reviews

Do online reviews really matter, and do they make a difference to your business? The answer is yes, they absolutely do.
Consumers increasingly use reviews left by other consumers as part of their pre-purchase research efforts, and a bad review can have serious effects on your sales.
Herd shopping psychology plays an ever effect on consumers’ behavior online. Groupon is a wonderful example of that, with deals kicking in only if a certain amount of people pay for them. Research shows that the more people have already opted in on a deal, the likelier it is new visitors will commit to it.
User reviews are not so far removed from this phenomenon.

Over 80% of people said that positive reviews would encourage them to purchase a product. The same number of people changed their minds about purchasing after reading as little as one or two negative reviews.

Fake & Negative Reviews

Unfortunately, fake reviews exist, and they exist in a massive abundance. Competitors have been known to leave bad reviews on products posing as disgruntled customers, That is why more needs to be done to help consumers identify a fake review.

You are bound to get a negative review at some point during your business career. That’s simply the reality and nature of the world. It can be devastating for a business, but most people recognize that everyone makes mistakes. A couple of bad reviews aren’t going to put the nail in your coffin and close your business down.

Here are just some of the facts why online reviews are not to be ignored:

  • 68% of millennials trust online reviews, with positive ones producing an 18% average uplift in sales
  • Consumer reviews are more trusted than descriptions that come from other manufacturers, nearly 12 times more.
  • 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business which means these decisions being made are made quickly, without much hesitation.
  • The top five industries to be affected negatively by online reviews are restaurants, hotels, doctor’s offices, hospitals and hair salons.

Negative reviews aren’t all bad; these have been known to create a buzz around your business and increase its exposure, unlike fake reviews that have been so outlandishly obviously fake and ridiculous that they go viral.
Want to learn more about how online reviews can make or break your business? Check out our infographic.

User Reviews are the King

User Reviews are the King

About the Author

Josh Wardini, Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at websitebuilder.org. With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies.

Here are several questions about applying conversion science to ecommerce sites. These questions came from the sponsors of the GP Ecommerce Summit in Bucharest, Romania.

  1. Can we consider Conversion Rate Optimization a real science?

What defines a science? The Scientific Method.

  1. Assume we know nothing about a problem
  2. Research it
  3. Develop hypotheses
  4. Select the most likely hypothesis for testing
  5. Design a test that isolates that hypothesis
  6. Run the test using sound statistical methods
  7. Evaluate with post-test analysis
  8. Draw a conclusion
  9. Use the new information to formulate new hypotheses
  10. Repeat

I’ve just described our six month Conversion Catalyst process to you. We “science the sh*t” out of websites. Without the science, we make bad decisions, emotional decisions, decisions based on superstition and myth.
There is also a component of sport in conversion optimization. We are in this to win. While we must be objective, we like to find revenue and hate when our tests are inconclusive.

  1. What are the first steps you have to take if you wish to increase your conversion rate on your e-commerce website?

My recommendation is that ecommerce sites focus on the value proposition their offering. This is a combination of your categories (what you sell), your shipping policy, your return policy and your brand.
Zappos built an amazing online brand by putting its value proposition front and center, “Free shipping both ways. 365 day return policy. Empowered customer support people.”
What is your value proposition? Fast delivery? Local manufacturing? Free installation? Donations to charity with every purchase? Emphasize it on your site, in your cart and throughout checkout.

  1. How do you create a good landing page and what are the best ways to test it?

The best landing pages keep the promise of the ad, link or post that brought the visitor there. They make an offer that matches the promise as exactly as possible. They show the product, even if it is a service or a PDF or a video series. Good landing pages provide proof points that are specific and supported by fact. Good landing pages build trust by borrowing from customers and customers. Good landing pages make the call to action the most prominent thing on the page. And good landing pages don’t add any distractions, such as social media icons, links to other pages or corporate site navigation.
This is the chemical equation for landing pages: Offer + Form + Image + Proof + Trust = Landing Page

The chemistry of the landing page

The chemistry of the landing page

  1. Can persuasive writing help you sell more online or do you need more than that? For example, how do you test a good headline?

Most of our biggest wins come from copy changes, like headlines. We are even testing different kinds of testimonials on one site to see which build the most trust. The words are very important. This is related to the value proposition I discuss above. When you learn the emotional language that brings visitors into your site, you learn something about your audience. This insight can be used anywhere.

  1. What is an important point you want to drive home?

There is a wave of ecommerce sites rushing to rebuild their sites using responsive web design (RWD). This is in part due to Google and Mobilegeddon, but few can ignore the growing influence of mobile devices on our revenue. This rush to RWD is a mistake for many businesses who will find themselves with a poorly performing mobile site and a lower conversion rate on their redesigned desktop site. Tragic.
You should embrace your mobile visitors, and there are alternatives to RWD. I’ve seen some redesign horror stories and some pretty amazing success stories. Mobile design is still too new for there to be best practices, but our testing tells us what successful mobile designs should begin to look like.

  1. How do you remember the ecommerce market in the USA from 10 years ago?

Ten years ago, we didn’t have the data tools we have today. We relied much more on qualitative research. Most of my work was building out personas, making content recommendations and working with “best practices”. Google Analytics was young. We had been using server logs to get unreliable data on visitors. Only a few years before I had written my own web analytics package to get an idea of what was working on my sites.
Today, we have amazing qualitative and quantitative tools to uncover problems with our websites. We enjoy powerful testing tools to help us determine exactly what effect our changes will have on our businesses. We are creating revenue in the laboratory using science and creativity. We have moved from the tool-building phase into the human creativity phase. It’s a very exciting time to be an online business.
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What does a landing page have to do to generate more software trials from visitors?
One of the sites I reviewed during my webinar The Science of the Landing Page with Avangate was Mac Mail to Outloook Converter. The primary call to action on this page is to download and try the converter.

Watch the Critique (4:24)

http://conversionsciences.wistia.com/medias/r3fxndpadd?embedType=seo&videoFoam=true&videoWidth=501
You can get a critique of your landing page. Find out how.

The Headline Should Match the Ad

I didn’t have information about what brought the traffic to this page during my critique. If the promise was “Mac Mail to Outlook Converter”, then the headline is perfect. For best results your headline should match the language used in the ad or link that brought the visitor to the page.

The headline should match the promise made in the ad or link that brought the user to this landing page.

The headline should match the promise made in the ad or link that brought the user to this landing page.


Bullets help people scan the copy before they decide to read. However, one of the bullets here contains a bit of jargon. Terms like “native encoding” can leave non-technical buyers scratching their heads.
Bullets are easy to scan. Be careful about using jargon.

Bullets are easy to scan. Be careful about using jargon.

Handling Objections in Copy

[pullquote]The purpose of copy is to anticipate and handle objections to taking action.[/pullquote] This page uses quite a bit of space describing the features and benefits of the product.

Be sure to tell the visitor what they will get if they take action.

Be sure to tell the visitor what they will get if they take action.


Don’t forget to answer the question, “What do I get?” This is the key question and applies to products, content offers, free consultations, etc.

How to Use Screenshots Intelligently

If you put screen shots on your landing pages without explanation, it just looks like… work.

Screenshots can be a powerful way to communicate through images, but rarely can stand on their own.

Screenshots can be a powerful way to communicate through images but can rarely stand on their own.


If you use screenshots, explain the point of the image. Why did you choose to show this image to the visitor?
There are three ways to accomplish this.

        

  1. Add text to the images
  2.     

  3. Add a caption under the images
  4.     

  5. Do both

Testimonials Add Proof and Trust

Testimonials are a great way to prove to the reader that your product works.

Testimonials can provide proof and build trust.

Testimonials can provide proof and build trust.


Testimonials span the gap between proof and trust. Success stories provide proof. I trust this page more because others have had success with the product.

Always Repeat the Offer at the Bottom

Someone who has read to the bottom of the page is probably well-qualified. Repeat the offer there so they can take action.

We call the offer at the bottom of a page the "dripping pan." It requests software trials as well as purchases.

We call the offer at the bottom of a page the “dripping pan.”

Focus on Software Trials or Purchases. Not both.

The split button approach taken on this page may work against them. When there is more than one offer, it is important to help the visitor choose.

Be careful about using non-standard elements on your landing pages. They can confuse visitors. There are two offers: software trials as well and purchases.

Be careful about using non-standard elements on your landing pages. They can add friction.


The page features the trial, so Download is the primary call to action. A treatment de-emphasizing the purchase offer may be better:
A mockup of the how this page could "help the visitor choose."

A mockup of the how this page could “help the visitor choose.”

Choose the Right Button Color

The key when choosing the right button color is to pick a color that is not found elsewhere on the page.

Call to action buttons should stand out on the page. Use color to create contrast with the rest of the page.

Call to action buttons should stand out on the page. Use color to create contrast with the rest of the page.


Notice how green and blue buttons appear more significant on the page than the orange ones.
Here is how a blue "dripping pan" would appear on this page.

Here is how a blue “dripping pan” would appear on this page.

See all of the Critiques

With a few changes, this landing page could be generating a higher number of software trials for the Mac Mail to Outlook Converter.
If you’d like to see all of my critiques please watch the webinar on demand.
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How would you find a 508% increase in leads from your most important landing page? Here’s how Comnio did it.

What Makes Up Your Value Proposition

I’m often asked questions like, “What would you test first on a landing page?” and, “What do you test on landing pages that most often increases conversions?” At Conversion Sciences, we ask ourselves these questions almost every time we start designing a test. When we “place a bet” on a landing page test, we are most likely to start with the value proposition.
The catch is this. [pullquote]Your “value proposition” is communicated by the offer, copy, images and proof. It’s complex.[/pullquote] So, when we say “start with the value proposition,” we’re talking about several potential tests.

Case Study: Comnio

I first came to know Comnio shortly after they had made a change to the over-arching component of their value proposition: the brand promise.
They had originally considered ShtLst.com.

The original concept did a great job of communicating the value proposition in a NSFW way.

The original concept did a great job of communicating the value proposition, but in a NSFW way.


The value proposition starts with, “Keep your company off of peoples’ Sh*t List.” I loved this approach mainly because I got the value prop in a very humorous way. The company uses customer complaints to market their services to companies that need help managing complaints. It’s hard to market a product to corporations that requires (Not Safe For Work) NSFW warnings, however. Here’s the original video (NSFW).
They decided to go with a safer corporate approach, branding the product as Comnio. The more customer complaints they are trusted with, the more businesses they can approach to sell their service.
So, the home page is an important landing page.
When I spoke with Ross Clurman the site offered a straight-forward value proposition to the consumer.
The Comnio home page served as a landing page for people needing customer support.

The Comnio home page served as a landing page for people needing customer support.


Visually, the most important parts of this value proposition are:

       

  1. The company. Note the large logo and company name top center.
  2.    

  3. The features of the service – History tracking, Rapid Response and Friendly Feedback.
  4.    

  5. A chance to offer an Email address. The white field is the most visually distinct item on this page.
  6.    

  7. The white glove treatment. See the large background image.

The Second Evolution

This value proposition didn’t work well, and this lead Ross to reach out to me for a free consultation.
My recommendations for Ross would certainly have been to focus on the company less and on what will happen more and to use a hero image that is more relevant. By September 2015, the home page was taking a different approach, focusing on the service value and defining the steps that make it work.

In September of 2015, this page had a conversion rate of 3.6%.

In September of 2015, this page had a conversion rate of 3.6%.


In this case the “proof” comes in the form of the logos of companies that Comnio has worked with. This can be a very effective way to increase conversions.
In September, the new landing page enjoyed a 3.6% conversion rate with 822 visits over 30 days.

Evolution Number Three

Updated Home Page Design
Again, included full-size version so you can scale down as needed…

The revised page that ran in October 2015 had a conversion rate of 18.3%.

The revised page that ran in October 2015 had a conversion rate of 18.3%.


In October of 2015, Ross’s team launched a new version of the page with a different approach to the value proposition. With just over 1000 visits, this page delivered a mind-blowing 18.3% conversion rate. That’s a 508% increase over September’s version.

What They Changed

The Comnio team changed several things to make their value proposition more effective. In their own words, here’s what they changed.

       

  1. Changed main tagline to explain what we do (as a benefit, not a feature)
  2.    

  3. Added secondary tagline to explain the pains/problems Comnio solves for users
  4.    

  5. Changed email [field] placeholder text from “Email address” to “Enter your email address” (a directive to visitors – people respond to being told what to do)
  6.    

  7. Changed CTA button from “Sign up for free” to “Try Comnio For Free” (resonates, and sounds like less of a commitment if people don’t feel like they’re “signing up” for something)
  8.    

  9. Added social sign-up options
  10.    

  11. Swapped out the position of company logos with the position of testimonials from users
  12.    

  13. Added a gradient line below hero area to separate it from the rest of the page

Which Elements Made the Difference?

Since all changes were made at once, it’s hard to know which contributed most. One of the changes may have even reduced the ultimate conversion rate. I think that, in this case, all elements work together to make one compelling value proposition. The sum is greater than the parts.
By translating the page into prose, we can see clues as to why.

Speak Your Value Proposition

If we were to write the value proposition of each page as a paragraph, you can see why the latter made more sense to visitors.

September Page

“Comnio offers on-demand customer service for any business at any time for free and it works on your smartphone. Just share your feedback. We contact the business and your issue gets resolved. Signup for free and start using Comnio now. We want your email address to sign up for free. Companies that you recognize use us, like beats by dr. dre, Lufthansa, Panasonic and more. You can trust us because @Kane007 tweeted that they are very grateful to us for helping.”

The italicized text is taken from the background image.
I think that this value proposition sounds like it focuses on the businesses, not end-users.

October Page

“Comnio deals with customer service so you don’t have to and it works on your smartphone. Submit your issue. We contact the business and your issue gets resolved. No waiting on hold. No repeating yourself. Just real, good customer service. Enter your email address to try Comnio for free. Or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook. You can trust us because we took just days to fix a problem for JASON that he’d had for years. We work with companies you recognize like beats by dr. dre, Lufthansa, Panasonic and more.”

The addition of “No waiting. No repeating yourself” really drives the point home that this page is for the consumer, and does it in a way that helps the visitor imagine what they are in store for if they do this themselves.
Overall, the new value proposition is more powerful and logical – about five times more powerful.
Our tests are showing that the contents of testimonials are very important. I believe that the message told by JASON is superior the the tweet by @Kane007, especially since JASON sounds like a person.
Finally, the company logos have been moved from the meat of the value proposition to a supporting role. This removed confusion about who this page is for, companies or consumers.

Social Signup Success

The impact of the social sign-up options in the October page is two fold. First it’s easier to do on a mobile device. Second it puts well-known brands on the page. This is a way of “borrowing” trust from Twitter and Facebook. There may be few social sign-ups, yet more form completions with this approach due to the increased trust on the page. In this case, Ross reports that about 49% of leads used the social sign-up buttons.
The magic question here is, did people who were going to sign-up use the social buttons for convenience, or did the social buttons drive visitors to sign-up who wouldn’t have otherwise done so.

Missing Ingredients

There are some specific elements we like to see in every landing page. The thing missing from this value proposition is proof. At some point they are going to be able to say something like, “15,324 issues resolved successfully.” The number doesn’t have to be that large, in my opinion.
For a potentially disruptive service like this, media mentions would be another nice addition to the page. This delivers more trust building and more proof.
To learn more about what makes landing pages convert at higher and higher rates, watch our free webinar The Science of the Landing Page.

Write Out Your Value Proposition

Whether you’re selling an application, a report or a free consultation, your value proposition should unfold in the visitors’ minds through the words, images and emphasis you place on the page. If your page is compelling written as a paragraph, you can enjoy high conversion rates like Comnio.
If not, test your way through to a value proposition that works.
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Feature image by stan via Compfight cc and adapted for this post.

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Idea Online Quiz Title

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

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

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


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

        

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

    The Elephant Pants created a Product Recommendation Quiz

  2.     

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

Craft Your Online Quiz Questions

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

        

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

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

    This question relies solely on images

  •     

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

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

Add Lead Capture To Your Online Quiz

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

        

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

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

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

Create Share-Worthy Results For Your Quiz

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

        

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

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

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

  •     

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

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

Part II: How To Distribute Your Quiz On Social Media

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

Allow Your Results To Be Shared On Facebook And Twitter

        

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

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

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

Use Paid Advertising To Promote Your Quizzes

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

        

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

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

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

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

        

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

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

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

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

Recap And Takeaway

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

About the Author

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

In October of 2014 iNature Skincare, a small skincare company, sought to increase visits to their website and grow recognition of their products. They sponsored a video called “Comfortable” proposed by an independent filmmaker.
It was a gamble.
The video went viral, with over 4 million views on YouTube in the first two weeks.
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The video has now delivered almost six million views, is embedded on over 268 sites (now 269), and enjoys tens of thousands of likes, shares, subscribers and tweets.
iNature reached out to us shortly after the video launched. They were not seeing a consummate increase in sales on their website. Four million views had not turned into a windfall for them.
What happened?

Story is Powerful

We use stories in our writing when we want to engage and move our readers to action.
Karl Jung believed that our collective unconscious contains the seed of stories universal to us all from the moment of birth.
Fairy Tales follow similar story patterns, regardless of the culture or era they are told.
Tapping the power of stories in our marketing messages is powerful, so powerful it can overshadow our products, as it did iNature.
What is story and how can we weave it into our videos?

1. Conflict

A story is a journey. The most rudimentary is the journey from conflict to resolution. The players can be almost anyone or anything. The conflict can be internal.
Conflict sets up a desire to find resolution, provided we find the conflict relevant. I think that this is why the most effective testimonial videos begin with, “When I first heard about this, I wasn’t sure it was for me.” We get engaged when we relate to that moment of indecision, that moment of conflict.

2. The Unexpected

Story can foil two areas of our brain that keep our messages from getting through.
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Pierre Paul Broca discovered the part of the brain just in front of your left ear that stores shortcuts for information. Most notably, the shortcut for the familiar and known is to ignore the input.
When Broca’s area gets stimulated by the unfamiliar, it reaches out to an are of the brain discovered by Carl Wernicke. This part of the brain associates what we see and hear with our memories to give meaning to them.

3. Resolution

Resolution is the moral of the story. It’s the destination in which conflict is put in perspective and we can rest knowing we have seen the end.
If the message is relevant – like a story – Wernicke’s area tells Broca to pay attention. The resolution cannot be predictable. It cannot be irrelevant.
The following video doesn’t tell a story in the way we think of stories. However, it includes the unexpected, a conflict and a resolution. It contains the basic arc of a story in a non-traditional way.

https://youtu.be/sk7A56KVNBY

Unexpected + Relevant = Salient
Broca is clearly woken up at seeing sets of twins dressed identically, sitting in a large room with wires running out in front of them. Wernicke becomes interested when the conflict is setup.
Chewing gum may not have a social stigma attached to it after all. Really?
This video uses humor to drive to the resolution, in which we learn that 73% of surveyed preferred the gum chewers.

4. The Brand or Product is a Character in the Story

This is hard. How do you cast your product or brand in a role in your video? It isn’t enough to be the sponsor if you want the story to be associated with the business.
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Beldent does this in it’s Almost Identical video above. The product makes a brief appearance, but it is a crucial one. The gum makes the test possible.
The product doesn’t always have to make an appearance, but needs a role. The Chrysler 300 has a supporting role in the following Vine, but it is the device that makes the conflict – and thus the resolution – possible.

Let the 300 HP of the Chrysler 300 do the talking w/ Kenzie Nimmo . #300Seconds

5. There is a Way To Continue Participation

A clear call to action and a way to continue participating is key to successful videos.
Here is a story video with all of the elements we’ve discussed.

https://youtu.be/dOXERZBUA1A

The Unexpected occurs when Ken tells us that he paints on paper towels.
The Conflict is setup when Ken tells us that he doesn’t have much “runway” and is in competition with his famous father.
The Resolution is provided by the makers of Bounty when they setup an art showing in Chelsea.
Bounty clearly plays a role in this video as canvass for Ken’s work.
Finally, it is clear that the makers of Bounty wants us to continue sharing about this on Facebook. There is a hint that there might be more stories to explore.
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I think the folks at Bounty produced a beautiful story, but it’s missing a final element.

6. Something to Cement the Story into Memory

Emotion, Humor, Twists, Anticipation: these are the things that will cement the story into memory.
Beldent used humor to cement it’s message.
Bounty tried to use sentimentality to bring the emotion.
iNature Skincare’s Comfortable video delivers on this level, with a twist, humor and the kind of optimism we can only learn from children.

https://youtu.be/f0tEcxLDDd4

What is Missing?

If the Comfortable video delivers on the emotional component, why was it not more successful for the sponsoring brand?

If any element is missing, a video may not deliver success to the brand or product.

If any element is missing, a video may not deliver success to the brand or product.


In my opinion, the Comfortable video failed its sponsor by not including the brand as a character. In the story of the woman who struggled with acne and eczema (1:14), would an iNature product have been too obvious? Perhaps.
The other element missing is the call to action. iNature gets a thank you from the filmmaker, and their website is listed.
iNature Skincare didn't have a strong call to action.

iNature Skincare didn’t have a strong call to action.


However, this link is not clickable. The call to action “Check them out here:” doesn’t tie back to the film. iNature is a sponsor, not a character in the play.

What are Your Favorite Video Stories

We all can relate to the journey from conflict to resolution. Tell us in the comments which videos you like that contain the six elements:

        

  • The Unexpected starts the ball rolling.
  •     

  • Conflict is necessary.
  •     

  • Resolution is desired by our brains.
  •     

  • The brand or product should be a Character.
  •     

  • The viewer should be given a say to Continue Their Interaction.
  •     

  • Emotion, Humor, Anticipation, Twists cement the experience in the mind.

 
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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.
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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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It was a book by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg that helped launch Conversion Sciences as a business way back in 2006, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?

These brothers and Austin residents have together and individually produced a number of eye-opening and ground breaking volumes, such as Call to Action and AB Testing.
These books have changed the fortunes of many an online business.
So I was naturally pleased and excited to hear from Jeffrey that they’ve released a new book, with the promising title, Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s Guide.


Get the Kindle Edition of Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg’s new book on Amazon.

Leave it to the Eisenbergs to turn up the volume on existing concepts. While the rest of us are working on Buyer Peronas and Buyer Journeys, the Eisenbergs have moved along to “Buyer Legends.”
It sounds almost heroic, like Joseph Cambell crossed with Jeff Bezos.
The introduction defines a “Buyer Legend:”

Buyer Legends is the process of using narratives and storytelling in your marketing and selling efforts.

They are not just talking about storytelling as compelling marketing. They see narratives and storytelling as a key way for organizations to understand their data internally.
It’s not surprising to hear them talk about narratives and storytelling as a way to make sense of “big data.” Bryan has been working with companies with names such as “Narrative Sciences.”
Read the full review on Inc.com.
In the mean time, go get your copy.
[sitepromo]
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There are few challenges more daunting than mailing to a purchased email list. In fact, I usually recommend against it. Nonetheless, it is often the only way to access a specialized audience, and list purveyors continue to lie about the value of their list.
If you are creating landing page for an offer to a purchased mailing list, you will have to work extra hard.

Stress Free School Supplies Page

The top portion of the Stress Free School Supplies Page works hard, but fails to nail the “lead.”


Such is the case with Stress Free School Supplies. The owner of the business is a former teacher and understands the problem schools have in getting parents to purchase the necessary supplies for the year.
Her offer is that she will create a custom list on Amazon.com for each school. This allows parents to buy everything they need with a click. Her business will also provide the flyers and emails needed for reaching out to parents.
Her audience is a purchased list of school administrators, whose job it is to solve this parents / supplied problem.
Any competent landing page will:

        

  • Makes an offer.
  •     

  • Provides a way to take action, typically using a form.
  •     

  • Delivers tangible proof.
  •     

  • Earns your visitors trust.
  •     

  • Shows relevant images.

For a “cold” email list the page must master two of these components: the Offer and Trust.
The initial questions for those who receive are, “How does this work?” and “Can I trust you?” Only then do you get permission to make the sale.

An Offer that Makes Visitors Want to Stay

OfferThe offer is the primary value proposition, the reason the visitor should buy — or at least the reason they should keep reading. For a cold email list, the offer must reach out and grab the reader by the throat.

Create a Stress Free Back-to-school shopping experience for parents.

Is the offer relevant to the reader?

Currently the primary offer reads “Create a Stress Free Back-To-School Shopping Experience for Parents.” This headline is directed more towards parents than it is to school administrators.
While I’m sure that school administrators love their kids’ parents, I bet we would do better if we wrote a headline that addressed their pain, rather than the parents’ pain. The key to a great headline is understanding the administrators’ pain.

        

  • That students will be showing up to school without proper supplies.
  •     

  • Teachers will have to accommodate unprepared students during a chaotic time.

Establishing Trust

Trust

Trust in this case has two components:

        

  1. How does this work?
  2.     

  3. Are you legitimate?

“How it works” is buried in this case; the paragraph below the offer is dense, non-specific and lacks clarity.
Amazon is a powerhouse brand, familiar and trusted. Since Stress Free School Supplies is an affiliate, we suggested “borrowing trust” from Amazon and using their logo on the page. Currently the logo is buried in the fine print low on the page.

Amazon Affiliate

Why is this logo buried low on the page?


We also suggested logos from any PTA associations she may belong to as well as any business associations (BBB). Another suggestion was to put a face to the company. Doing this increases lead generation conversion rates because people know they will be dealing with a real person not a computer automated recording and begins building that trust.
We usually do not recommend social media icons on landing pages. Stress-Free School Supplies needs trust symbols, and we suggested she keep them on the page. However, we recommend moving them to a less prime location than directly under the form.

Enticing Action

Form

The for is the way school administrators to taking action. The goal of the form is to make it easy for administrators to sign up for the service without looking like a “squeeze” page.

The submit button for this form is in a strange and confusing place.

The submit button for this form is in a strange and confusing place.


This form currently has six blanks, including 2 emails and a zip code. The more personal information you request on a form, the more abandonment you will experience. We suggested to her that requiring only their email would help to heighten form fills. But, the main issue with this form is not the blanks, but the button to submit the form.
The call-to-action button was lost on this page. It was up and to the right of where we had just finished filling out the form. If someone had scrolled down while filling out the form, they may miss this entirely. We suggested moving the CTA button under the form, which they have recently done.

Providing Proof

Proof

Currently the proof is given by testimonials and the FAQs.  However, The FAQs are at the bottom of the page, so 50% of people won’t make it that far and the testimonials are lost in a milky way around a vibrant picture that grabs the eyes attention to it, not the testimonials. A suggestion would be to put pictures of the individuals to these testimonials to drawl the eye and create an emotional response. Another good example of proof would be adding the number of orders filled.

Show the Product

Image

What do the images on this landing page do for conversion? Bottom Line:“The goal of the images are to help me visualize owning and having whatever it is you offer.” The image in the page header is of school supplies. An image near the middle of the page shows… school supplies. This is not really why administrators sign up. Here the image takes away from the testimonials near it.

School supplies image

The Caption for this image may be “This is what school supplied look like!”


In Summary, this landing page needs to knock the offer out of the park and establish trust quickly. It’s the value proposition to its viewers through better targeted copy and adding an image that will explain the process.

For more information, please read: Discover the Chemistry Behind a Successful Landing Page [Infographic]
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