product page

7+ Facts About Shopping Cart Abandonment & Recovery

Shopping cart abandonment is the most heartbreaking of conversion killers. it is also a fertile place to increase the performance of your website.

Shopping cart 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.

Bad abandoners leave because you surprised them or didn’t provide the information they were looking for.

But it’s 2020, and the number of smartphone dependent shoppers has grown considerably. Thus, we will add one more layer of complexity to the shopping cart abandonment recovery strategy: desktop vs mobile visitors. Why it happens and what to do about it.

Cart Abandonment Rate Formula

The shopping cart abandonment rate formula is quite an easy Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to calculate. Divide the total number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created within the same period. Subtract the resulting number from one and multiply by 100 to get the abandonment rate percentage.

Abandonment Rate Calculation Example

• Total number of completed purchases: 335
• Total number of shopping carts created: 500
• Cart abandonment rate: ((500-335) / 500) * 100 = 33%

Definitely not a bad shopping cart abandonment rate. Only 33 out of 100 customers are leaving their carts behind. Do you experience high add to cart but low conversion rates? Keep reading.

Top 7 Cart Conversion Optimization Solutions to Eliminate the Causes of Cart Abandonment.

The difference between mobile and desktop visitors

“A growing share of Americans now use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. Today roughly one-in-five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service.”

Source: Surveys conducted 2013-2019. Data for each year based on a pooled analysis of all surveys containing broadband and smartphone questions fielded during that year.

Traditionally, the desktop computer is a research tool and the smartphone is a dopamine delivery system.

These are two very different uses of internet attached computers.

For someone on a desktop, adding your product to their cart is the end of a journey. For the mobile user, the add to cart is to see how it will feel.

For a growing segment of our population, this is changing. For more and more people, the smartphone is their only source for communication, research, and dopamine. Reliance on smartphones for online access is especially common among younger adults, non-whites and lower-income Americans.

For this reason, we are not going to assume that most mobile visitors are “just shopping.” We are going to look at the causes of checkout abandonment and provide a playbook for eliminating them.

There are also consumers who only buy your products on desktop computers. They would not even think to pick up their phone and buy what you sell.

Let’s dive into how to reduce shopping cart abandonment and improve conversions.

Why do Shoppers Abandon the Checkout Process?

Just as science has identified “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol,” there are “good” and “bad” abandoners among your website’s visitors.

The Good Abandoners

Good abandoners leave you as part of their process. They are walking all the way to the edge of buying, even though they are not ready to buy. They are imagining purchasing from you. Yet, they fully intend to continue comparing your offering to alternatives when they start the checkout process.

And they may be hoping you’ll hang on to their selections for when they return. Wish lists and persistent shopping carts are a big help to these abandoners. More on that later.

The challenge is to get them to come back and buy when they are done. We cover some of the strategies for retargeting this visitor later on this article.

Bad abandoners leave you because they didn’t like what they saw after they got started. These abandoners are bad for you because they are lost opportunities. They were going to buy, but you chased them away with your checkout process.

Your purchase process confounded them, introduced new fears, or asked them to do something they weren’t ready to do, like create an account. Many of these abandoners started the process simply because they didn’t have all the information they needed to make their decision.

This kind of abandonment can be treated by improving the checkout process and by using pricing and shipping strategies.

The five primary “drivers” of Desktop cart abandonment

According to Forrester Research’s report “Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment,” the five primary “drivers” of cart abandonment are:

1. Shipping and handling costs were too high. (Bad abandoners)
2. The shopper wasn’t ready to purchase the product. (Good abandoners)
3. The shopper wanted to compare prices on other sites. (Good abandoners)
4. Product price was higher than the shopper was willing to pay. (Bad abandoners)
5. The shopper wanted to save products in his cart for later consideration. (Good abandoners).

Let’s look at what causes bad abandons and then talk about encouraging actual purchases.

High shopping cart abandonment rates are conversion killers. But they are also a fertile place to increase your shop’s performance.

Understanding Mobile Abandonment

There are two kinds of abandoners: Those who were never going to buy and those who would have bought if only…

• If only they could be sure their discount was applied.
• If only they hadn’t been surprised by shipping.
• If only the final price hadn’t been too high.
• If only the form had been easier to enter their discount code.
• If only there was somebody to talk to.

And there are some things that aren’t under your control, but are a particular problem for smartphone users…

• If only my table hadn’t become available.
• If only the movie hadn’t started.
• If only my lunch hour had been longer.

The Impact of Distractions on Mobile Checkout

We have dedicated a whole article to maximizing mobile ecommerce checkout conversions. Take a look.

Top 7 Cart Conversion Optimization Solutions: How to Eliminate the Causes of Cart Abandonment

Consider the following tactics to optimize your online shop cart conversion rate. They may help you reduce or eliminate the causes of shopping cart abandonment.

1. Free Shipping/Free Return Shipping

When a visitor is ready to take action, they instantly begin doubting the sanity of their decision. This is the time to reassure them. Your return policy and shipping offers are great ways to remove their doubts. Getting stuck with a product you don’t want is a real fear, no matter how inexpensive the purchase.

Shipping costs are not usually refunded. Even if you have a generous return policy, buyers can see this as a risk. If your profit margins allow for free shipping both ways, great. Otherwise, adjust your pricing strategy.

In a few words, you should tell them that buying from you is  safe if this does not turn out to be a good purchase.

What do you do when someone adds a product to the cart?

The typical ecommerce site takes the visitor to the Cart page. The problem with this approach is that it takes the visitor out of their shopping experience, maybe before they’ve finished buying.

The answer is typically a “Continue Shopping” button, that takes them to some part of the online retailer site.

By making the cart popup overlay larger, we increased conversions by 13% for TATSoul.

But, when a visitor has reached a product page, they are at the bottom of a rabbit hole. It may have involved a search, several category pages, and several product pages. They don’t want to start over.

To solve this problem, ecommerce sites have begun keeping them on the product page after they click Add to Cart, keeping their rabbit hole intact. However, if no visible acknowledgement is given, the visitor loses some of the satisfaction of their action. Or they may think the site is broken. Or they did something wrong.

Make sure that you give your potential buyers a clear signal that they’ve done something amazing. BJ Fogg recommends that you celebrate their action in some way. This should increase the likelihood that they will complete the purchase. These are two examples that signal to the visitor that they have done something amazing.

After the click to buy, Nike adds an overlay to the product page and shows a timed checkout link.

Nike hovers a Checkout overlay for a few seconds leaving the shopper in the same product page unless they click the “View Bag” or the “Checkout” button.

Or this one from Forever21 that tells their potential buyers they have done something amazing. Complimenting their taste, reiterating their offer to increase cart size (coupon code) and showing them product suggestions.

After showing the same overlay to the potential buyer, Forever 21 goes one step further.

3. Unsaved Carts

If I come back to the site, I expect my cart to still be there. Saving the visitor’s cart is an important part of abandoned cart remarketing strategies, in which an email or an ad brings them back to their selections.

Save the cart – by implementing a perpetual shopping cart – and find ways to encourage visitors to return.

4. Offer Live Support, Loyalty Programs

Your visitors will buy from you if you treat them well. They will buy again and again. Your willingness to be there for them both before and after the sale will determine their long-term value and your success.

The cart is a great place to show them you care. Have someone available on the phone or in a chat to answer their last minute questions. Let them know that this purchase is part of a reward program that shows you appreciate them.

There is an entire segment of your visitors that care about their relationship with you. Be a good relationship partner.

5. Exit Intent Offers

Remind them about the promotion you are currently offering just before they leave. Stop abandonment on its tracks. On Exit intent pop ups could help you with abandoned shopping bag recovery. Check out these 7 Best Practices for Using Exit-Intent Popovers.

6. Enable Guest Checkout

Maybe your customer doesn’t want to commit to you, yet. Offering guest checkout could make a difference in your cart optimization efforts. Instead of asking them to create an account, test and implement these Guest Checkout Tactics to Grow Ecommerce Sales (with Examples and Ideas)

There are many tools to choose from that enable you to set up a short visitor survey to simply ask why they are leaving without checking out. This is a great use of exit-intent overlays. These can be delivered using Justuno, OptinMonster, Optimonk and other tools.

Cart Abandonment Solutions

Ok. We eliminated the causes but that doesn’t completely get rid of the problem. There will still be abandoners.

The most popular cart abandonment solution is the abandoned cart email or email recovery campaign. A great way to re-engage if you were able to get your prospective customer to give you their email. We promise to bring you a new article with the best abandoned cart emails cart and abandonment email examples soon.

ASOS example of abandoned cart email for their email recovery campaign, the most popular cart abandonment solution.

To help you on your quest to lower your shop’s abandonment rate, we will also include examples of abandoned cart text messages, subject lines and email sequence.

If they don’t respond to your emails, not everything is lost. You can always implement an ad retargeting campaign. There are tools that even offer cross-device and cross-platform compatibility and mobile retargeting.

What is a Good Abandonment Recovery Rate?

According to the Baymard Institute, the average abandonment rate on online shoppers is 69.57%. In plain terms, 695 people out of 1,000 are abandoning their carts. A good abandonment recovery rate will be between 10% and 30% of revenue.

If you’d like to boost your website’s bottom line and gently nudge your customers through the checkout process, book a free site review with us.

Do Website Redesign Like JJ Abrams

A website redesign is like a Hollywood movie reboot. It really is.

There have been two attempts to reboot the cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars. George Lucas gave us three prequels that, while generating some \$2.5 billion in box office worldwide, were largely reviled for their lack of magic and stunted acting. Now JJ Abrams is rebooting with a sequel to the series called Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Redesigning your website should be seen as a reboot of your online properties as well. Watch The JJ Abrams School of Website Redesign, and learn how to avoid creating a Phantom Menace when the Force Awakens for your website.

This is not the first reboot that JJ Abrams has helmed as visionary and director. We’ve got his incredibly successful treatments of the Star Trek franchise to consider as well.

Don’t Just Blow Things Up

The problem we have with the popular Responsive Web Design strategies is that you must change everything in order to create a “mobile-friendly” website. Responsive designs are programmed to make decisions about page content when smaller screens are encountered.

Many of these decisions are wrong, and we’ll cover them in our webinar.

Your responsive design may be creating the equivalent of Jar-Jar Binks, a figure hated perhaps more than Darth Vader himself. In the webinar, we’ll show you how what happens when redesigns go bad.

Bring Back Beloved Characters

George Lucas managed to work merchandisable characters R2-D2 and C-3PO into the prequels, as well as beloved Obi-Wan Kenobi. But these characters didn’t create the esprit décor that the original ensemble did. In Star Trek, Abrams brought back young versions of the entire ensemble: Kirk, Bones, Scotty, and even two Spocks. Chekov, Sulu and Uhura were thrown in for good measure.

Your website is an ensemble cast of pages and experiences. Your landing pages need to prime buyers to get through the subscription process. Your category pages have to drive visits to product pages that entice visitors to add to cart.

Huge amounts of data is available very cheaply. Use it to know what to keep or suffer the consequences.

Don’t Create Any Jar-Jars

You don’t want to create any Jar-Jar Binks features during your redesign.

I’m sure George Lucas was certain that the Jar-Jar Binks character introduced in the Phantom Menace would be a beloved, merchandisable character. He was wrong. Abrams introduced Keenser, a (thankfully) silent alien who was Scotty’s sidekick in the first Star Trek reboot. However, he didn’t rely on this character for comedic relief nearly as much as Lucas did with Jar-Jar.

The cost to create the all-CGI Jar-Jar was huge, and probably took resources that could have been used elsewhere in the movie.

Unless you’re testing your way into your redesign, you are going to create some Jar-Jars in your redesign. These are features that you believe in, but that are rejected by your visitors. Don’t over-invest in these new experiences without testing them first.

Have A Reason for Radical Changes

Every website has return visitors. Your website, no matter how ugly you believe it to be, has visitors who feel at home there, enjoying a comfortable familiarity. They’ve invested the time to understand your site, to make it theirs. When you change it, they’ll be pissed.

These visitors need some rationale for your removal of familiar features and the addition of new ones. Avoid the pro-innovation bias, which is a tendency to change things because they are cool. Your returning visitors won’t think they are cool.

Even simple parallax animations are dangerous. It’s a technical error waiting for the wrong browser.

Don’t let your design firm add any “alien” features to your site. For example, parallax design causes animates to occur as your visitors scroll through the site. It’s the web equivalent of Jar-Jar.

Parallax design elements are like the blinking text of 1990s era websites. Or the Jar-Jar Binks of the Web.

In the Webinar, we’ll show you how to find out what is and isn’t necessary in your particular redesign.

This ain’t your father’s Star Trek.

JJ Abrams brought whole new segments into the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises. For Star Trek, he cast young heartthrobs Zak Quinto, Chris Pine,  and Zoe Saldana in key roles. This brought a younger, hipper audience to the Star Trek universe. Star Wars: The Force Awakens features females in key hero and villain roles.

1. Keeping your existing visitor segments happy.

2. Engaging new segments that need what you offer.

There is no such thing as an “average visitor” to your site. Design should specifically target key segments. These segments should not just be demographic as much as needs based. Segment by device type, by geography, by whether they are at work or play, or by the kinds of search terms they are using. Target segments at different stages of your funnel.

The death of a redesign is guaranteed if you design for the “average” visitor or design for yourself. See below.

Avoid Executive Influence

After several significant successes, J.J. Abrams has considerable freedom to do what he wants. He ignored all of George Lucas’s ideas for the new Star Wars movie and took it in his own direction.

The executives that you report to will want to have a say in the redesign. Statements like, “I would never respond to that!” are poisonous to the process, unless you site is targeted at them.

Abrams didn’t get such freedom until he had a win under his belt. Your ace in the whole is research and data. If your redesign is questioned, you better have the studies, heatmaps, split test, and analytics you need to make your case.

If you don’t have this information, you’re not likely to have a success anyway. You may want your executives to attend our webinar.

Lens Flair Comes Last

Only after you’ve considered all of these key issues can you put your own unique stamp on the site design. Abrams has a thing for lens flair in his movies.

But none of this means anything unless you have beloved features in your new site, avoid adding Jar-Jar Binks experiences and address your visitors segment by segment.

Attend our free Webinar The JJ Abrams School of Website Redesign and make sure your next redesign isn’t a Star Wars prequel.

Turn a 10 Second Ecommerce Transaction into 10 Minutes

If you’ve ever read the book The Design of Everyday Things you may recall one of the stories. It tells of a typist asked to evaluate the design of a new keyboard. She reported back to the keyboard designer that she liked the new design and didn’t find any faults with it. The designer asked if they could watch her use it. What they observed was that she kept making a particular typing error over and over again.
The new design had moved some keys around, so the typist kept hitting the wrong key. She was used to the old layout. When they asked her about it, she blamed herself and not the design because the key was clearly labeled.

I Blame Myself

A couple of weeks ago, my favorite artist released a new album. It’s always a long time in coming, so album release day felt like Christmas morning to me. I even woke up early, ready to download it and spend my whole morning listening to it.
After about a decade of not spending money on music, I decided 2015 is the year I wanted to start doing it again. This year I also bought Taylor Swift’s newest album and the soundtrack for a deeply cool movie, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. I bought both on Google Play, and as we mentioned in a different post, spending money on Google Play is distressingly easy.
When I went to work buying Joanna Newsom’s latest, I expected a similarly unremarkable experience. I thought two taps to purchase and one tap to play would get the job done. But her album wasn’t for sale on Google Play, so I decided to buy it directly from her record label, Drag City.

Joanna Newsom’s artist page was my first touchpoint with Drag City

I couldn’t actually remember the name of her record label, so I got there by a search, and I bypassed the homepage entirely. My first impression of the page was positive but ultimately irrelevant since I knew that I would definitely be spending my money on this website regardless of my experience because I really wanted this album, and it wasn’t readily available everywhere.

Strategic Use of Invisibility

After a moment I saw that there isn’t a buy button anywhere on this page, nor are there any prices. Apparently, I needed to find a product page to get to that information. Like most people comfortable with technology, I scan and click links quickly and with little thought.
I ended up in a loop where I clicked “Joanna Newsom” two or three times before my brain caught up with my finger. I was just taking myself back to the same page over and over again.

I needed to find my way to the product page, but I kept ending up back on the artist page.

The page I wanted was strategically hidden behind the album image and the name of the album. Despite the page’s every attempt, I made my way to the product page. This wasn’t to be the last time I felt sheepish.

This Product Page is FLACed Up

Not everyone is going to find their way back like I did.
My search told me that I don’t care enough to know more about FLAC downloads to spend an extra dollar, so I selected MP3 and moved on to the next step.

The Payment Method Shell Game

Technical errors are always a problem. In this case, the inconsistency happened in the all-important cart. Sometimes when I visited my cart, I was given the option to purchase with Paypal. Sometimes it wasn’t.

Option 1: No PayPal

Option 2: Checkout with PayPal

I saw both of these screens in the process of writing this article. If I didn’t feel like I absolutely needed this album right this instant, I would have just bailed without a PayPal option. For some people it’s the borrowed trust that the PayPal logo provides that would cause them to stay. If I have to get off my couch and find my credit card to buy something, I can probably live without it.
Since I was borderline desperate, I journeyed onward regardless, perhaps even going so far as to walk across the room to fetch my purse.

I had high hopes that I was almost done using this website when I got to this page.

The first time I went through this process my purchase was a cinch. Replicating it for this post didn’t go the same way, however. The first time around I created a new account and moved on. I assumed it would be even more straightforward after I had my own account.
When I logged in with my new account, however, I wasn’t taken to the next step in the purchase process. I was taken to Drag City’s homepage.
So here is how they treat return buyers: Find music. Add music to cart. Click checkout. Login. Get sent back to the beginning.
I thought it was because I typed my password incorrectly. It felt like I had done something wrong. I felt bad. Being a returning customer is not nearly as easy as being a new one, apparently. I persevered.

When I finally made it to the through to a screen thanking me for my purchase, I didn’t know what do from there. Where was my download? How was I going to be able to listen to my album? Had I just sent my ten bucks into cyberspace never to be seen again?
I searched through Drag City’s FAQs and even tried to find a customer forum where I could find the answer to those questions, but I came up with nothing. My emailed receipt also got me nowhere. I returned to the browser where I ended my purchase to see if I’d missed a message telling me what to do next, but that also left me empty-handed.
Me dumb. That is the message.
I ended up emailing their customer service to ask what was up, but I felt incredibly stupid about it. I felt self-conscious, like I’m sure my dad feels when he calls me for the seventh time to ask how to use his TV remote, but it seemed like the only option. And dang, after all it took to get there, I couldn’t just give up.
My story ends rather anticlimactically because about an hour later, I got an email back letting me know that I would receive my download via email, and I should please let them know if I didn’t receive it. I had indeed received it – but about ten minutes before customer service got back to me. It was weird.
It was great customer service with a quick response, but I prefer not to feel like an idiot, even if it results in a kind email from a stranger.
You may think it’s not fair to compare a small business website to an e-tail juggernaut like Amazon, but it is. If I had decided I didn’t want to support Drag City, using Amazon would have been so much easier. Amazon loves taking people’s money, and Drag City makes it feel like a burden.

My Amazon search result for the same album

Just my search result on Amazon gave me more information than Drag City’s entire Joanna Newsom page. And notice the “Available for download now” message. The last time I spent money on a digital download from Amazon was probably about five years ago when I purchased an episode of Vampire Diaries, and even that long ago, the whole process went very smoothly. I definitely didn’t have to wait an hour for an email.

Who is to blame for negative shopping experiences?

Re-living my buying experience in excruciating detail began to make me think “I don’t know why this bothered me at the time. It seems pretty obvious in hindsight.”
Some websites have very poor design, and users will openly criticize it, but others have design flaws that are subtle. After spending a few minutes using the navigation and thinking about the purpose of the page, a visitor will figure it out, but they may blame their own alleged stupidity for being slow on the uptake.
It’s one reason that self-reporting is so notoriously inaccurate: the reasons we think we behave a certain way aren’t always clear. It’s also why tools like heat maps are so eye-opening. It’s also why I was mad that I got up early on Nerdy-Christmas Morning only to have this experience be the thing that woke me up.

Feature image by greg westfall. via Compfight cc and adapted for this post.

How to Design an Awesome Online Quiz to Drive Sales

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

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

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

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.

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

•

• 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.

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.

• 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

•

• 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Are your PPC ads plaid and your landing pages polka dots? That is, are your PPC ads and landing pages in alignment? Check out these great tips and maximize conversions.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a highly effective way to get your products in front of new prospective customers and drive sales, but only when campaigns are set up with the right touch. Depending on what keywords you want to target with your bids, search ads are generally not prohibitively expensive, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of blowing through your budget on PPC without justifying your media spend with enough sales.

The PPC management mistakes that most commonly ruin advertisers’ chances of respectable ROI involve text mismatches. All too often, an ad’s keyword settings do not match the language used in the ad’s creative, or the landing page content does not match the language used in the ad’s creative.

Search marketing spending in the US from 2014 to 2019.

Why Matching Terminology Matters

If you’re not matching terminology on your landing page to your PPC ads, you’re wasting money and losing clients.

Successful PPC marketing hinges on continuity across all touch points. Web searchers enter search terms into Google based on a need they are trying to fulfill. By the time users have formulated their queries as lines of text, they have already been forced to think about what they’re looking for as being specific to certain terminology. Thus, if your message is going to resonate with them, it has to use the very same terminology.

Google users naturally gravitate towards organic search results. To catch people’s eyes, your ad needs to convey that it addresses the exact issue that the searcher is trying to solve. What’s more, search terms that appear within ad copy appear in bold letters, adding to their visibility and click-throughs.

When people click on the ad, they are expecting to find a matching solution on the other end. You know that dirty feeling you get when you click on a content headline that over-promises and the article ultimately under-delivers? That’s a similar feeling to what happens when there’s a disconnect between search ad copy and landing page copy.

When you get that feeling, you’re unlikely to do business with whoever gave it to you. And that’s why it’s so important that the landing page refer to the exact need at hand and offer an appropriate solution, all using the same terminology. This is one of those landing page best practices that tends to be right every single time.

PPC Ads and Landing Pages in Alignment: The Power of Maximized Continuity

If a customer searches for “cyan polo shirt summer sale” and you show him an ad for “men’s clothing,” he is not likely to click on it, even though your online store might very well offer cyan polo shirts in the men’s section. Even ad creative touting a “blue polo shirt” product won’t perform as well as the phrase “cyan polo shirt” would – the closer to an exact match you can get, the more effective your ads will be.

Use the word “cyan” to describe the color of this shirt, not just “blue”.

The same principle applies to matching ad copy with landing page copy. If your ad promises a “cyan polo shirt summer sale” but you send people to your homepage, where there are 25 different apparel products being showcased and no trace of any type of sale, the visitor is likely to bounce out extremely quickly.

Customized Ecommerce Text Variations

Using standardized language across your website is necessary to maintain an atmosphere of professional polish and so that your internal search engine will work well. On the other hand, when you set up your search ad campaigns, you should be performing some extensive keyword research to reveal all of the alternate wording that people use for the same thing.

Going back to the same example, you may learn that people often search for polo shirts that are “sapphire,” “teal,” or “turquoise,” which are all reasonably close matches to the “cyan” that appears on your product pages. It totally makes sense to bid on ads to appear on search results for “sapphire polo shirt,” but in cases like these, you may want to create alternate versions of your product pages that only visitors referred by this specific ad will see.

Just make sure to keep these variations out of sight of the search engines, so you won’t get penalized for duplicate content – and out of sight in the website navigation, so visitors do not get confused. Apply a meta “No Index” tag to the head of the landing page to make sure that variations don’t get indexed. Better yet, make sure all your PPC ad campaign landing pages are noindex, follow. Until you have chosen the one you would like to drive organic traffic to.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

A helpful tool in this process is a Google Adwords feature called Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). This tool will adjust your ad text to reflect keywords in the user’s search, potentially accomplishing the same goals we just discussed.

Wordstream ran a case study testing the effectiveness of DKI with a client, and found that using this strategy had the following results:

• Impressions dropped 6%
• Click-through-rate (CTR) increased by 55%
• Conversions increased by an incredible 228%

DKI more than tripled conversions.

The results speak for themselves.

In the context of continuity, the key is to have a very small number of keywords in your ad groups. For top performers, you may even want to use Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS).

If your offer is for a service, a B2B product or something otherwise relatively expensive, then you don’t need to send visitors to ecommerce-integrated product pages at all. In these cases, a sparser landing page is likely to perform better, and it’s easy and inexpensive to create new versions of your landing pages for each keyword combination that you bid for.

Landing pages like these are generally aimed at capturing leads rather than driving sales, since major purchases require more pre-sale relationship building to establish trust and to educate prospects. Many of the better marketing platforms available in the open market offer modules for both landing page creation and autoresponder marketing emails.

A campaign of this type takes into account that the prospect is having trouble balancing his or her household budget, and it offers a quick and easy solution that also positions the advertiser as a trustworthy expert in the field of family finance. This paves the way for follow-up messaging.

Another benefit of this type of hyper-specific targeting is that it allows marketers to segment the entire customer journey and serve up nurturing emails that match the subscriber’s specific interests. A post-campaign analysis of the relevant conversion data can reveal which segments represent the advertiser’s most valuable customers, thereby informing subsequent marketing strategies.

Doesn’t Have to Be a Bottomless Pit

You do need a landing page for every important ad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should set up hundreds of landing pages. Instead, focus your campaign on a select number of lead nurture audience personas (three or four) and create an ad that’s optimized to speak to each one of them. Create a unique landing page for each of these ads and set up an autoresponder to send follow-up emails with relevant content to each persona.

If you’re marketing an ecommerce property with a diverse product line and a shopping cart system, start by trying these tactics for just a few products. If it serves you well, then you can focus on making your work flow scalable down the road.

PPC campaigns that are set up for maximum terminology variations are likely to enjoy boosted conversion rates and revenues, so that ad dollars are less likely to go to waste.

Graph image by Statista (via Skitch)

Close the Conversion Gap. Cater to the Impulse Purchase

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.

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.

Impulse buyers aren’t the crazed shoppers that can be found assaulting each other in the Walmart on Black Friday.
Impulse buyers aren’t the crazed shoppers that can be found assaulting each other in the Walmart on Black Friday. 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

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

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.

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 (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?

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

First tap

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!

On mobile, fewer people are doing research.  They’re either buying, or they’re leaving.  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.

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?

5 Smart Calls-to-Action That Make Visitors Click

Companies will typically spend \$92 to bring customers to their site, but only \$1 to convert them. Traffic is only half the solution to a successful online business.
If you’re putting 90% of your effort into driving traffic to your site, and minimal effort into optimizing your site for conversions then you may as well throw off the lab coat right now.
Like any great scientific experiment, you need to include the right elements to create a winning formula. And when it comes to a winning conversion formula, nothing screams “Sale!” more than a good call-to-action (CTA).
On paper the equation looks easy. Create a clear CTA for a product that delivers, and you’ll achieve sales.

So why is it that 47% of websites don’t have a CTA that can be found within 3 seconds or less?
So why is it that 47% of websites don’t have a CTA that can be found within 3 seconds or less? You shouldn’t expect a customer to take action if you haven’t made it abundantly, painfully, overwhelmingly clear what you want them to do. This is one reason many sites are losing the precious visitors they’ve struggle to bring to the site.
Take a look at these smart calls-to-action with tips on how to use them effectively – from the homepage – right through to the sale.

#1. How to get people to sign up for an account: Basecamp

Basecamp’s CTA

Basecamp is a product that has enjoyed amazing online success year after year. Look at the Basecamp homepage and notice where your eyes are drawn first. Yup, it’s the call-to-action. It stands out like a sore thumb.
The minimalist design of the page really makes the sign up button pop. It’s a huge block of color, surrounded by white space. The key here is that the dark color of blue isn’t used anywhere else on the page, so it is the most visually “important” thing on the page.
Your pages should make it visually clear what path the visitor should take in order to move to the next step in their journey to conversion.

#2. How to get people interested in your product: MyOwnBike

CTA to design your bike on MyOwnBike

Smart CTAs even transcend language barriers. You don’t have to speak Germany to understand what it wants you to do.
As soon as you jump on the MyOwnBike homepage, you are invited to start designing your own bike via some persuasive writing techniques.
Again, a minimalist design is centered around the product image with a prominent call-to-action begging the visitor to click. And once clicked, the visitor gets to design their own bike and watch it transform in front of their very eyes – making it fun and engaging.
It’s a no-nonsense approach that relies solely on design to show the visitor what they should do next.

#3. How to push people to the product page: Asos

Shopping option CTAs on Asos

Sometimes, the CTA need only put the visitor on the right path. The CTA on the homepage of Asos does an excellent job of getting the visitor into the right part of the site. Visitors are split into two, males and females. To tackle this problem, Asos features two huge CTAs that lets the visitor pick which gender they would like to shop for.
This is a smart and simple way to move shoppers through to the category pages, where they’ll hopefully refine their search further and find exactly what they’re looking for.
The usual principles of a strong call-to-action apply, of course. The page uses liberal amounts of white space. Branding and navigation elements are black. This ensures the ‘View Women/View Men’ buttons clearly stand out in a vibrant blue color.

#4. How to push people to the checkout: Amazon

Your CTAs shouldn’t compete. One CTA should is ideal, but you often need to add more than one CTA. This is where it becomes a little trickier to refine your CTAs. Competing CTAs cause confusion and friction. A secondary offer on the page may cannibalize conversions from the primary, more desirable offer.
The Amazon product page uses color and position to achieve this on its product pages.

Two examples of Amazon’s primary and secondary CTAs

When a shopper is debating whether to buy they have two options:

2. Add to wishlist – the secondary

The clear option is for the shopper to add the product to their basket so they can checkout. But if the visitor is hesitating, the ‘add to wish list’ button gives the visitor a back up option. Rather than losing that visitor to a competitor, Amazon chooses to provide a lower-commitment option.
The color and button size of the primary CTA sends powerful signals about what a visitor should do. And if you look at the contrast between the primary and secondary calls-to-action, you can see how much more attractive the primary option is.
The key here is to use a clear visual hierarchy with your primary and secondary CTAs, to push them towards the sale.

#5. How to make the sale: BarkBox

Once you click ‘get started’ on the BarkBox homepage, the journey from the product to the checkout page is simple, clear and most importantly, engaging.
First, using fun illustrations you select the size of your dog.

Barkbox’s visual tactic leading you to the sale

The call to action here is “Select Dog Size.” It is not presented on a button or link.
The next step asks visitors to select a monthly plan. Notice how the most expensive plan is highlighted as the best value.

Barkbox’s monthly plans

You’re then given the option to treat your dog to a toy. Notice how the ‘Yes Please’ option is highlighted automatically.

Barkbox’s upgrade option offers both a positive and negative call to action.

In general humans are reluctant to say “No,” so the negative call to action, “No, thank you.” may actually reinforce the primary call to action, “Yes, please!”

The call to action is “Create Your Account”

By clicking on, “Next,” you’ll be taken to the shipping and payment page. This page is crucial to closing the sale, and as you can see from BarkBox, they really hit the nail on the head. They don’t ask for more details than necessary, and they don’t include any hidden charges – a reason why 70% of shoppers on most sites abandon their carts.

The form asks for minimal information to complete the sale

The key takeaway here is that calls to action rarely stand alone. The process of purchasing is a series of calls to action, each of which may or may not be a button or link.
Top tip for your checkout page: If you need to use a multi-step process then use a visual progress indicator like a progress bar so customers can manage their expectations regarding how long it will take.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see from these powerful examples, the CTA is clear, each standing out clearly on the page, and each having an intended purpose. By using contrasting colors, on a clean and simple web page, you’ll make your CTAs stand out and guide your visitors to the sale.

Bryan Robinson is a Digital Business Analyst in charge of Marketing for the Commerce division at Spark Pay. He specializes in Lead Generation, PPC and SEM, while also overseeing content production for Spark Pay online store. He has also started and flipped his own eCommerce websites for over 10 years.

Online retailer iNature Skincare® sponsored a video that turned into a phenomenon.

Released on October 29, 2014, the Comfortable: 50 People 1 Question video had garnered over 4 million views within two weeks.

Unfortunately, sales did not rise as much as one would think. Why not? It is not uncommon for viral videos to fail as buy-ral videos.

We took a look at their site and felt that they hadn’t mapped the visitors journey appropriately.

The Visitor’s Journey

In this case the visitor’s journey starts with being moved by the video. It should then move to becoming aware of the brand, to understanding why the brand sponsored this video, to considering their products, and then to purchase.

I feel good. I want to feel good some more.

After viewing the video, we feel pretty good. Or sad. Or nostalgic. These feelings aren’t typical when considering skin care products.

As viewers, our first response is to get more of this feeling. The most common way to extend the feeling is to share with others. This is clearly happening.

However, iNature Skincare should be enabling this next step. I would have liked to know why iNature sponsored this video.

How does my feeling relate to the sponsor?

iNature Skincare’s viral video is benefiting other brands, brands not nearly as closely aligned with it.

For me, PS Print is getting the love from this video because they are advertising here. This is most likely a retargeted ad. I think iNature Skincare should be here.

Other advertisers are getting the benefit of this viral video through advertising.

My recommendation was that iNature Skincare should ask the producer to add an overlay or advertise on the video with a message that says, “Why did iNature Skincare asked 50 people this question? Our story.” This would run before the filmmaker, Jubilee Project had a chance to make their pitch at the end.

This ad would allow visitors to take the next step in the journey. If you were producing such a video, you would want to use the end of the video to bring the viewers to the next step.

The ad would need to bring the visitor to a page that answered the question posed.

The page should communicate that there was a reason for the effort, and tie the message to it’s products. We really don’t have to work too hard to do this. The message, in words and pictures would be:

We chose to sponsor this video because one of the people interviewed was clearly impacted as a child by acne and eczema. Our products could have helped. We’re still working on the Mermaid Tail.

If I have skin problems, my next question should be, “Really? How?”

The sponsor can solve a problem I have.

iNature Skincare has strong proof of the effectiveness of its products. It has an award-winning package design that lends it credibility. But we must honor the visitor’s journey.

Now is the time to begin building out the company’s value proposition in words and images.

I felt that the compelling proof found in a study was their most powerful statement of the power of the product. This study was small. Eight babies were treated with their product and the results measured on two scales. The before and after pictures are available on the site.

This page offers compelling evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the products. Click for full image.

The results on this page are unclear, but the pictures are powerful. The product is effective and save enough for babies.

What product did this? Unfortunately, iNature Skincare leaves the visitor hanging on this page. This is an ideal time to introduce the product that had such an impact and offer more information. This could be done in the right sidebar area of the page.

A mockup of the Consumer Study page with a next step for the visitor.

I can afford the product that solves my problem.

The visitor now needs to do a cost/benefit calculation. It’s time to introduce the product and complete the value building process. For iNature Skincare, the product page does a good job.

I recommended putting a picture of the product used and a link to learn more about the product. The page that featured the product was imperfect, but provided a good deal of information.

The iNature Skincare product page.

This was a good next step because after providing the product information and the price, the presented the next step in the visitor’s journey.

Should I buy now? Can I delay?

The next step in the journey is the choice. So far, the question in the visitor’s mind – “Should I go on?” – has been an easy one to answer. Each click offered more relevant information in the journey.

Visitors that don’t have skin problems have fallen away. Now we are talking to those who need our product.

It’s time to bring them to choice.

This is the job of the call-to-action button. For most ecommerce sites, “Add to Cart” tests well as the call to action. It is presented here in bold read.

This is the traditional next step in the buyer’s journey for ecommerce sites.

The button is very wide, and almost doesn’t look like a clickable button. It also lies well down the page. It could be missed. Nonetheless, it offers a natural next step in the visitor’s journey, an important final step.

If, at this point, the visitor does not purchase, then we can assume that

b) we didn’t do a good enough job of building value

Price is rarely the issue. When I tell you that your product is too expensive, they mean that you didn’t do a good enough job explaining the value to me.

Could iNature Skincare entice more of these lost visitors to buy?

The Complete Journey

We’ve mapped out a journey from first exposure through to purchase.

1. A good feeling from branded content
2. Discovering a brand that shares my values
3. The realization that the brand solves a problem I have
4. Understanding the product’s value proposition
6. Finalizing the transaction

Each point along the way holds an opportunity for optimization. Here are some opportunities for iNature Skincare to improve these waypoints.

Let Your Visitors Find Their Own Journey

For many visitors, we will not know where their journey started. So, we have to make it easy for them to create their own journey.

iNature Skincare as a non-standard design. The navigation bar is in a sticky band along the bottom, instead of along the top as is expected by most visitors.

This cuts 110 pixels off of the page height, space which could be used to further the value proposition.

The floating navigation bar at the bottom of the takes up precious space.

Every page on the site needs to offer a next step toward evaluating the products. There are no next steps on the Our Story, About, Dry Skin or Before and After pages.

Every page should answer a question and continue the journey.

If you are stuck on designing your buyer journey, I recommend you buy Buyer Legends from Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg. They outline a process for laying out powerful stories that marketers can actually implement.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

• 43 Pages with Examples
• Assumptive Phrasing
• "We" vs. "You"
• Pattern Interrupts
• The Power of Three
• This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Using Risk Reversal to Increase Ecommerce Sales: If You’ve Got it Flaunt It

There’s an old (and probably sexist) saying that I often apply to many online marketing decisions.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, flaunt it more.

The online store Magic Of Fire has “it.”

• A great product or service.
• A bona fide value proposition.
• Top people working behind the scenes.
• Customers who will tell your story.
• A great guarantee, warranty or return policy.

We have a scientific name for guarantees, warranties and generous return policies: Risk Reversal.

Magic of Fire offered an amazing guarantee. It goes something like this:

“Shipping is free. If you trust us enough to buy from us, we promise that, if you have any issues with your product or our service, we’ll pay to ship your item back at our expense and refund your purchase price.”

Now, can you find this promise on their product page?

Magic of Fire Ecommerce Product Page

I put it through our Scanning Electron Microscope and eventually found a “Free Shipping” logo near the bottom of the page. I eventually found a link to their return policy, with the text “100% Satisfaction.”

Cliche is not flaunting. Avoid language like “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “No Risk” and “No obligation.” These no longer mean anything.

If you’ve got it flaunt it.

Risk Reversal Means Never Having to Say Goodbye

When you purchase from a glass and cement store (nothing is brick and mortar anymore), you know that you have an easy out if you don’t like what you bought. You’ll march right in there, slam it down on the customer service desk and demand your money.

Not so much online.

This makes buyers delay hitting that checkout button. They procrastinate, surf other parts of your site and wait for circumstance to save them from making the final decision.

This is especially true if you’ve done a poor job building trust and credibility with your site. The fear is that they will get a lump of coal deposited on their doorstep when they expected a snuggly with a heart-shaped pattern. And they will have no store to storm into.

It sounds “risky.”

Relational buyers will fear getting stuck with the wrong product.

Transactional buyers fear that shipping fees will ruin their great deal, especially if they want to return it (and they will return anything they don’t like).

“Risk reversal” turns “risky” into “safe.”

I recommended that Magic of Fire bring their fantastic return policy right up next to the Add to Cart button on their all-important product pages. I also recommended that they make their free shipping available all over the site, especially in the checkout process.

These two changes alone should deliver a significant boost in conversion rates and revenue per visit.

Does Risk Reversal Really Work?

Magic of Fire’s Mark Oakley called me for a free consultation. After meeting Mark over Skype and hearing his shipping and return policies, I bought a beautiful “star and moon” fire pit for my house.

Zappos has the most famous risk reversal story in the online world. Their 365 day return policy with shipping both ways is one reason their sales reached \$1 billion in ten years. That’s amazing growth for a commodity apparel store.

Are you flaunting it?

This is just one mistake that businesses make when selling online.

Businesses who have great products or services with amazing value propositions and great reputations continue to struggle online.

We’re the people who change that.

Jump on a call with us at (888) 961-6604. It’s free, and we’ll show you how much money you could be making with our 120-day Conversion Catalyst™ program.

Update

Mark has apparently taken my advice to heart, placing his free shipping offer all over the site and adding risk reversal near his “Add to Cart” button.

Magic of Fire sitewide free shipping offer.

The feature free shipping in a visible place on the product pages as well.

Magic of Fire free shipping offer on the Product Page.

Want to find out how this turns out? Subscribe to The Conversion Scientist.

Let me put a finer point on the concept of “flaunting.” This is flaunting:

This 20 second design may not match your brand, but you should strive to find something that pops for something as important as your risk reversal.

I’ll give a free signed book to anyone who can tell me in the comments where I heard “If you’ve got it flaunt it. If you don’t flaunt it more.”

Selling Visual Products Online: Case Study

How important are images to your landing page? The formula we use in our Chemistry of a Successful Landing Page includes the element “Image” as a necessary component. At the heart of this is the need for the visitor to imagine owning the product or service. That’s right, even services.
For some, it’s difficult to “show the product.” If you’re offering an expensive software solution or consulting service, how do you communicate what it will be like to own that? Screen shots, flow charts and explainer videos are typical go-to solutions.
Lazy designers drop happy, smiling people on the page. Avoid this business porn.
At the other end of the spectrum is the visual product or service. Photographers, artists, decorators and designers have a portfolio of past work to help visitors imagine buying from them.
Vacation Beach Portraits is such a visual business, and they have some test results that offer some insights. I love it when small businesses take up testing.
Vacation Beach Portraits takes family portraits of tourists to the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores areas of Alabama. The beautiful white beaches and sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico offer an ideal setting.
The folks at Vacation Beach Portraits tried testing a landing page against their home page, a blog filled with samples of their work.

The Vacation Beach Portraits home page was full of delicious images showing off the work.

Then landing page features a prominent call to action and portfolio video.

The home page was a long scrolling collection of pictures from recent shoots. Load time can significantly decrease conversion rate on pages like this. However, though lazy-loading of the images allowed me to start viewing images immediately.
The landing page, built using Unbounce, provided an explainer video with samples from their portfolio. It is shorter and features a bulleted list of benefits as part of the copy.

Serial Test

This local business will have few transactions each month. Therefore, Jason Odom of Vacation Beach Portraits did tests in series.
From May 1-15, he sent his search traffic to the landing page.
From May 16-31 he sent his search traffic to the home page.

Comparison of visits to inquiries shows a 42.1% increase in conversion rate for the home page. However, this is not statistically valid. Source: ABTestGuide.com

Given the relatively low number of clicks and inquiries, the two pages converted at the same rate statistically. When testing low-traffic sites, we are looking for treatments that beat the control by large margins — 50% or 100%.
In this test, the home page generated 42% more inquiries and 105% more paying clients. Neither of these results was statistically significant, though. The sample sizes were just too low.

Anytime we hear that people are sending “store-bought” traffic to their home page, we roll our eyes. We are almost always able to improve conversions by sending visitors to a landing page.
In this case that didn’t happen. What’s the deal?
Two hypotheses emerged from this test.
1. The long page full of gorgeous pictures found on the home page is what visitors want.
2. The clear call to action found on the landing page kept it in the running.
For their next test, we recommended either adding a bunch of these big gorgeous pictures to the landing page, or adding a call to action button at intervals down the home page.
The quality of the images in the landing page video was lower than the full-width photos found on the home page.
When someone decides they want an amazing family photo like those shown, a button with “Schedule Your Photo Session” is exactly what they will be looking for.

Other Considerations

There were some additional hypotheses we felt would improve the performance of these pages.

This font is pretty, but very hard to read.

Beach Clothing Color Ideas is at the bottom.

The navigation on the site was not particularly logical. The very helpful navigation item “what to wear” seems to link to anything but topics on what to wear. Every link on a site should keep its promise.
Making the phone number more apparent my close the time it takes to book a client from the web or landing page. We find that adding the phone number to the headline (yes, the headline) will significantly increase calls without depressing form fills.