Sign-Up Forms: 14 Ways to Increase Conversions

Growing your mailing list and generating leads should be a focus of your marketing. If HubSpot didn’t have 215,000 blog subscribers, they wouldn’t have a business. Too many businesses don’t give sign-up forms enough attention. They just throw something together—then complain that online lead generation “doesn’t work.” This post shows you 14 keys to building […]

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Growing your mailing list and generating leads should be a focus of your marketing. If HubSpot didn’t have 215,000 blog subscribers, they wouldn’t have a business.

Too many businesses don’t give sign-up forms enough attention. They just throw something together—then complain that online lead generation “doesn’t work.”

This post shows you 14 keys to building sign-up forms that convert.

  1. Less is more.
  2. Sell the email signup.
  3. Show social proof.
  4. Tell them what happens next.
  5. Form design matters.
  6. Single column, please.
  7. Try a Mad Libs–style form.
  8. Communicate errors early.
  9. Don’t be picky.
  10. Don’t ask for the password twice.
  11. Know when (and how) to use drop-down lists, radio buttons, and auto-complete fields.
  12. Submit button width = field width.
  13. Avoid “Clear fields” buttons.
  14. Don’t use CAPTCHAs.

1. Less is more.

Every field you ask them to fill increases friction. The best thing you can do to improve conversions is (usually) to get rid of as many fields as possible. In most cases, you don’t need to ask for anything but the email address.

In one study, an 11-field version of a contact form was replaced with a 4-field version, resulting in a 160% increase in the number of forms submitted and a 120% increase in conversion rate. The quality of submissions stayed the same.

In another test, a five-field form outperformed a nine-field form by 34%. Again, data quality wasn’t an issue. (People lie on long forms, anyway.)

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind after seeing this type of form?

form with lots of form fields.

If you’re like me, you physically feel the brain damage happening. Suffix? Really?!

The example above is a lead-generation form for a web-design company. What they should ask for is name, email/phone, and maybe the website URL. Now, a salesperson can get in touch with the prospect and figure out all the other questions over the phone or via follow-up emails. The goal is to get the lead!

Start by getting rid of optional fields.

An eye-tracking study showed that people might not look at the “required fields” note on forms, and, therefore, think that they have to fill every field.

Think about it this way: Every additional fields loses a number of prospects. Is the additional information you gain from the field worth losing those people? Do you lose anything if you don’t get all the data right away?

The number of fields you can get away with also depends on the perceived reputation of the company. Well-known, trusted brands can include more fields in their sign-up forms, but even they can’t go overboard.

I’ve heard that The New York Times subscription form was 18 pages long(!) when they launched their online presence. Times have changed (pun not intended).

Do you really need it?

Do you really need people’s phone, fax, or address? If you aren’t gonna ship them anything, people won’t be motivated to share it. Ask only for what’s relevant. Expedia removed the “Company” field from their booking form and saw an $12 million annual increase in profit.

What will you do with their name? If it’s to mention their name in mass e-mails (“Hello [name]”!), forget about it. True personalization happens through personalized content. Everybody knows that the name field is filled in by an email software robot; nobody thinks it’s a personal email to them.

It used to work really well a few years ago, but now the effectiveness is in fast decline.

The best sign-up form is short.

Here’s an example from Barack Obama’s former campaign website:

example of short sign-up form.

Here’s another one:

second example of a short sign-up form.

2. Sell the email signup.

Getting people to give you their email (sign up to your list) is a transaction. You want them to give you their email address (and maybe other data); they want something in return. Generally speaking, you should ask for as little as possible on the sign-up form—and give the user as much as possible in return.

Motivated users are extremely likely to fill out a form of reasonable length. But are people motivated enough to care?

Here’s an example of the worst kind of form:

  • No reason given to join;
  • Ridiculous amount of fields.
example of a long form that offers no user motivation.

Also bad:

example of form that doesn't offer any reason to sign up.

While it’s short, it doesn’t provide any reasons for signing up.

Creating the motivation is up to you. Learn to create great microcopy. But don’t just ask for the sign-up. Sell it.

Here’s a better form. It’s short, there’s a clear value proposition, and the privacy policy is mentioned:

Or, take this example:

example of a form that offers lots of motivation.

This one converts at 35%, which is pretty high. It works well because most traffic to the page comes via Google search, and the search terms match the offer on the form. When your offer matches user motivation, you get high conversions.

Test your lead magnet.

Test your lead magnet—what you offer in return for their email. The offer itself usually makes the biggest difference in your conversion rate. Everything else is just supporting it.

3. Show social proof.

Nobody wants to be the only idiot filling your stupid sign-up form. Show them tons of people have done it.

Basecamp:

trial form that shows many others already use the product.

HubSpot:

example of sign-up form that offers social proof.

Social proof is very effective.

4. Tell them what happens next.

People like to be in control. Submitting a form without knowing exactly what’s going to happen creates uncertainty. Uncertainty causes friction.

The worst thing your submit button can say is “Submit.” The best way to do it is to make the submit button say what’s going to happen.

Pipedrive:

button on a form that explains what happens after you click it.

SEMrush:

button that shows what happens after you click.

Copytesting:

form button that explains what happens when you click.

5. Form design matters.

People trust beautiful design. This guy doubled his opt-ins with better graphics, showing the virtual cover of his ebook. It’s still a poor design, but progress is visible:

example of design improvement to sign-up form that increased conversions.

Hotjar uses a simple, streamlined form page to encourage signups:

clean, well-designed form page.

6. Single column, please

Our own research showed that single column forms take less time to complete. That was true even when though the single-column for was still pretty long:

7. Try a Mad Libs–style form.

Mad Libs is a phrasal template word game in which one player prompts another for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story, usually with funny results.

Vast.com did A/B testing comparing a traditional form design with a narrative “Mad Libs” format. The Mad Libs–style forms increased conversion across the board by 25-40%.

8. Communicate errors clearly.

If users fail to fill in a mandatory field or do something wrong, be very clear about it. Meetup does this well:

sign-up form with good error messages.

If a user fills the form incorrectly and you need to show an error message, make sure the fields are populated with the data they entered. If they have to start from scratch, it causes frustration, and they might not do it.

9. Don’t be picky.

There’s nothing more annoying than a form that requires information in a specific format.

For example, if you’re asking for a date, accept the year as 19 and 2019. Let them use a slash (/) or dot (.) between numbers. When you ask for a phone number, don’t require spaces, brackets, or anything else—let the user enter their phone number as they please.

If you need the data in a specific format, make it clear. This GEICO form avoids the potential slash-vs-dash issue and clearly specifics the MM/DD/YYYY format:

Better yet, convert form data with a script. You can also design the interface to removal all choice. In the case of dates, for example, you can have them choose it from a calendar.

10. Don’t ask for the password twice

The more fields you ask people to fill in, the fewer people will fill them. Having two fields for passwords is stupid.

Most people do it (since “everybody is doing it”) but for no good reason. The idea is that entering it twice makes sure that there’s no typo. Well, a better way to do that is to give the option to see what they typed.

Vimeo doesn’t do it:

example of sign-up form in which there's no option to view the password as you type.

A “check your password” checkbox to show the password instead of a string of asterisks is a much better way to verify whether there are any typos:

example of form in which you can tick a checkbox to show your password.

11. Drop-down lists, radio buttons and auto-complete fields

You’ve probably seen those huge drop down lists for selecting categories, countries, or cities. If there are tons of choices, a drop-down list isn’t convenient.

This is bad:

long drop-down list in form.

Instead, use auto-fill fields, such as this one for country selection (give it a try, it works):

Here’s a great article on redesigning the country selector.  Get the country selector script here.

Use smart defaults where appropriate. For example, if most of your users come from the UK, it might be a good idea to default the country to “UK.”

If there’s anywhere between 7 and 15 options, a drop-down list is usually a really good fit. If there are only a few choices (2–6), go for the radio button:

Coffee Tea

12. Submit button width = field width

The call to action is the most important part of your form. A small button has weak affordance and can make users feel uncertain about using it. Make it as wide as the input fields (and join our email list while you’re at it):

Join our private newsletter and get the instant-impact guide for boosting your conversion rates.


13. Avoid clear fields button

Nobody who fills in your form wants to clear the fields. If they don’t want to fill it in, they can just leave.

But if they fill the form and accidentally clear the fields, there’s a good chance they won’t start over.

example of "clear" button on a form.

14. Don’t use captchas on forms

CAPTCHAs are those anti-spam things:

example of a captcha on a form.

One study done over six months found that forms with CAPTCHAs could lose out on 3.2% of all conversions. Another study found that up to 30% of CAPTCHAs could be failed by real people because they were too hard to figure out.

Animoto used to have CAPTCHAs on their sign-up forms. When they removed them, they boosted their conversion rate from 48% to 64%. That’s an uplift of 33.3%!

So instead, what do you do?

If it’s an email list sign-up form, just use double opt-in.

If it’s a quote request or another type of form, you can use the “Honeypot” CAPTCHA technique. It uses CSS to hide a form field that’s supposed to be left blank. Every time the form is submitted, you check the field and see if it’s blank. If not, mark it as spam (but don’t delete it).

If you’re still keen on using captchas, this is the best captcha in the world.

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5 Advanced Email A/B Testing Best Practices

Learn how you can maximize the performance of your email marketing campaigns by adopting these 5 top A/B Testing best practices.

The post 5 Advanced Email A/B Testing Best Practices appeared first on Blog.

We know email marketing is effective. According to Copyblogger, email marketing yields an average ROI of 4,300% and is nearly 40X more effective at new customer acquisition than Facebook or Twitter. With 85% of American adults checking their email at least once per day it’s a channel that can’t be ignored.

That said, you aren’t going to see big numbers like that if you aren’t actively testing the performance of your email campaigns. A/B testing is a great tool to help improve your email marketing performance – but only if you know what you’re doing.

Email A/B Testing Basics

A/B testing, as you may already know, involves presenting users with two options in order to see which alternative performs better. In the case of email A/B testing, that might mean sending half of your list one version of an email and the other half a different version, while you watch for changes in your open rate, click-through rate or other KPI.

The best practices described below represent the foundation of an effective A/B testing program. If you’re already familiar with the general structure of A/B testing campaigns, feel free to skip to the next section. Otherwise, make sure you’ve mastered these basics before increasing the complexity of your program.

  • Set a control version against which tests can be run. Don’t just pitch two random emails against each other, then start fresh with two new emails. Always have a control version (often, the winner of previous tests) so that you’re working off of baseline performance values.
  • Test a single variable at one time. If you change five variables in each email version you send out, you won’t know which of your changes actually contributed to any performance improvements you see.
  • Make sure you’ve hit statistical significance before calling out a winner. Statistical significance helps you to determine how likely it is that any lift you’re seeing is the result of changes you’ve made, rather than a random chance. Use a calculator to make sure your results are legit.

Your email marketing solution should offer you A/B testing functionality, but even if it doesn’t, you can create your own testing protocols by manually segmenting lists and creating separate campaigns for each.

Advanced Email A/B Testing

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’re ready to expand on your campaign’s fundamental elements. Review the following best practices for opportunities to improve your email A/B testing campaigns.

Tip #1: Start with a hypothesis and a desired outcome

If you make changes to an email and find that one variation performs better than another, that’s a start. But if you don’t know what you’re testing for, you can’t know if you have a winner.

Instead, start every campaign by defining what you hope to improve and why you think the changes you’re testing will contribute positively to your desired outcome.

Tip #2: Test high-impact elements

Sure, you might be able to prove that a blue button in your email newsletter gets more clicks than a red one. But does that really matter to your business’s overall performance?

If you’re going through the trouble of setting up an A/B test for your email message, make sure that you’re testing elements – such as the wording of your CTA or the specific offer you make – that have the potential to provide a significant uplift to your business.

Tip #3: Test more than your subject line and body copy

Although these elements represent natural starting points, don’t stop there. Once you feel you’ve gone as far as you can with tests on your subject lines and body copy variations, expand your testing program to encompass the timing of your email automation flows, the actions you use as triggers, or the way you segment your recipients.

Tip #4: Test broadcast, segmented, automated and transactional messages

According to Litmus’ 2018 State of Email Survey, “Nearly 39% of brands never or rarely A/B test their broadcast and segmented emails. More than 65% of brands never or rarely A/B test their automated emails, and 76% never or rarely A/B test their transactional emails.”

That’s a big deal – and it’s a huge amount of money left on the table. Assuming you’ve mastered the basics of testing your broadcast and segmented messages, make sure you’re extending both the practice of A/B testing and of noting any learnings you’ve discovered, to the other types of emails you send.

Tip #5: Consider the potential impact of timing on email performance

Email Monks contributor Kevin George makes an important point: “Email marketing metrics are subjected to volatility based on time period. Comparing your results of the post-holiday slump i.e. January with the results of the pre-holiday rush won’t give you substantial result.”

No matter how excited you are to kick off a new email A/B testing program, be cautious if that means starting around a period of irregular seasonal or industry-specific activity. Reaching incorrect conclusions from abnormal spikes of activity won’t do your future testing any good.

Getting Started with Email A/B Testing

You may already be carrying out A/B tests on your website. If so, it should be an easy transition to start building out testing workflows on your email campaigns.

If you’re totally new to A/B testing, don’t let the more advanced tips above scare you off. Email A/B testing is a necessary part of maximizing the performance of your email marketing campaigns. Get started today, and remember that you can always increase the complexity and sophistication of your programs as you start seeing results.

What other advanced email A/B testing tips would you add to this list? Leave a note below with your suggestions.

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Meet Rover: The chatbot that scaled CRO through automation

As the scope of CRO projects increases, so does the difficulty of management and the tediousness of the manual efforts required. To overcome these pain points, digital marketing agency Oogst – a Merkle company collaborated with HEMA, a leading Dutch retail chain and created a chatbot by bringing together the power of the VWO REST API and Slack, to scale CRO efforts at HEMA.

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Continuous experimentation and testing increases conversions at high growth and data-driven organizations. Scaling a conversion rate optimization (CRO) program requires not only building a long-term testing roadmap but also building a culture of experimentation involving multiple teams and stakeholders across the company. As the scope of CRO projects increases, so does the difficulty of management and the tediousness of the manual efforts required. To overcome these pain points,  digital marketing agency Oogst – a Merkle company collaborated with HEMA, a leading Dutch retail chain and created a chatbot  by bringing together the power of the VWO REST API and Slack, to scale CRO efforts at HEMA.

This blog post shall delve deeper into why and how we leveraged the power of VWO API and Slack to scale our CRO program and help in building a culture of experimentation.

The challenges of scaling CRO

For Oogst and HEMA, CRO involved  constant juggling of interests between its CRO specialists, analysts, clients, website developers and other relevant stakeholders. Each decision and action affects many people, which is why the process needs to go as smoothly as possible.

For example, whenever a test is activated or stopped, many  people need to be informed at the very moment it happens without leaving  anyone out. When you scale CRO program at your organization, informing everybody manually becomes a hassle, especially with new tests being turned on and off frequently. This process needed to be automated to bring efficiency and agility to the CRO initiatives.

The Birth of Rover

We discovered that the VWO REST API makes it easy to monitor tests for changes in status, and that we can use this information to make announcements easily. As a result of these discoveries, the idea for a chatbot was born. By linking the VWO API, Slack webhooks and a local database through Python, we were able to notify the right people about test status changes the moment they occurred. We named him Rover: he would be a dog/bot hybrid that barks at us when it needs our attention. Rover also sends notifications to relevant parties about when to check the preliminary results of a test. A huge burden was lifted from our shoulders, leaving us with more time to think about the next set of strategic experiments.

Growing the bot

As these simple adjustments to our progress proved to be quite helpful to us and HEMA, we began exploring the VWO API to see what else we could do. We came up with a number of areas where the bot could help us with:

Quality control

We run a high number of tests and it is of utmost importance to us and HEMA that everything goes according to plan at all times. We have set up quality control checks internally to limit the risks. There are processes we follow before publishing a test to make sure it’s safe to go live and we double check right after publication in case anything was missed.

For example, some of the things we check for on the VWO side include if the traffic has been set to 100%, if GTM integration has been enabled, and whether the campaign’s name follows our naming conventions. Luckily, the VWO API made it possible for us to automate the checking of settings like this, so that we can be more certain a test is ready to be published, while taking us much less effort.

Monitoring live A/B tests

After publishing any test, we monitor events in Google Analytics to make sure we didn’t miss anything and the test is, in fact, running correctly. Although it allows us to maintain the level of quality we desire, this process is also very time consuming, tedious and prone to human error, much like the announcements.

To deal with this, we added the Google Analytics API into the mix to get Rover to check for the amount of VWO events for a particular test and notify us about its findings. The absence of VWO events likely meant the test wasn’t running (correctly), which is something we always had to check manually before.

Conversational A/B test management

However, at this point, Rover would only transmit messages, he could not process received messages. If we wanted a user to intuitively tell Rover to check a test, we’d have to include an element of interactivity.

That’s why we hooked up our bot to artificial intelligence using IBM Watson, which allows it to naturally process language. With this integration in place, a user is able to ask “Rover, is VWO test 244 ready to go live?” and it will perform the checks. Then, the user can simply publish the test by saying “Rover, publish 244”.

Right now, Rover has truly become part of the team, both of Oogst and HEMA. His contribution to the speed and quality of our process is well recognized. We included even more functionalities such as the ability to pause the manual activation tags we built in Google Tag Manager to trigger VWO tests, thereby linking VWO and GTM together.

But we’re not finished yet!

Scoring points: Building a CRO culture through gamification

Although the power and effectiveness of CRO and A/B testing is well established, building support for it throughout the organization still remains a difficulty.

To combat this, we found yet another role for Rover: quizmaster!

First, we pull basic information about the test and its variants from VWO. We then use this data to extract more detailed information about the experiment from our project management board. This includes background information, hypotheses, descriptions of the control and variants as well as screenshots.

From this knowledge, we dynamically generate polls on Slack where users vote on the landing page variants they think will outperform the rest. These users, generally members of the client organization, then battle each other in a CRO tournament where it is determined who knows most about the website visitor.

The introduction of a gamification element has made CRO more exciting to those not generally involved in it, it has made our efforts more visible throughout the organization and also highlights the successes we have. Furthermore, it builds team spirit and generates more ideas for future testing. All because of our data-driven quizmaster: Rover!

To sum up:

Here’s a quick summary of the benefits we have already achieved:

·         Notify stakeholders of starting/stopping of tests;

·         Notify stakeholders to check preliminary results;

·         Check Google Analytics for presence of VWO events;

·         Perform quality control checks;

·         Pause Manual Activation tags in GTM;

·         Start/stop tests through chat;

·        Perform the role of quizmaster, allowing stakeholders to vote on which variant they expect to outperform the others.

More to come!

Future plans

We’re in touch with VWO to expand the abilities of the REST API even further to make Rover more powerful. This collaboration is a very exciting one to us. The API has already proven to be invaluable in our current operations which are now running more smoothly than ever before.

This bot is the collaborative effort of Gino Renardus, Martijn Heerema and Thom van Engelenburg (consultants at Oogst, a Merkle company) and Floor Hickmann and Raun Sips (UX at HEMA).

About Oogst

Oogst, A Merkle Company, is the leading digital marketing, analytics and optimization agency in the Netherlands. Based in Amsterdam, its team of over 70 experts provide leading brands with digital marketing services aimed at utilizing customer data in the best possible way to achieve the highest returns.

The company has partnered with VWO since 2012 to test and optimize some of  the most popular websites of the country for their clients. Their extensive knowledge of, and experience with the VWO platform has led to these operations continually growing in size. Moreover, this has also led to increased stakeholder involvement and more intensive test management. In order to better deal with this increased scope, the Oogst team was recently joined by a new member: a CRO Chatbot that operates through the VWO Application Programming Interface (API). This chatbot is able to assist in many of the activities surrounding the CRO process.
Do you want to meet Rover or get to know more? Get in touch with Oogst’s Data, Tech and Optimization team! Reach out via gino@oogstonline.nl.

About HEMA

Since 1926, HEMA has made the everyday life of its customers easier and more fun through products that positively stand out: due to their quality, design and price. HEMA offers over 30,000 of its own products and services, has over 750 stores in nine countries and 19,000 employees. As consumers move more towards online, HEMA recognizes the importance of developing a digital strategy as progressive as the brand is.


HEMA’s webshop is widely recognized to be one of the best of The Netherlands, with a top position in the Twinkle 100 and by frequently receiving awards such as Best Department Store Webshop. HEMA and Oogst collaborate on CRO to ensure its Dutch and international webshops remain among the best.


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Time to Get Personal

As a destination marketer, one of your main challenges is turning your website visitors into destination visitors. Before a visitor comes to your destination they compare you their other options. During this research phase, you tailor your ads to match their interests, you utilize search engine marketing tools to make sure your advertising and social… Read More

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As a destination marketer, one of your main challenges is turning your website visitors into destination visitors. Before a visitor comes to your destination they compare you their other options. During this research phase, you tailor your ads to match their interests, you utilize search engine marketing tools to make sure your advertising and social content is targeted to their search results, and you hope these visitors click through to your site to consume and engage with the top content you’ve created.

But what are the best practices in turning these online visitors into destination visitors?

Leading destination marketers from Explore Branson, Elkhart County, Indiana, and Visit Williamsburg believe website personalization is a cost effective way to turn their website visitors into destination visitors. In Time to Get Personal, these three destinations highlight some of the ways Bound’s personalization solution has helped them stand out amongst their peers and convert their online visitors into destination visitors. Some of their results include the following:

  • Explore Branson has seen a 560% increase in e-newsletter sign-ups by using a personalized pop-up targeted to different website audiences.
  • Elkhart County, Indiana used Bound’s A/B testing capabilities to increase travel guide conversions by 253%.
  • Visit Williamsburg used Bound to maximize the value of their paid media campaigns. ince targeting paid media visitors to the website with personalized landing pages, they have seen a 41% increase in time on site.

Read more in this report to learn how these destinations got these results and to see if now is the right time for you to explore personalization for your destination’s website.

Related Posts

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A/B Testing with a Small Sample Size

The question “How to test if my website has a small number of users” comes up frequently when I chat to people about statistics in A/B testing, online and offline alike. There are different opinions on the topic ranging from altering the si…

The question “How to test if my website has a small number of users” comes up frequently when I chat to people about statistics in A/B testing, online and offline alike. There are different opinions on the topic ranging from altering the significance threshold, statistical power or the minimum effect of interest all the way […] Read More...

Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns

When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization. Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence […]

The post Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns appeared first on Brooks Bell.

When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization.

Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence and machine learning solve all our problems. All you have to do is buy a new piece of software, turn it on, and…BOOM: 1:1 personalization.

As a data scientist, I’ll let you in on a little secret: that software only provides the technological capability for personalization. Even further, the algorithms found within these tools simply assign a probability to each potential experience that maximizes the desired outcome, given the data they have access to. Suffice to say, they’re not as intelligent as you are led to believe.

If you caught our first post in this series, you already know that we define personalization a bit more broadly, as any differentiated experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that user. This means personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one.

And while there are many tools that enable you to do personalization from a technical standpoint, they don’t solve for one of the main sources of anxiety around personalization: strategy

Most personalization campaigns fail because of a lack of a strategy that defines who, where and how to personalize. So I’ve put together a free downloadable guide to help you do just that. This seven-page guide is packed full of guidelines, templates and best practices to strategize and launch a successful personalization campaign, including:

  • Major considerations and things to keep in mind when developing your personalization strategy.
  • More than 30 data-driven questions about your customers to identify campaign opportunities.
  • A template for organizing and planning your personalization campaigns.
  • Guidelines for determining whether to deliver your campaigns via rule-based targeting or algorithmic targeting.

Free Download: Plan & Launch Profitable Personalization Campaigns.

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Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year. In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in […]

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It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year.

In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in its infancy. But despite all the changes we’ve experienced since then, one thing remains true: it is the opportunity to connect with so many interesting people that are solving big problems for their business that makes our work worthwhile. Thanks for walking with us.

A look back at some of our big moments from 2018

Winning like Winona

In January, our Founder & CEO, Brooks Bell, was recognized as one of 25 women who rocked digital marketing in 2017. Later in the year, she was also announced as a Southeastern Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

We also celebrated 2017’s record-breaking growth, were recognized as Optimizely’s North American Partner of the Year, and we garnered our local business journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Getting Lit with Illuminate

Fun fact: We originally built Illuminate to help us better manage and iterate upon our clients’ tests. Over time, we got so much great feedback, that we decided to make it available to everyone this year.

Now, with a successful beta launch under our belt and even more new features being added to the software, we’re excited to see where this new endeavor takes us in 2019.

F is for Friends, Fun and…Fear?

In October, things got a little spooky around the office and it had everything to do with Scott, our Director of Sales, who decided to channel his inner Ellen Degeneres for the day (much to our colleagues’ horror). Watch the video if you dare.

Making Bacon for our Clients

Back in 2014, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to achieve $1 billion in projected revenue for our clients. By the end of 2017, we’d reached $500 million. And this past December, we hit $1 billion. (cue ::gong::)

But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve set some aggressive goals for 2019, with a focus on personalization, and we’re pumped to get to work.

Brooks Bell takes the Bay Area 

In September, we officially opened the doors to our San Fransisco office. This decision came after years of working with clients on the West Coast and our desire to work even more closely with them. And with the Bay Area’s rich history of innovation, we can’t think of a better place to help more companies push their boundaries through experimentation.

Still Clickin’ 

Last May, we hosted our annual Click Summit conference. We might be biased but this remains one of our favorite events as it’s filled with meaningful connections and seriously impactful takeaways. 2019 marks our 10th Click Summit, and we’ve got big plans. Request your invite today.

2018 on the blog

 


The post Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018 appeared first on Brooks Bell.

New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More

Since we launched Illuminate back in May, our team has been working around the clock to develop even more features to help optimization teams better organize experiments, report performance and maximize impact. Today, we’re excited to share a few of these with you. What’s new in Illuminate? Show impact and determine priority Use our new Impact […]

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Since we launched Illuminate back in May, our team has been working around the clock to develop even more features to help optimization teams better organize experiments, report performance and maximize impact. Today, we’re excited to share a few of these with you.

What’s new in Illuminate?

Show impact and determine priority

Use our new Impact Analysis to show the overall impact of your tests by page type and identify where you should be focusing your testing efforts.

Sort and filter by what matters most

Filter your tests by 15 attributes including target audience, page type, start and end date, KPIs, revenue impact and more. Not seeing what you need? Add your own using our new custom tagging feature.

Keep sight of the bigger picture

Our new dashboard view enables you to view your program’s overall performance or view performance by a specific team or line of business.

+ a new tiled layout

If you love a good masonry layout (á la Pinterest), then you’re going to love our updated experiment view. Easily switch between a basic list of your experiments or a super slick-looking tiled layout.

Many of these features were developed in response to feedback from our beta users, bringing more of Brooks Bell’s advanced experimentation methodologies directly into the software.

“With Illuminate, you’re not just getting another test repository,” said Suzi Tripp, Senior Director of Innovative Solutions at Brooks Bell. “You’re getting 15 years of experimentation expertise and proven frameworks to help you do more, and do it better.”

Interested in learning more about illuminate? Learn more on our website or schedule a demo using the form below.

The post New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company

The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences. […]

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.

The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences.

For years, this vision has been a pipedream among marketers, product managers and customer experience professionals. Many clients come to us wanting to “do personalization” but face significant challenges in doing so.

Part of this is due to the fact that “personalization” is so ill-defined.

At Brooks Bell, we define personalization as any experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that person. By that definition, personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-few, one-to-many, or one-to-one. In the digital environment, product recommendations, customized search results and even segmented experiences are all considered examples of personalization.

But while many companies are already implementing these experiences, there’s still an overwhelming sense that many brands have yet to arrive in terms of personalization.


Got a bunch of burning questions about personalization? Submit them using the form below.

We’ll use this information to make sure we cover these topics in our upcoming posts.


A 2018 study of 300 marketers by Evergage and Researchscape International found that 98% of respondents believe personalization helps advance customer relationships, but only 12% were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the level of personalization in their marketing efforts.

This is because (not unlike experimentation) personalization is a business strategy that should evolve in order to deliver long-term value. And while it’s true that many brands already have the ability to do personalization, they’ve also found that elevating and scaling a personalization program is difficult, costly and, frankly, can feel pretty darn impossible.

So, how to do this? In addition to the fundamentals for a standard optimization program, there are three critical working components that need to be established for personalization:

  • Technology: you need top-notch tools to centralize user profiles and deliver personalized experiences;
  • Data: personalization requires a clean, unified view of relevant customer attributes, and
  • Strategy: you need research and planning to purposefully and effectively launch, scale and benefit from personalization.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to break down personalization further by each of these components. We’ll outline the best practices, advice, strategies and tips to go from scrappy to smart when it comes to introducing and scaling personalization at your organization.

Struggling to execute a scalable personalization strategy? We can help. Contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Online glossary of A/B testing terms and abbreviations

We are happy to present a brand new addition to our website: a comprehensive A/B testing glossary containing terms and abbreviations used testing as part of conversion rate optimization (CRO).  Definitions start from very basic things such as “A/…

We are happy to present a brand new addition to our website: a comprehensive A/B testing glossary containing terms and abbreviations used testing as part of conversion rate optimization (CRO).  Definitions start from very basic things such as “A/B test“, “mean“, “conversion rate” and “revenue per user“, go through “hypothesis“, “null hypothesis“, “standard deviation“, “p-value” […] Read More...