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Recap of the first day of the Conversion Conference in Hamburg

28 October 2010 BY

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So here we are: back in the train to Berlin after the first day of the first Conversion Conference in Hamburg. The conference is well attended. I don’t know the exact number of participants, but it is bigger than the conversion conference in Washington DC, I heard. Hamburg beats Washington DC, yeah! I’ll cover a few highlights of day one, because, to be honest, not all sessions were good enough to cover.

The day started with a keynote of Dirk Lauber, head of e-commerce at Baur Group, one of the oldest German mail-order businesses and one of the ten biggest online shops. Mr. Lauber has a yearly budget of 1.5 Million Euros (!) to invest in conversion optimization and user-centered-design. He talked about the changes in user behavior, from basic to experienced, and the development on the website, from IT over online marketing to user-centered-design.
Baur divides the complete conversion funnel in different tracks. Every track has its own executive, responsible for his part of the funnel. All together these micro-conversions result in a better conversion rate. Furthermore he showed how Baur calculate the value of every micro-conversion on the way to the final sale.

After the keynote and a sponsor’s presentation, in which Timo Aden of Trakken talked a bit about mousetracking and his new tool TrakkMouse, the regular sessions started. Dr. Karl Blanks of Conversion Rate Experts did, as always, a great job talking about the basics of conversion optimization and about the biggest mistakes people make. But the following presentations of Commerzbank and the presentation of Claudia Strauch of Contentmetrics weren’t worth visiting.

After a good lunch, it was time for the second keynote: “The four pillars of Building Instant Trust Online” by Tim Ash, now also known as “the Beckenbauer of conversion optimization.” (For those of you that don’t know Beckenbauer: Wikipedia is your friend ;-) )

E-commerce is about people, not about technology. If a visitor doesn’t trust you, he will not convert. So how can you gain that trust in the few seconds, a visitor decides if he stays or goes?

1. Appearance matters
Would you buy something from a site that looks like sh*t? You probably will not! So don’t get disqualified based solely on how you look!

Focus on:

•    Professionalism
•    Sparseness
•    Organization

2. Transactional assurances
Don’t hide important elements below the fold, because only 20% of your visitors will see them! Relieve point-of-action anxieties before they arise.

Think of:

•    Forms of payment and deliver
•    Data security and privacy
•    Policies and guarantees

3. Authority
People are more likely to get influenced by outside authorities. If you don’t have trust, borrow it from others. (“As seen on CNN”, etc.):

•    Reviews and awards
•    Marquee clients
•    Media mentions
•    Trade associations

4. Consensus of peers
Support automatic compliance by demonstrating social proof:

•    Use large numbers (eg. “3.5 Millions of downloads can’t lie”)
•    Likeness

This was the absolute highlight of day one. The other sessions were interesting but not worth making this post any longer. I’m driving back today with a few mixed emotions. Some presentations were great, but some of them were a bit boring and very theoretical. I hoped to get some actionable tips and insights I could use in my daily work as an online marketing consultant. Maybe I’m just too inexperienced in the conversion industry, but I think many of the attendees are. I was hoping to get answers to questions like “where do I start?”, “how can I make sure I don’t get influenced by outside factors I can’t control (like seasons etc.)”. Until now I didn’t get the answer, but, hey, we’ve one day left!

See other related posts on the conversion conference:

AUTHORED BY:
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Evert Veldhuijzen is consulting various international brands about different aspects of online marketing. His company Netlead is in affiliate business and develops websites for his joint-ventures.
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