WATCH THE RECORDED WEBINAR NOW

5 Common Conversion Pitfalls for B2B

You’ll Learn:

  • Why over designing and over innovating your website may be a conversion killer
  • How to run the type of A/B tests that will return significant results
  • 5 Pitfalls to Avoid on your B2B website
  • How jumping into marketing and advertising first will hurt your wallet

Who It’s For:

  • Business Owners With An Online Presence
  • Directors/Managers
  • Marketers
  • Copywriters
  • Graphic Designers

You just founded a start-up, or B2B company, or both. Congrats! Your first thought may be to sink your dollars into social media and advertising. Before you empty your wallet, you’ll want to know why this may not be the best route to take. Over the years, I’ve worked with many B2B companies, and learned many lessons along the way.

In this upcoming webinar you’ll learn about my journey to understanding how to optimize for an innovative, but also practical B2B website. There’s always room to improve and take your website to the next level. I’m eager to share my experiences with other entrepreneurs so you can avoid common mistakes and implement a high converting B2B website.

Transcription of the Webinar

The first question is, are you being too social?

 

I’m going to start off with a pretty strong opinion, something maybe a little polarizing here. I think social icons on websites are typically a really bad idea. There certainly is a time and place for it sometimes, but the problem doesn’t really discriminate it, it really plagues everyone. Take an example from someone like Shopify, even Shopify is plagued by this problem. Shopify is a top e-commerce platform, favorite of a lot of small, medium merchants. But, if you notice, if you scroll down to the bottom of their page they have their social media icons lined up at the bottom.

Someone in marketing said, let’s put the social media icons at the bottom of the page because that’s where people look for them and they’ll click on there and we can drive up our likes and our fans and it’ll be great. We’ll have a ton of fans! – Which is a good idea and concept, sometimes it’s overdone though. The problem is, if I’m close to shopping or signing up for a trial with Shopify, the things is, especially with an e-commerce platform of all things, once I start a trial, it’s hookline & sinker, I’m not getting out. So, the problem is one I click that Facebook icon I might land on Shopify’s Facebook site, but I’m also surfing memes of cats and I am stalking old friends, and I am browsing some of my funniest posts from 2012, so below and behold, I browse around to the point where all of a sudden I’m presented an ad for 3DCart Shopping Cart Software. Alright, so this is one of Shopify’s top competitors, so if you think of like Shopify, 3DCart, Magenta, are all pretty big e-commerce platforms. All of a sudden I’m presented this ad and I may click on this and now no longer am I like 95% sure I’m signing up with a trial for Shopify, it’s a pretty even split between Shopify and 3DCart and I actually might be leaning a little bit more towards 3DCart because it’s the last site that I saw. So, if I’m stacking them up in terms of feature functionality or whatever, it might be easier to just go ahead and start the trial with 3DCart and see how that goes first. So, I want to remind everybody here that as a business to business services we’re not here to do Facebook any favors, we’re not here to drive traffic to Facebook, we’re here to generate clients. So, I think the important thing here is the sort of treat it like a one way valve. Use social media, for the most part, to drive traffic to your website, but just be cautious about how you go about merchandising your social media icons because you may be sending people off to competitive waters and just throwing away prospects.

There is one exception I have to that rule and I’m going to use one of our own websites for that, Reap Marketing. On out ‘From The Founder’ page, you’ll see that one of the call’s-to-action I drive on this page is to get people to connect with me either through email or if you need more validation, for people who aren’t quite ready to fill in a form or pick up the phone to call me directly, I actually offer you the opportunity to click on my LinkedIn Resume, so you can click that button and it takes you to my LinkedIn page. So, exactly what I told you not to do, which is sending people to another social media site, but in this case I’ll propose to you, I’ll submit to you that this scenario is a little bit different because in my case, again with B2B companies. In my case, I am a LinkedIn sales navigator member, so by doing that I can see the profiles of all the people who looked at my profile. So, let me give you an example of what my sales navigator looks like. So, at the top I have the 4 profiles of 4 of the most recent people who clicked on that link and viewed my profile. Let look at them here.

Karen is the first one, she’s a regional manager, and I don’t yet know what company she’s with, but I certainly could look at her profile back and see if it’s a good fit for Reap. Second one is Erin Levzow, she’s the Vice President of Marketing at Freebirds World Burrito. Sounds like a pretty good opportunity, maybe I’ll follow up with her!

Andrea Beck, I don’t know who she is either, she’s the Director of Online ROI Marketing & Web Optimization at ACE Cash Express. Sounds like a pretty good prospect!

So, none of these people filled out forms, let me remind you, nobody filled out a form on our website. The last one is, Rick Lundbom, he is the Entrepreneur, Investor, & CEO at Living Direct. And, I actually happen to know this guy, he runs Living Direct, which is about a $50 million operation and houses about 10 other B2B ecommerce sites. I talked to this guy a year ago and I thought this opportunity was cold and I would never be able to close this deal, it went away and it looks like he’s trying to keep up with me and kinda what I’m doing these days. Maybe it’s a good opportunity to reach back out to him and see if we have an opportunity to work with this guy. So, at least 3 good deals here, or maybe a fourth.

So, let’s talk about now, I’m you and you don’t want to be a stalker back, what do I do with this? So, I’m going to give you a really good example here.

Let’s pick on Erin here for a second. If I don’t know Erin and I want to figure out if there’s an opportunity here, this is really simple. I just click the connect button, I do not use the default text in the connection message to LinkedIn, I customize it. And here’s how I’m going to do it. I’m going to send her a message within LinkedIn that says something like this:

 

Hi Erin!

 

I admit that I saw that you looked at my profile. I see you work for Freebirds. It would be a dream to work with you guys sometime in the future. We’ve worked with Maggiano’s for over 7 years!

 

I’d love to send you a copy of my book. Or you can reject my invitation of you don’t want me to bug you again, I’ll understand. 🙂

 

Best,

Brice

 

So, let me sort of dissect this for a second. In the first opening statement I admitted that I was counter stalking her and I came straight out with it. Second of all, I have an element of admiration here telling her that I like her company, it would be a dream to work for them. I also have validation, so I’m not just bugging for the business, I have validation that I actually could do a good job if she gave me a chance because we’ve been doing this for Maggiano’s for a long time. I’m offering her a freebie, I’m sending her a book. If you don’t have book, you could use something else, a consult or a trial, any of those things will work. And, with that freebie there are no strings attached, I’m not asking her to reciprocate, I’m not asking her for anything, I’m just sending her a copy of my book. Then, last I gave her the easiest out ever, “if you do nothing, I will do nothing.” So, the ball is in her court, she can reject my invitation or not talk to me again, but I’m here to tell you that every time I’ve done something like this, I get a response back. And, I don’t always get a yes, but I almost seldom ever get a no. Most people are impressed and they understand that sales have to happen in order for business to happen. And the reason they were looking at me in the first place is because they were interested, they didn’t know what to do next, so they went and stalked me and they appreciate me taking the initiative and started the conversation. So, this is a really good way to use social media and use the technique I told you not to use to drive people to LinkedIn and actually generate leads without people actually filling out a form.

So let’s summarize here. So, the solution to being too social. #1: Don’t intentionally drive users TO competitive waters. #2: make it more of a one way valve, use social media to generate interest and get people to your website, not the other way. And, #3: the one exception to that rule might be to drive to SME’s LinkedIn profile *IF* you have LI Sales Navigator or have the ability to see who’s looking at your profile.

 

Number 2: Your Contact Us page might not be helping you get contacts. There’s some simple things you can with you Contact Us page to make it way more effective.

 

I started my career at IBM as a the product manager for a tool called Surfaid Analytics, which was the very first web analytics software delivered as a service. One of the first softwares delivered as a service ever. It eventually because core metrics, it was a precursor to Google Analytics. I consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies to get better insights out of their web analytics data to make their marketing work better. So, at some point I got bored working with the red tape and bureaucracy of IBM and decided to try my hand on the client side and quickly learned that there is this huge missing piece in the agency world. The great agencies that do really good branding, exposure, and all that stuff, but that exposure for me was not resulting into leads and sales. So, we had to figure out optimization ourselves using our own analytics and our own ideation processes. So we turned it into a business ourselves and during our time with Reap, we’ve had the opportunity to make it long story short, we had the opportunity to launch an ecommerce company to help #1 eat our own dog food and learn what it was like as a client to experience our own services of our agency. And, also really just making sure the services we were providing were generating real results for our clients. More details in my book.  

 

Does your Contact Us page prevent you from getting new prospects?

 

I’m going to pick on an old client. This client hired us to do A/B testing and optimization and improvement of their website to get more leads. We made a ton of suggestions to them in the form of testing, unfortunately the people we were working with laid this information on the executive team and became very subjective, out of our control, and the executive opinions kind of got worked into the mix. They decided it was easier to not do the A/B test and hire a good designer to redo the whole website. So, they feel really good about themselves now because the site looks really great. It’s really easy on the eye, maybe it belongs in a museum.

There’s a couple problems with their Contact Us page. Number 1, the palette for the website is entirely monochrome. So all the colors match which is good in fashion, but it’s not great when you’re trying to drive people to do one thing. So, I recommend some sort of high contrast call to action. Number 2, I’d say that the ‘Get Started” button in the top is a little soft. We found through some testing of our own that many times a call to get a proposal or talk to someone specifically about a particular topic works better than just getting in touch or something like ‘Get Started.’ The other thing that’s interesting is they are requiring my name and company and they REQUIRE my title….which I don’t really know why, but that’s okay, let’s look past that. They require my email, they require my phone, and require for me to tell them “what am I looking for?”.

 

I’m picking on Providge here, but this isn’t unique to Providge, I can tell you that. What I can do for starters to change this page other than changing the “What are you looking for?” feel, I would reword that, but a side from that I would change the button in the top right and I’d make it an off pallette color, call it “Get a Quote” or something like that, and/or match the title of the page to either you know “Get a Quote” or the two can say “Schedule a Consultation”, it could say “Ask an Expert”, something like that, and really give people a clear indication of what this next step entails, and that’s really kinda what the key is and them is for this whole bullet here, is providing me with a clear mental picture of what happens if I contact you. I don’t know who this Contact form is going to and I don’t know what happens as a result of me hitting the submit button. So, I want a company to tell me what they’re going to do with my information and what benefit it serves me to Contact you. So, anyway, that is one example.

 

I’ll give you an example of a really good website. Tim Wathel, he’s a sales trainer, he has really good content, some on demand courses, so does a lot of in person training, really good guy. And, what’s interesting about his website, a couple things. Under the sales training menu, actually under each of the main menu items he has a Call to Action as a menu item. So, under ‘Sales Training’ for instance you’re looking at this menu and it says, “Get a Program Proposal.” And, that’s very clear to me. I know if I click that button then I’m going to get a program proposal, that’s pretty clear right?

The other interesting thing he does is, instead of “contacting us”, which he does have a team of people who help him, but you are ‘Talking to Tim.’ So, it’s in the top right portion of his menu item here. You can ‘Talk to Tim’ and what’s so mentally strong about that one is I know a message isn’t going to go to someone else, it’s actually going to go Tim Wathel.

So, let’s look at the form he uses for the get a proposal for onsite sales training. The knee jerk reaction for a lot of people is “wow this sounds really pushy and really sales-y.” But, you know what? I can tell you, it works! And, the reason why it works because, again, I have a very clear picture of what the next step is. He asks me a lot of questions here, so it goes straight against the grain in terms of what the industry standards are, and what the accepted truth is about forms. They say, “keep forms short. Name, email, address, & that’s all you need.” I’m here to tell you, that’s not always the case. In this case, he asks the number of sales reps that I have on my team. He asks which best describes my role, he’s not trying to qualify me by my title. He’s asking me what topic interests me the most. The date that I want to meet, the location that I want to host this event, etc. So, I get at least a better sense that by filling out these fields, gives him the information he needs to provide me with the proposal I want. At least at that point, I’m a positon where I can say, ‘yes, you’re within in my budget’ or ‘no, you’re not within my budget.’ So, very clear next step. Very clear expectations of what happens as a result.

Also, to mention the ‘Talk to Tim’ button. This is a fun one, because of just ‘contacting us’, he’s asking “what can I do for you?” That’s a lot nicer than what’re you looking for? So, I can tell tim that I want a Program Proposal, that I’d like to just talk to Tim, I want to have a drink with Tim. Who does that?! But, that’s really fun! That’s a really disarming way to get in touch directly with people who are potentially going to hire him to do sales training. Very, very effective. He also allows you to say ‘I have a success story I’d like to share.’ This is where he drives people to share their testimonials. So, once again a very clear picture. Very personalized, very humanized, very clear next step. My email is going directly to Tim, it’s not going to a corporation. And, even if your company is not based around an individual person or personality, I still think there’s a lot to draw on this as an example on how to make the most out of a contact us page.

So, recap, the solution to fixing your weak contact us page.

  1. Have a REASON for them to contact you.
  2. Provide a clear picture of the next step and what they should expect in return for completing the form. Just because you have a form, isn’t good enough.
  3. The accepted truth is that you should keep the form shorter, but I’m here to tell you that, it’s not always the best. You can advance a relation by asking the right questions to make people feel like if they take the extra time to fill it out, they’re one step closer to the answer they want.
  4. Personalize if/when possible. Don’t just dump them onto a contact us page with a big message field, or ‘what’re you looking for? message”

And, those are the takeaways for pitfall #2.

 

Mackenzie: Brice, why don’t you tell everyone about this new quick pitfall inspection, and how it might help your B2B company and get more leads from your website.

Brice:

So, the idea here is, I found in my experience that even if people or companies buy into the idea of testing and optimization, they’re sort of stuck on where to start. And, a lot of times, the first step is really big and scary, there’s reports and audits involved, strategies, and test and briefs. All this stuff that can be really intimidating. So, we’ve come up with an offering that we hope sort of resonates with a few of you. It’s called a quick pitfall inspection, and the idea is that I will spend a few minutes with your website to see if I can find, either some of these pitfalls that we talked about today and some other ones that are pretty common to the industry. I’ll help identify where we think your biggest conversion opportunities are. Review that with you in person over a short 15-20 minute phone call. The consult includes a copy of book, ‘Salon Chairs Don’t Sell Themselves: 21 Common Pitfalls Your E-commerce Startup Can Totally Avoid.” But, I think a lot of lessons are definitely applicable to B2B companies. So, this a $99 value. Again, you get a hand full of ideas, less than $20 per idea and a free book! So, you can contact us through the BriceMcbeth.com website, you can send us an email to hello@bricemcbeth.com and title the subject line “Quick Pitfall Inspection” and we’ll get that scheduled for you.

 

Pitfall #3: Too Much Technical Jargon

 

So, this is a real fun example. Here’s a scenario where I searched for some business intelligence consulting services or software, several combination of keywords related to BI. And, this page that I landed on, I’m only look at like half of a page here. I blocked out and censored every instance where they named themselves or said ‘we’ or used an acronym that’s extremely technical. And, again there’s always a place and time for everything, but I’m saying don’t do here, you certainly can use some technical jargon, but in this case it’s like the page is loaded up with 8 instances of them talking about themselves and their technical approach, in less than a half of a page of content. And, the key is here, there is no material content here, it’s just a bunch of fluff. They are talking about how they can model data and lead you through model storming sessions, unpack the nuance of your business. I mean, that sounds good, I would like to model storm in a session and unpack the nuance of my business, maybe, but again I go back to the whole clairty thing. There’s no clear deliverable there of what I’m going to get out of the service. So, there’s no material content, there’s nothing that advances my relationship with this company. There’s nothing clearly actionable here, and there’s no clear benefit to me as their client. And, to top it off the only thing that’s really actionable on this page is this link at the bottom, that says ‘Decision1.co.uk’ which send me apparently to a website in the United Kingdom, where then I’m free to browse around on another site that’s not theirs. So, I just sort of give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn’t do a very good job with this page, so I looked at another page. I looked at their business consulting page, clicked on that link. Let’s see what happens there. 13 instances of them talking about themselves, and their technical approach, with again no real content, no advancing the relationship, nothing actionable on the page, and no clear benefit to me. It’s all talking about their strategies and their things and their doodads. So, let’s contrast that with one of my favorite business envy here for Domo Reporting. So, first and foremost, when you go to Domo and look at their reporting platform. The first thing you see after the main marquee is, a strong visual image of what these guys do. The first report on their dashboard,in a world of dashboards, they have dashboards on dashboards, right? In this dashboard they’re showing you Market Spend by Conversion Rate in one chart, Quarterly Inventory, Social Media Growth, New Hire Training, Fulfillment Orders, Cash Balance. so, banking stuff, HR stuff, inventory stuff, marketing things. So, I have a very clear picture in my mind, what it is I’m going to get if I pay Domo some money for their platform. And, this is very unique. I haven’t seen a report like this that can really combine all these different, separate silo data sets. So, really cool, first strong visual, mental picture here. Number 2, they speak my language. You scroll down a little bit more and they have this graphic here where you can hover over the different roles. So, if I’m in sales, for instance, and I hover over sales. Then, their terminology says “Learn how Domo helps you crush your quota.” It can’t be more powerful than that! Yeah, so you hover over the other ones and have language that very much sort of seems to the audience. So, if that wasn’t enough, you scroll down and there is the third component, which is third party validation. In this case I see a MasterCard logo, ever heard of those guys? If MasterCard found something that made them much more successful, would you consider doing it for yourself too? So, they have a quote here from the Vice President of Digital Marketing Analytics, whose name is Curt Fournier, with a picture of Curt. So, there’s no abbreviation of his last name or initials or anything like that. They’re telling you exactly who uses this, there’s no faking this at all. So, if you click that link, then that takes you to a video testimonial, which if there’s one thing better than a testimonial, it’s a video testimonial. Our research and things that we’ve tested on our own website indicates that people are more than 60% likely to watch a video than read the content on the page. And, they’re more than 45% likely to purchase after watching a video, that just reading the content. So, they’ve done all the right things, they’ve spoken my language, they made the content easy to consume. You’ll notice there’s actually not a lot of SEO content on the site, but they use their blog and other solutions pages to address those things.

 

But, if we sort of recap what we’ve talked about here. The terminology is not really about you and what you know.

 

  1. Don’t repeatedly mention your own name over and over. That’s a red flag and it tells you, you might be talking about yourself too much and not talking about the benefit to the client.
  2. Give a strong visual image of what the product or service does, how the client benefits, give your unique advantages, use 3rd party proof to back it up, if you have some wild guarantee, you can deliver quickly or deliver with guaranteed results, state it. Provide a money back guarantee, whatever you can do to take the risk out of the equation, provide some time limited offer to get them in and get them going, and then call them to an action, and be done with it! That’s what you need to do.
  3. Use video to tell your story whenever possible
  4. Use video of happy clients to tell your story

 

Do you feel like you have any tips for everyone on how to avoid that pitfall?

 

Outsource it, outsource it, outsource it! I think a lot of times, yeah it is, it’s hard to sort of talk about yourself, I think my experience is that, you know companies are really opinionated about design, but it doesn’t even come close to the opinions that start flying around when you write copy for them. Copywriting is really hard for another company, but I think as a business, I think sometimes it’s easier to take your copy points and take your existing copy points and hand it over to somebody who is really good at this. There are sites like UpWork, there’s obviously Reap Marketing, we try to do a good job with copywriting like this, but definitely look at outsourcing because it’s easier for someone to look at your organization from the outside in. The other thing I’d really encourage is modeling other websites that do a good job. Everybody’s like wanting to be super innovative with their website and different than anyone else and I really have the opinion that a lot can be accomplished by copying a website that’s doing it really well. So, someone like Domo. Even if you’re not competing with Domo, there’s a lot of lessons learned, you can sort of follow the same structure that they’ve proven already works.

 

 

Pitfall #4: Defaulting to Discounts

 

So, yes it’s true that Standish is a B2B company and we do pretty heavily use discounting to incentivize our clients. But, a couple things I’d say is, #1: the expanse on our site actually models very similar to a B2C (business to consumer) website. I’d also say that our website is very heavily tested and optimized using science, not just guesswork. And, #3: I’d say we’re constantly experimenting with discount thresholds and what you have to spend in order to get the discounts, what the amount of the discounts are going to be, what the shipping rates are going to be, what the shipping rates are in comparison to the discounts. So, the one thing I’d say about our site, is that it is similar to most B2C experiences and it is heavily tested and optimized, so I can scientifically prove to you that discounting for us works better. And, what I’m suggesting here in this topic is that many times this doesn’t work. Every business is different, so you really got to experiment with it. Most of the time for other B2B sites the name of the game is to get a lead and I don’t think that discounts are always the way to go about that. Here’s one of my favorite examples. One of our clients, Thomas Printworks, they hired us basically to help get more leads for vehicle wraps and admittedly this was a breakeven campaign because the idea was that they would take one of their higher margin items, basically give it away at cost through discounting, get the customer into their system, and then usually most people who have a service performed by Thomas will come back in the future for all kinds of other print services. So, what we did is we built this landing page for vehicle wraps, we offered a 25% off coupon if you submitted your email address, we would email you the coupon to ensure we had a good email address and it worked really well, it was phenomenal. So, we got a good conversion rate on that campaign, so the idea we had was, what if we can actually put money in the bank and not break even on this campaign, but make money, and still get you the lifetime value that you’re looking for? So, we proposed reducing it down to 10% and just to make a long story short, it actually worked very close to what the 25% off coupon page did. So, there was that extra savings of that profit that was just being given away in the form of a discount, so the lesson there was that, it wasn’t really the exact amount of the discount that mattered, it was the perception of a discount. So, then that worked so well that we had this hypothetical question, how could we do this and give away nothing? What if we could make this really profitable and generate all the leads and get the lifetime value that we’re looking for? So, how can we make that happen? So, what we did after a little bit of brainstorming we came up with this idea to turn this into a quote request form. Probably not too much like what you saw on Tim Wackle’s site, but we ask you a series of questions to help get a quote on was this thing was gonna cost. Because there’s really no transparency in this page on what it all costs. So, that’s part of the hypothesis. So, you enter in your contact information, you tell us what company you’re getting this wrap for, the type of vehicle, the time frame that you need it, do you need help with the graphics, do you need installation? The funny thing is about the installation is, most people don’t install these graphics themselves, yes of course they need the graphics installed, but it helped. Them saying yes did a couple of things. Number 1 it helped the user feel like it was part of the formula that came with the actual proposal, and number 2 it created and planted the seed for assigning a value to that installation service. So, where most people were evaluating the wrap as a commodity piece and comparing the price of the wrap to someone else’s wrap, that may not include installation, what it did, was it prepared their mindset to accept a price that was going to be inclusive of installation, so they knew to ask for the price of installation elsewhere when doing the price comparison. So, our results showed that this version, giving away nothing for free performed more than 140% better than the discounting in the previous rings, which we thought was the winner compared to their previous version of the website. So, this is a never ending learning process, we found something that worked better than the original, and we wouldn’t let it rest until we tested something else and it worked better.

 

So, here’s another one of my other favorite ones. This is a client of ours, Julie Chance. She does these team personality assessments and she builds strengths in teams based on the differences in everybody’s individuality to create a more cohesive team. And, she also does a lot of executive leadership coaching. So, the cool thing here is, first and foremost you see, and you meet Julie, it’s a very personalized home page, and she has very much a consultancy practice, it’s not as much of a large business, it’s an individual consultant. But, what she’s offering you here is a 15 minute consult directly with Julie to see if she’s a perfect fit for your company and some people say, well that seems really pushy and salesy, but I’m telling you that, the feel good thing here is that, you know you’re talking directly to Julie, that this email, when you hit the schedule button is going directly to Julie and onto Julie’s calendar. Number 2 she was transparent in telling you that, she’s only going to take 15 minutes of your time, so I know exactly what I’m going to invest to this discovery phase to figure out if this is a yes, or this is a no. Number 3, is, it advances the relationship, I’m perusing her services and trying to understand more about what she does, I’m interested but I don’t know what the next steps are, this is hand holding me to the next, and lastly there’s an extremely clear outcome and exactly what I can expect as a result. So, the next example I have is actually sort of hot of the press, this is the first comp of our new Reap website that’s coming. This is super secret so don’t tell anyone you saw this. This hasn’t been reviewed by anyone else on our team, I just sort of thought that it,  I saw this today that it was apropos for this webinar. But, you heard what I told you about video, or strongly featuring that on the site, and right next to the ‘Watch the Video’ is the ‘Get a Quote’ button, and you click the ‘Get a Quote’ button which, we’ve proven through testing on our site actually works better than ‘Contact Us.’ It pops up a from, and I don’t know who this guy is, I don’t think he’s on our team, but we’re going to replace this stock art with a picture of myself or our Vice President of Operations, Landen Martin. And, personalize this a lot more, and have it  where they can actually schedule an appointment to talk to us, to do an assessment of the site. So, we’ve personalize it, we’ve humanized it, we’ve told them that it’s a 15 minute investment of time, it advances the relationship, there’s a clear outcome of what happens if you fill this form out and hit the submit button. It quickly get you to a yes or no, and worst case as a prospective client, the worst case happens is i get a handful of ideas about to improve my website with a proposal of how much it’s going to cost, that I can then take elsewhere. So, what’s the risk?

 

So, let’s recap here, defaulting to discounts, are you over-discounting?  

 

  1. I will tell you that the interested in qualified buyers ARE interested in what the price is going to be. Obviously at some point they’re going to have to pony up the cash. So, if you’re not transparent with the price, you can at least use the quote generator as a way to help advance a relationship. So, don’t be afraid to try offering proposal requests, quote generators, etc.
  2. Knowledge of and access to SMEs (subject matter experts) is enormously valuable to somebody who needs help in a specialized field. So, offering a short assessment or consult for 15 minutes to figure out whether or not there’s a good fit is a fantastic way to get more leads from your website.

 

Pitfall #5: Not A/B Testing

 

So, what’s an A/B test?

An A/B test is showing 2 versions of the same page or content to 2 different groups of people and then measuring the outcomes of each to figure out which one’s better. So, literally we split the traffic in half, half the people see one version, the other half sees the other version, and it’s done through a tool like Optimizely or BWO or something like that to help manage the test. In this case, I’m showing you an example of an A/B test we ran on our own website. The version on the left is a version that includes team member profiles, so you can get a really good sense of what our team is made up of, and the types of roles we have here on our team. And then, the right version is really just more of a letter from me and my background and my story, and how it lead to me forming Reap. I really do not like the version on the right because this agency isn’t really about me, it’s about my employees and the great work that they do, and their ideas that they come up with to improve websites and where they can find the ideas and their fluency administering test and analyzing the results to make sure that we’re providing really good ideas that move the needle for our client. So, it really has nothing to do with me, if I have a staff of 22 people then they have 22 times the amount of ideas that I have and have 22 times the capacity than I have, so I don’t really like version B personally, but what we learned was that it actually worked better in terms of generating leads because, and our hypothesis that we believe we’ve proved to be true is that when we show the profiles of all our employees, it’s just too much information. It provides our prospects the ability to make judgement before they ever call us. So, whether they look at our profiles and think that we are too small and can’t handle a big company, or we’re too big and it’s not going to be affordable for a company of their size, or you know the faces are too young or whatever. Do people discriminate? Yeah, apparently by the outcome of this test maybe they do. So, the point is, now we have scientific proof that version B works better than A, regardless of whether I like it better or not, that’s the version you’ll probably see on our webiste. So, as I mentioned Optimizely is a tool that you can use to do A/B testing, it’s our tool of choice, we’re a certified solutions partner for Optimizely, so we say websites obviously don’t optimize themselves, right? So, Optimizely is a tool that you can use to administer these tests and measure the performance of the test. Companies like Reap are agencies that can help develop the hypothesis, develop the creative assets for the test, administer the test through Optimizely, and then analyze the results afterwards. So, they kind of go hand in hand. Optimizely is the tool and Reap is the service, together you get the full picture.

Speaking of A/B tests, we recently did a tour of Blinds.com and met with with Brad Parler, awesome guy, hilarious, he’s head of the Digital Communications team. And, their motto ar Blinds.com is “experiment without fear of failure.” This is a Home Depot company, I think they said they do $300 M worth of sales a year. And, they have underneath their motto, they have these life size test tubes propped up against the wall with marbles in them. And, each of the marbles represent an A/B test that they have run, and all the marbles in the left tube represent all the failed tests they’ve run and all the ones in the right represent the successful tests they’ve run. So, failure meaning they implemented a test and actually their idea was worse than the original site design. So, what funny about this you can see that there is actually 3 times as many marbles in the failed test as there are in the successful tests. And, this actually pans out to be pretty true with what the industry norms are. 60-65% of all A/B tests that are run result in failures. So, our ideas really aren’t as good as we think they are or else they are really good ideas, but our prospects and our clients don’t respond to them as well as we thought they would. So, the deeper learning here is that if you’re launching ideas you think are great on your website, then at best you might be treading water. So, it’s really important to use A/B testing because A/B testing tells you which of your ideas actually work and which of your ideas don’t work. So, you can shut down the ideas that don’t work and keep the ones that actually do work and build based on your learnings. One of the best cases here is my own website where we launched Standish Salon Goods without doing a lot of testing first, and we built the big, beautiful website. We built the website that’s every marketer’s dream. It was beautiful, it was immersive, it was really interactive, it was innovative, it was just really, really cool, but to make a long story short, again, we had sort of miscalculated our market. So, we swung big and missed, and we should’ve done a lot more testing before we launched this version. But, the truth is there is actually 3 times as many salons in the United States than there are gas stations. And, the average income of a stylist in the United States is $23,000, and most of their salons do not look like what is in this picture. Most salons look like what is featured here. So, what we did was we through our well designed website in the garbage, we bought a $300 template and launched that, void of any really good photos, product descriptions, font selections, all that kind of stuff, and our conversions went up 400% over night. From that point forward we did a lot of testing. So, the version that you see on our site now really sort of encompasses you know hundreds of different ideas that have been tested over time.

Here’s another client, NBRI. When we first looked at their homepage it was pretty clear to us on where we should focus our attention because there is a lack of focus actually. In this case they’re trying to get the visitor to call, they’re also trying to get you to click on this link to get a free quote, then there’s this secondary button to register for a free webinar, a free e-book is available if you’re interested in the book. If you’re not interested in any of those there’s this free consult form that just looks like an email enrollment. So there’s really just no focus here at all. It’s pretty obvious that we really thought that we could get some good traction if we really focused people on one main call to action. The other thing is, remember what I said about videos? Videos really tend to do a good job, so we just put the video on the website and rolled with it. And, the other hypothesis we had to do with their logo. So, the logo NBRI really doesn’t mean much to anybody. So, we asked them what NBRI stood for, and it stands for National Bureau of Research Institute which sounds a lot more  “science-y” than NBRI. Nobody knows what NBRI is, but National Bureau of Research Institute at least tells me what they do, sounds almost credential in if it’s own name. So, look and watch the logo change from Version A to Version B. So, we did not do a test that we had to send to design for a massive logo or re-branding effort, we just put the name under the logo. Did that work? Yeah, it worked! Also, what worked was reducing the number of buttons down to one primary call to action with one secondary button. And, if you’ll notice the video has disappeared. What we learned was the video was just on the webpage because we assumed it worked because 60% of people would prefer to watch a video than read the content. But, after we went back and challenged that hypothesis we realized that the video was just really bad, and good video is effective, bad video not effective. So, after testing we found that, that video was working towards a detriment of the website, so through testing we discovered that even sometimes the failures in experimentation can really help make sure you focus in on the things that really just improve the business. So, the concoction of all the changes we made here lead to a 300% increase in primary CTA clicks.

 

So, sort of just to recap here for this section.

 

Do you think you can skip testing your great idea?

 

  1. 60-65% of A/B tests result in failures
  2. Testing gives you a vehicle for determining which ideas are good and which are bad
  3. For failed tests, testing is insurance
  4. For winning tests, testing is substantiation

 

So, Recap:

 

  1. You might be too social
  2. Your Contact Us page might not help with getting contacts
  3. Your jargon might be too technical
  4. You might too quickly be defaulting to discounts
  5. Making changes to your site might be making your site perform more worser!