“I believe that Conversion Optimization has been undersold. We have thousands of beautiful visitors coming to our websites, just waiting to tell us what persuades them to act. And what are doing? We are testing button colors and headlines. There is more power in Conversion Optimization than tweaking and tuning little changes on your site.”
Chris Goward, Co-Founder & President of WiderFunnel, describes how to get results in conversion optimization. Goward expresses concern over the fact that so much of testing focuses on minutiae like button color or headline color.
Conversion optimization has been undersold. Thousands of users are in the site, and they can tell you what impacts their usage. Best practice advice is limited in impact and in accuracy. Often consultants tell you a ‘best practice,’ and it’s not true, or it’s not true in your case.
There are three components to real conversion optimization:
- Persuasion Marketing – increase motivation
- Experience Design – remove barriers to action
- Scientific Method – test hypotheses to discover what actually works
He gives the example of allPopArt which allows users to upload a photo, choose a style, and have the photo altered to a particular style, and then have the result printed on canvas. They needed to raise sales, so they did the following test:
- In Variation A, value proposition buttons are tiled along the left to open lightboxes, on the right they have a strong call to action button (Add to Cart) at the top, then customization options, then they have a second call to action button (Add to Cart) at the bottom.
- In Variation B, they emphasized the value proposition with bullets, then had a call to action at the bottom, and customization options were below the fold.
Variation B had a 42% lift in e-commerce revenue, and a slightly higher conversion rate overall. They also discovered the basic principle of giving the value proposition for a new service above the fold, and reserving the call to action for lower down on the page may be more effective.
For his second example, he describes a Canadian vacation booking site, and guides us through the whole process for improving their site.
The 5-Step Conversion Optimization Process
- Align objectives to business goals – What are the business goals and how do they lead into the website goals?
- Identify optimization opportunities– Where do you put your effort? There are three criteria:
- What are the most important pages, from the perspective of high traffic and high-cost traffic?
- Which are the pages that have the highest potential for conversion improvement? (Which pages are really bad and have a lot of dropoff? Top exit rate page, weighted, is a good indicator.)
- Which pages have the highest ease of implementation? (Include politics in the decision)
- Create powerful test hypotheses, by these six conversion factors (Turn weaknesses into strengths to create reasonable working hypotheses):
- Value proposition – your core set of visitor-perceived costs and benefits in taking the call-to-action.
- Distraction – information overflow.
- Execute a cycle of continuous improvement (using the Kaizen method – see below)
- Avoid common conversion optimization mistakes (for example, testing too many variations, more examples are available in WiderFunnel’s white papers.)
The Kaizen Method
- LIFT Analysis
- Hypothesis Creation
- Funnel Experiment Map
- Graphic Design & Copy
- Technical Install
- Experiment Launch
- Results Analysis
This is a continuous cycle, because once insights are generated, they lead to the next round of LIFT Analysis and Hypothesis Creation.
Chris Goward, Co-Founder & President, WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization
Chris Goward is Co-Founder and President of WiderFunnel, the Conversion Optimization company. His A/B/n and Multivariate testing methods help clients improve online results by up to 400% for B2B, B2C, lead generation, e-commerce and affiliate companies. The LIFT Framework and Kaizen Method he developed are proven to work across industries.