Design For Conversion In Amsterdam

Design For Conversion

On Friday 19th September I will be a keynote speaker at the Design For Conversion conference in Amsterdam. Ton Wesseling A dutch Internet Marketing Consultant and Managing Partner of Orange Valley interviewed me for the dutch marketing optimization blog WebAnalisten. I thought you might be interested in my answers so published them here also;Â

1. What are the lessons to be taken for the online field from old fashion 1 on 1 (sales) talks?

Understand that your website is a one on one sales talk. You’re doing the talking and a person is doing the listening (reading). Don’t therefore talk to an audience, talk to the individual. The sales folks dealing with objections on a daily basis can help your online sales process immensely. Knowing what the benefits of the product or service is, relating that in the copy and content, and giving your visitor an answer to their objections increases the chances of them making a decision to buy or order from you.

2. With all the optimizing and persuasive marketing techniques: wouldn’t the website visitor become blind for these techniques?

Optimization is simply a tactic. If your content is bad you will fail no matter how well you “optimize”. In reality why would a visitor who is looking for a solution to a problem leave when you solve that problem? Why wouldn’t they get in touch or buy your product if it solves their need? The fact is that no-one cares whether you’re optimizing or not, they just want to have their problem solved. If you do that you win. If not you lose.

3. What will make you more money? Excellent profile based offering to returning visitors or excellent offers based on session behavior?

It depends on your service or offer. I am tempted to say the profile based offering to returning visitors but then again if you’re selling a common commodity you win or lose based on the first impression. Generally profiling and segmenting visitors based on behavior gives you more insight which when applied should make you more money.Â

4. Mobile internet seems to be a different ballgame: What will the knowledge of physical location mean for marketing optimization?

This is an interesting field for me working with Telecom companies as much as I do. It’s difficult currently to measure mobile marketing as it stands now and new methods will have to be introduced to plan campaigns. All marketing can be measured if the online channel is used as a proxy. By utilizing mobile vouchers for instance we could match offline actions with online sign-ups. But imagine the power of knowing that a person interested in say a certain type of music was near a store that sold it. If you’re that store owner an advert sent via SMS then and there would be a very powerful offer. What we need to do is introduce good measurement planning at the pre-marketing phase. Measurement allows us to then optimize the experience.

5. At what point does persuasion moves over the edge and becomes influencing? (and is that a bad thing?)

I don’t think persuasion or influencing are bad things, people are grown ups and make decisions based on the information they have. When it moves over the edge and becomes bad is when people con you. When messages are false, when testimonials are made up, when marketing is used to rip someone off is when it becomes bad. This however is a fact of life and why risk reversal is so important in marketing.

6. What is in your opinion the website that is a perfect example of excellent design for conversion?

None of them are perfect but here is a benchmark list of e-commerce site conversion rates.
http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/07/24/top-10-online-retailers-by-conversion-rate-june-2008/

7. It’s all about customer LifeTimeValue. How could you really optimize your website when you can’t tell what the LifeTimeValue will be?

I have saved clients millions without RF models or any customer information by focusing on reach, engagement and activation. To give an example by setting up a measurement which looked at a segment of folks who stayed on a website for more than 1 minute and viewed more than 3 pages we were able to optimize search engine marketing campaigns to drive engaged visitors instead of just visitors. This saved marketing spend itself but more importantly we saw another campaign (from banners) that engaged this segment very poorly meaning that bad spend (in this case a big campaign costing $2 Million) was diverted to more effective reach sources.

Once you have enough data and with enough planning you can also learn the customer lifetime value. This is a step up from web analytics to customer analytics and requires data mining but it is possible.

8. How could you use all the conversational online information about your product or niche to improve your users conversion?

It’s a good source of voice of customer (VOC) data that you can use to build personas, product or service USP’s and also can be used to give insights as to how you stand in the marketplace alongside your competition.

9. Where does delivering a good user (web) experience stops and will you have to focus on converting the visitor?

In my opinion delivering a good web experience and converting the visitor go hand in hand. However what I call a good experience is excellently answering the needs of your potential customer. Website usability is important but it’s less important than answering your customers’ questions. I’m sure you have bought something online from a website where it was really difficult to get to the end of the purchase process. This would probably have put off a lot of people that were casual about the product or in a hurry and got frustrated which is why we optimize, but in the end if you really want it you will jump through all the hoops to get it. In order to get your customers to really want it you have to have somehow addressed all their needs. Bad usability is rarely a show stopper for the customer who is 100% convinced you’ve got the best deal for them.
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10. If you find out that your visitors will have different optimal (graphical) conversion designs during weekdays or hours. Should you present these designs, or will the different graphical designs be too negative for the total user experience?

It would again depend on the product or service. On valentines’ day I know of a flower delivery company that monitors their website homepage in realtime and adjust the images accordingly because it’s the biggest day of the year for them. They monitored what people were searching for in the Google Keyword Tool so that they could react accordingly and then they changed their offer every time the conversion dropped below a certain level. It worked very well, so yes I would advocate this kind of testing for sure. Planning is key, be careful to balance what the customer needs are with why you’re making the change. I wouldn’t change the site layout for instance or the general navigation, but individual imagery and offers shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

Steve is a well known analytics specialist, author and speaker. A pioneer since 2002, he established one of the first European web analytics consultancies (Aboavista), later acquired by Satama (now Trainers’ House) in 2006. In 2008 he wrote his first book Cult Of Analytics published on May 14th 2009. He currently serves as CEO at Quru and has presented and keynoted web analytics topics across Europe. These include The Internet Marketing Conference (Stockholm), The Search Engine strategies (Stockholm), IIH (Copenhagen), the IAB Finland (Helsinki), Media Plaza (Amsterdam), Design For Conversion (Amsterdam) The eMetrics Summit (London, Munich, Stockholm), Divia (Helsinki) in addition to sitting on dozens of panels.

Posted in Conversion, General

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