online sales conversion

Which of the following pages will get more people to download an E*Trade mobile application for their smartphone?
The answer is, I don’t know, but I have  pretty good idea which will convert better.

Version A

Version B

Landing pages often start out with lots of corporate baggage
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Matthew Roche currently of Bo.lt created page B in “about 30 seconds” from the original E*Trade landing page. He wrote in response to my announcement that I would be speaking about landing pages at the DFWSEM group.
Matt would know something about landing pages as he is the co-founder of Offermatica, now Adobe Test and Target.
Most landing pages look like Version A: complex, leaky, distracting, confusing. What does it take to make a page that is focused like Version B?
I say you have to design it backwards.
I take you through the steps to develop a backwards landing page in my new ClickZ column The Backward Landing Page.

Roy H. Williams, benefactor of the enigmatic business school The Wizard Academy has a simple formula that you should study:
Salience
“Salience” is that magical moment when your message enters your prospects’ long-term memory. It means your message will not be swept from the short-term memory that most marketing messages float in.
Relevance is simply how important your message is to a prospect’s current problems. Messages gain relevance when they are helpful, educational, titillating or entertaining.
Frequency is the number of times someone is exposed to your message.
The enemies of Relevance, then are messages exclusively about your promotions, your company or your products, or messages sent to infrequently.
The enemies of frequency are lack of repetition and invisibility. Social media messages have very short lifespans. Thus, for most people, they are invisible. The ubiquitous Leo Laporte complains that, when his posts suddenly stopped appearing on Google Buzz and Twitter, that no one noticed. He didn’t even notice for two weeks.

Email for Salience

Email is highly visible. It is the biggest social network on the planet. Most business professionals spend their day in email. It is how they managing their work.
If email is not working for you, it is probably because of low frequency. Email is a personal medium, and we all are afraid of being seen as spammers by sending too much email.
In The Instant Curated E-Newsletter That Your Prospects Will Love I describe how to automatically create a relevant, frequent email from the industry articles that you are reading every day. You are curating the content, but other talented writers are doing the work.
All you have to do is bookmark relevant articles.
Subscribe to “For Further Study” a curated e-newsletter from The Conversion Scientist.
Read the article

Levitation 3I’ve written about being the “Cheerios Guy” of your organization; that is, running around talking up what you’ve learned as you’ve tested things on your Web site. Yes, it’s can be irritating, but it is VERY necessary.
The real question is, how do you equip your CMO to be the Cheerios Guy? You can’t show him or her the charts, spreadsheets and test results. When they get button-holed by the water cooler or broad-sided in the board room, they need a little swagger. You need to tell the story that lies in the data.
You need to give them a Book of Swagger.
Rose Holston takes us through the Book of Swagger, a device invented by digital communications guru Korye Logan in The Agile Marketer and the Book of Swagger.

The aim of the “Book of Swagger” is to be simple:

  • A prologue. A short narrative that sets the stage for the story. Statistics and web analytics define a baseline from whence we came (the past) and where we are today (the present).
  • Conflict and resolution. Talk about the drama of “wins” and “revelations” as the team completes scrum after scrum.
  • The future. Your communications toolkit becomes the basis for looking to the future. This is where your “Book of Swagger” illustrates the wins and losses that feed our mid-management and C-suite folks with information that helps to set the agenda.

Read the entire article
Photo courtesy bizior.

The common wisdom among social media marketers is “put links to your social media everywhere.” The idea is that you should build as big a social media “tribe” as possible.
As it turns out, this isn’t always a good plan.
If you’re paying for traffic to your Web site – and what traffic doesn’t require some cash, blood, sweat or tears to earn – then why would you send it off to Facebook or YouTube or LinkedIn to disappear forever?
You wouldn’t. But you might be.
In my Search Engine Land article How Mark Zuckerberg Stole Your Search Traffic & What To Do About It, I show you how your social media advertisements may be costing you conversions.
I also show you how to use social media in a conversion-safe way.
Read the entire article
Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist teaches businesses of all sizes how to get more leads and sales from the traffic coming to their Web site.
Contact Brian Massey

We have a little fun with Copywriters in my newest Content Marketing Institute post, How to Find the Right Copywriter for your Landing Pages.
Pencil-pusherIf you could only hire one professional that would increase the number of people who buy or become a lead on your site, it would be a copywriter.
They can paint more detailed pictures than a photographer.
They can use more colorful language than a designer.
Communicate with humans and search engines.
If you’re going to dominate your competition online, it is because they write their copy themselves. I suggest you find a good direct response copywriter and let them do their work.
To help you get familiar with the kinds of copywriters you might meet in a dark alley, I’ve described five that I’ve run into on a regular basis.

  1. The Styrofoam Sandwich Writer

  2. The SEO Substituter

  3. The Frustrated Novelist

  4. The Soviet-era Propagandist

  5. The Persuader

Most copywriters you meet will be a combination of some of these.
Tell me about your favorite copywriter in the comments. Let us know what combination of the above he or she exhibits.
Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist teaches businesses of all sizes how to get more leads and sales from the traffic coming to their Web site.
Contact Brian Massey
 
Photo courtesy nkzs.

Ezytire landing page markup Content marketers sometimes focus on the content and forget about the marketing.
Yes, we want to inform.
Yes, we want to educate.
Yes, we want to be seen as the thought leader in our space.
But, we also want more traffic to our Web site, more leads and more sales. Don’t let your content go out without a strategy to draw readers back to your site and a landing page to get them to take action – even if that action is to get your next content offering.
In Landing Page Basics: Making Your Content Marketing Convert I show you an example of how content can drive a reader to action.
I also talk about these five important landing page strategies:

Pitch the offer, not your company
Remove distractions
Let the visitor know where they are in the process
Make forms the right length
Only ask for information you will use

Online services are making things so easy for online marketers, but they’re also creating an enormous number of blind spots. These are the services that host our webinars, sell tickets to our events, let people buy our products, manage our appointments and almost everything else we do as online marketers.

Sometimes, these services behave as if they don’t want us to know the conversion rates of their services. They are unmeasurable, opaque to analytics.

I wrote an open letter to them at Search Engine Land.

 

Dear Service Provider:

 

I expect to be able to measure you. I expect to have transparency into what my visitors are experiencing inside your systems. I pay good money to bring prospects to my site and I don’t want to send them off to a black box when they buy my products or sign up for an event.

 

It’s time for you to prioritize measurement and to give me control of the signup, subscription, or purchase process.

 

Here’s what you need to do if you want me to use your service. These features are going to appeal to the largest users, those customers that you really want because they will pay for a lot of your services.

Read the rest of the letter.

We are well into the digital publishing world. I am fortunate to have my work appear several times a month in a variety of places.
Yet, I still love to see my mug in print, I don’t know why.
So, my digital friend, I thought I would share my mention from Chief Content Officer Magazine (free subscription) and fill in a few more details on the method to my headshot madness.

The Conversion Scientist’s Social Media Avatar Tips

1. Include something unusual in the image, something representative of your personal brand.

I wear the lab coat in every shot, even if it isn’t showing much. The human mind remembers such things.

2. Control the viewer’s eyes with your eyes.

Eye-tracking studies have shown that our gaze is drawn to faces that are looking at us. In fact, we may stare at a pretty girl long enough to forget why we came to your page in the first place. Have several versions of your headshot and aim your eyes at things you want people to see: calls to action, content, headlines, etc.

3. Be unexpected.

[{ loading … }]
One of the things we want to do is engage the mind of the viewer. Things that will light up someone’s brain activity are the unexpected, off-center and the need to “fill in” an image.

4. Consider integrating action.

You can tell a story with a one-frame headshot. So, tell it. What am I doing in this shot?
I’m talking to an audience. I must be a presenter. Why, yes, I am! But, what am I holding (unexpected)?
I’m going in for the hug! That means I’m a connector, right??
Other avatar actions: Being passionate, banging a table, thinking deeply, contributing at a homeless shelter.
Our avatars don’t have to be boring, and in fact they can be quite instrumental in engaging with visitors to our Web site, Facebook profile, Twitter stream and more.
Hand-drawn avatar courtesy Kathleen McElwaine.
Headshot logo by David Holston.
Headshots by Korey Howell Photography.
Image with mic courtesy Eugene Hsu.
Contact Brian Massey

Did you know that all of the changes you’re making to your Web site are largely wasted? Really.

If you were to put just a little discipline behind your site changes, you could learn scads about what your visitors like and what makes the cash register ring online.

I address the power of Serial Testing in my Conversion Sciences column on Search Engine Land.

 

Gather close, dear friends and hear my words of warning. Gird yourself, for my tale would make any enlightened man or woman stagger back in disbelief. I do not share such news with you lightly. It is not my errand to harm or discomfort your mental or psychological well-being.

 

Resist the urge to sever the very Internet connection with which you receive my message. I shall soon relieve your stress with a simple technique that will counter the malevolence that I describe.

 

I reveal my knowledge only because you may in fact be a person possessing an enterprising mind. If this is true, I know you will see in my tale of woe and tragedy the shadow of immense opportunity.

Read my Search Engine Land Conversion Science column…

As you might expect, I work with a number of eCommerce sites. Companies that sell things online is a faaaaaast moving target, so I’m glad to have folks like Willo O’Brien to keep me up to date on best practices.

Warning: You’re being left behind by some very innovative companies.

Which companies? Check out my notes form her SXSW presentation Social Shopping: The Future of Selling Online.

Click to Enlarge
 

INFOGRAPH-Social Shopping: The Future of Selling Online
 

Click to Enlarge

Also from SXSW: 63 Great Subject Lines from the SXSW Catalog

Get more sales from the traffic you’re getting today. Sign up for a free consultation with The Conversion Scientist.

Brian