After working on your company’s and clients’ websites day after day, week after week, you might hit a wall — what else can you do to improve webpage performance?
To get your creative juices flowing, today we bring you mini marketing case studies filled with tactics that drove results for your peers.
Read on for specific webpage examples from a PBS member TV station, email marketing agency, apparel manufacturer, law firm, local travel comparison website, SEO consultancy, and cable company.
(As seen in the MarketingSherpa newsletter. Click to get a free email subscription to the latest from MarketingSherpa.)
What do customers want from your webpages? You may think the answer is straightforward, but it pays to dig a little deeper and do some testing. For example, a cable company was working with MECLABS Conversion Marketing Services on a webpage that customers could use to transfer their cable services when they moved. (MECLABS Institute is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).
The control webpage is perfectly logical from a company perspective. Customers wanted to be able to move their account, so let's give them a page to let them move their account. Here is an anonymized look at that page.
Creative Sample #1: Anonymized services transfer webpage for cable company — experiment control
But there is more to the story. Signed-out visitors were having an especially hard time completing the process. The mobile signed-out segment was identified as a major area of opportunity.
For the treatment, the MECLABS team tested a new approach.
Creative Sample #2: Anonymized services transfer webpage for cable company — experiment treatment
The treatment generated a 10.6% higher conversion rate for signed-out visitors.
It turned out that customers did not just want to transfer their services, they wanted to transfer their services quickly, often on mobile devices.
So the entire process was renamed “Quick Mobile Transfer.” And then to live up to the name, friction was reduced through step simplification. The customer didn’t need all that mumbo jumbo copy about how “moving can be crazy” or how they’re “juggling so many things.” They just wanted to get into it.
Well, because moving can be crazy, and people who are moving are juggling so many things. But don’t just tell customers that. Serve them! Make the process easier and quicker for them.
In addition, since they were signed out, the treatment added a nav so they could sign in if they had an account (perhaps another device was signed in, but not the one they were on) and also to get their questions answered or do other things while they are on the site.
You can learn more about this experiment and the power of naming in webpage conversion optimization in the MarketingExperiments session Optimization Expert Flint McGlaughlin Rapidly Diagnoses Pages LIVE in Real-Time (Part 2). (MarketingExperiments is the sister publication to MarketingSherpa).
You’ll find that this article is filled with more buttons than the vest of a TGI Friday’s server. It’s not flair most of these companies are after, it’s conversions on their webpages. And the main way to get a conversion on most webpages is with a button.
So you’ll see mini case studies with text experiments and new calls-to-action to the page (CTAs) later in this article. But first, let’s talk about button placement.
KVIE is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station. As such, it is a community-based, non-profit organization that is looking for donations.
KVIE’s agency did something I always encourage — looked outside its client’s industry for inspiration. Marketers often reach out to us looking for a case study in not only their industry, but their exact niche. And we have plenty of case studies, so we probably have one in your niche. While you can get great ideas from industry-specific case studies, think broader as well. After all, the great unifier between B2C, B2B and nonprofits is that the customer is always a human (even when they’re a human inside a business). And human behavior is human behavior.
“One of the most impactful changes we made was having a standout call-to-action in the menu on the upper right of the webpage,” said Bobby Reed, CEO, Capitol Tech Solutions. Reed referenced a B2C (business-to-consumer) brand and B2B (business-to-business) brand following the same practice. “Great examples are Hulu — as you scroll down, the signup is big and black in the upper right — or Salesforce, the ‘Try For Free’ in green in the right stands out well and is always there when a site visitor needs it.”
The original KVIE.org site did not have donate info in the menu under the About section. Reed’s team redesigned the site, pulled the donate button into the main menu and made it a color that stood out.
Creative Sample #3: Donate button on PBS member station website
“We saw an increase in clicks to the donate form of just under 5%, according to Google Tag Manager,” Reed said.
“Previously, we viewed the web as a place to just provide information about our programming. Our most-trafficked page was our TV schedule page, and we were okay with that, but [the site] was basically losing the visitor after they found the show they were looking for. Our website was considered just a resource and not used as a platform to achieve our strategic goals. Once we viewed the website as an important piece of our overall strategy, we put the proper metrics in place and started making changes to achieve our overall station goals. We created defined objectives and then started to experiment and try new ideas to achieve those goals,” said Andrea Anderson, Director of Marketing, KVIE.
Every action you expect your customer to take must have a value proposition. Of course that is true for something as big as making a purchase. But even a call-to-action button should have a value prop — a process-level value prop.
“One method we used to improve clickthrough rate on the buttons was by simply A/B testing the button call-to-action text,” said Alex Miller, VP, Digital Marketing, Up Hail, which helps customers compare taxi, rideshare and transit fares.
For example, customers could go to the website and type in their starting point and destination and see that they can take MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), New York City’s public transit, and it would cost $2.75. Or they could take Lyft Line, a ridesharing app service where you can share the ride to split the cost, and they would have to pay $15 to $19 to get to the same destination.
Upon seeing the options, customers could click on a button with the text “Book It.”
Creative Sample #4: Control CTA button for local travel comparison site
The team tested three different calls-to-action to run against this control: “Get Deal,” “Save Now” and “Book Now.” “We used Google Optimize as the software to run the experiment, and randomly served the new call-to-action text to our users. 55% of our audience were served the original, and the remaining 45% were split up evenly between the three variations. We only ran the experiment on a little more than half our users, in a single city, in order to not rock the boat too much in case our experiment resulted in a major drop in clickthroughs,” Miller said.
Creative Sample #5: Test setup in Google Optimize for local travel comparison website
The experiment ran for one month in 6,222 different sessions. “Get Deal” garnered a 10.47% conversion rate, compared to 6.66% for the control “Book It.” The other variations did not perform nearly as well.
The team continued to roll out the text “Get Deal” to a larger sample of users and consistently saw improved results. Eventually, 100% of users were served that call-to-action.
Do you notice the difference in the text from those CTA buttons? I’ll give you another example from an experiment run by MECLABS Institute that follows the same pattern: “Get Paid to Take FREE Surveys” generated a 10.44% conversion rate while “Take Online Surveys From Home and Win Cash & Prizes” got a 2.95% conversion rate.
The winning copy from both tests starts with the word “get.” But more than a word, it goes back to the process-level value proposition of the action — instead of a command to the customer like “Book It” or “Take Online Surveys,” the word “Get” connotes what’s in it for the customer. In other words, the action’s process-level value proposition.
As the classic New Yorker cartoon said, “On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.” Customers may have a significant amount of anxiety about your business if they have never heard of it before.
One way to reduce that anxiety is by providing an easy, convenient way for customers to reach out to your company.
For example, email marketing agency CodeCrew placed a click-to-call button on its homepage using the call-to-action “Give Us A Call.”
Creative Sample #6: Click-to-call button on email marketing agency homepage
The button increased conversion from 2.2% to 3.4%. “Not sure if it's that added level of comfort that you're a real business or something else, but it helped massively,” said Alexandra Marin, Co-founder and Director of Design, CodeCrew.
Another easy, convenient way for customers to reach out is with chat.
When Boulton Law Group only had phone and web form contact options, it averaged eight inquiries per month.
In the first month after installing chat, leads increased to an average of 15 inquiries, and those numbers have remained consistent since the chat installation in January 2019.
“If you have an aversion to a particular type of contact method simply because you wouldn't use it in your personal life, it doesn't mean that your visitors share your view,” said Attorney Matt Boulton, Firm Founder, Boulton Law Group. “I long resisted chat because I never used it, and I believed it would turn people off. Not the case.”
“Mobile site speed is huge for conversions,” said Brian Lim, Founder and CEO, iHeartRaves, which manufactures and sells festival fashion (some of which might be considered racy, especially if you click on that link from your work computer).
To increase mobile site speed, the iHeartRaves team:
“As a result, we've seen a 20% lift in traffic to our blog. Bringing more traffic to our blog increases the likelihood of making a sale as customers continue to navigate through the site,” Lim said.
MarketingSherpa email subscribers ask us a lot of questions because we don’t send no reply emails, we allow our email subscribers to reply to our newsletter sends and want to hear from them. One of the most common questions comes from companies that sell business services, quite often marketing services, frustrated that they can’t get high-paying clients (which led me to write this blog post — Ask MarketingSherpa: How to get high-paying customers and clients).
Usually when I go to their website, they tend to have the same bold claims — more leads, sales or revenue, often while promising something digital. But how are they different from any other business service? And where is the credibility?
This next example that came across my desk stood out because the consultant showed his expertise to potential clients, he didn’t just tell them how great he was.
Dan Ray, Freelance SEO Consultant, Ray Digital Marketing, built a page on his site called “See Exactly How I Do Things.” It’s a long page, clocking in at 3,878 words, and as the name suggests, it explains tactic after tactic, step after step — exactly what Ray will do for your company if you hire him.
“The goal of this piece of content was to build trust and transparency into the service itself,” he said. “I had always known that a lack of trust and transparency was an issue in the industry, so addressing that at page level was a solid hypothesis. What I saw with these changes and the subsequent increase in performance is that my audience has some issues with trust and transparency. I had always known this through conversations with both existing, current and potential clients, taking direct steps to address them helped the site perform massively,” Ray said.
Here is an excerpt from that page as an example …
Content placements (Guest posting)
Best used when you don’t have a lot of content available, I will approach other sites in your subject areas that accept other peoples content on their site, I then have something amazing written for them and you both benefit.
They benefit by having an excellent piece of content that is relevant to their visitors and you benefit by having a contextual, relevant link back to your site.
Most services-based companies are a black box. Customers don’t really understand what they’re paying for. And as long as they get a result and you don’t do anything unethical or illegal, they probably don’t care too much.
However, that is after the fact. Before they get a result, how do they know you will deliver? How will they know they are getting what they are paying for, compared to so many similar options with equally bold yet vague claims?
Speaking of getting exactly what you’re paying for, Ray even lays out how much he charges right there on the page.
So how much do I charge?
2 very simple options, I sell in blocks of 200 targets, priced at £2000 per block.
If I do not achieve a minimum of 10 links I will continue to do outreach until you get at least 10. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!
Clients have experienced returns of up to 60 links from 200 targets.
I do however feel the need to stress that this is a monthly service, I am not interested in one-off clients.
“A traditional landing page was quite simply not converting enough for me. My hypothesis was that the people either couldn't afford my prices or didn't trust the service, as they may have been burned in the past or had a bad experience with a previous SEO contractor,” Ray said.
He continued, “With that in mind, I went for a full transparency angle. Tell the visitor exactly what I do, in minute detail, to the level that they could replicate the process themselves. However, if they didn't have the time or couldn't be bothered, then they could pay me to do it for them. Pricing is also transparent.”
When the change went live, he saw an almost immediate upturn. The inquiry rate rose from 5% to 21%, which meant he went from getting one to two inquiries per week to one to two inquires per day. He also got more conversion from the inquiries, increasing his close rate from 25% to 80%. “This was due to the clients knowing precisely what the service was before enquiring — from price to actual methodology — there are very few objections or questions,” Ray said.
It was also a good qualifying piece that reduced inquiries from people who couldn't afford the service while setting expectations for how much contact clients would have with him. This also greatly reduced the number of hours he spent on the phone having conversations instead of doing the work.
“I think there is something to be said about complete and utter transparency. It's the entire basis for this strategy, and I believe it's also my biggest advantage in the marketplace currently,” Ray said.
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