SES London 2010 | Bryan Eisenberg 21 Secrets of Coverting Websites

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Our speaker Bryan is on the SES Advisory Board and is a NYTimes bestselling author. We should be getting some great benchmark data and insider tips on driving real conversion improvements.

We start with a quick lesson in conversion – bribery works! (Bryan is talking about incentives).

First premise – “Your Website Sucks”

Why? Average site conversion rate is 3% Which has remained static over the past 5 years, despite improve,entts in design, usability, technology, access etc.

Why settle for 3% when…

Some top 10 online retailers convert from 10 to 65% – what are they doing differently?

1. These sites communicate UVPs and UCPs (unique value propositions and unique conversion props). E.g. “Over 10 million orders shipped since 1994″ as a header. Easyjet “Europes leading low-cost travel website”.

2. Make persuasive and relevant offers – the most being FREE SHIPPING!

From experience at Dell, free shipping made most profit and greatest sales.

3. If you proclaim a great offer on the site, ensure this follows throughout the site, in particular on the checkout page. Or you may lose them. Message must be persuasive and appear consistently.

4. They maintain scent.

Concept of “scent” is explained as our online user behaviour; as information foraging animals. Use signals to continue “scent” and relational path throughout the user journey.

Example from Web Analytics Consulting, we see an ad in Google which explicitly promises a free white paper from industry top names. All of these items are clearly present on the ad LP.

Visual Example: Victoria’s Secret IS scent. Images, style, categories and offers all maintained.

Optimisation is not a single page exercise – It’s a whole journey.

Basically don’t stop with just LP optimisation. Look at the entire user journey to sale. The ad and landing page tend to be marketed, whereas the technical

5. They Make a Strong First Impression

8 seconds to make an association.

Example: LifeLock guarantee your identity and on the HP their VP image is displayed along with his social security number (to make a bold impact statement and instant hook)

6. They Appeal to Multiple Personas/Segments

A common theme from yesterday, segmentation is key to understanding data – and of course understanding and acting according to difference improves conversions.

Quotes Jakob Nielson eyetracking study where people tend to fall into four types; competitive, methodical, spontaneous and humanistic. Need to build personas and market to them.

7. They Don’t do Slice and Dice Optimisation

Example of how to do LP optimisation using the Persuasion Architecture Process – which seeks to appeal to the four different personas. Looking at an example of an page which had 91% bounce, we see that there is very little content to appeal to the different user types, in the incorrect places for each type.

Test is for impact and not variation.

E.g. who’s voice works best in online video? British or American (video/audio plays). Which worked better?

It depends… globally British accent won. In the US the British accent also won. In the UK the American accent won!

8. Leverage Social Commerce Using Customer Voice

Amazon example. Number of customer reviews.

Figleaves increased conversion by 35% by adding reviews and ratings. Of course this also helps generate natural search as UGC is written in consumer language.

9 They Use it for Navigation

Add social, comment, rating content to the navigation.

10. They Use it for Promotions

Promoting reviews as part of general promotions (including in emails) greatly improves conversion rate in one case 1482% for Vitacost.

11. They Use it for Credibiltiy

Adds authenticity without seeming to market so aggressively. Opens up to the customer.

12 They Use it for Feedback and Research

Usabiltiy labs, user testing etc can be expensive, whereas review/social content analysis $100

Search for 69 free tools to find a blog post from Bryan with a number of really accessible and affordable usability test and analysis tools.

13. They Use Persuasion Tactics e.g. Scarcity

“Hurry there are 365 people shopping right now. Only 25 left”.

Other tactics; set a scene with product image, e.g. clothing in lifestyle situation.

14. They Even Make Forms Engaging

Short, simple, continued “scent” attractive images. “Thanks for choosing…”

Why make people register pre-checkout. Why not do this on the thank-you page? Or at the same time as checkout?

15. They Provide Point of Action Assurances

E.g. “Guaranteed response within 2 business hours”

Privacy Security, Delivery Guarantee etc.

16. They Keep You In the Process

E.g. on product selection, don’t take the user to the shopping basket, show a confirmation windo with a choice to keep shopping or checkout.

17. They Consider Email Preview

Check how your emails appear in all mail formats without images.

18 They Budget for Experience

Normally spend is focused on traffic driving whilst focus on building customer experience is neglected. Throwing money away.

They Focus on Continued Improvement

Tiny drip-feed improvents over time can add incremental performance improvement. Times change, user-behaviour changes. Always continue to test.

19. They Utilise A System for Prioritisation

There are more “one hour a day” books than there are hours in a day.

Dell gave Bryan a great example of how to do this, bytaking a 71 page list of recommendations from Bryan and asked how many people, how long, how much improvement? Decided to make just one change (two words) from “learn more” to “help me choose”. This change has made $10,000,000 over the years since change.

20. They Make Data Driven Decisions

To do web analytics and optimisation correctly you have to make a to-do list regularly and ACT ON IT! (Looking at level of impact and level or resources).

21. They Know How to Execute Rapidly.

2 hours after Michael Jackson dies, Amazon had reconfigured their MP3 page. This is why Amazon beat all the established old-school merchants in the online arean. Leveraging social content and constantly testing and acting in immediacy.

“Execution is not an event – a onetime push towards acheiving goals. Rather it is a way of life”. (Guy Kawasaki)

5 Final Action Steps

1. Identify problems

2. Create the to-do list

3. Document the change hypothiseis

4. Prioritise this to-do list

5. Start testing and do the same next time.

Audience Questions:

Should we have a number of niche sites?

Yes and no according to subject matter complexity, as people click on what is attractive to them, which can be leverage on one site in most sectors.

Objection to testing from Clients – Largest tend to be inflexible CMS

Bryan recommends Optimost.

What about B2B Signals?

Depends on marketplace and relationship. Spontaneity may matter less, so free shipping might not be such a draw. Free gifts work well for bulk orders.

Do these tips apply to mobile device conversion rates?

Too hard and too early to tell. A lot of these principles will work, but things like improved content and product descriptions will work.

Diff between Social Commerce and Social Media?

Don’t think about social apps as ways to connect, but ways to integrate as business strategy.

How do we handle negative reviews?

Surprisingly negs improve conversions as it helps to qualify which product is not (but conversely what is) a suitable product for them.

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