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Conversion Rate Optimization

Branding, Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Creativity, Emotion, Visual Communication

Why weird works: copywriter @KiraHug on branding with personality

Conversion copywriter and podcast host Kira Hug talks about her journey to build her brand and why strategically-crafted visuals are so important for connecting with the right people.

“This might sound strange coming from a copywriter – who should, presumably, eat, sleep and poop words – but I love me some visuals.”

Kira Hug isn’t just any copywriter. She’s a conversion copywriter – which means her specialty is writing words that spur and inspire readers to take action. If you’re selling a product or service and want to talk your ideal customers into buying them, Kira is the person behind the scenes making that happen with landing pages, sales pages, and email campaigns.

This work requires her to get inside people’s minds, take on different brand voices, and play upon just the right mix of pains, fears and desires that cause people to act.

It also requires a strong grasp of how to use an entire brand experience to attract and connect with ideal customers – and much of that experience is created through visuals. Visuals are never to be underestimated.

But that’s an idea that runs contrary to the philosophy of many writers – we’re biased. Our art is the written word. However, Kira didn’t grow up as the ‘writer’ in the family. Her identity was ‘the artist.’

“My sister was the smarty pants. I embraced my artistic side and wore the ‘artist’ label very happily. That followed me into college. But I realized, I can’t be a fine artist and live the life I want, so I pursued graphic design.”

As Kira worked toward her B.F.A. in Fine Arts in Visual Communication, she found herself attracted to advertising classes, which led to an advertising design internship.

That’s where things really started to click for me. You get to be creative, and there’s strategy, words, and visuals and psychology behind it. I remember thinking that this is the best thing ever.

Of course, the challenge all new graduates face is finding a job in the ‘real world’ doing what you love. Which rarely, if ever, happens fresh off of campus. With no job prospects in sight, Kira took a leap of faith and moved to New York City, a lifelong goal.

“I didn’t plan well in terms of having a job before I moved there. I just did it. So I took the first job I could find at Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s management training program. I cringed at taking it. It was so different from the cool, art-design job I’d envisioned, and I was embarrassed by it.”

For nine months, Kira sold car insurance and rental cars, spending down time washing cars “in a parking garage that smelled like urine, in a pencil skirt.”

But at the same time she was learning how to tap into the selling power of words.

Over the next several years, Kira took many different jobs – glamorous jobs at places like Estee Lauder’s store design department, hard jobs in marketing for non-profits, even jobs in event planning. If she didn’t feel like she was growing, learning, and feeling challenged, she’d move onto the next thing.

After Kira had her first child, she needed a little more control over her work schedule. She began working for a fast-growing startup as CMO, which allowed her to build her reputation in the company as well as her own business on the side at the same time.

All with a newborn baby. Is Kira Hug secretly Wonder Woman?

Possibly. She does have more alter-egos than the average copywriter. But that’s all part of her brand strategy.

In this interview, Kira Hug tells us how she built her solo copywriting business and how her artistic background informs everything she does, from her own blog, to her copy, to her delightfully quirky business strategy.

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Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Customer Experience

The Customer Journey Mapping Guide to Getting Started ft. @Wootric

A customer journey map is a diagram of all the places customers come into contact with your brand, online or off. Each of these touchpoints influences the customer, and by analyzing customer behavior, feelings and motivations around each touchpoint, you can begin to identify opportunities to establish more positive relationships by giving customers what they need at any given stage of their journey.

The goal of journey mapping is to gain a deeper understanding of your customer, how they interact with your brand, and how each interaction affects your relationship. It’s also a way to ensure that the brand experience remains consistent for each customer across touchpoints.

“With the number of touchpoints a customer has with a brand increasing with the proliferation of technologies and channels, the need to create a consistent experience is critically important.” – McKinsey & Company

But the big picture goal is why there is so much buzz around customer journey maps now:

Customer journey maps can move you towards more conversions, greater customer loyalty, and improved customer experience from end to end (or from end to forever, if your subscription-based and there’s no bottom to your sales funnel).

But customer journey maps can be complicated to create, and their results can be difficult to track and interpret from end to end. Many businesses are tempted to ignore it altogether in favor of lower-hanging fruit to increase conversions.

However, that hesitancy to use journey maps is quickly disappearing as more companies are seeing the results from properly mapping their customer journeys.

And, if your company is struggling with the question: “Why aren’t customers completing (or repeating) purchases?” – there is no better time to create the map that will lead you to that answer.

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Conversion Rate Optimization

Buyer Personas for E-Commerce Customer Research ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

A buyer persona (aka. user persona, customer persona) is an avatar that represents the aggregate of your target customers. The persona answers the questions: Who is my ideal customer? What do they want, in life, at work, at home? What do they need? What are they trying to accomplish? What goals drive their behavior? What are they looking for that I can provide?

These are the million-dollar questions for any business, because without these answers, you won’t achieve product-market fit.

For e-commerce businesses especially, having a thoroughly fleshed out buyer persona is vitally important, because it’s not enough to only understand what your customer needs and wants on the surface, you need to understand their entire psychology to create and sell your products effectively.

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Conversion Rate Optimization

3 Extremely Complicated Steps to a Customer Journey Map that Actually Works ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Customer journey maps have the potential to be the best tool your marketing department has – or a colossal waste of time. There are plenty of articles out there that will tell you how to build a customer journey map in “3 easy steps.” Those don’t work, at least not by our standards.

If your customer journey map isn’t moving you towards more conversions and awesome retention rates, it’s a waste of paper.

The way most people do customer journey maps looks like this: Bring your ‘best and brightest’ into a room for three hours, play “this is who we think our buyer personas are,” “this is what we think they’re feeling,” and follow it up with “these are where our touchpoints are.” In other words, it’s “brainstorming” with insufficient research. You’re not creating a map, you’re having an office party. And the customer journey map is the party game.

Lame.

Do I sound harsh? Good. Because customer journey maps done wrong really burns my biscuits.

They have so much potential to be useful.

Actionable. Energizing. Even inspiring.

But to be truly useful, you have to approach them from the foundation of research, grounded in real, verifiable customer data. And that’s the step too many people miss, because it’s just not as much fun.

Forget fun – this is marketing strategy.

When a customer journey map does its job, it becomes a tool that lets you (and your marketing team) visualize your relationship with your target customer from first eyes-meeting-across-a-crowded-room encounter to mutually fulfilling partnership.

It shows the most likely places to meet your target, what they need there (depending on which stage of the sales funnel they’re in), what they get there currently, and where mismatches in expectations and desired outcomes may be losing them.

If this sounds like I’m describing more than just a customer journey map, you’re absolutely right.

This definition is much simpler:

“a customer journey map is merely an illustration or diagram of all the places (touchpoints) your customers come into contact with your company online or off.”

To make your journey map actionable, it can’t be merely an illustration of touchpoints. It has to illuminate the relationship, in its entirety. It has to pay attention to not only where prospects are, but what they need – and how to give that outcome to them in a way that moves them closer to your desired destination.

This journey map will become your visual cheat-sheet to understanding your customer on a deep, meaningful, actionable level.

It’s not simple. But there are three steps.

Read More on Objeqt


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Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

E-Commerce Conversion Psychology How-to Guide ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

The mind is a terrible thing to waste – as a conversion rate expert. E-Commerce conversion psychology & buyer psychology guides everything that we do. You might even say that CROs and shrinks share the same goal: Both seek to understand the human mind to help them find solutions to their problems.

But, of course, we want more than that. We want them to pay for those solutions. And that presents a few psychological hurdles. The act of selling something requires the customer to give up something they value – whether that’s time, personal information, or actual money (which also means the time it takes to acquire it). That’s asking a lot.

You’ll encounter resistance.

And any little thing that makes it harder to purchase will lose you a sale, because they’re already resisting. This means that your job as CRO is both to remove friction, and appeal to your audience’s strongest motivators:

  • Pain
  • Anchoring (+ Placement Psychology)
  • Emotional & Cognitive Needs
  • Reciprocity
  • Commitment/Consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Scarcity (+ Loss Aversion)

If those last six look familiar, it’s because they’re Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence, and we’ll be discussing them as they relate to CRO in depth, with actionable takeaways.

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Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

5 Easy Upgrades to Increase Landing Page Conversions ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Writing and designing a conversion-powerhouse of a landing page is a science – a shifty, constantly evolving science that is, frankly, hard to pin down. While trends in landing page design may change (and they do), there are a few basic tenets that the most successful ones share that can increase landing page conversions. And they’re not difficult to implement.

You can boost your conversion rates right now, just by putting these 5 basic techniques into place.

Don’t believe me?

We can test it.

Where Landing Pages Go Wrong

Landing pages go wrong primarily because people treat them like:

  • They’re product descriptions (they aren’t)
  • They’re blog posts (they aren’t)
  • They’re white papers (they aren’t)
  • They’re a diner waitress, whose personal motto is “Here’s your lunch. You’ll eat it and you’ll like it.” (they really aren’t)

A landing page is specifically designed for a marketing campaign. Its purpose is to convert leads – that’s it. One purpose, one message. Lets repeat again the purpose – increase landing page conversions.

Think I’m kidding? Landing pages with multiple offers get 266% fewer leads than single offer pages.

When to use a Landing Page

You’ll want to use a landing page (rather than a product page) for each marketing campaign you do – it’s all about getting the customer to engage with your brand.

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Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

How to Build a High Converting E-Commerce Checkout Flow ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Optimizing the e-commerce checkout flow – everything that happens between “add to cart” and the purchase confirmation page – is a science. A science that requires research, study, and of course, testing.

But you’ve got a credit card payment system. Isn’t that enough?

Not if your customers are abandoning their shopping carts. That means you’re hemorrhaging sales from already-motivated customers, often unnecessarily.

Even small gains in optimizing checkout flows can have a big impact:

“An Ecommerce site that I analyzed recently had a payment page where 84.71% of the traffic proceeded to buy. I calculated that if we can increase that to 90%, that would result in 461 more orders and additional $87,175/month. That would be 23.94% growth in revenue. So yes – ‘small’ gains here can be very big.” – Peep Laja, ConversionXL

What is shopping cart / checkout flow?

Shopping cart, e-commerce checkout flow, checkout funnel – whatever term you use, we’re talking about the moment your customer views their cart all the way until they see the “thank you” page at the end of their purchase process. Don’t confuse this with the “sales funnel,” that can begin long before the customer even lands on your website. Checkout flow is the final step.

The customer knows what they want.

They’ve added the product to the cart.

Then, they have two choices: Abandon the cart, or complete the purchase.

You’d be amazed how many motivated customers abandon the cart – or maybe you wouldn’t be. Maybe they’re abandoning your shopping cart and you’re wondering why.

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Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

E-Commerce Value Proposition – How to Stand Out ft. @CopyHackers, @aschottmuller, @TaliaGw, & @shanelle_mullin

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

E-commerce value proposition is more or less the same as any value proposition. I guarantee that you’ve seen and read far more value propositions than you’re aware of – because they’re everywhere. They’re on home pages and landing pages. They’re on Facebook ads and sales pages. They’re on freeway billboards and curbside restaurant menus.

“Eat at Joe’s – Home of the Foot-long Corndog”

And they pop up in the most unexpected places.

When the voluptuous Italian movie star Sophia Loren said the Hotel Ritz Paris was “the most romantic hotel in the world,” that was a value proposition.

But, for how prolific value propositions are, confusion surrounds them. You’ll find a number of variations on this 4-point list of what a value proposition does.

A value proposition:

  1. Defines who your customer is
  2. States what your product does
  3. Establishes why you’re unique
  4. Shows the end benefit

Sophia Loren’s “The most romantic hotel in the world” statement does all of these things. The Hotel Ritz Paris is for lovers; they will find romance there; more romance than anywhere else in the world. Place that sentence next to a photo featuring Sophia’s generous endowments – and you have your benefits. *Photos are used in value propositions a lot, either as supporting players or integral parts.

Value propositions look deceptively simple, don’t they? But they are one of the most important statements you’ll ever make for your e-commerce products. They require thought, consideration, substantial research, and ongoing testing. Furthermore, they’re worth the effort.

When they work, value propositions make the difference between getting the sale – and boosting your bounce rate.

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Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

30 Psychological CRO Tests to Run on Your E-Commerce Site ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Conversion rate optimization is all about psychology. But where psychologists are trying to figure out why people do what they do, the Conversion Rate Optimizer’s challenge is to know what stimuli will get people to take the action you want them to take. In this post we list 30 psychological CRO tests to run on your e-commerce site.

It’s not about being manipulative. That’s the dark side.

Noooo! I won’t! Even though that cookie is a really good incentive that preys upon my desire for immediate gratification (we’ll get to that later).

On the side of good: This is about showing people what they want and giving them every reason and every chance to get it. You might say it’s about helping people to achieve their goals – as much as it is about achieving yours.

The CRO also has tools and tests to know, beyond a Rorschach ink blot of a doubt, whether the psychological trigger s/he’s employed works… or doesn’t.

This is where we bring psychology and testing together, so you can try these already-proven, scientifically based psychological action triggers and see how they work on your very own e-commerce website.

For each trigger, we’ll include ideas for how to use it on your website – in your product pages, landing pages, or CTA buttons. From there, it’s up to you to A/B test these suggestions against what you currently have.

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Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce, Emotion

Colors & Conversions in E-Commerce Design ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

The psychology of color is a subject of strong disagreement in marketing. We know we need it, and we’d like there to be a list of rules to follow that remain the same in all instances – but there isn’t. Color preference, associations, and color cause and effect, vary widely between individuals and cultures.

So, what we’re left with is what we’ve always been left with

We have to design based on close research of our target audience – and that goes for colors too.

That’s not to say that there aren’t valuable guidelines for color selection that are grounded in science – there are (and they’re outlined below).

Here is what we know, what we think, and what has been proven to work when it comes to color and conversion in e-commerce design.

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