Unlocking the True Power of Testing & Other Takeaways from Brooks Bell’s Interview With Ambition Data

Recently, our Founder and CEO, Brooks Bell, sat down with Allison Hartsoe, host of the Customer Equity Accelerator—a podcast produced by Ambition Data. Listen to the full podcast or read on for a few highlights from their conversation:  On what inspired her to build an experimentation consultancy… Originally, Brooks founded Brooks Bell Inc. in 2003 as […]

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Recently, our Founder and CEO, Brooks Bell, sat down with Allison Hartsoe, host of the Customer Equity Accelerator—a podcast produced by Ambition Data. Listen to the full podcast or read on for a few highlights from their conversation:

On what inspired her to build an experimentation consultancy…

Originally, Brooks founded Brooks Bell Inc. in 2003 as a website development agency. After working with a few local clients, a chance introduction led to her first major experimentation client, AOL.

Today, you might think of AOL as one of the [now-extinct] internet dinosaurs, but even back in the early 2000s, the media giant was facing its fair share of challenges. According to one story by Time Magazine, despite having 34 million members in 2002, AOL was battling slowing subscriber growth, falling ad revenue and exorbitant operational costs. 

So, the company turned to experimentation. “AOL had the right environment to build a testing culture,” said Brooks. “They had a closed technology environment, their own analytics platform, and their data was clean and connected.”

Back then, AOL relied on pop-ups to drive new subscriptions. Working with Brooks, the company issued a challenge: design a new subscription pop-up that would beat the control experience. And so, drawing from her background in design and psychology, she did—and then she did it again, and again, and again.

But that was just the start. As other large companies began to rely more on the digital space to drive their business, Brooks saw an opportunity to help them tap into the power of experimentation.

“We realized that no one was testing!” said Brooks. “No other large companies had the data, culture and processes in place to test. So we set out to help them build the data fidelity and really recreate what we saw at AOL in those early years.”

On the difference between optimization and experimentation…

It’s one of the more common questions we get: “Brooks Bell is an experimentation consultancy. What’s that? What’s the difference between experimentation and optimization?” As Brooks explains it, it all comes down to science.

By definition, experimentation is the application of the scientific method to determine something. And while optimization is one potential outcome of an experiment, true experimentation requires running tests without a prescriptive outcome or application.

To put it simply – you’re testing to learn. And as long as your results are statistically significant, there is always something to be learned from experiments—even those with flat or negative results.

On how to unlock the real power of experimentation…

Today, in the age of Amazon, a customer-centric experience is critical. But for some established companies, this requires a bigger paradigm shift in culture and processes.  

“Customer-centricity requires rethinking metrics, the type of data you collect, how teams are organized, how teams are incentivized, how you communicate and also your core values,” said Brooks.

The true power of experimentation lies in its ability to align your customer needs with your company’s strategic goals and your program’s agenda. Furthermore, you can use experimentation to learn new things about your customers in a scientific way.

“Having statistically-sound customer insights can totally change how you organize your store, how you train your team, and how you structure your website,” said Brooks. “This is where testing programs can really drive change.”

To that end, we recently celebrated the launch of Illuminate, our customer insights software for testing teams and executives. Illuminate not only provides a place to store, share and learn from your experiments, but also a means to develop impactful customer insights.

“We launched Illuminate to provide a repository of great test examples, to learn from each other, and to build a library of great test case studies,” said Brooks.  This is because outside of the testing program, any key learnings from an experiment can get lost within the data. Illuminate solves this by encouraging deeper thinking about customers, their needs, preferences, and behaviors. 

Learn more about Brooks Bell’s experimentation consulting services. 

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5 Ways to Optimize Your Website For Converting Visitors into Customers in 2018

One of the central points of a successful website is optimizing your sales funnel for conversion. Here’s a guide to CRO, including the buying cycle and the optimization of your website for each stage. But what is the buying cycle? In a nutshell, it is a patterned process customers go through when contemplating a purchase. […]

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One of the central points of a successful website is optimizing your sales funnel for conversion. Here’s a guide to CRO, including the buying cycle and the optimization of your website for each stage.

But what is the buying cycle?

In a nutshell, it is a patterned process customers go through when contemplating a purchase.

In most cases, you can break the buying cycle into three stages.

  • Top of the Funnel: The “awareness” stage when a customer is trying to solve problems, get an answer, or meet a need. At this stage, they are usually unaware of their problem, so you need to show it to them through blog posts, eBooks, and other useful resources.
  • Middle of the Funnel: The “evaluation” stage when a customer is doing research on whether your product or service is a good fit for them. At this point, they already know their problem and they are looking for the best solution.
  • Bottom of the Funnel: The “purchase” stage when your visitors convert and become a customer. At this stage, all you need is the right offer.

breakdown of visitor type to your website

Source

Your marketing campaigns must be different based on what stage the customer is in the buying cycle. Your goal is to move the customer to the next phase of the buying cycle, and your final goal is to get customers to the convert stage or to the bottom of the funnel. At this stage, the customer buys the chosen product.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The average conversion rate is only 3% which means 97% of visitors leave the average website without buying. Improving the conversion rate is essential for all websites. If you ignore it and focus only on driving traffic, you’ll quickly spend most of your money with little to show for it in return.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to optimize your website for the conversion stage. Let’s dive into it!

  1. Optimize your checkout page

Making checkout process fast is a really important requirement for ecommerce sites. Many visitors will leave your website at this point if your checkout process is confusing and slow. For example, a checkout process that goes through more than two pages is likely to result in an abandoned cart.

In order to avoid this, it’s a good idea to show a progress bar to your visitors so they know exactly where they’re at in the checkout process.

Another common practice is to minimize distractions as much as possible. A minimal checkout allows the customer to check out instantaneously and increases the chances of a sale. Don’t have twenty fields on your checkout page, ask only what is required and allow the customer to fill the information in broad, convenient fields.

Ultra.com has the perfect example of a minimal checkout:

Optimize your checkout page for increased website conversion rate.

Now let’s see a bad example – don’t try to copy this one:

Optimize form fields to complete the visitor journey.

  1. Don’t force registrations

Have you noticed that nearly every website you visit asks you to “sign up” or “sign in”? But these accounts are usually forgotten in a few weeks and it just frustrates visitors.

Registrations usually involve extra steps in the buying process and it will hurt your store. Some visitor will leave the site because they don’t want to register. Some will struggle with the registration. Allowing guest accounts can simplify the process for new customers. Guest checkout means that visitors can make a purchase from your store without logging in to an account or saving any information in your database.

impact of shipping and delivery charges on checkout process.

If you want to make your checkout process even easier and less frustrating, allow shoppers to use a social media account. According to research, 66% of consumers prefer using social login.

  1. Shipping and handling costs should be clear

Many websites show taxes, shipping charges and other charges at the end of the check-out process. This is a terrible tactic. It will definitely create a feeling of shock for the customer.

That’s why you should always make the total cost visible as soon as possible. It’s even better if you already highlight your shipping costs on your homepage and product pages.

Using dynamic shipping policy is also a good practice. It means that you display real-time shipping rates to your customers based on their address, and include all costs like in the example below.

Optimize the registration step in your checkout process.

  1. Recover abandoning visitors on-site

Just because a customer adds something to the cart, it doesn’t mean he/she’s going to buy it. In fact, the average ecommerce cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. In other words, 7 out of 10 visitors who add an item to their cart will leave the store without buying. But luckily, there is a way to save these visitors and reduce cart abandonment. It’s called onsite retargeting. Onsite retargeting works by monitoring visitors’ behavior, and when their behavior indicates they are ready for some additional message, it will be displayed to them, usually in a popup. I suggest displaying a popup which either prompts them that they are leaving or provides them an incentive to complete the purchase like in the example below.

use pop-ups to decrease cart abandonment rate

  1. Increase the sense of urgency

Visitors often think “I’ll buy it later” while browsing online stores. They leave, and they never come back – even if they really liked the product. Fostering a sense of urgency is a very effective way to overcome procrastination. You have a number of ways to make your visitors feel like there is a “ticking clock”. For example, you can offer free shipping for a limited number of buyers: only the first 50 buyers. Another option is to show when one of your products is out of stock. It can also increase buyer confidence by implying there is demand for the product and showing a certain number of items have already been sold. You can also set up deadlines for discounts or offer free shipping for a limited time, e.g. 15 minutes. The expiration date of the offer creates a sense of urgency in your customers.

Below, you can see an example where they provide $50 off if the visitors finish checkout within 5 minutes.

offer on exit intent pop up to convince visitors to purchase

Summary

Every customer goes through the buying cycle. Customers want different interactions with you depending on where they are in the buying cycle.

In this article, we were focusing on the convert stage. Optimizing your checkout page and allowing guest registrations are important to prevent cart abandonment. Despite all these efforts, some visitor will still try to leave your site, this is when you need to recover them using onsite retargeting and fostering a sense of urgency.

Using the tips we’ve shared, you’ll be able to optimize your website for the convert stage. You should check all points and see how they work for you.

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SiriusDecisions Summit 2018: Bound Event Guide

One of the best events for B2B Leaders is right around the corner…are you ready for SiriusDecisions Summit 2018? It’s a big event, with 3,000+ attendees, 120+ vendors and all the frameworks and case studies you can dream of. I’ve waded my way through the “Sirius” puns, poured over session summaries, sifted through the Sirius […]

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One of the best events for B2B Leaders is right around the corner…are you ready for SiriusDecisions Summit 2018?

It’s a big event, with 3,000+ attendees, 120+ vendors and all the frameworks and case studies you can dream of. I’ve waded my way through the “Sirius” puns, poured over session summaries, sifted through the Sirius blog, and scouted every open-invite afterparty. Here is everything you need to know about SiriusDecisions Summit 2018.

Our team is excited to share this experience with you. Come say hello at booth 412!

Guest Keynotes

Last year I walked into Summit thinking how the heck does Jewel relate to B2B Marketing? As it turns out, Sirius event planners know what they are doing. I scribbled countless notes about lead nurture vs. nature and authenticity in marketing: “underneath, we’re all looking for the same thing: an authentic human experience.” You know that got my personalization juices flowing.

Jewel keynote on creating an authentic human experience

This year’s keynotes are Molly Bloom and Platon. If these speakers are good enough for an Aaron Sorkin feature film and the World Economic Forum in Davos, respectively, then we must be in for a treat. I expect we’ll witness masterful storytelling on the topics of authenticity, leadership, collaboration and ambition.

Analyst Keynotes

SiriusDecisions is known for dropping big ideas in the analyst keynotes. The 2017 big reveal was the Demand Unit Waterfall®, which shaped the conversation for the whole conference. While I don’t expect such a core announcement in 2018, we can expect the keynotes to guide the themes of the conference.

SiriusDecisions Summit Keynote Preview

Visit the Summit website for keynote overviews. The links below are to Sirius blog posts that give a little more insights into the keynote topics.

If you see these analysts out in the wild, go ahead and buy them a coffee or drink. They work really hard on these presentations. I also recommend following these keynote analysts who are active on Twitter throughout the conference: @julieogilvie, @KerrySirius, @gcanare, @Marisa_Kopec.

Sessions

The full 2018 Summit agenda features three praiseworthy changes.

  1. The 2018 Summit is condensed to three days, a half day less than previous years. This is a good move because that last half day was rough for travel arrangements (and fell after the Green Tie Gala) so attendance was low. Somehow, they still managed to squeeze in about the same amount of session time with the condensed schedule in 2018.
  2. There are 12 tracks to choose from in 2018, up from seven in 2017. The new track structure dedicates more focus within sales, product, brand, and customer engagement functions. SiriusDecisions has long advocated for alignment between the different facets of the revenue organization, so this update is feels like they are finally walkin’ the walk.
  3. Did somebody say role-based breakfast?! I’m so excited for the introduction of role-based breakfasts in 2018. Sessions, as educational as they are, are a one-way communication. Summit isn’t short on networking opportunities, but role-based networking time is valuable for getting inspiration and validation.

Personalization Strategy: A Custom Track

We recommend the following sessions to create your own personalization strategy track. Stop by our booth 412 to learn how Bound insights and personalization helps your demand, ABM, portfolio and content strategies.

Wednesday

  • ABM Infrastructure: A Capabilities-Driven View of the Stack That Drives Growth
  • Creating Demand Maps to Power Account-Centric Planning

Thursday

  • Activating Persona and Buyer Insights for Demand Creation or SiriusLab: Implementing Nurture Programs in a Demand Unit World
  • The State of B-to-B Content: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
  • B-to-B Demand Creation: By the Numbers

Parties

What would SiriusDecisions be without parties? It is held in Las Vegas after all.

Quick overview of the SiriusDecisions-hosted parties: Fall Out Boy is headlining the Green Tie Gala. The Titanium Celebration is now earlier and in the marketplace, packing in all the networking while freeing up the evening for unsponsored events and dinners. Dress code tends to range from the business casual to business chic (there is the occasional green suit for the gala…costumes optional).

…and moving on to more pressing matters: RSVPs for outside, not-Sirius-sponsored parties hosted by a range of vendors. I’ll just cut to the chase:

 Date  Time  Event Name  Location  Registration URL
 May 7  5:30 PM  ABMargs  Border Grill  bit.ly/2HqBbvW
 May 9  7:00 PM  ABM Royale  Skyfall Lounge  bit.ly/2uOsJk1
 May 9  7:00 PM  Marketing Mingle  Foundation Room  ora.cl/T5FX0

 

Want to hang with Bound?

Bags packed? Request a meeting or visit us at booth 412 (memorized it yet?). Need a ticket? Register with code SPONBOUND for $400 off. Can’t make it? Bummer. You can follow along on Twitter using @bound_360, @Stephanie_Bound, and #SDSummit. When the FOMO resides, go ahead and request a personalization strategy consultation.

Final Notes

Download the event app. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a jacket (conference centers are cold). See you in Las Vegas!

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VWO Partners With HubSpot To Create An 8-Week CRO Planner

It’s 2018, and CRO isn’t just a buzzword anymore! Over the past decade, savvy businesses have been growing by not only investing in traffic acquisition strategies, but also ensuring that visitors to their website are converting into customers. At VWO, we understand how daunting and time-consuming CRO can seem, so we joined hands with HubSpot […]

The post VWO Partners With HubSpot To Create An 8-Week CRO Planner appeared first on Blog.

It’s 2018, and CRO isn’t just a buzzword anymore! Over the past decade, savvy businesses have been growing by not only investing in traffic acquisition strategies, but also ensuring that visitors to their website are converting into customers.

At VWO, we understand how daunting and time-consuming CRO can seem, so we joined hands with HubSpot to bring you a DIY guide, which will help you learn and implement process-oriented CRO for your business.

DIY Guide to increase website conversions

In our experience of working with 5,000+ customers across the globe, we’ve seen that the journey from start to first few home runs in optimizing conversions usually takes 8 weeks.

Therefore, we’ve designed this guide to take you on a week-by-week journey on how you can lift your conversion rates in a methodical, sustainable manner. Here’s what the 8-week of conversion optimization journey will cover:

  • Understanding the goals and principles of CRO
  • Conducting a conversion rate audit for your website
  • Identifying areas of improvement in your conversion funnel
  • Conducting qualitative research into your visitor behavior
  • Constructing educated hypotheses and prioritizing these for testing
  • Choosing the right experiment and setting up your testing platform
  • Analyzing and learning from your A/B test results
  • Ensuring continuous growth through CRO

…and more!
Guide from VWO and HubSpot on increasing website conversions

After you’ve followed this guide, you’ll be equipped with the know-hows to increase conversion rates time and again, instead of doing it just once.

What’s more, even if your company is young or on a shoestring budget, you would be able to effectively practice conversion optimization in-house, all by yourself.

Grab your copy of The Complete DIY Guide To Improving Conversions in 60 Days here.

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