Brock Lesnar is facing discipline by the USDA and UFC for his failed tests leading into UFC 200. The WWE, however, still plans to have ‘The Beast’ battle Randy Orton at ‘SummerSlam’ without any punishment.
You are probably familiar with the concept of “schadenfreude,” a German word that means “taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others.” You’ve probably even felt schadenfreude yourself at some point, especially when the person undergoing the misfortune is a target of your envy or hatred. But at what age does this complex emotion develop? In this study, the researchers set out to determine whether very young children also experience schadenfreude. To do so, they created an experimental situat
Every digital business wants to build a brand that attracts more customers, converts them, and turns people into brand advocates. Unfortunately, not all websites and apps persuade people to become customers, let alone brand advocates.
That’s where the hot trends Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and User Experience (UX) Optimization come in. CRO is closely tied to attracting new customers, while UX Optimization is closely tied to creating a more human experience that engages people with a brand.
I imagine you’re feeling a bit like Alice…tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Both CRO and UXO can and should be done in conjunction. Without one, the other suffers. Great CRO by itself is useful to convert more people, but if the experience suffers then people quickly abandon your product, leave a bad review, and will definitely not recommend you. On the other hand, a great UX by itself might build some loyal brand advocates, but growth will be snail slow until you hit a critical mass of users.
With that being said, it’s time for us to jump in and learn how to harmoniously apply both CRO and UX Optimization together.
The Importance of UX Prep before Conversion Rate Optimization
Let’s talk about the effect of great user experience design on branding. Brands like Uber, Kleenex, and even the infamous Blackbeard are very easy to recognize. Why? They understood the importance of creating a lasting impression. This lasting impression, or brand success, is widespread and as a result, their business potential is nearly unlimited.
The reason why these entities became recognizable brands is because of great products, great service, and people enjoy talking about them. Since people trust their friends and families most, it is word-of-mouth marketing that can be one of the most powerful marketing methods. If you hear it from a friend, you’re more likely to try it. And when you hear it from many friends, you become keenly aware of a brand. In today’s competitive marketplace, it is listening to customers and thoughtful user experience design that pushes companies to the branding level.
Where does brand building start? And how?
Brand building starts day 1, when you start to think about how your product or service will benefit people, and continues for as long as you are in business. This way of thinking is the core of UX.
Customers Pave the Way
So how do we get started with user experience? And what about conversion rate optimization? Well the fact of the matter is that without some basic understanding of how people use your digital product, CRO techniques are taking a stab in the dark, and are likely a waste of time and budget. What’s the point of optimizing a web page or a flow of actions if they are fundamentally broken, confusing and frustrating people? Before focusing on conversion optimization, it’s important to understand what people need so that we can then optimize it. There’s two ways to apply user experience thinking so we can then learn what to optimize. The first way is to have an expert catch “low-hanging fruit” issues, and the second is to gather customer feedback.
Applying What We Already Know
Luckily for us, the psychological science behind user experience is nearly 80 years old (originating during World War II!), which means there is a wealth of knowledge about how people think and act with computers and interfaces. By using this knowledge, a UX expert can fix many of the “low-hanging fruit” problems with a website or application, even before it is launched to the public! When an expert runs through an interface to find issues and suggest quick interface wins, this is called a user experience Review, or UX Review. The findings of the review are built into a report that ranks solutions in terms of severity and priority, so that developers know what is most important.
To get your own UX Review, there are a variety of agencies and freelancers who are a Google search away, or who can be found on freelance websites such as UpWork. For a quality report, it will cost you anywhere between $250 and a few thousand dollars, depending the complexity of your website or app, and how extensive the review is. Generally, the more extensive the review, the more costly it will be.
Applying Research Tailored to a Specific Product
The second way to apply user experience is to actually get customer feedback. And I’m not talking about A/B tests, but actual live tests or discussions with actual customers, called usability testing.
The best part about customer feedback is that it might lead to BIG changes in the right direction. After speaking with 3-5 customers, we might find out that people aren’t clicking that call-to-action because the website has major trust issues, beyond something we can resolve with simple copy or CTA changes. Or we might test 3-5 customers on our application, and find out that people don’t understand the value of the product, because it isn’t what people are used to.
It’s not the people, it’s the product! Make sure to fix all of those low-hanging fruit issues and test with real people before thinking about conversion optimization techniques.
CRO: What You Should Know
Now that we’ve first covered our bases with user experience research, it’s the perfect time for conversion rate optimization! With a better understanding of our customers, and with an interface better designed for people, we can focus on converting more people into happy customers. Conversion optimization is also a big part of branding, because first impressions count.
Let’s talk about some of the basic tools and techniques of CRO, and the effect of CRO on branding. The first tool of any CRO expert’s arsenal is analytics. With analytics, we can gain useful insights about how people first interact with our brand. Are the majority of people leaving quickly? Are they willing to provide their email address and continue the conversation? Are they exploring the website or app store to learn more? Most of us know about negative conversion metrics (bounce rate, low time on page, etc), and thinking of these as a first impression with our brand will allow us to come up with great solutions.
Once you pinpoint drop-off points and areas with low engagement, conversion optimization focuses on A/B testing copy, imagery, call to actions, and the value proposition to determine which combinations lead to the highest conversions. The goal is to create more compelling content, and a seamless flow, to encourage more people to open up a conversation with the company (conversion).
We won’t dive too deep into the actual tools and techniques of CRO, as that is widely covered on the Kissmetrics blog and around the net. Here is a list of common CRO tools, and here is a list of common CRO techniques to use with those tools.
UX Optimization: What You Should Know
With CRO successfully underway, it’s time to revisit UX. User experience Optimization focuses on improving engagement metrics such as active users, frequency of use, number of shares, churn, repeat purchases, perceived ease of use, etc. It’s important to define what engagement metrics are key to growing business in the short-term, and the long-term. User experience experts can then work with customers to research and design digital products that create the emotional and behavioral responses that fit customer needs AND improve the target business metrics.
So what UX techniques are important to improve customer engagement? Similar to CRO, UX Optimization should start with Analytics, taking a look at key pages and action flows to see where engagement metrics are low. Most companies have some form of analytics set up. We can either ask for access to take a look ourselves, or request reports of key metrics for an important time period. Some of the standard analytics tools include: Google Analytics for websites, Google Analytics for mobile apps, and Kissmetrics for SaaS applications.
In the analytics tool, we’ll want to look for acquisition, behavior, and flow data. Acquisition is conversion information about how people arrive at a website or application. Behavior includes engagement information such as bounce rates, time on task, downloads, active users, frequency of use, etc. Flow data maps out the typical flow of pages that people common access, such as home page -> product -> cart -> purchase. Each company has different metrics that they prioritize, along with a goal to reach (such as less than 50% bounce rate). Find out what pages and flows are underperforming, and you’ve found potential problem areas!
With a general idea of problem areas, we can conduct a thorough expert UX Reviews to identify low-hanging fruit, and conduct usability tests to pinpoint usability issues and customer frustrations that are often overlooked in an expert UX Review alone. With basic issues fixed, we can build rapid prototypes to test engagement metrics against current designs, which is somewhat similar to A/B testing during CRO.
To conduct your own UX Review, there are many free UX checklists available that cover common principles, best practices, and recent trends. Some of the most important principles today include:
- Persuasive design
- Color psychology
- Usability.gov’s extensive guidelines
- Nielsen’s usability heuristics
- Fitts’ Law
- Navigation best practices
- User onboarding
- Social proof
- Trust & credibility
- Gradual engagement
- The power of human faces in imagery
- Conversion optimization
- Engagement optimization
An expert review is an important part of the UX optimization process. It can be done quickly and affordably, and catches both major and minor issues that can be fixed quickly.
Well that was obvious, how did we miss this one?
Some tools such as UserTesting and Validately allow you to recruit test participants directly from their pool of testers. However, if the demographics of the testers don’t fit your customers, you can recruit participants with a tool like User Interviews. The beautiful thing about usability testing is that we are able see how people actually use our digital product, as opposed to only analyzing metrics. Sometimes the best design solutions are discovered when watching people in action (NOT focus groups)!
Usability testing also reveals what’s really important to customers, so your CRO experts can offer people better products, services, and promotions (and a custom bonus or gift to customers might be more profitable than a straight discount offer)!
You’ve discovered customer values from UX testing. So what value can you offer them, besides JUST a massive discount?
After the UX Review and usability tests pinpoint interface improvements, it’s time to build a rapid prototype to test to see if the improvements increase our key engagement metrics. Tools such as Axure and UXPin make rapid prototyping easy. Once our prototype is set up and ready to go, it’s time to set up another set of usability tests and compare engagement metrics with the prototype to those with the current live version of our digital product. If the design changes offer an improvement, implement them!
Marrying CRO and UXO
CRO and UX Optimization have great synergy together.
As more people convert to customers, it’s important that customers stay engaged with the digital product. Engagement comes in many forms: more active hours using the digital product, downloading and sharing content, visiting/logging in more frequency, referring people (colleagues, friends, and family), completing tasks seamlessly, and more.
The better these “metrics”, the stronger the relationship between the company and the customer, the closer a company comes to building a brand relationship with people. And as more people get to know a company brand, the more diverse the conversion funnels become! A larger company has a larger audience, and must continuously grow to meet wider needs.
Takeaway: Conversions Don’t Always Lead to Engagement, and Vice Versa. Think Big. Think Branding.
CRO and UX Optimization are the twin pillars upon which a company’s branding rests… CRO and UXO experts working together will push a digital product leaps and bounds beyond what either one can do alone. Both are equally important in the early stages of a startup, to help convert more customers and ensure the experience is as intuitive and seamless as possible. As a company grows, both have a strong impact on the company’s branding through first impressions, conversions, engagement, and word of mouth marketing.
So the formal user experience and conversion rate optimization process is:
- Understand customers first via customer feedback.
- Optimize low-hanging fruit with a UX Review before spending budget on optimization.
- Optimize conversions, to attract customers.
- Optimize engagement, to retain customers.
- Rinse and repeat until your company creates a lasting impression on the world.
If a company follows this process from day 1, they will enjoy more conversions, build brand advocates, create an experience that people find useful, build something people remember, and create something that people will share.
With that, I’ll leave you to share this article with your colleagues, friends, and family 😉 I hope it was insightful and fun to read!
About the Author: Ryan O’Connor (Ryan’s LinkedIn), the co-founder of GobySavvy, is on a mission to help companies discover the balance between creating delightful digital user experiences while achieving business goals. He created the GobySavvy UX Optimization blog to discuss hot trends in conversion and engagement focused design.
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Ever since Bill Goldberg was included in the “WWE 2K17” video game, there has been speculation he may be getting closer to a return. One former ‘RAW’ GM doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
From Lenny Bruce to Robin Williams, many great comedians have suffered untimely deaths. But is this actually a hazard of the job? In this study, the authors investigated whether stand-up comedians were more likely to die young compared to comedic or dramatic actors, as well as whether funnier stand-up comedians were more prone to death than less funny comics. The answer to both questions was, unfortunately, yes. Talk about killing it onstage! (Clearly I’ll be living for a long time.)
Are you struggling to get more people to sign up for your product demos?
If you are, you may want to take a cue from the grocery industry. Here’s why…
Giving away a free sample can increase sales up to 2,000%, as it did for Marsh Supermarkets. In fact, 68% of their customers said it persuaded them to make a purchase.
A 2011 study by Carrie Heilman found that free samples can encourage someone to switch from their planned product purchase to the promoted product. It was found to “draw” people in and encourage a sale if they didn’t have previous plans.
But to get prospects to bite on these offers, you have to make it as easy and compelling as possible for the user to say “yes.”
That’s why quizzes are an incredibly powerful way of generating leads. In a recent example, the Worth Global Style Network used a “What’s your customer type?” quiz to generate 243 leads with just 1,415 visits.
We did this ourselves with a product wizard quiz and increased our client’s demo sign up conversion rate by 19.22%.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how we did it and how you can use a quiz to achieve similar results for your product.
The Problem: Product Line Expansion Caused Confusion
Our client, a B2B software company, had recently acquired a competitor in their industry. This acquisition expanded our client’s product line from one to three.
This shift caused a huge brand confusion issue. Specifically, customers and prospects familiar with the old product weren’t familiar with the new ones.
From the new options being presented to them, the client’s prospects were confused on which product was right for them. To make matters worse, the product options weren’t exactly easy to explain, causing users even more confusion.
As you can see, users had to decipher the vague wall of text above to figure out which option was right for them.
Here’s the bottom line:
Potential customers were abandoning the demo sign up and not taking action because they were confused.
This begged the question: how can we clarify these options for users to reduce confusion, boost demo signups, and drive more sales?
The Solution: A Product Wizard Quiz!
We decided to make the demo sign up experience more intuitive (and enjoyable) for the user by guiding them to the option that was the best fit.
To accomplish this, we created a product wizard to ask users a series of questions that would help them figure out which product was right. As an added bonus, it allowed the user to give us information in a fun way, almost like a game.
At the end of the quiz, the user was offered a free demo version of the right product based on the responses they provided.
As a finishing touch, we removed the names of the products at the end of the quiz to sidestep the brand confusion issue.
The Results: Better Customer Satisfaction, Less Confusion, and More Demo Signups
Our usability testing showed that users found the quiz to be easier to understand and use. The clean progress bar helped as well, propelling users through a clear sequence of steps.
Even better, we achieved a 17.39% uplift in total demos signups and a 19.22% uplift in the overall demo conversion rate.
Not bad — but we weren’t satisfied. We knew that through a little bit of testing and tweaking, we could potentially achieve even better results.
So we aimed to improve on the original with a second version of the quiz. Here are a few of the key points we tested:
- “Smart” Quiz Options: Version 2 of the quiz gathered data from previous user answers so they would have to fill out fewer form fields at the end of the quiz. We were ultimately able to remove four form fields, using the “smart” functionality to input data the user had already provided. (Pro-tip: You can also get the form to pull in data dynamically through the user’s IP. Examples include the user’s state and country information.)
- Embedded Forms: In Version 1, the wizard redirected users to a separate page to sign up for the demo. This added extra load time, which increased the chance of users abandoning after being pushed to that page. Instead, we embedded a form directly into the last step of the product wizard quiz.
With Version 2, we saw another healthy increase in performance. Overall, the conversion rate of demos increased by 14% and demo submissions increased by 27%.
If there’s any chance your customer is confused by your product offerings, a product wizard quiz could be the solution you’re looking for.
If fact, if you’re looking to segment your audience in any way, a quiz may very well be the perfect tool for you to test.
- It provides an immediate value proposition and clear path to solving your user’s problem.
- Users get a chance find out exactly which of your solutions work best for their unique situation.
- It removes distraction and makes it clear what the user’s next action step is.
- It helps and delights your audience, which is what you should always strive for.
- It makes your users even more inclined to sign up for your demo.
- It leads prospects to buying a conclusion rather than telling them what to buy — a powerful strategy that’s also more honest and ethical.
The truth is, your users don’t want to do any extra work. They want you to tell them what’s best.
This isn’t new advice — Companies have been using quizzes to great effect in SaaS and other industries for years. But we hope this article has shed some light on how you go about implementing quizzes on your website to boost your SaaS conversions.
If you’re ready to build a quiz for your site, it’s easier than you might think. For instance, we had our own developers create a product wizard without much trouble. And even if you don’t have developers, there are plenty of “plug-n-play” services out there that can do this for you, such as:
So, what are you waiting for? Try this tactic out for yourself & let us know what you think!
What obstacles have you had in your journey to boost demo signups? Have you tested quizzes as a conversion tactic and if so, what were the results? Let us know in the comments and we’d be happy to help.
About the Author: Will Chou is a digital strategist at WebMechanix, a digital marketing agency specializing in AdWords PPC marketing and focused on providing real business results. Get a free case study as a gift: How a Healthcare Company Tripled Paid Search ROI in Three Months.
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Forty years ago today, the first of two landing probes of NASA’s Project Viking touched down on planet Mars.
Discover contributor Dr. David Warmflash spoke with Dr. Gilbert Levin, whose Labeled Release (LR) experiment was one of three instruments delivered by the Viking landers to look for Martian microorganisms in 1976.
At age 92, Levin is the only survivor of the three biology experimenters and he’s looking ahead to 2020 when he hopes to have another instrument on the Martian surface