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Increase Conversion Rate Through Landing Page Optimization

Presented on April 24, 2013

You’ve worked so hard to convince prospective customers to click on your ad – but are they converting into leads when they get to your website? According to MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook (2nd Edition), 44% of clicks on B2B companies’ ads are directed to their homepages, not special landing pages. Landing pages are so much more than another page on your website, and their importance cannot be underestimated.

In this webinar, Marketing Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and Jenny DeGraff will show you why landing pages are so crucial for steering prospects down the path to conversion, and cover some landing page optimization techniques for increasing leads.

Presenters: Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Marketing Mojo and Jenny DeGraff, Design Optimization Manager, Marketing Mojo

Presented on April 24, 2013

Kari:

Okay, well we’ll go ahead and get started today with today’s webinar. Welcome to all of you and thank you for coming to “Land More Leads With Your Landing Pages”. I’m Kari Rippetoe. I’m Content Marketing Manager here at Search Mojo and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar. Before we get started, I just have a few reminders for you; there will be a Q and A at the end of today’s webinar so if you have any questions for our presenters please enter them in the GoToWebinar question’s box, which is on the right side of your screen. Also, as always, we are recording this webinar and once the full recording is available, you’ll receive a follow up email which usually is available by Monday at the very latest.

And finally, we encourage you to tweet about today’s presentation. If there are any interesting insights or takeaways that you’d like to share, then you can use the hashtag #mojo webinar and you can also follow us on Twitter at Search Mojo.

And now I’d like to introduce today’s presenters. Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Search Mojo, she has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in search engine marketing, Janet has a background in marketing communications. She holds a degree in public relations and communications from James Madison University and she’s a frequent speaker at marketing conferences. She’s come to us actually from PubCon today, where it’s very, very rainy, and writes for several blogs and print publications.

And we also have with us today, Jenny DeGraff who is Web and Graphic Designer, here at Search Mojo, she designs landing pages, infographics, banner ads and anything else creative that we might need here at Search Mojo or for our clients. Jenny has over 6 years of Web and print design experience from higher education, nonprofit, and medical and small business publishing along with a BFA in graphic design.

And a little bit about Search Mojo, Search Mojo was founded in 2005 and specializes in all things search marketing including SEO, pay-per-click, social media advertising, online reputation management and content marketing. Search Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina.
We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs, and we also speak at several conferences including SMX, SMX social, MarketingProfs and PubCon. And our clients include a variety of B2B and consumer brands, nonprofit organization and educational institutions.

So, before I hand it over to Janet today, we’d just like to kick things off with a quick poll. So are you currently using any sort of landing page testing tools? Yes, no, I’m not sure, and this will give us a good idea of kind of, where you are with your landing page optimization efforts. Now I’ll just give you a few seconds to answer. Great. Now go ahead and close that out now, most of you have answered and I’ll share those results with you. So, many of you are not currently using any kind of testing tools, so Janet might be able to share some information with you that is useful. Janet, I’ll turn it over to you.

Janet:

Thanks, Kari, so the first thing I want to talk about is the fact that when we talk about landing pages and improving conversion and optimizing for conversion, that the efforts really start before the landing page. This might seem a bit odd on a landing page webinar to say well it starts before the landing page, but in reality, there’s something we call keeping the promise, and we talk about this a lot because we want to make sure our message really resonates in the entire process of someone coming to our landing page and converting.

So when I say it starts before the landing page, I’m going to talk about keeping the promise, we want to talk about the keyword in the ad, first of all, matching in paid search. So if you’re looking at doing keyword advertising on Google, you want to make sure that your keyword and your advertisement match in their message.

But also, when someone clicks through you want to make sure the ad message and the landing page message match as well and the reason for that is because if you promise them A you want to deliver A, correct? You don’t want to give them B. If you say I’m going to give you a white paper and they land on a landing page that’ says here’s a video, that’s two different things. It’s not really keeping the consistent message. So, the key is in keeping a consistent message across the keyword ad and landing page altogether.

So, I want to show you an example here of, one good example of keeping the promise and one maybe not so good example where the promise wasn’t kept the way it probably should be. So, here’s a search I did for “used Chevy minivans” and if you look at used Chevy minivans, I have a couple different ads here, and the ones I’m we’re going to focus on are the GMC minivans, the first one there Colonialautocenter.com and CarMax.

So if I were to click on the GMC minivans which tells me, OK this is Chevy minivans this is what I searched for. What happens is I got to that landing page, you’ll see Colonial Auto Center’s landing page here, but what you’ll notice is that the results I get are GMC’s. So GMC vans but in some cases sedans and in some cases SUVs, they’re not necessarily minivans, which is what I requested. A work truck as an example here, the Sierra, so they’re not really what I had requested.

Now by contrast, the CarMax ad however, does a much better job of this and actually lands me on minivans and vans that are Chevy related minivans and vans, and so they’re giving me exactly what I’m looking for. The reality is that if you don’t keep the promise, what’s going to happen is, when people come to a page, like with the Colonial Auto Center page, and they’re not finding exactly what they were looking for, they’ll either backtrack or you’re forcing them to actually do further searching on your site. And that’s expecting them to do more than they might be willing to do, because there are so many ads to choose from, it’s much easier in some cases just to hit the back button. They’ll pick another option. So consider that you typically only have about eight seconds or less to make an impression on this page. So you want to make sure that you’re doing the best to keep them.

Now one area in paid search where we see this problem pop up a lot, especially for e-commerce retailers, is in dynamic keyword and search, or DKI for short. This is an option you can have in Google AdWords, specifically, and it often messes up your promise. So, what happens is with online retailers in many cases, they have so much inventory that it can be tough to really personalize each ad the way you really want to.

So here’s an example of what DKI looks like in action. In this case I searched for Hello Kitty raincoat and I have two girls ages 4 and 7 and they love Hello Kitty and they think Hello Kitty is the best and they wanted a pink Hello Kitty raincoat, but when I did this search and I clicked on that ad, unfortunately it took me to a page with a lucky kitty raincoat. It was not, you all probably know who Hello Kitty is, it was not Hello Kitty, and it’s not the same thing, so the challenge was, the promise wasn’t kept.

But the reason it wasn’t kept is if you can look at this particular ad, the DKI’s been used here. Hello Kitty raincoat, exactly what I searched, showing up three times in this ad. And so it looks like what I want, but in reality, it’s not what I want because when I click through, the destination URL is not going to a Hello Kitty page and so like I said, this happens quite a bit when we have DKI in use.

So if you’re going to use dynamic keyword and search, I don’t normally recommend it from a paid search perspective. We’ve seen click through rates be very low because people identify when there’s dynamic keyword in search now and they run into these problems too many times as searchers. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but if you’re going to do it, at least make sure you’re going to be keeping an eye on these types of things and you’re looking at search query reports to make sure that you’re really delivering on that promise the whole way through.

So now I’m going to hand it back I believe to Jenny, who’s going to talk about data driven landing page design.

Jenny:

Thanks, Janet. So we’ll start by, what do we really mean by data driven landing pages? What we mean is, not using your gut instinct or opinion to make decisions when designing your landing pages, but instead use all of the data from all of your analytics that you’re collecting to make more calculated improvements to landing pages in all of your decisions when actually designing them.

So, why is this important? Why do you want to do that? Visitors only scan your landing pages for a very short amount of time, often around four seconds or so, before to decide whether to explore further or completely leave. So, this is kind of your do or die moment and it is really the most vulnerable to abandonment because it is your first impression. Testing and optimization can be one of the best places to focus your efforts of your marketing investments to maximize your return.

So, since we saw that a lot of you aren’t actually testing currently, we’ll run through some of the different types of testing. There are two primary categories of testing; either AB and multivariate. So AB testing will get you great meaningful results very fast. So it’s very easy to see which page is most effective, because you are putting two separate pages against each other and this can be great if you have say, low traffic to your site, whereas multivariate testing is much better for like high traffic pages because you are taking a lot of different elements and putting them into the page so that it forms a lot of different combinations of landing pages. Lot’s of different options. So, it will take a lot of time to test using multivariate testing if you don’t have very high traffic. But it can be great for making subtle changes that you can use to incrementally improve an existing design.

I’m going to assume that a lot of you are using Google Analytics too, as your analytics tool, although there are a few others out there. We particularly love using Google Analytics and Google Experiments for our testing because it’s already integrated into our analytics tool. We set up goals for all of our landing pages and we can run experiments based on these goals to see which ones work best. And if you don’t have goals set up you can set those up right in the tool, so we think it’s just fantastic.

So, Google Experiments uses a form of AB testing. It’s more of a AB in-testing. So it can be ABC, ABCD, up to full versions of a single page. For our example, we’re just doing AB testing here. Google Experiments also uses something that’s called multi-armed bandit algorithm, which is a pretty cool concept because there is less risk involved in testing by the way it’s set up. So you can maximize return while conducting a statistically valid experiment.

And this is done as the experiment progresses, Google learns which page will yield the highest return and then pushes a higher percentage of traffic to the page with the highest probability of payoff. And if you want to see how to get started using Experiments, Janet actually put together a great video tutorial that you can watch with this link here on the page, which we’ll put on Twitter too so you don’t have to copy it down right now.

So, when you are starting to think about testing, what do you want to test? There are a couple of simple things that we need to think about when testing. It’s common practice to look at your competitors and think what they’re doing is really, really great, but you can’t always assume that they’re actually doing what is best, so you want to make sure you’re testing.

Also, don’t follow the highest paid person’s opinion. If you feel like they’re pushing you to just use their opinion, just push back a little, say it’s worth testing my opinions versus yours and see what the numbers say, because numbers don’t lie.

So, things to consider to test are forms. We should have forms on every single landing page, hands down. But, you want to test the form fields that you include; which ones are required, which ones are not and maybe switch around maybe which ones you need to have on there altogether, depending on what’s sales needs.

You also want to test the buttons on those forms, test their colors, and the text that you use. Test the page layout. See what really needs to go above the [fold], what doesn’t, what you can cut out altogether. Headlines are great things to test and can yield actually very great results when getting the right headline since that’s going to be one of the first things that people actually see when they land on the page. Copy, that’s pretty much a given. Make sure you’re telling the visitor exactly what they need. Then [inaudible 14:44], try swapping in a video for images or people are great usually in images, but make sure that the person is pointed to your call of action.

So, here’s the fun part of my presentation. We’re going to look at a couple of different examples of landing page tests that we have conducted and launch some polls to see which ones you guys think were successful. So this is a landing page that we used. It probably look fairly familiar. Although this one’s a little bit old, so we have adjusted it using testing. This is one of the first tests that we actually ran on this design and we thought it would be great, when somebody lands on the page to see it’s very obvious a webinar with our headline over here. And we also used a kind of more kitschy headline to pull people in.

In our tests, we wanted to see if cutting those two elements out and just saying exactly what the webinar about, would help or hurt us. So, Kari is now going to launch a poll and let us know whether you think the original or the variation was more successful.

Kari:

Okay, so tell us which of the headline tests you think won. The original or the variation. We’ll just wait a few seconds to register your answer. Okay, great and we’ll go ahead and close that out and it looks like that 80% almost chose the variation, so Jenny, which one won?

Jenny:

All right, we have a smart crowd. By just removing those two elements, we saw a 65% increase in conversions. All right so, the next test we ran was with a client of ours and we are offering a white paper on this landing page and they put together a great synopsis of the white paper that just introduces it, ran through a couple of elements and on the variation, we pulled a table excerpt from the white paper and used that just as a [hero] shot. So, which one do you think did better?

Kari:

Okay great and we will launch that poll in just a second. So, which one do you think won on the hero shot? The original or the variation? Vote now. And we’ll go ahead and close that out. So, it looks like many of you think that the original one with the video, so Jenny, tell us which one won that test.

Jenny:

All right guys, this one got our CEO also. By replacing the video with a static table, we saw a 68% lift. So, this is why you test, and not just go on gut instinct. So, for our last one, we were using a conversion path to get people from a very high leveled keyword, just based on brand, to figure out what they actually wanted to do when they got to our landing page. So, in this example we tested two different elements. We felt the headline was a touch confusing, so we just kind of re-worded it to make it a little but more direct and then we also changed the buttons to be a little but more specific, where they’re going on a next page. So, with these two elements, which ones do you think won?

Kari:

Okay, and go ahead and vote on which one you think won. I’ll just give you a couple seconds. Okay, we’re going to go ahead and close that out now and by a landslide, you thought that the variation won, so Jenny which one won that test?

Jenny:

Well, that was kind of an obvious one. But just an example of how important it is to test and to make sure that you’re choosing all your wording very correctly. We saw not a huge, huge increase, but 30% is still pretty significant. So, test everything you guys, and I’m going to hand it back over to Janet.

Janet:

Actually are we doing a poll here?

Kari:

Yes, we are. No problems. So we do have one more poll for you at this point. Before Janet starts talking about marketing automation, we would like to know from you, are you currently using any kind of marketing automation software, and if so you can choose which one you’re using or let us know if you’re not currently using one at the moment. We’ll just give you a few seconds to choose an answer.

Okay great, so we’ll go ahead and close that out and it looks like about 73% of you are currently not using any kind of marketing automation software and so that’s what Janet’s going to be talking about now, is how that can be of benefit to you and how it works. So, I’ll go ahead and turn it over to Janet.

Janet:

Thanks, Kari. So, hopefully this’ll be really helpful for you all, especially who are not maybe using marketing automation right now. Marketing automation tools, you can actually build your landing pages inside of them and they can really pair well with creating landing pages and improving conversion. So, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about some of the more advanced techniques that you can use if you have a marketing automation tool, and what those benefits are.

So, this first thing I want to talk about is shorter forms. What we know for sure, is that shorter forms tend to lead to higher conversion. So, when you ask for people, ask people for everything except the kitchen sink in a form. They’re not as likely to convert. so here’s the study from Marketo, who is a marketing automation software vendor, and they did a test with forms of five fields, seven fields and nine fields. And you can see that when they reduced a form that had nine fields on it, down to five fields, that they had a 34% lift in conversions. Right?

And then here’s another study, that was done by Marketing Experiments, where they used a nine form field page, a page with nine form fields, down to only three form fields, and you’ll notice they had a 300% increase in conversions. So we know shorter forms can lead to higher conversions, but if you’re like me and you deal with sales teams and you’re a marketer and you say, my sales team says I need everything and the kitchen sink in this particular form. They need to know all this information.

The first question to ask is, do they really to know all that information? Or is it sort of extra? For instance, if you don’t need their mailing address, why ask for it in a landing page? So ask yourself, are the fields that I have really necessary?

But when they are, one of the other options you can take with marketing automation is, taking more of a nurturing approach and using a benefit feature in these marketing automation tools called progressive profiling. It’s available in a lot of the different tools that are out there. And so what is progressive profiling? What it does, is it propagates a users profile over time.

So, when they sign up the first time, for instance, the fields might look like this. So we have six fields on this form. Notice that five of them are required and this first didn’t fill out the country. Right? And so, marketers get to prioritize which fields they want to capture. So in this case, our top priority is to get these fields.

So the next time that David comes back to our site, and wants to sign up for something else, he’s then presented with a different version of the form. Notice it has his first name, last name and email, which would be required in this case to synch up his record. But notice a country appears again because he didn’t fill that out last time, and now city is there. So, every time someone comes back to the site that has been there before you can pull a little more information from them each time.

And again, you prioritize which fields and the order that you want them to be seen or filled out, based on the priority that you have. And so, progressive profiling can be a great way to capture more lead information over time, but also capture more leads up front because you can keep your fields shorter on your initial form.

So, how do you use progressive profiling? You can use progressive profiling form features inside of these marketing automation tools or you can use, lot of these tools have APIs, that are helpful for things like website pages. So let’s say it’s not even a landing page that you’re working on, but you have maybe, for instance on our site we have a marketing gate that, if you want to get to certain content, you have to fill out the gate.

You could use it on those types of things that are inside of your website itself, and that’s what we’re mentioning here, like a marketing library type of log-in. And you can gain a little more information about these people every time they come back to your site.

The other thing I want to talk about is social marketing. And how social media platforms can really help us with our efforts as marketers and how that really reflects on landing pages and how we can actually get more information on landing pages and actually maybe improve conversion.

So, why would you use social media, why would we be talking about that when it comes to page search or landing pages? Well, one of the benefits of the social media platforms is if you look here, you can see that Facebook and LinkedIn have very rich demographic information that people readily raise their hand and offer up.

So as an example, in Facebook, you can find things like Likes and gender and geographic region and what school someone went to and their age. And in LinkedIn, you can find things like the industry they work in and their gender, their title or function, geographic region, company size and seniority level. So, the social media platforms offer us a lot rich data.

The other thing I want to mention about social media platforms and landing pages, is that many times with landing pages, what you find is that self-submitted data in landing pages, and you may see this with your sales team. They may come back and say, gosh, you know this is great, we got lots of lead sin, but they’re all terrible, the quality is awful, I don’t like them, they’re not somebody I can call, or the phone numbers are wrong. That’s a real common complaint of sales departments everywhere, is that the quality, you might drive a ton of quantity conversions, but the quality may not be there because maybe the information that people filled out in the form is not correct.

So, this is a chart for MarketingSherpa from a couple of years back, that shows specifically in tech buyers in situation of selling things like software, hardware, how accurate the information they receive is, during the registration process. And in some cases it’s somewhat accurate, in some cases it’s really not.

I mean look at phone number, which is a really essential thing for most sales people. In the case of phone number it’s either rarely or never accurate for more than 35% of the time and it’s sometimes accurate 27% of the time. So you look at the always, when it’s always accurate, 38% of the time, that’s not very high as a percentage and phone numbers is one of those fields that sales people really rely on.

And the same thing sometimes with email down below. Also you may see the people say, oh well you know, it’s not a very good email, it’s a Gmail or that sort of thing. And so you run into that quite a bit in form fills that may not be accurate data.

So, I’m going to talk about a way that social can help fix that problem. And we’re going to talk about two options specifically. One is social form fill and one is social log-in. Now, what is social form fill? I’m going to show you an example of how this looks in Marketo as a marketing automation software, but other marketing automation tools may also have them, have this capability.

Basically, what it allows you to do is add buttons, social media log- in buttons, to your pages, to your landing pages and your forms, and then allow someone to say push on the LinkedIn button and then auto-populate the information into the form fields for them. So it gives them a step.

So, let me show you how this works. Basically with Marketo, all you have to do within the tool is to say I want to use social form fill, so you set it up, the second thing is you tell it which social media platforms you want to use. Now, I’ll say here, that in the case of Marketo, they use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

I probably wouldn’t use Twitter too much because it doesn’t have as much valuable information to fill out those form fields. It doesn’t always have all the data you want like it might not have company name. So, really give some thought here, for using something like social sign-ons as to which ones, which of these social media platforms are going to answer your questions that are on your form, so give that some thought. So that’s the second thing. You go in and you pick options you’re going to let them have.

And then lastly you’ll see that the buttons that appear on your form, when it’s generated for the user, and you can see they can push LinkedIn or Facebook, and basically it would auto-fill out that form for them, it’ll re-populate those fields for them.

The other option that’s out there is social log-in on forms. And there’s a couple of different ways that you can implement social log-in on forms. Many marketing automation tools have it in Marketo, and Eloqua, both offer a way for people to use a social button, like a LinkedIn button, to actually sign up or sign-in.

This image here is an example of a screenshot from Social Media Examiner, and to log-in to their site and you can actually sign in with LinkedIn. It’s becoming much more popular, much more accepted. So you’re seeing this pop up in marketing automation tools, but you’re also seeing a lot more sites really adopt this. So you can use the marketing automation tools option. I know Eloqua is an example who does have this option where you can sign up and click on the sign-in with LinkedIn button and it will auto-populate the form for you and submit it for you.

Now, you can also use a third party tool. In this case, Social Media Examiner uses a tool called Gigya, G-I-G-Y-A.com, and you can see on the screenshot there. And then the other option is, you can just develop it yourself. You could use the API, and there’s two links here to the developer.linkedin.com to the API for how do you add sign-in with linked in to your page. But also, in this case I also added which profile field you can get from LinkedIn. So, I like to use LinkedIn probably a little but more than Facebook, but it really varies on what type of information you’re looking for and how you’re going to use it.

Now we’ve implemented social log-in on our marketing gate for our resources and library on our site and we recently tested this just to see how effective was this at actually bringing conversions. Now the reason this is so effective that I like the social log-in, social form fill is good, but I think social log in is better.

And here’s why. Social log-in allows us to access all these pieces of someone’s profile, so you can see on this particular, essential landing page, this form that you have to fill out to get to the resource library on our site, you’ll see that it has five form fields. now, in our case we use Marketo and we need to make sure that we’re seeking information properly. So we always need first name, last name and email. Everything else we can switch out with progressive profiling, we can do other things with it, but what we really would like to know is everything we can know, right?

Didn’t I just say that all sales people want to know everything and the kitchen sink about everybody that they’re going to talk to? So, the benefit of LinkedIn, the sign up with LinkedIn button, is if you look at that profile page I was showing you here, the link that says profile dash fields there, you go to that you’ll see all of the different types of information you can glean, once someone clicks on that button. And it’s amazing. You can actually get things like their industry, not just their industry, but their company size, who they work for.

And the great part about social log-in, whether it be through form fill or through log-in, is, we were talking earlier, I showed you the graph about how a lot of the information people sometimes fill out in forms isn’t very accurate. The great part about incorporating the social log-in or social form fill, is that those social networks have done the job of trying to make sure that that’s accurate information to some degree.

So for instance, with emails, you can feel pretty confident that the email is accurate on those. Because think about why someone fills out a LinkedIn profile. Now they might not always be truthful on Facebook, but most people, I find, are truthful on LinkedIn. And why is that? Because they’re using it to network. They’re using it to actually get a job, so it’s like a resume, in a way.

So, people are painstakingly truthful on LinkedIn with their profiles. And so, the benefit of that is when you have a sign-in with LinkedIn button, I can pull a bunch of that stuff down and have a high level of confidence that most of that information is really very accurate and correct.

And so, we implemented this test recently on our own site, to try the log-in with LinkedIn button, to see how many people of the folks who fill out this form, how many people would choose the sign-in with LinkedIn button. Oh, my overlay is not there. Darn it. Well, I don’t know what happened there, but my overlay said basically, 10% of people who fill out this gate for us are actually coming from the log-in with LinkedIn button. So, of the people that fill out this form, 10% have chosen the sign-in with LinkedIn button.

Now, we wanted to do some more testing on this, so that you can see our sign-in with LinkedIn button is very large. And people may choose our form because it’s only got five form fields, so we know that that is a short form. But what if we maybe made our form longer, and we said okay we’re going to put all of those fields on here and try and entice people maybe to fill out the sign-on with LinkedIn button instead, try and push them in that direction. Or what if we made it bigger, flashy, no I’m kidding we’re not going to make it flashy, but anyways, what if we made it bigger or larger, easier to see.

What if we prioritized it over the top of the form? There’s lots of testing we can do here to see if we can even improve that percentage of people who fill out use the log-in with LinkedIn button there, because of the fact that it does give us so much more data and information and helps us target to those folks better because of the information we follow up with them on.

So, I would suggest highly, using social form fill, especially, like I said, progressive profiling, if you have access to it and social log-in, which, you don’t necessarily need access for a marketing automation tool to have, but it can make it a lot easier. And so with that I’m going to hand it back to Kari, who’s going to talk about our next webinar.

Kari:

Great. Thank you so much Janet and yes we do have another webinar coming up, I just want to let you know about before we get to Q and A. So, the next one is called “The Convergence of PR and SEO: Harnessing the Power of Content, Social, and Search” and that’s going to presented by Janet and also Elizabeth Shea of SpeakerBox PR. And that’s going to be on Thursday, May 9th at 2 P.M. Eastern. You can register at search-mojo.com/pr-seo.

So go ahead and put your questions into the Q and A box, and we’ll be getting to those very shortly. If you’re interested in hearing more about Search Mojo’s services, this is the person to contact here, Sean McCusty, who is our sales consultant, he can be reached at his email there; smccusty@search-mojo.com. Also his phone number there, 800-939-5938 extension 116. And here is all the contact information for today’s presenters, Janet and Jenny.

So as I mentioned, go ahead an put any questions that you have. Burning questions that about landing page optimization into the question box at the right in the go to webinar panel. And let’s go ahead and kick things off.

Janet, since you just finished talking about marketing automation, this is a good question for you; is there any easy way to ask for a lot of form information without using a marketing automation tool?

Janet:

One other approach you might want to think about if you don’t have a marketing automation tool is, and Jenny touched on this briefly, we use these on our site as well, they’re called conversion paths. And so, if you don’t have progressive profiling at your fingertips, basically what a conversion path is, is a series of pages that go down a path.

So for instance, on our first page, when you signed up for this webinar, as an example, there was the promise of, that you’re going to get registered for the webinar, and you may have had to fill out five form fields. The second page, where the thank you message is, also said, well if you’d like to also get this additional asset, that may be an infographic or what have you, but we offer up an additional asset that you can download if you fill out maybe an additional five form fields. That might include things like industry and some other related information like time frame to purchase and so forth.

And so that’s a really effective for you to actually get more information similar to progressive profiling, however, let me state, that depending on what back end system you’re using to capture your leads, for instance, if you’re using Salesforce.com, there is a problem with salesforce.com and it does not fix this organically on its own.

Basically, if you fill out one form on a website and I come back today or five minutes from no and fill out another form on your website, and you don’t have marketing automation, Salesforce.com will duplicate leads.

So, if you’re working in a sales organization especially where it’s more difficult to clean this kind of thing up, like let’s say for instance, I do a round robin for a sales assignment and this comes in to Salesforce.com. Lead A comes in and then Janet comes in again as lead B. I could be assigned to two different people. That’s a mess. So, that’s one reason marketing automation is really helpful.

If you can’t afford marketing automation, there’s also a product called RingLead, and I want to say their price is at like $100 a month, that will help you with that [inaudible 38:08] effort, so that you don’t keep getting duplicates in your Salesforce.com. It’s not marketing automation, but it helps relieve the [inaudible 38:16] issue in Salesforce, so that’s one option you can take.

But, you need to make sure you’re not duplicating if you’re using a conversion path. That’s really the most challenging thing. But what we do see with most types of conversion paths, is we often see an upward of 50% of people fill out the optional second page of information. And that probably also depends on the asset you’re offering, but you can get a lot of information that way as well.

Kari:

Okay, great. And, we’re getting a few questions about how different elements, how different things improve a conversion rate on a landing page. So I’ll throw these out there for both Janet and Jenny to answer. So, this one from Best Practice, how does using the word “free” possibly improve conversion rate?

Janet:

I’ll just say, it depends. Actually, one would think that words like “free” would mean 100% conversion, because it’s free, there’s no risk involved, right? There’s a really good author named Dan [Ariely], he’s the professor I believe at University of Chicago or something, he’s a fascinating guy, and he looks at pricing and the exchange of value for the exchange of some type of currency. And you should always think about people’s information as a type of currency.

So, even if you’re giving away something for free, something you think a lot of people will want, the reality is that you have to ask yourself, yes free could do a lot of good but it’s not just about the word “free”, it’s also about what it’s going to cost me, really, to get something that’s free. And the cost is my information. And I have to decide what I’m going to give up.

So, oftentimes, assets are free. For instance, free trials or free download of a white paper. One example I give at a lot of the talks I do is, Silverpop, which is a marketing automation vendor, has a free ten questions or five questions you should ask when looking at a marketing automation vendor verse and they ask for everything under the sun. They have like a 20 form field page that I have to fill out just to get answers to these five questions versus another vendor called Pardot, which actually has a whole guide available, and you only have to fill out like three fields.

So, people are looking at that type of information. So, yes it’s free, but free doesn’t always mean that someone’s going to fill it out, because the reality is if you’re asking for a lot information, it’s a perceived value and really, the information in itself is like a type of currency. So keep that in mind when you think about how long to make those form fields.

Jenny:

And also consider, when using the word “free”, if it’s something that people expect to be free, there’s really no need to use that within that describer. Like demos have a tendency to be free. Things like infographics are free and open. But something that, like an e-book can maybe cost money and that may be worthwhile testing the use of the word “free”.

Kari:

Okay, great. And since we’re talking about free here, so this is a question about offers. So, what is the best type of offer to test?

Janet:

That just varies. You should try and test all different types of offers and see what works best for you because depending on the type of company you are, what you’re offering is, what your services or products are, really you’re going to have to test and see what works best for you.

So, I will say though certainly it may be a little easier to test free than something’s that paid. It will be easier, most likely to test assets that are free rather than paid in general. So, think about that. But really, as Jenny was mentioning, I think you really have to test everything, and offer is one of those things.

What’s interesting is, the offer is often is mentioned in the actual paid search ad as well, so, you ought to look through click through rate. So, if you get a lot of clicks on an offer in a paid search ad, or they come to your landing page and don’t convert, it may not be that the offer wasn’t right, it may be that the landing page isn’t good, or maybe it’s not communicating the offer very well, or maybe you didn’t keep the promise. So there may be some other issue there.

Also think about, when you’re thinking about tan offer, if the offer is communicated very clearly in your paid search ad, like get a free demo, for instance, that’s pretty clear, if they come to site and then don’t sign up for the free demo, that’s when you really need to start asking yourself, what can I do with this landing page to help more of these people convert? Because clearly people were interested in the offer when they clicked on the ad, but they weren’t willing to convert.

n those cases, I would often say, then take a look at your commitment you’re asking them to take. Are you asking them for lots of information about themselves? Are you telling them that they have to put in a credit card to try the free trial? Or that sort of thing. So, start testing those types of things with your landing page and consider that issue of maybe your promise was good on the ad, but maybe when they got to the page, something affected them and made them not convert.

Kari:

Now, this is a very interesting question and again it comes down to testing, testing, testing, but, is there any previous knowledge or experience with whether a form converts better on the left side or the right side of the page?

Janet:

Jenny, do you want to try that one?

Jenny:

Sure. So, we like using the form on the right side of the page, because you wouldn’t want to ask somebody for all of their information without providing information about what they’re actually getting. Because we read left to right, we typically will put all of the information in that fashion. So, you read left to right, put the information in on the left side and then move them into the right side where the form is. So, it’s more of a design consideration and just kind of logic [inaudible 44:41]. And it’s something we have tested in the past that supports that.

Janet, anything to add?
Janet:

I’d just say it’s one of those things you want to test, right? For different layouts. I think generally speaking, we tend to find that on the right hand side is generally sort of the most accepted way to do it. I’ll tell you I’ve seen a lot of tests too with things like logo placement over time and people have tried placing the logo on the left upper left-hand corner versus upper right-hand corner, or different places on the page, and I think as searchers, we’ve become accustomed to seeing certain elements in certain places on a page.

And so logos is a good example of that where you’re used to seeing a logo on the upper left-hand corner from a web design perspective. That’s where everybody puts it. So as a searcher that’s where you expect it to be and it can throw you off if it’s not there. And I think that that’s tending to be the case with forms; that everyone seems to put them on the right. So, you could throw somebody off and put it on the left and see how that works.

And again, I’m a believer in testing everything. Test all the different things and try different things to see what works for you. But, I think we’re at a point now where people are getting more used to landing pages, and they’re used to the form being on the right-hand side versus the left. So, it may be difficult to see a conversion and group it with that.

Kari:

Okay, we’re going to take one more question. This is kind of interesting. We might have a lot of nonprofits on the webinar today but does any of this that you guys have talked about today, can this be applied to nonprofits at all?

Janet:

Absolutely. I mean, I think that we work with quite a few nonprofits who do paid search, especially with Google Grant. If you’re not aware of what the Google Grant is, and you’re a nonprofit on this webinar today, I highly recommend you go to our webinar archive and take a look at some of the stuff we’ve done for nonprofits there and learn about the Google Grant, that’s a really great benefit for nonprofits.

But, back to the landing page issue, just like a business, a nonprofits in a lot of ways id not different from a business. I mean, what you’re looking for is conversions and the conversions you may be looking for are volunteers, donations, et cetera. And so, you’ve got to test different things to really see how you can convince people to engage with you in some way, be it through donations or whatever your desired conversion action is.

And also realize that off of one landing page alone, depending on what type of organization you are or how much you’re asking for in donations, like donation denominations, that people may not be ready to donate immediately. If you’re not the American Heart Association, or the Red Cross, and people don’t necessarily know your name, it may be very difficult for them to want to go ahead and donate immediately.

It’s just like saying “buy now”. When you say, here, purchase on this page, people may not be ready to make that kind of investment. So, think about how you can educate them or offer them other types of offers that maybe don’t always require them to donate immediately. But help them learn about the organization before they’re willing to make that choice.

So, some things to consider testing is, try different things that you can offer other than just the obvious of donate or volunteer or what have you, and see what you can get from that and perhaps you can engage them so they learn enough about your organization and really want to donate on the long term. Because really, what you want as a nonprofit, is someone who donates on a regular basis.

Kari:

Great. Well, thank you so much. I’d like to thank today’s presenters; Janet Driscoll Miller coming to us live from PubCon in rainy New Orleans and Jenny DeGraff, and I’d like to thank all of you for coming to today’s webinar. Don’t forget our next webinar coming up about the convergence of PR and SEO and you can register at search-mojo.com/pr-seo. And today’s webinar, keep an eye on your inbox, will be available soon as a recording, so we’ll be sending that out to everyone. But in the meantime, thank you so much for coming and have a great rest of your week.