SES 2010 – Day 2- Brian Eisenberg – 21 secrets of top converting websites

SES 2010 – Day 2- Brian Eisenberg – 21 secrets of top converting websites

17th February 2010

Firstly thanks to @LisaDMyers for inviting me to blog for state of search, really great to be involved in what will be a fantastic resource for all search professionals. But enough about that lets get into improving conversion rate which was a fantastic session at London SES 2010.

Brian Eisenberg (@grok) started out saying “Everyone’s websites suck, average conversion rates are about 3%, and they haven’t gone up particularly over the last 10 years. Technology has advanced so why not conversion rate?” that’s a pretty compelling argument especially given the amount of money companies spend on attracting traffic.

Some examples of great conversion rates are:

  • 60%
  •  43.2%
  • 23.5%

So what do the best converting websites have in common?

1. They communicate their unique value proposition very well

When 7 seconds is given for someone to decide to buy every second counts. Establish credibility on every landing page. Tie your unique campaign proposition into the web.

2. They make persuasive and relevant offers

Free shipping is a great offer that’s very relevant for everyone it costs the least and makes the most impact. Even if the shipping is only 3 dollars! Conversion rate doubled for after they made that change. Make sure it’s on the checkout though!

3. Reinforce your offer site wide

If it’s not on the checkout people are unsure if they qualify for the offer.

4. They maintain scent

According to Brian we’re a bunch of scent following animals, and as soon as we lose the scent we drop off. Keep all design on brand and in line with the campaign. Tie in ppc ads into pages too. Victoria Secret does this very well by maintaining a consistent brand from banner to website to checkout. Its more than one page! You spend a lot of effort on the landing page you should look at the site as a whole. You need to make sure that your marketing and online integrates in terms of scent and usability.

5. They make incredible first impressions.

Again, you get 8 seconds so take the opportunity to be awesome.

6. They appeal to multiple personas

Don’t plan for the average customer, plan to be personal and segment to each group’s needs. People gather information differently and it’s important to appeal to all. Build personas and identify what different segments of the website can appeal to them to market efficiently.

7. They don’t do slice and dice optimisation

We don’t have the time to MVT test everything! It also wastes a lot of traffic. Use the persuasion architecture process.

Profile the page against each personality type and from that point of view you’ll be able to find flaws in the page. Changing a single graphic changed conversion rate of a major DVD chain by 5% and make them extra millions. Create a single hypothesis and test it properly.

8. They leverage social commerce

Use the voice of the customer. Figleaves improved conversion by 35% by implementing reviews.

9. They use social commerce in navigation

10. Use social commerce for promotions

Let your customer’s voice help your conversions in promotions and email marketing

11. Use social commerce to build credibility.

12. They use the voice of customer for feedback and research. for $100 5 people will go through your website. (69 free tools will give you the full list)

13. They go beyond usability

Use persuasion principles like scarcity. Use stock levels and say 150 people are shopping right now. It boosts conversion. If doing product photography use the product in a scene, it makes it more personal and relevant.

14. Make all forms engaging

Design is pivotal. Thank them for choosing your website before they have filled it out!  Register people on the thank you page which is a great place to up sell.

15. They provide a point of assurance

Make sure you set the expectation and ensure people know the checkout is secure on every page.

16. They keep you in the process

Don’t necessarily take people to the basket once clicked.

17. They consider email preview

Make sure you check email templates without images.

18. They budget for experience

Most people concentrate on traffic yet they spend no time to constantly improve the experience. Amazons success is implementing social commerce and constant user testing. Every detail gets tested.

19. They use a system for prioritisation

Cross reference the resources and difficulty to make sure you can prioritise better.

20. They make data driven design decisions

Stop making decisions of the HIPPO

21. They know how to execute rapidly

It took Amazon 2 hours to change their MP3 page to respond to MJs death. Execution is not a onetime push it’s a way of life.

He then covered 5 steps for next week which really will spur on some activity:

1)     Identify problems, identify high bounce and exit rate

2)     Create a to do list

3)     Document your hypothesis

4)     Prioritise your to do list

5)     Start testing

All in all it was a great keynote with some real actions to implement for our clients/ websites.


Written By
Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.
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