The Science of Web and Email Optimisation | Brian Massey | BoS USA 2014

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As a Conversion Optimisation Evangelist, Brian spends a great deal of his time speaking and writing about conversion. As the Original Conversion Scientist, Brian has helped dozens of businesses transform their sites through a steady diet of visitor profiling, purposeful content, analytics and testing.

Video, AMA, Slides and Transcript below

Brian spoke at Business of Software Conference USA 2014 on the topic of optimising landing pages. What followed was half an hour of entertaining insight, followed by seeing that knowledge being put into practice.

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Slides from Brian’s talk here

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Transcript

Alright, today we’re going to talk about a fantastic growth hacker strategy called landing pages. You guys are going to be able to use them to amazing things with your traffic that you never thought possible.

Today we’re going to talk about landing pages and why they’re so powerful.

We’re going to talk about how to build them backwards, because that’s really the way you do landing pages. And we’re going to do the components of successful landing pages.

You will know all the things that you need to mix in to your landing pages to make them most likely to convert at a high levels. And several of you will learn never ever to ask anybody to critique your landing pages live because we will do live critiques.

In fact, I’m going to blister through the basic curriculum here so we have as much time as possible. Some awesome things to look at and critique after a little ground homework I guess you might say.

So what is a landing page? Well landing page is a page that is designed to keep a promise that you have made in an ad that you made in a link in an email that you have made in a link on your homepage. That you have made anywhere on social media.

You’re bringing them to a page that is going to keep the promise of that ad. And it is single minded designed to get people to take some sort of action. Some sort of action that’s going to move your business forward. Become a lead, buy the product, you decide what’s most important on a particular landing page. What’s going to move your business forward.

The beauty of landing pages is that when people come to these pages, we know something about them, we know what they clicked on. We know what ad was interesting to them. We don’t know that on the home page. Anybody can be coming to the home page. They can be coming from a search, they can be coming from direct type-in, they can be coming from a link on somebody else’s page. So landing pages have this strength. And let’s take an example of a landing page. Here’s the Business of Software landing page. And as we are going to be looking at these things, we are looking for a few components that make this successful. Now there’s a lot of reasons that we would think this is successful. Tells us very much what like we’re looking for. Everything is provided. We’ve got the product is being shown here, which is the speakers. Although, I think this one might be improved just a little bit, if the right speakers were put on there.

Where did he go? So sorry Rand, you should have not picked someone else to do your optimization. And then at the bottom, we get a little video, some more descriptions, we’ve got some trust building things here and another call to action. So at a glance this looks like a pretty good landing page. We’re going to find out why it’s probably working well for Mark and his business software. What’s that?

Sp2: I wish it was.

Brian Massey: You wish it was? Well we should talk about that

Components of a landing page.

So what are we mixing together here in our solution to create a landing page, because it is a big chemical. These are the basic components.

Components of a landing page…Two things, you need an offer, and a measure of form swizzled in with a clear solution of a web page”

That’s it, that’s all we need for a landing page. The simplest landing page is this. We got a web page. We have a form, which is a button and a button is a form, it qualifies. And a call to action, submit. Any questions? Maybe we need a little bit more. The key here is we don’t want to start with your corporate template. Because look at all this stuff, we got all these links everywhere else. Remember a landing page is single mindedly keeping a promise and getting someone to take action, ideally on that promise. So this is not where to start. We want to start with blank, it’s got offer, it’s got form, it’s beautiful. But an offer to submit, we’ve only been successfully to submit to dominatrix businesses where submit is actually a good call to action.

Other than that we’re going to come up with something better. So here’s the deal. The call to action on the button is the offer in this case. And in order to come up with a good call to action on a landing page all you have to ask is what did we promise them to get them there. Right? So the offer in your ad in your link, in your email, and on social media just needs to match what’s on the landing page and you are off and running.

So here’s a fictional business. This is the US mint and they are giving discounted dollar bills. So the ads, these are a couple of search ads that they could have put out there, discounted dollar bills. Or from the leader in dollar sales. Or discounted dollar bills fifty percent off new US dollars from the leading resaler. A call to action on the site is discounted dollar bills, click here. Now the thing is, when you make your landing page match the ad, you’ve got to really keep the promise.

So there’s a problem here is that if people came to this page from ad B, there’s no mention of fifty percent. You said fifty percent, yes it says discounted, but you said fifty percent.

So we need to make sure that is one of the first things they see, because the first question someone’s going to ask when they come to your landing pages, am I in the right place? The second question is, is there a reason for me to stay?

So the first job, typically of your head line is to keep the promise and then give them reason to stay. So we might want to change this to get US dollar fifty percent off, click here now. So now this is an effective landing page, it all comes together right?

Here’s an example of something that didn’t work. I saw this, this is Zumba the fitness, the Latin fitness craze. Saw this ad, clicked on it and they’re offering the new wonderland collection. Wonderland collection, wow that looks awesome, I bet I’d look good in that. I’ll check it out. Come to this page. It says select your shipping country and it says nothing about wonderland. The only reason you see wonderland on screen is because that’s what I typed in to make sure if I can find it, and it returns zero results. Not a good landing experience.

Other things, the girl is different so that’s a disconnect. There’s no mention of a wonderland like I mentioned. But at least the colors match. But don’t laugh, because you want your landing page to feel like a continuation of the ad, that’s really keeping the promise.

Nielsen calls it scent, you want to give them the scent and make them feel like they’re on the trail of something. So we’ve got a button with a lot of text on it. This is a good time to ask a designer just what to do with the button. Now we’re going to bring the designers in later because if you bring a designer in and say design me a landing page, they’re going to be like oh we need sliders and maybe we’ll have some logos over here and they’re going to just.

No we’re doing it backwards so we’re just starting with what we got. And the designer is going to say let’s break the message out into a headline, awesome. So this works, fifty percent off dollar bills. Get US dollar bills fifty percent off. Click here is our call to action. Pretty good landing page. A landing page is really only good though if it’s helping our business. So clicking on a button doesn’t really help the government sell more dollar bills. We need something more, so we’ll add some fields to our form. Enter your email address, maybe we can send you some information on how to buy these fifty cent on the dollar bills. Maybe we’ll say enter your email address and ask for permission. We mix a little permission in there. Our list is going to be a little smaller, it’s going to reduce our conversion rate, and every time typically that you add a field, it’s going to reduce your conversion rate, but it’s going to increase the quality because people have said yes I want to be on your list. How about this, why don’t we sell them right here, enter your credit card number. Or better yet enter a friend’s credit card number.

Now we’re getting somewhere right? The truth is if we want to take a credit card, we need a whole bunch of other stuff. We need address, we need last and first name, we’ve got to have a CVV, expiration date, whatever. So what we’ve done here, is we’ve taken our landing page with a great promise keeper and we’ve introduced a contaminant called Abandon. And we use the symbol for the element argon when we talk about abandon because when they abandon they are gone. And they will not find they’re way back to the landing page ever. This is the assumption at least.

So we want to get rid of abandon. How do we get rid of abandon?

Well we ask a copywriter to come in and handle some of the objections because it’s gone from, wow they’re asking a lot of personal information about me before I can get some of these awesome dollar bills, should I be afraid? So the copywriter might come in and just as an example, my copywriters came up with a few points that he thought were important. This is the leader in US dollar bill sales. They sell more than anybody. These are genuine dollar bills, they’re new, they’re still in circulation and another 9 billion is going to be available soon. We’re printing them like crazy. So this is what the copywriter thought would get more people to act, reduce some of the abandon.

That’s awesome, but we want to mix another element in here because we’re talking about taking people’s credit cards. We need to build some trust. So the next question is, should I stay, take some action, do I feel comfortable taking action? So there’s a number of things we can do to build trust. First of all, your logo. So when you start most of your landing pages, you typically start with the corporate template, it always has the logo up in the corner. The logo may not be a good idea unless it has a purpose, so if it’s a credible looking logo, or it’s a recognizable logo, something people would be looking for. It’s a great way to build trust, and that is a great reason to put logos on your landing pages, not because the branding person told you it was a great idea.

There are some other things we can do. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner’s Club. This might seem information, but it has two purposes. It says we take these, but it also borrows from these well-known brands. You’re essentially borrowing trust that they built with their customers, and despite the rates they charge, they still have some trust. If they’re willing to let you put their logo on the page, you can’t be all that bad right? And how about customers? So other people have done this.

Right that’s not so bad, maybe that’s not so bad. But again, you are borrowing some of the trust from your logos, so the more recognizable and trusted they are the better. There are probably a number of logos you would not want to put on there. You do not want the logo for the NSA on your page at this point.

So once we have some trust, we’re going to put in another thing called proof.

Now I got to look at a whole bunch of your sites and there’s a lot of posing out there, we are the leader and we do all is fantastic stuff, but there’s no proof. There’s nothing to support your statements, and so they lack credibility, and so I don’t feel comfortable that you’re what you’re saying is true. So I went back to my copywriters, says is there something more we can say, some proof that this is a successful thing this dollar bill thing we can talking about.

They said why don’t we talk about the twelve trillion we’ve already sold? I thought that was a great idea. But there’s something about proof. Proof gets more convincing the more specific it is. So I said why don’t we tell them what the real number is. Twelve trillion nine hundred eighty two? So when you’re coming with proof, you don’t want to just have over a thousand people served or we’ve improved almost ten thousand sites, give them the number because our brains don’t expect the number and they go what. And so they’re more likely to believe it. Certainly more likely to read it. And then the next thing is we want to show the product so no one will take action on your landing page until they have imagined themselves owning the product. Or imagined the results of that landing page action being taken. You have to find a way, even if you sell services to business to business you have to show the product. And there is something you need to avoid because human beings know when they’re seeing something that’s not genuine. I chose this one, dollar bills. Pretty easy, pretty straight forward. I’m sure if we worked a little harder, we could find something a little sexier. But that does the trick. Yes we’re talking about US dollar bills. What you want to avoid is business porn.

Do not run off to the stocked photo sites and find a pretty smiling girl.

What are you trying to do? People get when you are pandering, when you are trying to illicit some sort of random emotion that isn’t relative to the product. The headset girl, you know their so ubiquitous now I imagine conversion rates would go up because we just know she is going to be there. And what is it with these random graphs going up and to the right.

No metrics, we don’t know what you’re measuring there. So no business porn, take some time and think about what you could do to use the image, which is very powerful, to communicate to your visitors what your offer is and what’s in it for them. So we got all the stuff on the page and we got a problem. We want them to see this call to action, which is click here. Now it is pretty big and orange.

The rule, by the way for button color in case you’re all wondering. Button color right? What’s the most effective? Whatever doesn’t match the rest of the pallet. So the button just has to stick out. It has to be, in the visual hierarchy has to be top because we want them to come and see that they are expected to do something on our landing page, and then we will handle their objections with our copy, mystify them with our wonderful images, and gratify them with all of our trust and proof. So what are we going to do here? We are actually going to turn up the call to action.

Joanne, who is going to be speaking here said it best that if the headline and the button match (it’s got to be a good headline, it’s got to be a good promise keeping headline, you’re going to have the best luck. So get your discount dollars. This might even be better, says lock in your fifty percent off. We might even be able to make this better. And what we can do is we can take a number of these competing items such as the client logos, the client logos, grey them back so they’re not competing with this. Another thing that works time and time again is to put an arrow in there pointing to what you want people to do. It works, it’s amazing and even subtle arrows, there are people who have had an increase in conversion rate simply by carving the text into an arrow, they get smaller and smaller lines of copy and then the call to action is at the bottom. Increase the conversion rate, go figure.

So we’ve got all the components here. I think our call to action is popping, I think we’ve got a good call to action. I think people are going to be snapping up fifty percent dollars, fifty cent dollars. Now we can bring the designer in, but the instructions are not design this for me. I need you to move things around and use what you know about fonts, color, size, white space, positioning little separators, they know all the stuff. Negative space, and make sure that the visitor is seeing each of these components. Make sure they’re seeing that landing, the call to action button first. Make sure they’re getting their eye to the picture and then down through the copy and that they’re able to see exactly what I want them to do and fill out the form. That is the designer’s job. So I went and pulled a template for this and so this is a little bit prettier.

I don’t know that this is necessarily the best designed landing page. I don’t design them, I just test them. But we’ve got the headline centred. We got a sub headline. We got a little arrow pointing to the box that contains the call to action. He bolded up the proof and so this is likely to be a great starting point. We make all these assumptions ultimately we’re going to have to test to find out if this works and tweak some of these things to see if we continuously increase the performance of this page, but this is a great starting point for our landing page. So this is the combination, we take offer, we mix in some form, swirl that in webpage, traces of proof and trust, a big dollop of image and that gives a landing page that we would expect to be high converting for our business. Okay? So are there any questions about these components?

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Question 1 Answer: We’ve tested both and we have had wins in both situations. It seems to be audience specific. The common wisdom is the more clicks, the lower your conversion rates are because you take them to another page, there’s another opportunity to abandon. The things that don’t work is when you click through and you don’t keep the promise of the button that was on that page. So there are a number of examples in here that show you that the page you’re going to is a landing page as well. It needs to follow this format.

Question 2 Answer: Yes yes yes and if that thing wasn’t just spinning like this it would be hard to believe. Yes indeed. Yes indeed. So point taken. And you’re going to find cultural differences across borders. Not as much as you would think. Not as many as I would think, but every audience is a little bit different so that’s where the testing research comes in. If you can split test it against your traffic, you’re going to have a better performing page because some of your assumptions can be wrong.

Anything else? I want to make sure everybody is cool with kind of these components. You had a question?

Sp5: For certain industries or whatever, certain domains like I don’t know if this is actually the case, but I feel like it that’s necessary maybe because like so like I used to intern at this little staffing agency and they have a lot of that stuff.

Brian Massey: If you sell photography it’s okay to have photography on your page.

Sp5: Well I mean like for a staffing agency though they got a lot of people contacting them with that sort of landing page. They got a really good conversion from that. I’m just asking does this depend on…

Brian Massey: I bet I could beat it if I took some pictures of their actual customers and put those on there and we can tell the difference. So if I took actual customers and put their pictures on there I bet I could beat it. The other thing about images by the way is always use a caption. Captions are usually red. I would repeat the offer in the caption.

Sp6: With regard to image also. What about those of us that don’t have dollars like a physical product? Like we’re selling a software.

Brian Massey: Yep so screen shots is the usual go to. Screen shots are a double-edged sword. They can be too confusing. We’ve had good luck focusing in on like one thing that’s unique about the software that can be represented in the screen shot. Results of studies, so if you’ve got some graphs that demonstrate the time savings, pictures of customers, but get creative because some things are harder. Certainly if you’re selling a pdf of a video or something informational like that, it’s easy enough to render those into 3d looking things. People know they’re not getting a book, but they can more imagine themselves interfacing with something physical like that. Good question. So good, I think. Oh we have another one?

Sp7: As far as testimonials or quotes from customers in the case of software, should that come elsewhere?

Brian Massey: No testimonials work great on landing pages. Testimonials, even ratings and reviews and star ratings so that provides that proof that you’re looking for and it’s third-party proof so it’s actually a melding of proof and trust. Absolutely use testimonials. The way to use testimonials successfully though, and we’ll see a few examples of this in the examples of the critiques we’re doing, wow these guys were great, I loved working with them is not going to work as well as wow we slashed the time to do this by ninety percent. So you’re looking for those specific testimonials and they can be longer if you can get them. We were sceptical when we first installed the software, but we saved fifty percent in our overall cost on this one particular area with the software. That’s a complete story and that’s going to be an effective testimonial. Pictures of the people and if their full name and company because people want to hear testimonials from people like them so knowing who’s saying is helpful in testimonials so absolutely use testimonials. One more back here.

SP8: Undecipherable question

Brian Massey: Great question, great question so if you can have one call to action that really is the goal of the landing page, and it’s the power of the landing page. It’s not a homepage. You don’t have to anticipate all the different needs. You made an offer they clicked through the pages providing the offer. But yes if you want to have a secondary offer for those people that just aren’t ready to act, know that there are people who would have bought, who will sign up for your email list. But if you’re effective through email, then good. One thing you should avoid on landing pages unless you are the rare people who know how to make social media work is get rid of the social media icons. I mean you paid for this traffic to come or you worked hard to get people to this page. Why would you send it off to Mark Zuckerberg? I mean oh I wonder if that person got married, I better go back to Facebook. You lose them. That’s abandon, they are gone. So those are the things you save for the link page.

Sp9: On this question for I don’t remember his name, but is everything American bullshit or is it just the numbers?

Brian Massey: We’re not going to get into politics in the middle of this presentation. No sir. I should have known better than to use a dollar example with you guys.

Number of what? Number of fields. Like I said, the more fields you have, the lower your conversion rate is going to be, the higher typically of your list. Because people are working harder to get through it. Collect what you need and nothing more. Make sure if you’re collecting things qualifying things like what your budge, what time frame is your decision that sales is using those otherwise you want to get rid of them or qualify in a different way or let them qualify them on the phone.

Sp10: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: If there is something that you need that you think is a killer, like social security might be optional. But no, if you’re going to have a form, we generally recommend that they make them required and that’s all you ask for at least at that step.

Sp11: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: If you know something about the traffic that’s unique that is coming from an email whether it’s company specific, promotional, whatever a landing page is just going to be awesome. You can make assumptions in the copy and sales process about who they are and what they are interested in.

You know I haven’t seen any studies on that if that actually increases the quality of the emails you get. I suspect it does. My guess would be that it would reduce your conversion rate, but again increases the quality of your database.

Sp12: I’m John. You got me thinking a little bit about a future we have as well and with respect online forms, the progress bar that’ll tell you, you know how many potential or where you are in Brian Massey: Multistep sign ups.

Brian Massey: Right, so if you do have that next step type of a form, so that you can push somebody through the shortest route possible through a form, do you have any.

Brian Massey: We see that lift so that if you give them a progress bar at the top for multi-step form, let them know how many steps are coming, where they are in the process, it will help people get through. We will see some examples of pages that need some stuff to help people get through the process.

Sp13: And actually on that same topic, the multi-step process. If you have let’s say 20 fields that you legitimately need to sign somebody up for the service, is it a good idea to put a few fields on the very first step and then they get more fields on the second step, or does that surprise them and cause them to abandon because they go aw man now I have to fill out all this other stuff to?

Brian Massey: So yeah you’re going to have more abandonment rate on that second step. But there is something that, there is a piece of psychology that is worth testing in that situation and that is giving them a question on that first step, and that they can answer and that gives them that first yes. The example from the examples was, give me a minute to pull it from memory. It was, oh it was asking someone to sign up for something, and first thing they asked for is what they want their vanity to be for this service. And so it’s easy to wince, oh I can pick a name in there and stuff.

Then they get a longer form. So I think if you’re a pet company first thing they ask is what’s your pet’s name? Oh people love to fill that out. Oh my pet’s name is sparky. So it’s kind of a nice positive win that gives them the momentum going into the big form like how big is Sparky? Where are you sending him? Okay?

Sp14: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: Yeah, yup. So we’re going to see an example of that, but the things that are working for us is to click to call for phone calls and how you can sign up to Google. Sign up through Facebook. Sign up through Amazon now, so Twitter does it as well where I can say sign up through twitter and it will pull my information through whatever services instead of filling out a form. That’s, we’re starting to experiment with some, remind me when I’m at my desktop type technology, but I don’t know if that’s working yet or not so.

We got some good questions out of the way. I want to make sure we have time for the examples, but how about we take one more. I think there’ll some more questions as we are going through the examples.

Sp15: Just a quick one. Having the call to action above the folds, is that still a best practice, just because the folds with all the resolutions and what not now?

Brian Massey: It is a best practice. So the most important parts of the page you’ll usually do best above the fold. Now the exception is when you’re bringing somebody to take action. So you’ll see the longer forms, sales letter and actually you’re going to see a lot of pages that are long form. Home pages essentially acting as landing pages. And in these situations, it’s okay to save the call to action until you’ve made some key points. So if you’re not well known, or if you’re in a new industry and you need to do a little of education first. You could test that, but in general we’ll see a bump if we can move that first call to action to the top. And it might be getting people who have already come and did research and know what they’re about and they’re just looking for a way to take action. Good question. Want to do one more? Okay

Sp16: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: If you can personalize, you should. If you’ve been able to test, because really what conversion optimization is about is bringing together segments, so finding out what works for the largest segment of our audience and doing that and then trying to find something that will appeal to the other segment and a lot of times what will appeal to this segment is going to actual reduce conversion rate for this segment. So if you can find a way to figure out who was on the page and can personalize, you’ll have great, you’ll have great success as long as you found the tested things that make that segment work. So it’s complex and once you start personalizing it becomes more difficult to test because you’ve got all these people coming to different experiences so you don’t really know which one of these experiences being influenced by your change. So there are some caveats there.

And in a few years, I hope we will have machine learning down and it will just figure out what ever person needs and get them through one hundred percent conversion. All right well I’m going to go ahead and get started. By the way this is how you get in touch with me. I hope you guys will connect, we have great stuff coming out on the blog. And we do this for a living, so if you have landing pages that you really want to, we have the talent and the tools to do that. So conversion scientist.com is a great place to start for that. Now for some examples. So we’re going to play what is missing.

We’re going to look at each of these pages in light of this pretty simple formula, and talk about what is missing. Also there are two growth hacking tools that I went and looked at for everyone for every one of these sites. Split testing tools. How many of you are familiar with split testing tools?

That’s a lie because none of you had it on your site, I’m kidding. And click and scroll heat map. These are two of the things we really use to find that first round of tests that we want to test. On Wednesday at the workshop, I’m going to go into more detail on these things, so I suggest you guys sign up for the workshop if you really want to understand these more. Here I’m just going to get an idea of how many people are using them. And just before I do this, this is what I did in the year 2000. This is a company that I found. I’ve been in your shoes and this is the page I created, so don’t feel bad. This is the one that was right before it.

Oh my God. The good news is though that there was an error and the web bot hit counter component was on this page.

Zed Systems

Zed systems are you here? Zed systems, by the way you get a book for submitting that and showing that. The app to track billable time, the app billable time. What’s the source of traffic for this? This is actually a home page. Yes this is actually a home page. So could be coming from almost anywhere, but do you do a lot of SEO or do you get a lot of paid traffic?

Sp17: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: Organic traffic okay, so we don’t know too much about this. We don’t know if the app to track billable time is a good call to action. My gut instinct tells me that that is probably good. I get what you’re about in one sentence, so it gives me at least lets me feel like I’m in the right place if tracking billable time is a problem. That’s going to have to double as the offer because I don’t really see a form on here anywhere. So we might call that the offer, but what I don’t see here other than this we could call it a form, couldn’t we? Is that the point of this page, to really get them to install the app?

Sp17: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: So we should ask them to do that. So it says the app will billable time and we should ask them to click here to install the app. Android. No Android stuff?

So what proof do we have? What proof do we have? We’ve got some social proof here in the middle right? We hope people are saying nice things about you or is it only your stuff that you’re showing here? Only your stuff? So if you said it, it doesn’t carry a lot of proof. Wow we love this company.

I bet you do. So I think we can do better in the proof and trust building. You like fishes, so I feel better about you, but I really don’t see anything except your logo on here. I see that I can follow you on twitter. So we’ve got some stock photography, kind of typical stuff. I wouldn’t call it business porn, but getting close. So I’m going to say on the proof and trust, this page is really hurting. But this is the app that we’re seeing here in this image. So we are seeing the image. It’s an app, it’s on a phone, it’s in somebody’s hand. So I think we’re going to give you points on there being an image. And there is another call to action here, which is might be orthogonal to this, but there is buy right there. Do you want people to be able to buy from this page?

Sp17: Yes

Brian Massey: You do? Buy. Buy. You want to buy better let them know, but then you’ll have competing offers on the page. So even though that says buy and that does help your business that qualifies as a distraction. That is jargon right there. All of this is jargon. Now I know this is a home page, so you can’t do this, but this is for the thank you page, for the thank you page a copyright might be connected. So I’m going to click here and go and get some more information. That page really probably is the true landing page. We know something about them then, we they clicked on that link and we know that would be the page that we want to optimize. So I wanted to just kind of start off with the home pages, but for most of these I am going to dive in and find a landing page.

Anything below the home page is a landing page because you’ve made a promise typically to get them to link there. Good? Any burning questions?

Be very clear what you want them to do, and get rid of some of that stuff. Definitely don’t want them running off to twitter. Alright, so awesome.

Inflow

Inflow. Inflow back here. So this is a home page and I wanted to bring this up primarily because I love the way you did proof. You get a big checkmark on proof. There are 317988 small businesses in the inflow inventory. The only way to be more believable is if we said it was moving and look at all those happy people jumping and stuff.

This has a rotating slider and I think I need to speak to you folks about rotating sliders.

Everyone has one. Everyone is recommending. Every designer is recommending them and the odds are very very good that they are reducing your conversion rate, and the reasons for this we think is because it takes longer to load the page. Although on this particular page, I didn’t really see a slowness. The other thing is that our minds are wired to pay attention to motion because when something moved back when we were evolving on the earth, we didn’t know if it was a tiger or an antelope, or a girl.

You know all things that our brains are really interested in are boys. So motion stops us, as I’m reading this stuff. Oh look, this is a really nice testimonial. It’s working against you. Sliders solve a problem for your creative director. He can’t decide which offer is going to be most important, but it turns out we can test and we have actually been able to make sliders that outperform static images, but it required a series of tests to find out what was key had very long pause times and very subtle fades so consider 86ing the sliders and stopping thinking about what do you really want to say with this top piece right here.

What is this telling me? Great form. Great call to action I think. It’s bold it’s daring, it’s a little bit like the image above, but you’ve definitely got a good call to action, and an offer. Get yourself organized, inventory systems tracking your stock. Traffic coming here, this is again this is a home page. I brought this up because it had an interesting component.

Sp18: Primarily yeah

Brian Massey: And are they searching for organized stuff?

Sp18: Inventory software.

Brian Massey: Inventory software. Why don’t you keep that promise. I thought he was up here, did I lose him?

Sp18: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: It sounds like he is coming from over here.

Sp18: I’m everywhere.

Brian Massey: Tell me what it’s about, tell me what this is about, I mean being cute doesn’t usually convert unless it is. Well unless you have a hundred million dollar advertising budget and you can make it part of the economy.

Trust, trust are we building trust, we’ve got the proof. Trust building, we’ve got your logo. I’m not going to say you’ve got enough trust. These are lovely little icons you’ve got here, but who else is using you? Who else recommends you? Oh I’m sorry, you know what, these are all testimonials aren’t they? These are all testimonials, my bad. We have trust. And image. So this is a screen shot approach to doing this. I’m going to assume that you’ve thought this out and that this is the kind of thing that your potential customers are looking for. Are they? Anybody here ever bought any inventory software system recently? No, can you give us an opinion, is that helpful?

Sp19: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: It doesn’t look like. It really doesn’t does it? Maybe a person sitting in front of something and counting it with a clip board would be an interesting juxtaposition. Images are powerful, powerful, and powerful and if you can’t get it in a still image make it an emotional image because video works too, okay? In terms of distractions, we’ve got a, again this is on the company, this is on the company template, but not a whole lot else. Not a whole lot else clickable other than download inflow, so I think that you get good points even though you’ve got this up here. You get good points for abandonment. All in all I think this page, pages were pretty good. Arguably, they may need some more information, but perhaps these icons do itself, but we won’t dive too much and you’ve got the components so you’ve got a good place to start. Start testing your way into other hypotheses. So is this process making sense to y’all? Alright let’s see how many more we can do in fourteen minutes and 20 seconds. Oh and here’s the bottom, it does, it does go on. Here is some more trust. Like what I could typically recommend and the offer’s repeated at the bottom. So this is what we call dripping pan. If somebody reads the bottom of your page, they’re probably engaged in your message. Make sure they know how to take action at the bottom as well. Jadu CMS. So is Jadu here.

Sp20: Yeah.

Brian Massey: And was this, no. So this is an internal page. It’s JaduCMS. The promise kept is making beautiful websites. I forgot what to click on the homepage was, but I think it was Jadu CMS.

Sp20: Yeah

Brian Massey: So that’s the kept promise so you know you’re in the right place. Making beautiful websites and great customer experience. Is that the primary care about? Is that the primary differentiator?

Sp21: One of them yeah.

Brian Massey: Okay and what we’ve got is a picture of a site that was built on your, did Manchester build on your site?

Sp20: Manchester’s website is built on the technology so yes. So they kind of look after their homepage using our software. Brian Massey: Alright this is a picture of a beautiful website.

Sp20: Supposed to be

Brian Massey: Supposed to be yeah. Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder so there is a little danger there, but I mean if that’s really what you want to do then that or I’m going to show you an example where a company used a number of different tiles to make a point about the unique styling of their software. Enterprise web content, management. I think people probably understand what that means. Publishing administrator. You’ve got a number of icons here and the point here is that so my eye’s not sure what to do. We’ve got finally at the bottom we’ve got an offer here that says request more information. Is that really the best we can do? More information? Can I accomplish something with the information? Is there something that happens after the information I can talk about. Become an expert in web CMS. More information is fairly soft, but if that’s what you’re promising, that’s what you should promise. So we’ve got an offer, a single button form. But we’ve got all of this, you know it’s very hard for us to know if this is a good call to action and it’s kind of grey on green. It’s very likely not to ever be seen. I would imagine that is page is not performing very well for you. Are these other, I don’t remember if these others are clickable. It looks like at least Jadu X forms is clickable.

Sp20: Those are the clickable yeah.

Brian Massey: So these are opportunities to abandon. We want people to have this option and have it very obvious, so there’s a place somewhere above the fold is where I would test. You’ve got a lot of space here. And even here although this sometimes get ignored until after I haven’t found what I’m looking for and I’ll come back up. But we need a stronger offer. You talk about yourself a lot. We call this we weeing on yourself.

If we talk about we, us and our clients, you really need proof that is customer driven, third party drive, or numbers that are accurate and believable right? So how many people are using this software. What’s the typical time it takes to implement? Those sort of things I would imagine what your audience would be interested in. So I’m not really seeing a lot of proof and trust. It may be there in the video. And I think that you know, videos are one of those powerful things on the page that you might want to consider, I would look at the stats to see if people are watching it, but you might want to put it in this space and a better representation as what you’re doing. People who watch video will click on that and will be very glad for it. People who don’t will scroll on down and you don’t really need to know is that’s privy to everybody. Beautiful is the word I meant. So with the video on here, we definitely have the imagery, and we’ve got a couple examples obviously all of this would go on a landing page where we have quite a bit of abandon so. Not too bad, three, three out of seven is not too bad. Three out of a six. So any questions?

Sp21: Do you think there should be a call to action on every internal page?

Brian Massey: Do you think that there should be a call to action on every internal page? So every page that the people will move through this, and every page is either going to give them what they needed or promise what they need to continue on this decision making process. You really don’t know when they are going to get that piece of information when they feel comfortable and confident in taking action.

Sp22: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: yes

Sp23: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: That doesn’t count because again every one of these pages, when you become more sophisticated every page becomes a landing page. You know something about what brought them there. Typically they would search for a term, which you can predict, or they clicked on something in your navigation which had a term on it, so you know what’s bringing them there. Design for that. And we’re actually going to see an example of a single page that has a lot of subsections where they did modify the. It might even be in your site where they modified the call to action all the way down. Good question. Yes if your site is supposed to generate leads or generate sales, let people take action, if they want to, go ahead and be nice, show them and tell them go ahead.

Sp23: Under what circumstances does video work?

Brian Massey: Under what circumstances does video work? Well when you have people coming that like to watch video. When your video doesn’t start with some sort of swoosh logo thing for fifteen seconds because you’ll drop twenty-five percent of your audience immediately. And when you have something that’s, well other than that I’m not going to make any. It, it works when it works and it really doesn’t work when it doesn’t work. But. Only in a few situation are you going to have a page that just has the video and does not have something for those people that would rather scroll and scan. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. The key things with video are there are no swoosh. And good lighting, good audio. If you can at least get those things down in your video production, we’ll hit that sixty percent mark. And the video should talk to what’s on the page for best results, so some point in the video you should say and all you have to do is fill out this form, or click on this button. Or use this to email some money, or whatever. So those will be the most effective. But you know for product demonstrations, everything from apparel to industrial components, I mean you. Video just can’t be beat if you are having trouble explaining in words, and even if you’re good at explaining in words, there are people that don’t like to read. So it really depends on how your segments follow. Does that. Too many of my answers are going to be, it depends. But it does depend.

Sp24: Sorry back to the internal pages, are you suggesting no navigation on all internal pages.

Brian Massey: No No, I wouldn’t go that far. So if you’ve got somebody clicking on an offer for a white paper that’s taking them to an internal page, take the navigation off if you want them to get the white paper. But more informational things, where they’re kind of on the path to finding more information, you don’t need to be that extreme. And you know the navigation, we’ve tested adding navigations actually increased our conversion rates on landing pages even though it doesn’t get clicked though. So take everything I’ve said with a grain of salt, but you want to start your landing pages with this sort of a model and work your way backwards towards these other components. Class flow. So this is the first time we’re going to look at a really internal page. Who’s here from class flow? Did I see somebody? Class flow didn’t show up? No book for you.

Alright so let’s take a look at this. We’ve got an offer, which is register. Here’s our offer, register. I think we can do better than that, right? We probably promised him to register, actually yes this was the source on the home page and I brought this up so the sign up was the, the promise. Register becomes this and this sounds a little bit more honor-ous.

But this is a sliding header, and this is one of those sliding headers they took. So not only is it taking a long time to load. Not only is it moving, which distracts me from the copy they’ve written, but it’s fairly pointless. It’s business porn, so do not use your sliders just to throw a business porn, okay? We click login, we come to the page. Register’s our call to action or sign in with these guys. So everything’s missing from this page otherwise. We’ve got an offer, we definitely got a form, we’ve got a hell of a form with our asterisk in there so everything is required and still they put the asterisks on there. There’s another mistake made on this form is that the labels are inside, and this causes all sorts of problems. There are compatibility problems. We have a conversion lab that has all kind of stuff in it and these forms always break on something. Best form is label above, single column, and nothing on the inside. Just don’t mess with it. People know how to do that. So that would make this form a little bit longer. It will make it look a little bit more honor-ous, but these labels inside because people click on them and do they want my name or email address. It’s just, we’ve not seen it be effective anywhere. So their asking us for a password, they want us to re-enter the password. They want our full address, our job role and our title, but they haven’t told us at all what they’re going to do with this.

We’re registering for a piece of software. We may have read about this on the home page and understand somewhat of it, but we need to reinforce the, the process to everyone. So this white space here would be a great space. How many people have used it, a testimonial would be awesome here. Is there any sort of money back guarantee well in this case there wouldn’t have to be because it’s a trial, but if your offering something risk reversal in this place is great. And before you ask them to fill out the form explain to them what’s going to happen. What’s the process? We’re going to ask you for this information. You’re going to get a free account for fourteen days. We’re going to send you an email with that information. Our sales guys are going to call and we’re going to send you a whole bunch of great training information so you’ll know how to use the software within that fourteen days, but by the time fourteen days is up, you’re going to be an expert and love it. So reinforce all the way through and on multi step every step should reinforce the way. If you’re selling products and you’re going through a checkout process. Keep the products on the page so they remember what they’re buying and why they’re paying so much.

Sp25: A lot of venders make the mistake of asking for country or state or location when you can get that from the IP address. That’s one way to reduce the field. Brian Massey: With some accuracy.

The question is have you seen forms on the right side of the page vs the right side of the page, like I’ve seen people put all the value. Does that have material difference?

Brian Massey: We’ve tested that sort of thing on product pages. If I was to summarize again, this is all bullshit, but if I was to summarize from what we’ve seen in tests if you got a set piece like a picture of a product that should be on the left. It’s a great anchor for that and put the form on the left because the eye starts on the left and moves over so if that’s what you want to do, go ahead and do that. I hope that answers the question. The answer is to test it. So anyways, we got form, there is no proof, there is no trust building. We need to keep doing this even if they do a good job on the home page. We need to keep doing this. There is no image and we are doing an amazing job with our CashFlow, you could have a lot more people registering if you just put a few more of these things on these internal pages.

Sp26: Undecipherable

Brian Massey: Question was the light grey text. You’ve got to avoid anything that is very important. I want to be very clear what I want in these blanks. Black on white. Actually the highest contrast combination is black on yellow but it starts to get a little hairy. Black on white. Dark grey on almost dark grey. They become invisible and there’s, you’re dealing with an audience. ClassFlow there are probably just not going to be able to read that. It’s very harmful though so it’s very cool to have this grey on white even. Cool doesn’t do conversion. So you want to start with that very dark grey on white, or black on white, or dark blue on white. We want to let the designers play with the colors and the way they know how, but you’re right. The little contrast. The low contrast simply makes it look unimportant. We put unimportant things in low contrast, so if you want them to read it then BOING. Makes sense? Well I guess that’s it. For those of you that did submit, come and see me later. Yeah there will be a few folks disappointed I would be happy to sit down with you and go over this one on one, just to since you’ve been so fantastic. You’ve been an awesome audience so thank you very much.

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One response to “The Science of Web and Email Optimisation | Brian Massey | BoS USA 2014”

  1. […] Brian Massey: The Science of Web and Email Optimisation […]