Marketing Q&A With WiderFunnel’s Chris Goward #CRO #LPO

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describe the imageThis is a guest Q&A with Chris Goward of WiderFunnel. Chris has optimized conversion rates for companies like eBay, SAP, Google and Outrigger Hotels.

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First of all, tell us a little bit about WiderFunnel.

WiderFunnel lifts conversion rates for high traffic companies with A/B split testing. All we do is conversion optimization, and we do everything: from strategy, website analysis, and hypothesis-creation to design, copy and html development. We’re the outsourced CRO arm, working in partnership with successful marketers to continuously improve their results with ideas from other industries.

Conversion optimization is 100% of what we’ve been doing since 2007.

What types of businesses do you work with?

WiderFunnel’s clients are in all types of businesses; from catalog retail ecommerce to B2B lead gen to affiliate marketers and subscription companies. What they all have in common is a need to get more revenue from the traffic they’re already attracting.

We can’t work with everyone, though. Because we test everything we recommend with statistical confidence, we can only work with high traffic websites right now. That allows us to focus our time on places where we learn the most and deliver the most value to our clients.

Some of our clients include eBay Magento, BuildDirect, Electronic Arts, Iron Mountain, Google, Salesforce, Nokia, and SAP as well as less well known companies that fly under the radar with tons of traffic.

How involved should agencies be in the conversion process for their clients?

The benefit of using a conversion rate optimization agency is the wealth of new ideas and strategies they have. Seeing the results of thousands of tests and systematically building learning from each one

Often, the best ideas for improving conversion rates come from other industries with entirely different target markets, which most people will never be exposed to.

Every company gets their best results by focusing on innovating within their industry to optimize their products, service and business model while relying on experts in CRO to execute their optimization system. Each can focus on their core competency and get much better test results.

But, don’t assume that any agency is a CRO specialist. I’ve seen many SEM and digital agencies try to get into AB testing and fail miserably while wasting their clients’ budgets. CRO is a specialized field that requires a unique skillet combination. Plus, the biggest differentiator with optimization strategists is how many tests they’re exposed to. They just can’t get enough in agencies where CRO isn’t the primary focus.

What are the biggest mistakes marketers make on landing pages?

The single biggest mistake people make is following the advice of those who don’t do a lot of testing. There are plenty of talented designers, UX experts, marketing consultants and tool vendors who have gained lots of their own web visitors blogging about ideas that simply don’t work.

For example, there are still lots of marketers using the design-heavy sales page style–you know the ones I mean with the swoopy arrows pointing at their forms and the stock photo hero images. But, they haven’t tested them. They’ve just copied the designs from so-called experts without realizing that they’re turning away their prospects in droves. In many industries, people are super-sensitized to sales-y marketing material and disappear fast.

There are so many so-called “best practices” that have emerged without testing. These are our favourite tests to run at WiderFunnel: tests that challenge the accepted norms.

How important are phone calls in the conversion process?

Phone calls can be some of the highest value prospects for many industries. For one of WiderFunnel’s clients, their phone call average order value is 50% higher than their web sales.

Phone calls can also get better conversion rates for complex sales. We have a client we started working with recently where we’re optimizing for both online and phone call conversions and the phone calls have a ten times better conversion rate than their online forms. There can be many reasons for that but they certainly are further ahead by optimizing for both online and phone calls!

Why don’t businesses test more stuff?

Often, there are cultural barriers within organizations. There are inevitably people who have influence within the company. They are accustomed to their colleagues accepting their opinions as fact and can feel threatened when scientific decision-making puts that influence at risk.

There’s also a big learning curve to build a great testing process. Without strong senior executive support and resources along with the right experienced experts guiding the process, it can be frustrating.

But, doing it properly has huge rewards! We’re literally seeing examples of companies doubling their revenue per visitor with this. There’s a massive lost opportunity for companies who don’t prioritize it.

Share a crazy cool case study of WiderFunnel’s awesomeness with us.

We have many published conversion optimization case studies showing how all types of businesses can use this strategy to lift their profits. But some are more awesome than others.

There are two reasons for a test to be particularly awesome. One is where there’s awesome conversion rate lift, like in an Iron Mountain lead gen conversion rate test where we saw a 404% lift in a single test, and the other is where we get a unique marketing insight.

Here’s an example: a landing page test case study for WineExpress, an online wine retailer, we found that whenever we’d test variations with so-called conversion best-practices, like larger button sizes and urgency countdown timers, conversion rates would decrease. But, when we make the wine description and sommelier tasting video more prominent, revenue increased.

This result broke some trusted CRO rules and revealed a unique characteristic of the target audience. These were affluent wine connoisseurs who didn’t want to be “sold.” They wanted to learn about the wind, then buy cases that they liked.

Those are our favourite tests; where we’re disproving common tips and tricks and discovering marketing insights that impact the organization.

Listen to the webinar recording with Chris Goward – Conversion Optimization: More Leads, More Sales, More Profit

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