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What is The Conversion Scientist reading this week?

Neuromarketing – A Simple Hack That Makes You MUCH More Persuasive

If you love the science of persuasion like we do, you should definitely be following my friend Roger Dooley’s blog.
Here’s a great example of how he uses research to deliver actionable advice to marketers and business owners like us.
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Perfect Landing Page Webinar · Formstack

This is a great overview of Landing Page best practices complete with examples. You’ll find a lot in common with our
Chemistry of the Landing Page

    presentation.

    1. Headlines and Ad Copy
    2. Clear and Concise Headlines
    3. Impeccable Grammar
    4. Trust indicators
    5. Call to Action
    6. Buttons
    7. Lose the Links
    8. Visuals (images)
    9. Above the Fold
    10. Always be testing

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Landing Page Examples: Untapped Secrets and Sources

We just can’t get enough info on landing pages. We love them.
This article helps you design landing pages for three kinds of visitors:

      1. Cold visitors (no they don’t live up north)
      2. Warm visitors (not necessarily friendly)
      3. Hot visitors (don’t necessarily got it goin’ on)

How do you address these different visitors? Read on.

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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.

Vacation Beach Portraits HomePage-Selections

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


familyportraits_vacationbeachportraits_com

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


Vacation Beach Portraits HomePage thumbThe 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.

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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.

Why Didn’t the Landing Page Outperform the Home Page?

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.


We felt that the script font used on the home page was hard to read, recommending a serif print font instead.

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.

Advice for Businesses with Visual Offering

If you have a visual product, you should leverage this with high-quality, high-resolution web images. Don’t be afraid of long pages. Visual visitors know how to scroll and will appreciate the wealth of stimulation.
However, don’t forget the calls to action.
You never know when someone has seen enough to buy. Lace a buttons or links among your images. Keep in mind that the buttons or links are going to have to compete visually with the images, so make them pop.
The button or link will go to a more traditional landing page or product page that handles objections, allows selection of size, color or format, and asks them to buy.
In almost every case, use captions. These are the most read copy on most pages and are a great place to include a call to action. Tell them what they are looking at, even if it is obvious to you.

Results From the Follow-up Test

This is the busy season for Vacation Beach Rentals, and their landing pages are already converting very well for them. We won’t know the results another test for some time. Subscribe to the Conversion Scientist by email to find out the rest of this story.
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Well-heeled travelers will enjoy a private guided tour of the world’s various wine-making regions. Colin Simpson of Into the Vineyard arranges these advantures for them. Into the Vineyard tours are tailored and personalized to the individual, setting themself apart from other packaged, run-of-the-mill wine vacations.

The Into the Vineyard luxury landing page

The Into the Vineyard luxury landing page


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

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

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

Landing pages should show the steps of the process

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


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

More recommendations

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An article in the Gardian says, “Brands need to think like publishers to build effective content marketing work flows and outcomes including applying the science of accepted newsroom practices.” For an overworked, understaffed marketing department, this is a daunting thought.
This audio program will show you how to turn up the frequency and quality of your content output, with a minimum of time and resources. In this presentation, we’ll introduce you to the content cascade.
The Conversion Scientist Podcast


Subscribe to the Podcast
Links from Podcast
Slides
If you enjoyed this, please leave a review on iTunes!

How often are people publishing content?

Almost 70% of 100 online marketers surveyed are releasing content at least weekly. Blogs are important, too. Almost 56% are updating their blogs at least weekly.
There’s only one reliable indicator across industries for increasing the traffic to your site and that is the frequency of your blog posts. The more frequently you publish, the more your traffic will grow and the faster it will grow.

What is a content cascade?

A webinar represents a point in time in which a subject matter expert has organized a topic relevant to your business. The main points, graphs, and data have been assembled and organized. This is the hard work of content marketing.
The content cascade uses inexpensive and free tools to turn the graphics and the audio into sharable content of different types. The subject matter expert has done all the work. They’ve prepared the material, you now can create eBooks,  infographs, white papers, blog posts, and reports.
That is what we call the content cascade. Listen to my webinar in its entirety to find out how you can turn those webinars sitting in your resource tabs collecting dust, into kick-ass content that converts.

Links to Resources Mentioned

Hublished for Webinar Management
Camtasia Studio for recording audio and slides
Transcribe Me and SpeechPad for transcriptions
PowerPoint for graphic design
BoxShot and BoxShot3D for Product images
Infogr.am for Infographics
Audacity for editing audio
BluBrry Podcast Hosting
Hootsuite Pro social media
Twitterfeed social feed
ClicktoTweet social sharing
Slideshare for presentations
Embed Code Generator for WordPress
Unbounce, Lander and LeadPages for landing pages.
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48 Tweetable Stats To Make You An Online Marketing SmartyPants | Unbounce

@unbounce has provide a post with a double payoff. First, this is a great list of conversion-related stats and, second, a great example of how to design content to be sharable. The content is sharable for the following reasons:
  • The title contains the call to action “48 Tweetable Stats…”
  • There’s something here for everyone
  • The quotes are Twitter-sized for easy sharing in 140 character
  • Each quote has a call to action in the form of a “Tweet this” link. Every quote

So, if you’ve got something you really want people to share, follow this recipe. For article-style content, use pull quotes and put a “Tweet this” link with each.

These guys are real smarty-pants.

E-Commerce Customer Acquisition Snapshot | Custora Blog

The interesting graphic shown in this post by Custora shows how e-commerce businesses are gaining customers and how that has changed since 2009.

It is no surprise to see cost-per-click (CPC) search advertising growing over that time. However, it is gratifying to see that email has grown the fastest, far outstripping banner advertising, Facebook and Twitter.
In my book I say that email is the biggest social network on the planet. It appears to be so for e-commerce companies as well.
Want to get Brian’s For Further Study posts delivered right to your inbox? Click HERE to sign up.

7 Eye-Catching Email Subject Lines to Catapult Your Open Rates | Unbounce

@unbounce – Writing headlines and subject lines and tweets all have something in common: You have a limited number of characters to get a prospect’s attention in a very noisy environment.
Steve Young gives us some tested subject lines to consider in our campaigns.
Have some fun with your subject lines and don’t take yourself too seriously!

Should I Use A Carousel?

So, should you use a carousel, those rotating hero images now found at the top of most B2B and B2C websites?

The answer is “carefully.”
This clever little site illustrates the reasons rotating banners are so frustrating. The timing, the amount of text and the order all come into play.
We have been able to tune a rotating hero on an ecommerce site so that it outperformed a static image. But it took several test cycles and didn’t work in every case.
Have a little chuckle at yourself and enjoy the content on this site — if you can read fast.

No More Guesswork: 5 Website Formats Proven to Get Results | The Daily Egg

The folks at CrazyEgg have a wonderful summary of the five website formulas found in my book. Read this and you can skip chapters 3 and 4.
Want to get Brian’s For Further Study posts delivered right to your inbox? Click HERE to sign up.

I was directed by a Facebook notification to a quotation so important that it deserved its own graphic panel. Clearly, this was a quote that needed to be read. As I read I thought, “This guy and I think a lot alike. Who is this Plato of the conversion world?”
UNBOUNCE quote from facebookAt the end was my name, and the quote had been taken from one of my recent blog posts on conversion and design. You could hear the air squealing into my already inflated head.
So infatuated was I with myself, that I immediately shared the – quotegraph? – with my entire network, and I’m writing a blog post about it. Who would have created such a honeypot for my ego? What entity would benefit from such bold action?
It was the very smart marketers at Unbounce. Their service provides easy ways to develop landing pages and to test different versions of those landing pages. Who spends their time recommending – nay demanding – that businesses use targeted landing pages to increase leads and sales? I do, as well as many other marketing experts, some of whom have already been targeted by Unbounce flattery.
If you’re reading this and this is your first introduction to the people at Unbounce, then tell us in the comments. That will be a testimonial to how effective this technique can be.
And it’s cheap.
I (and other experts) provide the content. All Unbounce had to do was lay the quote out all big and bold, and post it on Facebook. Very smart.
Will this also end up on my Pinterest page? Oh, yes.
Steal this idea for your industry.
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New Tool Makes it Easy to Find Prospects on Social Networks via Social Appending.

In my most recent ClickZ column, I reflect back on my days as a marketing cog in the corporate machine, a time in which the practice of “appending” was considered “black hat.”

Appending is the practice of adding contact information to records in your prospect database. If you have someone’s name and company, you could “append” their email address and mailing address through a number of services that keep that kind of information.

Companies that sell mailing lists often provide this kind of service.

The thinking was that the prospect hadn’t given you permission to contact them through these other channels, and that it violated the “submit button contract” that is implied when they completed an online form.

Social Media Appending: How Far We Have Come

Social Media Appending: How Far We Have Come. Source: Unbounce.

We’ve come a long way

Oli Gardner has an interesting infographic on the Unbounce blog. The graphic highlights a tool called FlowTown. This is a social media appending tool. Marketers can use it to find the social media accounts of their prospect list, and begin marketing to them through those social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn.

This is where those of us who have been around the block groan, and then secretly cheer.

Social Media Appending: Why this is different

While appending has not been considered a best practice, it happens. In fact, the best way to do this is to send ask your prospects for permission after appending the data; sending them an email asking if they want email messages, for example.

Many social media platforms allow us to easily “unfriend” or block unsavory marketers. This puts the opt-out capability in our hands. So asking for permission ahead of time is less of a problem.

But there is a right way to inject yourself into someone else’s conversations. It’s called a Content-oriented Social Media Strategy.

  • Only “append” people who have expressed an interest in your industry or products. This is how you know your content will be relevant.
  • Begin with non-promotional content. “How-to” and “10 Ways” style articles test well.
  • Use social landing pages, such as a blog or Facebook page to “keep it social”
  • Measure what you send. Stop sending content that doesn’t generate clicks, shares or comments.

If you’re going to jump into the social conversations, do it right, or it will backfire in a very public, viral way.