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Be a fly on the wall of our Conversion Rate Optimization Mastermind as we discuss and test methods to increase sales and maximize profits online. Learn from our failures and successes as we uncover the secrets of the ever-changing world of online marketing. Join like-minded, conversion-focused entrepreneurs as we welcome you to the Conversion Rate Optimization Mastermind.
Alex Harris: OK, welcome to the Conversion Rate Optimization Mastermind. My name is Alex Harris and my website is AlexDesigns.com. We meet every Wednesday at 9 PM Eastern and I’m actually sitting here, I actually have a beer after hours and we’re having a little conversation about conversion.
I actually had a terrible day. My Internet was out and I think Comcast purposely slows down my Internet so I’ll upgrade. Now that’s a conversion tactic for you. But it actually worked out to my advantage because my Internet was out so I had nothing better to do so all I do is use my phone and I happen to come across a Twitter chat going on with Aweber. And it was Brian Massey, Oli Gardner, Hunter Boyle, Justin Rondeau from WhichTestWon, and they were doing a Twitter chat about CRO.
So I was like, “I got nothing better to do,” so I just sat there and I tweeted with them all about conversion. And from that, I ended up picking up like 20 or 30 followers and people were asking me questions about ecommerce and conversion. You know, that shows you right there if you have, you know, a problem going on, you want to use that time to kinda dig into a niche or sure.
So you know, we’re just going around the table here and we’re talking about who we are, why do we join the Mastermind Group, and sharing some experiences, tools, and that type of thing. But what I wanted to share was, during this Twitter chat, one of the questions was, “What is one of the favorite test site you’re running right now?”
And I started to talk about ecommerce and they asked us, “What is one of the favorite test you’re running right now and can you share a link to the case study about it?”
So I immediately shared my new case study that I just created about ecommerce and landing pages, and I am actually writing a book about ecommerce. If you wanna check that out, you can check that out at AlexDesigns.com/book. But while I was tweeting, people were asking me questions about ecommerce and I was able to link directly to the case study that I had just created during this Mastermind Group. And that’s really—the point there is that over the last 90 days that we’ve met through this Mastermind, I have created a membership site, I’m writing a book, and I hold on to our case study—I interviewed everybody who’s already on that Twitter chat, and just so much happens when you align yourself with like-minded people to get a lot farther faster.
So when we go around the room and Bill you can start, tell us who you are, what do you do?
Bill Soller: Sure, my name is Bill Soller, currently Optimization Manager for BeachBody.com. You’re probably more familiar with some of workout products: T25, P90x3 aka Tony Horton and Shaun T, or some of the bigger personalities. So that’s what I do and I work on the conversion rate team—optimization team, that is.
Why did I join the Mastermind? Well, to me, at least, with CRO, you can never really stop learning. There’s always something there and I think even when I ran a lot of tests in my previous position—I worked for LowerMyBills.com for a long time for an analyst role and analyzed the whole lot of tests—I think something like 14,000 tests. You come ever here and run something, you think for sure it’s gonna win and it just doesn’t work out that way, so it’s always interesting to see what happens on new traffic. Learn from you, guys, maybe be a little bit more entrepreneurial myself—I don’t have a website to promote except for the one that I work for. So that will be something that I will have to work on in the future.
Share one recent experience, success, or failure. We actually had quite a few successes with direct response marketing and in direct response marketing, it’s all about the upsell. So we had some recent successes in just making some of our upsells more attractive, some of which just as simple as improving the layout, making it more readable, following a kind of more traditional pattern, sometimes just different sequencing. So if there is a product that had a better overall lifetime value for us, we just place that first—you know, some fairly simple stuff. I was telling you guys about some pretty cool headline sets that we’ve been doing. We haven’t done a whole lot of those here. In the past, I’ve been with a company too long, I’m only here about five months now but I work kinda getting more towards that way, trying some different messaging, getting more into the idea of persona.
Tools, book, article, tip to share. Well the last book I was reading through was Alex’s books, it’s good, I recommend it. My everyday tools are Excel, outside of that I use some online statistical calculator. Tests that I highly recommend for any kind of testing is it’s just called the Fisher Exact Test. It’s really good with sample sizes and you can have sample sizes as small as 20 and you can get some ideas on the direction where you are as far as the stats say. I use that for everything, it doesn’t have to be small sample sizes, you can use it for large ones as well.
Frank Salvatore: Alright, my name is Frank Salvatore. My company is Flex Leads, FlexLeads.com. What I do is I generate leads for small businesses that operate in local areas, so think landscapers, dentists, just anyone that has a small business and they need to get leads from their local community. And I do that primarily through Google AdWords and Bing Ads. So paid search—someone searches for one of my clients’ services, I make sure there’s an ad that that prospect will click on. And once they click on an ad, I also set up a microsite for my client because most small businesses don’t have the best websites for converting prospects into actual business. So I provide an ad campaign for them as well as a microsite which contains landing pages which will help convert that traffic into business for my clients.
I joined this mastermind group, this is a Conversion Rate Optimization Group because I always felt very strongly about the AdWords and ad campaigns side of things. I felt pretty good about my microsites and the landing pages but I also thought they could be a bit better. I wanted to bounce ideas off with people. That was a big thing, too, not just for design and conversion but for everything. I work by myself, home office, and to be in an environment where you can talk to other people, you’re not working in a vacuum at least for two hours a week. You feel part of a community and you can exchange ideas that can really help you grow your business.
It’s already paid dividends, I have already been able to show the group some problems that I was having with one client, actually a landscaper in a top market, and in driving traffic there pretty efficiently especially compared to landscapers from other markets. But the traffic just wasn’t converting so I took it to the group. The group came up with a lot of ideas and I’m already seeing a lot more—I can’t necessarily say conversions—a lot more people are making contact with my client. Now whether those are turning into leads or not remains to be seen but it’s definitely helped already, I’m already seeing that it’s working. So it’s been a real benefit for me.
Alex Harris: Yeah, I just saw that you changed your site up, too. It’s looking pretty good, FlexLeads.com.
Frank Salvatore: Yeah, I just wrapped that up, I use that kind of as a model for rolling out my own microsites for the various verticals that I’m trying to pursue. So thanks.
I would say the one recent experience, success, or failure that ties us to the Mastermind Group was going to the group, getting some feedback, rolling something out which appears to give me and my clients a chance at success in a top market. Regardless of whether it succeeds or not, there’s been major improvements.
Tools, books, articles, tips to share: got quite a few. AdWords is kind of my bread and butter and “Advanced Google Adwords” by Brad Geddes, that’s the bible, that’s the book you wanna read if you want to get into AdWords. It has everything that you could want to know regarding anything related to AdWords.
I also like a lot of entrepreneurial books. I do think there’s a tendency, when you’re starting your own business, to think that all the answers are gonna be in books and I was able to wean myself off that eventually. But I think “The E-Myth” is a good book—I think some of the ideas in there are pretty solid mainly working on your business not really in your business, I mean, you have to obviously meet customer expectations, but you can lose sight of where you’re taking your business.
“Built to Sell” is another really good book that I like. It talks about scaling your business and making your business something that could be sold or transitioned. I’ve seen that in some industries, got some friends in some industries where a lot of them are around 60 or so and are looking to do some other things in life and some of them have their businesses ready to be sold and some are just so embedded within their business that it’s just not going to happen. So “Built to Sell” was a really good book.
Other books I like, also sticking with AdWords, I like “In the Plex.” I thought that was a great book, kind of how Google started from the ground up. Interesting read—it’s not necessarily applicable towards growing your business but it like to read books about startups. Another book that I think is worth reading is “The Rational Optimist.” That’s more of a book that’s almost a little bit more philosophical but it’s just kind of a very optimistic outlook on life. it’s a really good book.
Tools that I use for work: AdWords Editor is essential for making changes in AdWords. I use Adwords Editor for probably three quarters of the changes that I do as opposed to the front-end interface in Google. You can really streamline what you need to do using AdWords Editor.
Alex Harris: I love “Built to Sell,” that’s really what I need to focus on because I actually created the Mastermind Group to have an accountability group. I tend to be an overworker but I ship a lot and I just try to hold a whole bunch of stuff to really see what works. I don’t know to take myself out of the business and I’m trying to do “The E-Myth,” do “Built to Sell” to really figure out how to create systems to do that. Awesome. So Bobby, you’re up.
Bobby Hewitt: Thanks, Alex. So I’m Bobby Hewitt. I am a conversion rate optimization specialist at a small agency, CreativeThirst.com. I joined the Mastermind Group really to get new points of other people on the same space. Working in small teams, you can get really pinballed. It always gets tough to other people in other industries…can just compare notes and see how people get around it. It’s great for that actually. Really, that’s kinda what I really wanna get out of it.
I can talk about the recent tests I ran, this is actually a new test. There were two completely separate tests but once Buffalo had finished, it was a connection between the two and I think that was really interesting and I don’t think we’ll have found that connection—that insight—have we not run both leads—tests at separate times, separate audiences, there was connection.
So the first test was in using Facebook traffic with an opt-in as a goal. and it was targeting the basic male and female audience and what we were testing were two different versions of the page. The product was for weight loss. It was an opt-in to get these weight loss PDF. One version of the page was male-centric; the other version of the page was female-centric, with an interest for women and female colors. The male version was brown, black; the female version was purple.
The second test that we ran was actually for a weight loss product. So this was like a diet supplement product and we had a copywriter tweak some existing copy that we had. And this copywriter tweaked it for a female version and a male version. And we saw a 40% improvement with our female version. We run the female version for the Facebook opt-in and put the weight loss supplement female version as the tripwire. So we haven’t yet done that but that was kind of the insight learning from this, had we done this test at different times or farther apart.
Alex Harris: That’s really interesting. That would be the only way that you can segment by gender through Facebook. Can you segment by gender with AdWords, too?
Bobby Hewitt: I don’t think so. Do you know if you can?
Alex Harris: I mean, they do have demographic, you know, averages—universal analytics.
Frank Salvatore: There is definitely demographic targeting in Bing Ads so I think there is in AdWords as well. It’s not something that I generally—I don’t use it.
Alex Harris: Bill probably has some insight into targeting male versus female fitness products.
Bill Soller: Yeah, I mean some of the products are definitely geared more towards a male or female audience, although I think probably most of the actual female versus male or age range type of targeting I learned at my last job at LowerMyBills. It was more on the ad buy side so they would buy especially from Yahoo, they did a lot so you could buy like the male 55+mail mon so you could be in Yahoo Mail, that kind of a thing. That was really the only way that we could target male versus female on that. But definitely here, not that we have some products that can be for male or female depending—or actually, make that a little better. We can probably show some of the more unique selling propositions to either sex if we were to know up front so that’s a thought. We could have a response device in front. Know a little bit of information about the user and then present them with something—what’s more like them. There is especially some interest in before and after shots and that kind of thing as well, so you wanna try to find someone who looks more like your consumer, which that could range quite a bit either side.
Alex Harris: I know in my past life at a diet and fitness company, they would create persona models based on when we ran out TV ads. You know, if it ran on USA Network which can be male or female versus Oprah which is dominantly female. So based on time periods we’d figure out the right times that most females would listening and most males would be listening. That was an interesting way to actually track this as well. Also, we did do a of testing in male versus female imagery and almost all the time, females won because males wanted to see females and females wanted to see females, too, but—Bobby, you wanna finish up?
Bobby Hewitt: Yeah, I think the women are jealous…they will want to look like that. It’s my hypothesis. They’re driving Google AdWords to a landing page, you know, gives you something based on how long people are staying on your page and how engaging is your page.
Alex Harris: I can’t hear you.
Bobby Hewitt: Sorry. So how much did you miss?
Alex Harris: You’re talking about what it’s called in Google AdWords—I didn’t really hear you after that.
Bobby Hewitt: So the Google AdWords quality score, is it based on engagement of the landing page or is it based on time spent on the page?
Frank Salvatore: It’s mostly click-through rate, actually, you know, the quality score of individual keywords. There are a lot of factors, too, but it’s primarily click-through rate. I don’t want to go overboard but it’s adjusted based on a lot of different factors like ad position, things like that. I don’t want to say it’s all about click-through rate because it’s not. So that’s the biggest factor.
Bobby Hewitt: So this could be anecdotal but what I’ve seen is driving Google AdWords to the landing page and on that landing page, having a survey but breaking up the survey into steps. So four questions in the survey, not putting them all four at once but segmenting them. and mini-tactic is you get to the landing page, it’s as a simple question, “Are you make or female?” So immediately, it’s a low-barrier question, you don’t have to think too much, it’s an easy answer, you just have to click, and because you clicked it, Google sees that as higher engagement with the page. Google sees that as a better ad page. And what you’re also doing is you can use that to segment your next upsell or your next offer based on what they answered. So if they answered male and and not have to worry about how to technically handle it, it’s quite simple.
Alex Harris: Yeah, the more personal you can make the experience, even if by gender, because I so actually do a lot of fitness products still and we sell whey protein powder and women use it a lot differently than men do. You know, more likely, they’re either trying to bulk up or burn cardios or whatever—it’s a clearly different audience, for sure.
Bobby Hewitt: Yeah, people tend to make things more complex but sometimes, you simply ask “male or female?”
Bill Soller: When I worked in Lead Gen, that was also just kind of a nice tactic to kinda get people through a lot of questions, too, ‘cause we were doing home refi or insurance, that kind of thing. So they were certain pages where the questions were one at a time, three at a time, and we’d do a lot of experiment in that, just kinda getting that rhythm of getting them used to just clicking through clicking through. We saw a lot of success with that.
Bobby Hewitt: Breaking it into micro-commitments, did you guys use to put the easy questions in the front?
Bill Soller: Yeah so things like email and stuff that was in the end and even then you still had to soften it with some text, “We respect your privacy,” show some security symbols around that, that kind of thing. Yeah, for sure, things that were way easier, we just kinda drop or collect, like how many floors in your home, this kind of a thing, who’s your mortgage—real simple drop-down stuff where they can just start to immediately answer that stuff and not like that but going through, it’s just kinda funny what was mostly the default answer and then just pre-popping it to that. You know, that helped quite a bit.
Alex Harris: Yeah because not only are trying to get them engaged through interactivity, but you’re also collecting qualitative data about them along the way. We used to do it with our diet funnel with a diet company. We’d bring people in, asking them for their BMI, they wanna get the perfect diet, then we make it personalized to male or female and give them exactly what diets to take in the end, and that helped our company build up our email list to over a million subscribers.
Bill Soller: The thing is that I know most of them, we would try to get the first name last name fairly early on in the funnel experience, so only because we’d wanna take the first name and start passing that through to the next pages. You know, “Congratulations, Bill, you’ve taken the first step in refinancing your home, blah blah blah” and show them the steps and a lot of congratulatory type language and you’re really kind of encouraged like, “Okay, I can get through this, I can get through this,” in no time they’re really through like 30 plus questions.
Alex Harris: And you can even do graphics, too, like if you wanna check out TrunkClub.com, their funnel to bring people in is all based on pictures of clothing, so “Are you interested in jeans?” “Are you interested in jackets?” In that way they’re building a customer profile of you and in the end, if you wanna get a personal stylist, you had to fill out the form. Awesome, Bobby did you want to share a tool or final up?
Bobby Hewitt: Sure, so the client tells us what happened. I like to use heat maps which are built into visual optimizer. Heat maps won’t really tell you sort of what happens on a very granular level so that tool that I use is very similar. I used…before, it’s a great tool but it’s on the expensive side. There are two out there, like SessionCam. They will actually let you record session, what someone’s doing on the website, it’s kinda like those security cameras installed which record where people go, where people walk. This records where people click and where people scroll and you can actually see the session based on the mouse…you can get a lot of software information and confirm what’s going on in the mind of the visitor.
Alex Harris: Great. And how can people find out more about you, Bobby?
Bobby Hewitt: Check out my website, CreateThirst.com where you can check out the blog there. I am in the process of launching a new podcast, it’s gonna be called Optimization the Smart Way. It’s not launched yet but I am still working on it. You can reach out to me or you can follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Alex Harris: Awesome, thanks Bobby. Dennis, you’re up.
Dennis Carvalho: My name is Dennis Carvalho and my company is PredictiveReach.com. We’re focused around helping the small ecommerce owner, someone who has revenues say, under half a million dollars, improve their conversion rates, and I also help in other areas with digital marketing like email marketing and their PPC campaigns. I joined this group primarily to be around other conversion rate optimizers, and learn a hell a lot more than I probably know and so I really get a lot of value out of the group, just trading resources, listening to other successful tests that they’ve encountered, and I’ve been in other Mastermind groups as well outside of this and so I really know the power of a mastermind group so it’s one of the reasons I joined. I heard Alex’s podcast and I’m like, “This is cool,” I started searching for conversion rate podcasts—there wasn’t too many around and I saw Alex’s and I said, “Oh, I gotta join.”
I jumped right in the bandwagon and I figured, it’s in the beginning so it would be cool so I jumped right in. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of value out of it. So as far as my new experiences, right now I’m building my business and taking on case studies, and one of my current case studies, I’ve actually built a, if you turn to a paying client, and I’ve actually gotten a percentage on revenue with that as well so it’s definitely helping my business. I can grow, they can grow, so it benefits the both of us so I’m kinda excited about that.
Let’s see, a tool, book, or article, “80/20 Marketing” by Perry Marshall, it’s a pretty awesome book I’m currently reading that, there’s a lot of good stuff in there—how to maximize your time essentially and not any of the stuff that doesn’t get you anywhere in your business. One of the podcasts I like is Ecommerce Fuel, I got a lot of value out of that just listening, a lot of resources in there—some of the reasons I like to listen to podcasts. I actually listen to podcasts more than I listen to the radio now because of just the amount of resources I get just from listening—pretty cool.
People can reach me at email@example.com and my website is PredictiveReach.com.
Alex Harris: Alright, thanks Dennis. You see, we have a wide variety of members in the group, we’re actually missing a couple tonight but let me see, I’m a designer, we have analytical people, people who’re still working in corporate, and maybe eventually want to go full-time. It’s definitely a wide variety and I’m excited about the things that we have coming up in the future. Not only are we creating this podcast together but we’re also, we do some business together. If I get a lead, I may be able to do it, I may be able to pass it off to the other guys so we’re really finding ways to really work with each other. If you wanna learn more about this particular mastermind, you can check us out at CROMastermind.com. Thanks a lot guys.
Thanks for listening to another episode of the Conversion Rate Optimization Mastermind. We created this group for beginner and experienced online entrepreneurs that want to increase their conversions and make more money from their website. We meet every Wednesday at 9 PM Eastern time and we talk about improving our online businesses and helping our clients make more money. If you wanna learn more about the mastermind group, you can visit CROMastermind.com. Visit the website and you can apply to be part of our group and meet with us. Keep and take your website to the next level. Visit CROMastermind.com.
To learn more about the Conversion Rate Optimization Mastermind, visit CROmastermind.com
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