personalization

In a previous article, we looked at five examples of companies that had success using online quizzes. We’ve seen the end result to each of these success stories and the marketing strategies they incorporated along with their quizzes, but what about the journey they took to get there?
Without the proper guide, creating an effective quiz like those highlighted in the first article can seem intimidating.
Following is a step-by-step guide that will walk you through the creative process behind quizzes with the help of a case study.
Throughout this article, we’ll examine The Elephant Pants and their quiz “Which Pair of Elephant Pants Are You?” We’ll give you some pointers on how to distribute a quiz and how to use marketing automation follow-ups to convert leads into paying customers.
Let’s get right to it.

Part I: How To Create A Quiz To Drive Online Sales

In the early stages of their company’s lifespan, The Elephant Pants brand relied on the fundraising support of a Kickstarter campaign. They created a quiz titled “Which Pair of Elephant Pants Are You?” with personalized results that recommended a specific kind of product to their customers, in this case, a particular kind of Elephant Pants.
The Elephant Pants included a link to their Kickstarter campaign to encourage customers to fund their project, additionally opting them in for updates and any new developments on the brand. By the end of their campaign, The Elephant Pants’ quiz helped them raise over $8,500 which was enough for a successful launch.

The Elephant Pants' quiz helped bring in the support of enough backers to launch their company

The Elephant Pants’ quiz helped bring in the support of enough backers to launch their company


Here’s what it takes to create a similar quiz that can help any online retailer make the most out of social media to help drive their e-commerce sales:

The Idea Online Quiz Title

Most pieces of interactive content start off as an idea, correct? The same applies for the idea behind your quiz. In The Elephant Pants’ case, their quiz revolves around recommending the perfect pair of Elephant Pants for everyone.
The Elephant Pants modeled their questions on relatable places, objects and activities to get a sense of your style, attributing it to the most suitable pair of pants for you.

This quiz question is full of relatable images that are associated with different personalities

This quiz question is full of relatable images that are associated with different personalities


So when it comes to your quiz, make it about something your brand is known for. Once you’ve got that sorted out, here are some ideas for the types of quiz you can go for:

        

  1. Product Recommendation Quiz -This type of quiz revolves around a single product recommendation based on the answers a quiz-taker gave. It allows you to suggest a single product tailored specifically to an individual based on their personal preferences. This is perfect if you want to sell a single type of product. The Elephant Pants used this kind of a quiz to recommend a particular kind of Elephant Pants to each and every person that took their quiz.
    The Elephant Pants created a Product Recommendation Quiz

    The Elephant Pants created a Product Recommendation Quiz

  2.     

  3. Style Personality Quiz – This kind of a quiz is centered around the idea of categorizing people into a certain style personality. This allows you to recommend multiple items that fit a quiz-taker’s description of what their style personality is based on the questions they answered in your quiz.

Craft Your Online Quiz Questions

We’ve reached the body of your online quiz. This is where you want to establish a connection with your customer base through a one-on-one medium. Communicate with them through your quiz, but keep these things in mind when creating your questions:

        

  • Inject Personality Into Your Quiz – Put a part of you into the quiz, have it become a representation of you and your brand. Don’t be afraid to speak to your quiz-taker as if you were talking to them in person. Let the questions become as personal as possible.
  •     

  • Utilize Images To Your Advantage – If you haven’t noticed already, a lot of the more popular quizzes use images. Make sure that you do too. Pictures keeps things fun and relevant; and they make the quiz feel more like a game show if anything. The Elephant Pants used fun and familiar images to let their quiz-takers get comfortable which helps in encouraging opt-ins later on.
    This question relies solely on images

    This question relies solely on images

  •     

  • Make Sure To Keep Things Short And Simple – Using between 6 to 10 questions is the sweet spot when it comes to the length of your quiz. People’s attention spans are short, so let’s keep our quiz the same way. The Elephant Pants excelled in this category by keeping their quiz at 5 questions.
    This quiz is short - only five questions long - and notes where you are in the quiz at the bottom of the page.

    This quiz is short – only five questions long – and notes where you are in the quiz at the bottom of the page.

Add Lead Capture To Your Online Quiz

Creating a lead capture form and placing it right before the online quiz results builds an email list of subscribers to target by email.
The Elephant Pants were more focused on driving their fundraiser, but most businesses will employ a lead capture form. Here are some things to take note of when creating your own lead capture:

        

  • Promise Value To Your Customers – Incentivize your lead capture to give your audience more than just their results. Throw in things like a free contest giveaway entry, a free resource like an e-book or e-magazine, coupons/discounts, or even just personalized advice.
  •     

  • Make Sure You’re Honest With Your Marketing Strategy – Be honest about your marketing strategy by telling your audience exactly what they’re opting in for. If you’re going to send infrequent emails to your customers, make sure they know about it.
  •     

  • Only Ask For What’s Needed – When it comes to the information that you request via your lead capture, only ask for information that you will actually use. For example, don’t ask for a phone number if you’re not going to call it.

Create Share-Worthy Results For Your Quiz

As important as the questions and the lead capture form are, the results to your quiz have an equally large impact on your audience. This is the part of your quiz that gets shared on social media, so you want to make sure it’s worth sharing and appealing enough to encourage others to take your quiz.
Here are some pointers to help you out with that:

        

  • Come Up With Positive, Truthful Results – Positive results means positive emotions, which in turn generate shares. Compliment your quiz-takers with their results, but be truthful about it.
  •     

  • Use Attention Grabbing Images For Your Results – When people post their results on social media, the results are usually accompanied with an image. Include relevant images with your results to attract more people. In The Elephant Pants’ results, they use an image of the perfect pair of pants for you.
    A flattering quiz result increases interest in buying this pair of pants and the likelihood of the result being shared

    A flattering quiz result increases interest in buying this pair of pants and the likelihood of the result being shared

  •     

  • Lead Your Quiz-Takers To Something More – Your interaction with your audience shouldn’t end at the result screen to your quiz, it shouldn’t be as long as a paragraph either. Keep your results down to 3-5 sentences and include a personalized link to a specific product or a group of products. The Elephant Pants originally included a link to their Kickstarter to help fund the project, but after launching, their results now include a direct link to the pants that you got.
    Your quiz result takes you to a product page like this one

    Your quiz result takes you to a product page like this one

Part II: How To Distribute Your Quiz On Social Media

After creating your quiz, you’re not just going to let it sit there and wait for people to take it. You have to take action, and by action, I mean distributing your quiz across social media for it to be taken and shared.
Here are some good practices to follow when sharing your quiz:

Allow Your Results To Be Shared On Facebook And Twitter

        

  1. Use a captivating image to represent your quiz.
  2.     

  3. Come up with an attention-grabbing headline.
  4.     

  5. Share both the image and the caption with a shortened link to track results.

Use Paid Advertising To Promote Your Quizzes

Promoting your quiz on Facebook is fairly lengthy process, so we’ll cut it right down to its basics so that you can get on with the promotion of your quiz as quickly as possible.

        

  • Selecting Your Target Audience – You can select your target audience via location, demographics, interests, behaviors and connections. Each category can be narrowed down even further. For example, if you chose location as your way of targeting, it can be broken down to country, state/province, city and zip code depending on how close you want your audience to be.
  •     

  • Create A Custom Audience – Facebook allows you to create a custom audience based on a pre-existing list that you’ve uploaded. Facebook can generate a custom audience similar to your current customer base.

Part III: How To Utilize Marketing Automation To Follow Up And Drive Revenue

Picking up from where left off with your lead capture, once you’ve obtained some leads, your job is to convert them into paying customers. You can warm these leads up by keeping them interested through a series of marketing automation emails. Warm your leads up by keeping them interested with a series of marketing automation emails.
Here’s a four-step follow-up sequence that you can use:

        

  1. Thank Your Audience For Taking Your Online Quiz – The first step you need to take is to thank your audience for taking your quiz. It reminds them that they opted-in in the first place, and it also asserts your brand. Skipping this step is the difference between someone being reminded of who you are, versus someone that regards your email as a form of spam. Don’t forget this step!
  2.     

  3. Recommend Other Possible Outcomes for Your Quiz – After a couple of days, send your audience a list of other possible results they could have gotten through your quiz. It keeps the audience engaged and interested, and may prompt several retakes of the quiz as well. It’s a natural but relevant transition from your original “thank you” email to sending out other content.
  4.     

  5. Share Some Customer Case Studies Or Testimonials – After about a week, send another email that showcases customer case studies or testimonials. This helps to build up trust with your potential customers, especially if you target them based on the result they got.
  6.     

  7. Close The Sale – The final step. After two weeks, it’s time to finally convert your leads into customers. Use incentives like coupons/discounts or a webinar signup to close the deal. Give your audience a reason to buy into your brand.

Recap And Takeaway

And that’s it! The last time we met, we went over five different brands that implemented their own strategies in conjunction with quizzes to personalize the online retail experience. This time, we provided you with a guide on how to create your own quiz.
We broke down the quiz creating process from the idea formulation to title choices, question crafting to lead capture forms, and finally how to create shareable results. After getting the basics of a quiz down, we highlight several ways to promote your quiz through social media. Lastly, we went over marketing automation follow-up to nurture your leads and convert them into customers.
Hopefully you can walk away with quite a bit from today’s article. Creating a quiz isn’t as complex as you think it might be, but successfully utilizing one and promoting it is a different story. This guide gives you a solid foundation, so take advantage of it and use it for your brand’s success.

About the Author

JP Misenas headshotJP Misenas is the content marketing director and audio/visual technician/engineer of Interact, a place for creating entertaining and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about innovative ways to connect with customers and to build professional long-lasting relationships with them.

Online Sales have a growth rate that’s 10 times more than their brick and mortar counterparts. This in turn encourages retailers to do everything they can to optimize their selling capabilities. With an emphasis on driving e-commerce sales, finding new and innovative ways to spur online sales requires an effective strategy.
If BuzzFeed hasn’t made it apparent already, quizzes have really started to re-emerge over the last couple of years, driving a ton of social traffic and interaction. Using interactive content like quizzes can to attract and engage audiences, generate leads, and increase e-commerce sales.
Here are five examples of successful online quizzes, all built by a quiz building app by Interact.

How Z Gallerie Personalized Their Site to Bring Tons of Leads Per Day

z gallerie style personality
Z Gallerie is a company that offers customers creative furniture and household products from all around the world. They cater to both professional and amateur interior designers alike, with 57 physical stores across the United States and a relatively strong online presence. Z Gallerie created the quiz “What is your Z Gallerie Style Personality?”  to generate leads and to personalize their product line.
Z Gallerie’s strategy is to provide a personalized experience for every potential and current customer. This kind of an approach is heavily present in their personality quiz. After six visual questions, Z Gallerie collects our contact information through a lead capture form. Then they follow up in a personal way through marketing automation.
 

Not all questions have to look like a survey.

Not all questions have to look like a survey.


After completing the lead capture form, Z Gallerie’s quiz delivers your “Style Personality” with a link to learn more about it. Clicking the link directs you to a personalized page with product suggestions based intensively on the answers you chose on the quiz.
The quiz acts to build the Z Gallerie list.

The quiz acts to build the Z Gallerie list.


A personalized approach not only keeps customers engaged, it also allows your brand to recommend products tailored specifically to an individual’s personal preferences based on your quiz. This lets your brand to create a connection with your customers on a level that would convert them into repeat buyers.

With the help of their personality quiz, Z Gallerie generates significantly increased lead acquisition.
Here’s how you can use this strategy for your brand: Create a quiz with personalized results for each individual customer so that you can offer product suggestions specific to that person. This can be done by either recommending one specific product or by assigning people a “personality” that relates to a group of products. Make sure you follow up with marketing automation to keep your customers coming back for more down the road.

Z Gallerie uses landing pages for each of the "Style Personalities" uncovered by their quiz.

Z Gallerie uses landing pages for each of the “Style Personalities” uncovered by their quiz.

How Birchbox Used A Personality Quiz to Differentiate Between Products

birchbox quiz
Birchbox specializes in monthly deliveries of personalized samples with original content and an exciting e-commerce shop. Similar to Z Gallerie’s reason for creating their quiz, Birchbox created the quiz, “Find Your Face Mask Soul Mate in One Minute” to give personalized suggestions on which facemask to purchase.
Where Birchbox’s strategy differs from Z Galleries lies in their execution. While Birchbox followed the same formula of creating a quiz that recommends products based on personalities, they mainly used it to differentiate similar products, most of which were different variations of facemasks.

BirchBox uses the quiz to offer a specific product, with no lead generation.

BirchBox uses the quiz to offer a specific product, with no lead generation.


Birchbox didn’t use their quiz to generate leads, but instead used it to place an emphasis on the perfect face mask for their customers. The quiz established a very personal connection with their customers by offering products tailored specifically to them. Personalized experiences such as these help grow the relationship between customers and retailers.
Here’s how you can apply this method: Create a personality quiz with results based on your customer’s personal tastes. From there, you can recommend the single most suitable product which is awesome because personalized recommendations convert at 5.5 times better than general ones. Who would’ve known?

How BioLite Capitalized on Trends to Suggest Products Via Online Quizzes

BioLite power personality
BioLite develops and manufactures advanced energy products that make cooking with wood as clean, safe and easy as modern fuels while also providing electricity to charge cell phones and LED lights off-grid. Essentially, efficient low-energy-required products that you can use or recharge. BioLite created the quiz “What would you do with 10 watts?” to generate leads and to raise awareness on how ready people can be when the power goes out.

This lead generation form is optional.

This lead generation form is optional.


BioLite’s strategy was incredibly simple. Taking into account the fact that BioLite relies on selling their 10 watt-only rechargeable products, they created a quiz in an effort to raise awareness on power outage readiness. After taking their quiz and getting your results, no matter how prepared you may be, BioLite can still recommend products that may be useful in similar situations.
BioLite offers a specific product based on the answers entered into the quiz.

BioLite offers a specific product based on the answers entered into the quiz.


Like most quizzes with a lead capture form, BioLite asked quiz-takers if they would like to submit their contact information to receive updates on environmental friendly products. The form brought in 4,852 leads.
Here’s what you can do to emulate this strategy: Create a quiz that makes people take into account various situations that questions how prepared they really are. This will encourage them to purchase your products in order to be better suited for such situations.

How The Elephant Pants Kickstarted Themselves Into Success Through Quizzes

which pair of elephant pants are you
Before The Elephant Pants – a clothing company supporting the African Wildlife Foundation – came to be as successful as they are today, their humble beginnings clung onto the support they received from a Kickstarter campaign. By creating the quiz “Which Pair of Elephant Pants Are You?” and linking it to their Kickstarter, they were able to generate enough leads to fund their launch.
Like the previous examples that we’ve seen so far, The Elephant Pants also used their quiz to distribute personalized results that recommended a specific kind of product to customers, in this case, a particular kind of Elephant Pants.
The Elephant Pants made sure to add a link at the end of their quiz in the results screen to help fund their Kickstarter. It also opted-in prospective customers to keep them interested and up-to-date with any new developments.
Low and behold, The Elephant Pants Kickstarter was a success, and through quizzes, helped raise over $8,500 which was enough to help the startup launch into a strong business today.
Here’s how to deploy this method yourself: Like several of the examples we’ve looked at prior to this one, create a quiz that recommends possible products that would encourage customers to fund your business so that you can have a lucrative launch. It also lets you develop a strong customer base from the start.

How Aaron Brothers (Michael’s) Artistically Uses Quizzes to Generate Leads

aaron brothers color quiz
Aaron Brothers (Michael’s) takes pride in their merchandise by offering custom framing, art supplies and picture frames. Aaron Brothers also brings the latest fashion designs in framing and home decor. With their artistic sense of style, they created the quiz “What’s Your Color?” for the sole purpose of lead generation.
With an emphasis on art, Aaron Brothers created a longer quiz to determine someone’s color. It was an entertaining piece of shareable content whose sole purpose is to generate leads for the brand. Personality quizzes that categorize quiz-takers into personalities are highly favored on social media, so they get shares on a frequent rotation.
The quiz ended up generating 515 leads and has been Aaron Brothers’ most successful part of their recent color-centered marketing campaign.
Here’s how you can draw out the same tactic: You might be tired of seeing this now, but this quiz is pretty much an exact replica of the quizzes that are so popular all over the internet. That’s the strategy. [pullquote]Reproduce the idea of a popular quiz and use it as a means of generating leads.[/pullquote]

Let’s Recap And See What We’ve Learned

As retailers begin to take note of the wild growth of online sales, they’re beginning to set their eyes on the most effective and innovative ways to join the bandwagon. So what’s stopping us from figuring out the best possible way of driving e-commerce sales?
You’ve seen how popular quizzes are; how they’ve swept the nation’s social media feeds with simple yet entertaining micro-interactions with shareable results. They aren’t just a form of enjoyment, they’re a super secret marketing mega weapon!
Once you’ve set your scope on your target audience, you can use quizzes in a personalized manner as a way of recommending individually-tailored products to customers. Using quizzes to deliver personalized results can help grow a customer base that not only encourages purchases and return buyers, but as a means of generating leads as well!
In the end, quizzes did exactly what these companies set out to do, and that was to drive e-commerce sales in a continually growing industry.

About the Author

JP Misenas headshot
JP Misenas is the content marketing director and audio/visual technician/engineer of Interact, a place for creating entertaining and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about innovative ways to connect with customers and to build professional long-lasting relationships with them.

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.
[signature]
Feature image by frankieleon via Compfight cc and adpated for this post.

In January a large property listing website announced they’d increased conversions by 300%. They’d significantly changed the site’s design and the way they searched for properties, delivering results by travel time rather than miles radius.
In March a second property website announced a boost of 300% but this time no design change whatsoever. They started delivering results by travel time, and that was the only change they made. Timing was everything.

Why does providing travel time boost conversions?

As with any conversion boost, it’s down to optimizing consumer experience. The search results were more relevant, but why?

Personalization: the key to transforming conversion rates

We already know that personalization is key whether you’re composing an email campaign or doing post-sales follow-ups. Where’s the personalization in location? Personalization is nothing without people, which is the downfall of a distance search. A mile “as the crow flies” isn’t relevant if the crow is on a bus or in a car.
Acknowledging infrastructure networks transforms a circle into a polygon. This polygon changes shape depending on the surrounding location’s network. Local search results that use a polygon model will eliminate all the erroneous results that would have been delivered in a miles radius search.

Search result with radius model

Search result with radius model


Map acknowledging transportation networks

Map acknowledging transportation networks


Search result with polygon model

Search result with polygon model

Sorry, I’m running 5 miles late

A mile is not a human metric: we do everything by time. We need to arrive at locations on time, leave on time, spend time at locations or visit several places in an allotted time. The problem is that one mile can take five minutes or one hour depending on congestion, infrastructure and other factors.
Tell a hungry person their favorite restaurant is ten minutes away, and they know exactly what you mean. Tell them it’s a mile away, and they will need to know a lot more. Using time in local searching makes the results relevant and understandable. When the amount of consumer leg-work is reduced, they’re more likely to decide there and then.

Time to personalize

People search for location-specific results because they need to get there. Websites that use minutes instead of miles can ask two simple questions that will personalize each search so that no one will ever need to work out “will this work for me?”

        

  • What time of day are they planning on traveling?
  •     

  • What mode of transportation will they use?

Give it the time of day

This information alters the relevant results for three reasons.

        

  1. Transportation timetables and open/close times will limit where a consumer can go.
  2.     

  3. The results they seek will also differ – restaurants open at 3:00 am are different from those at 6:00 pm.
  4.     

  5. Road congestion will most likely reduce in the early hours of the morning.

Some locations will always operate at the same time of day. Lunch reservations will always be in the same time window. Property searches may always use 9:00 am because the majority of people commute from home to work at that time.
Other sites may choose to automate the time function so that the visitor sees what is possible at the time of their search. This is useful if the site visitor wants to get there immediately, giving accurate results quickly.
[sitepromo]

Timely transport

The four polygons show different results for different transportation modes within 30 minutes. You can see that walkers can’t cover as much distance as drivers (obviously!). Adjusting for the exact mode of transportation ensures that every location result is reachable and removes any errors covered in distance searching.

Polygon search result for cycling

Cycling


Polygon search result for public transport

Public transportation


Polygon search result for driving

Driving


Polygon search result for walking

Walking

Case Studies:

Restaurant listing site OpenTable lets customers book tables so that they can reach their restaurant reservation within minutes.

The distance to a restaurant changes by mode of transportation.

The travel time to a restaurant changes by mode of transportation.


UK national tourism agency VisitBritain lets tourists plan their day based on what’s near their attraction of choice.
Planning your day by travel times.

Planning your day by travel times.


The UK’s largest real estate agency group Countrywide lets property seekers pick how long they want their commute to be when listing new homes.
Coutrywide let's visitors shop for homes by commute time.

Coutrywide lets visitors shop for homes by commute time.

Time is mobile

With four out of five local searches on mobile devices ending with a purchase, marketers need to leverage their apps to ensure that they’re catering to the ever-moving consumer. Consumers can pick their search point or use mobile location searches to search by minutes from their current point.

Travel time search results on mobile device

Travel time search results on mobile device

Whose marketing efforts will benefit most from travel time search results?

        

  • Local businesses and listing sites can deliver local results within minutes rather than miles e.g. property, restaurants, bars, jobs.
  •     

  • Retailers providing click and collect services can navigate customers to the best pick up point and direct customers to access-friendly locations when products are out of stock.
  •     

  • Delivery services (food, laundry, furniture etc.) can create marketing campaigns around the minutes it takes to reach each individual customer.
  •     

  • Companies with location-specific geo-targeting campaigns can deliver location-based information in minutes rather than miles radius.
  •     

  • Classified listing sites eBay and Gumtree can supply product searches using travel time when users prefer to pick up locally.

It’s about time…I wrapped things up

[pullquote]Searching for locations by time delivers more accurate results. Consumers like it and convert.[/pullquote]

        

  • Consumers convert when they are delivered more relevant results
  •     

  • As the crow flies isn’t accurate because we can’t fly!
  •     

  • Consumers need a human metric for location searching. Don’t reinvent the wheel, get a clock.
  •     

  • Ask site visitors more to deliver more accurate results

About the Author

Louisa is head of marketing at iGeolise.com. The company is the creator of the TravelTime Platform, an API that allows websites to search, rank, sort and display location results by minutes rather than miles. She’s cuckoo for conversions – particularly if they have to do with local search. To find out more follow them on Twitter @iGeolise or go to  www.gettraveltime.com.

Email is still the most effective strategy for onboarding visitors. By “onboarding” we mean:

  • Getting tryers to use the product so they can become buyers
  • Getting buyers to use the product so they become long-term subscribers
  • Getting repeat buyers to share their appreciation of the product

Yes, email is important to your business. It can’t be done through Facebook or Twitter. It can’t be done through SMS. Maybe it can be done through direct mail. Maybe.
The first step in these processes is the ubiquitous Welcome Email. It gives customers a first impression of your business. Guides them through your product. And demonstrates the value that you can bring them. It’s what takes them from trial to paying user to a repeat user to a evangelist.
In fact marketers who utilize welcome emails find that they have a substantial effect on their conversions with some even experiencing up to a 50% conversion rate when implementing them into their onboarding marketing strategy. Impressive, huh?
Welcome emails aren’t as straightforward as you would think, however. They need to be tested. From timing to subject line, rigorously A/B testing the different aspects of your emails is a sure fire way to build the most effectual onboarding strategy for your business.
Today, we are going to focus on one aspect of welcome email A/B testing – Content. [pullquote position=”right”]Content is what entices your user to click-through and act. You need to get it right.[/pullquote]
Here are five A/B tests you should be doing on your content to optimize your onboaridng emails and get users converting from trial to lifetime customers.

1: Test Simple vs. Hyper-Stylised Design

Let’s begin with design.
No matter how well-written your emails are, if it the look isn’t right the effectiveness will be hampered. Emails can be as simple or flamboyant as you wish. Generally they are divided into three types:

  1. The first type is E-zine style. It’s flashy, hyper-stylized with images and bold font taking centre stage.
  2. Next is SaaS style. It’s cleaner and simpler yet still professional.
  3. And finally Personal. This has no branding, no design. Just a straightforward email.

It’s up to you to test what works best for your business.

Stylized versus simple welcome email design.

Will your visitors perfer a stylized email or a simple “personal” email?


 
An interesting design case study comes from SitePoint, a specialist in content for web developers. After sending out over 40 newsletters, their campaign started to look a little lackluster.
Their initial emails were uncluttered and pared back in design. And they wanted to continue with this look but update it and get more clicks.
So they ran an A/B test.
The first thing they tested was the template, and the results were positive with an initial 16% rise in click through rates.
Next they tested images – should they include them or keep it plain text?  SitePoint already had a hunch that their customers didn’t care for them and wanted a text only email.  This assumption proved to be inconclusive as the results were 118 vs. 114 clicks in favor of no images.
A/B testing images in welcome emails

This inconclusive test demonstrated that readers didn’t prefer nor mind images in their welcome email.


 
These tests were just the first round of experimenting for SitePoint. They went back to the drawing board and tested everything again. They experimented with images and templates until they found what worked best.
Winning email template after A/B testing welcome emails

The winning email was simple, but a little design can go a long way.


 
The winning email retained the simple look of their original email. It was just updated, more attractive to readers and most importantly, increased their click-through rate.
Contrasted to this is Wishpond. After extensive testing of their own emails, they discovered images were just what their audience wanted. Using images produced a 60% higher click-through rate versus just using text alone.
These two contrasting examples are just to illustrate the fact that there is no single best design for all businesses.
There is no one template fits all.
You need to test to discover what your customers like and what drives results.

2: Test A Single Call to Action

When you send out your welcome emails we are betting you have one goal in mind – getting customers to use your product.
All too often we see businesses sending emails with multiple links and requesting customers do numerous actions. It’s confusing and will distract your user from your goal.
So here’s a challenge – try restricting your welcome emails to have only one call-to-action,
That’s exactly what Optimizely did.
In 2014 they began rigorously testing all aspects of their emails. One of the tests had a goal of increasing click-throughs on the call to action.
To do this they sent out two emails. The first having only one CTA, while the second had multiple.
 
 

Optimizely tested emails with a single call to action against their one with several.

Optimizely tested emails with a single call to action against their one with several.


There was one clear winner. The email with only one CTA produced substantially more click-throughs with a 13.3% increase.
Narrowing down your email to one call to action can be a tough task. You have a limited amount of onboarding emails to send. Yet you have so much to say.
Try removing any unnecessary call to actions you have in your emails and just focus on what you believe is most important.
Ask yourself what is the most important thing you want your customer to do after receiving this email and make this your call to action.
Then test.

3: Test Urgency Inducing Copy

When sending welcome emails to onboard your users there are some tactics you can use to convert those trial users into paying customers.
One method is urgency. Using a sense of immediacy in your email to get your customer to act now.
MarketingExperiments tested the effects of urgency in their email campaigns.
They planned a Web Clinic Invite and sent out two emails. One was just the simple invite. The other however, had three extra urgency inducing words – Limit 1000 Attendees.

Urgency may induce more of your email recipients to act.

Urgency may induce more of your email recipients to act.


 
The email containing the urgency had a 15.4% increase in click-throughs. Pretty impressive figures considering the only difference was 3 words!
When sending welcome emails, urgency can be incredibly valuable.
Here is another example of urgency from Sprout Social.
To get trials to convert to paying customers they use copy to imply urgency and encourage users to act now.
Urgency can be communicated in may ways.

Urgency can be communicated in may ways.


 
They use phrases such as “Only 2 days left” and “Time Flies – your trial period is over in just 2 days”. It shouts “act now or you’ll miss out!”
It’s a clever way to optimize your emails and get more customers converting.

4: Testing Email Length

When a customer signs up you want to tell them everything about your business.
Explaining every feature and what you offer in a long winded email is going to show them the value of your business, right? Well probably not.
Conversely, saying too little can be problematic also. Customers might feel under informed and might not act at all.
Research has shown that the average open time for an email is only 15-20 seconds.
With such a small window of time, you need to test how long your emails should be to have the maximum impact.
iMedia Connection decided to carry out tests, with two versions of an email promoting an upcoming converence.
One email was verbose, containing all of the information about the conference within it as well as links to the website.
The other was half the length, with only a short description and a link to a website containing the information.

A bigger open rate doesn't mean a higher click-through rate.

A bigger open rate doesn’t mean a higher click-through rate.


 
The shorter email proved to be more appealing. iMedia Connection reported that not only was the open rate on the shorter higher at 30% vs. 20% but the click-through rate was also higher at 11% vs. 5%.
Short, brief content was the winner here but that might not always be the case. Getting your emails length right must be tested.
Good testing will help you find the perfect balance between being informative while also being concise.

5: Test Personalization

Personalization is one of the most effective techniques to increase conversions from emails. Using a customer’s data to appeal to their interests has been proven to work time and time again. And it isn’t as complicated as you may think.
DoggyLoot, an online store experienced astonishing success when they began personalizing their email’s content.
They recognized that Rottweiler owners wouldn’t want the same emails as Chihuahua owners. So they began to segment in the simplest way possible.
They began collection “doggie data” by asking owners one simple question – is their dog small, medium or large?
Based on this data, they created three email segments based on dog size. Each segment received an email that had products that were suited to their dogs.

DoggyLoot sent different emails to owners with different sized dogs.

DoggyLoot sent different emails to owners with different sized dogs.


 
The results were impressive to say the least. The personalized emails that were targeted at large dog owners had a click through rate that was 410% higher than the average.
Personalization doesn’t have to be complicated. Just find whatever works for your business.
Doggyloot just asked the right questions on signup, enabling them to segment their audience with relative ease.
Whether you just add a user’s name or build comprehensive buyer personas, testing personalization can be a real asset to your welcome emails.
And remember
These 5 A/B tests and case studies are guidelines. Some may work for your business while others might make no impact at all.
It is important to focus on how customers are reacting to your email content. Measuring click-throughs and conversions is essential. See what makes statistical significance, gets users converting and becoming lifelong customers. For more advanced A/B tests read our Ebook “Welcome Your First Million Users: The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing Your Welcome Emails”.
Guest post by Emma O’Neill

Emma O’Neill


Emma O’Neill is a content creator for SparkPage, a platform which lets marketers test and optimize their customer lifecycle messaging. She frequently posts on SparkPage’s “Journey to the First Million Users” blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Well-heeled travelers will enjoy a private guided tour of the world’s various wine-making regions. Colin Simpson of Into the Vineyard arranges these advantures for them. Into the Vineyard tours are tailored and personalized to the individual, setting themself apart from other packaged, run-of-the-mill wine vacations.

The Into the Vineyard luxury landing page

The Into the Vineyard luxury landing page


Colin came to us with a landing page built on Unbounce.
They have had fairly good success with these landing pages, boasting conversion rates of over 5% and more. Colin had a number of questions for Conversion Sciences about how to optimize his landing page to see a lift in conversion rate while maintaining high lead quality.
Many of our suggestions are included in the annotated infographic image included in this post. However, one of his questions was one that we are asked all the time. Its answer is important for you to understand when you create your own landing pages.

Is the placement of the form too far down the page?

The short answer is “No.” This may be contrary to the above-the-fold or very-close-to-the-fold rule many of you follow, but there are good reasons to place your form towards the bottom of your landing page.
Into the Vineyard offers a luxury item and appropriately uses a value-building approach. Furthermore, part of the value of their offer is the ability to customization the product. Bombarding visitors with a form too early not only gives them no time to appreciate the luxury of the offer but also may elicit feelings of impersonality.
This is something to consider if you are in the luxury market. Even if a form placed “below the fold” produces a lower volume of leads than would one above the fold, you may find these leads to be better qualified. They have not only read your content to the bottom but they also know what they are going to receive in exchange for their information.

Landing pages should show the steps of the process

Laying out the steps of the process puts many visitors at ease. The use of the red arrow draws the visitor to take action.


We saw this strategy work very well in split testing for a similar company, a company that sells golf tours to Scotland and England. [pullquote]A landing page that added the steps of the process after filling out the form generated a 300% increase in leads.[/pullquote] Note that this was not the only change to the page.
The bottom line is that the content of your landing page must make a clear offer, regardless of form placement, and your copy must support the offer, not just your product or company. Into the Vineyard does an excellent job of explaining what will happen if a person fills out the form.
The long answer to Colin’s question is “I’m not sure, let’s test it.” One of the awesome perks of using the Unbounce tool to create landing pages is its A/B testing feature.
For most online websites, A/B testing is the most reliable way to know where to place a form on your page to maximize leads and sales.
When you create your own landing pages, consider your market. Are you in the luxury market where your visitors may need a little more information to get excited and convert? Or, are you using this landing page to give the visitor a freebie in exchange for their information?
These two situations will lend themselves to different form placement. If you have the traffic, test the difference because no two business are the same and what works may not work for all.

More recommendations

[sitepromo]
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The amazing SXSW conference has kicked into full swing here in Austin. I haven’t been to a single session yet, and I’ve already learned something of great value I can share with you.
It came in the SXSW session catalog.
The session selection process is very competitive. Every summer, SXSW puts out a call for session and panel ideas. People vote on their sessions and then the crew at SXSW passes final judgment.
It’s very competitive. This year, some 2500 ideas were submitted.
If your session gets accepted you will find yourself competing for attendees with some of the most interesting, influential and innovative professionals. Your session title has to really grab attention in a sea of hundreds of choices.
It’s kind of like the competition for your inbox.
All of this competition has created perhaps the most creatively named agenda in conferencedome.
Your commercial email would enjoy significantly greater open rates if you used SXSW subject lines. No one’s going to click through from your email if they don’t open it and read it.

Subject Lines Must Wake Up the Mind at Any Cost

To use these techniques, you must believe that you can use almost any premise in your subject line to engage the reader and entice them to click.
To prove this point, I am going to take the most abstract title from the following list, use it as a subject line, and create an email that will get readers to click through to my site.
First, the list. Yes, these are actual SXSWinteractive 2011 session titles. I’ve grouped them by the strategies the presenters used in naming their sessions, strategies that you can incorporate into your email subject lines.

Sex and Relationships

        

  • The Sexual Survival Guide for Geeks: Healthy sex and relationships
  •     

  • Sausagefest: Getting More Women into New Media & Tech
  •     

  • Fun with the Lights Off: Interactivity Without Graphics
  •     

  • How Social Media Fu@k’d Up My Marriage (Learn how not to have your relationship ruined by the online world)
  •     

  • Subtle Sexuality: NBC.com Adds Spice to Shows

Things that Don’t Fit Together (non sequiturs)

        

  • Block Party Capitalism: Where Analog and Digital Intersect
  •     

  • What Comic Books Can Teach Mobile Application Designers
  •     

  • Your Mom Has an iPad: Designing for Boomers
  •     

  • Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better
  •     

  • Why New Authors Should Think Like Indie Bands
  •     

  • Why my phone should turn off the Stove – Mobile monitoring of energy consumption
  •     

  • Building Fences in the Sky: Geo-fencing Has Arrived
  •     

  • I’m so productive, I never get anything done
  •     

  • Your Computer is the Next Wonder Drug (Improving interactions with the medical community)
  •     

  • What Digital Tribes Can Learn from Native Americans

Left Field

        

  • Help! A Giant Meteor is Headed Our Way! Cause Shift, Things that need to change
  •     

  • OMG – My Pancreas Just Texted

Pop Culture References

        

  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Babelfish: Automated Translation
  •     

  • U.S. Military’s Mad Science Revealed: DARPA Projects predict the future
  •     

  • Dear Miss Manners: the Social Web, WTF?
  •     

  • Social Media and the NBA
  •     

  • Zombies Must Eat: How Genre Communities Make Money
  •     

  • Minority Report: Social Media for Decreasing Health Disparities
  •     

  • My Prototype Beat Up Your Business Plan
  •     

  • Geppetto’s Army: Creating International Incidents with Twitter Bots
  •     

  • #FAIL: Infamous social Media PR Disasters

Contrarian

        

  • Stop Listening to Your Customers: Researching customer needs without asking them.
  •     

  • I’ve Never Met My Coworkers: Running International Teams
  •     

  • Who Are You and Why Should I Care? Personal branding
  •     

  • When Facebook Falls: Future-proofing Your Social Media Efforts
  •     

  • 27 (Fun!) Ways to Kill Your Online Community
  •     

  • HTML5? The Web’s Dead, Baby.
  •     

  • A World without SXSW
  •     

  • Fail big, Fail Often: How Fear Limits Creativity
  •     

  • Congratulations! Your Brand is About to Become Obsolete
  •     

  • The End of Reading in the USA

Science or Science Fiction References

        

  • The Next Rocket Scientist: You
  •     

  • Do Tablets Dream of Electric News?
  •     

  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Pure Shock

        

  • Bordering Incest: Turning Your Company into a Family
  •     

  • Baby’s Gotta face For Radio: Web Based Radio?
  •     

  • Grow some balls: Build Business Relationships
  •     

  • Social Media and Comedy: F**k Yeah!
  •     

  • Kill Your Call Center! Bring Your Support Home
  •     

  • Bend Over? Surprise! Agencies Are Screwing You
  •     

  • How Blogs with Balls are Saving Sports Media
  •     

  • How to Personalize Without Being Creepy

Conflict

        

  • Bloggers vs. Journalists: It’s a psychological Thing
  •     

  • Seven Reasons Your Employees Hate You
  •     

  • Influencer Throwdown: Proving Influence Once and For All

Invented Words

        

  • Radically Onymous: How Ending Privacy is Awesome!
  •     

  • Old Spice Resurrected: How Aging Icon Pwned Internet
  •     

  • The Future Enernet: a Conversion with Bob Metcalfe (Internet founder)
  •     

  • Technomadism: Becoming a Technology Enabled Nomad

Alliteration

        

  • Defining the Diaspora: Global Collaboration and Social Change
  •     

  • The Man in the Van needs Geo Location
  •     

  • Chatter Matters: Using Twitter to Predict Sales
  •     

  • People as Peripherals: The Future of Gesture Interface
  •     

  • Of Fanboys & Fidelity: Adopting Comics for Broad Audiences

Twisted Euphemisms

        

  • Cure for the Common Font – Secrets of selecting type
  •     

  • Influencers Will Inherit the Earth. Quick, Market to Them!

Any Subject Line Will Do

Even the most abstract subject line can be used to make a point. Here’s how I would tie one from the list to an offer for my business:

From: Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist
Subject: OMG! My Pancreas Just Texted
OMG, my pancreas just texted.
My Liver just phoned.
My stomach just tweeted.
My brain is sending smoke signals.
Every cell of my body is dying to tell you about a new video I’ve just released.
Why am I (and all of my bodily parts) excited? Because online video marketing is rocking conversion rates.
Search engines love it.
Visitors love it.
Businesses like yours are getting more leads and sales from it.
And I think I’ve made it easy for anyone to understand how to use video on their Web site.
In just 11 minutes, I’m going to show you how to present a video on your site that will significantly increase the number of leads you’re getting from the traffic you already have.
Skeptical? Maybe I’m crazy.
I challenge you to take a look and see. If you don’t come away with a better understanding of how to increase conversion rates with video, I’ll get my spleen to cut down the chatter and leave you alone.
If you DO get it, I invite you to join a very special mailing list in which you’ll start to understand how to make all of your marketing convert visitors to leads and sales.
Watch Getting a Reaction from Online Video, and let me know what you think.
My heart will thank you for it.
Best regards,
Brian Massey

Your conversion marketing practice is actually a “stack” of disciplines each of which you will have some level of capability with.

Business Goals

Knowing exactly what you want your Web site to do for your business.

Visitors

Understanding the best visitors needs, the reason they are visiting today and the information they need to feel comfortable taking action. Touchpoint Personas are the important tool at this stage.

Content

What content will you create for these important visitors? Will it be articles, video, or audio? These are important considerations made easy from your touchpoint personas.

Channels

How do your visitors want to hear from you? Where can your visitors be reached? Your choice of channels may include webinars, email, social media, blog posts and more.

Measurement

Putting the analytics and processes in place to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. This often means designing your online presence differently to enable tracking of visitor behavior.

Optimization

Testing your assumptions is the only way to achieve the high conversion rates that make you seem invincible to your competitors. This is how you reduce the cost of all online marketing efforts.

Don’t Worry

This may sound like a tall order, and it is. However, if you are marketing online, you are involved with conversion issues by definition.
The good news is that the folks at SiteTuners.com, lead by the always brilliant Tim Ash have put together the Conversion Conference.
The attendees will be leading the online charge in each of their industries.
I can think of no better way to get up the many learning curves that your conversion practice needs than this two day conference.
Topics at Conversion Conference include:

        

  • Using Headlines, Copy and Graphic Design to Lift Conversion
  •     

  • Split Testing, Multivariate Testing and Google Website Optimizer
  •     

  • Segmentation, Personalization, and Persuasion
  •     

  • E-commerce, and Lead Generation Conversion
  •     

  • Landing Page Principles
  •     

  • Optimizing Social and Mobile
  •     

  • Design & Usability Mistakes

You’ve likely read books written by some of the Conversion Conference Speakers, like Landing Page Optimization and Web Design for ROI. There’s no question that the speakers at this conference are the folks you want to be learning from. Check it out. You can even save $250 if you use promo code CCE650 when you register on the Conversion Conference website.
If you won’t be there, I pray that your competitors won’t be either.
P. S. I do a complete writeup on the Conversion Stack in The Quintessential  Marketing Automation Guidebook, Conversion  Stack: Marketing Automation for Performance Marketers. It is free and you should find it enlightening.