Brain Massey, web optimization expert and founder of the agency Conversion Sciences talks to us in an interview about his view on conversion optimization. We dive into conversion processes, the role of redesign in optimization, talk about challenges, landing pages as well as tools for conversion optimization.
Hello Brian, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about the exciting topic of Conversion Optimization. First of all we are interested in your professional background. Please introduce yourself.
I founded Conversion Sciences in 2007, one of the first agencies focused exclusively on website optimization. Today I teach marketers how to integrate behavioral science into their everyday work and I train marketing teams at companies like IBM.
My rare combination of interests, experience and neuroses was developed over 20 years as a computer programmer, corporate marketer and entrepreneur. I have seen the results of thousands of tests and draw helpful and entertaining advice from this experience for online marketers in any industry. I am also the author of the Amazon Marketing best-seller “Your Customer Creation Equation”.
Brian Massey is a well-regarded conversion expert. He is a frequent speaker at U.S. universities, conferences and has columns at online magazines like ClickZ.com and Search Engine Land.
From your experienced point of view, how has the process of Conversion Optimization changed in recent years?
In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that the semiconductor industry would double the number of transistors that fit on a microchip every year. Moore’s Law, as this came to be known, continues to this day.
What does this mean for marketers?
It means that the tools we can use to collect and apply behavioral data are doubling in value every year and the cost is dropping. New technology, such as machine learning, is making these tools better and better every year.
Which "Conversion Quick Wins" do you still see in e-commerce or online media?
If I gave you ten “quick wins”, I would be wrong on half of them for your particular audience, and neither of us would know which half would be wins. Instead, let me recommend that you set up a digital laboratory to identify and explore ideas that your unique audience wants.
Here’s a quick win: look for blind spots that your analytics misses.
Anything that doesn’t generate a URL in the browser is invisible to Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. Popups, tabbed text, text that unrolls, and links away from your site are all blind spots that can be tagged to appear in analytics.
What defines a good conversion optimization process? How can businesses start the process?
There are really only two things we are trying to accomplish as Conversion Scientists.
- Increase the sample size of our data sets
- Increase the quality of our participants
What does this mean?
When marketers create an ad or landing page, they are using the experience and expectations of one person to guide their decisions. The sample size of the data driving their decisions is 1. No wonder so few digital campaigns succeed.
If an agency uses a team to develop an ad, landing page or website, that may represent input from 5 or 10 people. But sample sizes of 5-10 are too small to be reliable.
You should make sure that your samples size is big enough to be reliable. A sample size of 5-10 people with different devices is not a valid data set.
Plus the marketers and agency people are not actually potential customers of the business.
How could we find 100 people to look at our creative and see if they can accomplish a task? Try UsabilityHub.com.
How could we watch thousands of people interact with our content as they try to solve the problems our business addresses? Look at your analytics.
A good conversion optimization process is actually a good design and redesign process.
Which challenges do you often encounter when it comes to conversion optimization?
Website redesigns are the biggest problem in website optimization.
These are big projects with big budgets, so no one will say no to a redesign. Yet with one fell swoop, they toss out the good with the bad push a thousand assumptions out on their prospects in one big release. Of course, this is usually when we get a phone call.
How can these challenges be solved efficiently and profitably?
Conversion optimization is redesign. But we can guarantee that the redesign will deliver an increase in sales, leads and subscribers, because we test our assumptions and throw out those that are wrong.
In this context, you should never STOP redesigning your website.
You should never stop tweaking and optimizing your digital product. Learn from your data what works or use operational intelligence to make automated decisions
What is a must on any conversion-optimized landing page today?
A landing page has just two jobs:
- Keep the promise made in the ad, email, social post or link.
- Bring the visitor to choice.
If you don’t know the promise that was made, you’re not building a landing page. If you put anything on the page that doesn’t help the visitor decide to act, you are not building a landing page.
Use these rules to guide your development.
Which tools can you recommend for Conversion Optimization?
Install a heatmap reporting tool like CrazyEgg and a session recording tool like Inspectlet on your site. You’ll see how people are interacting with your pages.
Select a tool that allows you to run visitor surveys. We love to put a one-question survey on the thank you or receipt page that asks, “What almost kept you from buying?” or “What almost kept you from signing up?”
The answers will often surprise you.
About Conversion Sciences
Conversion Sciences LLC finds revenue for online businesses that is currently going to competitors. They scientifically test visitor preferences to find the right copy, design and presentation that gets them to take action.
Read the Conversion ScientistTM blog at ConversionSciences.com.
About Brian Massey
Brian Massey is the original Conversion Scientist and he has the lab coat to prove it. His company, founded in 2007, Conversion Sciences, was one of the first agencies focused exclusively on website optimization. Brian has learned what works on the web through thousands of website tests. He has seen it all.
His rare combination of interests, experience and neuroses was developed over 20 years as a, computer programmer, corporate marketer and entrepreneur. Brian is the author of the Amazon Marketing best-seller ‘Your Customer Creation Equation’.