10 Fast Ways to Boost Your E-Commerce Conversion Rates

It’s a no-brainer: if you’re not making sales, you’re not doing your job.

Alec Baldwin said it best in Glengarry Glen Ross: “Always Be Closing”.

The Internet has made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to launch companies from anywhere in the world. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to actually be successful.

In fact, because it’s so easy to get started, there’s more competition than ever before.

Because of this, you need to do everything you can to attract and retain customers. If you’re running an e-commerce business, it all starts with your website. In this post, we’ll look at 10 fast ways to boost your e-commerce conversion rates. Let’s get started…

Build & Test a Responsive Design

The way in which your audience utilizes your site will vary from customer to customer. Some will visit your page using their home computer, while others may check it out on their phone on the train home from work. Still, others may use laptops or tablets when they click onto your webpage. And, this doesn’t even take into consideration the browser they’ll be using when they arrive on the site.

It’s up to you to ensure your company’s website is fully-functional regardless of the device used to view it. You need to make sure your customers can get the same information when visiting your site whether they’re using a desktop, laptop, or mobile device.

Make sure you cater to each device when developing your site. For example, a hoverable dropdown menu is fine for devices that utilize a mouse, but an absolute nightmare when used on touchscreen tablets.

It may be more work upfront for you and your team but, if you only focus on optimizing your site for a specific device, you’ll have little to no chance of landing customers who either become frustrated with or are completely unable to utilize your website on their current device.

Optimize for Speed

You don’t need someone to tell you that you’ll lose customers if your website is too slow.

But, you might not know just how detrimental an effect a slow website can have on your conversion rate.

More than half of US online shoppers report that they will not complete a purchase if the site they use doesn’t work fast enough. Whether due to frustration, lack of trust, or actual time constraints, the customer’s flow is interrupted whenever a website takes too long to load which, half the time, will result in a failed conversion.

There are many factors that contribute to an e-commerce website’s slow performance and many ways to improve the website’s overall speed. Without getting technical, the main takeaway is: don’t over-complicate things. A website can easily get bogged down with behind-the-scenes logic and large files that don’t add anything to the user’s overall experience.

Think of your website as a physical machine. The most finely-tuned machines have the exact amount of parts they need – and no more. You should take care to ensure your website isn’t gunked up by extraneous parts that do nothing to help in the long run.

Provide Value Immediately & Constantly

You likely know this from personal experience: if it takes longer than a second or two for you to figure out what a website is “all about,” you’re going to hit the back button.

Don’t make this same mistake on your own site. It’s so easy to fix.

Make the value of your website obvious from the moment your customers click to it. You don’t want to make them do even the slightest amount of work to figure it out.

After you get the audience to dig deeper into your site, you still need to constantly remind them why they’re here. It’s all about creating and providing value.

Remind them what your brand offers that they won’t find elsewhere; make it quantifiable and tangible. To claim your company is “the best in the business” means nothing – providing statistics and facts that prove your company is the best lends much more credibility.

Improve Site Search & Recommendations

Google spoils us.

We’re so used to being able to type in even the vaguest search terms and have the exact site we’re looking for pop up that we don’t even realize how incredible technology is.

That is, until we find ourselves on a site with a subpar search engine.

Astoundingly, even some of the most profitable websites in existence are lacking in this area. An incredible 70% of the 50 top-grossing ecommerce sites in the United States still require users to type specific keywords into their search engines when looking for a product. In other words, whereas Google knows to show pages relating to “footwear” when you search for “shoes,” 70% of the best e-commerce sites would only show pages that include the word “shoes.” Ouch! A less-than-stellar search engine is ultimately detrimental to sales in the long run. You need to make sure that yours is up to par.

Along with improving your website’s search engine, you should also focus on creating a properly-functioning recommendations system. Though these systems aren’t terribly difficult to set up, they are often overlooked and underappreciated for the value they bring to a company. By linking products in your database, you optimize the potential for cross-sells and up-sells.

You need to ensure that the recommendations are based on research and analytics so they make sense. For example, if your customer is looking at a line of golf clubs, the recommendations might show golf gloves and golf balls – which, given his initial interest, the customer is likely to also want. On the other hand, if the recommendations showed a hockey stick or baseball bat, you may as well not offer recommendations at all.

Improve Categorization

Simply put, the more organized your online store is, the easier it is for your customer to shop. The easier it is for him to shop, the more likely he is to make a purchase.

By organizing a hierarchy of categories, you make it easy for customers to get into a flow state. The deeper they go into each category, the more focused they become. For example, if you’re looking for a new lens for your camera, you might go to Best Buy’s website. While the main page can take you to any section of the store, you can instantly find the camera section. Once there, you can click to view only lenses. From there, you can narrow your search to specific brands, types, or prices until you find exactly what you’re looking for.

On the other hand, imagine if, in the middle of the list of camera lenses, a dishwasher was listed. Your flow state would be completely disrupted! It might be enough for you to visit another website or close out your browser completely.

As you’re aware, your customers are incredibly busy, You don’t want to give them even the slightest reason to think they’re wasting time on your site. On the other hand, with a properly organized catalog, you can get your customers into a flow state, allowing them to lose track of time while checking out your page. And, that’s exactly what you want.

Use High-Quality Product Images

The purpose of an e-commerce site is to allow customers an experience that’s as close to the real thing as possible (minus the crowds and anxiety, of course). While online shoppers can’t touch or feel the product they’re thinking of buying as in a physical store, you can provide them with high-quality images that allow them as realistic a look at their future purchase as possible.

Above all else, don’t do this on your own. If you want to be seen as anything more than an amateur ecommerce entrepreneur, invest in a professional photographer to take pictures of your products. Get shots from different angles (with 360° views, if possible). You should highlight specifics that make your product stand out above the leading brand’s offering and allow customers the ability to zoom in as they please.

Understand the psychological thought process of your customer base. Know that a well-composed photograph can often be the difference between a hit or miss in terms of sales. Because your online customers only have their sight to go on when quickly browsing through your catalog, you need to do everything possible to catch their eye at all times.

Use High-Quality Product Descriptions

Along with high-quality images, you also need to provide your customers with product descriptions that truly encapsulate the value of your products. This involves gaining a true understanding of your target demographic’s needs, desires, and background.

It’s not enough to simply say “This product is awesome, your life will be so much better once you purchase it.” You need to reach your customers’ pain points: What problem are they facing in life that your product will (not “can” or “might” – but will) solve? How will it do so? And why is it their best option?

Just as you’d enlist the help of a professional photographer, you’ll also want to hire a copywriter who knows how to create prose that sells products. Oftentimes, the best copy is that which reaches your customers at their level. This means using simple explanations rather than jargon-filled rhetoric and avoiding copy that sounds way too formal.

When creating product descriptions, keep in mind that your objective isn’t to impress your customers with how much you know; it’s to sell the product you’re advertising.

Leverage Testimonials

No matter what you have to say about your product or service, it won’t matter unless it can be backed up by others who have used it and have good things to say.

Studies show that overwhelmingly positive customer reviews give companies a greater chance of landing future sales. In fact, many of the online shoppers polled see customer reviews as akin to word-of-mouth recommendations. If a customer is willing to go out of their way to write a review lauding a company’s product, others will assume this means the product truly is worth it.

Positive customer reviews not only give a boost to a company’s website in terms of sales, but search engine optimization (SEO), as well. The more your targeted keywords are used on your site (even when used in customer reviews) the better. If you don’t even give your customers the option to post reviews, you’re leaving this possibility off the table entirely.

Streamline Checkout and Beyond

How many times have you spent a decent amount of your time loading up your shopping cart on a site only to be stopped dead in your tracks when it comes time to check out?

There are a variety of reasons customers will abandon their shopping cart, from a slow-loading checkout page to a counterintuitive sign-up form. They may find a product they like on your page but, if it’s a pain for them to order it, they’ll quickly hop onto Amazon and find a similar product with less hassle.

You also need to take into consideration what happens after they complete the purchase. A simple “thank you” splash page is a nice courtesy but, it effectively ends the transaction then and there. Sure, that single transaction is complete, but you want your customers to return, right?

Instead of simply saying “thank you” and leading your customer to close their browser, do something that will get them coming back. Present some recommendations based on their purchases. Ask them to complete a survey assessing their experience with your site (which you can use to improve performance in the future). Hook them up with a coupon for a discount. Do something that keeps your brand in their mind after they click the buy button.

In the days and weeks after they’ve made a purchase, you want to give your customers a gentle reminder of the pleasant experience they had interacting with your company. You might send an email thanking them again for their patronage, reminding them to fill out a survey, or informing them of future sales. You might also choose to surprise them with a small “freebie” along with their purchase to show your appreciation.

A little extra effort after a sale on your part can lead to a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship between you and your customers.

Use Exit Intent Tools

Of course, even if you do everything right, you’re still going to have visitors to your site that take off before they purchase anything. However, you can implement failsafes to minimize the chances of this happening.

Exit intent tools are software that track when, how, and why a user leaves your site. They determine how long a visitor stays on your site, if they use the back button or simply close out the browser, and what they were doing right before they leave.

These tools then use this information to predict the exact moment in which a typical visitor is most likely to leave your site, at which point a popup will display that surprises the customer with a sale, advertisement, or mailing list offer – while also keeping them on the page.

While your first inclination is to assume popup ads do more harm than good, the truth is that well-planned popups actually result in a slight decrease in bounce rate, while simultaneously helping to grow your mailing list.

As long as the call to action from the popup is well-thought-out and offers value, it has a good chance of keeping users on your page just when they were thinking of exiting it.

This post is by Tony Messer, co-founder and CEO of UK web hosting company Pickaweb. He is also an author and loves helping small businesses, web designers and developers to achieve great things.

 

9 Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert – Part 5 of 9

This is part 5 of 9 in our series: 9 Proven Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert.

Over the past few weeks, we explored several tips on how to write headlines that work. Of course, by “work”, we ultimately mean convert. A short headline that doesn’t sell isn’t worthwhile; a pithy headline that does more with less (outperforming all others) is the goal.

By now, you probably have several headlines ready to test. That’s great! But, there’s a sanity check that can save you a lot of heartache (and expense) from testing the wrong headline.

What’s the secret? Ask the following questions:

  1. Would you say the headline to live person? In a coffee shop? In a client meeting?
  2. Are you assuming people have domain knowledge about the subject when, in reality, they may not?
  3. Will people easily understand your offering and how it benefits them? Can this be conveyed in less than a second?

If there is even a slight hesitation in answering any of these questions, you must re-write your headline.

This test helps you avoid cute and clever headlines that are otherwise meaningless. Below are some examples (sadly, not everyone gets it right):

  • “We Help You In 100 Different Ways Every Day” (Toyota)
  • “Travel Should Take You Places” (Hilton Hotels)
  • “Look Again” (Holiday Inn)
  • “Live Your Life” (American Eagle)
  • “You Got People” (H&R Block)

These type of headlines are often used by big brands and written by brand marketers in a board room rather than direct response marketers. The brand marketers do this in the name of “creativity” and “originality”. But, it comes at the expense of missing your target audience completely.

A headline must match your prospects’ world-view – if it doesn’t, you fail before even getting started.

Here’s what Rosser Reeves, one of the direct response marketing legends, says about creativity:

“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative. Do you want fine writing? Do you want a masterpiece? Or, do you want to see the god-damned sales curve to move up?”

The surest way to make the sales curve move up is to use tried-and-true principles.

Here’s what Mozart himself said about originality:

“I never made the slightest effort to compose anything original.”

The best copywriters convey an “I am talking to you one-on-one” tone in their writing. They understand that, to persuade a thousand people, the copy needs to touch each person on a personal level. If you write to the masses, you invariably produce weaker copy. And, it’ll hurt sales, too.

So, it’s time to vet those headlines in the wild. Talk to your friends and family or, better yet, people in your target market. For a few dollars, you can even start split testing headlines via Google AdWords to see which ones perform best.

Let us know what you find in the comments below – the results may shock you.

This post is by Jasper Kuria at the Conversion Wizards. Got a question? Please write a comment below or email blog+conversionwizards@mouseflow.com (we are also knowledgeable on the following subjects: Web Analytics, Tagging, PPC, SEM, Email Marketing.

And, stay tuned for the next posts in this series on crafting powerful headlines. You won’t want to miss it.

 

9 Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert – Part 4 of 9

This is part 4 of 9 in our series: 9 Proven Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert.

This is a technique adopted from the book Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. If you haven’t seen this book, it’s a must read.

The idea is that, when you look around, great headlines are everywhere. In many cases, it’s best to draw inspiration from what already exists and adapt it to fit your needs. The cost is lower (you don’t have to spend 8 hours thinking of headlines) and you get something that’s already been tested in the market.

Real-World Examples

One of the most successful examples is when The Wall Street Journal re-purposed Bruce Barton’s “Two Men Who Fought In The Civil War” headline as their exclusive “The Story of Two Men” ad.

In the ad, two people are depicted: one who subscribes to their publication and becomes the president of a company while another (who doesn’t subscribe) becomes a mere low level manager. The ad was a control for 20+ years and brought in over $1 billion in subscription revenue.

So, why did it work? The execution was simple and effective – they didn’t sit in a conference room and think of 100+ headlines. Instead, they looked at what worked and made it relevant to their ad. The ad itself has broad emotional appeal: everyone wants to land a great job and, if something promises to help, it’s worth a try.

Let’s look at another example. The creator of Six Pack Shortcuts successfully re-purposed the Pimsleur language course headline: “Language Professors Hate Him” (for trivializing their profession by teaching an easier language learning method).

The result? The Six Pack Shortcuts chose the headline: “Personal Trainers Hate Him…”, built a YouTube video around the idea, and it outperformed everything they tested. A big part of human psyche is wondering “why?” when we hear something clever or unknown; this headline plays to our innate curiosity.

Language Professors Hate Him

In the marketing space, an analogous headline for Mouseflow would be “High-Priced Agencies Hate This Tool…”(alluding to the fact that you don’t need an expensive firm to optimize your site). A companion ad could focus on how anyone can optimize their site with session replay and heatmaps.

How to Apply This to Your Market

So, how do you get started? My recommendation is to go to Google Images and search “magazine covers”. As you look through, notice the headlines in use on the front page: “10 Days to [Blank] Without Even Trying”“What the Experts Know About [Blank] That’s Hiding in Plain Sight”, or “3 Ways to Increase [Blank] and Have Customers Beg for More”.

As you search, take note of your favorites and try to substitute relevant keywords/content into the headlines. When you get a decent list (8-10 headlines), it’s time to start testing!

We’d love to see what headlines you come up with. Please leave a comment below.

This post is by Jasper Kuria at the Conversion Wizards. Got a question? Please write a comment below or email blog+conversionwizards@mouseflow.com (we are also knowledgeable on the following subjects: Web Analytics, Tagging, PPC, SEM, Email Marketing.

And, stay tuned for the next posts in this series on crafting powerful headlines. You won’t want to miss it.

 

How to Tie ROI to Marketing With Mouseflow

In the past, companies would run ads in newspapers and on billboards while trying to measure revenue via phone calls and mentions. With digital marketing, we no longer have to guess or assume because we have real information and data points to know what works.

By collecting information with tools like Mouseflow, you can grow and scale your revenue without having to guess or make assumptions. This makes it easier to be successful whether you’re a newcomer or an industry veteran to online marketing.

So, let’s talk about a few ways to do this through Affiliate/Influencer Marketing and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising.

Affiliate Marketing

Your affiliates only get paid when they make a sale (assuming you have a value adding affiliate program). This is why a tool like Mouseflow is a must-have for your company. By measuring where and how an affiliate’s audience engages, you can help them maximize their revenue streams which, in turn, makes them more loyal to you.

This means your first priority is to convince the affiliate with that they should install Mouseflow on their own site.

I tested a few different strategies and here’s what works best:

  1. Install Mouseflow on your own site and start collecting data.
  2. After a few weeks, download/export heatmaps of your most visited pages and send them to the affiliate. In this email, include details to narrate what they’re looking at. You can annotate the screenshots themselves or type up a full document to go along with it. The important thing is to emphasize you’re tracking what is or isn’t clicked, visible, or engaging. And, this will be important for the next step.
  3. Offer to add their site to your Mouseflow account at no cost (and give them access to the data, too). Even if they only let you add the code to one page, watch the data and send them updates along the way. Keep the focus on the prize: you’re after critical data that can help both parties make money.

Next, you’ll want to explore different options for what type of placement works best: CPM, CPC, or affiliate links. The heatmaps will tell you which is best.

CPM

If you notice there is little to no engagement (as measured by the movement heatmap and attention heatmap), buy CPM ads. You’re paying for 1000 impressions and it’s the best way to stretch your dollar when it’s hard to engage an audience. This is a broad strategy – you’re looking to cast a wide net.

Click Heatmap - Low Engagement

CPC

If you notice there are clicks (as measured by the click heatmap) but there are few conversions (as measured by funnels and form reports), this is a more profitable strategy. Why? It allows you to be more targeted – only paying for actual clicks on ads (not just straight impressions like CPM). The audience shows it clicks on targeted content; you control whether they convert.

Click Heatmap - High Engagement

Affiliate Links

If you notice there is a lot of engagement and clicks (as measured by the movement, attention, and click heatmaps), affiliate links may be the most profitable. The audience is reading the content, so placing affiliate links within the flow of text and images should perform well. The key here is to stay relevant – don’t add links for discounted car parts or repairs on a new car buyers’ page.

Movement Heatmap - High Engagement

Scroll Heatmap - High Visibility

By using Mouseflow in this manner (before you run ads), you find what converts at a fraction of the cost of buying the ads and waiting to see how they perform (which could be good or bad). In turn, your target will probably want to promote you more because you went out of your way for them. You can read more about how to charge for ad space.

PPC

If you haven’t been doing PPC because of how expensive it can be, having keyword data gives you a great starting point. You can use this data to find the perfect affiliates for your niche and work in reverse – building landing pages for each major keyword. But, how can you benefit from using Mouseflow?

Once you add Mouseflow to your landing pages, you can use click, movement, scroll, and attention heatmaps to know what is most interesting to users, where to locate key elements, what’s visible (or not), and where they spend their time.

You can start A/B testing different versions of pages to adjust the size, location, and text of key elements. I recommend building 2-3 different versions for each landing page which test the following (based on what you learn from the heatmaps):

  • Headlines
  • Call-to-Action (CTA) Buttons
  • Forms (Number of Fields, Number of Steps, Labels for Fields)
    • Testimonials  Heatmaps Next, look at your geo heatmap to determine which locations work best. You’ll find that, for one reason or another, specific cities, states, and countries outperform the rest. You can use this data to adjust your targeting strategy to focus on what works and eliminate what doesn’t. Best of all, you save money because your budget is allocated to the best possible locations.                                                                         Geo Heatmap
    • If you’re in a niche where leads and sales matter, having data to make decisions is a must. A tool like Mouseflow is one of the most important things we use in our agency for affiliate marketing. Without the information it provides, we would be stuck with assumptions. Plus, if you use Mouseflow to help another marketer, you build good will and a relationship founded on mutual respect.So, if you don’t already have a Mouseflow account, why not try it today? It’s free to sign up and easy to use.

      Let us know what you think in the comments below.

      This post is by Adam Riemer at the Adam Reimer Marketing. He has been helping companies, bloggers, and organizations scale their revenue through SEO, affiliate management, and ROI-driven marketing for over a decade. Visit his blog for free advice, tips, and to find out how he can help you grow. Got a question? Please write a comment below or email blog+adamriemer@mouseflow.com.

9 Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert – Part 3 of 9

This is part 3 of 9 in our series: 9 Proven Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert.

This is a technique popularized by Dan Kennedy. The rationale behind it is that people buy things for a few reasons but are always persuaded by “hidden benefits”.

In most headlines, articulating a hidden benefit can lead to a higher conversion rate because everyone else in the market states the obvious – you will be unique.

This allows you to form a bond with the prospect because the two of you now share an insider secret.

The Hidden Benefit Technique

As an example, we could care less about recruiting; all we really want to do is: play (wink, wink)… golf!

Golf Report

[Image courtesy of Dan Kennedy]

In this image, Dan Kennedy found out a hidden benefit by simply hanging out at recruiter events. He noticed that they always seemed to talk about playing golf. So, why not capitalize on the trend and adapt his marketing to fit? It was an instant winner.

For one of our fitness offers, we discovered the following hidden benefit: a significant percentage of men over the age of 45 want to get fit to set a good example for their children. We initially assumed their primary reasons were health and sexual attractiveness. We were dead wrong!

Putting it Together

It’s important to think about your own market: is there a hidden benefit? Test a landing page that clearly articulates it. As with all things CRO, always be testing! Soon enough, you’ll identify 3-5 hidden benefits that resonate with prospects.

We like benefits that appeal to a wide audience. Yes, it’s important that readers “get it” right away, but you must also maintain the cleverness that comes with being a hidden benefit and avoid sounding too gimmicky.

So, why not give it a try? And, be sure to post examples of your favorite headlines in the comments below.

This post is by Jasper Kuria at the Conversion Wizards. Got a question? Please write a comment below or email blog+conversionwizards@mouseflow.com (we are also knowledgeable on the following subjects: Web Analytics, Tagging, PPC, SEM, Email Marketing.

And, stay tuned for the next posts in this series on crafting powerful headlines. You won’t want to miss it.

 

9 Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert – Part 2 of 9

This is part 2 of 9 in our series: 9 Proven Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert.

The “Four U’s Technique” is perhaps the most cited but least used (in practice) method. In this method, you simply come up with a statement that meets the following criteria:

  • Ultra-Specific
  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Unique

If you search for landing page headlines, online/print ads, odds are that you won’t find one that has all four elements.

Yes, having all of these elements imposes constraints. In many ways, it is like the perfect weight loss or financial plan that’s hard to follow.

But, when it works, it really works. We tested it on our own pages and pulled successful examples from the web.

Let’s take a closer look.

Useful

The Useful element, in short, must be how you satisfy readers’ WIIFM Filter (“What’s In It For Me?”). The more a prospect perceives personal gain after reading your headline, the more time they will spend on your landing page and the higher the likelihood of a conversion.

Ultra-Specific

If you want to be believable, embrace specificity over generality . We verified this time and again in our own A/B split tests.

Of the two headlines below, the first wildly outperforms the second for email opt-ins.

  • “We Help Companies Grows Sales by 32.4% (on avg) in 6-12 Weeks”
  • “We Help Companies Grows Sales 20% — 30% in 6-12 Weeks”

In a similar way, the folks at Ivory discovered that it’s better to state their product is “99.4% pure” instead of “100% pure”. Who knew?

Ivory

[Image courtesy of Amazon]

In the early 2000s, internet marketer Yanik Silver created an offer called “33 Days to Online Profits”. It did extremely well.

But, I doubt it would have done as well if it were called “30 Days To Online Profits”. After all, 33 is more specific than 30.

33 Days to Online Profits

[Image courtesy of Yaniv Silver]

Of course, some people go overboard with specificity. Most notably, legendary copywriter Dan Kennedy and his disciples who write headlines like this:

“How 32,811 small business owners increased their profits on average $6,947.11 by attending my seminar at the location, Latitude 47.6080 and Longitude -122.33516”

Okay, I exaggerated a little but, you get the point. The rationale for doing this is that there is a certain type of prospect (the analytical) for whom this headline is golden.

These folks make up 25% of the population and, since you do not have a live sales person to tailor the message to the personality type, the headline and landing page should include elements that appeal to every type of prospect.

Dan Kennedy headlines tend to be like Nigerian Bollywood movie titles: they give away the entire plot in the title. For example:

“The Story of The Guy who dated his mother’s cousin at 3pm on a Sunday in Abuja, Ate a Plate of Yam Fufu and Okra soup and then died.”

Yikes! He left nothing on the table. But, somehow, you’d still watch it.

Urgent

Urgency is the toughest thing to get right in a headline. The headline’s only job is to get the person to read the rest of the landing page; whereas the landing page’s job is to sell and close.

With urgency, you try to close a sale before building desire. You must first build desire by articulating the benefits of your offer on the landing page. It’s a lot like dating.

It’s important to remember that urgency only works when the offer is well known to the prospects. For example:

“Your Last Chance to Get Microsoft Office 365 at 30% OFF. Act NOW. Offer Ends 11:59am 3/30/2016”

Unique

The first quality of a good headline is it should be a “stopper” — it should stop the prospect dead in their tracks and make them pay attention!

You are far more likely to succeed at building a “stopper” by being unique over just rehashing the familiar. Nobody wants that!

To be unique, you must have a stronger underlying value proposition. The theory behind value proposition holds that the two most important elements of an offer are appeal and exclusivity. And, the attractiveness of your offer’s value proposition is vastly diluted by the number of similar competing options or alternatives.

Where's the Exclusivity

[Image courtesy of Dr. Flint McLaughlin of MECLABS]

We searched and found that one of the most successful unique headlines is by Domino’s Pizza:

“Fresh, Hot Pizza Delivered To You In 30 Minutes Or Less Or Your Money Back”

How great is that? It’s clear, concise, measurable, and says a lot about their brand.

Dominos

[Image courtesy of Groupon]

Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza, re-imagined the delivery pizza market. This example shows that the uniqueness of a headline works best when it isn’t simply a bolt-on addition but, rather, a quality of the underlying value proposition.

Tom “invented a new insulated pizza box to improve delivery. The new box, unlike its chipboard predecessors, could be stacked without crushing the pizzas inside – permitting more pizzas per trip and keeping them warm until they arrived.” Brilliant!

This post is by Jasper Kuria at the Conversion Wizards. Got a question? Please write a comment below or email blog+conversionwizards@mouseflow.com (we are also knowledgeable on the following subjects: Web Analytics, Tagging, PPC, SEM, Email Marketing.

And, stay tuned for the next posts in this series on crafting powerful headlines. You won’t want to miss it.

 

9 Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert – Part 1 of 9

This is part 1 of 9 in our series: 9 Proven Techniques for Writing Headlines that Convert.

John Caples, the famous copywriter, once said: “The headline is the most important part of an ad”. If he were alive today, he would argue that it’s also the most important part of a landing page.

You keep hearing stories where a simple headline change (and nothing else) results in a significant conversion lift.

In one test John conducted, the winning headline outperformed the control by a factor of 19x. Yes, that means N-I-N-E-T-E-E-N times more revenue!

And, keep in mind, the losing headline wasn’t one contrived to prove his point. It was a real headline written by a professional copywriter that performed well enough to be considered a control. But, clearly, something else is at work. Read on to uncover the secret…

The Power of Persuasion

In 2012, the Obama campaign re-learned this important lesson about headlines. They tested the subject lines of fundraising e-mails. The result? “I will be outspent” raised $2.6m; whereas “Do this for Michelle” only raised about $700,000.

Later, the same thing happened when the A/B tested various headlines in banner ads. The results are mind-boggling.

Obama Ads

So, given that headlines are so important in Conversion Rate Optimization, you need to learn how to craft winners. Here are 9 proven techniques that you can customize and use today:

Three Factors: Personal Benefit, News Value & Curiosity

This is my personal favorite method, pioneered by John Caples. He believed that good headlines need at least one of these important factors as the main appeal element. Read on to see how…

Personal Benefit

As people, we filter everything by the rule of WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me?”). The more a prospect perceives personal gain after reading your headline, the more time they will spend on your landing page and the higher the likelihood of a conversion.

If you know your market well, this is the easiest type of headline to write. It is also the least likely to produce outright duds. On the flip side, it is harder to produce runaway winners because, if the market is mature (as most markets are), prospects will have heard just about every claim.

A good practice when writing personal benefit headlines is using a “How To…” statement. Below are some examples:

  • “How To Lose Weight”
  • “How To Form Your Own Corporation”
  • “How To Win Friends and Influence People”

If you use a simple “How To” headline, you earn a 5 out of 10 on our grade scale. You also don’t actually have to say “How To” but, instead, can allude to it.

If you add a contingency to the headline, you earn a 7 out 10 on our grade scape. This is a handy technique – basically a “How To” with a twist. Here are a few examples:

  • “How To Form Your Own Corporation Without a Lawyer for Just $75”
  • “How To Lose Weight In 30 Days Without Excessive Dieting”
  • “How To Paint Cars Like a Pro in 2 Hours or Less”

News Value

The second type of successful headline is the one with some news value. Here are a few examples:

  • “Announcing: A New Way To Get More Rose Bushes From Your Plants”
  • “Finally: A New Cure For Low Blood Sugar”
  • “Scientists In Cambridge Discover a New Testosterone Formula” (Force Factor)

It’s important to note that the news value generally ties in a personal benefit but, the key appeal element is that there is new or novel way to do something. The method is usually easier, cheaper, faster or all three combined.

Curiosity

The third type of headline is the curiosity headline. Some of the most successful headlines in history have been curiosity headlines but, they can also have a higher failure rate. A safe approach is to start with a “How To” headline and then test some variations.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Do You Make These Common English Mistakes?” (used to sell an English course)
  • “They Laughed When I Sat Down at The Piano. But When I Began to Plano…” (famously used by John Caples to sell a music/piano playing course)

For one of our clients in the health and fitness space, the best headline is a curiosity headline. Since weight loss is one of the most competitive and saturated markets, a “How To” headline is less effective.

We find that curiosity headlines also work especially well then tied to a story. Here are some classic examples:

  • “How I Raised Myself from a Failure to Success in Selling”
  • “How I Quit My Job, Paid My Debts, and Found Joy in Cooking”
  • “The Story of Two Men Who Fought in the Civil War” (by Bruce Barton, used in selling a business course)                                                                                                                    Civil War HeadlineWhen writing headlines using the Three Factors technique, it is important to maintain believability. A headline with a healthy dose of personal appeal, news value, and curiosity will flop if it lacks believability.

    For instance, the following headline would fail in the weight loss/fitness space, even if we had a product that did what it claims:

    “Finally! Scientists in Mongolia Discover a New Way to Lose 50 Pounds of Fat in 24 hours Flat Without Dieting or Exercise.”

    John Caples advised that whatever you promise in a headline should sound easy to attain. If you are promoting a TV repair kit, talk of “fixing” rather than “repairing” as the latter sounds like a lot more work than the former.

    This post is by Jasper Kuria at the Conversion Wizards. Got a question? Please write a comment below or email blog+conversionwizards@mouseflow.com (we are also knowledgeable on the following subjects: Web Analytics, Tagging, PPC, SEM, Email Marketing.

    And, stay tuned for the next posts in this series on crafting powerful headlines. You won’t want to miss it.

See Your Most Frustrated Users

Wouldn’t it be great to measure the sentiment of your online users? Especially: the frustrated ones that spend a lot of time on your website only to wind up in a dead end (or a dead link).

At Mouseflow, we spent the last 6 years helping website owners analyze their users’ online behavior. And, we discovered a behavioral pattern that can be used to find really frustrated users. Have you ever felt like this when using a website?

Click Rage

If you want to avoid having users like that on your website, read on.

Introducing click rage

We have implemented the recognition of the click rage pattern in all Mouseflow accounts. This means that these recordings will be tagged “click-rage” whenever Mouseflow detects extreme frustration resulting in rapid-fire clicks. You can see the tag in the recording list, and if you expand the Pages dropdown, you can find the exact pageview(s) that caused so much frustration.

Click Rage

You can see the tag directly in the session overview and if you want to find out which pageview(s) had the error, click the pages button, and use our “waterfall view” to see where the problem occurs.

During playback, it’s easy to locate the exact place the click rage was detected. Look for bright yellow coloration in the timeline.

An example from our own site

We recently performed our own UX study and we found a bug that was well hidden. The only reason we discovered it was by noticing click rage. See below (around 0:38s):

Click Rage

The problem was that the downgrade button didn’t work. It didn’t throw any errors – it was downright dead. You can see the user getting more and more frustrated.

How to find these sessions

In Mouseflow, you can search for all sessions containing the “click-rage” tag. Just click the filter icon, open the dropdown under “Tags” to select “click-rage”, and then click “Apply”. This will display the list of all sessions containing rapid fire clicks (frustration) – ready for you to analyze.

Calm those users down.

This new feature is available on your account today. So, why don’t you go calm down those users and turn them into happy customers?

The click rage feature is available on all plans. Log in to your account or sign up for a free plan to try it out.

We’d love to hear about your findings in the comments below.

Sources: Skype emoji (computerrage)

Preset Tag Meanings

 

Introducing JavaScript Error Tracking

We’ve all been in that situation. You’ve spent a long time shopping for the right products. When you try to check out, you click the Next button and …nothing happens. You click a few more times, but the button is dead. You go back, frantically clicking other buttons, but nothing works. Frustrated, you search for the products elsewhere.

When a JavaScript error happens on a website, it’s a showstopper. The error isn’t directly visible for the average user, so not much happens. The sale is lost, and what’s worse: trust is lost.

Read on if you’d like to fix this.

Click Error

Why JavaScript errors are hard to avoid

JavaScript errors can be really hard to avoid because of the many different client configurations out there. They can be caused by unsupported functions in old browsers or less-known mobile ones (when was the last time you tested your checkout flow on Blackberry 10 browser?). But, they also arise from unexpected client state: users with a strange timezone or who clear a certain cookie after logging in, or who first add a product to the cart, then delete it, then re-add it. You get the point.

And traditionally these errors have been hard to track down – not least because most people are unaware of the errors happening and, alas, can’t report them.

Some websites use dedicated tools for logging all JavaScript errors, but they still have a hard time reproducing the steps that led to the error. And, sadly:

”Too few websites log JavaScript errors.” — Karl Seguin

Mouseflow to the rescue

As a natural extension to our session replay, we’ve added JavaScript Error tracking. Instead of being in the dark, we now give you error tracking super powers. Each time a click triggers an error, we tag the session so it’s easy to discover.

Click Error

You can see the tag directly in the Recording list and, if you want to find out which pageview(s) had the error, our waterfall view tells you where to look.

During playback, we also show where errors occur in the timeline. This makes it easier than ever to track down, reproduce, and fix the problem.

Click Error

The warning signs appear above the clicks that triggered the error. The same warning sign also appears next to the click visualization itself so you’re absolutely sure which click triggers the problem. The image below shows a bug we found in the wizard plugin we use for our own application.

Click Error

How to find these sessions

In Mouseflow, you can search for all sessions containing the “click-error” tag. Just click the filter icon, open the dropdown under “Tags” to select “click-error”, and then click “Apply”. This will display the list of all sessions containing these errors – ready for you to analyze.

Boost your helpdesk and chat

You can integrate Mouseflow with your favorite helpdesk and chat software, attaching the playback URL directly to your support ticket or chat session. Then you don’t have to ask the user how to reproduce the problem – you simply watch exactly how it happened. Read our integration examples for Olark and Zopim. See our integration options here. If you’re using other tools, just ask us and we probably have a way to integrate.

Go squash those bugs!

This new feature is available on your account today – regardless of your plan! So, why not go hunt down and fix those bugs?

Log in to your account or sign up for a free plan to try it out.

 

New Promo Site, Plans and Tons of Features

It’s a special day at Mouseflow! We’re launching a brand new promo siteimproved plans, and tons of new features. It’s a great time to use Mouseflow, too.

If I look back, it’s mind-boggling to see how much has changed. A year ago, we had a sub-optimal interface which lacked many of the core features we have today. In August, we launched a new look-and-feel and, over the next few months, added FunnelsForm Analytics and Live Segmenting/Filtering.

We’ve received tons of great feedback from our customers. Our customer count grew from 40,000 to more than 60,000, too. Best of all, we’re not done yet. Read on.

Our Commitment

We want to be the tool of choice for serious marketersproduct teams, and those who want to increase conversions on their website. We’ll do whatever it takes to obtain that goal. Today, we’re launching a new website where we’ll deliver regular insights on usability, conversion optimization, and web analytics.

New Features

We’re excited to announce these awesome new features – available today:

  • User Identification: Add names or emails to your website users through our JS API (or manually in the web UI). This lets you follow the journey of individual users across all their sessions.
  • Weekly Email Reports: Get a digest of the previous week’s metrics and charts right in your inbox. This helps you uncover key changes in behavior to make improvements sooner.
  • Error Tracking: Is your website throwing JS errors when users click certain elements? You get full visibility and can see exactly where the error happened. We’re a debugging tool, too!
  • Click-Rage Detection: This one’s cool! You can now find frustrated users that click elements in a specific pattern. Simply search for the tag click-rage under Recordings.
  • CSS Caching: Some website platforms modify references to static assets (CSS, etc.) on each deployment (yes, I’m looking at you, Magento). This could cause recordings to play without styling because the original file(s) no longer exist. Now, we cache all such files in our platform so this is history.
  • Improved Playback: A few months ago, we introduced a new playback method that supports highly dynamic websites, including single-page apps using modern web frameworks. We refined it even further and are proud to see such pinpoint accuracy in our recordings.

We’ll be writing more about these features over the coming days, so stay tuned.

New Plans

We changed our plans. The free-forever plan still exists, but has all features enabled now. This includes HTTPS playback and playback behind login – both weren’t available previously. The Small plan is being replaced by the Starter plan with 2.5x as many sessions. The Growth plan is replacing the Medium plan, and the XL plan is now simply Pro. We’re also aligning the USD and EUR prices.

Don’t worry: existing users will be grandfathered on their plan for 6 months. If you’re on the Large plan, you are free to stay there forever or try the new Pro plan (which we recommend).

Updated Terms & Privacy Policy

We updated our Terms and Privacy Policy.

More to Come

We’re growing faster than ever and adding team members so we can continue enhancing our product and providing awesome support. As always, we’d love to hear from you if you have ideas for new features or enhancements – just use the comment section below.