Wouldn't it be amazing if you could wave a magic wand and pin-point exactly what area of your strategy is choking your conversions?
Karl and Ben, authors of the book Making Websites Win, have come up with a nine-step process to figuring out how to get customers or prospects to convert and how to find out why they converted.
They explain the importance of really understanding your business strategy and goals, and which tests to run to find out what areas of your business needs to improve to align with your goals!
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When you get to someone’s website, what’s the first thing you go and look at?
- We ask them what the purpose of the website is. What the primary goal is? What their business ambitions are, why their strategy is and what they hope the website will help them to achieve over the next 5-10 years.
- The business plans for the future and the business goals need to be accountable according to the businesses capabilities.
- Most people rush to the website, you need to understand their business goals and strategy first.
- The real page that you want to be working on is the step between a first touch lead and a paid customer.
- You can’t just go onto the website and guess the economics of how the business works.
- Actually understanding the real visitor.
Why is this so important, what’s really possible when it comes to maximizing conversions?
- It’s easier to think of it from a customer’s point of view who may not understand what you’re selling or are frustrated with the usability or aren’t persuaded by what your selling.
- Imagine yourself for the rest of your life a customer to see what they want it to be, what they are hoping for.
- The conversion rate optimization often becomes the real core of marketing.
- Redesign clients products to the direction that the client’s business goes in.
There is a 9 step process you kind of go by. So is understanding the objective the first step in that process?
- Rules of the game and how you're going to win it really is about strategy, defining long term goals, and how to measure success.
- You have to find out which parts of the business are underperforming and why.
- Offline business that’s underperforming can be revolutionized if you turn it into an online process.
- A good strategy makes everything else easy.
- You want to invest in companies that have such a fantastic strategy, economies of scale, etc.
When we are looking at a business, then what do we look at in order to work out what’s underperforming? How do we find that weak link?
- There are a couple different steps. Understanding and tuning your different traffic sources. Sending the right prospects to the right pages with the right message at the right time.
- Maybe send the traffic to a better landing page or make sure the ad in that landing page has the same kind of offer.
- Tuning your existing traffic sources is a quick way to win.
- There are loads of opportunity in optimizing most of the post-sales events, referral programs, up-selling, email marketing.
- We look at what we call blocked arteries and missing links. Detect the blocked arteries to see where the business is underperforming.
- Missing links are slightly different parts of the conversion form that haven’t been turning a one-step sale into a multi-step scale.
- Post sale offers creating a customer community. That’s what gives us the idea of where we should be and focusing our intention there.
- Understand why the visitors don’t convert and to understand the customers that do convert.
- Look at where the potential weak links on the customer journey from finding you to hopefully becoming a repeat customer or client.
- To decide what success would look like.
So what do we do for step number two?
- Step two is traffic engineering, looking at how the website flows.
- Step three is understanding the visitors, particularly the non-converting ones. Understand what their visitor types are, what their intentions are.
If the majority of people coming to your website aren’t converting, they’re coming along and just leaving. What are you guys doing in order to get understanding?
- There are 27 techniques we use – the great thing is if you're starting out you can do a lot of these things yourself.
- The one everyone seems to know, Conversion web analytics tells you what areas to look in but not much more.
- Using form analytics software can be great to see which levels people are dropping out at
- Live chat is great, actually engaging with the visitors as if they were real people rather than just looking at them as numbers.
- Were they looking for your company in particular or just a generic keyword? What are their intentions, what are their objections?
- Existing customers know where they nearly didn’t convert, so they can tell you where the points at which they nearly didn’t get past. You’ll find there are loads of people standing behind that obstacle that didn’t quite make it.
- Exit survey, you’ll get much better responses and often passionate ones.
Are there any sort of real common threads across multiple niches, multiple markets, multiple verticals that you say this is a real reason that people are telling us that they are not converting. What’s popping up a lot?
- Visitors can’t understand what the webpages are saying. Comprehension of what somebody’s trying to sell.
- Look at exit surveys or user tests.
- Usability. Do people know what they need to click on next, is the navigation easy to use?
- Does the website give people what they want, does it satisfy its visitor's needs?
- It might be that you do meet their needs but your website isn’t communicating it, it isn’t addressing that objection.
- Sending visitors to whatever product that satisfy their intentions, you can act as an affiliate or can white label a product or can have email lists.
- You can still add value to the customer's journey even if you don’t offer the product.
- Is your website trustworthy, is their company credible, that’s a big one. Or is the product credible?
- Is the risk involved going to be perceived as a risky purchase?
- Does your website cater to both of those ready to sign up and those just researching.
- Winning websites have a niche so that sailing past competition’s easy. Sometimes it’s that visitors arrive, use the website and never come back.
- Being able to capture the attention and the repeat intention of the visitors is a big opportunity.
- Getting prompt action is important in some cases where people are usually just researching.
- Sometimes key problems are in the conversion funnel are outside of your control.
- If the company’s issue is with the software.
- We forget lifetime customer value, turning it from one purchase, to make people buy more and more often.
So what’s next in our nine-step process? What have we covered so far?
- One. The rules of the game and the strategy of the business. Two. Understanding your visitor's traffic. And three. Understanding the non-converting and understanding objectives.
- All non-converting visitors either have the wrong intent, have user or experience problems or they just aren’t persuaded.
- Step four is the advanced marketing intelligence. Study the market place and look at your competitors, any expert commentators, and understand what your customers are saying.
- Sometimes the customer never gets around to it or they’ll buy a different type of solution.
- Sometimes it is not necessarily about converting the converted, understand what your prospects other options are.
- Open up ways of creating other content or products that appeal to people in an earlier stage.
- The internet has done lowered the transaction costs of the business. So many web businesses are actually addressing markets of people who would never normally bought this type of services.
What’s the next one?
- Step five is spotting the hidden wealth in your business, all have elements in their business that are highly persuasive to prospects but the prospects never see.
- Key here is to identify all of the persuasion aspects in your business and then to present them to prospects in the right way and time in the buying process.
- If you're about to launch a company’s product but you got no testimonials and you know it’s an important persuasion asset you can do some type of prelaunch to a certain segment and can get testimonials from the beta users.
- Organize persuasive assets in a way that's easily communicated to a prospect.
- As the internet continues to grow, our skepticism about things on the internet continues to grow.
So what’s number six in this process?
- It’s experiments. A/B testing two different things if you want those two things to be stupidly trivial then fine but that’s not A/B testing fault.
- A/B testing is not suitable for testing big things and local maximum. A/B testing is you pick A, you pick B, and it can be whatever you want.
- We find that having the right process prioritization, deciding what you're going to measure.
- A/B testing is half of your visitors get to see your old version, half of them get to see your new B version and you measure with the software which version is getting the most conversions.
Can you recommend a piece of software that’s good for doing that these days?
- Google’s own google optimize software is a great way to start, it’s free and it allowed you to play around to see what’s everything doing what, not whether you need something more complex.
- But for many businesses, it’s a great place to start. This software tells you statistically when you have enough significant information, that when enough orders have been placed so you can confidently say this page is better than what’s called the control which is your existing version.
- Some tests take far too long. If your looking to detect a one percent improvement then that will take forever unless your a company with millions of visitors it will probably never reach significance. So the real benefit to making bold targeted changes rather than what we call meek tweaks because detecting a fifty percent improvement conversion rate is much quicker, more profitable and actually much more enjoyable than testing trivial differences whatsoever to a visitor.
- We rank ideas in terms of how likely is it the conversion rate, how easy is it to implement the test and has this idea worked before, is this kind of thing that really does work and has it been generated or come from the right place.
- We brainstorm and come up with loads of different possibilities for growing the business and then we rank them according to those things so by the time we are actually running tests it’s things that we got good research to believe we’ll win and are sensibly easy to implement.
What’s step seven?
- Actually designing the experimental web pages. There is a whole load of skill in terms of it then it comes down to designing layouts that work, the appearance that works, and most importantly the actual wording that works.
- Be able to make everything usable, to being able to communicate everything you’ve put together in all the previous steps.
Are you mainly relying on your previous experiences to come up with ideas? What should be in those things or is there another way of looking at these things?
- We keep a record of the experiments that have won before and after the research and the results over the years.
- We’ve built up a huge database and organized it so it can be segmented by type of website.
- We are like sponges reading marketing books and articles about what people say that works what really surprised us is how much of the conventional knowledge didn't work and didn’t win.
- By far the richest source in the world of direct response marketing. Even in the world of direct response, we were surprised at how many things were almost like urban myths and the further down you actually get into discovering why people are doing the things they do because other people are doing things.
Can you share with us an urban myth?
- There’s this idea that a kind of excitable copy that is effectively the online equivalent of a tabloid newspaper is what wins and there is an element of that. Those things have high readership but not everyone wants to read those.
- Especially in some industries people really don’t want to be buying especially things that are high risk.
- Not one size fits all, there are times when those things work but there are lots of times when those things don’t.
What’s number eight?
- The next step is actually carrying out the experiment on a website.
- There are so many software platforms for A/B testing, they all do a similar thing. Don't get hung up on the actual technology at this stage.
- Think of it as the content is the sprinter and the A/B testing tool is just the stopwatch, once the split testing platform is in place, then you would go look at which visitors you are running the test on, which pages, how are you going to measure success, what are your conversion goals.
- Once the test has started the software takes over and the software will have calculated when one version of the page has significantly more conversions than the others, so you can end the test and promote the winning version to be on your control.
Step Nine. What’s the next test?
- Transforming your winning campaign to the media, it shows you what works with your visitors. If you find a new headline that works well you can test it on AdWords you can on Facebook or on an offline campaign.
- Really look at how to implement the inside of running experiments into other parts of your marketing funnel.
- Not only are you improving the effectiveness of those advertising channels, quite often your opening advertising channel that was too expensive.
In general, as a rule of thumb, how many visitors can or how long do you leave a test up before starting to make conclusions?
- Trust the software to do its job. There are calculators so you can plug in your numbers and then see roughly how long you're going to need to wait to see the kind of improvement you want to detect.
- You can input your own numbers and get a good feel for how long your test is going to take
- You don’t want to make mistakes, sometimes the company has so many opportunities that if they know that something is likely to win they want to just move on to the next test and keep making improvements because the quicker that revenue graph goes up the quicker the tests can run.
- A/B testing is your always comparing variables. Things do change and it’s always worth looking for alternatives.
A book that you would recommend…
Keys To Great Writing by Stephen Wilbers
What is your top success habit?
Envisioning, look at what your target is and what you're trying to achieve every day.
Who do you look up to?
Anyone who sticks their neck on the line and measures their work, there is a lot to learn from people like Claude Hopkins.
What are your favourite apps right now?
Google Apps and G Suite.
Here’s the big one… who do you like more, Rob or Kennedy?
The results are inconclusive, both performing well.
Finally, where can folks go to find out more about you?
The website is conversion-rate-experts.com or look up our book, Making Websites Win. If you want to contact us personally, it's Ben Jesson and Karl Blanks on LinkedIn.