Conversion Optimization Principles From Top Experts at Conversion XL Live 2015
which are super useful for any eCommerce entrepreneur and growth marketer.
Lately, I have been super busy to blog about useful tips that online store owners can find handy while optimizing their eCommerce experience. Yet, one of the industry highlights this March was attending the 1st conversion conference by Peep Laja in Austin.
The crowd was very unique. And finally, I met Amy Africa in person (she is hard to get, because she is always moving, skydiving, thrill-seeking and even testing chips inside her head, she is that brave). My best takeaways were the insightful chats with many conversion optimization experts, sharing their best learnings privately. It was refreshing to be around people speaking the same CRO language for 3 days straight, felt like a vacation to me.
While my favorite select insights from the formal sessions, which every eCommerce entrepreneur would appreciate, were as follows:
1 Forget best practices, focus on conversion principles.
Find those from behavioral studies and apply as a savvy doctor. Following templates and “best practices” are like following conventional wisdom, it does not lead to far, it does not lead to growth, it leads to mediocrity. Peep was super vocal on this one. Michael Summers, a user experience research expert, supported this with “What people refer to best practices, are mostly common practices. Not best.”
2 Know that conversion optimization is a process where you focus on what matters, while doing research.
Try to understand what is in the head of your shoppers vs. which button they click the most. Create a process of refining the knowledge about your audience to very intimate detail and spot opportunities to make your site sell better based on the qualitative insights, that you arrived at while verifying your data (if you have it). Know or at least get very close to what people are thinking as they click around on your pages. Do all kinds of testing and ask the right questions so that you know the why, not the what. Like with a flat tire, know why it got flat vs. re-state that it did. The lift is behind the why.
Get the answers for:
- Whose problem you are solving?
- What do your shoppers need?
- What do they think they want? Why?
- How they are choosing/making a decision? Why?
- What they are thinking when they see your offer?
- How is what you sell is clearly different?
- Where your site is leaking users, money?
- What causes people to abandon?
- What are they doing or not on the website?
- What leads more people to do X?
3 What matters is one thing – user motivations to buy. This is all you need to understand.
Andre Morys from WebArts, who does conversion optimization for big retailers in Europe shared a very sexy example of what happens to eCommerce companies that focus on growth and optimization while having dedicated teams and those that do not. You see the difference with Zalando. What if you spend a portion of your weekly activity, say 1 day on just doing CRO work? Solid conversion lift happens when you change people’s motivation not site structure.
4 Think context when you think about the experience your shoppers are having.
Oli Gardner shares widely his concept of attention ratio that I absolutely love. Design your landing pages with attention ratio in mind. Many links and ads are exits, unless they lead to the same place. So, remove everything that is not important, reduce the competition for attention. One key CTA at a time, at a screen, at a view, at a page.
5 Remember – 2 screens max when building for conversion on mobile.
Amy Africa came like a tornado and shared tons of quality tips on optimizing your mobile experience for conversion. Be bold, try to build your checkout for 2 screenviews max. Behave like an accountant – match your copy and visuals as is on your ads and mobile pages. They should perfectly match, no deviations. The screen is small, the attention is fleeting.
6 Know that mobile days to sale ratio is shorter.
So, build your text and email marketing around that schedule.
7 Proceed like a neurosurgeon when you design mobile landing forms (checkout especially).
Prioritize fields (email 1st, phone 2nd, name and address, and all rest after). Because if they abandon you on 1st screen, you can get them back with remarketing after. Make sure fields are big, tappable as I call them (easy to tap), preferably with autofill not from the browser but your backend systems (server calls). Progress bars are recommended. Phone numbers available in case of failure.
8 Build horizontal funnels in your Google Analytics.
They are more revealing than flow and path reports that are aggregated and reduced to sampling.
9 Map your segmentation across all of your analytics tools.
You can even segment by ethnicity if it is applicable (scrape the databases of your forms) and create specific cohorts.
10 Remember, you are in ecommerce biz to help people buy vs. sell whatever product you are selling.
Yes, I think it was Jeff Besos from Amazon.com that was quoted here.
11 Embrace the four pillars of Amazon eCommerce strategy.
That does not mean be like Amazon, but try to prioritize accordingly. Amazon measures and optimizes its product selection, price (lower than competition), availability and customer experience.
12 Storyboard customer buying experience.
Helps your online marketing and your understanding of what works best for your shoppers.
13 Write up your strategy as a process in full sentences.
It brings such clarity that you can act on it fast. Amazon practices this when people pitch ideas on conversion optimization. Indeed, if you can describe what you plan to do as a process, you know what you are doing.
14 Measure everything. You’ll need that later.
Discover the power of Google tag manager and release yourself from being dependent on developers.
15 Use enhanced ecommerce, product performance and ROI reports in GA.
You can discover merchandising opportunities, see how current setup works and see beyond the conversion (you’ll see your customer acquisition costs, which speak louder).
Want more? Peep wrote more detail in his recap of the event with 5 tips from each conversion expert.