coming from. You would be surprised on how differently users behave from different locations, and it is sometimes best to target them geographically with targeted tactics.
The Adwords Dimensions tab gives you a good general insight on how each location contributes to your overall campaign’s performance. Use the “User Locations” View.
I guarantee you that if you have been running a campaign for a long time and have not taken the time to look into this, you will find locations that have a ridiculous cost/conversion or no conversions at all, representing an unnecessary expense for your campaign.
In this case, it is the best to exclude these locations from your existing campaign. If these locations are really important to your business and you want to really exploit them, you can target them on a separate campaign with a separate approach. All of these, after building an effective strategy based on that location’s user behavior and data pulled from Google analytics.

4. Bid Strategy: Enable Enhanced CPC

Enhanced CPC tells Google that they can raise your bids on ads that seem to generate more conversions. Use this feature carefully, because it works for some campaigns and not for others. Nevertheless, AdWords is all about testing, optimizing, analyzing results, and making decisions. Don’t be afraid to try new things, use features you have never used before or don’t understand very well. I always encourage everyone I talk to about AdWords to get creative and think out the box and get out of your comfort zone.
One of the best scenarios where I would recommend using this setting is when your campaign is in its early stages. If your campaign is converting regularly and has at least 15 conversions in the past 30 days, then it is probably eligible for Conversion Optimizer (which we will discuss further).
Enhanced CPC is 1 step away from Conversion Optimizer, which is why it is more reasonable to work with this setting if your campaign doesn’t have that much historical conversion data, yet you are looking forward to drive more conversions.

5. Implementing Conversion Optimizer

Some advertisers and business owners are skeptical about using the tool, because they are afraid of “giving Google control their bidding strategy”, which is why they take the conservative road and stick to manual bidding (this can also be the case of Enhanced CPC).
In order to have success with Conversion Optimizer, one must have solid knowledge of how it works and be careful how you set your CPA bids in order to obtain your goals
The Conversion Optimizer is a very powerful tool. There are essentially two bidding types:
Conversion Optimizer
Max CPA:
Use this bidding type when budget is not limited or your CPA (Cost per-acquisition) is not very high. The algorithm will try to maximize the amount of conversions based on the conversion data.
Upon selecting this option, it will suggest a Max CPA bid (the most you are willing to pay for a conversion) based on the historical conversion data.
 
Target CPA:
Use this bidding type when your CPA is too high and you want to make it more profitable. This option helps you to reduce the CPA while continuing to bring in the same or higher amount of conversions (Google AdWords will also suggest to start Target CPA bid based on your historical data).
Before choosing any of these bidding options, you need to figure out what exactly it is that you want to achieve; whether this is an increase in the amount of conversions while sacrificing a higher CPA, or if you are struggling to reduce your CPA and trying to find a solution on bringing this down.
Something very important is to remember that once you choose your bidding type, the selected CPA bid will be applied to all your ad groups. You would need to review this afterward and adjust it accordingly.
Typically, every ad group has a different CPA and it should not be set to the default CPA bid suggested by the system. Adjust it according to your criteria, based on what CPA is best for each ad group.

6. Focus on Converting Keywords and Ads

On a campaign that is performing very well, there are ad groups, keywords and ads that are the main drivers for these conversions. Sometimes, 1 to 3 ad groups are responsible for 60% of the campaign’s overall results. The other ad groups convert every now and again at a decent CPA, and that is why we decide to keep them running.

        

  • Once you’ve identified which are these keywords and ads, create variations, try to identify other potential keyword variations for your campaign based on the ones that have converted.
  •     

  • Create keyword variations in different match types to cover more ground.
  •     

  • Create ad variations based on the best performing ones, whether this is just changing the call to action, headlines or parts of your description lines – even small changes can have an impact.
  •     

  • Analyze how these elements are performing over time and perform bid adjustments based on what has been the best ad rank to work with.

These are just a few of the creative and analytic adjustments that you can do with your keywords and ads.

7. Implement the Best Converting Ad in Other Ad Groups that Are Applicable

I like to compare ads’ performance across my campaign. There is always one specific ad that is your “killer ad”. It is important that we identify why this ad does better than the others. Whether it is a result of the call to action, description line, or benefits mentioned in the ad.
Once you’ve identified the driving factor, compare this ad with ads in other ad groups. If all ad groups are promoting the same products or services, but with different keywords, it would be beneficial to start using this ad across all other ad groups that are applicable.

8. Pause Non Converting Keywords to Focus Your Budget on Converting Elements

A beneficial practice is to perform a campaign evaluation at the end of every month, every 3 months and every 6 months. This facilitates a better grasp of how the campaign is doing from time to time. Performing a monthly or quarterly assessment is important, because it helps you identify historical trends, spikes and areas of opportunities.
One of these areas of opportunities is reallocating your budget to focus on what is actually being productive. For instance, you might have a campaign with 200+ keywords, but less than 50% of those keywords are productive.
I encourage you to take a look at your campaign at a keyword level, create a customized filter to show only keywords that have not converted in the past 3 months, and another filter for keywords that have converted at a higher CPA than your actual goal (or above ideal CPA).
You will be surprised of how many keywords will show in that filter, and how much money has been wasted on them throughout the duration of your ads.
Once you make a full assessment and decide to pause most of these keywords, you will have space to exploit your budget and focus higher bids on productive keywords.

9. For E-commerce Campaigns: Use Google Analytics E-commerce Transactions

If you’re running a campaign for an e-commerce website, it is crucial that you work with Google Analytics and that the e-commerce transactions tracking is setup properly. Google Analytics will provide you with an abundance of data to assist you in the success of your ad campaign.
With E-commerce Transactions tracking, you have the most granular level data; data for strategic account management, and business driven decision making.
As long as your AdWords account is linked to Google Analytics and reporting accurately, you will be able to determine:

        

  • revenue driven per ad group
  •     

  • per keyword
  •     

  • per ad
  •     

  • bounce rate
  •     

  • visit duration
  •     

  • and more.

Analyzing an AdWords e-commerce campaign through Analytics can be eye opening. One can be under the impression that the ad group or keyword that drives the most conversions in AdWords is the most profitable one, but there are times when having more conversions doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue.
The prices for each product differ and that is why an evaluation in Analytics is indispensable. You will be able to determine which ad groups and keywords are producing the most revenue and which ones need improvement.

10. Add Converting Keywords from Analytics that Perform Well in Other Traffic Sources

With goals setup in either Analytics, or “Ecommerce Transactions Tracking”, you are able to analyze and determine which sources are more productive for you; whether this is Google Organic, Direct Channel, Google CPC, etc.
One of the most competitive sources is Google Organic, particularly if your client is doing SEO and has decent ranking in Google Organic SERP. This is something that you should exploit and add the benefits from that source to your AdWords campaign.
One approach is to review Google Organic Source to see what keywords are driving conversions. To do this:
Go to Analytics > Go to All Traffic > Select Google / Organic > as Primary Dimension, choose Keywords.
Select a larger time frame than just the last 30 days, and do a comparison with the keywords in your campaign and other keywords from this source to determine which ones you have not implemented. Add them to your campaign and you will see results if implemented with the best practices.

11. E-commerce: Focus on Top Converting Products

Another way to exploit Google Analytics and E-commerce Tracking is by easily identifying which your best selling products are, how much revenue they represent to your total and work with them accordingly.
In Analytics, under the Ecommerce Overview, you will see: Your top selling products
Image 5
 
Review this list however you want, within the interface or by doing a csv export, and run with it. Research the life of your campaign and see which of these products you are not advertising directly (as in using targeted keywords with the name of the products), include these in your campaign, tightly themed with some killer ads, you’re all set!

12. Explore Other Campaign Types Such as a Remarketing Campaign

From small to large companies, search campaign is one of the most effective online marketing efforts when your purpose is direct response. However, you can’t disregard the fact that there are other marketing channels to be explored and exploited.
Some marketers and business owners still are hesitant to expand their marketing efforts to other channels once they are doing well with a Search Marketing campaign. It only makes sense to invest more to get more. If you limit yourself with budget, you are limiting the reach of your success.
That is why expanding to other marketing efforts is so important, once you’ve already killed it with one channel.
There are so many other effective campaign types and efforts such as:

        

  • Remarketing – Remarketing lets you show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web
  •     

  • Display Campaign -You can reach a wide range of customers with broad interests, choose which sites or pages to appear on, and engage users with appealing ad formats when ads are in the display network.
  •     

  • Product Listing Ads – A unique ad format that allows you to include rich product information like an image, title, price, promotional message, and your store or business name.
  •     

  • Shopping Campaigns – Shopping campaigns are a better way to manage and optimize Product Listing Ads to promote your products online using retail-centric tools.
  •     

  • Dynamic Search Ads – Dynamic Search Ads automatically show your ad based on the content of your website.

Don’t be afraid to expand and explore other marketing efforts, as you can see there are many options available to you.

Be Analytic, Creative and Always Think Out the Box

The Online Marketer that works on AdWords platform and doesn’t use Google Analytics for a better grasp on their user behavior analysis or to track ROI to produce measurable results, should now be expanding their marketing efforts with Google Analytics.
I encourage everyone who is still not working with the combination of these tools to get started – more than likely, you competition is using them already. If you are passionate about AdWords and Google Analytics, your deeper understanding and use of all that Google has to offer, you will stop at nothing short of success in your marketing efforts.

“Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.” – Napoleon Hill

Derek Hooker is Chief of Search Marketing at White Shark Media™. He is both Google AdWords Qualified and Bing Ads Accredited. Derek is determined in constantly providing his Clients top results via his a ROI/customer care-driven approach. He specializes in both eCommerce and local search campaigns. You connect with Derek on GooglePlus and LinkedIn.
 
 
For further reading on maximizing conversions through Google, please read the following articles:
It’s All About You: The Future of High Quality Link-building

A New Kind of Marketing Battery: Google’s New Smart Lists

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The Conversion Function is the number of actions taken for an online property divided by the number of visits to that property.

The Conversion Rate Function

The Conversion Rate Function: Actions over Visitors


Here is where we find the solid blue line in our websites.
It runs through our sites and our landing pages. It slices our prospects’ mobile phones, their tablets and their computers.
PPC, SEO and Content Marketing-Digital Transportation

We charter the digital vehicles that carry people to our online properties.


We begin by chartering the digital transportation that will bring people in under the line, these confounding and complex people we call visitors. This is not an inexpensive undertaking.
We cajole Google with it’s menagerie of penguins, pandas and hummingbirds. We cast our banners and our ads across the internet, chasing prospects as they surf. We create the content, we share on social, and we send the emails that bring them to us.
We pay their fares promising them a trip to a place meant for them. Our place.
They arrive below our line, looking for that solution, that thing that will make them feel better, that product to adorn themselves, that moment of entertainment when they can let go.
The blue line stands as a ceiling to our visitors and they image how things might be different if they could just get up there.
Above the line.
They are always tempted by the exit, the back button, the next search.
image
It is this blue line that our visitors struggle with, which means that we as online businesses struggle with it, too.
Those tempted by the line find reason and method to climb.
For some, this might be quite easy. Others will accept the help of friends and strangers.
We create the line. We draw our blue line. Sometimes higher. Sometimes lower.
It is our duty help more of our visitors to rise above this line.
How will you help your visitors become customers?
We choose the tools that will elevate them.
Will we let them devise a system of pulleys and knots with which to climb.
Will we provide the clear steps, a little boost in their efforts.
Will we ask them to make a leap of faith and trust in their agility to spring safely above our blue line.
Will we try to make it effortless using the machinery of our websites to transport them to a fixed location, a place above the line? And what will make them take that leap, to step on, to push the button.
The vision we have for our blue line is one in which many make the journey. They come with their money in hand, ready to spend, ready to engage.
Conversion happens when visitors rise above the blue line.
We see them coming with ample intuition and a nourishing supply of common sense, all calibrated by the way we see our business, ourselves and our world.
As it turns out what we call sense isn’t that common.
These frustrating people we call visitors aren’t like us. They aren’t even like the people we know.
They come with their own rules, with their own ideas of beauty and their own sense of how things should work.
They are not here to be manipulated. They are here to be understood.
When they are not understood, they seem mesmerized by the exit, transfixed and hypnotized.
Why are so many visitors drawn to the exit?
We paid to bring them here and they, in their flagrant individuality choose not to stay.
What Quicksand does your site create for visitors?
In our hubris, we create the quicksand that will trap them. Did our navigation confuse them, do our words lack clarity, did we call them to act in the way they like to act.
We are opaque to them, and this is scary. Our very visitors fear us like a bad dream on Halloween.
Your visitors have natural fears keeping them from converting.

Your visitors have natural fears.


Are we lurking behind our website, ready to pounce, to steal from them or, worse, to make them feel stupid and incompetent?
Do we fear being known for who we really are? For it is the unknown that allows our visitors imaginations to run to places we did not expect them to go.
How are we dealing with this complexity?
For this is a complex problem.
How high will we set our line? What distance must these lost souls cover to find their solution?
What have we provided them? Why should they put their fears aside? How will we transport them above the line?
For it is their journey from below the blue line that tells us who they are and who we should be for them.
I’m pleased to be exploring these questions over three days at Digital Elite Camp in Tallinn, Estonia.
Estonia via Google Earth
If you aren’t planning to be in Tallinn, you should follow us from right where you are. We’re going to be exploring some fun and helpful stuff.
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Conversion optimization is now a recognized discipline in the digital marketing stack. This stack roughly looks like this:

        

  1. Brand Development
  2.     

  3. Awareness Advertising
  4.     

  5. Web Property Development
  6.     

  7. Search Marketing
  8.     

  9. Conversion Optimization
  10.     

  11. Loyalty and Evangelism

According to MarketingCharts.com, increasing conversion rates is at the top of business’s digital priorities in 2014.
ExactTarget-Marketers-Top-Digital-Priorities-in-2014-Jan2014
“Testing and Optimization” is in the top three of 21% of respondents to this survey. As it turns out, test data is ideal for “Leveraging actionable data”, which 21% also put in their top three.
For most businesses, the digital marketing stack is delivered by one or more digital agencies.
When is the right time for these agencies to begin offering conversion optimization services? We think it’s now, and we’d like to provide you with this capability. When I talk about conversion optimization, I mean the following process:

        

  1. Analyzing a property and its data.
  2.     

  3. Identifying issues and opportunities to increase the performance.
  4.     

  5. Testing to identify what increasing leads, subscribers and sales.

In our experience, it is wholly insufficient to stop with step 2. Step 3 provides the measureable revenue increases that these services deliver.

Conversion Optimization Delights Clients

We know you are being asked by your clients to provide conversion optimization services. Instead of saying, “We don’t do that,” you should take this chance to demonstrate your ability to help them find more revenue in measureable ways. Send them to Conversion Sciences.
We have an impressive track record.

        

  • Our basic process has increased revenue at every one of our clients.
  •     

  • Nine out of ten of our clients continue with us after our initial “Catalyst” process.
  •     

  • Our long-term clients experience doubled and tripled conversion rates.
  •     

  • Many of our happiest clients are referrals from agencies like yours.

We can deliver a complete turnkey optimization solution to your clients today.

Send Us the Business

If your clients are asking about conversion optimization, we say, “Send them our way.”
Call us now and we’ll give you detailed insight into our process and referral agreements.
Conversion Sciences
+1 (888) 961-6604 Toll Free
+1 (512) 961-7159 Direct
bmassey@conversionsciences.com
Thanks to Peep Laja for the pointer to the MarketingCharts.com data.
 
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Ghostbusters was a touchstone for us. Seven years ago, we were launching into a new marketplace – conversion optimization. Like the Ghostbusters, many didn’t understand the value of what we did. Like the ghosts of the movie, the goblins in a website were invisible and ethereal.
So, we turned up the volume, donning lab coats and teaching anyone who would listen. Today, conversion optimization is quickly becoming a must-have discipline in any online business.
Four Ghostbusters
We have always taken inspiration from the trio of Venkman, Stantz and Spengler, collectively known as the Ghostbusters.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the Ghostbusters movie, we offer nine important lessons that we’ve taken from this classic comedy.

1. Get Yourself Some Cool Toys

“It’s technical. It’s one of our little toys.”
Batman had the Bat Cave. Ghostbusters had ECTO-1. We have CRO-1.
For us, we have to be able to bring our tools of choice to our clients. You probably don’t need the mobility that we do, but should have your own digital lab, stocked with the latest toys.

This modified ambulance carries some cool CRO tools.

This modified ambulance carries some cool CRO tools.


For us, we require a solid analytics setup to build on. We further like to add some click tracking tools to see how visitors are interacting with pages. Our split testing software allows us to segment visitors into tests and to inject JavaScript into their experiences.
In the past, we’ve used session recorders and eye-tracking software to get more info on how visitors are using a site.
Yes, we think these are pretty cool toys. You will too when you wield them with a little finesse.
Build your own digital lab for free at ConversionDashboard.com

2. Save Your Tests

“Please understand. This is a high-voltage laser containment system.”
The Ghostbusters went on quite a hunting spree in the first movie capturing all manner of ghost, ghoul and specter. What did they do with these? They placed them in a high-voltage laser containment system.
When you complete a test on your website, you need to save the results in a place that ensures you won’t forget what you’ve learned.

Ghostbusters store a ghost.

Store your tests where they can have the most impact.


We’ve never had a one-size-fits-all approach to documenting test results. We’ve used physical books that we call “Books of Swagger” so that our clients have the answers to questions at their fingertips.
We’ve kept detailed spreadsheets of tests.
Today, we rely most frequently on PowerPoint decks to save our “swagger” along with the details of the tests in our split testing tools.
 

3. Realize You’re Saving the World

“Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes! Volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together — mass hysteria!”
Don’t underestimate the magnitude of the shift you’re bringing to your online business. Adding some science to your marketing is going to bring profound changes to your organization.
Decisions will be made differently. Old beliefs, superstitions and sacred cows will disintegrate.
It will be painful at times and will take some passionate convincing of doubters. In the end, you could be saving the business.

4. Get Some Strange Hobbies

“I collect molds, spores and fungus.”
You’ve got to be interested in some strange topics. Revenue per visit, statistical significance, correlation vs. causation… it’s quite different from product, positioning and pricing.
Yes, the geeks are going to rule the marketing world, so get your geek on.
CRO geeks are interested in the psychology of influence, the structure of the mind and in rudimentary statistics. We study images, copywriting, pricing theory and user experience theory.
The bottom line is that you are going to have to nurture an interest in some unusual topics to be a well-rounded online marketing scientist.

5. Clear Your Mind

“It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.”
Expectations and attachments will dull your ability to apply science to your marketing. Often, our most cherished creative just won’t win in a split test.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have goals for your tests. However, expectations and attachments to outcomes can lead to poor decision-making.
If you’re sure a certain treatment is going to win in a split test, you’re more likely to call it a winner before the confidence level is high enough.
If you expect your results to “make sense”, you are more likely to throw out valid results as “unexplainable.”
We find that it is harder to come up with new hypotheses for a site we’ve been working on for a year or more. It’s harder to clear our minds of the knowledge we already have.
The more you know a thing, the less meaning it has for you. Clear your mind.

6. Don’t Cross the Streams

“Try to imagine all life as you know it ending instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”

Ghostbusters capture a ghost.

Don’t cross your traffic streams when doing multiple tests on a site.


The more tests we can run on a site, the faster we learn. Sites with a large number of visitors and conversions can run several tests, provided the audience can be segmented.
The idea of testing is to understand what is working and what is not. To do this, we need to isolate variables. This is science talk for “only change one thing at a time.” Ideally, only one thing will change for any visitor to your site.
However, if you allow a group of visitors to enter multiple tests, then more than one thing is changing. Imagine that a visitor comes to the home page and is entered into a test in which you remove the sidebar menu. Then they come to a test in your shopping cart in which you remove the discount code field.
When the tests are done, you won’t know which combination of home page sidebar and discount code field resulted in the most sales. The data for both tests have been polluted and cannot be relied on.
So, don’t cross your streams of traffic. If you are running multiple tests on a site, be sure that you segment traffic to only see one or the other.

7. Be Proud to be a Scientist

“Back off man. I’m a scientist.”

You should feel proud to have a data-driven marketing program up and running. Science isn’t perfect, and the fact that we are always trying to prove ourselves wrong means that our self-esteem may suffer.
Most importantly, you should be bringing others in your organization along the science learning curve.
Don’t be afraid to take a moment to explain statistical significance to a coworker. Go ahead and write up a memo on isolating variables or calculating the length of a test.
And when you have a success, be sure to do the money-dance in a very public way.

8. Tell Them About the Twinkie

“That’s a big Twinkie.”
At one point in our heroes’ adventures, Dr. Spengler uses a Twinkie to illustrate the growth of “psychokinetic energy” in the New York area.
“According to this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing 600 pounds.”

Ghostbuster holding a Twinkie

Spengler uses a Twinkie to illustrate the ghostly trouble brewing in New York.


We really can’t take our graphs, charts and tables out to our organizations and expect others the understand what we’re seeing.
I think this is why we prefer to save our test results in slide decks. It is a system designed to tell an emerging story. These decks includes hypotheses, screen shots, data tables and conclusions. Everyone can open them and they can be as big as they need to be.
Sometimes, a map is better than step-by-step directions. Become a student of explaining and presenting findings. The better you get at this, the more cred you will build within your company.
Companies like Narrative Sciences are focused on turning data into stories.
Use your own Twinkies – analogies and metaphors – to help others understand the context for your discoveries and their relevance to themselves.
Charles Bukowski said, “Genius could be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”

9. Don’t get Slimed

“I feel so funky.”

Ghostbuster got slimed.

Don’t let the slime get you down.


 
It is one of the inevitabilities of the scientist to have her most amazing theories regularly proven wrong. Inconclusive tests, polluted data and external interference make testing disheartening.
Don’t let a series of disappointments bring your momentum and scientific excitement to a standstill. Don’t let yourself get slimed.
If you find yourself in a slump, it’s time to get input from outside of your echo-chamber. Pull in some fresh eyes from elsewhere in the company. Watch a few recorded sessions or collect some user feedback using any of a number of tools.
When you feel your energy ebbing, it’s because you got attached to your outcomes. Be humble. Stay curious. Stay out of the slime.
Thanks to Dan Akroyd, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray and the late Harold Ramis for providing the inspiration we needed to take ourselves a little less seriously than we would have.
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Are you troubled by high bounce rates in the middle of the night?
Do you experience feelings of dread in your CFO’s office?
Have you or your family ever seen you twitch, shake or cry?
If the answer is “yes,” then don’t wait another minute. Pick up the phone and call the professionals.
Images taken from Ghostbusters. All copyrights belong to their owners.

The staff was assembled, the stage was set. Representatives from every department plus some of the big brass were sitting around the long conference table.
I was about to present the data that showed how successful my marketing campaigns had been for the past month. This was important, because it had been like pulling teeth to get a more data-driven process in place.
IT had to be cajoled into setting up Google Analytics.
Sales had to be bullied into keeping good account of leads and sales.
Now, with the first full month of data in hand, I was going to point to some steady growth. My pitch was confident as I showed the increase in leads and correlated it with an increase in sales. I was going to be a star.
Until someone spoke up from sales.
“We didn’t get that many leads last month. Most of my sales came from affiliates.”
All eyes turned to me. What I would say next would either raise stature or destroy my credibility.
Was it my programs, or was it my analytics that caused this disconnect?
The right answer would have been, “I personally QA’d our analytics setup. These numbers are right.”
Could you have given that answer?

In my most recent Marketing Land article Is It The Site, Or Is It The Analytics? Debugging Google Analytics, I show you how to be certain that your Google Analytics setup is working as planned.
Whether you setup your own analytics or have your tech team do it, you need to know that the data you’re using is right.

Listen to the Article, Read by the Author


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Color preferences are deeply rooted emotional responses that seem to lack any rational basis, yet the powerful influence of color rules our choices in everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to the cars we buy.

        

  • One study found that magazine readers recognize full-color ads 26% more often than black-and-white ads.
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  • 92.6% of people say the visual dimension is the #1 influencing factor affecting their purchase decision (over taste, smell, etc.).
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  • 2 out of 3 consumers will not buy a large appliance unless it comes in their favorite color.

Color has a powerful psychological influence on the human brain. Others have used color to their advantage and now you can do the same. Check out this infographic by our friends at KISSmetrics.

How Colors Affect Conversions
Source: How Colors Affect Conversions – Infographic

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The Strongest Online Persuader You’ll Ever Encounter: Yourself

The things that make us effective marketers or stand in our way often aren’t external, but internal. Being a good marketer, copywriter or Conversion Scientist means coming to terms with our own demons, limitations and neuroses.

Dr. Aaron Balick maps out how our overburdened Ego does it’s best “while being goaded on by the Id and being told off by the Superego.”

Dr. Balick knows how to help us relate to these kind of issues in his latest article.
Read Aaron Balick’s article in its entirety here.

Why The New Google Search Ads Design Is a Subtle Work of Genius

If you didn’t know, Google has redesigned their search results pages recently. The change is primarily to the portion of the page that contains “sponsored content”, or ads.

The eye-tracking images provided by the folks at EyeQuant are telling.

The pages now drive more attention to the ads, taking attention away from the free results. Ironically, it also makes the ads more evident, with a bright icon beside each.

EyeQuant calls this “a Subtle Work of Genius”. What do you think?
Read this article in its entirety here.

11 A/B Split Testing Mistakes I See Businesses Make All The Time

Peep Laja has put into one blog post most of the hard lessons we’ve learned over the years of testing here in the Conversion Lab. Peep doesn’t mince words (“There is no best color”).

Don’t let all of this scare you. It’s better to try and learn from your mistakes than to not make any mistakes at all. Test away!
Read Peep Laja’s article in its entirety here.

Are you a CRO Junkie? It Could Ruin Your Split Tests

Do you get a shot of adrenaline every time you see an uptick in conversions? We do. However, we often find our early excitement tempered when a test turns out to be inconclusive.

It can be hard to announce to a customer that you didn’t find a winner. In fact, it’s a discipline here.

Find out what you can do to keep from getting addicted to good test results.
Read Stephen Da Cambra’s article in its entirety here.
 
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