Live from Pubcon South: Conversion Optimization

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Apr 15, 2010
More Articles by Janet


The next session was about Conversion Optimization and featured Tim Ash of SiteTuners, Chris Goward of WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization, Brian Massey of Conversion Scientist, and Khalid Saleh of Invesp.

Chris Goward

First up was Chris Goward of Wider Funnel Marketing Optimization. Chris focuses solely on A/B and multivariate testing.

How do you improve conversion rates? Ask the right questions.

  1. Use the LIFT Model.
    • The value proposition is the full set of benefits and cost.
    • Relevance is the relevance to the source media AND the user’s needs.
    • Clarity is the clarity of the call to action and value proposition.
    • Anxiety is what may be missing from the page (like security icons) or items on the page that may cause anxiety.
    • Distraction is having too much to look at – what distracts from the primary call to action.
  2. Develop a hypothesis.
    • What do you think will happen?
  3. Develop tests.

Tim Ash

Next up was Tim Ash of SiteTuners who focused on “earning trust on the Internet”. Tim recommended a book called “Influence: The Power of Persuasion.”

Do you know your customers? Not really. And they don’t know you, so they don’t trust you. In the real world, we require trust. So how do you do it? You have to try to earn instant trust online.

The first key is to establish authority. For instance, if you see a picture of a doctor, you immediately expect that person to be an authority. The authority is transferred by their costume, for example, like a police officer. Put your trust/credibility symbols above the fold. Those may include trust symbols like eTrust, etc. or client logos.

The second key is social proof. People care about the opinions of their peers. Peer pressure has strong influence. How can you harness peer pressure on a landing page? You can add things like mentions of donations to organizations or list the number of downloads.

Khalid Saleh

Khalid Saleh was up next and strictly works with ecommerce companies. His presentation focused on how conversion rate 14.56% conversion rate! GREAT!

There are two challenges to conversion rate optimization:

  • Where should I start?
  • What should I change?

Khalid emphasized that a visitor’s visit is much more complex than visiting just one page. So no more landing pages! Also get rid of “brute force” optimization — don’t test everything at once!

Brian Massey

Next up was Brian Massey shared examples of some disasters with conversion optimization.

First he covered Newsday’s new website which they spent $4M on and included a paywall. After about six months, they only got 35 subscriptions! Ouch! They had been getting 2.2M visits per month, and the paywall drove that down to 1.5M visits/month.

What did they do wrong?

  • They hid important info.
  • They targeted people who already get the print paper version.
  • They buried the cost of the subscription in the copy.
  • Too many options, too little guidance.
  • No good reason to buy.

In contrast, the Wall Street Journal’s subscription page clearly identifies price and a starburst highlighting the best offer. Brian has a video of the full disaster at his blog: http://conversionscientist.com/mypubcon/

What could they have done better?

  • Establish personas
  • Test way into new design
  • Attend Pubcon!

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