Where should you focus your time and budget to make improvements to your company’s website? Many small changes or one big change? In other words, where is the low-hanging, tastiest fruit on your site?
To give you ideas for the ripest areas to pluck, read on for examples from Bacardi, a software company, real estate service, e-signature solution, ecommerce site, and online payroll provider.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
Bacardi is the world’s largest privately held spirits company, operating in more 270 markets with more than 200 brands and labels. Its digital portfolio consists of over 150 websites and 2,500 web domains, making it challenging to offer a consistent and engaging digital presence for their customers.
“As part of a long-term strategy focused on our digital transformation and e-commerce, Bacardi wanted to make it easy for consumers to find, explore and order our portfolio of premium spirits brands, be it via traditional retailers, via ecommerce or through delivery partners,” said Chris Windebank, Senior Director of Digital Marketing, Bacardi. This effort was dramatically accelerated by the shift to online shopping habits caused by the Covid-19 pandemic’s lockdowns.
“Bacardi had made significant investments in its Digital Marketing Platform, which was built to deliver all of Bacardi’s website functionality and was hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS),” said Jason Harman, Co-Head Global Business, SVP, EPAM, Bacardi’s vendor on the project.
This solution was not being used to its full potential. The platform had many manual deployment processes that were prone to errors, resulting in significant overhead, critical availability issues and bottlenecks. Because each website had its own separate component and set-up, deployments were executed in silos, making automation challenging at scale. In addition, third-party components used on each siloed website differed in quality, which posed a constant risk to availability.
To address these concerns, the team migrated all sites to AWS under the DevOps platform.
This migration helped on the front end as well. As consumers shifted their cocktail consumption to the home, Bacardi need to create a direct-to-consumer process to meet customers where they were spending their time. The team created a one-stop-shop experience on Bacardi’s websites by integrating shop links on the pages of core brands. “From the outside, the experience was B2C with purchases directed through the website; behind the scenes Bacardi linked websites with partners to have the capability to sell and deliver, including Amazon and Instacart,” Harman said.
In addition to the better customer experience, streamlining Bacardi’s digital environment by implementing a DevOps automation platform resulted in 16 times greater website deployment capacity and a 42% reduction in infrastructure costs.
“Start with a clear vision, set targets, measure along the way and, most importantly, be ready to pivot when needed. Our new solution allows to do just that which has been so helpful when following the latest trends in what people may be drinking. We can adapt quickly to put trending or new products in front of consumers with greater ease,” Windebank said.
“The reasoning for our change does touch upon a point brought up in the [MarketingExperiments video] Do Your Pages Talk TO Customers or AT Customers, specifically the idea of considering your audience so that you can be relevant to them,” said Josh Brown, Marketing Manager, Helpjuice (MarketingExperiments is the sister publication of MarketingSherpa).
Initially, the software company had an exit intent popup as well as side opt-in with the same offer – a free knowledge management ebook – regardless of what blog post a user landed on.
That popup converted at around 2% overall, so the team at the knowledge base software decided to try to personalize the popups by providing a more relevant offer based on the article’s topic.
For example, a blog post dealing with employee evaluations. The audience visiting that page – typically people in HR as well as those in managerial/leadership positions – are most likely not interested in a knowledge management ebook, even if knowledge management could be of benefit to their business/job role.
So the team switched the opt-in to something they felt might be more relevant, which in this case was performance evaluation forms that can be used as part of the overall employee evaluation. On that particular post, the knowledge management ebook opt-was averaging a conversion rate of about 1%. The new, more relevant side opt-in converts at about 7%. “A huge difference. We saw a similar jump on other posts, like our post on standard operating procedures,” Brown said.
“We've started slowly making similar changes across our other blog posts where we try to determine who the audience is that is visiting the page, their pain points (what they're looking for when visiting a particular blog post), and then coming up with an offer that would be relevant to them,” he said.
The team is determining the priority of which pages should get a more relevant opt-in by looking at the top-trafficked pages with the worst-converting opt-ins.
The home page for We Buy Property in Kentucky was focused on SEO with the headline “We buy houses in Kentucky.”
This strategy helped the real estate service appear in search queries, but it wasn't connecting with property owners. So the team changed the headline to better communicate the value proposition – “A Much Simpler Way to Sell Your House Fast, Without a Realtor, As-Is, and In Cash!”
They did keep the “We buy houses in Kentucky” line on the homepage, just moved it farther down the page after the visitor has read the first headline at the top of the page.
This simple headline change increased the site’s conversion rate from 4% to 6%.
“Our deal flow has increased and we’ve been able to connect better with sellers at the start of the conversation. Rather than informing them of the perks of working with us, they know when they call us. It’s great because we can immediately move on to their needs and most skip through the skeptical questioning phase,” said Luke Smith, Founder, We Buy Property in Kentucky.
“Start Free Trial” was the original call-to-action (CTA) for the persistent banner that ran along the bottom of the CocoSign website.
“According to a survey we carried out on some of our users, we found out that most of the customers thought that taking the free trial would automatically subscribe them to a barrage of annoying emails,” said Kelsey Chan, Marketing Specialist, CocoSign.
So the team changed the CTA to “Try Now.” The change didn’t make much difference.
After reviewing the call-to-action on established websites, the team changed the CTA to “Get It Now.”
“The result has been amazing,” Chan said. The new CTA generated a 60% increase in click-through rates (CTR) and 40% increase in conversions.
“As an online payroll provider, we're in a very competitive space where different providers make fairly similar promises,” said Elliott Brown, Director of Marketing, OnPay.
The two things that really set OnPay apart, according to Brown, are a more customizable payroll product and better ratings and reviews than competitors. Most of the original landing page was focused on explaining the product differences, with a section near the bottom that showed ratings and reviews.
“We only made one simple change. We moved ratings and reviews to the second section on the page, where its headline was visible above the fold,” Brown said.
The conversion rate for the page improved by almost 25%. “Better yet, seeing the improvement really made us question how we were presenting ourselves and what information is most important to potential clients. This test led to a series of messaging improvements and page tweaks that have fundamentally altered the way we talk about ourselves,” Brown said.
“Reordering your messaging hierarchy is something that's pretty easy for any marketing team to quickly A/B test,” he advised.
Soseas originally used an out-of-the-box email opt-in popup template from its email service provider. The pop-up offered potential customers a small discount code for signing up and received an opt-in rate of around 2%.
The ecommerce company that sells zero-waste products changed to a “Wheel of Fortune”-style popup opt-in where customers input their email for a chance to win various prizes – in this case discount codes ranging from 5% to 30%. “The gamification aspect of this popup has increased our email opt-in [rate] to 19%! This has had a sizeable impact on increasing our email list size and ultimately our revenue generated,” said Joshua Hill, Founder, Soseas.
“If you know you're getting subpar or average results in your marketing, test other approaches until you find the perfect fit for your business,” Hill advised.
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