In an episode of Sales Lead Management (SLM) Radio, host Jim Obermayer picked SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash’s brain on the different chapters of the book Landing Page Optimization. Tim talked about why you should be focusing on conversion rate optimization (CRO) instead of driving traffic to your site.
Here are the highlights of the “Conversion Rate Optimization – the biggest failure on the web” interview:
What do you mean by “The Myth of the Perfect Conversion”?
Tim Ash: The assumption is everybody that shows up at your web site is ready to transact with you right now.
But that’s not the case.
There are the different stages in the buying process or the consideration process. And we are all affected by the Greedy Marketer Syndrome. We squeeze the bottom of the sales funnel for leads or sales to come out.
What we’re not doing very well is supporting the people higher up in the funnel who are just discovering you or are not sure about your brand or your product offerings. Or worse yet, if they’re in an even earlier stage, they’re not sure what their problem is. They just have a pain, and they want to get rid of it but they don’t know how. A good conversion strategy will support that – it will support with content every part of that buying process so you can slide them down the sales funnel instead of just trying to squeeze the bottom of it.
So you really encourage people to map out how someone buys, how you sell, and how you create the web page to contribute to that?
Tim Ash: Thirty years ago I studied with Prof. Don Norman at UC San Diego who literally wrote the book on user-centered design. I’m still surprised that, after all this time, most people are focused on the wrong thing. We’re focused on our company and this inside-out view of the world. Instead, we need to focus on whether the needs of the visitors are met and to try to walk a mile in their shoes with all the baggage, the information, the confusion, and the lack of attention that they’re bringing. Then, you’ll create a good web experience for them, and that will ring your cash register more often.
Why doesn’t the average digital agency spend more time on conversion?
Tim Ash: The problem with digital agencies is that they’re jack-of-all-trades, master of none. And where they get their bread buttered is by spending your money on media dollars, and not necessarily on the accountability of whether or not something is paying off and what’s happening to the bottom line. Agencies that are performance-based are the ones who are all over CRO because their goals are very much aligned with their clients’ goals.
Chapter 3 of your book is “The Matrix -Moving People to Act,” specifically roles, tasks, and decision-making process …
Tim Ash: The matrix is the notion of getting the right people through the right activities in the right order. It’s a way of doing an inventory to make sure you’re meeting the needs of all the important roles of people coming to your site – whether it’s a prospect, an existing client, or members of the media.
Then they have specific tasks. For Example, someone coming to an airline web site might want to change their flight, check their schedule, or change their seat – those are the specific reasons they’re there. Then there are the stages of the sales funnel – awareness, interest, desire, and action.
By doing this disciplined audit – checking if you’re supporting the right people to get them to the right activities in a stress-free way – you make sure there’s nothing missing on that rope bridge that you’re trying to create across the chasm.
I get frustrated every week when I’m on some of these sites and I’m trying to register for or buy things. It’s like nobody took the customer’s POV in designing these things.
Tim Ash: Marketers use a lot of jargon. We fill in a lot with our expert knowledge of our web site. The problem is, most people are novices – they show up at our web site, and they bring their own baggage, their ignorance, and their very short attention span.
On the web, people have the attention span of a lit match. If you’re not taking into account that my phone is ringing and I’ve got to pick up the kids in an hour, then you don’t have the context of my experience. You have to design for the ADD world that we all live in.
What kind of an ROI can people expect from CRO?
Tim Ash: Let’s just say that conversion rate optimization is probably the highest payoff online marketing activity you can and should be doing. ForeSee Research did a study, and CRO was rated as the number 1 thing that people are working on right now. It’s a force multiplier – it affects all of your traffic-driving activities and amplifies the profit from all of your channels. And it’s something you can do unilaterally by fixing your own site and landing pages. It’s a competitive advantage as long as your competitors aren’t smart enough to do the same.
Listen to the entire interview where Jim Obermayer and Tim Ash also discuss the 7 Deadly Sins of Landing Page Design.