5 Moments that Matter this Holiday Season

We know this holiday season will be unlike any other –purchase decisions will be driven by online actions, buy online and pickup in-store (BOPIS) will be critical, and your customer needs and wallet sizes may change over the course of the holiday seaso…

We know this holiday season will be unlike any other –purchase decisions will be driven by online actions, buy online and pickup in-store (BOPIS) will be critical, and your customer needs and wallet sizes may change over the course of the holiday season.

Why 5 UX Testers Are Almost Never Enough

There’s a pervasive myth in UX circles that you can get meaningful results by conducting user tests with only 5 participants. This is an appealing notion as it can be costly and time-consuming to conduct tests. However, the reality is that 5 user…

There’s a pervasive myth in UX circles that you can get meaningful results by conducting user tests with only 5 participants. This is an appealing notion as it can be costly and time-consuming to conduct tests. However, the reality is that 5 users are almost never enough if you want trustworthy data. In this article, […]

The Strategies & Tech Behind Hosting Successful Virtual Summit

Some 85% of leaders and executives identify in-person events as critical for their company’s success. In most places for most of this year, that’s been impossible.  Not unlike their in-person counterparts, virtual summits have similar goals: Bring people in your target market together. Spread industry knowledge. Raise awareness and grow your brand. Increase your company’s […]

The post The Strategies & Tech Behind Hosting Successful Virtual Summit appeared first on CXL.

Some 85% of leaders and executives identify in-person events as critical for their company’s success. In most places for most of this year, that’s been impossible. 

Not unlike their in-person counterparts, virtual summits have similar goals:

  1. Bring people in your target market together.
  2. Spread industry knowledge.
  3. Raise awareness and grow your brand.
  4. Increase your company’s bottom line.

But, of course, they come with an added set of challenges. Hosting a virtual summit that leaves attendees feeling connected and more informed is easier said than done. 

All too often, virtual summits turn into “podcasts on steroids,”—companies release content without giving attendees a platform on which to interact and engage. 

In this article, I share how I’ve executed marketing and technical support for a virtual summit with 3–5k registered attendees.

Know why you’re hosting a virtual summit, what you’ll cover, and who it’s for

My friend Joe Howard from WP Buffs is putting together a virtual summit at the time of writing this article. As always, there’s a temptation to translate any marketing effort into immediate revenue.

But, as he notes, you need a long-term vision, too:

Of course, I’m hopeful that we’re able to attract a few leads to WP Buffs, but in reality our long-term goals are much more important. 

We want to host an online event that will, 1) help WordPress professionals make monthly recurring revenue work for their WP businesses and 2) allow folks to enjoy a stress-free, social, and fun virtual event without the virtual burnout that so many are coping with. 

If we can pull off those 2 things, the WPMRR Virtual Summit can be one of the best online events out there. And being associated with that has much more positive, long-lasting impact on our business than anything else could! 

A virtual summit that can achieve those lofty goals requires more than just putting a few industry speakers on a Zoom call and hoping for the best. 

Pick a specific topic for your virtual summit

Focus. You can’t communicate the benefits of an event without a clear vision.

Virtual summit expert Navid Moazzez taught me to nail down a niche—and profitable—theme before taking any further steps. He created an effective checklist you can adapt to evaluate ideas:

  • Do you love or have a big interest in the topic?
  • Are you successfully selling in this niche already, or are other companies proving the viability of the niche?
  • Are there popular publications around this topic you can tap into?
  • Does the topic meet your company, ethical, and moral standards?
  • Can you think of at least three things to sell?
  • Can you think of sub-niches for the larger niche?
  • Are the customers in this niche loyal, repeat buyers?

To quote Navid:

Go specific. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is going too broad. 

A summit for everyone is really for no one, so my advice is to make it as specific as possible.

This is perfect because you can target very specific needs, wants, and pain points, and really resonate with your market to increase conversions.

There is also less competition in very niche markets, so it’s much easier to become the go-to authority.

Talk to your customers. Get feedback from those in your industry. After you’ve locked down a topic, you can define your target market.

Identify your target audience 

Ideally, you can tap into a market your business already serves—your summit is another outlet to create value for your customers and strengthen your market position.

If you don’t have an established target audience, dig deep here. Take the time to identify your online target audience and get intimately familiar with their desires and pain points. 

On the screenshot below, you can see how I highlight the benefits my target audience gets by attending the WP Agency Summit. 

What will you get from attending this virtual summit?

Knowing exactly who will attend your virtual summit will also help you with two other important aspects:

  1. Identifying products to sell to your audience during the virtual event;
  2. Selecting speakers that get your audience excited.

Not every product you sell will be a good fit for your event. Maybe, you’re hosting a virtual summit to not sell anything but just to build your email list or grow brand awareness authority. 

Most successful traditional conferences focus on networking and learning with a small amount of sales pitches throughout. Virtual summits are no different. Don’t turn your virtual summit into a pitch fest—by your company or by speakers.

From my experience, it works best to offer at least part of the virtual summit for free. One method is to offer all sessions for free while the virtual summit is live and put them behind a paywall after the summit is over.

You can also just keep the summit sessions free forever and use the summit as a lead magnet to grow your audience. It all depends on your goals and objectives.

Not everyone thinks that’s the right approach, as Alistair Croll made clear on Twitter: 

He has a point—free content is often not valued as highly as paid content. But if your summit clearly communicates the limitations of the free access (no bonuses, time restrictions, etc.), and offers an upsell to the full experience, it can be incredibly profitable. 

Virtual summit workflow.

The nuts and bolts of running a profitable virtual summit 

Regardless of the strategy you choose, know the type of user experience you want to create. In short, how do you want your attendees to remember the event?

Do you want them to feel happy about how much they learned? How well they connected with like-minded people? Would you rather have cash upfront or a pile of leads to follow-up with? 

As with all things in marketing, there are tradeoffs.

Of course, none of your strategy will matter much if you don’t have the tech to support the event. 

Choosing the right tech for your virtual summit

While there are countless ways to run a virtual summit, the following is what I’ve found to work from hosting four virtual summits with a combined 10k registered attendees and 125k pageviews. 

Let’s go through each of the tech considerations one-by-one.

Self-hosted vs. platforms

The elephant in the room is whether you want to self-host (e.g., WordPress) or go with a SaaS tool. 

Self-hosting with WordPress

WordPress powers over 30% of the web, so it comes as no surprise that you can host a virtual conference with a WordPress website. 

The benefits:

  • You’re using a free tool and just need to pay for hosting.
  • You likely already have in-house expertise for WordPress.
  • You’re using a platform that you can adapt to your ideas and needs.

The challenges:

  • You have to design and build all the summit pages (landing page, registration confirmation page, content pages, sales pages, sponsorship area, etc.) yourself.
  • Depending on your expected audience size, you need to make sure your website can handle traffic spikes.
  • You want to protect your website from being hacked or having any downtime.
  • You need to integrate third-party tools like video hosting platforms, chats, video calls, payment gateways, etc.
  • You have no guidance on how to structure your summit and have to map out the entire user experience yourself.

If you have the technical resources and WordPress knowledge, you can certainly do so, but consider some of the out-of-the-box options, too. 

Platforms to host your virtual summit

HeySummit

HeySummit has talk management and speaker dashboards that help you stay on track with all the talks that are going on. Your speakers get real-time data on how their session is performing against other speakers.

One major downsides, however, is that you can’t build a sponsorship area with virtual booths and virtual giveaways. If you don’t need those and can cope with the costs of HeySummit, it’s worth trying out.

Hopin

Hopin gives you a virtual venue where you can build multiple interactive areas to connect and engage with attendees. You can have virtual roundtables for your attendees to connect with each other and even build virtual sponsorship booths. 

If you’re looking for a solution that has been battle-tested and proven itself over and over again, Hopin could be it. Organizations like the United Nations, The Next Web, Adobe, Dell, and the Wall Street Journal have used it to host virtual events.

The biggest disadvantage of Hopin is that it’s nearly impossible to customize beyond the standard features they provide. 

vFAIRS

Visually, vFAIRS most closely resembles a traditional conference. You can welcome your attendees at a guidance desk, have feature-packed booths that look like the booths you would see at a physical event, and build custom landing pages that follow brand guidelines. 

That said, vFAIRS is less-tailored to hosting a virtual summit with speakers giving talks. It’s best suited for events at which companies can showcase their products, offerings, and brand. 

Facebook Virtual Summits

Another great alternative is using Facebook. My friend Tina Dahmen saw outstanding engagement during the sessions. She summarized the event as follows:

I hosted the summit live on FB as I wanted to include my entire FB group, which worked out amazingly engagement-wise. I also think live events have much better energy to them, and it’s really great to just engage with attendees directly.

I did everything very differently than the normal summit organizer usually does. The reason for that also was that I didn’t really study anything about summits beforehand and just had the idea to host live events anyway. I basically learned while I was doing it. 

I emailed out a notification to everyone a few minutes before I went live, and I also pinged everyone on Facebook Messenger, which increased attendance rate drastically. 

However, the conversion rate was low, but this had to do with my offer and not with hosting the summit on FB. 

Ultimately it comes down to choosing the platform you’re most comfortable with. Reliability, customization, and ease-of-use are all important factors. 

Tech to run the show, contact attendees, and manage access

Using my upcoming WP Agency Summit as the example, let’s assume that:

  • You want to use sponsorships to pay for the expenses to host the event.
  • All your speaker sessions are prerecorded and go “live” at a certain time during the event.
  • You will offer networking possibilities through video calls and live chats.
  • You want to sell lifetime access to all the sessions for a profit.
  • You want to leverage affiliate marketing in order to promote the event.
  • You’ll have paid traffic campaigns driving attendees to your event.
  • You’ll use emails to communicate with your attendees before, during, and after the summit.

That requires integrating a lot of tools. For the real-time event, you’ll need to move from one speaker to the next, get multiple speakers online at the same time, and integrate virtual coffee breaks.

To make this less abstract, here’s an example of how my friend, Lee Matthew Jackson, structured the first day of his Agency Transformation Live event:

Virtual summit agenda.

Behind the scenes, you’ll need email support to keep attendees engaged.

Email automation before, during, and after 

I heavily rely on email marketing for my events because it allows for a high degree of automation without losing a personal touch.

Throughout your virtual summit, communicate with your attendees as much as you can. Share details about the schedule of the sessions, how to navigate the virtual summit website, how to connect with other attendees, and how to ask for help.

I use Active Campaign and have multiple automation workflows that trigger based on defined dates or milestones. You can use any other email marketing tool that lets you set up automated email sequences.

Think about the following email campaigns:

  • Prelaunch. Get your subscribers excited about what is coming.
  • Onboarding. Explain exactly how the event is going to work once it started.
  • During the event. Make sure your attendees have all information they need to have in order to make the most out of your event.
  • After the event. Keep communicating with the attendees once the event is over.

Obviously, this email strategy can be expanded to fit your own communication standards and plans for the summit. 

Selling lifetime access after the summit ends

Sharing valuable, free content creates goodwill for your business and also helps you grow your email list. It’s much easier to promote a free virtual summit than directly asking people to buy a ticket to the event, especially if you’ve yet to host your first event.

Once the event is over, however, it’s common practice to lock the sessions behind a paywall or even create a membership area with bonuses around the lessons. That’s worked for me with the WP Agency Summit and my other events since 2015. 

My payment processor of choice is ThriveCart because it also serves as an affiliate management platform. You can use any payment processor you like, even just PayPal or Stripe, as long as it lets you connect with a membership tool to create user accounts for your customers.

I integrate ThriveCart with Active Campaign so that all the customer information gets stored in Active Campaign. I then connect Active Campaign to a WordPress plugin called Memberium for Active Campaign, which handles all the account creation and locks down the content to be accessible for paid customers only. I break down this process in the video embedded below.

Monetize your virtual summit 

Now that we’ve covered strategy and tech, let’s take a look at how to monetize your efforts. 

Using scarcity to increase conversions

Using scarcity or urgency to increase conversions is a tried-and-true marketing practice that often gets a bad rap. I’m not a fan of faking it, but I do have a use-case for a virtual summit.

After somebody signs up for the free access, offer a discounted lifetime access for a limited amount of time. I use a tool called Deadline Funnel and then set up countdown timers on the respective sales pages.

The screenshot below shows the edit screen inside Deadline Funnel for the countdown timer on the upsell page:

Scarcity for virtual summits.

I want to make one thing very clear here: This truly is a one-time offer. If you employ this strategy, keep it ethical and never sell lifetime access to the summit contents at this price. 

Upsells and downsells

Another great way to monetize your summit is to implement upsells and downsells. Ideally, those can be existing products or services you already offer in your business.

Below is a screenshot of how I implement upsells and downsells using ThriveCart. In this example, I sell a video course that fits the interest of WordPress developers and freelancers. It’s connected to the lifetime access purchase for the WP Agency Summit.

ThriveCart settings.

Most providers allow you to have upsells and downsells, which I highly recommend for your event.

A walkthrough through of The WP Agency Summit website

To make the tech more relatable and easier to grasp, I’ve recorded a walkthrough of my WP Agency Summit website that explains the user experience I’m striving for as well as how I’ve set up my site and why: 

Here’s what I cover in the video:

  • Video walkthrough in the WP Admin Area
  • What pages do I have and how do users flow through it?
  • What plugins do I use and why?
  • How are the plugins configured?
  • How does the selling work?
  • How is the membership built?

Must-have WordPress plugins for your summit

If you’re using WordPress, you won’t need any particular “virtual summit plugin” to make your event happen. All you need is a nice-looking website to capture email addresses and present the session contents.

Below, I outline three plugins that I consider important, but even those aren’t mandatory and could be replaced with other plugins or services.

1. Memberium for Active Campaign

This plugin connects subscriber and customer data inside my Active Campaign account with my website and lets me sell access to the lifetime membership area.

After the summit ends, I use Memberium to lock down the sessions and bonus contents for public access. By then, only customers who paid for lifetime membership can see the sessions and take advantage of the bonuses that I’ve prepared for them.

Below, you can see an example of how to configure the login function when using Memberium for Active Campaign:

Ethical scarcity.

2. Elementor Pro & Ultimate Addons for Elementor

Elementor Pro.

Since WordPress doesn’t have layouts for virtual summits out of the box, I’m building them myself using the Elementor page builder. Investing in the Pro version and installing an add-on that comes with my theme license (Astra Pro) makes sense.

Elementor is also what I use to integrate Active Campaign and capture the email addresses of my attendees. It allows you to build opt-in forms and then send the submitted data to a particular list in Active Campaign. You can even tag subscribers using these opt-in forms.

3. Advanced Custom Fields Pro

Together with my mentor, Leon Benedens, we build quite a few custom functions around our virtual summits, specifically for how data for the speakers and sponsors is handled. We use Advanced Custom Fields Pro for this purpose. 

Optimize your summit website for performance (and conversions)

Here are three ways to improve the conversion rate at your virtual summit (or any landing page, for that matter):

1. Page speed

Virtual summit landing pages often have a lot of content—and load slowly. You usually highlight all the speakers and their sessions, which can be up to 88 images just for the speakers. (Yes, I’ve seen summits with 88 speakers.) 

Take care of the low-hanging fruit for increasing your website speed:

  • Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN) if you expect global traffic.
  • Leverage server-side caching.
  • Add browser-caching, compression, and minification to your website.
  • Ensure your website is running on the latest version of PHP and MySQL/MariaDB.
  • Consider setting up a static landing page (requires coding skills to make registrations work).
  • Optimize your images for fast loading (use .webp format, add lazy-loading, upload in the correct size, etc).

2. Split-testing

Split-testing allows you to have multiple landing pages and drive a part of your traffic to each, measuring how they perform in terms of registrations.

You can choose from countless split-testing tools out there; I won’t add more bloat to the article by going through them. CXL has some really good articles about split-testing already:

3. Heatmaps

Heatmaps can give you actionable insights on how visitors interact with your website.

One of the most common takeaways from studying heatmaps is to increase contextual relevance. This strategy helps you better guide your visitors through the landing page by respecting their stage of awareness (refer to Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz). 

Needless to say, heatmap analysis is complex enough to write multiple posts about it. Luckily, CXL also has quite a few outstanding articles you can use for further learning.

Ways to increase the exposure for your event

A stellar speaker line-up and top-notch organization are obvious keys to a great event. 

Importance of speakers for your summit.
Why influencers are so important according to virtual summit expert, Navid Moazzz

That’s why entire companies specialize in this field, like Dutch Standard Events, run by Sytze Wiersma:

Book A-list speakers with relevant background in the industry. Before signing the contract, ensure they allocate a minimum of 1 work day of preparation. As an organizational committee, we check their presentation decks and discuss the flow of the show together with our Creative and Show director. 

Finally we take their slide deck and have our creatives re-make it in the style of our Event Brand. So, huuuuuge effort and work in co-creation of content with all sides of professionals working on them. 

Not “we book you and see you then and we HOPE it’s valuable enough.

Virtual summits are often easy to promote because you’re giving away access. That makes it easier to approach influencers, respected platforms in your niche, or other media like news outlets, podcasts, etc., to talk about your event.

Consider running Facebook or Google Ads to drive more traffic to your virtual summit landing page.

Another great way to drive more eyes onto your summit is by encouraging social sharing. 

You could run contests that reward people who drive new registrations to your event with a free lifetime access pass or a different bonus. Any incentive that is relevant to your audience will work, just don’t give away the generic—and often expensive—gifts, like iPads or Amazon gift cards.

You can also tap into third-party platforms through guest posting, writing on outlets like Medium or Dev.to, being on podcasts, or doing webinars with authorities in your field.

Lastly, I use affiliate marketing heavily when promoting my summits, usually giving away 50% of the profits to affiliates. Converting your speakers into affiliates helps you leverage their authority, offers them compensation for the time they spend doing their session, and expands your reach.

Ideas to replicate physical networking areas online 

Physical events have hallways. In these hallways, you bump into like-minded people and have exciting, random conversations. Those interactions often provide the greatest value to attendees—which you need to replicate in your virtual event. 

As Leon Benedens from Fairment notes:

Thanks to the subconscious concept of reciprocity, attendees who enjoyed our free events value the effort we put into them and want to give back to us and respond positively to when we pitch relevant paid products.

Fortunately, there are ways to create these virtual hallways:

  • Set up standing video calls your attendees can join at their own convenience (e.g., using tools like Jitsi).
  • Embed live chats for each session or just on a dedicated page for your attendees to network.
  • Place attendees on virtual roundtables (requires custom coding) with access to a private video call and live chat. The limited number of people helps make everybody feel more comfortable.

Keep in mind that not everyone is an extrovert and comfortable with approaching strangers on video chats. Offer other ways to interact—audio, written, etc.—so that each attendee can pick the channel they like most.

Key differences between virtual and physical events 

In my experience, there are four major separating factors you need to be aware of when hosting a virtual summit.

Delivering your virtual summit across multiple timezones

Most likely, your virtual summit will attract an audience that spans multiple time zones or even the entire globe. I’ve personally gotten pageviews from 110+ countries on my online events. 

When planning your event times, make note of the most popular timezones and use a timezone tool to keep track of various times around the world. 

You can manage this in two ways:

  1. Set up a daily schedule with a couple of sessions for each day and keep those sessions online for a limited time (e.g., 48–72 hours). That gives every attendee enough leeway to consume the content at their convenience.
  2. Publish all sessions at once and keep them online for the duration of the event. That creates less confusion about which session is online on which day, and gives people more than enough time to listen to their favorite speakers.

“Meet and greet” with speakers and sponsors 

Considering having live chats and video calls embedded on the summit website. Encourage your speakers to spend some time in the chat and on calls.

With virtual sponsorship booths, you can have standing video calls and live chats. Just make sure your sponsors staff the booth while the live chat and video call are online—or that you have a back-up option if no one’s there.

In the screenshot below, you can see a virtual booth I built for the translation tool Weglot. When the booth isn’t staffed, it shows multiple asynchronous ways for attendees to reach out to the company.

Once the booth is staffed, you can replace the main CTA section with a standing video call to encourage direct conversations.

At all times, there’s a spinning wheel to simulate giveaways. Visitors can spin it and win coupons, swag, and other items that the sponsor chooses. Details like these make visiting the virtual booth more fun (and help the sponsor generate leads).

Spinning wheel.

Social events post conference 

A virtual conference misses out on meetups in pubs or restaurants, panel discussions in other places, attendees spending time somewhere else in the city, etc.

While not a perfect alternative, you can put together virtual dinner parties or lunch breaks with no set agenda. Don’t be afraid to get creative—you want attendees to feel comfortable while learning and making relationships. 

Conclusion 

There’s no way around it; hosting a virtual conference is a lot of hard work. Choosing the right topics, inviting the right speakers, and perfecting your tech stack can be challenging.

But once you’ve done your first virtual summit and got some traction, your business will be reaping the benefits for years to come.

Just building the connections to all the speakers and sponsors is often worth the effort and can result in plenty of business and growth for your brand.

The post The Strategies & Tech Behind Hosting Successful Virtual Summit appeared first on CXL.

Reduce Your Server Response Time for Happy Users, Higher Rankings

Server response time is often overlooked when it comes to improving page speed.  It can, however, improve your site’s ranking. Users like fast sites, so Google likes fast sites. In this article, I show you how to reduce your server response time. I also provide a few other ways to improve your page speed.  How […]

The post Reduce Your Server Response Time for Happy Users, Higher Rankings appeared first on CXL.

Server response time is often overlooked when it comes to improving page speed. 

It can, however, improve your site’s ranking. Users like fast sites, so Google likes fast sites. In this article, I show you how to reduce your server response time. I also provide a few other ways to improve your page speed. 

How much does server response time matter?

Server Response Time (SRT) is the amount of time between when a web client makes a request (e.g., clicking on a link or entering a URL into the address bar) and the server responds to that request.

With a good SRT—and a site optimized for speed—your website will appear to load almost instantly. Without it, the page will take longer to load, which can damage the user experience and, ultimately, search engine rankings. 

SRT is measured in a unit known as Time to First Byte (TTFB). TTFB measures the length of time between the HTTP client making its request and receiving the first byte of data. It is measured in milliseconds. 

What constitutes a good, bad, and acceptable TTFB varies. Here are some general rules:

  • Quicker than 100ms is excellent. 
  • 100–200ms is good. Google PageSpeed Insights recommends keeping your SRT under 200ms. 
  • 200ms–1 second is acceptable, but there’s room for improvement. 
  • Anything over 1 second is a problem. 
How a slow site hurts sales.
Page speed and SRT go hand in hand. (Image source)

Can such a small change in time make a big difference? Even a one-second delay can cost an ecommerce site $25,000–$125,000 per year…or more! 

How does server response time impact SEO?

Google has used SRT as a ranking factor for about a decade. More recently, Google Search Console rolled out a Core Web Vitals section, which tracks a set of website performance metrics that focus on user experience.

According to a study by Forrester Research, over half of web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less. If it takes over three seconds to load, 40% of users will give up and leave. 

Sites that take longer to load typically have a higher bounce rate and shorter average visit length. As a Pingdom study found, “while bounce rates hovered below 10% for websites that took less than three seconds to load, the number jumped up to 24% for a four-second load time and 38% for a five-second load time.”

A slow site means a poor user experience, and search engines will respond accordingly. 

Reducing your server response time boils down to three steps. 

  1. Measure your server response time.
  2. Identify areas that need improvement. 
  3. Work with your team to address those areas. 

How to check your SRT 

There are a number of tools you can use. 

GTMetrix

GTMetrix has both free and paid versions. It allows you to analyze your SRT, monitor your pages, and test your site’s speed on a mobile device. Simply enter your URL, and you’ll see an overall score for page load time, which also includes SRT data. 

Performance report.

You can then use the waterfall chart to see every element in the order it loaded. This allows you to identify and debug problem areas by showing exactly which requests are slowing your site down.

Of course, server response time is just part of the many factors that contribute to page speed. 

Waterfall chart.

From the Waterfall Chart, you can get more detailed information of each request by hovering over an individual item. There, you’ll see how much of the loading time results from waiting on your server: 

Request times.

If you set up a free account, you can view other relevant metrics, including the all-important TTFB, using the Timings tab: 

Page load timings

Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI)

Enter your URL on this free tool, and you’ll see an overall score and some useful metrics. Here’s an example of how it looks: 

Facebook speed.

PSI provides insight into both the mobile and desktop versions of your site and gives you vital information on what you could improve. It uses a mixture of real-world “field” data based on the Chrome User Experience Report and lab data from Lighthouse to estimate the page’s performance. 


Here are the metrics Google Page Insights measures that specifically relate to SRT. 

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP): This metric measures the time from when the page starts loading to when any part of the page’s content is rendered on screen.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.
  • Time to Interactive (TTI): This measures how long it takes a page to become fully interactive. According to Google, a page is fully interactive when the page displays useful content, event handlers are registered for most visible page elements, and the page responds to user interactions with 50 milliseconds.
  • Total Blocking Time: The Total Blocking Time (TBT) metric measures the total amount of time between FCP and TTI where the main thread was blocked for long enough to prevent input responsiveness.

For a high score, PSI expects a server response time below 200ms. If your SRT is slower than that, you’ll receive a notification under the “Opportunities” section:

Reduce server response time.

How to reduce your server response time

Ultimately, there are dozens of potential factors that may slow down the response of your server: slow application logic, slow database queries, slow routing, frameworks, libraries, resource CPU starvation, or memory starvation. 

While you may not be able to address all of them, you can work with your dev team to find and fix the more technical areas:

  • Slow application logic: Use a code profiling tool to help determine which dependencies are being used on your site and how long each of those dependencies takes to load. 
  • Slow database queries: These occur when your database queries aren’t firing efficiently. Worse yet, you may not even know they’re performing poorly unless you check “underneath the hood.” Slow database queries require more work and use more CPU resources. 
  • Slow routing: Generally speaking, you want to place your most visited pages and content at the top of the routing queue to make those locations a high priority. You can also add more routes to any specific location if things are running slowly. 
  • Resource CPU starvation: If your site is running too many plugins or scripts, it can lead to resource CPU starvation. Work with your team to uninstall resource intensive plugins that aren’t often being used and remove unnecessary scripts. 

There are other concrete steps that can help you improve your server response without a one-on-one with your dev team. 

Find a fast, dedicated host

If your current SRT is on the slower end, consider looking for a faster host. There are a few things to think about

If you have the budget, opt for dedicated hosting. This simply means that you don’t share the server with another site. While shared hosting can be a great start, some shared hosting providers overload their servers, which maximizes their profits but spells disaster for your website.

Read reviews and ask for recommendations before you make your decision. If you get a recommendation, use GTMetrix or PSI to check the SRT for those sites.

You can also check a provider’s server speeds before you buy. There a few ways to do that: 

Use a speed check tool. I like Pickuphost’s free speed check tool

Start speed test.

Check a comparison site. Invigital reports on the average response times of many popular web hosts:

Web host response time.

You can also use its simple comparison tool to compare up to 4 hosting providers across 56 different metrics: 

Compare hosts.

Bitcatcha is another tool that allows you to compare hosting speeds in a variety of locations across the world, so you can choose the one that’s best for where you are.

web host comparison.

You should choose a host with servers geographically close to your target audience. An easy way to ensure that is with a CDN.

Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) 

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a group of geographically distributed servers that work together to deliver online content faster. Unless your business is hyper-local in its focus, you’re likely to have people all over the world wishing to access your content at one time or another. 

By using a CDN, you ensure that your site visitors get the best user experience, no matter where they are. Over half of all the world’s internet traffic is served through a CDN. 

A CDN stores a cached version of your website in multiple locations all over the world. Each area has its own server, and the closest server to the user’s location will deliver the requested content. Here’s a visual of how it works: 

If your website is hosted in the United States, but a user in Australia wants to access it, the SRT might be 0.2 to 0.4 seconds slower. A CDN mitigates this problem and provides a consistently fast SRT regardless of geographic location. 

Server speed based on location.

While a half a second in SRT may not seem like much, it affects the perceived loading times for your visitors. 

To get set up, you’ll need to choose a CDN and register your site. There are hundreds of CDN providers to choose from. When choosing your CDN, consider factors such as anticipated traffic volume, the main types of media you serve, and your budget. 

Once you’ve registered with a CDN provider, you or your web developer will need to enable it on your website. Depending on your hosting provider and content management system (CMS), you will enable it through your C-panel or using a plugin.

If you purchased your domain from a different provider than the one you’re using to host your site, you’ll also need to make an update there. You or your domain name registrar will need to amend your DNS name server records to point your domain to your CDN’s servers. 

After you’ve optimized your SRT—but while you still have your dev team’s attention—you may want to tackle a few other page speed issues that can have a big impact. 

More ways to improve your site speed (beyond SRT)

Reduce and optimize your scripts 

Components of page speed.
The blue section to the left represents the SRT as a segment of the total page load time.  (Image source)

One of the most effective ways to increase your site’s loading time is by auditing the scripts your site runs. Are you still using that tracking script? Is anyone doing anything with that data? 

Every little bit of waste can add up. PSI will show you which scripts your site loads (and which ones take the most time to load.) Often, removing the scripts is as simple as disabling a tag in Google Tag Manager. 

If you use WordPress, there are a handful of plugins to help with removing unnecessary scripts, such as Optimize Scripts and Styles or Asset CleanUp

Scale and optimize images

One of the simplest ways to optimize images is to ensure your images are in the right file format. In general, a PNG will take up more space relative to a JPEG file. For the sake of simplicity, I recommend using PNG for simple graphics such as logos and charts and JPEG format for everything else.

Google has started to recommend a format called JPEG 2000. However, I don’t generally use this because it’s not yet compatible with many systems or browsers (apart from Chrome). 

There’s also a format called WEB.P, which offers a slightly smaller file size than JPEG. However, the difference is negligible. Once you enable caching (more on that in a minute), there is no noticeable difference.  

Right now, I use default JPEG format at 60% compression in most instances. Reducing a JPEG from 95% quality to 80% or even 75% may make little discernible difference to how the image looks. Experiment to find the right balance between image quality and file size. 

File size reduction.

Many tools (some free) can also help optimize your images before you upload them. Jpeg.io and Compressor are two good options. WordPress, the Smush or Kraken.io plugins will optimize your images as you upload them. There are similar options available on other CMS platforms. 

Use caching

Caching is one of the best ways to improve your site’s speed—without sacrificing anything in terms of quality or content.

The first time a user visits your site, the server has to download JavaScript files, images, the HTML document, and more. Caching is temporary storage that remembers some of these aspects so that the content can be retrieved faster the next time the user visits.

To enable caching, you need to add a small piece of code to your website’s .htaccess file. You’ll usually do this through the file manager within your hosting user area. This code tells your users’ browsers what to cache and how long to recall it for. 

Here’s an example of the code from GTMetrix:

Scripts

You can change the code to cache different aspects of your site for different amounts of time. For file types that are updated more frequently, set a shorter caching time.

For those that are fairly static, the caching time can be longer. Caching times that are too long for files that change or update frequently can lead to returning users seeing an older cached version of your site. 

(Be careful: if something goes wrong with the .htaccess file, it can break your whole site.)

On some CMS platforms, you can also use a plugin to enable caching without any coding. Some of the most popular and highly rated include W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket for WordPress, and SpeedCache for Joomla. 

Keep your CMS, plugins, and themes updated

How often do you see those notifications reminding you to update your CMS, plugins, or website theme? Do you close them, thinking you’ll get to it later and then forget all about it? Stop doing that right now! 

Outdated versions of your CMS, plugins, and website themes can reduce page speed significantly. The creators of these tools and platforms create updates for a reason—often it’s to improve efficiency and speed. 

(There’s another issue, too: Outdated CMS platforms, plugins, and themes can leave your website vulnerable to security breaches. Malcare reported that outdated themes and plugins are one of the most common causes of hacks to WordPress sites.)

As with scripts on your site, when was the last time you cleared out your saved plugins and themes? Chances are, you have a few downloaded that you’re not using. Regularly run a quick audit of everything you’ve got downloaded and installed. 

Conclusion

Reducing your server response time will give your site visitors a better experience, reduce your bounce rate, and ultimately improve your search rankings.

  • Check your SRT first so that you have a baseline of where you’re working from. 
  • Choose the right hosting provider and server. 
  • Use a CDN to serve content to users from geographically closer servers. 
  • Optimize your images by choosing the right file type, slightly reducing image quality, and using a plugin to reduce file sizes. 
  • Use browser caching to provide a better experience for returning visitors.
  • Ensure your CMS, plugins, and website themes are all up to date. 

SRT and SEO are areas where seconds and milliseconds really do matter. Every fraction of a second you shave off will keep visitors on your site longer, make sure they keep coming back, and help your site get into those coveted top spots on the results pages. 

The post Reduce Your Server Response Time for Happy Users, Higher Rankings appeared first on CXL.

I Am Merkle: Why I’m Equal, Part 2

Cheryl Harewood: Cheryl is a Client Account Manager and is based on Troy, MI.

Kathleen Sack: Kathleen is a Senior Account Manager based on Baltimore, MD.

Cheryl Harewood: Cheryl is a Client Account Manager and is based on Troy, MI.

Kathleen Sack: Kathleen is a Senior Account Manager based on Baltimore, MD.

15 eCommerce Conversion Tactics To Fuel Growth For Your Store

With every other blog post talking about eCommerce conversion strategies that can help you boost sales, it can get a tad overwhelming and exhausting to narrow down on ones you must pay attention to. To that end, we have done the heavy lifting for you and shortlisted those we know are sure to make a…

With every other blog post talking about eCommerce conversion strategies that can help you boost sales, it can get a tad overwhelming and exhausting to narrow down on ones you must pay attention to. To that end, we have done the heavy lifting for you and shortlisted those we know are sure to make a difference in helping you grab shoppers’ attention and persuade them to purchase from your online store. 

In this guide to eCommerce conversions, we will look at 15 actionable tactics you can implement to stand out among the competition and get shoppers to fall in love with your online store.

ecommerce conversion tactics

1. Reverse engineer the customer journey

The customer journey tracks the steps a potential buyer goes through from getting interested in your niche, becoming aware of your brand, finding out more about your product to making a purchase. Most online depictions of the customer journey make the process appear simple. It is usually represented linearly and consists of 5 stages – from awareness to retention.

The Five Stages Of Customer Journey
Image Source: [1]

The reality of the customer journey is a lot messier. People skip steps, rush to purchase, or never come back to your website. Yet while the customer journey is messy, there are analytical tools that help you understand where visitors enter your eCommerce store, where they drop-off, and the common paths they take to finally make a purchase.

One of the most used tools for analyzing the on-site customer journey on your website is Google Analytics. You can create custom dashboards in Google Analytics that help you visualize how people move around your eCommerce site, the landing pages through which they discovered your product pages, and where there is a significant drop-off.

An Example Of Funnel Analysis On An Ecommerce Store
Image Source: [2]

A comprehensive analysis of how visitors move around your eCommerce store and in and out of each stage of the customer journey can help you identify their pain points so you can rightfully tackle them through A/B testing.

2. Optimize your site speed

One of the simplest methods to increase conversions is improving the page load time. The reason for this is pretty straightforward; if a page takes a long time to load, your store visitors get impatient and leave the website.

The graphic below precisely illustrates the correlation between page load time and conversion rates.

Graph On Variation Of Conversion Rates With Page Load Time
Image Source: [3]

While this chart comes from a study on general conversion rates, there is also a large body of data about how page speed impacts eCommerce conversion rates specifically. Amazon’s study on how even milliseconds of latency affects revenue is probably the most cited example. Every 100 ms of latency costs the company 1% in sales, they claimed[1].

Portent conducted a study on page speed that revealed some interesting insights for eCommerce store owners. They found that the highest eCommerce conversion rates occur at a page load speed of 0-2 seconds[2].

0 2s Is Ideal Page Load Time For Maximum Transaction Conversion Rate
Image Source: [4]

When it comes to page load time, some pages are naturally more important than others. The most important ones include the homepage, checkout, product, category, and login pages. Any page where you receive a lot of traffic, you should prioritize optimizing.

3. Simplify navigation on your store

All the best eCommerce stores are flat and extremely easy to navigate. ‘Flat’ means having as few layers as possible to your site design – everything on your site should be accessible within three clicks of the homepage. More importantly, you also want to make it as simple as possible for site visitors to get from the core landing pages to the product pages and checkout page so that making a purchase is as seamless as possible. 

Just like longer page load times cause shoppers to walk away from your store, a labyrinthine site design also tends to frustrate them, leading to drop-offs. There are numerous ways to optimize your menu to improve eCommerce site navigation. You could start by including breadcrumbs, simplifying the options on the menu, prioritizing elements, and so on. The ideal solution will be specific to your eCommerce store.

Let’s understand the same with the example of Slideshop. After thoroughly analyzing their data, the teams discovered that shoppers weren’t clicking on the subcategory. To improve usability, they ran an A/B test on the side menu to create a better flow from categories to subcategories. They got rid of the promotional right sidebar and introduced a left navigation bar. Here’s a look at the control and variation from the test: 

Control Version Of The Ab Test On Slideshop Com
Control
Variation Of The Ab Test On Slideshop Com
Variation

The variant with the navigation menu on the left increased the add to cart clicks by 34%. The case study stands testament to the fact that smooth navigation is closely linked to increased sales for any eCommerce store.

4. Offer personalized shopping experiences

Your customers today demand shopping experiences tailored as per their preferences and likes. And the more data you can collect about your customers, the better you can predict and optimize their online shopping experiences. Even if you are just getting started, you can target some low hanging fruits such as showcasing similar/frequently bought together items on product pages.

This is an excellent way to start as it doesn’t require any data collection from a potential customer, only from previous visitors to your site. However, as an eCommerce business, you should look to take it further. For example, user cookies allow you to show product browsing history, while geo-targeting allows you to provide a personalized shopping experience based on the visitor location.

5. Provide clear pricing upfront

The number one reason for cart abandonment is hidden and unexpected costs. Shoppers hate to be bombarded with additional charges that show themselves only during the last stage of the checkout process. While it may be tempting to lure in potential customers with a seemingly low price and then add on extra costs at the point of purchase, this is sure to lose you business. 

Whatever you are selling, the best method to increase conversions is to be direct about prices from the first instance. And this includes shipping costs, taxes, and fees. This helps build trust among buyers.

6. Enrich product pages with relevant copy and descriptions

It is widely accepted that effective copywriting and concise, appealing product descriptions are crucial to building trustworthy relationships between businesses and customers. Buyers don’t require an instruction manual on product pages. However, they do want all of the relevant product information to be easily accessible. 

You need to find that sweet spot for your product pages. The last thing you want is a customer leaving your site to find out more information about an item elsewhere.

An Example Of Good Copywriting On Product Page

Good copy can be quirky as well if it suits the seller’s brand identity, like the example above from the eCommerce store Woot. When writing copy, use the kind of terms your customers would use, speak to them in their language, take inspiration from positive testimonials to incorporate the same lingo in your copy that your buyers are likely to use.

7. Use scarcity and urgency to boost sales

Scarcity and urgency are two emotional drivers that are known to boost eCommerce conversions. By highlighting that your stocks are limited and likely to get sold out soon, you immediately attract buyers’ attention and get them excited about your offerings. Shoppers sometimes also go ahead and make a purchase solely because the product is limited edition. You want to create enough buzz around your products so you can leverage that. 

Creating a sense of urgency is to highlight that a particular offer or deal is valid only for a short period of time, so shoppers are lured into quickly bagging it before they lose out on the great offer.

8. Add live chat support

Getting your queries resolved is hard enough even when you’re in a store with a salesperson in front of you, ready to answer your questions. Moving the process online only makes it tedious and leads to higher chances of drop-offs due to unresolved queries or unsatisfied shoppers. Did you know that 73% of consumers prefer live chat over any other communication channel to interact with a business[3]?

Stats Showing Why Live Chat Is Helpful In Increasing Purchases
Image Source: [5]

Offering live chat on your site can help ensure that no customer leaves your store to find answers to their questions, and human interaction is not completely done away with. Live chat offers the potential of an immediate solution to shoppers regarding any kind of issues pertaining to the products, return policy, seller information, and so on. Even if they don’t use it, there is a reassurance that it’s there.

9. Test your pricing strategy

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed more than 13,000 people to understand their spending habits. They classified participants into three groups – tightwads, unconflicted, and spendthrifts. Here is how the respondents were grouped according to their answers.

Classification Of Spending Habits Of Pennsylvania Students

While the overwhelming majority of people feel unconflicted about making a purchase, almost one in four of your potential customers probably fall into the tightwad group. You can use different eCommerce pricing strategies to appeal to these people and convince them to hit ‘Buy Now’ on the product pages. Even offering free shipping and returns can be extremely valuable in persuading customers to make a purchase.

The example from Zalora, an eCommerce site, nicely illustrates this point. They ran an A/B test to see if emphasizing free returns would increase the conversion rate. The answer was yes. The variation, which started with the word “free,” outperformed the control by 12%.

Control Version Of The Ab Test On Zalora
Control
Variation Of The Ab Test On Zalora
Variation

10. Add product reviews

As per BigCommerce, 69% online shoppers want eCommerce stores to share more product reviews[4]. Therefore, make sure your product pages are sufficiently enriched with customer reviews as buyers tend to look for social proof before making up their minds about a product. Customer reviews improve the credibility of your store and legitimacy of the products and give users the vote of confidence that their shortlisted products have been used and liked by others as well.

11. Work on reducing cart abandonment rate

Cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce stores face till date. The average cart abandonment rate for the industry ranges from 60-80%, depending on the niche. Since any decrease in your cart abandonment rate can directly translate to an increase in sales, it makes sense to direct a significant amount of your optimization efforts towards battling this issue.

There are many strategies that you should test, which can decrease the rate of cart abandonment. Some of the most straightforward ones include: 

  • Cart abandonment email sequences that regularly remind shoppers about the items they have left behind
  • Having an omnipresent cart icon on your site so visitors are always reminded they have pending items and can navigate to the cart page in a single click
  • Cart abandonment push notifications that retarget lost buyers and try to nudge them to complete their purchase

12. Simplify the checkout process

While there is no one size fits all solution, simplifying the checkout process would majorly involve reducing the number of steps, removing all distractions from every page, offering multiple payment options, and providing guest login, so customers don’t have to necessarily input all details to quickly make a purchase. These will help you get started and ensure customers don’t view checkout as a tedious, cumbersome process that they’d rather not take on. 

If you want to go further and rely on a structured, step-by-step approach, consider the common problems online shoppers have. Addressing each of these points, either sequentially, or at once, will no doubt help you optimize the eCommerce conversion rate on your checkout page. Here’s a look at some of the most common ones as per Baymard Research. 

Various Reasons For Abandonments During Checkout
Image Source: [6]

13. Add relevant trust badges to your site

As the statistics revealed in the graph above, trust is a paramount concern for potential customers while considering making a purchase online. While trust impacts all types and sizes of eCommerce websites, it’s especially problematic for smaller stores that don’t have enough brand recognition as yet. 

Using trust signals and badges on your homepage can go a long way in improving your brand credibility and getting more visitors to place their trust in your products. There is a substantial body of evidence that shows that trust badges on a product or checkout page increase eCommerce conversions[5]. If you are still unsure, It’s definitely something you should consider testing. There are two things to keep in mind when running such a test:

  1. What trust badges you use
  2. Where you place the trust badge

There are three types of trust badges you are likely to use. The first relates to the payment options. The second is security badges. Lastly, you have industry certification. While all three categories are important, be sure to not overdo it by adding too many badges and leading to a cluttered page that does more harm than good.

14. Provide multiple payment options

As we’ve discussed, the fewer obstacles during your checkout process, the higher your sales. Since everyone has a select few payment options they absolutely trust, providing multiple payment options ensures that you cater to maximum audience, and no one drops off solely because they cannot find a trusted payment method on your store. In fact, providing a plethora of payment options can recoup 30% of sales that would have been lost to declined cards[6]

Remember that simplicity is key through the checkout process. There is no need to display a whole menu of card types that can be visually unappealing, although it’s certainly in your interest as a business to accept as many different types of payment as possible.

15. Leverage upsell and cross-sell opportunities

Upselling is convincing interested buyers to go for more expensive products or products with upgrades and add-ons. Cross-selling is selling additional, often related, items to a customer along with the item they intended to purchase in the first place. The goal of both upselling and cross-selling strategies is to increase the average order value.

Example Of Cross Selling On Amazon Product Page
Image Source: [7]

There are numerous ways you can increase your conversion rate and average order value. An obvious example of a company that uses cross-selling to increase customer average order value is Amazon, as illustrated in the image above. You could offer free shipping above a certain price point to incentivize people for adding more items to their cart.

Wrapping up

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing conversions on your eCommerce store. What works for your business will be specific to your vertical, store, target audience, and products. However, the 15 tactics shared above will more likely than not work for most businesses and deliver remarkable results when it comes to uplifting your conversion metrics. As always, the best way to implement an effective strategy is to test every major change before you deploy it universally to measure its impact on your unique business. Sign up for a free trial by VWO to get started with testing on your eCommerce store and rely solely on data for all optimization decisions. On that note, we urge you to put the above strategies to practice and optimize your online store for more sales.

Solving the Megaton Problem with Mega Menus

How fast can you find the three of diamonds in a deck of playing cards? The answer is not very fast because you have to sift through so many irrelevant cards to get to the right one. This is what you’re asking users to do when you use a mega menu for y…

How fast can you find the three of diamonds in a deck of playing cards? The answer is not very fast because you have to sift through so many irrelevant cards to get to the right one. This is what you’re asking users to do when you use a mega menu for your navigation. When […]

How to Improve Your Landing Page Conversion Rates Overnight

Landing pages aim to encourage the visitors to accomplish a goal on ‘landing’ there. These goals vary with industry. For an eCommerce landing page, it could be an ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now’, while it could be a ‘free trial’ or ‘demo version’ for B2B, SaaS companies.  A landing page’s overall objective is to…

Lead Magnet For Lead Generation

Landing pages aim to encourage the visitors to accomplish a goal on ‘landing’ there. These goals vary with industry. For an eCommerce landing page, it could be an ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy now’, while it could be a ‘free trial’ or ‘demo version’ for B2B, SaaS companies. 

A landing page’s overall objective is to generate qualified leads through the marketing funnel, as shown in the above image. The qualified leads in their nature are more likely to convert fully into sales if nurtured well through the sales funnel.

A Typical Landing Page Funnel
Image Source: [1]

Understanding landing page conversion rates

Not every visitor who hits one of your landing pages will take the action you desire. Some people may bounce immediately, while others might read your content and then choose to leave or go to another page. Landing page conversion rates tell you the proportion of visitors who do convert into qualified leads by accomplishing your landing page goal. 

For instance, a landing page is built for traffic from an email marketing campaign. This campaign intends to convert visitors as effectively as possible. By tracking the landing page conversion rate, you can assess whether it’s true. You can have a quantitative measurement of how well your page aligns with the interests of visitors. Having such an analysis makes it easier to improve your landing page, allowing you to see the impact of conversion rate. 

WordStream found its average landing page conversion rate as 2.35%[1]. The top 25% of landing pages in the same study converted at 5.31%. Some pages converted visitors at an even higher rate. 

There’s usually an opportunity to improve your landing page and its conversion rate. You must realize that landing page conversion rate differs by niche and the type of traffic. The following graph, created by Unbounce[2] displays the first point in no uncertain terms:

Graph Of Landing Page Conversion Rates Across Industries
Image Source: [2]

What is your landing page conversion rate

Landing page conversion rate is a vital as well as a simple metric. You can calculate your conversion rates as long as you have two pieces of information:

  1. The number of people who visited your page
  2. The number of people who converted (took the desired action)

It takes simple math to identify your high-converting landing pages from the duds. Most analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics, can record the metric for you. Once this metric is analyzed thoroughly, you can start optimizing your landing pages to boost your conversion rate.

Believe it or not, finding your conversion rates can be even more straightforward. Most analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics, record the metric for you. Once this metric is analyzed thoroughly, you can start optimizing your landing pages to boost your conversion rate. 

Simple ways to improve landing page conversion rates

You can certainly increase your conversion rates for your landing pages and build high-converting ones by consistently optimizing them. The following are five straightforward things you can do to get the ball rolling.

1. Step back to audit your existing conversion rate

You won’t know the best way to increase conversions until you understand their existing dynamics. There are lots of ways to analyze the different aspects of your landing pages.

The audit of the user behavior on the existing landing page provides you immensely valuable insights. Website heatmaps can provide insights around the elements on your landing page that gets the most and the least attention. With such analyses in place, you can take a call to fix and optimize a troublesome element, such as a CTA button or an image on your landing page.

Take the example below of an eCommerce store that sells baby products. The heatmap revealed that the baby’s face was a distraction to visitors. When the image was replaced with an alternative in the variation, site visitors started paying attention to the copy.

Heatmap Of The Control Variation Of The Ecommerce Store Selling Baby Products

Another study[3] reviewed user behavior with heatmaps. They hypothesized to improve their site navigation that led them to a 14% uptick in the conversion rate.  

2. One call-to-action (CTA)

Your landing pages should have one clear aim, whether that’s to get users to fill in a form field, download an eBook, or take some other action. Everything about the page—visuals, design, or copy—must align unanimously with one call to action. Declutter your landing page as much as you can. You can answer some crucial questions and know where you stand with this handy Landing Page Analyzer.

By placing a clear CTA ‘right there’ where your visitors find it intuitively as they land on your web page, your chances to witness an uptick in the conversions also elevate. As per a study on the landing page for SAP Business objects, adding a clear, attention-grabbing CTA button resulted in a 32% jump[4] in their landing page conversion rates.

Example Of Clear Cta On The Landing Page
Image Source: [3]

Although it’s an old study, its message still holds true. 

3. Introduce new landing page elements and test exhaustively

Optimizing your landing pages is an ongoing process with ample learning at each step. You should continue to tweak and replace elements on your pages, as well as experiment with new ones, such as trying out new headings, copy, CTAs, and more. Seek components that convert visitors better than those you currently use. 

Take US shipping company, Open Mile, for instance. They tried out a new top section of a lead generation landing page. It used a different background color, a more prominent CTA, and altered text. They witnessed a massive hike in conversion rate that jumped from 3.95% to 13.11%. In terms of lead generation, that equates to a 232% improvement.

No Need To Give Sources For Internal Images

It’s uncertain to precisely point out the changes implemented in your experiment, which are responsible for massive conversions. Therefore, it is recommended to keep tinkering with the elements, testing them consistently, and documenting everything during the course of experimentation. 

Employ A/B tests to analyze changes to single elements, and multivariate tests for brand-new pages.

4. Enhance your landing page visuals

A picture’s worth a thousand words. When trying to improve your landing page, visuals may also be worth many more conversions. Compelling images, explainer videos, and even animated GIFs are prime examples. They’re now far more often features of higher converting landing pages. However, while visuals may feel like they are the solution to an improved conversion rate, it’s not always the case.

Hubspot offers a notable example. They ran an A/B test on an opt-in form. One version of the form contained an image, and the other did not. The version without the image saw a 24% increase in sign-ups.

version a vs version b of Hubpost landing pages
Image Source: [4]

As per the earlier example that illustrated heat maps, the positioning of an image can have ramifications on where people focus their attention. This is why it’s absolutely essential to run tests to improve your landing page conversion rates.

Also, if there are videos or animations on your landing page, ensure they don’t slow down your page load time. Longer loading time leads to more friction. An ideal page load time should not exceed 3 seconds.

5. Leverage the power of social proof

Social proof is a powerful concept in the digital world. People are more likely to take action if it gets recommended to them by others. Stories, evidence, and opinions have tremendous power to move people and influence their decisions. Therefore, adding social proof to your landing pages is an excellent way to enhance conversion rates. Such evidence may come in the form of a testimonial, review, or even a simple display of a brand’s popularity on social media. 

Landing Page For Kaya Skin Clinic

Take the example of a landing page for the Kaya Skin Clinic. Adding the social proof of the brand’s Facebook presence boosted the conversion rate by 70%. And that was on top of a 22% increase brought about tweaking the copy above the CTA button.

Conclusion

Optimizing your landing pages is one of the quickest ways to increase your volume of leads and sales. Similar to other CRO practices, you can improve your landing page conversion rates provided you have a sound understanding of your target audience.

Through a regime of careful data-driven analysis that is combined with experimentation, you can certainly witness a hike in your landing page conversion rates.

4 Considerations for Amazon Advertisers as They Prepare for Prime Day 2020

As we all know, this year’s Amazon Prime Day will not be the same as in years past. It’s likely to be in October, three months later than its usual July timeframe. Backend logistics will also be different, with the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting suppl…

As we all know, this year’s Amazon Prime Day will not be the same as in years past. It’s likely to be in October, three months later than its usual July timeframe. Backend logistics will also be different, with the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting supply chains across the globe. Less financial certainty and more time spent at home could continue to shift consumer behavior.

“CRE has been the best investment we’ve ever made,” says Positive Parenting Solutions, an online education company

The following is from our huge library of client successes—why not join them?
Positive Parenting Solutions is an online education company that provides training courses and coaching for parents.
A short video interview with the client window._wq = window._wq || []; _wq.push({ id: “kdyjea5kj9”, options: { plugin: { “postRoll-v1”: { raw: ‘To start growing your profits,
1. Get a free copy of our
our best‑selling book
2. Book your FREE website strategy session
‘ } } } }); When you see the results, “it’s like Christmas morning,” says David McCready, CEO of Positive Parenting Solutions.

The following is from our huge library of client successes—why not join them?

Positive Parenting Solutions is an online education company that provides training courses and coaching for parents.

A short video interview with the client

When you see the results, “it’s like Christmas morning,” says David McCready, CEO of Positive Parenting Solutions.

A transcript of the video

CRE has been the best investment that we’ve ever made. This engagement has probably generated a higher ROI than any other engagement for us. I enjoy looking at the bottom line each month and seeing improvement because of the improvements that CRE helped us with.

When you see that test that’s up 5% … 10% … we had a couple over 15% … it’s like Christmas morning. And, I’ve got to admit, I’m like a little kid when I look at these results each day.

“My name is Dave McCready. I’m the CEO of Positive Parenting Solutions. We sell an online parenting program, and we’ve grown our business from just a few course sales in the United States to now have hundreds of thousands of customers around the world.

“When you advertise online, you’re at the mercy of available inventory. And as inventory gets tighter, costs rise, and you have very little control over affecting the price you pay for their advertising. We have a very healthy business, but we want it to get better. We are always trying to be ahead of the game. And we knew a lot of our landing pages were a little stale. Some of the forms we were using, there are better techniques nowadays. So we needed to look for ways that would take the pressure off of our margins. And you can only raise your price so much.

“When I first started looking for a conversion rate optimization consultant, I did a lot of research, like anybody else would, and everywhere I turned, I kept seeing CRE. Their name kept coming up. I watched their video testimonials, even talked to a past client of theirs, and they couldn’t stop raving about them.

So I retained them, the first time, four years ago. And it turned out to be a great investment. So this time, it was just not a problem for me to engage them because I know the results that I was going to get.

“If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind, so you always have to be moving forward. You can launch new products, new offers, try new prices. But if you’re not testing them—split-testing them against the control—then you’re really running the risk of making a mistake. It’s not just a simple process to throw some things up there. There is a science behind it. And with CRE, they have their own methodology of gathering the research, interpreting the results, and they handled everything. There was really nothing I had to do except for approve copy and approve certain creative. And from there, we put the different test ideas together.

“They also bring with them the experience that they have from working with other companies. And all the consultants get together and talk as a group as well, looking at your business, sharing ideas. So there is a tremendous amount of experience that they’re bringing along with them.

“CRE was probably the best consultant we’ve ever hired. This was a no-brainer—well worth the investment for us.


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