Recently in Conversion Category
The mobile OS landscape
Even if you don't follow tech, many of you know that the two dominant players in the mobile OS space are Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system. According to the latest reports Android and iOS combine for more than 85% of smartphone market share. When we optimize for mobile, we are doing so to enhance the user experience largely for people accessing our sites via one of these two mobile operating systems.
Up until now, businesses haven't really had to optimize for either platform because the way one uses an iPhone or an Android phone have been pretty much the same (much to the dismay of the folks in Cupertino). Things like pinch-to-zoom and double tap-to-zoom when viewing a website site have become as common as a mouse click. But, that functionality and others we all know could change if Apple takes this victory to the next level.
Does your company have a video to help educate or drive leads? Feel free to share your thoughts on using video to enhance conversion and transparency about your product or service in the comments section below.
Conversion testing isn't just an occasional project at BuyerZone - it's a way of life. Our conversion testing team, led by Senior Product Marketing Manager Sarah Phoenix (shown at right), is constantly coming up with new ideas large and small to improve our landing page results.
We recently spoke to Sarah about how the conversion team operates, how they come up with their ideas, and what advice she'd offer companies who want to start more testing. Here's what she had to say.
About Leads: Why is testing important to you and to BuyerZone?
Sarah Phoenix: How people respond to landing pages is always changing, so it's important to be on top of it and make improvements where necessary. It's a really important part of BuyerZone or any online company: you can get in a rut with your design and just be ok with how's it working, but then you won't get any improvements over time. Really, the only way to steadily improve conversion rates is to continually test new things. It's good for both our clients, since we can get them more leads, and of course for us, because we get more revenue.
For me specifically, I'm part of a cross-functional group that tackles conversion. It's a really interesting group, really creative, and often different than my usual job, so it's exciting to me. We don't always get to think about why people are filling out a form or not -- we spend more time evaluating the results. This group is more on the creative side: thinking about how people are thinking and how you can change that. It's a little bit scary, to be honest - how do you change someone's thinking?
They're fragile, easily distracted, and busy: it doesn't take much to lose them. Here 5 keys to improving performance at the beginning of the lead generation cycle.
1. Send good trust signals
Before they even digest a word of your content, potential leads are evaluating how trustworthy your company is. Things like having a professional-looking design, making real-world contact information like phone numbers very visible, and including recently-updated information all contribute to their initial impression of your business.
Even things like having text that's free of typos and other mistakes contributes to your trustworthiness. Although it's not usually a conscious decision, prospects can be turned off by landing pages or lead capture forms that seem amateurish or flimsy. Here's a little more about sending good trust signals.
I've got a guest post up at the LeadsCouncil web site: Five Landing Page Mistakes We All Make. I say "we" in the headline specifically because BuyerZone has made all of those mistakes at different points over the years, and while we've learned the lessons, we're still not perfect.
As a result of #3 -- constantly testing new designs and other changes -- we're regularly creating new versions of our landing pages. The trick is making sure we're not letting old mistakes creep back in as we're testing new improvements.
(If you're not familiar with it, LeadsCouncil is a great resource for lead buyers and sellers. It's an independent organization that aims to build trust and promote best practices, with the overall goal of helping increase the size of the lead gen market. BuyerZone is a founding member of LeadsCouncil and we're glad to be working with them on our State of B2B Lead Generation Survey.)
How does it work exactly? Well, if your company needs to drive additional sales or leads, setting up an affiliate marketing program can help get additional sales and leads through the door at a low cost compared to other online marketing channels. Commissions or payments are set in a contract (in advance) based on volume of sales, visits, or leads provided by the affiliate. They can either be a percentage of the sale or a flat fee. It's a performance based system - you only pay if you get results.
How does the affiliate drive traffic? The same way that you market your own site, the affiliate markets their site - then they funnel the leads over to you. They might use SEO, banner ads, PPC, social media, email or other traditional marketing channels to send leads to their site and then over to you. However, an affiliate that invests substantial time and money into their marketing efforts would be wise to pay close attention to ROI. On the other hand, if their site already has a good deal of traffic, it is a great way to monetize it with minimal investment.
- In his keynote address, Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, talked at length about the concept of labor illusion - meaning it's important to be transparent with what is happening after you ask a potential customer to do something. The classic example is the lame progress bar, which while telling you the percentage completed (or something similar), offers zero value in terms of communicating what's happening behind the scenes. Instead of offering very little, Norton suggests that showing the customer what's actually happening is a powerful way to demonstrate the labor you're performing - thus inherently making that person more vested in the outcome. One example of a successful application is a flight search engine that shows what's happening after you enter in your criteria, but before a flight matrix is displayed. Why not tell the user the list of airlines being checked, flight combinations, class of service requested, etc?
- In the annual state of the industry chat, the CEO's of Quinstreet and Bankrate spoke about where they see the future of lead generation going. Content will continue to be king as well as a key differentiator for those without it, regulations (especially in education) will be a disruption, social media as a lead generation tool remains unproven in the B2B space, and the growth of mobile continues. Our thoughts echo many of these observations, as BuyerZone too is focused on producing more great content, cracking the social media code and mobilizing our sites for, well, mobile.
- Lead quality and the ever present balance of quantity with quality remains a key focus. Those lead generators who work with lead buyers directly understand the importance of quality, while lead aggregators, resellers and affiliates are often to blame for unseemly practices which, at times, give the industry a bad name.
- Tim Ash, CEO of Site Tuners, spoke of 5 tips for great landing pages, most of which are fairly standard, but one -- keep your promises -- stuck with me. Throughout the entire lead generation process, marketers need to make sure what we state we'll do actually happens.
- In the click-to-call space, we know that timely follow-up is critical, but one stat really shocked me: re-contract rate drops to less than 1% after 30 minutes. That is mind-boggling to me, and just underscores how sales processes need to be not only relevant, but super timely.
Overall, another great show. Did you attend? Add your key takeaways in the comments section below.
First off, you need to know why you are driving traffic - your goal. Why do you want to generate traffic (hint, it's usually to convert leads and make money) and what incentive for the user is there to convert through your form? Is it a whitepaper download, event registration, product purchase, or inquiry? You need to have an appropriate call to action to pull in the right type of lead. Even if you are just using your PPC campaigns to gauge general visibility or interest in a new product, you want to make sure that you are setting the stage appropriately. And that starts with keywords and adcopy.
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