marketing math

If you ever went to the government and asked them what your fair share of taxes should be, they would first ask you how much you made last year.
And that would likely be the answer.
Likewise, a conversion optimizer would probably be the last person to ask how much to budget for conversion optimization. “How much budget do you have?”
Nonetheless, I’m going to give you the tools to add conversion optimization to your budget next year. Then, when you call us next year, you’ll be ready.

Where to Get Your CRO Budget

One key question you need to ask is, where will I get my CRO budget? I have some suggestions.

1. From IT

The basis of any conversion optimization effort is a sound analytics and measurement foundation. This consists of tools that slide under your website and are bolted in place. This is IT stuff.
Our research has shown that most businesses’ websites have some level of implementation of analytics. You don’t want to be left behind. This is a crucial behavioral database that will be invaluable as you begin to vet ideas for testing.

2. From the Things You Should be Testing Anyway

It is a golden age of marketing. We have more tools, data sources and shiny objects to drive our online businesses than any marketers have ever had. We can mobile gamify our ratings and review process using direct visitor feedback to drive personalization throughout our content funnels.
In other words, we’re overwhelmed, and the first sign of a marketing department that is overwhelmed is the decision to redesign. [pullquote]Your website probably doesn’t need a redesign. It probably needs to be optimized.[/pullquote] Put the redesign money into an optimization program and see immediate results.
There is a good way to get your head around all of the things you could be doing to your site. You could test the ideas. Instead of blindly pouring money into exit-intent popovers, live chat, or personalized recommendations, you should test them. We have seen these work and we have seen them fail.
Your conversion optimization team will know how to use data to make good decisions on where to spend your money. Budget for optimization first.

3. From Your Ad Spend

Paid search is a great way to generate qualified traffic. However, our success in search causes our fundamentals to “regress”. It becomes harder to increase traffic, and the new traffic often is less qualified, less profitable.

When you spend more, get less traffic and make less money, it's time to try optimization.

When you spend more, get less traffic and make less money, it’s time to try optimization.


[pullquote]When your traffic is flat, ad spend is rising and profit is dropping, you know you should be putting some of that into optimization.[/pullquote] This may seem like a no-brainer, but there is a period of sweat and anxious hand-wringing.
You see, conversion optimization takes time. There is a very real dip in performance. When you reduce spending on ads you reduce your traffic and your revenue. For a period of time, your revenue drops until your optimization efforts get traction.
It might look something like the graph below. This assumes a modest 5% increase in revenue per visit (RPV) each month for one year, and that 8.9% of ad spend, or $8900, is invested in optimization each month. In this example, we began with a conversion rate of 1.7%.
If you can make it through a short valley of death, borrowing from your ad spend can be very profitable.

If you can make it through a short valley of death, borrowing from your ad spend can be very profitable.


Monthly revenue dips due to the reduction in PPC traffic. Revenue returns to baseline levels in month four. Revenue is positive in month six compared to investing in PPC only.
The Return on CRO (green line) turns sharply north, even though we are still investing 8.9% of ad spend each month. This is what powers conversion optimization. You have a compounding effect working in your favor, but you have to invest on the front end.
Send me an email if you want to see all my assumptions.
It’s this four-to-six month dip that marketers and managers fear. How do you sell a drop in revenue to your boss?

4. Pony Up

The other option is to reach into your own profits and slap down some cash on your conversion optimization team.
I’m not going to sugar coat this. There are three costs you must deal with when investing in optimization.

The Components of a Conversion Optimization Budget

The Software

The first cost is the least bothersome. Conversion optimization requires a certain amount of data to succeed. [pullquote]Testing is not that hard. Deciding what to test is quite difficult.[/pullquote]
The competition in the marketplace is pretty brutal. Each year, we get more functionality from cheaper and cheaper tools. At a minimum, you’ll want a good click-tracking tool, a good session recording tool, a strong analytics database and a split-testing tool.
Depending on your traffic, these can be had for a few hundred dollars each month up to several thousand dollars each month.

The Team

None of these tools matter if you don’t have someone to pull the levers, turn the knobs and read the graphs. The main functions found on a conversion optimization team are:
A researcher to collect qualitative data.
A statistically-responsible person to collect and evaluate quantitative data.
A developer to create the changes in each test.
A designer to implement design changes.
A patient QA person to be sure nothing is broken by a test.
A project manager to keep the momentum going.
It is possible to have one super-amazing person who can do all of this. It is the death-knell of your conversion optimization program to ask someone to do all of this in addition to another job. Your PPC person is not going to be able to do all of this and their job too.
These are fairly expensive employees. Consider hiring an outside agency, like us, to get started. As of this writing, Conversion Sciences can provide these functions for less than ten-thousand dollars a month.

The Opportunity Costs

There is a cost to testing that is not seen in reports. It’s the cost of losing treatments. In any list of “good” ideas for increasing your conversion rate and revenue per visit, fully half will actually do more harm than good. We don’t know which of our ideas are “losers” until we test them. When we test, some percentage of your visitors will see these losers, be turned off, and won’t buy.
This is lost revenue. With proper management, this downside can be minimized, but it is the cost of doing business. It’s the price of admission, the overhead, the burn, that funny smell in the kitchen.
It’s hard to budget for this particular line item, but it should be part of your discussion.

Be Clear About Your Upside

If I haven’t scared you off, there is good news. We call it the upside, the green bling, statistical bignificance, and sometimes we just dance.
You should understand what your statistical bignificance is. You must know the answer to the question, “What happens if my conversion rate goes up a little?” We call this a Basic Unit of Upside.

Conversion Upside Calculator
Click for a Conversion Optimization Upside Report that does the math for you.

We offer our Conversion Optimization Upside Report to help you understand your upside. It calculates what your yearly increase in revenue would be if you only added 0.1 to your conversion rate or revenue per visit. Plug in a few numbers and you’ll see what small changes mean for your bottom line.

A Little More Motivation

For most businesses, conversion optimization is a ten-thousand-dollar a month investment or more. Many businesses are spending a whole lot more than that.
If conversion optimization is on your “maybe next year” list, consider what might happen if you give your competitors a year’s head start on you.
The business with the highest conversion rate has the lowest acquisition cost and can profitably boost bids on their paid advertising. Plus, Google favors high-converting landing pages when assigning ad placement.
With a realistic understanding of the costs of conversion optimization and a real appreciation for the potential upside, you should be able to make the case for adding it to your shopping list in 2016.
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Feature image by frankieleon via Compfight cc and adpated for this post.

If you are anything like me, you’ve made your fair share impulsive purchases online.
Unlike trekking into brick-and-mortar, I never get on the Internet with the intent of pulling out my credit card. Yet, inevitably, I’ve got two food delivery subscriptions and a blouse from the JCrew factory store shipping out tomorrow.
Are your visitors like me? How much of your business comes from impulsive behavior?  Most importantly, are you converting your impulse visitors before their craving to buy passes?
In this post, I will show you how to quantify the number of impulse buyers on your site using Google Analytics, and I will also share strategies on how to get them to convert.

The Impulsive Buyer

We define an impulsive buyer as someone who is poised to take action. These are our spontaneous buyers, more likely to be relational than transactional. They may not be impulsive in life, but are behaving in their spontaneous mode on your site right now.
What makes an impulsive buyer impulsive?

        

  • They perceive the risk of taking action as low.
  •     

  • They perceive the value of taking action as high.
  •     

  • They perceive the cost of shopping as high.
  •     

  • FOMO: Fear of missing out may drive their behavior.
  •     

  • Familiarity with your products makes a purchase decision easy.
  •     

  • Repeat buyers simply restocking will act as if they are impulsive.

For these visitors, leaving a browsing session without having pulled the financial trigger is like leaving the confessional before they’ve received their prescription of penitential prayers. It’s a complete waste of time and fundamentally misses the point of the exercise.
For these buyers, you should dedicate a portion of your site to mitigating risk, building value, pointing the way to purchase, creating scarcity, and spelling out the facts.
[pullquote]Impulse buyers aren’t the crazed shoppers that can be found assaulting each other in the Walmart on Black Friday.[/pullquote] These buyers may be thoughtful and methodical in their approach. However, they will buy from someone today, unless no alternatives present themselves.
If they don’t buy from you now, they will most likely not return.

Finding Impulse Buyers in the Data

Impulse buyers don’t announce themselves upon arrival at your website, but they leave footprints in your digital sand. To start, we’re looking for those one-hit wonders, the drive-by shoppers. Google Analytics tracks this behavior for us with the “Time to Purchase” report.

Where to find time to purchase in Google Analytics

Where to find time to purchase in Google Analytics


Impluse buyers are, by definition, those visitors who purchase within their first visit. Thus, we want to know which transactions are completed on our site within a single session.
The number of sessions it takes to convert

The number of sessions it takes to convert


For an ecommerce website, a single-session percentage of more than 80% indicates that quick buying behavior is contributing to your overall conversion rate. You’re probably serving your impulse buyers well.
If single-session conversions make up less than 60% of your total transactions, one of two things is happening.

        

  1. You are selling something that methodical customers are going to purchase, such as appliances or a college education.

OR

        

  1. You are not satisfying the impulse-buyers’ craving before it passes.

Google Analytics makes it easy to track impulse buyers on your site. Create an advanced segment for those visitors who purchase in one session.

When you look at your Google Analytics reports through the lens of this segment you will see how impulse buyers are impacting your business.

Impulse Buyers (blue line) are a significant portion of all revenue (orange line) for this ecommerce business.

Impulse Buyers (blue line) are a significant portion of all revenue (orange line) for this ecommerce business.


Use this segment to answer other questions as well. In the graph below, it is clear how an email promotion to existing buyers affects the impulse buyer segment.
Email campaigns appeal to return and repeat buyers and less so to first-time impulse buyers

Email campaigns appeal to return and repeat buyers (orange line) and less so to first-time impulse buyers (blue line).


How did these visitors get to your site? Where did they land? Did they use site search or navigation to get to a product page? What items did these quick buyers purchase?
Search is clearly not important to most impulse buyers for this site.

Sessions with Searches: Search is clearly not important to most impulse buyers for this site.


Answering these questions will help to develop a map of impulse behavior on your site.
With this blueprint, you’ll be able to pinpoint the areas of your site that attract impulse buyers and begin to test conversion optimization efforts that focus on them.
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Reducing Risk

When customers are poised to buy, they do a risk assessment. Impulse buyers love low-risk transactions. This is the job of what we call risk reversal tactics.
A risk reversal tactic is anything that takes the risk out of a transaction. Risk reversal comes in many forms.

        

  • Money-back guarantees
  •     

  • Warranties
  •     

  • Trust symbols, such as the BBB logo
  •     

  • Ratings and reviews
  •     

  • Free shipping offers
  •     

  • Low-price guaratees

Often sites signal that they can’t be trusted without even realizing it. They hide their return policies, or make them so complex that they become meaningless. They don’t display free shipping offers in a prominent place.
Impulse buyers have a quiet voice in their head asking “Is this a good idea?”.  What can you do to make sure the answer to that question is always “Yes”?

Case Study: JetPens

The vaguest, most theoretical thing you should be doing is making people feel good about giving you their personal information.  Trust symbols must be obvious but subtle enough to avoid that “Trust me!  Trust me!  Trust me!” vibe that we get from used car salesmen, so incorporate them as naturally as possible.
Take Jetpens.com, an online store selling Japanese pens and stationery.

JetPens naturally decreases risk reversal with the trust symbols on their checkout screen.

JetPens naturally decreases risk reversal with the trust symbols on their checkout screen.


This store is somewhat specialized, so it doesn’t have the same degree of trusted name recognition as an office supplies store like Staples or Office Depot.  One way it resolves the issue is having the Google Trusted Store symbol in the lower right corner.  It sticks to every page, not just the checkout screen.
This is called “borrowing trust.” Sites can borrow trust from current clients, credit card companies, and certification organizations like Google and Buyer Safe.

Increasing Order Size

While you may see free shipping as a pricing issue, it really acts to reduce risk. It reduces anxiety about spending money on a website. It is can also increase the average order of impulse buyers.
JetPens offers free shipping for orders over $25, and they make it really easy for you to hit that mark.

You know exactly how much you need to spend to get free shipping.

You know exactly how much you need to spend to get free shipping.


There’s no need for their impulse buyers to do any math.
In lieu of free shipping, it pays for your site to be up-front about what shipping will cost. This takes the surprise out of the transaction, reducing cart abandonment.
JetPens uses a Calculate Shipping button for just this purpose.
You don't even have to leave the checkout page to fill your cart to the $25 mark.

You don’t even have to leave the checkout page to fill your cart to hit the $25 mark.


Getting to the $25 mark that signals free shipping is pretty good motivation for most people to spend more money, but once someone is in the checkout screen, do you really want them to leave it?  By placing a few items from account holders’ wish list at the bottom of the page, JetPens makes it easy for impulse buyers to double-down. Customers see how much more they need to spend and a great suggestion for how to get there.
If the visitor hasn’t added anything to their wish list, why not add a few inexpensive suggestions of your own?

Case Study: ModCloth

With online retail, shipping information needs to be easy to find.  Free shipping isn’t the only reason people convert: they’ll also be more likely to buy if they think it will be easy to return what they bought.  Someone doing lots of research on a product may be willing to hunt around for money-back guarantees, but impulse buyers need trust symbols to be much more in-their-face.
ModCloth, an online women’s clothing store, uses the top of its website to embed lots of different trust symbols.

The top of ModCloth's website is covers lots of trust-building bases.

The top of ModCloth’s website covers lots of trust-building bases.


Customer care and shipping information is at the top of every page, and when you visit the page on returns and exchanges, it’s also pretty easy to understand.
ModCloth's return policy

ModCloth’s return policy


Someone in a hurry to spend money may not make it all the way to this page, but she’ll know it’s there, and she’ll know that exchanges are free without even clicking.  Why wouldn’t she spend her money if it’s that easy to get rid of something that didn’t work out?

Introducing Scarcity

Scarcity is a term that includes limitied supplies, limited-time engagements, exclusivity and qualifications to buy. It imparts a sense of urgency to a shopping session, and impulse buyers are just looking for excuses to act. Give your impulse buyers excuses to act by making it clear that she will be missing out if she doesn’t buy right now.  Remember, impulse buyers see the shopping process as expensive and don’t want to waste their time.

Dwindling stock makes this item much more attractive.

Dwindling stock makes this item much more attractive.


Only one Window Shopping Chic Dress left?!  What am I going to wear when I go window shopping this weekend if that dress doesn’t end up in my closet!
Many impulse buyers like feeling like they’re part of an exclusive group. It feeds their egos and justifies the elitist tone they use when they brag about how the rest of us weren’t able to wear the right window shopping dress.

Increasing the Perceived Value of an Impulse Purchase

Free gifts and bonuses add value to a perceived purchase. The gift doesn’t have to be an extraordinary offer. It provides another excuse to act, often increasing urgency.
SheIn hits that impulse buying nail on the head not once, but twice.  First, a popover tells you that there’s an opportunity for a free gift.

Free gift offer from SheIn

Free gift offer from SheIn


But here’s the fun part.  You have to start a wheel for a free gift.  So it’s a game!
Shoppers play a game to get a free gift.

Shoppers play a game to get a free gift.


This strategy works for pretty much any kind of business, not just retail.  SheIn asks you to join a mailing list order to have the chance at spinning the wheel to get a free gift, so it’s a lead-generating strategy.

The Gift of Game

Gamification is much beloved by millennials, a group renowned for their impulsive buying behavior.  Quizzes and games make even the most mundane tasks so much more interesting.  Let’s say I’m looking for new running shoes, so I search “What kind of shoes should I buy?”
One result is from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.  The name alone seems pretty trustworthy. What do they have to say about what shoes I should buy?

Running shoe buying guide

Running shoe buying guide


Yikes. This isn’t even half of the article! Luckily, I have another option to help me find the answer to my question.
Runner's World shoe quiz

Runner’s World shoe quiz


Runner’s World magazine makes things so much easier!  First I take a short quiz, then it spits out a shoe suggestion for me.
Running shoe suggestion

Running shoe suggestion


Runner’s World doesn’t want to sell me a shoe, but if I were on a retail site selling running shoes, how awesome would it be to be able to click “Add to Cart” from this page?

Go Mobile or Go Home

This weekend I had a movie night with some friends at my house because we urgently needed to watch the first Magic Mike movie.  We didn’t want to miss any major plot points when we watched the soon-to-be-released sequel.
I rented the movie on my phone using the Google Play Movies & TV app.  I tapped the purchase button, and openly lamented to my friends how easy it was to throw my money away.  I mean disgustingly easy.  Three taps and four bucks of my hard-earned money was gone, replaced by the privilege of having two days of access to a movie I hope my mom never finds out I watched.

Magic Mike to rent

First tap


Renting options

2nd tap…and 3rd tap my money is gone


Voila, I made a purchase I kind-of-but-not-really regret.  Your website could have that purchase!
[pullquote]On mobile, fewer people are doing research.  They’re either buying, or they’re leaving.[/pullquote]  I wanted that Magic Mike movie, and I wanted it right then.  More obstacles would have meant using a different app or just watching a different movie I already own.
Buying something from you should be as easy as renting a movie on my phone.
Park the things you know about your desktop users. Think about the needs of your mobile visitors as if they were a different animal. They’re not unicorns or dragons or anything, but you wouldn’t put a leash on a cat. They just won’t stand for it.
As an example, Victoria’s Secret realized that promo codes are to mobile users what pull cords are to blow dryers. They’re not the right tool for the job.
Victorias secret doesn't ask mobile visitors to enter a promo code.

Victoria’s Secret doesn’t ask mobile visitors to enter a promo code.

Impulse Abandoners

Impulse buyers become impulse abandoners when your site doesn’t serve their need to take action. The moment they perceive that a transaction is low value, that the effort is too high, that a purchase is risky or that there is no urgency to take action, they become less impulsive.
It is not manipulative to feed their need for speed. Giving impulse buyers the rationale to act is exactly what they want from you. Why deny them?
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Feature image licensed under Creative Commons and adapted for this post.

Every Marine goes through two weeks of basic marksmanship training. Before they fire a single live round, they spend an entire week sitting in the grass, aiming at a white drum and squeezing the trigger until they hear the metallic “click” of the firing pin.
During this week of “dry fire,” [pullquote]Marines re-learn how to breathe, sit, stand, kneel and squeeze – basics that each of us learned as infants.[/pullquote] But to be a great marksman, you have to do them with more focus and intention. Mastering fundamentals and having the discipline and mindset to apply the techniques is what leads to excellence.
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a website and had disappointing results? Did it fail to “accomplish its mission?” You probably had the right technology, the right server and a beautiful design.
But as the Marine Corps recognizes, what matters most is not the best rifle, but the right rifleman. Accomplishing your mission isn’t about having the prettiest website in the world, but about having a disciplined conversion optimizer with the right mindset applying proven techniques that lead to excellence.
The Marines are notorious for training excellent marksmen. They taught me how to shoot when I was 18. Almost 25 years later, I picked up an AR-15 and placed every round in the bulls-eye after my initial calibration shots. The discipline, techniques and mindset overcame 25 years of dormancy. Who is driving your website design? Do they have the discipline, techniques and mindset to deliver targeted, accurate changes? Or are they firing randomly into the wind like a Hollywood movie?

Marksmanship Training for Marine Recruits

Marksmanship Training for Marine Recruits

Proper Fundamentals Change Outcomes

“Although equipped with the best rifle in the world, a unit with poorly trained riflemen cannot be depended upon to accomplish its mission. . . On the other hand, a well trained rifleman has confidence and can usually deliver accurate fire under the most adverse battle conditions. It is the latter who can best contribute to mission accomplishment.” – U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship Manual
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Patience Before You Fire

One of the challenges that faces online marketers is patience. As we work with our clients throughout a discovery process, their eyes light up as new revelations come into focus. Once a company has decided they want to invest in conversion optimization, they want to change everything and change it instantly.
We understand that excitement. But this is where you want to spend more time aiming than shooting. Isn’t that a paradox? In preparing Marines for a fast and chaotic environment, they continually teach the virtue of slow, well-aimed shots. [pullquote]The slow, well-aimed shot is essential both to conserve resources and to be effective.[/pullquote] Our focus is on having the discipline that leads to mission accomplishment.

Managing Resources

The value of slow, well-aimed shots becomes clearer when you understand the math behind the situation. The M16 has an effective firing rate of 850-1000 rounds per minute. If you are firing rapidly (Hollywood style), you need to carry around 30 pounds of ammunition for every minute of rapid fire. As you can see, that load of ammunition quickly overburdens the rifleman trying to carry it, especially considering that most of those rounds don’t hit their intended targets.
The same is true for your businesses. Rapid firing changes to a website consumes enormous resources. With a majority of resources diverted to these scattershot changes, the essential business mission is in jeopardy. A seasoned conversion optimizer won’t rush a bunch of changes, but instead will take slow, well-aimed shots to maximize the impact.

Using Data to Improve Accuracy

A seasoned conversion optimizer will take the time to understand your customers, dig through your analytics, study user behavior and formulate the best strategy to hit your targets.
For example, once we form an initial hypothesis, we start working on a “B” version of the web page to test against the “A” version. Before sending the page live, we perform additional user testing on a number of metrics. One test we run, the “5-second test,” helps measure the clarity of a page among other things. More than once, we have caught issues that would have been detrimental and were able to address them before sending the page live.
All of these steps take time. But it makes sense to be patient if you want to see meaningful, revenue-generating changes on your website. Look for conversion optimizers who work like Marine rifle experts and take the slow, well-aimed shots. These are the people who will help you accomplish your mission.

About the Author

Craig Andrews is the Principal Ally and founder of internet marketing agency allies4me. He has over 25 years of experience in search engine optimization, internet marketing software, and social media strategies.
You can connect with Craig Andrews on Google+ and LinkedIn.  You can find allies4me on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Can Google Analytics help those of us that aren’t “mathy”?

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media thinks so, and gave us a great primer in his Ascend Summit presentation Advanced Blogging and Multichannel Analytics.
Fortunately, I was there taking notes for all of my readers. Enjoy my “instagraphic” infographic of his very helpful presentation.
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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.

This number — The Basic Unit of Upside, or BUU — offers simple insight into the effect of website optimization on your business.

Conversion-Scientist-Podcast-Logo-1400x1400


My new Marketing land article answers some burning questions for your business. If these questions aren’t burning in your mind, then why not?

Click for a Conversion Rate Upside Report that does the math for you.

  • Do I have enough traffic and conversions to do testing
  • What is a good conversion rate?
  • How do I calculate BUU for a long sales-cycle business?
  • How do I factor in profit?
  • How much should I spend to get more revenue from my existing traffic?

The ultimate question is this: How will small changes in conversion rate affect my yearly revenue? This is the promise of understanding your BUU.


21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

FREE: Click to Download

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

 
George Washington. Abraham Lincoln. Ulysses S. Grant. Alexander Hamilton. Benjamin Franklin. Andrew Jackson.
We know their names. We know what they have done for the United States of America. Some were great Presidents who led the United States through epic battles, others broke through the barriers of segregation. One was the very first US Secretary of the Treasury. One even invented swim fins, the lightning rod, musical instruments, and bifocals; and that is just barely scratching the surface.
BUT did you know that ALL of them can help us with our money marketing math?
Which of these things are you looking at every month (or more often):

        

  • Are you just getting some George Washington discipline or are you asking segmenting questions that bring the Benjamins?
  •     

  • Have you calculated your conversion rate and determined its value?
  •     

  • Have you looked at the bad news of abandonment rate?
  •     

  • Are you looking at your Revenue Per Visit (RPV) and what it can do for you?

Your success depends on making high-dollar  decisions.  Benjamin Franklin also invented the concept of “paying it forward” and the President’s (and others) are here to do just that. Take a look at this infograph and ask yourself where you are in your Math Marketing Journey?
President's Money Marketing Math Infograph

For more information, please read President’s Day Marketing Money Math.

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Have you tested theories and hypotheses?

Do you have tangible and remarkable results?

Are you ready to share these with educated and enthusiastic readers? Readers who are seeking out articles that will benefit them, their business, and help them shine in their field.

Here at Conversion Sciences, we are big fans of statistics and test results. However, we are not naive enough to accept that is all that people are interested in. Our readers comprehend that reason and mathematics are not enough to appreciate the science behind website optimization, landing page optimization, internet marketing, testing, SEO, and much more. They need relative, intangible pictures to grasp new and reputable concepts – not just charts, statistics, numbers, and data. They want to grasp it all.

Bottom line – our readers are smart cookies. They want to know who, why, how, and what.

This is where you come in.

When trying to understand unfamiliar ideas, the mind thinks of them in figurative terms. This not only helps to explore new realms for theories, but also can change their appreciation and comprehension of the topic.

An added bonus: contributing to our blog will benefit you and your company in numerous ways.
Here are just a few:

  • Improve Search Engine and Visibility Rank
  • Build High Quality Backlinks
  • Improve your ROI and Sales Revenue
  • Increase Exposure and Brand Awareness
  • Generate Targeted Traffic
  • Get More Email Subscribers

You have a story to tell, expertise to share, and a point of view – we have the platform and the audience.
So, throw on your lab coat, warm up your Bunsen Burners, and get down to the nitty-gritty. For requirements and more information contact me directly at shelly@conversionsciences.com.

26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20

If there was one thing that defeats your efforts to market with data, it would be lack of resources. Marketing departments are notoriously under-staffed for the workload delegated by executives. It can become overwhelming to imagine doing tests when you’re just trying to get communications out the door.In the interest of helping you find more time and happiness in your work, I offer this excellent list of 26 “time hacks.”
Please. Do some split testing with the extra time you find. Your visitors will thank you.

 

3 Ways To Increase Conversion If Your Prices Are Not The Cheapest On The Market — Conversion Team

@conversion_team It’s easy to cut prices.It’s hard to build up the value of what you offer in words and images. If you can occupy the high-price category in your niche, life gets much easier.So, I was pleased to find this article which makes a bold statement: “Avoid Best Practice Conversion Rate Optimization”
What?
While your competitors are testing button color, you can be comparing yourself to the competition, being open about your profits, and doing the math for your visitors.
Best practices only get you so far. Here are some alternatives for online success.
Want to get Brian’s For Further Study posts delivered right to your inbox? Click HERE to sign up.

Google Analytics Tips: 10 Data Analysis Strategies That Pay Off Big!

Jan 02, 2013 11:43 pm

Comments:

@Avinash Kaushik has a unique ability to make analytics human. I don’t share many analytics posts with you, as I don’t want to scare you off. But I fear I may be underestimating you.

Here are ten very good ways to get to know your visitors through Google Analytics. I believe you will be energized and excited if you open these reports in your own Google Analytics account.
This is a great way to start appreciating your visitors in ways that will make your site more successful.

by: Brian Massey

Karon Thackston: Phrasing Discount Offers for Maximum Results by Getentrepreneurial.com

Dec 29, 2012 01:47 pm

Comments:

How you phrase a discount is a powerful way to increase conversions. Some visitors do not like to do math, or will do it wrong. Therefore, offering 20% off is less effective than save $18. However, high discounts (50%, 90%) may draw buyers more powerfully than the dollar value.

You have to find out for yourself.
Karon offers a nice list of alternatives and some links to research for your enjoyment.

by: Brian Massey

The Top 5 Website UX Trends of 2012 | UX Magazine

Dec 29, 2012 01:40 pm

Comments:
While good UX (User eXperience) does not always translate into higher conversion rates or revenue per visit (RPV), these trends point to excellent hypotheses for what MIGHT increase the performance of your site.

  1. Single Page Sites: Simplicity is often a great way to increase conversion rates
  2. Infinite scrolling: Consider this for category pages. I haven’t tested this yet.
  3. Persistent top nav: I am very curious to see if this increases CR and RPV. Let me know if you’ve tested it.
  4. Web 2.0 Aesthetics: I hope this includes the rotating banners at the top of so many sites.
  5. Typography Returns: Your message is the most important part of your conversion optimization plan. Typography can help… or hurt

by: Brian Massey