4 Conversion Optimization Lessons from 2013

Last week we looked forward to the year ahead of us with six killer marketing analytics tips for 2014. This week, we want to take a look back at what we can learn from 2013 and then apply in 2014.

4 lessons 2013Over the year we worked and spoke with many, many companies. The one goal that nearly every company mentioned to us was improving their conversions. This took many forms – sometimes it was about measuring campaigns, other times it was about optimizing a trial process – but it always had the same ultimate goal. As a result, we also learned the strategies, or even small changes, these companies used to improve their conversions and how successful they were.

So, what better way to start improving conversions in 2014 than by looking back at what worked in 2013?

1. Video Could Make Visitors 96% More Likely To Convert

When digital marketing agency SwellPath consulted their client, xxx, they found that video could have a huge impact on conversions.

They ran a test to see if putting video on product pages of their client’s ecommerce site would improve conversions. What they found was astonishing: 96% more visitors to product-detail pages with videos are buying those products. Those are serious numbers.

Lesson for 2014: It seems obvious – just add more video! But video production is a very large investment and it will perform differently on each site, depending on the context, location, and many other factors. It’s best to start small as SwellPath did, and test out the impact of video before adopting it as a full strategy.

Read the full SwellPath case study here.

2. Match Customer Language to Product Language

Earlier this year, RR Donnelly’s TOPS Products faced an underperforming new product launch despite a strong marketing push.

They then turned to their analytics to understand why customers were showing interest in their product by coming to their site, but failed to convert. TOPS Products found that the issue was a poor on-site search. Customers were typing in search terms to find the new product, were not receiving the results they were looking for.

Lesson for 2014: The main issue here was that the product language customers were using did not match the product language on the website, making it difficult for customers to find the product. Monitoring and analyzing how customers talk about you allows you to make sure that you’re matching your language to theirs. Don’t overcomplicate it – just start by taking a look at all the customer feedback you already have, from support tickets, to emails, to blog reviews.

Read the full TOPS Products case study here.

3. Target Communication Based On Customer Behavior

Corey Jones, from San Francisco-based SOMA Strategy, consulted the Lyft team who was trying to attract more drivers.

By analyzing user behavior, he was able to create an entire strategy that targeted users at the appropriate points throughout their lifecycle, leading them to ultimately become drivers and to continue posting as drivers. For example, Corey was able to identify the times when users were most likely to drive and send them messages in that moment, connecting them to paying passengers.

Lesson for 2014: The reason Corey’s strategy was effective was because it targeted users at exactly the right time and with the right message, making the communication relevant to the user. Customer behavior is one of the greatest untapped resources marketers have. Most marketers target based on demographic information, which is useful, but how your customers behaved in the past is ultimately the best way to predict what they will do in the future. Those that can capture this behavioral insight from their analytics and leverage it for targeted actions will benefit from a competitive advantage in 2014.

Read the full SOMA Strategy case study here.

4. Make Forms Accessible and Simple

Jay Suites, the largest executive suites operator in New York’s Times Square, found that their marketing efforts weren’t generating the amount of on-site conversions they expected.

They turned to consultant Doris Rosenshine. Doris quickly found that Jay Suites’ contact forms were their main conversion killers. Based on customer feedback and analysis of customer behavior, Doris saw that the forms were too long and were hard for visitors to find.

They experimented with a shorter, “bare bones” form that was successful virtually overnight. To this day, the shorter form is still the most popular on the site, accounting for about 70% of inquiries.

jay suites contact

Lesson for 2014: We’ve all heard it a million times – keep forms short, and make it easy for users to find them. So since this concept isn’t new to us in 2014, the lesson here is to make the time to review your forms and be brutally honest with yourself. If you’re not convinced you should remove a field, A/B test it with a tool like Optimizely, and back up your hypotheses with hard numbers.

Read the full Jay Suites case study here.

Which of these lessons will you implement in 2014? Share in the comments below!

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