Information Marketing Insider Tips: Increasing Conversion Rates
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TOPIC: Exploring Website Conversion Techniques
Transcript of this audio recording follows:
Fred: Welcome folks Fred Gleeck and I’m here with Ben Stickland, Ben thank you for taking the time to be on the call with me.
Ben: Absolute pleasure Fred.
Fred: And again for people who may have been hiding under a rock and don’t know who you are or don’t know who your company is maybe we should tell them a little bit about who you are and what you guys do.
Ben: Okay, so I’m one of the founders for a company called Nobel Samurai our flagship product is called http://www.CoolResearchTool.com, it is essentially a keyword research and SEO tool, and it’s been a lot of fun dealing with that product. It’s been quite a journey, it’s been wonderful.
Fred: And, and for those of you who want to give me credit for my affiliate function here, it’s cool, what did I say cool research tool. I’ve got about 50 of these so cool research tool.com. Ben you know I discovered your product soon after it came out a long time ago but didn’t initially hop on because I’m not doing a lot of the technical side of my business. But then when I saw it demonstrated to me a little bit more closely of late, I realize that it really isn’t a program that requires a lot of technical expertise true.
Ben: No, I mean the essentially what I think it requires more than technical expertise is really some marketing smarts and so you know if we’re analyzing keywords it’s the notion that okay well one of the things we actually wanted in a keyword and we some traffic which is pretty obvious. But we also want to look at issues like business relevance and win ability, the ability to actually get keyword. So I think you know, a lot of power in Market Samurai it actually takes the data that’s you can get it elsewhere. But it actually gives you the ability with really just a couple of clicks to filter it down by some criteria you want then we give people some nice preset rules to use to really in not much time at all. Not much time at all to find keywords that they’re gonna you know they have a high capability of being moneymakers for.
Fred: Sounds good. Well what I wanted to talk to you about today is I said to you via email is to really concentrate on this session talking about conversion because I use the analogy of a three legged stool when I talk to people in the information marketing world. I say that you need three things. I say that you need a great product. You need to be able to get traffic and then once that traffic comes to you, you need to be able to convert either into sales or to opt in.
So let’s spend a little bit of time talking about conversion. Would you agree with sort of my basic preset there in terms of the fundamentals of those three elements?
Ben: I would certainly agree and I would probably also say that people intuitively will spend time on a good product often just out of pride and workmanship, which is a good thing. And people will naturally assume they need traffic and they’ll think the more the better but people I think often forget about conversion. And my background before the Samurai business was running a web development company. And we had a saying you know amongst our staff that we knew a professional marketer had run it when they started asking about conversion it was the differentiation between an amateur and a professional. Was they would ask us questions about at the time we were doing a thing called ‘do-goochie testing,’ and they would ask us about that and to me to us was the differentiators.
So I it’s, actually I agree with you but I think conversion is the piece of the puzzle that everybody mentally will say yeah I should probably do that but it’s the professionals that actually do it.
Fred: Why do you think it is that people tend to sort of ignore that leg of the stool?
Ben: My theory on that is I thing that I call silent rejection. When I’m selling something on a face-to-face basis if the person I’m attempting to sell something to doesn’t buy from me I sit and think a lot about. So all that, the pain of that rejection will be running around the back of mind and I’ll be thinking well what didn’t I do, what didn’t I say and why did that person not buy from. Particularly I think I’m selling world’s best stuff and everybody should buy from me. And then because of that you naturally evolve so the very next time you present something your naturally evolve.
And so in the course of a month and ten-sale presentation you actually tried a range of things. And mentally you’re changing what you’re doing all the time to get their answers. And in the web developing space I’ve got very good at presenting to different sorts of clients, the kinds of things that a corporate would want to hear or a government client or entrepreneur would want to hear. And but in the all alarm space we put up a web page and we just assume it’s the best it’s going to be. And the statistics in many ways should kind of be screaming out at us is you know we got to bounce right to hiring our conversion rates are low we just see them as numbers on a page.
And we don’t actually associate any emotional pain with the fact that the vast majority of people are basically coming to our site and saying no I don’t like, I’m confused, I don’t except your offer. I don’t think what you’re doing is any good and saying that to us face to face, we change our presentation in an instance but because it’s it doesn’t cause that human emotional pain we just move on and think that all we need is more traffic.
Fred: That sounds great. Now one of the things that I think that many people are confused by in order to determine what your conversion numbers are you obviously have to be measures. And I have two signs up in my office and one of them says measurement eliminates argument. In order you know that’s my mantra and if you don’t measure you really don’t know where you stand on virtually anything.
So what is it most of the people who would be listening to this program and this audio you know most of them are fairly unsophisticated. Some of them may know quite a bit more but most of them are sort fairly new to this whole concept of how to do this. So what does the average person need to do to set up the data and the various tools to make sure they can really know where they stand with regards to conversion?
Ben: Okay and so it’s there’s a couple thoughts in it. With the first being that with conversion, conversion is actually it needs to be broken down into a sequence of small conversion units. So you might say okay well, let’s say that you’re marketing process was a business to a web page into a opt-in, an opt-in, into a small purchase price. And then a small purchase into a large purchase and that’s a very common sequence sort of a scaling to block some informational marketing type process then you’ve actually got multiple steps of conversion. So you can measure okay from pages into opting what’s my conversion rate. And for people on my list into slow purchases what’s my conversion and similarly from slow to large what’s my conversion.
So each of those can be broken down, in relation to the answering the question about the tools.
Ben: The approach that I recommend people to do is mentally assume that testing is not difficult and for some reason we, web developers and that’s my background. When you say to them, I want to do split testing for some reason these people that are often highly intelligent, lucky they will mentally assume that it’s a difficult thing to do. But the reality of it is our office and I’m not having to go into any of our stuff but our least technical staff implement the majority of our split test because it’s technically not that difficult to do.
But what I have to suggest to some people who are using other web developers is here is the documentation and we use Google’s web site optimizer for a range of different reasons. But we say to them go and get your developer and pay them for an hour of their time and ask them to do nothing but read the documentation and watch the demo videos etc. because then they don’t have the chance to say it’s all too hard. At the end of that process, any developer that’s got really any skills at all will realize that implementing this stuff really isn’t that difficult to do.
And then so there’s two parts to it being implementation and that’s the way we work with developers and the other thing that I will say to a client who has a developer I’ll say to them hey you’ve got other clients haven’t you. Do you realize that split testing stuff is going to make you look fantastic? It’s an easy thing to bring up and tell your other clients about and it’s a easy way to get work. Any time you call it you can just ring your clients up and replace the split ads and that’s indeed what we have done and so once developers get onto it, it sort of goes from something they mentally think is hard to something they will think it’s actually a benefit, it’s quite easy to do.
Then the next question comes done well okay well what are you going to test and the, the technique we and I’m happy to be showing that I use a very basic checklist of different elements of page. And I’ll go an check say now is the flow logical, am I segmenting my market correctly and my presenting value in a clear way. Am I using the sort of rubber, I don’t know if it’s (09:23) emotional triggers in terms of specificity and expert and all those sorts of things. But those different elements of persuasion.
I like to look at a page and think okay well which one of those are my client. I’ve got a checklist that just reminds me about those. But really, what my…and I’m actually going to be doing this for a website today my intention basically just to turn off the phone. I will print out the web page that I’m looking at and I’ll just sit there and look at and look at my checklist and block out the world for half an hour and think what would I, how would I sell this better. What are some alternatives and I look at, I look to make big changes.
So you know we just had a lot of success on a site. We actually got almost a 200 percent increase in conversion rate by bring their quote request form onto the front page and replacing their brand by stating their benefit with a, and that’s the only thing we did and this business is you know it was 186 percent or something like that increasing conversion which is you know pretty phenomenal. And but I actually don’t think I’m all that sophisticated. I literally just print off the page and I just dream up ideas I guess my checklist of sort of known conversion factors and I say to my developers and my designers you know if it’s a piece of copy I’ll write out some headlines. And I might write out half a dozen and piece a nice white file of essentially a few hundred or probably a thousand headlines that I like. And I will, I’ll just read through some of those for a bit of inspiration and then I’ll go back to my designers and I’ll say these are the headlines I’m trying to produce. You know these are the bullet points but I think the graphics are all a little weak. That graphic doesn’t ring a full (10:41) what could you come up with.
I’ll leave it with them for an hour to do something you know in Photoshop and then check it out and that’s purposely where I ended the process. And then I’ll hand it over to my implementer to say can you please implement a split test and I’ll just look through the variations to make sure that I’m happy with them and you know we send it live and away we go.
Fred: Well then one of the things I really appreciate your talking about some of the elements that are in that checklist that you do but again I think we’ve gotten a little bit, a step ahead of our listeners and that is that they still are wondering you mentioned web site optimizer. These folks that are listening right now are wondering well that’s all well and good but how do I set up the web site optimizer. And you say it’s easy to do where do I go to find those tools. Are they free, how do I do them etc. Could you sort of step back and walk us through that as if were a beginner.
Ben: Sure and my fault for jumping ahead, the Google website optimizer is a free tool that Google gives out. And so most people are familiar with the concept of getting a Gmail account. It’s a free email account from Google+ but they may not be aware that as part of that when you get a free account with Google, the actually make and it’s looking dozens of different applications available to you.
So for example, they make the calendar application, which is fantastic it’s available to you. You the document that the word processor called Google docs but it’s also a free tool called Google web site optimizer. And if you just search for Google, website optimizer the first link you’ll get will take you to it. And once you’ve got a free Google account you can then log in into Google web site optimizer.
Now when we talk about the documentation for this typically I’ll suggest people go and have a search for Google Conversion University, which is where Google has put together a range of documents around the topic of conversion, of which web site optimizer is really a you know the subset that I find myself using. But essentially in the same way that you log into your Gmail account, I log into my Google web site optimizer account which is actually also the same account as my Gmail account and I it’s at Google.com/website optimizer from memory. And literally you go in there and there’s a button that says start and you test and you follow the bouncing ball essentially if I could explain technically a little bit about how that works.
Ben: You’re basically going to have what we call in the testing world a control and the alternatives. So the control might be your original headline and you’re wondering and the headlines are a really nice place to start because they’re prominent, they’re on the homepage typically and they’re really easy to come up with alternative for.
And so you’ll have your control headline and technically speaking in the webpage there’s going to be a little bit of a java script at the start and the end of that headline to basically say hey Google this is the bit that you can change. And then what’s going to happen is in your website optimizer account they’re actually going to put into that account the web code or the HTML code for the ultimate headline, so ultimate headline one, two and three.
And then when a person comes to the web page the java script executes and it says which of the four buttons remember there’s the original and the three alternatives which of the four options do I display? And the person seeing that page just sees one of the options displayed to them. And it then tests which of the four headlines do the best job at converting a prospect into, you know if it’s a sale, or if it’s an opting or whatever is the thing that you’re trying to optimizer.
Fred: Ben, Ben quick interruption here let me just interrupt you to ask one question. Which is although it’s our topic for a couple of days from now traffic. One of the things I think that people listening might be wondering is and again this is a statistical question and you and I probably have, have had background in statistics so I’ll ask it. Most of the people that are listening may have not a whole lot of traffic going to the site. So how many units of traffic do they need to run a statistically valid test here?
Ben: Okay, the good news is that just about any good split testing software will give you this magical number, magical measure called statistical significance,which basically says where…I’ve had, when you’re running a test it’ll say no variations seen out of your four variations is the winning variation and that is now 80 percent statically significant. Which means it’s 80 percent likely to be, to hold true and its 20 percent change that it won’t hold true. Statistically…
Fred: Well…and if I see that then Ben, if I see that and it’s 80 percent would I be wanting to jump on that and make my change right away or would I wait for additional data.
Ben: No, you would wait for additional data. I’m typically looking for numbers well into the 90s and typically into the high 90s. And the, and you get there quite quickly. The good thing is in Google web site optimizer and it’s equivalence in others the actually, the page where you go to look at your text it actually changes color to tell you that your numbers are now reliable and are now significant.
Now getting back to your question of how much data do you need? If you run a simple test, so if you run a simple we call say an AB test which is just two variations only then you only need, you’ll need lesser amount of data then if you where running a test with a lot of variables.
Similarly if you, if you’re market reacts aggressively to one variation over the other. So if the difference in performance between the two is very high then again you only need a smaller amount of data. Now to get to the sort of the magical question when I’m, if I can convince a client when we’re starting a site. I’ll actually tell them with zero traffic to implement a split test because it’s not that hard to do. And often when you’re creating the content for the site it’s easy to come up with variations at that time. And I’ll put the split test in and then I’ll go and forget about it. And I’ll work on building traffic, and traffic and then you’ll look back on the split test and in that case, I think the longest we’ve ever had was a nine-month split test. And I think that client was sitting on about 50 visits per day.
Ben: And we expected to build the traffic higher for various reasons and so we actually required a complex test but with my rule of thumb is normally if you’ve 100 visits a day to your website and you’re not split testing you really should be. Like a 100 visits per day, your next best thing is to go and implement a split test rather than spend your time on getting more trafficking. Because you’re at the point where it’s really going make some since for you.
Fred: Okay now so here’s my next question, which is that for those people who may not have that kind of traffic coming to their site organically, they’re, first inclination might be to buy some of that traffic. So my question would be is the type of traffic they could buy from Google in the form of Google ad words would that traffic be somewhat analogous to the traffic they would get from sort of SEO or natural organic traffic.
Ben: I think, the answer is its pretty good. There a lot of differences in behind it depending on the source of traffic, that you get and particularly different keywords will perform differently. There are some key words that have low traffic volumes but that are really buying keywords. You know if someone says you know buy the Nintendo Wii new x, y, z model they’re really looking to buying the thing. Versus where if they say game console alternatives they’re just in kind of the research phase. So they are keywords that definitely lead to buying but my thoughts on pay per click is pay per click is really very valuable even if you don’t take profit from it. And the reason being is pay per click can tell you which keywords are going to convert for you and part of being Google Analytics tracking system if you’ve got proper E commerce tracking set up which again it’s not difficult to do. You can actually see which keywords are driving conversion for you.
And so to answer your question I am a big fan of using pay per click. Both in the long term if it’s profitable and the short term it’ll let you do things like only boost your conversion, really see which keywords are actually moneymaking keywords. And that will guide your efforts from messy old perspectives, so the ones that make you, that bring customers in pay per click you would then go after from an SEO perspective and thirdly there are a lot of people who their primary traffic source is affiliates. And they make the criminal mistake of saying well what I’m going to do is I’m going to build this website and I even implement a split test but I’m going go and get my very best affiliates to promote for me. And their affiliates end up promoting a site that converts poorly and they don’t get the word of mouth amongst the affiliate community.
Whereas if they spend a little bit on ad words or if they worked with maybe, a good partner affiliate who understood what they were doing they would’ve boost their conversion rate earlier in the process and then all…from then on they’re actually more attractive to other affiliates and they can boast about the conversion rates. They can say we expect to get this kind of conversion rate assuming you’re sending us you know leads of a reasonable caliber.
Fred: Yeah and I think you bring up a good point and a little of people listening might’ve missed it let me repeat that for them. Which is that the pay per click, the value of doing pay per click is it tells you which of those terms of key word terms are converting well and those are the terms that you may want to go after in terms of your SEO words. So I mean I think that’s, that’s something that people don’t usually think about and that’s a point well taken there. So now, let’s get back if you could. Now that you…first before we do with website optimizer if I say okay I’m committed to doing this Ben, does Google give me the training to learn how to use this. And if so how good is it and if not where do I go to getter better training on web site optimizer if I need it?
Ben: We’ve only used the Google training and…
Fred: Will it work?
Ben: The training I’ve seen comes in two parts.
Fred: Will it work? Will it work for someone as stupid as I am?
Ben: Yeah it will and the when I go into YouTube and type Google web site optimizer and look for this stuff that’s put out by Google. They actually do a really good job of doing the bird’s eye view of Google website optimizer in terms of understanding the concepts and understanding the, how this thing sits together really nicely. It’s then Google Conversion University I think the help docs actually inside web site optimizer that our staff are using for the specifics of tweaking the software. But if you’re out there and you have a web developer relationship which is often a good thing to be to outsource as well. I would just say go to YouTube and watch Google’s I think there’s three videos on it. And I would…I think they’re combined there for like 30 minutes.
Fred: I, on a scale. Yeah…sorry to interrupt on a scale of 1 to 10 where one is a complete non-tacky and 10 is a web master genius. Will level will our listeners listening to this have to be at in order to try and do some of this stuff themselves?
Ben: I’d give it about a four.
Fred: Okay, good.
Ben: To me it’s only a word per slugging is like a two or a three and it’s kind of one step up above that but it’s not as hard as getting payment gateways to pay nicely which is like a seven.
Fred: Got it excellent. So in other words if someone can install a word press plug in with a little bit of additional effort they can figure this out.
Ben: Yep, yep they can.
Fred: Perfect, let’s get back that’s great. Talk to me a little bit more now. So we’ve set up our web site optimizing tools and I really want to make sure that my website is performing as well as it can. And all our listeners as you mentioned earlier are interested in primarily two things. Well actually three, which you brought up the third. The first one is getting people to opt in. The second one is getting them to buy something and the third one is getting them to buy something more that costs more. Let’s talk about how they can do that.
Ben: Okay the first thing, all us have a limited amount of time and so the first thing that I would suggest doing is what we called testing up the funnel. So testing up the funnel basically says at the point where most people are making a decision which is typically your opt in point. That is the place that you test first and so that is what you look too essentially to check value. That’s where you look to try different calls to action, different using of scarcity and value propositions etc. to encourage people to take that opt in step. And the it’s interesting because once there is a reasonable degree of science to this in terms of there…we are all predictable, we all respond to scarcity that’s human tendency to do that. The, even with smart experience marketers in the room you still surprised by test results on a regular basis.
Ben: We will, we will commonly run bets in our office. So we’ll be running a test either for ourselves or for doing some work for somebody else. And I’ll come up with a couple of variations and I’ll go to two or three other people and they’ll offer to our marketing skill. And I’ll say to them hey what don’t you come up with this or which one do you think is going to be the winner and we will put down on the white board or somewhere else you know. Ben bet on this one, Steve on this one and Eugene bet on this one and often will all bet on the same or similar ones and be surprised that the one that we didn’t think was going to win a variant actually was the winner.
And so even with skill and a degree of experience in doing this unpredictable results come and which is I suppose proof the idea behind this whole thing that even if you sit in this industry and the industry arena and sell your product on an ongoing basis and you know your customers really well that’s great. That’s going to give you good material to test but don’t be so arrogant to assume that you actually know what’s going to trigger the buying behavior on every case because I just don’t’ think people can predictably, can reliably predict that. And it’s the testing that really brings it up.
Fred: Good. So now, let’s step back a second here and think about the person who is listening to this program who wants to increase their percentages of opt ins. What are the things, the very specific things they can do to make that happen?
Ben: Okay so they’re going to have typically content elements sticking around their conversion, there call to action. So say on the market Samurai homepage and what’s the address you follow if you want to get to that.
Fred: Yeah it’s cool research tool.com thank you.
Ben: Okay so if we follow cool research tool.com you’ll see a webpage that basically has a heading, it has a video, it has some dot points underneath it and an opt in box to the right. And that page is being tested aggressively and so what we did is we just looked, we said okay we’re going to go with a short punchy presentation and we just pulled apart each of the elements of it.
So we’re tried a number of different headlines and so we literally just sat there and brainstormed headlines. And then the video, the video is fascinating. I did a video about two years ago at 1 o’clock in the morning with eyes that looked very tired and really not very professional at all and it has out converted everything that we’ve done since. And we only just managed to get a very nice slick looking video that I’m actually pride to have my name against to convert equally with it. It doesn’t beat it, it just does the same and so I suppose I’m going to say to you is look at the key elements that are…when you are presenting your styles message to your client and saying to yourself let’s come up with some variance of these. What’s a different way so I piece this to my clients and simply substitute them in and allow the testing to take its place?
Fred: Well Ben, let me quickly interrupt you to ask this, which is again for people who are listening to this program my one real important issue to them is to make it as easy and as simple as possible. So can we assume that since you guys have been testing this ten ways til Sunday including at 1 o’clock in the morning there why would we not, why would we not if we were trying to make this as simple as possible for ourselves basically copy what you guys have done on that landing page as our starting point. Would that be a bad philosophy or a bad route to take?
Ben: I’m glad you brought that up because we do that all the time. And so the I am not looking to win a creative war in a split test. I’m looking to sell or get more action on whatever it is the thing I’m looking to do. And so I know the people that aggressively run tests. And in fact, I’ll go and there are websites that put out testing examples and I’ll just go and search them for fun and I’ll note down bits and pieces of it and literally we…the idea of taking good ideas from other people who are doing this is, is the very best way to do things. And so the only thing you need to be, you need to be careful of is you do develop a brand. And a personality around who you are and you need to combine quality salesmen ship with that element of who you are as a brand and some, sometimes you have to be a little bit careful in marrying the two.
Fred: Yeah so you’re authenticity has to remain within that context.
Ben: You’re not going to see Apple putting out a website for their new Mac Book Pro with yellow highlighting and you know bed red arrows pointing to the opt in box saying opt today to find out more about the Apple Mac Book Pro but then, that would be in congruent to their personality. And so you need to maintain your personality but I think a lot of people, I’m convinced that the vast majority websites grossly undersell what they could actually sell.
Fred: Now Ben you know one of the things that I’m pretty good at doing is playing Mr. Stupid and, and so the person listening I’m hearing in my head and by the way those voices in my head are quite frequent these days. What happens is that someone is saying okay Fred and Ben we’re listening to this, we want to increase our opt in rate and what we’re going to do is gonna go to the cool research tool, look at that, sort of start that as our place to get started as long as it’s within our authenticity. But I want to know what numbers and I’m sure you get asked this question all the time and I don’t really know what your answer is gonna be. But I think I know what it is but somebody is going to say to us and to me and to you and they’re going to say well that’s great. I’ve gotten this started, what is my benchmark of whether or not I’m doing a good job. What kind of percentage opt in rate is good?
Ben: Okay and that does vary massively. But, if you’re giving something away for free then I’m disappointed if not indulgence. So, if the and our affiliates know our conversion rates on Samurai product. We, we our opt in rate sits at around 20 percent the, a lot of people that come to me with opt-in’s will actually be sitting at 1, 2 or 3 percent. They’re not in ballpark, they’re not trying hard enough. That’s has been, in our experience when we get into double digits we are happy. I think the best I’ve seen, was above 20 percent. I think we are at our optimum at this point. The optimum that I’ve seen, the question is, if I’ve got my opt-in’s then what’s my sales conversion percentage? Again, this varies massively based on the quality of the leads coming into a channel. But, again I can give out my samurai stats, again, from 20 percent opt-in’s we see about a 20 percent free to high conversion rate. Now, we have some affiliates that do better than that, we have some affiliates that sit at, you know, their free rates are really high but, they’re obviously seeing traffic from a source that doesn’t convert well. Their conversion rates sit at, well below 10% through the sales.
Fred: Ben, let me interrupt you again to ask you this; now, I take it from this discussion, let me know if this is the universal kind of concept, that, are you suggesting that no one should be going for the immediate sale and that everyone should be going for the opt-in first, before then trying to convert to the sale?
Ben: No, take the example of an e-commerce store, there are e-commerce stores that are e-commerce stores that are essentially selling products that are quite trans-actionable. If you push too hard on the opt-in, you actually diminish the value of the sale. Having said that, the best wins I’ve had with e-commerce customers has been, where I have encouraged them to come up with a really good opt-in offer that they then built their database. So, what they’ll typically have in an e-commerce store type deal is, a strong, and I want to get back to the thing of customer orientation because I think that that really hurts a lot of people’s conversion rates. But, in an e-commerce store what we’ve actually done is, say okay, you want to drive sales, but, what we’re going to do on every page, we’re going to have a side bar item that has a really good value; discount vouchers or some sort of free train. Something like that was kind of the train. The typical user will deliver good value to that. We’ll send people so we’re optimizing, so the x,y,z. We want to rate number one for that particular product and we’ll lay it out to buy, straight off the page. But, our second reel off of that , in an e-commerce space is the opt-in. There are certainly a lot of spaces where we’ve had a lot of opt-in, there are certainly spaces that we’ve had a lot of success in the second reel, just by introducing it and focusing on it to a reasonable degree. We built a database with prospect that we bid out in Market to over time. In the information marketing space, it is far more common for people to go for the opt-in up front rather than stay on. That’s what we do in market samurai.
Fred: Got it, that makes a lot of sense. Now, I think most people listening will be very happy with what they’ve heard so far. You make it very clear and easy to understand. So, now let’s assume that they’ve set up their website optimizer through Google, they’re understanding that it’s probably easier to understand it is easier to go for and information marketing or an opt-in and secondarily go for the sale. Now, what are the elements, if I’m going to be testing, what are the things that I should start testing first?
Ben: Okay, I like to test the piece of the puzzle that gets the most views quickly. So, there’s this saying that we call, what’s above the fold? Now, above the fold is a bit of a funny term, it means that what you get see on a web page without scrolling down. Now, that can change a little bit because, people have different sized monitors. But, above the fold is typically that first presentation of value to a customer. Because, the thing that we often focus on conversion from a, 3 second conversion or a 3 ½ second conversion rate. The number that often kills us is our bounce rate.
Fred: Bounce rate? What’s a bounce rate? Mr. Stupid says.
Ben: Okay, so a bounce rate is number of people that come to your web page, and just leave. They don’t engage with your site, they don’t click through there. They just bounce straight back out.
Fred: Well, technically Ben, I want to understand exactly what that means. Does that mean that Google has determined that if they’re on the site for less than 5 seconds that they’re considered a bounce?
Ben: No. But, it does mean that they only viewed one page.
Fred: So, it is not a time issue, it is number of page views?
Ben: Yes. That’s actually a good question, because, I haven’t looked at whether or not if someone spends an enormous amount of time on one page whether they discount that as a bounce. I need to look that up, but, my understand has always been that it’s the view of one page rather than the view of multiple pages. So, if you’re doing a one page squeeze, then all they can do is view one page. The process of putting something up, above the fold that people see instantly, that engages them enough so that they don’t instantly click that back button of death. That instant back button. If you think about your own behavior, how often do you look at the site and go, no, and you just jump straight out of it? We, do it all the time. That, to me, is actually the first piece in the conversion puzzle from an on-site perspective. It’s actually possible with conversion to add words, before you get to your website, but, I’m personally looking at saying, I want to pull down my bounce rate so I’m drawing people into my sight. I want to orientate people so, that they just get a sense from that first millisecond of looking at my website. Does it look professional? Does it look like, something what I might except if I was looking for a massage course? Is this going to look vaguely like what I would expect, then, you’ve got that millisecond to orientate. Then, after you orientate, then you want to draw them into a conversation. You want to engage them into a conversation; through that conversation you want to prove value. But, it’s sort of that orientate, engage, converse, prove your value and then that will determine your conversion of sentiment.
Fred: Okay, let’s give them some specifics. If you were advising me as a client and somebody listening to this program on how to increase my conversion rates. What are the two, three or four elements that you would have me test first?
Ben: Okay, so, the people aren’t stupid. The value of the offer, we often think that customers are stupid for some reason, but, they are not; they are far from it. The value of the offer, is it actually what it is that you’re offering? More than any way that you say it, if you’re actually offering a good value, that will actually drive conversion. It is actually, there is a difficulty in, it’s an ethical difficulty as well, in actually selling something that doesn’t have value. So, the first question just is, if you have a good value product. Now, if we’re sure that that’s the case, the piece that , if you’re time poor, I would look at what they headline is and what the main piece under the headline is one the opening page of your website. I would test that as the very first thing that I would test. Secondly, from that, I would then look at other bits and pieces in terms of the logical flow of your website. Sometimes the thing that you actually want people to do that varies from four or five steps into your web site. Each time you ask a person to click into your web site, you’re actually diminishing your conversion rate. So, if you’re main thing is that you want someone to opt-in for something, then sure as hell make sure that you’ve got your opt-in page, opt-in capacity on the homepage. Just moving your opt-in capacity to your homepage will make a big difference. If you’re trying to sell something, things like the ability to make specific claims around benefits, we’ve had to get wind of that. The ability to reduce risk. So, if you sell something, I’ve only ever once, seen it bite somebody to put a guarantee policy and to be blunt that we’re selling something that was kind of rubbishy. The guarantee’s are sort of famous for increasing conversion by far more than the cost of an acting guarantee. There are many smart people that would argue that the lifetime guarantee’s are actually better than even, short term guarantee’s. Because, people just think, I’ll get is someday and they actually forget about the product and forget about the need to call on the guarantee rather than if you time limit the guarantee, you make it scarce and so they act on the basis of scarcity. On the basis of losing the guarantee capacity and they refund when otherwise they would just sit on something.
Fred: Yeah, there’s been a big discussion that I’ve had with a lot of my colleagues; I used to offer a lifetime guarantee, but now, the legal folks scared the ba-jesus out of me so, I’m no longer offering that.
Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting because, the laws have sort of tightened up in the U.S. Whereas, in Australia, people are still offering lifetime guarantee’s. I agree, lifetime guarantee’s a little bit funny when most people’s business models change every few years, and they go into a different business or they do something else. The notion of a lifetime guarantee is …
Fred: I always joke that it’s my lifetime. Now, quick, talk to me some more about things that I can do to increase my conversion rates. If I hear you correctly, the first thing is, you’ve got to have a really good product that your offering. Now, people have not yet gotten the product if it’s your giving away some kind of free digital product, when they first see it. So, I would imagine the title that you give that free giveaway becomes very important.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. This is going to sound kind of basic, but, I see really basic mistakes made on an ongoing basis. For example, you’ll go to a website where a persons primary value that they say; our product is awesome for these reasons. It is completely held within a video. Now, I like video. Video can in our experience has converted very well. But, I don’t want to rely on somebody who is sitting in an office corporate environment without speakers on their computer. That the only way that they can have any understanding of the value proposition that we present is with a video. So, if the only thing your selling is with a video, then put some text and some bullet points around it to also make that thing convert better.
Fred: Makes sense to me.
Ben: The specific claims, I’ve seen people do this a little bit cheesy, where they’ll put out statements of click banks saying: I made 123M dollars and 63 cents. It comes across a little bit too cheesy, but I think if you can say, instead of, ‘we’re a wonderful company’ and all that customers love, if you can make specific claims that say, ‘we are the most popular, such-and-such in the region because, we help our average customer increase their money by…’ and you can give them some of the specifics of the benefits that you deliver. Being specific generally increases believability and reduces skepticism. So, that will increase conversion. The other pieces of the puzzle that you can use to boost up your conversion rate, and we haven’t had very much success with variations of this on the samurai page, but, we’ve certainly seen it in other businesses. Is, with third party endorsements. Let me give you an example of a weak third party endorsement and then a good one. So, a weak third party endorsement would be: ‘Bob from Minnesota says: “I like this product, it helped me feel better.”’ A great endorsement would be: ‘Mary Smith, age 32; from Blackrock, Minnisota,’ on a video saying, ‘”I’ve had saticary in my back for 8 years and, I’ve tried a chiropractor, all of the other various bits and pieces, I finally got onto this cure your own back book. I can’t believe it, I’ve actually got back into running, I’ve taken a job again.”’ All of a sudden that person’s got believability. They’re telling a bit of a story, they’re a real person. It doesn’t look like something that a dodgy business owner just made up at two in the morning to throw something up onto the page. So, that sort of scale of believability helps. The one step above the scale of the convincing story from a random stranger is actually the convincing story from a person of authority. So, that might be the doctor wearing a lab coat, or a celebrity that’s know, or something like that. So, those kind of believability aspects, there’s a good trick in the information bar which is just there comes a point when your product will yield significant benefit to somebody. At that point they’ll send an email or something and just say, I just love you and you’ve just made a big difference in my life. Instead of just giving ourselves a pat on the back and saying, don’t I feel good? While that person is real pumped about our product, that is the time to capture a good testimonial. So, just having the basics in place, like, having a little form that says, Hey, you’re giving your customer a call, recording some of that, maybe writing out a written testimonial of what they’ve said and asking them if they’ll verify that that is correct. What we do in Australia from a legal perspective is we have a form that we give people that, just they saw it and they get it back to us, or fax back that says, I accept that this testimonial is part of what will be used as part of promotional material. It stops them down the tracks from saying I don’t want that to happen and we can always take it off. What we can say is, we’ll take it off and if they’d like something we can print it for them. We’ve got the right to use it until that stock has run out, it saves us from arguments and so forth. So, that aggressive collecting of elements of third party proof, is really powerful. Something that a lot of people are doing and we are just playing with at the moment is the notion of using feedback from social media forums. Which, you don’t have the same degree of moderation control, but, if your product is good and you’re delivering good value, it’s really believable. Where, instead of having comments on your blog, which I can can knock out all the bad ones, having feedback from social media showing up on my property around my product is a form of social proof that can also prove that, what we are saying about our benefits are true.
Fred: Ben, we’ve just gone a little bit above the heads of the basic person here. They don’t really understand what you mean by that, so in other words, what your saying is, rather than having little testimonials from your blog that you could edit out, you’re saying that the Facebook or the Twitter, various things that are unfiltered, appear directly below, within your site it’s self. Explain to that, explain to people what that is.
Ben: You’ll see this in instant marketing around large product launches is, people will give away a piece of quality free content. They’ll ask people at the end of that to say if they’ve enjoyed it, on their Facebook or on a fan page or on a Twitter account. Something to that nature. They’ll then plug that feed of positive feedback, that stream of positive commentary, back into their web page at an appropriate point, maybe to the right hand side of an opt-in form. See what others are saying about us in social media a the moment, and it’s like, you look down the right hand side and see, they’re real people on social media saying those things. It’s not some scripted testimonial sitting on a web page. Gee, that must be real or that must be believable.
Fred: What level of technical difficulty is it to hook that up?
Ben: It’s probably a 5? It’s not, again, it’s not massively difficult to know how to do, but you’re going to have to know how to plug a couple of basic bits and pieces together.
Fred: in the event that people are saying, you know what? I want to do this but, I need someone to help me out. One of your sites in Australia, Fiverr.com, would this be a site where people could find people to help them? Or, where would you suggest they go if they need assistance?
Ben: I would just start with Google and I would search for google comments on my blog, or something like that. It is something that lots of people are now doing. I reckon that there would be guides out there. But, if not, something like Fiverr would be fine. That’s a great idea.
Fred: And that’s FIVERR.com for basically trying to get things done relatively inexpensively. Okay, let’s move on then. We’ve talked about a number of things here to help increase conversion rate. What have we left out? Any more?
Ben: The only thing, and you mentioned what you’ve got in your office, there’s a little pink stick it note that sits underneath my monitor that says, a confused customer doesn’t buy. And, I think, many times we get too close to our products and if we were to get our mother to come out and look at what we do, we would be avoiding the whole issue of confusion, so, sometimes we get all hung up on really pushing our sales proposition. When, we’re assuming, we’re saying some assumed knowledge about our customers. We actually confuse them. As soon as people feel confused it totally justifies the pressing of the back button. So, just really being conscious of that whole issue of confusion, people focus on salesmanship, but I think confusion is probably the bigger killer of sales than anything else.
Fred: I know that one of the reasons that I got excited for us to talk and chat and share your ideas with other people was that you put out a piece recently that had to do with some of the concepts that we’re talking about here. Now, is there a way that people listening can get a hold of some of these? I guess if they go in through the door, coolresearchtool.com, where would they then click on to get that PDF report that you guys give out that I thought was very, very well done?
Ben: When they follow that through, they will get through to Market Samurai. They will then be able to follow that through to Noble Samurai, which is our corporate website. So, on the corporate website of Noble Samurai, there is a blog and if they just click on the blog, they will see, today we will be posting the third part in a four part series on this topic of conversion. Each of those is just a video and some commentary. Then a checklist, is on each of those posts as well. So, it is just on our blog and if you follow that link through, you will be able to click though and find the blog.
Fred: Ben, you’ve been very generous with your time, do you have any final thoughts before we sort of close it up for this topic, having to do with conversion?
Ben: No, the one thing that I would say is this. We will often work for hours and hours and hours on our business, particularly in areas of traffic, product development and so forth. If you will just lock out an hour of your time without distractions, print off your web pages; look at the with a fresh set of eyes as a user would do; take a red pen and circle the pieces that you think, you know, I could tweek this and do a better piece. It doesn’t take a lot of time to do. We’ve hat tests that have taken us a total of three hours to do. So, executing, including test, design and implementation. They’ve yielded well over 100 percent increase for a clients business. That client’s been working for seven years to build their business up to where they’ve got it. That’s seven years of their life versus three hours of their time.