Overview: This week on Digital Conversations, Billy is joined by Chris Dayley. He goes over his three stage method to website conversion rate optimization. He also shares tools to help with A/B testing webpages and suggestions on where to start optimizing.
Guest: Chris Dayley- My company helps businesses see an average of 30% increases in revenue on their websites using A/B testing strategies. I have been in the world of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for 8 years now, and have developed a proven 3 step strategy that has generated results for hundreds of companies. Connect with him on LinkedIn!
Billy: Alright everyone, welcome to Digital Conversations. I am your host Billy Bateman. Today I’m joined by Chris Dayley, co owner of Smart CRO. How are you doing?
Chris: I’m good. Thanks for having me on the show.
Billy: Really excited to have you on Chris. So we’re talking about conversion rate optimization today. You’re the expert. So, before we get into that, for anyone listening, if you like what you hear, remember to rate and review the podcast and subscribe so you can get these every week. And with that, I’m gonna just have you introduce yourself, Chris, for those that don’t know you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and about Smart CRO.
Chris: Yes, I’m a longtime digital marketer, about 11 years and digital marketing. About nine years ago, I started to focus on conversion rate optimization, which is really focused on getting people to convert on the website. Obviously, conversion spans the full length of the marketing funnel. But I’m focused primarily on doing A/B testing on websites. So my company Smart CRO, we help companies run split tests on their website. So we do all the design development. And if you have a good A/B testing program, you should regularly be seeing 10 to 20% lifts in your conversion rates. That’s typically what we’re seeing with our customers. And so a lot of companies will bring us in, if they’re not seeing results on their A/B testing efforts.
Billy: Great. So when you get started working, what first, what kind of companies do you guys typically work with?
Chris:We’re focused mostly on e-commerce, we work with lead generation companies from time to time. But ecommerce is just so easy. I mean, if you increase conversion rates, you increase revenue. On the lead gen side of things, you can still have a massive impact. But you have to have your sales funnel pretty dialed in, I can’t tell you how many times, I’ll come in and say, Hey, we increased conversion rates by 20%. And they’ll say, Yeah, but the leads suck. Well, okay, yeah, that’s one consequence of increasing conversion rates. But we primarily focus on e commerce, tech businesses.
Billy: Awesome. Even though most of our audience and our customers are b2b, I really think one of the things I believe in is a mentor of mine, Ken Krogue, who was a co founder and inside sales. When I worked on the marketing team there, he would bring us in and show us what b2c websites were doing. And he’d be telling us, hey, these guys are always a few years ahead of us. So we needed to look at what they’re doing and see how we can translate that to the b2b world for our website and for inside sales.
And so I’ve always been a big believer in look at what’s going on in e commerce or whatever it is, in a b2c world online and see what you can model because they’re usually ahead of us. So when you guys start working with a company, what’s your process? If you’re going to come in and you’re going to start running a split test? Where do you look first? for things to start working on?
Chris:Yeah, so I’ve got a three step process, I’ll talk to you quickly. The great thing is the principles that we’ll chat about are equally applicable to E comm, and b2b or lead Gen. But so because the process of conversion rate optimization is about figuring out what does our audience want to see on our website. So usually in step one of my testing process, I call it the existence phase. Basically, what you want to do in the existence phase of testing. Is you want to figure out, do we have the right stuff on the website to begin with? Nothing sucks worse than you start doing testing with a bunch of assumptions in your mind. Thinking that everything on your website is working well already. When in reality, most of the stuff that’s on there. Either shouldn’t be there or isn’t very dialed in.
So in step one of the process, what I do is I typically will go through and test removing things from the site. This usually makes SEO people nervous, because we might test removing content. And they’ll go Oh, what what’s gonna happen to our SEO results if we remove content? I always respond to that with Don’t worry, I’m not saying that we’re going to remove this content.
What we’re trying to figure out in step one of the process is what are the things that matter to our audience? Because there’s one of three results that you can get from a from a split test, you either have a winner, which is great, you have a loser, which is also great, or you have no impact. No impact means the thing that you tested doesn’t matter at all to your audience. And so these are the things that we want to figure out early on in testing process What does and does not matter to our audience.
So if we remove a paragraph of content from the page, do conversion rates go up or down or nothing happens? If conversion rates go up, then that means that that content shouldn’t be there in the first place, right. So we should probably just get rid of it. And usually, if removing content improves conversion rates, it will also improve your organic rankings. If removing content decreases conversion rates, then we know that content should be there. And then guess what our next test is going to be refining that content. All right, we know this content is useful.
Now in step two, let’s make it better. Let’s see what happens if we take our paragraph and turn it into a bullet point list. And let’s see what happens if we take that paragraph and turn it into three paragraphs. So let’s see what happens if instead of focusing on the benefits of our service, we focus on the pain points that you’re experiencing as a customer. Right? So step one is about figuring out, do we have the right stuff, step two is about refining the stuff that we have.
And then in Step three, we’re going to test adding new stuff to the site is where we might test new features, new designs, that kind of stuff. And so, again, I don’t come in with any presupposed ideas, I don’t come in and tell my clients, Oh, we got to get that video off the page, or, hey, we need that video on the page. We’re coming in. And we’re trying to learn what the audience wants.
Billy: Awesome. So when you guys are running those tests, what are your best practices for which tools to implement to even just run tests? Because I know, everyone always is like, Oh, we need to be testing things. But I think a lot of organizations, especially smaller new organizations, they’re not even sure like, Hey, what’s the easy way to get started?
Chris: Yeah, so there’s two tools that are really simple to get started with. If you’re doing landing pages. Unbounce is an excellent tool. I mean, pretty much any landing page tool out there has A/B testing functionality built in. Unbounce is probably the easiest and the lowest barrier way to get started, you don’t really need a designer developer to even get the page up. And then it’s really simple to split test. For website testing, I always start my clients with Google Optimize, Google Optimize is free, you can run up to five A/B tests in there. And you’ve got the benefit of data on your side.
Billy: Awesome. I love it. So you’ve got your process that you come in? What are usually the things you start testing? Let’s stick to e-comm? You know, what do you see is the best practices at the place where you’re going to make the biggest impact?
Chris: I’ll tell you the two places that I typically see the biggest impact. One is testing value propositions. So again, this is equally applicable to eecom and, and b2b. But if you think about a given page layout, your most, most websites and most webpages have more content that you can put above the fold. So you’ve got all this content on your page.
I always will start by asking companies, how did you decide what content to put at the top of your page? They’ll usually have some really great justification for why all the stuff is there. Oh, well, we put our customer reviews because everyone tells us that reviews are important. Oh, we put our shipping policy up on the top. But for b2b, it might be like, Oh, we put our demo Request button on the top. Why do we do that? Because that’s our most important offering.
The bottom line is none of those answers have anything to do with data. It all has to do with why you think that information should be at the top right? People tell us that they like our reviews, that’s not data. That’s just some anecdotal information that you have. And so one of the first things that I start with with my clients is, let’s test three or four different versions of this page. And let’s have each version focus on a single value proposition.
So what I will usually do is I’ll say, What are all of your value propositions? What are the reasons that people work with you? Oh, we’re cheaper. We got the best expertise. We’ve got free returns or for b2b, it might be like we’ve got, we get results and under a week, we see 20% gains in revenue. We save you 10% of your time. We can help you fire that person that you’ve always wanted to fire or see how productive your employees are blah, blah, blah.
I mean, you can get a list of 10 value propositions pretty quick. And so then what I’ll do is I’ll go Okay, this is great, excellent list to work with. Now, the current website says, we’re the most amazing team ever get a free quote today. Let’s have one variation that focuses on Save 10%. So up at the top of the page. We focus on that value proposition, save 10%, on your budgets with your agency, or whatever. Second variation is five out of five star reviews with over 100 reviews. And here’s one of our customer reviews, boom, we pop the customer view up there. And then our fourth variation is we get back to you within an hour on all requests. So it’s all about customer service maybe you have a fourth or fifth variation in there. That’s like all of your credentials.
So it’s like rated number one, business by C net, or whatever it is, whatever your credentials are. Then you’re going to split test all of those, because what this is immediately going to do this type of test almost always generates a result, because the first value proposition you have on the page is your hook. And if you are focused on the wrong hook, for example, if your headline says, I’m making you a better business today, or in other words, we don’t have any specific value proposition for you. That’s what is going to either drive people and compel people to read more, or to leave your page immediately.
When you start testing these value propositions, you’re going to find out really quickly, what’s my strongest value proposition. And then on my next test is going to be once we figure out which headline or which initial value prop works the best, then the second test is always going to be whatever your winning headline was. Or a long review, or a specific review, or a general review, whatever, right?
But that’s going to be the first place that I start, same thing with content, again, we might test removing content, but our second test is going to be what order should the content be, and what paragraph should be first and second, and third, and fifth? And then once I figure out what our strongest paragraph of content is, I’m going to go in and test the formatting of that paragraph. Again, should it be one sentence or three sentences or five sentences or 10? Let’s just refine it and figure out what the ideal length of content is in there. But those two things between value propositions and content, I typically see 20 to 30% gains in conversion rates, just testing those two things.
Billy: Awesome. It makes sense that value proposition, you’ve got a couple seconds for us to say, okay, like, this is a fit, and what’s what I want, or it’s not. So it makes sense to be do the value prop, then the content. So let me ask you this, then from the E-comm to B to B. What do you see that translates between the two worlds?
Chris: Yeah, so one of the things that tends to work really well on e commerce is testing mobile specific features. And so when I say mobile specific features, I mean, stuff that’s not relevant at all, the desktop. So one thing that has worked really well on E-comm is testing things like scrolling call to action buttons, because you have such limited screen space. People typically are gonna have to scroll a lot on your pages versus on desktop, you might be able to just totally overload them with a ton of content in a single screen on mobile, all that stuff’s gonna get crammed down. And so you’re gonna have super long pages. So things like scrolling call to action buttons, things that if you think about the accessibility of a mobile user, what’s harder for them on mobile. It’s harder for them to consume more content, right?
And so that works equally well on E COMM And on Lead Gen. We’re also going to look for when we’re thinking about mobile specific. If you are in b2b, you’re probably going to be driving or at least open for phone calls. It’s way easier for people to call when they’re on their mobile device. People hate picking up their mobile device when they’re on a desktop computer. So they have to type in the stupid phone number and it takes forever. But on mobile, having like a click to call button so a mobile specific call to action. That’s click to call and again, where’s that located?
Let’s maybe let’s have it scroll up and down the page. Let’s have it at the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen or the bottom of every page, whatever it is. Those types of things again on E comm, what we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be testing the Add to Cart button on lead gen, we’re just we’re just testing the call us button or the get a free quote button to get your form to pop up, right.
So the principles are the same, the call to action is just different. The other thing that translates really well from ecomm to lead gen, or things that are very similar between e commerce and lead gen is things like testing page length. So a lot of times on e commerce. I will test for clients that like started on Kickstarter. For example, they started selling their product on Kickstarter. It is a Kickstarter page, it’s a landing page, it’s a lead gen page, basically. But instead of getting a lead, you’re getting a donation or I don’t even remember they’re calling it starting and getting someone to put money up for your product.
Those pages are very similar to a b2b lead gen page. It’s a long form page with lots of different features. And so one thing that works really well in here is testing page length, and testing where we should place our call to action. Right? So should it be up at the top? Should we have a call to action? After every paragraph? Should we have a call to action only at the bottom? Those are things that again, I’m testing all the time on both ecommerce and lead gen in it. And they almost always generate some kind of impact.
Billy: Cool. So let me ask you on the call to actions. This is debate we’ve had at our, at our company a few times, how many call to actions, like, I know it’s going to be different for every customer. But what are the trends that you see? Should you just have one call to action on a page? multiple places? What do you think?
Chris: It depends, but what I’ve seen work well, typically, the fewer call to actions you have, the more powerful those call to actions are. What happens is as you start adding more and more call to actions, it dilutes each one. Now that may be helpful if you have multiple different service offerings. But I’ll tell you something on the e commerce side of things, I’m usually if I look at like a homepage of an e commerce site. E-commerce companies love to just dump all of their products on their homepage.
I have found usually is the fewer products you have, the more product you sell, the more revenue you generate. Because the more products you have, the more you try to like exploit your customers to all these different offerings, the more confusing it is for them, the more overwhelmed they feel. And it takes more mental energy to try to decide which one. So usually, the fewer choices you give people, the less brainpower it takes and the more action engagement you’re going to get on each one. So I mean, again, there’s not there’s not a specific number, that is the ideal number, but it’s probably fewer call to actions than you have now is my answer.
Billy: Awesome. I think it makes sense. Like, if you want people to do something, pick the one or two things you want them to do. And just stick to that rather than making them make the choice between 5, 10 different things.
Chris: So actually, we tested on one email. A split test with three call to actions on an email versus one and the version with one had 300% more clicks than the one with three call to actions. Both of them were just a single screen email. But just having that single call to action was simpler, easy to understand. And like I said, 300% more clicks. So again, I mean, I’m not saying you should always only have one. But it’s it’s usually this multiplier effect. Fewer call to actions you have you get significantly more engagement.
Billy: Yeah, awesome, man. Well, before I let you go, I want to just hit you with one more question. That’s should have asked you something else before we let you leave.
Chris: I guess in terms of a parting word, one of the biggest challenges that businesses have with doing split testing is letting go of their own assumption. So I can’t tell you how many times I’ll go in and work with a business. And I’ll suggest they remove something or change something and they’ll go, Oh, no, we don’t want to do that. I’ll say why. They’ll go well, we already know that our customers like that.
So one of the most critical mindsets that you need to have when you’re split testing is you need to be willing to challenge everything. You need to be willing to test everything on your website, including your babies, including the things that you think are guaranteed to work well. So be willing to challenge your assumptions, be willing to test the stuff that you really don’t want to test. That’ll help you be a lot more successful with split testing.
Billy: Awesome, Chris, I love it. before we let you go if people want to reach out and continue to connect conversation, what’s the best way for them to contact you?
Chris: Sure, I mean, you can email me Chris@ smart-CRO.com or people can reach out through LinkedIn or Twitter. And I’d be happy to answer any questions people have.
Billy: Okay, Thanks, Chris. And just a reminder, we have the Rev Tech Summit coming up. We’re going to be talking about all the different technologies people are using to drive pipeline and close more deals. You can register on revtech.com thanks for listening.