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3 Little Known Problems That Invalidate Your Testing Data

February 7th, 2014 No comments

By Daniel Gonzalez
Conversion Rate Optimization Advisor, ConversionIQ

You may have validity problems built into your testing process, and not even know it. Managing an A/B Testing process is challenging. Optimizers work hard on
getting insights, validating insights with analysis, developing treatments to web pages, and finally testing. In this post I’m going to tell you about the common validity issues which are an inherent part of running a test (unless you plan for them and prevent them).

Starting Tests Incorrectly and Interrupting a User’s Buying Experience

A lot of people will simply start a test once they’ve developed the pages/elements they want to test. This is the wrong way to do it. I can hear you now… “Wait, problemswhat!?” Let me explain why don’t want to “simply start” your tests…

When you just start a test, you’re interrupting a users buying experience. It’s pretty common for people visit your site 3-5 before they complete a purchase. Those 3-5 visits (could be more, could be less) will take place over multiple days (typically). So if a user came to your site on a Wednesday night. And they saw the control version of your homepage. Then, you start a test for a radical redesign on the homepage. When that user returns Thursday morning, they’re having a completely different experience from what they expected. This can potentially frustrate the user, and skew the results of your test.

We definitely don’t want to be making decisions on data that’s been biased this way.

Stopping Tests and Interrupting Buying Cycle

The same problem when you’re stopping a test. If a user is in the middle of their buying process, and the whole time they’ve been seeing a test variation on your site. Then, you get the results you need, and decide to stop the test. That user who was a part of the experiment variation is coming back to the site, and they’re not seeing what they expected to see after the test has been stopped. This can frustrate the user, and create a negative experience interacting with your brand.

Conversions from Mobile Devices are Throwing Off Your Test Results

For many high traffic sites, a large portion of their traffic (50% or more) will come from mobile devices. Often times when you set your test up to run, the traffic going into the test will include traffic from mobile devices. This is a problem. Why? Good question :) Here’s why…

Even for mature companies with a good mobile buying experience, a much smaller number of conversions come from mobile devices (typically), when compared to computers. The conversions that come from mobile devices are be randomly put into a test variation. Because the conversions that come from mobile devices are going to be significantly less than the conversion that come from desktops/laptops, they skew test results. Let me give you an example. If 10 conversions from a mobile device are assigned to one test variation, and no conversion from mobile devices go into any other test variation… that’s enough to throw off the results of the whole test. It’s also pretty common for a testing tool to distribute traffic, and thus, conversions in a lopsided way. You want to make sure that your accounting for the different behaviors of mobile users, and you don’t want to let mobile device data skew your test results.

If you’d like to learn to account for and solve these 3 problems (and others) in your testing efforts, come to my talk at Conversion Conference SF this March.

Image credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr

About the Author

gonzalez-vDaniel Gonzalez is a Conversion Rate Optimization Advisor with ConversionIQ.

Daniel has helped Silicon Valley startups increase conversions, and speed up user acquisition. He’s a lean startup practitioner and applies the methodology in his approach to conversion rate optimization. He loves the “ah-ha” moments when he gets insights that reveal the reasons why people buy. He writes a blog on conversion rate “awesome-ization” at

See Daniel Live!

Join Daniel in his session on “How to Run an Irrefutably Valid Test” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Danny on Twitter  and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

Categories: A/B Testing, Testing Tags:

Share Your Conversion Conference Love for a Chance to Win a Free Pass!

February 5th, 2014 No comments

heart-convconWould you like to go to Conversion Conference San Francisco for FREE? Yes? Then join the Conversion Conference blogging contest for a chance to win a free two-day full pass to our SF event on March 17-18, 2014.

Here’s how:

1. Write a short blog post of 300-500 words telling us why you’d love to be at Conversion Conference in San Francisco. Digital marketers, web designers, or even SEO professionals come to Conversion Conference for a lot of reasons – we want to hear your story!

2. You can post your contest entry on your own blog and send us a link to it to get entered into the contest. Or if you don’t have your own blog, you can email your blog post to

3. Post a tweet saying “I want to go to Conversion Conference #SF this March #convcon.” If you don’t use twitter, you can post it to our Facebook wall instead.

4. Deadline for entries is on February 28th and the winner will be announced in March.


The best post will receive a free two-day full pass to Conversion Conference SF 2014 (that’s worth $2,000)**. All other entries will receive a $500 discount coupon on Conversion Conference shows. Hurry, you only have about a month to get your submissions in. Start writing that blog post now!


Tell us why you want to come to ConvCon



**The full pass is inclusive of breakfast, all educational sessions, all keynotes, presentation slides, roundtable lunches with speakers, speakers and sponsor special offers and discounts, evening receptions, expo hall pass, and conversion Conference bag and show guide. Winners will shoulder their airfare, accommodation, and other expenses.

Categories: Conference News Tags:

Marketing Apps: Because There are NO MORE LANDING PAGES!

February 3rd, 2014 No comments

By Mary D’Alatri-Ward
VP of Accounts, ion interactive

Let me first begin by acknowledging the fact that the idea of “no more landing pages” is somewhat radical. Particularly for my audience of conversion optimization experts, people who have presumably staked the success of their careers upon the success of their landing pages. I’m staking my success on being able to convince you that “landing pages” can no longer be the basis for conversion conversations.

Just this past year, I had the pleasure of presenting an entire topic around getting more bang for your paid search buck through the use of optimized landing pages. In my previous session, and in most others at conferences across the country, we discussed the need for campaign-specific pages, dynamic content, segmentation, and reducing friction.

I pause again to acknowledge that in theory, these topics are still somewhat advanced and achieving them will be the 2014 goal of marketing teams around the world. In reality, these features are already outdated must haves and in realizing that, it becomes even more apparent how outdated even the idea of a “landing page” is.

The problem with landing pages, regardless of how hyper relevant and conversion focused they may be, is that your modern 2014 visitors don’t want to “land” anywhere. Having been inundated with smart designs and optimized forms, they’re now beginning to wise up and demand more. Like most things in life, we gave them an inch and they’re demanding a mile. In place of landing pages, we’re presenting highly sophisticated, personalized, and engaging Marketing Apps.

Marketing Apps are part of a new wave of Digital Marketing, one of deep engagement, interaction and utility. Content marketing overload is everywhere and it’s diluting efforts to the point that many are questioning its value. Marketing apps can transform your static content into a useful digital experience. Cut through the clutter—reduce bounce rates, improve engagement and increase conversion rates with useful content.

In order to provide value, and rise above the clutter, we can leverage tactics to significantly increase the usefulness of our digital experiences. The opportunity for the modern marketer lies not in generating more and more and more landing pages. The opportunity lies in putting those landing pages to work—making content more engaging, and more useful, for those who interact with it.

Now for the million dollar question. What, exactly, is a Marketing App? Marketing apps leverage usefulness to turn static pages into applications that engage and convert your audience into leads and sales. It’s a form of utility that transforms content into something customers actually want to interact with because it’s useful, memorable and valuable.

So it’s time to get inspired. Inspired to ditch the static landing page and provide that higher value experience, reap more online leads and become engaging.

There are countless varieties of marketing apps, but to get started, I’ve highlighted a few of my personal favorites.

Idea 1: Quiz

Quizzes are a great way to engage and educate, giving valuable insights and advice while marketers get high-value visitor profiling data. For quizzes to work, particularly from a conversion standpoint, they must offer rich information. For example, asking visitors multiple- choice questions in an assessment and subsequently giving participants written recommendations based on their series of answers.


Idea 2: Games!

Games are entertaining ways to engage, educate and convert prospects. For example, “Guess Which” games are great follow-on uses of survey data. Rather than answering survey questions for themselves, participants guess which answer was most popular amongst their peers. In answering, they are exposed to shared pains, problems and solutions that drive demand.  Simple guessing games provide another way to communicate strategically compelling information- for example, guessing how much time is saved, on average, by users of a solution.


Idea 3: Configurator

Configurators are specific types of wizards that allow participants to assemble or package products and/or services. By answering a series of self-evaluation questions, they can be presented with a more targeted and specific offering. This data can be used in marketing automation programs as well as in personal selling to cater messages and offers. This makes sales and marketing smarter, more likely to satisfy visitor expectations, and more likely to convert traffic into business.



Idea 4: Calculator

Most organizations have something that can be calculated using an engaging app-like experience. The most obvious example is pricing. Price “ball parking” lets you price-qualify leads without giving them personal pricing. It uses some basis axis upon which to assess and offer a price range or ball park. This provides the immediate gratification that B2B buyers crave while allowing sales to continue to build value prior to delivering a specific price quote.


User expectations are quickly evolving with regards to how they want to interact with brands, and with the information they are consuming.  An app-like experience is increasingly what your audience is conditioned to expect. It’s what they want.

Because of the explosion of mobile apps, and mobility in general, we’re used to interacting with our devices, inputting information on the screen and having it do something.

It’s not at all hard to see how these app-like experiences deliver much more than an opportunity to “land”. They provide a springboard for allowing visitors to deeply engage with your brand and product in a way that will convert more leads and generate more revenue.

About the Author

200x200_MaryMary is the VP of accounts at ion interactive, leading their client services and production teams. Mary brings a strong understanding of the online space and the opportunities it brings to marketers. Prior to joining the ion team, Mary served as the Director of Client Services and Development for an online marketing agency focusing on search engine optimization and paid search. This has given her extensive knowledge of the entire online buying cycle and how to create a high-impact integrated marketing plan.

See Mary Live!

Join Mary in her session on “Marketing Apps: The End of the Landing Page?” at Conversion Conference San Francisco 2014, March 17-19. Follow Mary on Twitter  for some pre-conference networking. You can also ask her for a promo code to save more on your pass!

Categories: Conversion, Engagement Tags:

Want to Increase Conversion? Avoid the Working Brain

January 31st, 2014 No comments

By Charlie Claxton
Chief Strategist, UpTop

your-website-made-my-head-hOur brain has two states … a lazy one and a working one, as I like to call them (both states are always working, just one is much lazier). Daniel Kahneman referred to them as “System 1 and System 2” in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

From the outside, it might not seem like a big deal to swap between “lazy” mode and “working” mode. Though it prefers the “lazy” mode due to the reduction of cognitive strain, our brain does it all day long as it encounters situations requiring concentration or a choice.

The brain typically switches to working mode when following complex instructions, at times when there is uncertainty, or when it senses there might be a problem. Given cognitive strain is not something we want for a target audience when we’re trying to “convert” them into customers (or get someone to take another action), it’s the lazy mode that UX designers want to keep the brain in when putting together a website that sells a product/service or an application where we are aiming for a short learning curve.

We in the UX design world tap into as many “cognitive physiological items” (things that are an integral part of our subconscious) that resonate with the customer base we are design for, further reducing the number of times our customers engage the “working” brain.

When the brain swaps over to the “working” mode, people may become more suspicious or they may be more inclined to explore more options before making a decision. If you’re trying to sell a person on your products, this is obviously problematic as this exploration of many other options can mean a delayed decision, or worse yet, wandering off to a competitor’s site.

We also start to see a lack of confidence, which can lead to a lack of trust.

Bottom line: You want a relaxed audience.

To get there, follow these tips:

  • Remove redundant links whose only purpose is to make it feel like you are providing more choices to your customers.
  • Use common and familiar terms in your navigation. I’m all for creativity – just not in your navigation. Prior to BabyLegs’ sale to United Legwear, we redesigned a midmarket site for the company; navigational issues were a big part of the problem BabyLegs had experienced. Fixing those issues not only increased conversion significantly, it also turned items that previously hadn’t sold well into top sellers.
  • Use design principles such as proximity, similarity and contrast to drive and focus attention (also referred to as the “gestalt principles”).

Remember, lazy brains equal cooperative converting customers.

Image credit: Caillean via Flickr

About the Author

As the leader of UpTops’ creative strategy, Charlie’s ability to define, design and deliver stellar interactive experiences for end-user consumer claxton-vproducts and corporate audiences has brought him opportunities to lead successful design efforts for companies such as Expedia, Amazon, Boeing, T-Mobile and Microsoft.

The Puget Sound Business Journal honored Charlie as one of Seattle’s 2012 “40 Under 40,” recognizing individuals “under the age of 40 who [are] center stage in our business community, working hard to drive the economy and demonstrating dynamic leadership.”

Charlie has a master’s degree in technical communication from the University of Washington School of Engineering and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.  Charlie is also an instructor in the Master’s program for the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering program and an advisor in the funded software security firm SourceClear.


See Charlie Live!

Join Charlie in his session on “An Unresponsive Approach to Mutli-Device UX” at Conversion Conference Chicago 2014, June 17-19. Follow Charlie on Twitter  for some pre-conference networking.


Categories: Conversion, Persuasion Tags:

8 Hurdles to Getting a Test Out the Door

January 22nd, 2014 No comments

By Naoshi Yamauchi
Chief Performance Officer, Brooks Bell

In a perfect world, testing would be as simple as pushing a button and waiting for the results to roll in. But the world of testing is far from perfect—and getting an A/B test up and running can be a challenging, frustrating proposition. When planning a new testing program, it helps to have a sense of what you’re getting into. Here are eight hurdles to prepare for:

1. The Budget Barricadetesting-hurdle

Without a doubt, you will need a budget for a testing tool. While some free or cheap options do exist, the costs associated with creating test ideas, developing tests, and analyzing data must also be considered.

2. The Permission Palisade

Just because you and your team have realized testing is a great opportunity doesn’t mean everyone in your company is on board. Getting permission to test, especially on high traffic pages and around conversion points, can take some serious convincing. If you’re struggling to vault the Permission Palisade, consider starting small and targeting elements that have a good chance of winning.

3. The Organizational Obstruction

Testing requires effort and that means work. Work for you, work for your team, work for those supporting your team. When it comes time to ramp up a new testing program, make sure everyone knows the role they will play and what will be expected of them. Project managers can help with this.

4. The Technical Trench

When you want a new feature added to your site, do you get enthusiastic support? Or do you hear something about code freezes, timetables, and sprints? Just setting up a testing tool takes some work and if you don’t have the IT resources available to make it happen, the whole endeavor may be impossible.

5. The Setup Snag

If your tool is implemented and all test assets are delivered, it’s time to launch a test. But no testing tool available can do this on it’s own. Someone has to create and manage the campaigns. Typically, this responsibility falls on an analyst or—and this is often the case in smaller and younger programs—a marketer. If that person ends up being you, would you be ready?

6. The Creative Clog

The most obvious and effective optimizations are often creative. Changes to design, copy, and images require less coding and can lead to some serious wins. But without the help of a designer these variations can be very difficult to develop.

7. The Development Ditch

Once the tool is implemented, the development work does not end. Even user-friendly tools require some coding to run custom tests or variations with substantial page changes. If you are not comfortable with this kind of work yourself, ensure someone on your team or in your organization can handle it.

8. The Analytics Albatross

The test launched! The data is collected! What does it mean? Testing needs analysis to be meaningful. And teasing insights from test data is not trivial—like everything else on this list, it requires specialized knowledge and a certain degree of experience.

Getting tests out the door, especially advanced tests, is no walk in the park. Make sure you’re ready to clear the common hurdles before starting.

About the Authornaoshi

Naoshi Yamauchi is Chief Performance Officer at Brooks Bell. He joined Brooks Bell in 2009 and has been an advocate for data-based decision making, testing, and analysis ever since.

 As Vice President of Optimization and Analytics, he leads testing strategy, guiding campaigns that span marketing, creative, and analytics teams. He also directs the optimization of internal testing methodologies and processes.


See Brooks Bell Live!
brooksbell-hBrooks Bell, CEO of Brooks Bell, is speaking at Conversion Conference West 2014 San Francisco, March 17-19. Check out her session on “5 Reasons to Say “No” to a Test Idea.”  Follow Brooks on Twitter  and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.

Categories: Testing Tags:

Lawyer converts at 10 cents a lead with micro-targeted Facebook ads

January 15th, 2014 No comments

By Dennis Yu
CEO, BlitzMetrics

Jacob Sapochnick is an immigration lawyer in San Diego, California.

He also happens to be the #1 immigration lawyer on Facebook, based on active users, ratings, and fans.

Screenshot 2014-01-14 at 3.01.00 AM













He’s been so effective at driving leads to his practice that he’s now teaching other lawyers how to do for their practice in their city.

He’s run 468 ads in his account, testing out every technique he can get his hands on to drive more audience, engagement, and conversion. Of course, it’s not about how many fans you have, but how much business you drive from these efforts. But engagement takes time.

Sometimes with a hot, well-timed post, he can get engagement for a penny.

Screenshot 2014-01-14 at 3.09.46 AM







And sometimes, it costs 68 cents.


Screenshot 2014-01-14 at 3.11.55 AM







Sometimes he can get fans for pennies and sometimes it costs him over $2.00.


Screenshot 2014-01-14 at 3.13.21 AM







He just has to ruthlessly test combinations of content and targeting.

But this particular ad was interesting…

Screenshot 2014-01-14 at 2.51.28 AM






Website conversions at only 10 cents.

Too good to be true?

He spent $1.25 to drive 13 conversions, which works out to a dime each.

These are folks who opted-in to his newsletter.

However, we see that there was a reach of 58 (meaning that 58 people saw it) and that we had only 3 clicks.

So how can there be 13 conversions, but only 3 clicks?

  • Facebook is counting the number of times the pixel fires. The unique conversions could be smaller.
  • These are post-click conversions, meaning that if they converted in the following 7 days, even if the last click was via search or email, it still counts. So there is likely an attribution issue.
  • We’re targeting existing fans, not random lawyers, so these folks are pre-disposed to convert. Similarly, people on your mailing list are more likely to convert– they’re self-selecting.

What’s really going on is that Jacob has invested significantly over time to build his awareness and freely educate his community.

So when he runs an ad promoting his newsletter or offering something of value, he’s built up enough goodwill that people trust him.

Conversion experts– how do you measure the value of this over time?

About the Author

dennis_yuDennis Yu is CEO of BlitzMetrics, a Facebook analytics and optimization software company. Before founding BlitzMetrics, he was an executive at Yahoo!, managing analytics and paid search. Dennis has been interviewed by National Public Radio, KTLA-TV and other media outlets, as has counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. He has spoken at the Search Marketing Expo, HostingCon, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, Conversational Commerce Conference, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant PPC Summit, PubCon, Online Marketing Conference, and other national and international conferences.


See Dennis Live!

Dennis is speaking at Conversion Conference West 2014 San Francisco, March 17-19. Join Dennis in his session on “Your Checklist for Increasing Facebook Traffic and Conversions.”  Follow Dennis on Twitter  and ask for a promo code to save more on your pass.


Categories: Social Media Conversion Tags:

Digital Marketing Optimization Evolution or Revolution: Which One Will It Be for You?

December 18th, 2013 1 comment

evolution or revolutionAvinash Kausik posted an interesting article recently, in which he declared his preference for an evolutionary framework for digital marketing. We agree with Avinash in this point. Indeed, rarely do companies achieve success using shortcuts to digital marketing optimization. Poorly-conceived efforts at optimization naturally lead to failure. Often, resources become spread too thin as digital marketers pursue each and every shiny new object in the hopes of outsmarting and upending their competitors.

Digital Marketing Optimization Ladder

This picture of marketers trying to cover as much ground as possible (mobile, social, email, search, video, etc.) in the least possible time contrasts starkly with the concrete experience of highly optimized organizations. Based from his involvement with thousands of companies, Conversion Conference chair and conversion optimization expert Tim Ash created his own Conversion Maturity Model (shared during his keynote presentation at Conversion Conference Chicago and Boston 2013), which describes the linear fashion by which companies’ digital marketing optimization practices typically progress.

Tim observes that a culture of optimization has to be painstakingly built from the ground up. Most companies start at the bottom rung of the ladder and have to work their way up from unoptimized to basic CRO and to intermediate levels before they finally move on to having an advanced optimization approach. Similarly, Avast! Senior E-Commerce Specialist (Optimization) Michal Parizek affirms that the level of an organization’s conversion optimization maturity is reflected by its people, knowledge, tools, processes, activities, senior official buy-in or sponsorship, and testing strategy.

Evolution vs. Revolution: False Dichotomy

A step-by-step approach in conversion rate optimization, however, does not necessarily mean you should obsess over the small things. It is not an excuse to be contented with testing button colors or other minute details of your website and campaigns. That is fine when you’re just dipping your toe in the water, but can turn out to be counterproductive in the long haul. Too much conservatism can stall your optimization program or even render it obsolete in the context of a fast-changing technological and cultural environment.

Which means that “evolution vs. revolution” is a false dichotomy.

The key is to strike the right balance between caution and risk-taking. Digital marketing, as in most aspects of business, requires a degree of risk to grow and move forward. And that is where revolutions sometimes become necessary (and no, we’re not just saying this because the concept of revolution is sexy).

For digital marketers, the revolution begins with the willingness to identify weaknesses in their current beliefs and practices. It takes guts to excise and cut out bad and underperforming methods especially when these are well-entrenched in their departments or organizations (or, as Tim Ash is known to say, to admit that “your baby is ugly”). It demands the persistence and dedication to learn from one’s own mistakes (or that of others’) and continually refine approaches.

A revolutionary outlook that embraces change and fosters conditions for optimization-centric values and behaviors to flourish is sometimes just what is needed to propel the organization’s evolutionary potential forward.


Join us next year for Conversion Conference West San Francisco, March 17-19, 2014. Register by January 14 to enjoy Early Bird rates!

Categories: Conversion Tags:

10 Most Popular Posts on the Conversion Conference Blog for 2013

December 4th, 2013 No comments

December is here again, which means we’re near the closing of yet another year. top10

As our way of saying thanks, we’re giving you the ten 10 most popular posts on the Conversion Conference blog for 2013. Make sure to read them – we’re pretty sure you’ll find some good ideas for optimizing your website for the coming year.

5 Landing Page Laws to Boost Conversion

In this post, Clever Zebo founder Josh Krafchin shares the five laws for creating effective landing pages. While testing is the key for knowing what works for your customers, it doesn’t hurt to learn what’s the minimum required, right? At the very least you’ll have useful ideas on what elements to tweak on your landing pages.

Discover the psychological science of conversion

“The more you understand your customers’ brain, the more you will outperform any other specialist,” say Ton Wesseling and Bart Schutz of Online Dialogue. In this post, the dynamic duo introduces you to persuasion tactics derived from the discipline of psychology, specifically Self-Determination Theory.

Conversion Rate Optimization Maturity Model

Why are some companies getting solid results from conversion rate optimization while others are struggling to obtain even the smallest lift? Michal Parizek, Senior E-Commerce Specialist (Optimization) at Avast!, outlines the 7 key pillars of successful conversion rate optimization programs. In the process, he sheds light on the factors that lead to disparity in achievement across organizations and gives you an idea of how you too can achieve success in your optimization efforts.

3 LinkedIn Page Tips to Increase Conversion

If your LinkedIn company page is just sitting there and gathering dust, you might want to check out this post by Sierra Tierra Marketing founder Lisa Kalner-Williams. You’ll learn three simple ways to transform your un-optimized business page into a conversion machine.

The Biggest Mistake in Facebook Conversion Optimization

Let’s face it: most of us are not really sure we’re doing social media right. So knowing what NOT to do helps us find the way, right? If you find yourself nodding to this, then you’d want to read this post by Facebook expert Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzMetrics, on the biggest mistake you could be doing while trying to optimize your social media channels for conversions.

Zero steps to copy that will make visitors stick

We all want persuasive landing pages. But we often overlook the importance of effective copy. We unwittingly kill the life out of the images that copywriters work hard to create for us by stamping out everything until what remains is bland, boring corporate speak. Good thing there’s The Conversion Scientist Brian Massey to set priorities right.

How Adaptation Can Turn Your Website Into a Money Machine

Justin Davis of Madera Labs wrote this piece in 2011 – that’s right, two years ago – to describe how retail giants like Amazon were using adaptation strategies to design more personalized, targeted and engaging user experiences. Today we call it personalization, and it’s one of the hottest industry trends. Check out Justin’s tips and learn why adaptation has increased in relevance for those who want to increase conversions and revenue from their digital marketing.

Three Marketing Tactics for Grabbing the Attention of the Emerging Apple Demographic

Apple users are apparently proving themselves to be really “different” not only in their brand choice but also in their spending habits. Hint: An overwhelming majority of mobile ecommerce sales were transacted on iOS, particularly iPads. This is great news for e-tailers, but only if they understood Apple users. SeeWhy’s Charles Nicholls shows three ways you can capture and persuade this unique demographic.

CRO: It’s not just about the tools, it’s about rhetoric

To convert someone, do you appeal to her logical side or the emotional one? When you think about it, conversion optimization all boils down to rhetoric: your ability convince someone to take action depends on how well you’re able to utilize the different appeals (logic, emotion, authority) in your design elements. So forget the flashy tools for a minute and check out Produxs’ Charlie Claxton’s musings on the role of rhetoric in CRO.

The new ABC’s of sales (oops, I mean conversion)

Some digital marketers who are still allergic to the word “sales” may have to face the fact that marketing is no longer just about “branding.” Today’s organizations expect measurable impact from marketing activities – and impact here is becoming closely intertwined with sales targets and goals. Fortunately, this post by Predicta co-founder Phillip Klein teaches digital marketers a way to see “conversions” as a specific stage in the sales cycle plus as well as some tips on how to translate the sales process into effective tactics for marketing optimization.

Enjoy reading and we hope to see you at a Conversion Conference next year!


It’s not too early to start planning to join us next year for Conversion Conference West San Francisco in March, Conversion Conference Chicago in June, and Conversion Conference Boston in October. Sign up for updates on our website!

Categories: Conversion Tags:

End your Digital Marketing Nightmare

November 20th, 2013 No comments

It’s the fourth quarter and most digital marketers are undoubtedly feeling the pressure. Aside from being the home stretch for achieving the year’s targets and goals, this period is also when planning and budgeting for marketing decisions for the next year are made. Decisions that will determine not just how a company or organization will tackle the changing digital business landscape, but also impact the readiness of digital marketers to respond to demands and expectations.

Digital marketers’ nightmaredigital marketers' worst nightmare

There’s little doubt that digital marketers are facing increased responsibility for demonstrating ROI from marketing activities. But not every marketer relishes this. Results from the recent Adobe Digital Stress Survey point to a real skill and knowledge gap in campaign execution and measurement among digital marketers. According to the survey, marketers did not feel confident that they were effective at connecting with customers and verifying the impact of their campaign efforts.

If anything, these survey results are a tell-tale sign of just how ill-equipped many marketers are for addressing the needs of today’s rapidly changing digital business environment. The growing complexity and unpredictability of the market have brought issues of attribution, optimization, and analysis to the fore, thereby increasing marketers’ frustration and dissatisfaction with their own skills and effectiveness.

A wake-up call

A positive aspect of surveys like the Adobe Digital Stress Survey is that they shed light on problems that have long been simmering in the background. And with this comes hope that organizational leaders will begin to recognize that most of their marketing problems cannot be answered by technological solutions alone but must have a strong people component to be sustainable and effective.

Investing in people is usually the harder route, but has a huge payoff. This is especially the case when it comes to areas directly related to marketing performance, such as conversion optimization (CRO) and/or analytics. As the recently released Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2013 shows, companies which adopted a structured approach to conversion rate optimization were “twice as likely to see an increase in conversion.” And for the most part, the success of a conversion rate optimization program depends on the skill levels within the company.

Ending the nightmare

Consequently, companies that are looking to grow in 2014 must first be willing to commit to closing the gaps between what’s expected vs. the real capacities of their digital marketing teams. They must focus on improving digital marketers’ abilities to create, implement, and measure effective campaigns; activities that are actually at the heart of the conversion optimization discipline. There are several ways to do this, but the first step is obviously educating and training digital marketers in conversion optimization. For instance, companies can begin by sending their digital marketing team to Conversion Conference to learn the entire CRO process (shameless plug, but that’s what some of the biggest players in the B2B and ecommerce industries have done).

Of course, the work does not stop at CRO training. Organizations must create or support strategies that encourage digital marketers to continuously learn, experiment, and innovate. One such strategy is structuring incentive systems so that they reward optimization-centered values and behaviors. As Conversion Conference chair Tim Ash noted in his Boston keynote, “What companies incent is typically what employees seek to improve, so having incentives around understanding the psychology behind the sale is ideal.” These incentives encourage digital marketers to continuously seek and test the most effective tactics and techniques at turning visitors into customers, which in turn support and reinforce the building of an optimization-centric culture.

Putting an end to digital marketers’ nightmares is not easy. It may require no less than organizational change for some, and demands the ability to decisively take action especially when it comes to allocating resources. But considering the huge bottom line improvements companies stand to gain, it would be a big mistake to keep putting off an endeavor as valuable as this.

Image credit: Evil Erin via Flickr  


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4 Wicked Posts to Ward Off Conversion Monsters and Killers This Halloween

October 30th, 2013 No comments


It’s Halloween.

Beware the creatures of the night emerging from the darkness…of your website and landing pages! The witches, ghouls, and bogeymen that’ll surely ruin your well-laid plans for trick-or-treating with online visitors and potential customers.

But don’t fret ‘coz we’ve got a treat for you: four Halloween-inspired posts to help you fight the malevolent forces that are putting your conversions at risk. Read up and learn how you can keep your website free from conversio
n-slashers this witching season.

4 Tricks to Scare Your Visitors Away – And How to Avoid Them

What better time to check if there are [conversion] killers lurking in the nooks and crannies of your web pages than Halloween? In this post, SiteTuners casts light on the four things that are scaring away your visitors and causing that ghastly conversion rate. Don’t worry; you’ll also learn some spells and magic potions to keep these evil elements away.


The Top 9 Website Redesign Nightmares Infographic

Speaking of conversion killers, you’d also want to get to know the depraved creatures that can sabotage your website redesign efforts. Check out WiderFunnel’s infographic showing the stuff that makes up digital marketers’ worst nightmares when they’re trying to build a conversion-focused website.


It’s Easy To Promise The Impossible (Lessons from Frankenweenie)

There are horrifying landing pages – you know, the ones that frighten you into hitting the back button instantly. Then there’s the more insidious kind: the page that has an eerie feel to it, something which feels unsettling to the visitor. Like a creepy offer. This post on Crazyegg will tell you if your landing page is spooking away potential customers with implausible promises.


Amazon Can Predict Your Halloween Costume

Ever wonder how carves out monster profits during the fright season (and beyond)? It’s because Amazon’s website has wicked psychic powers! How else do you explain the uncanny ability to predict what costume Robert Brady was trying for, based on just 1 item in his cart? Read the full post to learn more about Amazon’s powers.

Hopefully these articles have given you ideas on offering treats instead of spooky tricks to your online visitors. Have fun reading and Happy Halloween!


Image Credit: Due.Chiacchiere on Flickr



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