Optimizing Conversions: How To Get Maximum Impact With Minimal Effort

Assuming you’ve already spent some time optimizing your retention so that you’re not wasting money converting customers with low lifetime values, it’s time to get to work on your conversions.

Now, when it comes to conversion optimization, there are countless strategies an organization can implement, begging the question: Which ones should be prioritized?

To answer this question, you need to identify the strategies that will yield the highest returns. You’re probably thinking, “how can I find the strategy that will yield the highest returns before I actually try it?”

The key is simply finding the main problem area in your conversion process, or what we’re going to call your Area of Greatest Friction (AGF). Just as a bottleneck will slow down an entire operational process, your AGF will dramatically slow and hurt your conversions.

Once you’re able to identify your AGF, even a slight improvement at this step will result in much higher returns.

Finding Your AGF

If you were to visually map out every step in your conversion process, you could see how many people make it to each step and how many people drop off at each step. This is what funnel analysis does.

In the funnel analysis above, we can see that 81.3% of people made it from step 1 to step 2, 39.7% of people made it from step 1 to step 3, and so on. We can also see the percentage of people who made it between steps. For example, we see that 48.8% of people made it from step 2 to step 3 and 3.3% of people made it from step 3 to step 4.

Mapping out our conversion process in this way makes it quite easy for us to identify our AGF, which is simply the step with the largest drop off. In this example, we can see that our AGF is at step 4, “Confirm”, where only 3.3% of people make it from the previous step.

The Cause

Next, you have to understand why there is so much friction at this step. In many cases it will be obvious to you for one reason or another, such as:

  1. The step requires greater effort than the others (e.g. setting up or implementing something technical)
  2. The step requires some type of commitment from the user (e.g. adding a credit card or sharing very personal information)
  3. The step involves obviously confusing UX (e.g. a lack of feedback, non-obvious button)
  4. The step introduces other variables that may be problematic (e.g. sending an email confirmation that can end up in spam folders, be sent to unattended email accounts, etc.)

Other times, the cause of the drop off won’t be as apparent and will require additional analysis. At this point, you will want to set up a sub-funnel to analyze just that step which is your AGF.

For example, say your AGF is your “add shipping details” step. You will want to create a funnel that looks at every minute step required for your users to add shipping details, from button clicks to fields they must complete.

This sub-funnel allows you to take a closer look at your AGF and diagnose the cause of the friction. In the “add shipping details” example, we might find that our shipping options are unclear or that customers are taken aback by high shipping costs, causing them to abandon at that point.

Another way you might find out what is causing your AGF is by comparing how different segments move through your funnel. You may discover that each segment behaves quite differently, particularly if you have customer segments with distinct characteristics.

In the above examples, we were simply looking at averages. However, in some cases, the averages will actually hide more than they will expose, making segmentation critical. For example, say we have two segments that each perform poorly at a different stage of the funnel. If we simply average the performance of both segments, we will end up with metrics indicating that there are no issues at either of these two stages.

You will need to have a good understanding of your customer base in order to know which segment characteristics might affect conversion performance. For example, a B2B company with both small and large accounts may want to segment by company size (smaller companies will likely stumble at different steps than larger enterprises), while a social network might want to segment by student age group.

Fixing Your AGF

If you’ve made it to this step, congratulations! You’ve already completed the hardest part. Now that you know what is causing your AGF, you have a clear compass directing you to your top solutions. Here are just a couple examples of organizations that successfully identified their AGFs and implemented solutions that improved their conversions.

TOPS Products

RR Donnely’s TOPS Products was experiencing an underperforming product launch, despite significant marketing investment and highly positive feedback from focus groups. With some analysis, they were able to identify their AGF: a confusing product search that was preventing customers from finding the new product. As soon as they resolved this issue, their first orders started rolling in.

Woopra, Inc.

At the company where I work, we found our AGF was at the step where customers were required to add a JavaScript tracking code to their website or application. The cause of friction was quite obvious to us – although adding the tracking code requires only 5 minutes, many users who sign up do not have the energy or the ability, to add the tracking code in that moment. The first solution we implemented was quite simple. We triggered an email to be sent to users who signed up but failed to add the code within 3 days. The email offers assistance and also directs them to documentation to help them add the tracking code. After just one week, this simple email campaign improved our conversion rates by 20%.

Ultimately what both of these organizations have in common is their ability to maximize their return on investment in conversion optimization by first identifying their AGF. By focusing their efforts, they were able to achieve maximum impact with minimal effort.

Why Retaining Customers Is More Important Than Attracting New Ones

Customer retention is the unsung hero of the successful business. Its flashier sister, customer acquisition, usually steals the spotlight, but retention is what ultimately builds the foundation of a company that is positioned for growth. After all, it’s much easier to fill a bucket than a sieve.

So Why Exactly Is Retention Important?

1. It’s More Cost Efficient

It’s always more cost effective to re-market to existing customers rather than attract, educate, and convert new ones. The fact that these customers have already demonstrated an interest in your offerings and are engaged with your brand gives you an advantage that you’d be mistaken not to capitalize on. The rule of thumb is that it is 5 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing ones.

2. It Improves Lifetime Value

At the end of the day, what really matters isn’t how much a customer pays you today, but what their entire lifetime value is. For example, a customer may pay me $1,000 today and then disappear, while another one pays me $200/month for 5 years. Which one do you think is more valuable to my company?

It’s important to spend time optimizing retention before you spend on conversion. Otherwise, you will invest in converting customers and then lose a good portion of them, meaning they will have low lifetime values. Don’t waste your (or your investors’) money winning new customers who will have a low lifetime value.

3. It Builds Your Brand

In addition to cost savings, retaining customers means there will be more customers who have been using your product for longer and are therefore deeply engaged with your brand.

Building brand loyalty among existing customers really means you’re building a fanbase. And fans will evangelize for you in a very organic way, which ultimately brings you new customers. Keep your customers happy and engaged, and you’ll both benefit.

How To Improve Retention

So now you’re convinced and ready to tackle that pesky churn. But as with most things in life, improving customer retention is much easier said than done.

I wish I could give you a single, golden rule to improve retention. But the truth is, it absolutely varies case by case. What I can tell you is that the only way to find out what you need to do is to first measure and analyze. Ninety percent of your work is identifying the problem. Once you know the issues, implementing the solution is relatively easy.

Measuring retention in the most basic way looks something like this:

In this retention report, we see that of all the customers who initially came to the website, 32.7% returned 1 week later, 23.8% returned 2 weeks later, and so on.

Now this is a good start, but frankly, it doesn’t tell you all that much. The problem with this report is that it doesn’t measure the retention of similar customer groups. That is, it doesn’t compare apples to apples.

It would be more insightful for me to look at a report that showed me for how long customers continue to use the product after they sign up.

This report will filter out all those people who visit the website and never sign up, enabling me to focus on understanding the retention of that segment of customers who actually tried the product. It also allows me to measure not just how long this segment continued to return, but for how long they actually continued to use the product, which is ultimately what I care about.

But wait, there’s more.

Where I will really start getting insight is when I look at my cohorts. Cohorts show you the retention for groups of customers who began using the product at the same time.

I can clearly see that the group of users who started using the product during the 31st week are churning at a faster rate than those who signed up before them. While previous weeks saw 30%-32% of customers returning 1 week later, the 31st week only shows about 20% of customers returning 1 week later. Perhaps I pushed a product update at that time. My guess is that the update wasn’t received well and caused customers to abandon the product.

Now I’ve finally found my problem and I’m ready to hypothesize the solution, test, and measure all over again.

How To Save Big Through Shopping Online

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular because it provides customers with a simple one-stop shopping experience. Some of the benefits of online shopping include:

  • Available sizes for every body type
  • Wide variety of items
  • Different colors for the same items
  • Different brands at the same location
  • Online-only exclusives
  • Discounts, coupons, and promo codes

The last one is a major bonus for online shoppers. Especially those that shop frequently. These discount options help shoppers to save big. Let’s take a look at some of the best coupon sites below:

List of the Best Coupon Sites

For people who love shopping, hanging out or traveling, they will definitely try to find the best deals on offer. In fact, customers feel happy when buying the good and cheap things. They will compare the deals each other. People want to get the best offer, don’t they? Well, the easiest way to find is by searching in internet. It is recommended to get the best offer by buying a coupon on a trusted website. Maybe some people still get confused of this site. Well, this article will tell you about the discount coupon sites. This site provides us the valid discount coupon that can be used in online site or e-commerce. When talking about coupons or voucher, we need to know where to buy it. The following are the best coupon sites you need to know.

1. Groupon

It was launched in 2008 and now becomes one of the best deals sites. The payment method on this site is quite interesting. Every time you buy the coupon, you don’t have to transfer via bank account. You can transact using electronic wallet which can be recharged. It is so practiced, isn’t it? In this site, customers can buy various products such as food, beauty, and even traveling. Traveling coupon that is offered by Groupon involves some famous destinations in the world like Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.

2. Ebates

Ebates is really great. It is another option of the best discount coupon sites. It does not only offer the best coupon but also give the cash back for customers. It is believed that this site is the pioneer of online store that gives cash back. In fact, cash back becomes the main attraction which makes people will be happier when shopping. In Ebates, you can get cash back up to 25%. It is so fantastic! Besides, if you can tell your friends and them him buy in Ebates, you will get $5 after your friend purchases item with the total of $25. However, it is only in a certain time. In this site, you can also buy the deals from other discount coupon site like Groupon.

3. Coupons.com

You can’t go wrong with this one. Coupons.com has secret coupons and deals with Expedia, Lane Bryant, Victoria’s Secret, Rue21, Amazon, Bath & Body Works, Kate Spade, Sephora, NYX Cosmetics, Forever21 and many more brands. Coupons.com is such a great site to visit. The information which is provided on the site is interesting and complete. In one service, you can get the information about coupon code, voucher as well as the discount.

4. Retailmenot.com

RetailMeNot is one of the best sites for finding relevant coupons and promo codes. They are constantly removing the dead links and providing you updated codes. Ultimately, this saves you time because you no longer have to try a bunch of invalid codes to find one that works for you. This website also offers reward points for using their coupons. This means you can even earn Cashback for future purchases. Of course, this offer is only valid through participating store, but with over 500 retailers, you’re bound to be able to take advantage of some of these deals!

5. Offers.com

Offers has coupons and discounts for more than 16000 brands site-wide. The website also offers tips that will help you to save money, which is always a bonus. Promo codes and coupons are always being added as well. Unfortunately, finding a relevant coupon through Offers is a little tricky. There are endless coupon codes and not all of them are going to be working.

6. Slickdeals.net

Slick Deals offers a variety of coupons for many of your favorite retailers. The coupons are often relevant and work well to save you money. Unlike the other coupon websites that merely offer codes and discounts, Slick Deals also offers a review section. This is where customers, like yourself, can share your experience with any retailers. This will help other people to be aware if they are purchasing from someone who is unreliable. It can also help you to find great deals that might be hidden! A website like this is useful because you can use this information to decided whether or not you want to buy something. Once you’ve made a purchase, you might consider letting other people know about your experience. Remember: Share the positive experiences as well. If you have recommendations, make sure you’re trying to share those too!

7. CouponVario.com

Couponvario is one of the largest deal and coupon websites that gives you free access to coupons and deals. Couponvario also offers online coupons with secret promo codes you should try when you were shopping online. This may mean you’ll have to try a variety of codes before you can actually score on savings. With over 100, 000 codes available, you’re bound to find one that is useful to your shopping needs.

8. Couponfollow.com

Coupon Follow offers a variety of coupon options, including “trending” coupons. Users sign up through their Twitter accounts to take advantage of the offers available. One of the best perks of Coupon Follow is that you can subscribe to alerts for your favorite retailers. This means, you’ll get an email notification when new coupons and promos are available for the stores of your choosing. This can help to make sure you never miss a great deal.

9. ShopAtHome

ShopAtHome has lots of online deals and printable coupons for stores, including rebates.

10. Living Social

LivingSocial is an awesome site especially for those of us who like to support local businesses as it focuses on local shopping.

Now, we realize that business is not only producing profit but also building trust. The best coupon sites will make the customer visit again and again or even buy the coupon. The price of the product is not last forever. It will go back to the first price (normal price) in a certain time. The purpose of the site owner in offering cheaper price is to introduce the product as a part of the promotion.

Unfortunately, there are some weaknesses of buying a coupon in the best coupon sites. The sites do not accept payment method by m-banking. In addition, it is quite difficult to find the deal from a small country or infamous brands. On the other hand, the coupons are really helpful. It saves your money, so you can use it for the other things.

Social Media-Newbies Getting Started

Social Media on the Internet is one of the advantages of having an business online. With time to learn and do everything at a premium, you will need to get the most bang for your buck.

5 Places For A Newbie to Start

1. Twitter can be a very effective tool. The trick is to learn it well and use it to your advantage. You will find several twitter posts on this blog that will help you. Look under categories.

2. Your blog– When you are giving good valuable content your blog will be a resource for others. You can be the blog others want to come to.

3. Forums– Join a forum in your niche. Do a Google search for a forum that relates to you niche; dog forums, tropical fish forums, etc.

4. Comment on other blogs. You can create quite a community by giving good information on blogs that are related to your niche. This has worked really well for me. I just bookmark blogs I visit and comment on. Most of my traffic comes from other blogs. The key is to give good data that compliments what the blog is about.

5. Become an expert in you niche on Yahoo Answers. You can strut your stuff in any category that fits your niche and attract potential customers.

Remember what ever you do -learn it well. Pick one item, learn it and get it rolling before moving on to the next tool. Keep it simple.

To your social media success!

P.S. Making Money online is all about Social Networking. It is never two early to get started.

Optimizing for Conversion, Ignoring Consumption

We have worked with many demand or lead generation companies over the past 10 years. Most of the time when they come to us, they ask us to help them increase the number of people they convert into a free trial, a free download, or to create an account.

Conversion Isn’t an Event, it’s a Process

We always like to focus first on increasing the number of leads towards the top of the sales funnel. However, without the next step, consumption, the companies don’t necessarily achieve their better but usually unstated goal of increased revenue.

This is the same fuzzy focus that has companies intent on getting more clicks to their PPC ads just so they can show the increased traffic numbers without focusing on converting that visitor into a lead or sale. To tell you the truth it is not as hard to get visitors to take the uncommitted step, as it is getting them to actually use and consume the product.

When you optimize for customer experience you really need to take the whole scenario from awareness (clicking your ad) through conversion and ultimately to consumption (and ideally to evangelism) into account.

An Example of Trying to Create Consumption

Yesterday I received this email from TimeBridge. I set up an account when I received an invitation from a friend at another company to setup a meeting. You know how challenging it is to coordinate a meeting amongst several people using email, etc. Well I responded to his request and I really enjoyed the experience (partially because it was seamless using my Mac and Entourage) so I decided to setup an account. I even told several people about it. But I was never converted enough to incorporate it into my work flow.

I must have setup countless meetings since then all without the use of TimeBridge. What do you think went wrong? I converted, did a little worth of mouth for them but never consumed the product. Somehow the persuasive momentum was lost.

This is one way to try to initiate consumption. Use emails to try and prod engagement, add a bit of bribery (such as a contest for a $10 Starbucks card) and see how it works. We’ve seen several other really good examples over the years, what is the best method you have ever seen?

Attraction, Conversion, Consumption: Why You Need To Separate the Trio!

Go to a pond where you can visibly see a lot of fish. Take a stone and throw it in the water. Notice what the fish do? Yes, they race towards the stone in anticipation of a feeding frenzy?

Of course, you know what happens next.

The fish figure out you’re just teasing, and with disappointed guppy faces, they swim away. Um… if you continue to throw stones, they’ll keep coming back, till they work out it’s useless to humour you any more.

7 Signs Your PPC Campaigns Needs Optimization

Are you getting the most from your pay per click (PPC) campaigns? How would you know? Are you as efficient at getting clicks and converting visitors as you would be carrying water with a leaky bucket? Let me give you 7 signs to tell that you are not optimizing your PPC spend:

1. You use the set it and forget it strategy to PPC. If you setup your PPC campaigns months ago and haven’t adjusted a thing in it, I can practically guarantee you have room to improve it. The seasons change, traffic flow and traffic quality change, even Google’s Quality score changes.

Don’t Overlook These Common Cart Mistakes

I’ve seen a few big shopping cart no-nos lately, so I just want to alert Grok readers to them–they’re pretty easy to avoid:

The Homepage Dump: You add an item to your cart and are thrown into the checkout process. You’ve got another item on your shopping list, so you click the little link that says “Continue Shopping.” You’re dumped on the homepage. This is especially bad when you’ve done a lot of searching and results-filtering, and now it’s all gone. It really does feel like you’ve just been dumped! I can’t think of any good reason why the homepage is the proper place to land a visitor to continue shopping.