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My Blogger Friends
I have been unbelievably, ridiculously busy. Being a career mother, with a two year old toddler, in a big old city like London, makes for very challenging time management.
Anyway, excuses aside. I have been doing some fun and intense web analytic – ey type things recently.
Recently when doing some multi-variate testing, I noticed that there was a much higher conversion rate on exactly the same form page but for different types of property market. For example, when people were looking to rent, they converted at a significantly higher rate, perhaps a 20% increase in click through rate (CTR) from the property details page to contact the agent form page compared to people looking to buy a house.
So, I went into tealeaf to replay sessions for buying versus renting, conversions and non-conversions.
It was fascinating, because everytime there was a graphic displaying energy efficiency on buying, just above the call to action button, people weren’t clicking on the call to action button. So in other words, a product feature that only sometimes appeared for some products, was distracting attention from the call to action.
This is how I find people’s journeys – I either pick the url within the date I am looking at or free text (or many other search options).
Then I am able to watch, just like a video, exactly what happened on the website.
8 conversion rate tactics below to help increase conversion rates on your website.
1. People Click On What They Want
People navigate the web by “scent”, Byran Eisenberg, conversion guru and persuasion architect, tells us. Scent was first described by Xerox PARC to describe the parallels between a human’s information-gathering techniques on the Web and an animal’s food-gathering techniques in the wild. People seek information through the “scent” given off by their trigger words.
According to research performed by usability guru Jared Spool, when visitors found their trigger words on a landing page, they were successful at completing their task 72% of the time; if the trigger word wasn’t on the page, they were only successful 6% of the time. The scent of the keywords kept them on the right path; lacking that scent, they stopped searching that particular “trail”. One tip to make sure you have your visitors’ trigger words covered is to make sure each major button or link:
completes this sentence: “I want to _____”.
includes trigger words / strong scent
2. Start Using Persuasive Call To Action Words
Impotent call to action hyperlinks like “read more” and “submit” sometimes make me feel embarrassed for website owners. They should know better.
Persuasive call to action hyperlinks should include an imperative verb and a benefit. For example, which hyperlink is more persuasive: A or B?
George found an investment secret that changed his life. Read More
George found an investment secret that changed his life. See how George doubled his income in one year.
You can see from this comparison why the second example is more likely to induce action.
3. Better Product Images Are Worth A Thousand Calls to Action
Having better-looking product images than other sellers will do wonders. If research is any indication, product images are a major factor in converting visitors. In fact, 83 percent of eBay shoppers skip listings without images, while sites with galleries get 15% more activity and those with so-called super-size photos show a 24 percent spike in sales. The better photo wins every time. Many people skimp on the quality of their product images and use manufacturer-supplied images which is a mistake.
4. B2B Products or Services Need Merchandising, Too
The same holds true if you are in B2B: Better product images are worth a thousand calls to action. Many B2B sites offer downloads of whitepapers or demos in exchange for completing a form, but fail to make the most basic of efforts to persuade visitors to do so. Don’t just tell them about your whitepaper… merchandise it. Show a cover, show them how easy it is to read with all your pretty charts. Test to see which pieces matter the most.
5. Headlines Must be Made to Stick
Most headlines (and copy for that matter) suffer from what Chip and Dan Heath refer to in their book Made to Stick as a curse of knowledge: Once you know something, it’s difficult to imagine what it is like to not know it. The headline on your page is the one thing that about 80% of your visitors will read. But while headlines are often crafted for their persuasive abilities, they often assume too much prior knowledge on the part of the reader. Make sure that everybody understands what your headline is about, even if they have no reference to understand it. Then invest as much time as possible testing your headline’s abilities to both (1) gather attention and (2) entice visitors to invest the next 30 seconds on your page by explaining what’s in it for them — in language they can understand!
6. Always be Testing
Doing A/B or multivariate testing used to require some in-house programming expertise or expensive third-party software. Thankfully, Google has provided us with a free alternative in the form of Google Website Optimizer. While it may not offer every feature some of the other solutions provide, it is quite an elegant solution and getting better all the time. I actually prefer that people don’t spend their money on a tool, but focus those resources on better copy and imagery instead. There are no more excuses for not testing regularly. Remember what Claude Hopkins wisely said in 1923: “Almost any question can be answered cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that’s the way to answer them – not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort – buyers of your products.”
7. Should we be testing hundreds of thousands of variations?
This question illustrates the market’s misunderstanding of testing. For the vast majority of businesses, this is more like random testing. You can test thousands of combinations in a multivariate test, but being able to doesn’t mean you should. Let’s focus on this example. I’ve kept the numbers simple for clarity’s sake, but let’s assume:
Example I (not recommended):
1,000 = Test combinations (the number of page sections and variations in the test)
10,000 = Page views per day
100% = Visitors in experiment (we’ll run the experiment with all our traffic)
2.4% = Current conversion rate (average conversion rate)
20% = Expected improvement
The duration for this test: 34.9 days. (More than a month!)
Example II (recommended):
20 = Test combinations (focused on key drivers)
10,000 = Page Views per day
100% = Visitors in experiment
2.4% = Current conversion rate
20% = Expected improvement (focus on key drivers in the hierarchy of optimization rather than just random elements, and your expectations should be higher)
The duration for this test: 0.698 days. (Under a day!)
Under the guise of being “scientific”, the companies that originally offered these tools charged on a monthly basis. While they had plenty of experience in managing their software, they had little experience in identifying valuable tests. Plus, they had zero incentive to get quick results while customers paid a monthly fee.
Multivariate testing for the sake of conversion rate optimization should be scientific. However, testing is about improving your business results, not scientific experimentation. Unless you’re running a lab, you’re testing for profit. (No offense, non-profits… yes, you should be testing too.) Testing only what matters is how to recover opportunity cost. Time is money. Don’t waste it by testing which variables matter; rather, invest your time in improving those variables and your understanding of them. Fix the things that hurt your conversions as fast as possible, and make more money today.
8. Read the Reviews on Conversion
Reviews have been all the buzz the past couple of years. If you recently purchased something online, has a review influenced your purchase decision?
New research further illustrates the value of reviews:
77% of online shoppers use reviews and ratings when purchasing (Jupiter Research, August 2006)
63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. (CompUSA & iPerceptions study)
86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. (MarketingSherpa)
Most people don’t seem to focus on all the factors involved in implementing reviews to enhance conversion. It’s important that you test and optimize for conversion and persuasion by focusing on the following areas:
Placement for Visibility
Above the fold
Stars or other graphic
Near point of attention or action
Ease of reading
Use across the site
Single Dimension versus Multi-Dimension Reviews
What are the key attributes across different categories
Can review content influence purchase decision
Negative and positive reviews
Review approval policy
What Does a Review Mean
Number of reviews
What questions are you asking
Qualitative versus quantitative
Reviews are just one example of the market trend demanding more authenticity and transparency, and they are key factors in getting your visitors to take action. Any time you have a choice between opening up more or less, always opt for giving your customers more.
What do you think? Do you have any ideas on how to make your website perform better?
Click here to see and also listen to my presentation of how Rightmove are using in this particular case tealeaf to understand their customer experience better and replay exactly what their visitors did and see it in their eyes (I’ve saved the presentation using Jing Project which is absolutely fab).
The presentation is just under 5 minutes long, includes all my slides, my voice (audio) and also a video of where a visitor’s journey went wrong using tealeaf’s session replay. It opens up in a new window, press play and you can listen to all 5 minutes (if you have the time that is). http://screencast.com/t/SadLainUI3
This Thursday 8th Nov I’ll be presenting at the London Stock Exchange and next wednesday 14th Nov at Web Analytics Wednesday in London’s covent garden. As we move beyond pure web analytics, to trying to get into our customer’s head to understand their experience on our website, how can customer experience management tools help us.
There are tools available now such as tealeaf and speedtrap that allow us to replay exactly what our customers did on our site, a bit like a video player of exactly what they did on your website. Very cool. I also had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with Robert Wenig, CTO and founder of tealeaf yesterday.
What customers actually need compared to what they actually get
Why do we need to understand our customer’s experience and how can tools help us?
1. The unique session replay functionality would allow the company to hone in on live technical and customer orientated issues to achieve a fix with a quick turnaround on their website.
2. Help customer services teams work with customers where they were having a problem on the website doing what they wanted to do – so the customer services team can replay the customer’s session and tell them where they missed a step or alternatively where the website didn’t deliver.
3. Identify poor customer experience in our customer journey on the website e.g look up sessions where a page or image had a problem loading, 404 errors etc, couldn’t find address, couldn’t find product etc.
4. Identify fraud or unexpected activity on financial services websites and look at the fraudster’s activity.
5. Weekly meetings to go through problem sessions, come up with ideas and identify solutions.
6. Compare click activity on a page to mouse movements on a page to eg identify elements on a page that are encouraging a high number of mouse movements but that are non-clickable (and hence should be clickable).
7. Real time data.
Are there others that I haven’t thought of? Are you getting inside your customer’s heads with pure web analytics tools so don’t use these customer experience management tools?
But there are alot of challenges associated with these tools:
1. The cost – they are extremely expensive.
2. Actually getting people internally within the company to use them, for example creating a culture where tech support and or customer services actively use these tools in their daily role.
3. Lots of training and learning and time on how to use the product and to configure the events required from scratch.
4. Set up and configuration of the product across all hosting sites and servers, tealeaf uses http requests for example.
5. Getting to grips with the “customer experience method of thinking” in terms of the perceived traditional web analytics definitions of items such as visits and page impressions versus “sessions”.
Have you found challenges delivering value using customer experience management tools?
This web analytics wednesday is a discussion on how we all think that these tools could or should drive or delivervalue to drive commercial benefit and of course better customer experience.
How do you get inside the head of your customers?
I will also be drawing on my experience at Rightmove (26 million visits a month and tenth most popular website in the UK) where we have started using tealeaf to help.
Any thoughts, ideas – do you use customer experience tools, do you wish you did, do you think that we don’t need them and we can get into our customer’s heads with traditional Voice of customer, surveys, polls, web analytics solutions, engagement metrics etc?
Thanks so much for reading and if you are coming to either of the upcoming events, see you soon
This is where customer experience management tools, which are not cheap, such as tealeaf and speedtrap have created a niche, and include a browser replay feature of individual Web sessions, including the specific pages a customer viewed and how he or she interacted with them, with or without mouse movements as well. Companies on a significantly smaller budget can use other tools to a certain extent such as Techsmith’s Morae, a usability lab on a CD Rom and Crazy Egg, free or almost, heatmapping of click and mouse movement over time.
Why we wish to understand the experience our users/customers in greater detail:
The unique session replay functionality would allow the company to hone in on live technical and customer orientated issues to achieve a fix with a quick turnaround on their website.
Help customer services teams work with customers where they were having a problem on the website doing what they wanted to do – so the customer services team can replay the customer’s session and tell them where they missed a step or alternatively where the website didn’t deliver.
Identify problems in our customer journey on the website e.g look up sessions where a page or image had a problem loading, 404 errors etc.
Identify fraud or unexpected activity on financial services websites
Compare click activity on a page to mouse movements on a page to eg identify elements on a page that are encouraging a high number of mouse movements but that are non-clickable (and hence should be clickable).
B2B customer issues: Identify issues that our B2B customers are having on the site. Allows customer services to replay customer sessions.
B2C customer issues: Identify issues that B2C customers, visitors to the site are having on the site. Allows customer services us to replay customer sessions.
Usability testing: B2B and B2C usability testing, where our test audience journeys on the website can be replayed to identify issues, be that on a form process or product. For usability testing, tools developed specifically for usability testing such as Morae will allow metrics such as “time on task”, “error rate”, satisfaction, mouse movement over time, mouse clicks, web page changes and survey results.
However, these customer experience tools will allow almost video recording replay of visitor sessions which can be used as part of a website usability process.
Mouse click and mouse movement activity, if that is all is wanted initially is offered either free or very reasonably by crazy egg – but that is all one is getting. On a page by page basis (each page needs to be tracked individually), a heat map of that one page where one can breakdown mouse click and movements is shown. However, there is no ability to replay sessions.
The ultimate aim is to drive improvements in the customer experience of the website you provide, small improvements to conversion rates can lead to significant increases in leads.
Successful capture of end-user sessions and session data.
Visual replay of end user sessions.
Successful search for sessions based on free-text and event constraints.
Click versus mouse movement activity.
Challenges associated with these tools:
Getting to grips with the “customer experience method of thinking” in terms of the perceived traditional web analytics definitions of items such as visits and page impressions versus “sessions”.
Learning how to use the product and to configure the events required from scratch.
Set up and configuration of the product across all hosting sites and servers.
The ability to configure the customer experience tool to your exact requirements, rather than accept a standard “off the shelf” approach or black box approach, can be a blessing or curse depending on the processes in-house at your organisation. As they are completely flexible so reliant on good processes internally to set them up to maximise their return on investment.
Customer experience management tools with their ability to replay sessions are a window to better customer experience understanding. I hasten to add, I say a window – as it is up to the web analytics manager / user experience manager to drive value and understanding from these tools, to drive a better understanding of the customer experience.
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