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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.

The long-scrolling flat style landing page is all the rage this year. This style of landing page suffers from some problems, however.

  • Large background images slow load time.
  • Information is presented in small bites. Sometimes more copy is needed.
  • Banded sections often look like the bottom of the page, reducing scrolling.

With the right approach, you can make these pages high-converting landing pages. Here’s how.
In my recent CrazyEgg Webinar How to Reverse-Engineer a High-Conversion Landing Page, I reviewed twelve landing pages using my “backward landing page” framework.
One stood out.
Here’s an excerpt of that presentation featuring the Body Language for Entrepreneurs landing page from Udemy.

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Nail the Top of the Page

The purpose of the top of the page is to give the visitor reasons to explore the rest of the page. It’s the headline, the offer and the hook for the page.

Include all Supporting Components

There are five basic components – Offer, Form, Proof, Trust and Image – and one contaminant to avoid (Abandon) in a landing page, which I outline in the CrazyEgg video.
image

Five components and one contaminant to avoid in a landing page.

The Body Language for Entrepreneurs includes all of them at the top, with no opportunities to abandon, such as social media icons, site navigation, or search.

Offer

Your offer is the promise and pricing that this page provides a visitor. A complete offer is perhaps the most critical element of the landing page equation.
image

image

Form

The landing page should quickly make it clear that the visitor can take action to get closer to solving their problem. The form should have a way to act and an effective call to action.
The call to action should answer the question, “What will happen if I complete the form and click the button?”
image

Proof

Support the claims made in your value proposition with proof.
image

Trust

Building trust builds credibility and authority. Your logo plays a role on a landing page: a trust-building role.
Often symbols can be used to borrow trust from other entities. This is what Body Language for Entrepreneurs did.
image
image

Image

If you’re going to slow the load speed of your landing page with a big background image, you better make it count. Designers like to use stylish backgrounds for effect. That’s fine, but not on a landing page.
image

A lot of space was dedicated to red buildings in this theme.

Images should advance the value proposition. In the Body Language for Entrepreneurs landing page, they show the presenter. That’s relevant. Will I enjoy spending five hours with this person? Do they look credible? It’s all answered with the background image?
image
Furthermore, they use video, which is image at 30 frames per second. Consider video if you don’t have an effective image that explains your value proposition.

Abandon

There is only one link in the upper area of the Body Language for Entrepreneurs page. It lets the visitor see all of the 56 reviews in the Proof section.
It actually doesn’t qualify as Abandon because it opens in a popover window. The visitor never leaves the page. Very smart.
The Udemy logo is NOT linked. Very smart.
Keep the visitors you paid good money to acquire. Don’t send them elsewhere or they will be gone forever.

Does This Design Really Work?

I asked Adam Treister, Growth Marketing Manager at Udemy to tell me how he arrived at this design and how this page was performing for him.
It was no accident.
Adam documents the process in his excellent Udemy course User Experience Design: The Accelerated UX Course.
The original page looked like this:

The original Udemy landing page for ad traffic

The original Udemy landing page for ad traffic.


After several iterations using UserTesting.com, VerifyApp.com, Google Consumer Surveys, and CrazyEgg, they tested the profile photo using PickFu.com. Finally, Adam’s team did a split test using Optimizely.
How did this process work for them? They saw a 246% increase in clicks with the new page. That’s not a typo.

Why This Might Not Work on Your Landing Pages

Every audience is different. They have different goals, needs for information, and are coming on a variety of different platforms. Images and words are powerful
The best way to ensure that your landing page works is to test the components: Offer, Form, Proof, Trust, and Image.
If your landing page is generating at least 150 transactions a month, Conversion Sciences will provide the complete testing team to find the highest-converting combination. Get a complete testing team for the price of a part-time employee.
Request a consultation and we’ll let you know how to make your landing pages surprise you.
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What to look for in a high-converting landing page template.

A friend of mine recently offered me an expensive Giant brand road bike that he wasn’t using in exchange for some help on his website.
He runs a local carpet cleaning service in San Marcos, Texas just south of the Conversion Capital of the World. He hadn’t spent much time on his website, and wanted to update it. While we don’t necessarily recommend redesigns, I felt this one needed a face lift.

Certified Carpet Cleaners Bubble Animation

Sometimes, you just need to start over.


I love the bubbles, but I doubt they are helping conversion rates. I haven’t seen animations like this since the 1990s. The background image slows load time and confuses the eye. The graduated fill on the buttons makes them all but unreadable.
Don’t laugh at my friends design. Here is a WordPress theme I recently reviewed. Check out the stars.
VPropos Theme with Stars in Background

These stars don’t move the value proposition forward. Maybe it works for NASA.


Then there’s this:
Nativoo Parallax Navigation Animation

Animation for animations sake is not helpful for scanners. Note the slow loading of the background image.


My friend needed a new theme for his WordPress site.
Fortunately, I had been asked to be a judge in the ThemeForest PageWiz template contest. More specifically, my task was to pick the themes that would make the best landing page templates.
I’ll tell you how I ranked these themes based on my experience, based on tests we’ve conducted here at Conversion Sciences, and based on my work as an online marketer who uses WordPress in my business.

47 Landing Page Templates, One Winner

The typical "Banded Sales Page" delivers the value proposition for a page in separate sections, or bands.

The typical “Banded Sales Page” delivers the value proposition for a page in separate sections, or bands.


I reviewed 47 different PageWiz landing page templates created by designers. I was tasked with picking one I felt embodied the best practices in conversion-centric landing page design.
The goal of a landing page is to:
1) Keep the promise of an ad, email or link.
2) Get the visitor to take some action, to convert.
Most of the themes I reviewed followed a common pattern, one I call a “banded sales page.” These are designed to unfold like a sales letter: Big promise at the top, and an unfolding story, or value proposition, as you scroll. Key parts of the story are separated into sections, often with bands of color or images to identify them.
The support for the value proposition is like that found in an old-style sales letter: claims, features and proof. Trust builders, such as testimonials and client logos are also an important part of the this style.
Most themes chose big images for background filler. This is an unfortunate choice, because slow load times mean lower conversion rates. [pullquote]It looks cool, but you know what’s cooler? More sales.[/pullquote]
This style of page templates doesn’t provide a significant amount of space for copy, and this may be to their detriment. Instead, they provide bite-sized information to build the value proposition, perfect for scanning the page. These bite-sized sections are most commonly presented in bands of different background colors.
For example, the Landing Page Elements Theme (view) wastes a lot of valuable space for a rather irrelevant image.
Landing page templates with large images take a long time to load and often don't move the value proposition forward.

Large images take a long time to load and often don’t move the value proposition forward.


Some of the themes used parallax scrolling features, which we have not tested, but which may actually add friction to the experience, reducing conversions.

The Theme Should Serve Your Market

The landing page really needs to serve it’s audience. I found the highest scoring templates to be those that were for specific kinds of businesses: fitness, real estate, conferences, travel.
My pick is the Avira Homes template because of its creative calls to action and excellent mobile experience. It suffers from big images and almost fell out of the running.
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Mobile Friendly is a Must

I’ll get this out of the way now. No responsive design made my list of top templates. I know it’s an easy way to get a mobile site, but mobile is different than desktop. Design a separate template for mobile.

Look for landing page templates that supports a separate mobile experience.

Look for a landing page template that supports a separate mobile experience.


 
The Knights Theme (view) offers a mobile theme separate from their desktop implementation.

Mobile Visitors Want Different Content

I made mobile support an important part of the criteria, because it is a growing traffic source for almost any industry. Most themes relied on responsive designs. Others had dedicated mobile templates. Many themes actually break when displayed on phone-sized screens.
We favor designs with dedicated mobile designs, as responsive designs have myriad problems for landing pages. Responsive designs often don’t make sense as desktop content is stacked in non-intuitive ways. These mobile sites also tend to load slower than their dedicated mobile cousins.
Most desktop themes won’t offer a map on their home page or landing pages. For mobile visitors, where we are is important. Maps are a great addition to your mobile experience.

Mobile-oriented content like maps are often lost in responsive designs.

Mobile-oriented content like maps are often lost in responsive designs.


Mobile visitors also want bigger buttons, click-to-call functionality and mobile-focused calls to action. Notice how the Avira site (my winner) offers click to call as the first-screen call to action in their mobile theme. Their desktop site offers a form and the “Contact Me” button.
Avira's separate mobile app is designed for the mobile experience.

Avira’s separate mobile app is designed for a uniquely mobile experience.


The Avira Real Estate Theme (view) was my choice for overall winner.

The Page Should Load Fast

I was happy to see that none of these pages had scrolling hero images, called sliders. These slow load times and can distract readers from the information on the page.
The slow load time of the VPropos theme (view)left us with nothing to watch.

The slow load time of this theme left us with nothing to watch.

The slow load time of this theme left us with nothing to watch.

The Theme Should Make Good Use of the First Screen

It is important that a landing page communicate that the visitor can take action on the page. It should be done early. There is a segment of your visitors that are looking to take action. They don’t want to read, they want to put things in motion.

The FlatVault  theme makes good use of the top of the page using calls to action.

The FlatVault theme makes good use of the top of the page using calls to action.


In contrast to the landing page templates with large images, I felt that FlatVaulth (view) did a good job of utilizing the top portion of the page, with not one but two calls to action.

The Copy Should Be Easy to Read

I favor designs with dark text on light backgrounds for readability. Knockout text is hard for eyes over 40 to read. Pages that are mostly dark cause our pupils to widen. This larger aperture makes focusing more difficult. That’s why we squint when we are trying to read small text. It makes our aperture smaller.

Light text on a dark background is more difficult for older eyes that have trouble focusing.

Light text on a dark background is more difficult for older eyes that have trouble focusing.


The App Cast Theme may be best for young eyes (view).
A good designer uses color to guide the eye. The use of the same color makes it harder to locate the information that is important. For example, pricing tables job is to help us choose. In this pricing table, it’s clear that the center offering is more important, but the color choices make it hard to compare across offerings.
The poor color choices make it hard to compare options.

The poor color choices make it hard to compare options.


The Landing Elements Vol 2 Theme (view) make poor color choices.
Contrast is your friend, especially when your presenting headlines and calls to action.
The headline and call to action are difficult to read here because of a low contrast between background and text.

The headline and call to action are difficult to read here because of a low contrast between background and text.


The green and red backgrounds offer a low contrast background for the headline and form’s call to action in the Brom theme (view).

Make Good Use of Images and Video

If a theme didn’t explicitly support video, I didn’t hold it against theme. Several did. Video is all over the map in terms of whether it works or not. It is a powerful medium that can work for you or against you.
Images are powerful ways to move the value proposition of the site forward. Unfortunately, designers often punt, using filler stock images instead of well-thought out pictures. Unfortunately, theme builders really can’t offer one image that communicates well for all of the possible sites their theme may ride on.
The Cube Consulting Theme (view) makes good use of image placement here.

This image is in the right place, but is clearly a stock image. The human eye knows when it sees what we call business porn.

This image is in the right place, but is clearly a stock image. The human eye knows when it sees what we call business porn.


The man in this theme is what we call “business porn.” It is a stock image, not someone who works at the company or is a customer. The placement of this image is smart. It anchors the call to action form visually which partly covers the image.
A better image would have been looking down at the form, or to the value proposition at the left. We tend to linger on faces, especially when they are looking right at us. If we’re looking at a face, we’re not reading the offer text or the calls to action.
Be careful of images that work against you.
The dot-matrix background and gratuitous keyboard image only work to make the text hard to read in this image.

The dot-matrix background and gratuitous keyboard image only work to make the text hard to read in this image.


The Expo Theme (view) uses a dot-matrix background that messes with the eyes and makes the text harder to read. Why is there a keyboard in the background?
This background image conflicts with the call to action, confusing the eye.

This background image conflicts with the call to action, confusing the eye.


One problem of our winning theme, Avira (view), is the poor choice of a background image. This image conflicts with the call to action form.

Shapes

The shape of your images can have impact as well. After viewing over 40 different themes with the banded designs, I found these curved images refreshing.

The shape of your images can draw the eye to important page components.

The shape of your images can draw the eye to important page components.


The Dyxalot Theme (view) curved hero image draws the eye to the center where the key messages are.

Avoid Useless Images

If I have to find a large, high-resloution image that’s relevant to my visitor and figure out how to not screen it back, that’s a theme that is too much work.
This design is typical of the designs that waste precious real estate at the top of the page with nothing relevant.

A lot of space was dedicated to red buildings in this theme.

A lot of space was dedicated to red buildings in this theme. What’s the message?


The Mobis Theme (view) wastes a lot of space with a background picture of buildings. Unecessarily large images push your value proposition and calls to action down on the page, where they are less likely to be seen.

Make Images Clickable

Make images clickable, even if there’s a button below. These are not.

Clicking on the buttons works, but the images are not clickable. Don't get in your visitors' way.

Clicking on the buttons works, but the images are not clickable. Don’t get in your visitors’ way.


The MyCourse Theme (view) should make their images clickable.

Calls to Action

Calls to action should be the most visually prominent items on the page.
The use of arrows and button colors that clash with the other colors on the page signal that the call to action should be addressed by the visitor.

High contrast buttons and arrows signal to the visitor that they should address the call to action.

High contrast buttons and arrows signal to the visitor that they should address the call to action.


The My Earth Non-profit Theme (view) enhances the visibility of the call to action.

More Calls to Action

For long banded pages, they should be frequent. You never know when your visitor is seeing the content that pushes them to take action in a long-scrolling landing page.
Our winning theme, Avira (view), offered a variety of calls to action, from the ability to inquire about specific properties to general inquiries. It invited visitors to call and offered lead generation forms at the top and bottom of the page.

Landing page templates should support frequent calls to action.

You never know when copy or an image is going to incite a visitor to act. Use frequent calls to action.

Your Forms Should Behave

Form behavior should make completion intuitive and natural. When someone hits tab in your form, they should be taken to the next field, not another part of the page.
The form for the Urane Theme (view) looks like this:

Be careful if you use the tab button here (and most of us do).

Be careful if you use the tab button here (and most of us do).


When I type my name and click Tab, it jumps to a random part of the page.
Surprise behaviors will kill your conversion rates.

Surprise behaviors will kill your conversion rates.

Use a Dripping Pan

If someone reads your page to the bottom, this is a pretty good sign that they are interested. Themes should repeate the call to action at the bottom of the page. We call this a dripping pan because it catches the juices to make gravy.

Landing page templates should repeat the call to action at the bottom of the page.

This form appears at the bottom of the page. It’s a dripping pan.


The dripping pan for the MyPro Affiliate Theme (view) offers a complete form and call to action.

App Store Buttons

If you’re doing a theme for an app download, the call to action is to visit an app store. I recommend that you not redesign these buttons. They should be recognizable as clicks to the Google Play store and iTunes app store.

The most recognizable app store button designs are used across the Web.

The most recognizable app store button designs are used across the Web.


The Dyxalot Theme (view) makes this call to action almost invisible.
These download calls to action are almost invisible

These download calls to action are almost invisible


The App Cast Mobile Theme (view) offers company logos, not app store logos.
Are these company logos or app store download buttons?

Are these company logos or app store download buttons?


The Volax Theme (view) offers more clues that this is an app download, but this is not a fimiliar image for the app stores.
The addition of  download counts adds social proof, but what am I downloading exactly?

The addition of download counts adds social proof, but what am I downloading exactly?

Plan for Proof and Trust

Presenting proof is very important, and several themes offered interesting ways to present proof. Claims made in your copy must be supported by a benefit and proof.

The Expo theme presents a place for proof points

The Expo theme presents a place for proof points


The Expo theme presents a place for proof points (view).
Websites can “borrow” trust from other brands by showing logos, seals and badges. Client logos, partner logos, and even the logos of credit cards all conspire to build trust with visitors. Themes that support this were ranked higher in my judging.
Choose landing page templates that support trust symbols.

Websites can “borrow” trust from clients, partners and media outlets by displaying their logos


Unfortunately, the MyPro Theme made a poor choice for the background of these trust building logos (view).

Induce Scrolling

One of the concerns with banded pages like those in this competition is that every scroll can look like the bottom of the page. Visitors may never scroll further to see the persuasive content lower on the page.
Themes that induced scrolling were ranked higher on my list.
The Upfold Theme (view) provides several scrolling queues. The v-shaped header image invites visitors to scroll down.

A simple arrow-shaped image can induce scrolling, making your copy more effective.

A simple arrow-shaped image can induce scrolling, making your copy more effective.


Connective lines between sections signal visitors that there is more to see. This keeps people scrolling.
Subtle connective lines signal that there is more information to follow as the visitor scrolls.

Subtle connective lines signal that there is more information to follow as the visitor scrolls.

Consider Introducing Scarcity

If your offer has a deadline, you can use countdown timers to introduce “scarcity.” This communicates that an offer is about to expire and that the visitor should take action immediately.
Countdown timers are effective, and several themes incorporated them into their pages.

Count down timers can introduce scarcity into the visitor's decision making process.

Count down timers can introduce scarcity into the visitor’s decision making process.


The Pagewiz Event Conference Meetup Theme (view) places a countdown timer in the body of the page.
Scarcity is a natural fit for events.

Scarcity is a natural fit for events.


Elect! Political Charity Conference Theme (view) places a countdown timer right below the hero image.

Social Distraction

The most common distraction I see on landing pages is social media icons. Traffic is never free. Even search traffic requires you to optimize and develop content. If you’ve paid for a visitor to come to your site, why send them off to Mark Zuckerberg? He’s god enough traffic.
The social icons are muted, but shouldn’t be at the top of the page competing with the call to action.

The social icons are muted here, but save them for the thank you page.

The social icons are muted here, but save them for the thank you page.


The social icons on the FlatBox Theme (view) are the most visible (and thus the most important) items above the fold.
The social media icons really pop on this dark background. The message is that these are the most important things on the page.

The social media icons really pop on this dark background. The message is that these are the most important things on the page.


Only use if social media is a great source of visitors for your site. Instead of a dripping pan at the bottom of the page, FlatBox offers a smorgasbord of distractions.
Most businesses aren't good at turning likes and follows into business. Save these buttons for the thank you page.

Most businesses aren’t good at turning likes and follows into business. Save these buttons for the thank you page.


The best use of social media I saw was the RealGym Theme (view), my runner up. This use of social media turns gym trainers into social sales people
Here the social icons support the business model directly by turning trainers into social salespeople.

Here the social icons support the business model directly by turning trainers into social salespeople.


 

Help Me Choose a Plan

If you offer multiple levels of service or product tiers, the job of your pricing matrix is to, Help Me Choose. Your landing page template should highlight one price package to help my visitors choose.
The Mobis Multipurpose Landing Page Theme (view) offers three colors, none of which is more prominent than any other.

Which of these is most popular? Which should I choose? It's hard to tell.

Which of these is most popular? Which should I choose? It’s hard to tell.


The Urane Theme (view) offers a highlighted choice.
This design says,"I should pay attention to the middle one, and not just choose the cheapest."

This design says,”I should pay attention to the middle one, and not just choose the cheapest.”


Pricing tables that make it easy to compare features will improve conversion rates.
The Landing Elements Vol 1 Theme (view) offers banding to help guide the eye across features.
Alternating colors help guide the eye and aid in comparing features.

Alternating colors help guide the eye and aid in comparing features.


Pricing tables should not attempt to sell features. You should only select a few criteria–three or four–to be placed in the pricing table. Let the copy do the rest of the selling.
Use helpful names as well.
Choose the descriptive names for your feature levels.

Choose the descriptive names for your feature levels.


The Flat Vault Theme (view) suggests “Basic”, “Pro” and “Elite” levels. These generic names are translated as “Cheap”, “Expensive” and “Only for big companies”. Be more clear in your naming. Choose names that convey relevant value.

No Template is Going to Have It All

This is a lot to consider when picking a theme. None of the landing page templates I reviewed scored perfect on all counts.
Your business may have special needs. If building trust is important, focus on themes that support trust and proof. If you serve mobile visitors, be sure to use a separate theme for your mobile site.
For almost any site, Readability, Calls to action, and Load Time are going to be critical.
Any theme you produce will need to be optimized for your unique visitors. Contact Conversion Sciences for a free consultation on your site.
Now I can ride my new bike and know that I selected the best template for my carpet-cleaning friend.
Here’s the dripping pan.
[sitepromo]
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You can’t get into website optimization without it leaking into the rest of your life. You see the world differently. At Conversion Sciences, we obsess about optimization and the affect on our lives is interesting.
We tally the coffee orders of those in line ahead of us to help with your decision.
We leave the house at the EXACT same time each day when trying alternative commutes. Of course we use the stopwatch for accuracy.
We do a quick evaluation of the speed of the grocery store checkout people before choosing a line.
And we optimize our dating lives.
We see this as an opportunity to introduce landing page concepts to a broader audience. Lots of people get excited about optimizing their dating profile. Landing page optimization makes the accountant smile. Dating profile optimization makes the heart smile.  [pullquote]Basically, we are appealing to your base nature to help you make more money in your business.[/pullquote]
I would like to invite you into the world of optimization obsession by introducing you to a new series of blog posts coming your way:  Optimize My Dating Life.

[dating-series]

We asked Megan – one of our Conversion Scientists – to document an optimization project in which she applies everything she knows about increasing conversion rates to her online dating profile. Ultimately, a dating profile is nothing more than a lead-generating landing page, so it’s just waiting to be optimized.

How is an Online Dating Profile a Lead-Generating Landing Page?

A dating profile certainly serves a specific purpose.  You know what that purpose is, but do the people who visit your profile?  You’ve undoubtedly heard horror stories at happy hours from your single friends, or maybe you have a few stories of your own. Misunderstandings occurring as a result of a miscommunication on a dating profile.
For a time, my profile listed my favorite book as Batman: the Dark Knight Returns. I came to understand this was an error in judgment on my part. I went on dates with four different people who assumed I would be able to keep up in a conversation discussing the history of the Marvel (or is it DC?) universe.  Just to clarify: I couldn’t keep up.
Maybe you’ve created a landing page for an expensive giveaway only to receive a bafflingly low quality and quantity of leads.  Were you really communicating what you thought you were?
Previous research has determined that it all comes down to the picture. These studies were only measuring inquiries, the number of people who try to connect. We want to go deeper. We want to judge the quality of the connections.

Megan Hoover

Look at her, she’s adorbs. Who wouldn’t want to date that face?


Looks aren’t everything, right?  Well, the right images are important — on your dating profile and on your landing pages.
We’ll be testing other important components of dating landing pages: trust builders, proof points and offers.
Yes, I said, “offers”. Will the right offer on a dating landing page make the difference? We can’t wait to find out.
Finally, we want to measure the quality of our “leads”. You’ve probably been on dates with people you chose because of their level of attractiveness only to find out they’re as interesting as elevator music. You’ve probably been approached by someone who saw your lovely little mug and that person wanted to ask you on a date without knowing anything about how smart and cool and interesting you are.
And you’ve probably visited a landing page with a design that was absolutely beautiful.  A work of art.  But for the life of you, couldn’t figure out what you were being asked to do.

[dating-series]

What Are We Studying?

We will be attempting to make our little project as scientific as possible so that you will be better able to incorporate our successes (and avoid our failures) in your own landing pages.
Megan will be creating a few different dating profiles, and we will attempt to isolate the actual written content of her profile and her user pictures.

Example of a free-form question where answers could change

Example of a free-form question where answers could change across profiles and over the course of the project


okcupid tries to match people based on a series of questions, what each person is seeking by using the service, and location, and we will be keeping all of this information the same across all of the profiles so that she has a greater chance of showing up in the same searches for the same people.
Example of what will be a control across all profiles

Example of information that will be a control across all profiles


Example of what will be a control across all profiles

Example of information that will be a control across all profiles


Example of a potential okcupid question that will be a control across all profiles

Example of a potential okcupid question that will be a control across all profiles


Because lead-generation is the end goal, we will be measuring the quality and quantity of leads received on each of her profiles.  Megan’s first task will be to create a quality matrix that will allow her to rate each of her leads and avoid relying on how physically attractive they are.  So we’ll be looking at Megan’s own profile and making changes to increase the number of quality leads she receives, but we’ll also be looking at the potential leads’ profiles and rating them.
What’s a lead?  Men who message her are her leads; conversions will be securing dates with said leads.
Will Megan rate leads higher when they mention their families?  How will musicians fare?  Are vegetarians a hard-pass?  Be sure to read her next post to find out!
[sitepromo]

Use Our Love Lessons Learned to Build the Landing Page of Your Dreams

We’ll be writing posts as the project progresses. We really have no idea how things are going to turn out: will Megan find Mr. Right?  Who knows, but we might as well make the search interesting.
As for your landing pages, generating leads is a bit more of a science than finding the love of your life, and for that reason, there’s a lot you can learn from dating profiles to help improve your landing page.
So here we go…we’ll keep you posted.
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Choosing the right price for your product can be stressful and confusing: Pick a low price and you’ll earn too little from your sales, pick a high price and you’ll sell only a few products.
So, what is the best pricing practice for my product?
The following infographic by Blog Growth will show you 7 of the best pricing strategies that will help raise your sales and increase your profit!
Science of Pricing
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[sitepromo]

How helpful would it be to know what prices and features your competition was thinking about using?
One of my readers just sent me a very revealing screenshot. It is one of the pricing pages that Optimizely is testing. It was found by “spying” on their test data.
 

We hid the pricing on this test treatment from Optimizely

We hid the pricing on this test treatment from Optimizely


We are able to see this because of an “exploit” that allows anyone to see what a site is testing if they are using the Optimizely testing software. Oh, the irony.
Venture Beat recently “revealed” this in an article. Those of us who use these tools have known about it for some time. It’s quite easy to decipher this test data.
Try dragging the following link to your browser bookmark bar.
Optimizely Spy
Now visit Optimizely and click on the bookmark to see what they are testing.

How is this possible?

Whenever we run a split test with Optimizely, the software uploads scripts and data into all of our visitors’ browsers to change the experience and track the results. Along with this is included not just the test our visitor is being entered into, but all of our tests for that account.
So it’s relatively easy to decipher this information and see what we’re testing.
Note that the snooper can’t see any actual results, just what kinds of things you’re testing.
We like this approach because it speeds up the delivery of tests. When we use one file with everything, it changes less frequently, and the file it can be cached on a content delivery network (CDN) specifically designed to deliver files faster.
Faster tests mean more reliable tests.
Convert.com also uses this technique, though they take steps to obsure the test information.

Why Aren’t We More Concerned?

In a worst case scenario, a competitor can see what hypotheses you are testing. They can then test those same ideas and perhaps win more customers.
However, only a small percentage of sites are even testing, let alone stealing your tests. I did a quick survey of sites selling plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery who are spending at least $500 per month on search advertising.
Of 2,958 domains, only 33 had some form of split testing software installed, such as Optimizely. That’s just 1.1% of these domains. Furthermore, we know that some portion of these testing are not actually using the software they have installed.

Plastic and Costmetic Surgery Websites with Testing Software

Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery websites are missing a significant opportunity to get more patients. Source: SpyFu.com


Here’s another surprise. There are ninety-seven (97) domains in this space spending over $50,000 per month on search ads. Only five of them have A/B Testing software installed, only 5%.
If you’re in the plastic surgery space and are testing, you have a major advantage over your competitors. So, the odds of someone stealing your ideas are far outweighed by the gains you will see from testing.

Our Recommendation

We recommend that you continue to test using Optimizely unless your page contains sensitive information, such as price.
If you feel uncomfortable with your test information being publicly available, move to Convert Experiments for some protection. Another popular tool, Visual Website Optimizer, does not use this technique meaning past and future tests are safe from prying eyes. There are also a variety of other highly recommended AB testing tools available.
Whatever you do, don’t let this issue take the steam out of your testing program. As you can see, testers have a significant advantage, snoopers or not.
PS: If you are in the plastic and cosmetic surgery industry, you should contact us.

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.

Brian Massey posed a great question to me the other day: If you could ask your site visitors only one question, what should it be? I love this question because it distills pre-conversion user research down to its essence: how can you best glean the “why” motivations behind what your users are thinking – and, equally importantly, the concerns they may be feeling – early in their experience? And how can you choose a question that, after you analyze user responses, will be actionable – will allow you to confidently make and test design updates that better address these concerns and improve your conversions?
In this article I’ll focus on what question to ask, and in a future article I’ll unpack where and how you should ask this question.

Start with the research end in mind

Start with the insights goal you’re trying to achieve by asking the question. Are you trying to expose the general concerns or questions (what marketers call “objections”) your visitors may have, or are you more interested in learning something more specific, such as whether your Product Detail page is missing any key information? If you’re new to user experience research, or your website hasn’t undergone any significant usability testing, you should typically start with the “general” goal and ask more open-ended questions.
In this article I’ll assume that you are asking the question of a person who doesn’t yet know and trust your brand and is early in her shopping experience (e.g. just arrived on your website or landing page). A different question – or set of questions – would apply for your converted customers.

First, avoid asking the wrong questions

First, let’s talk about questions you shouldn’t ask. The prospect is already on your site, so clearly your marketing has worked (at least partially). So early in the experience you should avoid asking marketing questions like:

  • How did you first hear about us?
  • What prompted you to start looking for this type of service?
  • What other competitors are you considering?

Instead, focus on the questions most tied to your research goals, and that uncover questions and concerns that would negatively affect your visitor engagement and conversion. Save the marketing questions for further down your sales funnel – for example, on order confirmation pages, in your social media channels, or on your email response pages.

Some possible questions

OK, let’s finally get to the question you should ask. Based on my experience leading research projects for six Fortune 500 clients, and my recent survey of the latest user feedback solicitation tools, here are my top 5 possible questions (in no particular order), along with some pros and cons for each:

Drumroll, please…

In my opinion, the #1 question I would ask is Question #5. Coming in a “Close 2nd” is Question #4.
The two questions are really variations on the same theme. By asking either of them you are communicating, “I value you as a potential customer and am truly interested in learning where our website is missing the mark relative to your needs, wants and expectations. This question is specifically not calling attention to your offer, it’s not “going for the close”, and it’s not asking your visitors to be designers; it’s simply saying “we care, we want to improve your experience, and we’re listening.”
A key thing to remember: for many shopping scenarios, “making a positive brand impression” or “building brand memory” is as important as closing a sale or generating a lead. Connect with the visitor first; sell to her later. Another thing to bear in mind: with the rapid growth of mobile devices usage, prospect experiences are often multi-touch:  the prospect hits your website on their iPad the evening of Day 1, briefly visits your site during lunch on Day 2, and again visits your site during an afternoon coffee break on Day 2. So, except in some small dollar amount, single widget sales cases, it’s not a “once and done” interaction (or if it is, it shouldn’t be).

A sample scenario

Let’s say that Judy, a middle-aged woman from Austin, is shopping for a place to board her dog Max while she’s on vacation. She’s willing to pay extra for a better facility and service. After doing a web search for “dog boarders austin,” she lands on www.campbowwow.com.

Camp Bow Wow

Judy’s main concerns are:

  • Pricing – how much will it cost for the week?
  • How much play time her dog will get
  • How clean the kennel is kept

Judy sees that these questions are not answered on the top half of the home page. After about 10 seconds of scanning, she’s a bit disappointed and clicks her browser’s Back button. End of experience – for now and perhaps forever.
If our “one question” were asked, she’d have the choice (and who doesn’t like choices?!) to express her questions and concerns. Even if Judy decides to go with another dog boarder this time, there’s a decent chance that a thought like, “Ah yes… Camp Bow Wow… they were the ones who asked for my input,” will get lodged in her longer-term memory. If she were not completely satisfied with the other boarder’s services or staff, a couple weeks before her next trip she might just give Camp Bow Wow a call.

Summing up

Whether or not you consider your organization “customer centric”, you need to start a dialog with your prospects. And the sooner you can do this, the better (both in the experience, and on your website release roadmap). By doing so you’ll discover expectations that your site is not meeting so that you can better address them through user experience and copy updates, and thereby grow your bottom line.

About the Author

Mark is the Owner and Research Director at Hallmark Experience, an agency that focuses on voice of prospect research, usability testing and expert design reviews. He’s had the privilege to work with top brands like Macys, Kaiser Permanente, American Express and AutoZone, as well as smaller, fast-growing companies in the San Diego area. You can reach him here.

 

7 Conversion Lessons Learned From Eye Tracking

@neilpatel collects some of the most interesting eye-tracking images available and provides seven insights that can help you design your pages and choose images. We have done our own eye-tracking study of business video and you can get the full report now. The report offers similar conclusions for the use of video in a landing page. It includes over 30 minutes of embedded video that you can watch yourself.
Neil’s conclusions include:

        

  • Be careful you you use [images of] people
  •     

  • That people love media (especially on search results pages)
  •     

  • That men and women look at images differently
  •     

  • That simple images can be more effective
  •     

  • The power of the left side of the page
  •     

  • The power of faces
  •     

  • That people love hand-written notes (my favorite)

Enjoy the images he provides.

Shopping Cart Abandonment: Why It Happens & How To Recover Baskets Of Money

@peeplaja offers a great post on shopping cart abandonment
In my book I say that abandonment is like cholesterol: There is a good kind and a bad kind. For each there is a strategy for reducing the impact of abandonment on your business.
Good abandoners leave because they aren’t done with their shopping process. The challenge is to get them to come back and buy when they are done. There are several strategies here for retargeting the visitor who abandons using email and ads.
Bad abandoners leave because you surprised them or didn’t provide the information they were looking for. This kind of abandonment can be treated by improving the checkout process and by using pricing and shipping strategies.
Abandonment is the most heartbreaking of conversion killers. it is also a fertile place to increase the performance of your website.

The brilliant minds over at Blog Growth posed  an important question recently; What’s the best price for your products?
While consumers think prices are decided arbitrarily, there is a lot of work that goes into determining the price point for a product.
Check out the amazing infographic Blog Growth put together to break down the science of pricing.
TheScienceOfPricing_Infographic
 
To read the whole post, check out Blog Growth.