I recently attended the Optimizely Experience Conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Optimizely is a website optimization platform, providing A/B and multivariate testing. Among the insightful presentations from Optimizely and Atlassian, was a particularly interesting talk from Sean Ellis, Founder of GrowthHackers.com and CEO of Qualaroo.
Let’s listen to the key take-aways from Sean’s presentation. These lessons are essentials for marketers, growth hackers, and entrepreneurs who are focusing on optimizing conversion rates on websites, mobile, and apps.
1. A/B Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization Today
Most marketers claim that conversion rate optimization is “important”, but most of us don’t use conversion rate optimization techniques on a regular basis. Sean Ellis claims that even though A/B testing has made considerable progress in the past few years, most of the major design, copy, and UX decisions taken out there are “gut-driven”, even for big websites. But there is more. When marketers run tests, they start by testing small changes, and results are thus quite limited.
On the other side of the screen, customers are more overwhelmed than ever before. Marketers spend $400 more per person in chasing customers online compared to 10 years ago. However, less than 2% of this new budget is allocated to conversion. In other words, we spend more to attract people to our site, but a still very small amount on conversion rate optimization.
2. Understand intent to build desire, and reduce friction
This simple formula shows that conversion is the result of your visitors’ desire to access and utilize your product or service, minus the difficulties and all the steps he or she has to go through on your website or application. Conversion rate optimization professionals thus need to look at conversion from both angles.
The first thing to address is intent. Interview your customers to understand their intent and how you can help them achieve their goals. Use online chats to ask them what they want and are trying to achieve by visiting your website. Google keywords’ data can also give you lots of insight on what your customers are looking for.
As a next step, you can boost your visitors’ desire by leveraging social proofs and trust indicators (customers’ logos, number of people who used the service, etc.). You can also address common fears by answering questions in an FAQ as well. This will participate in raising the desire, the first half of Sean’s “conversion formula”.
On the other hand, the best way to remove frictions for your customer is to do user testing. You can run tests online on different websites that provide these services. It’s good to also offer surveys on success pages, and exit intent surveys. This is the most commonly known aspect of conversion rate optimization, but if you don’t understand what your customers want first, you could simply be driving your website in the wrong direction.
3. Start Early. Start Big.
Run early and “bold” tests on big things on your website, rather than running micro tests on button colors or minor copy changes. Where to start? Measure your top entry pages on Google Analytics and start there. Start by working the bounce rate of these key pages down, then look into optimizing the lower and deeper sections of your funnel.
Tests and improvements have to be continuous and prioritized. A nice grid to prioritize your tests is by Potential, Importance, and Ease (PIE). How big can you expect the results to be for a particular test. How big of a role does it play in your funnel. How easy will it be for you to run the test. Just rate tests you consider from 1 to 10 according to this grid, and start by the top of the list. The PIE worksheet is a great day-to-day tool for objectivity.
4. Content Personnalization is The next Frontier
Being able to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time is the next challenge to optimize your conversion rates. Case studies shared by Sean and the Optimizely team show a 125% increase in conversion rates between a normal and a personalized landing page. With tools like Salesforce Pardot, Marketo, or Hubspot, it is becoming quite easy to create smart content and dynamic landing pages that adapt to the visitor, sometimes even without logging in.