We’re all guilty of being propelled to get more traffic to the site to increase our end goal and bottom line, but the message Bryan Eisenberg wanted to send to us during his kickoff of HeroConf was that we might be trying to solve the wrong question. We know how to obtain the traffic. What our websites actually suffer from is a conversion problem! Bryan gave a fantastic comprehensive presentation of what holds us back from getting a higher conversion rate, and also gave us his consolidated checklist for conversion optimization, which he is calling The Conversion Trinity.
Your site converts at 90%, right? It’s achievable!
Bryan asked, “How many of your websites have a 100% conversion rate? 90%? 80%?” no hands or nods from attendees, “Ok, what about a 70% conversion rate.” Finally! A responder! But my first thought was, wait – what are you selling?! Bryan went on to convince me that it’s not what we’re selling, it’s how we’re selling it.
He has seen clients with a 90% conversion rate and relates his approach to baking bread from a recipe. You need to start with the basic ingredients – flour, water, yeast, and salt – but those ingredients can create a plethora of tasty, delicious bready treats (assuming you’re not gluten free, of course!). As with any type of bread (baguettes, donuts, bagels, etc), it really depends on the end customer to say which is best. You may not like bagels, but I sure do! And a bakery offers us a 1:1 solution for our breakfast, lunch and dinner desires; they are creating customer confidence in their brand; they are creating repeat customers. They have a good recipe. They are good at conversion rate optimization.
But even if you have the same recipe, every baker (or marketer) will come to a separate result. As marketers, we have tested and experimented and found a method of testing and conversion that works for us. We are biased to our own experience, Bryan referred to this as “The Curse of Knowledge.” Our jobs as marketers are to know everything about the product we are promoting, and we are trying to explain to someone who could possibly care very little, or at the very least – significantly less than us.
There are several assumptions being made by marketers about our customers and target audience and it is killing our landing pages. Sometimes it’s because of technology restrictions. Sometimes it’s in conjunction with IT, your boss, your client, your designers (all of which Bryan referred to affectionately as the Business Prevention Unit). If we don’t provide specific instructions and oversee the production, we may end up with the exact opposite of what we really wanted. Own this process.
Customer Engagement Through Landing Pages
Bryan has spoken for many years now on how important conversion rate optimization is. In 2001, Bryan gave his own definition of CRO: It’s a measure of your effectiveness on how you can persuade your audience and deliver great customer service. But not very many were on board then and it fell to the back burner. Now, with the last 3-5 years of push toward customer experience, he poses the question: How do we engage people?
LANDING PAGES. LANDING PAGES. LANDING PAGES.
No. Not really whatsoever at all.
It’s not just the landing page. You will never have a truly successful campaign in massive scale if you assume that the ad to landing page is the only thing that effects your site’s conversion rate.
There’s this thing called scent, if you aren’t already in the CRO Know. It’s the same idea as keeping the headline as close to the search query as possible. Bryan gave the example of the Geico Gecko. In Geico’s banner ads for car insurance, our friendly gecko was present and vivid.
But when we were sent to the landing page the gecko disappeared and we were given a site that wasn’t reminiscent of the ad which initially attracted us to the site. We are presented with a stock image of a phone operator to the far side. The gecko has grown to mean customer service and has become associated to Geico’s “Save 15% or More” branding. It is definitely worth testing his incorporation into the purchase funnel.
So let’s say that in the case of Geico, Legal & Compliance and IT refuse to allow you to change anything within the funnel. It’s your job to convince your team that things need to change. You need to sell CRO to your team.
Bryan suggested comparing your customers to an adorable animal, an adorable beagle. Beagles will hunt and search for food, but if they have to work too hard to get it, they will get distracted by a squirrel and you no longer have the adorable dog’s attention. Your customer base will drive off in another direction (likely social media or their 9-5 or even to a competitor).
This is why it’s important to maintain scent of the page and make it easy for users to get through your site. It’s integral. It’s key. This is the cross between a usable site, and an intuitive site.
The Hierarchy of Optimization
Bryan says there will be a significant difference in site conversion rates between a site that is just barely functioning (one that is a struggle to make a purchase but you are so in love with the product that you refuse to give up) and an intuitive or persuasive site (one that utilizes tested and succeeded user experience and clearly speaks to one of the company personas).
The closer we get to impressing our users, the more we will succeed. Low conversion rates don’t mean that the keyword doesn’t convert, it means we are failing our users. To be able to impress our users, we need to define and segment our personas based on our customers motivation, knowledge, needs, and previous purchases or other preferences we know about them, which can also be segmented.
A persona preferences can include interests, demographics, psychographics, source, behavior, interaction, buying stage, perceived economic value, and so many more. But any way you look at it, websites have a big question to answer: what is the landing page opportunity?
There is some opportunity in the types of demand by search. Long tail represents 70% of search demand but then there’s the 11.5% of chunky middle that has an opportunity to increase conversion rate.
Some opportunity rests in optimizing the purchase cycle, but there’s a larger question at play here that will impact all of your landing pages, and all of your channels.
What is your long term investment?
Bryan referenced Amazon as a major investor in their long term branding goals. In his letter to the shareholders that went public last week, he mentioned Amazon performed 1976 test in 2013. That’s a little over 160 tests per month. All of them were still focused around Amazon’s core pillars: Customer Centricity, Continuous Optimization, Culture of Innovation, and Corporate Agility.
“If you build a great experience, customers will tell each other about it. Word of mouth is very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos
Bing has also come out with a very specific breakdown of their quality score, and half of it has to do with on page experience.
“Many people think that the landing page relevance is based on the keyword and your landing page. It’s actually based on the search query your ads trigger.” – Ping Jen
So, Landing Pages Are Critical To Your Success.
The Conversion Trinity
With these three principles to guide you, you can solve any landing page discussion.
Ask yourself these three things::
Am I making this more relevant?
Am I making it more accessible?
Am I building more brand confidence?
When asking these questions, don’t forget you are speaking to your audience of one. Different types of personas are going to read the site differently.
If you have a competitive browser, that person is going to be looking at headlines and bolded terms for the quickest answer. If you have a methodical viewer, that type of person is going to review the whole page before making a decision. Spontaneous visitors will click what most appeals to their gut instinct the fastest. Or you could have a person who wants to see reviews of your site, a social influence purchaser.
But there are already so many elements to a page! How are we supposed to give them all to all these different types of users?
First, let’s break down what Bryan refers to as the 10 Elements of a Landing Page:
- Got to have a Logo! Who are you?
- Offer – too often the offer is too lame
- Persuasive/Explanatory Copy
- Product Presentation
- Call To Action
- Confidence signals
- Contact Information – especially now that we have more mobile traffic than ever, people need to be able to easily contact you
- More Information – not everyone is at the same stage and ready to buy
- Basic Template elements
But then, you need to decide what is most important to your company. Pick the top 3 things and make sure they flow together and are easy to view on the page.
Good and Bad Example Pages
Bryan showed us a few examples of sites that are less than perfect, in addition to some that are really doing things right.
The goal is to get 10 of 10 Landing Page Elements.
This first example only has 6 elements. It’s missing 40% of what a page should have to build credibility and entirely inform the user.
This mobile page is missing an offer! How can anyone act without an offer.
And finally, this mobile site has it going on. It has flow, and prioritizes its content and provides an overall good user experience.
All landing pages need to operate from the visible anatomy, relying on 5 dimensions:
Once you have all of these together, it will help you make your own landing pages much better.
At the end of his presentation, Bryan left us with this cute little guy…
He’s here to remind us that we need to give the people what they want. And that comes from good persona research and landing page testing that allows us to know our audience intimately and work on getting them what they really need.
About the author
Jasmine works at Distilled in their Seattle office specializing in paid search. She has managed accounts in several verticals including finance, ecommerce, non-profit, and travel. She has a fierce determination to achieve excellent growth for her clients and is a passionate people person