[Warrior TV] Crafting High Converting Landing Pages with Oli Gardner - Thursday, August 6 at 7pm EST

by 24 replies
Hello warriors!

I’m Oli Gardner, co-founder of Unbounce, the landing page builder for professional marketers.

I’ll be doing a WAMA here in a few weeks, and want to invite you to come and hang out with me, and literally ask me anything.

As part of my role here at Unbounce I’ve seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet, so obviously I’ll be answering questions about landing pages, but there’s a ton more we can discuss.
  • Marketing
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Content marketing, from writing blog posts to ebooks, setting up and running webinars
  • Lead generation
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • A/B testing
  • Conversion-centered design
  • Startups: startup life, startup growth, startup marketing

I speak at marketing conferences all over the world, so if you’re interested in speaking or becoming a speaker, that’s one of my current obsessions and I have a ton of great advice and stories to share for that.

We can talk about my latest idea called the 4 Corners of Conversion, which is about understanding the intersection of copy, design, interaction and psychology.

And because it’s an AMA, you can ask me personal or awkward questions too.

So make sure you show up and help me make this the best WAMA yet!

The event will be held on Thursday, 6th August at 7PM Eastern US Time. Check what time this is for you here.

US Guests can SMS WARRIORTV to 38470 to receive an SMS reminder when the event is live.
#warrior ask me anything (wama) #3rd #7pm #august #cofounder #est #gardner #oli #unbounce #wama
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  • Profile picture of the author floxtero
    I am there reserved your seat.
  • Profile picture of the author YourBizAid
    I believe I've also seen tons of Landing pages more than anyone on the planet. How? I've built landing pages for years until I shut down the service.

    I was also one of the most respected warriors in terms of website conversions and sales which was the period I launched Professional Sales Funnel Development | Professional Landing Page Design | Squeeze Page Design for Internet Marketers | Website Conversion Consulting : The Biz Help.us plus a ton of other threads on Landing Pages and Sales funnels.

    I'll be around to glean a few things from your experience though.

    Louis Kennedy
    • Profile picture of the author wafo59
      I wonder if I could learn how to build some good landing pages for an electronic cigarette company that I am an affiliate for. They have mostly banners.
  • Profile picture of the author rubel570
    High Converting Landing Page is really most important for any internet marketers. Thanks for this event.
  • Profile picture of the author webmarke
    Creating a high converting landing page can be the difference between a successful campaign and a losing campaign. I look forward to this event.
  • Profile picture of the author tonywr
    Hey Oli,

    Thanks for finding the time for us. My question is: what's the secret sauce for Beta testing landing page?

    The goal: collect contacts of beta users.

  • Profile picture of the author seo rango
    I will be there. Landing Page Conversions are an area we want to pursue in the future.
  • Profile picture of the author danieljb
    Just a reminder - we're live with Oli Gardner in 30 minutes!

    Join the conversation on Twitter:

  • Profile picture of the author stuart kelly
    Hi there
    I am here waiting for your WAMA
    Is it still on please.
  • Profile picture of the author D3x
    Is there a webinar link for this one?
  • Profile picture of the author stuart kelly
    Hello Ollie
    I was wondering if you could help me, I want to know where can I submit my product launch, I want to do like a press release and submit it to a blog directory submission list, Is this something you can help me with ?
  • Profile picture of the author amgs
    how can i watch the reply or get a list [link] to the books that were mentioned? thanks
  • Profile picture of the author SCamp
    Best hour I've spent in a long time and am anxious to get on with exploring the ideas and using the tools Oli discussed. When will the promised links and names of books he recommended be posted? Will I receive an email announcing it or do I need to keep checking back here? Thanks for this Oli and Warrior Forum. Great moderator.
  • Profile picture of the author danieljb
    Thanks Oli for this amazing event.

    The recording is now available here: http://www.warriorforum.com/war-room...-unbounce.html

    Oli will also be speaking live in person at our upcoming Warrior Forum conference in Sydney, Australia on October 29 & 30. To book your seat and for more details, click here.


    Alaister: Welcome to Warrior T.V. This is Warrior Ask Me Anything where we bring to you the world’s best internet marketers and online entrepreneurs for you to interact with. I am Alaister Low and today I am really excited to be joined with Oli Gardner, cofounder of unbounce.com which is a landing page creation tool for marketers.
    Oli is extremely passionate about start ups, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization and inbound marketing. He has also seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet and will be a speaker at [00:51 Sid Start] and Warrior Forum 2015.
    Welcome to the show Oli.
    Oli: Thank you it is great to be on here.
    Alaister: Excellent. So before we get kick started into the actual questions tell me a little bit about how you actually got started in online marketing, conversion rate optimization and actually the story to bring you to where you are today, actually the cofounder of unbounce.com
    Oli: Yeah. Well I grew up in Scotland but then I moved to Canada in 2000 to be a wildlife photographer which is what I do in my spare time, but professionally I started as a super nerdy hardcore programmer in the financial district in London. So I moved to Canada 2000, worked for a start up called Bluezone (it doesn’t exist anymore) which is where I met three, we have six cofounders, I met three of them there.
    We all got laid off on 9/11 actually on 9/11 during the dot com crash. I guess they figured that if they did it the day after it would be just as bad so they just rolled with it. Then I delivered pizza for six months and then I kind of just gradually made my way from technical side over to creative which is kind of where I should have been anyway. You know back in coder front, in coder interaction design, usability, producer, creative director. And I became a marketer the day we started the company which was six years ago.
    Alaister: Wow that is such an interesting story. Yeah, the journey to where you are today is just so different than traditional entrepreneurs and founders I suppose but one thing that strikes me I think with what you do is I know you are a huge branding junkie and you spend a lot of time trying to coin different terms and things like that and pushing out different theories in your blog posts and things like that. Tell us a little bit about that process of actually coming up with a different theory maybe and coming up with terms to describe these series and how do you actually come up with these?
    Oli: Yeah it is a multipart kind of process. It began with I came up with the name Unbounce and since then I have just been obsessed with everything we do that needs a name; I want to come up with it. So I just really go mental trying to figure out how we can brand things. From page [03:18_] series that we did, conversion centered design, there are many things, call to action, conference, all these things, I make sure I am the person that comes up with the names.
    But when it comes to marketing theories kind of like a new album, every year I will try and come up with some new methodology, process or something and it is important to brand these things, come up with the terminology.
    And the way I do it usually is I will come up with the name, I will buy the domain, then I will write a blog post about it, I will write a guest blog post about talking about it, do an eBook, do a Webinar, do a guest Webinar somewhere, do all these things and then as it starts to become known in the marketing world, when people start actually searching for it, you own the front page of Google because you have talked about it in every different format possible, slide share as well, so everything is used so you own that. So it is a really smart way to kind of push your leadership or things like that.
    Alaister: Yeah, no that is great. I know one of the terms that you have coined is “conversion centered design.” Is that one of the most proud theories that you have coined or?
    Oli: Yeah definitely and the frustrating part about it is, it was a few years ago now and I produced some content like I said, all this stuff, and it is everywhere but it was quite small at the time. I still have seven principles for it but before they were really simple, now it is blown up into a massive thing. But I haven’t had time to produce all the content for that. It is in a lot of my conference talks but if you search for it you will get the old stuff. So I am in the process of trying to replace that because it is actually a much bigger concept.
    I will talk about that a little bit later today.
    Alaister: Yeah excellent. Alright great. I am just having a look at some of the biggest questions that have come through from the audience. And I have got a question here from Max R. and he asks, what are some of the biggest conversion surprises that you have seen? I mean you have seen the most landing pages on the planet right? So I imagine you would have seen a huge amount of surprises. What in your opinion would be the biggest surprise?
    Oli: Biggest surprise…I mean, I guess it is just a lot of learning, not like necessarily one week but it is the consistency with which AB testing fails. Most of them you do will fail but you have to kind of battle through that and every single test you run pretty much will spike at the beginning and you are like, yeah it is winning, it is crushing and then like three days later it flat lines.
    But one of the things that I have really learned is, I just wrote an eBook called The Tension Driven Design which is 23 design principles. And one of them, proximity I find is incredibly important. Almost every test I run where I put something in close proximity to a call to action, whether it is a privacy statement or it is something just intended to help people click, a reinforcement “It is free” or like my face or something saying, “Hey I did this free course” universally fails because it is that dangerous place where you don’t want to put anything because it is that moment of conversion. And you say something and they are like, “Oh why did you say that?”
    So people stop and some of them just give up and leave. So it is a dangerous place to play.
    Alaister: Yeah that is interesting, I know of people put things like social proof and as you mentioned, someone’s face or something like that to try and help that process but a lot of times it could potentially get in the way of what you really want people to do I suppose.
    Oli: Yeah and they ask themselves, “Why did you say that? Why did you do that? Why did you put a trust seal right there? Now I am thinking about trust when I wasn’t before I was just going to fill in the form.” So get out of people’s way I think is the important thing.
    Alaister: I know a lot of people when they are approaching landing page design and conversion optimization they spend a lot of time thinking about what are the best practices or what sort of formulas should I follow, or let me have a look at some of the other landing pages that have done well in other situations and try to copy or mimic some of the elements there. And with what you just mentioned just now, it seems as if you spend a lot of time trying to understand exactly where the visitor is at and the frame of mind of the actual visitor. How do you see that playing in with creating landing pages rather than just kind of going out there and copying landing pages that you think have done really well? But actually I suppose maybe serving customers or using specific tools to try and understand what visitors are trying to achieve and how you can help them achieve that?
    Oli: Yeah context is massive which is the second of the seven CCD conversion centered design, principles. But if you don’t understand where people are coming from and what their intentions or their expectations are you are just going to fail and the biggest problem it is amazing that there is so much great content out there to help everybody but one of the big problems is what I call the case study fallacy. When you read a case study you should use that as inspiration only. Try and go, how does that, which is why I try and do these methodologies based on principle so you can look at something and go what is the principle behind why that worked? I can then apply that to my situation other than just going, oh well they did that; I will do that, because that just doesn’t work, you can’t just copy what other people have done.
    So there is a lot of perilous stuff out there because of the access to all this content. But yeah we need frameworks for research and tools for research so we can actually observe what pain points are, because you should never run a test without hypothesis, without observing a pain so you can design an experience that deals with that. Just like you should never build a landing page before you have a campaign goal, and you should never run a marketing campaign without a dedicated landing page. There are lots of fundamentals that you shouldn’t just break.
    Alaister: Yeah definitely. Let’s just maybe back track a little bit and talk about this fundamental. So I have got a whole bunch of questions here that have come in and it is just people looking to get started in conversion rate optimization. They are starting, they have got maybe a product, and maybe it is an eBook or a video series. Maybe they spent some time working on a specific landing page, where would you suggest or what advice would you give them in starting out and how to go about actually constructing a meaningful landing page and conversion rate test?
    Oli: Right. The first thing you need to understand with landing pages is that a landing page is not...I mean technically any page you land on is a landing page, but that is the wrong way to think about it. A landing page is a dedicated destination designed specifically for a marketing campaign, and it is for campaigns. This is a distinction that is really important. If you think of tools, optimization tools, you need a website optimization tool like Optimizely or VWO because that is for optimizing existing pages everybody needs that. That is for your organic traffic and you optimize that.
    If you run marketing campaigns which every marketer should be doing you need a landing page tool to create pages for those campaigns and then you can test those. So the reality is you need both.
    Everyone thinks Unbounce or Optimizely, competitors. We’re not, we use both, we use them. We were going to do a co-promotion #uneedboth. So yeah first part, understanding the difference in your home page and the landing page. There is a fairly standard architecture for a landing page and there is five, you need a lot of parts to a landing page but there are a few essential things. You need your USP, your value proposition, you need a hero shot which is the main visual, it could be video it could be imagery. Some benefit statements, features and benefits, social proof and your call to action which could be a form or a button or just a button.
    That is kind of the architectural fundamentals but to be honest the easiest way for someone to get started is to take the landing page course that I wrote. It is the landingpagecourse.com. It is free; you don’t even need an email address. It is eleven parts, just go through that and you will be way ahead by the end of that. And the whole thing will only take you half a page if you plough through it.
    Alaister: Great, okay, the landingpagecourse.com. So we will add all of these links at the bottom so that everyone will be able to see it and get access to it. So I will also add some of your blog posts where you are talking about a lot of these principals where people can read more about them and learn more.
    Oli: Yeah actually because you said, “craft a meaningful experience” or something, so for that before you start doing anything, talk to your customer service team, customer success team whatever if you have one because they know way more than you do. We all tend to get, you are so internal and you know everything about your company; your customers don’t .So talk to your CS people so you are not leaning on assumptions from day one.
    Alaister: I know you use tools like Qualaroo, so Sean Ellis’s Qualaroo to try to understand what people are doing on your website. What are some critical questions that you would suggest using Qualaroo for and trying to get answers for these questions?
    Oli: Sometimes just a simple open ended question works really well. The most successful test I have ever run was on our template page on unbounce.com. I just had an open ended question saying, “Hey what do you think about our templates?” And overwhelmingly I got three questions, “How much are they? Where can I download them? And can I use them in Wordpress?”
    You can’t do any of those things. They are inside the tool but it let me know that the context was wrong; people didn’t know what was going on. So we just put two images at the top, one which showed browsing of the template inside the tool and one that showed editing a template inside the builder. Immediately a massive lift in conversions because people who got there were like oh I get it. Right?
    Yeah just because we listened to that open ended question.
    So you can also use things that usability has, do a five second test where you give them a screen shot, they see it for five seconds then you ask a question like, what does this product do? And it will give you like a tag cloud of all the answers and you will see a lot of, “Don’t know” “Wtf” and you are like wow I have a clarity problem, which is principle three of ccd.
    Alaister: Yeah it is funny I think what often happens when you ask a whole bunch of these questions is you discover things you never would have thought of or imagined, so that is a really good example, the template example of how you actually use some of these questions to redesign and reimagine what the actual website would be.
    So just carrying on from that first question, just in regards to people starting out, I know a huge problem and I have seen it in the warrior forum where people are starting with conversion rate optimization but their fundamental and their biggest problem is they have got low traffic. So they have got a low amount of traffic and whenever they run an AB test it is difficult to get any statistical significance just because of the volume.
    How would you suggest, I mean we have spoken to a whole bunch of other people and they have given some suggestions, but from your perspective what are some suggestions that you would give these people who have maybe only a few hundred people come to their website a month, or maybe a few thousand or whatever it is.
    Oli: Give up and go work for Amazon. No it is such a common question; I get asked it all the time. The way I like to think about it is you, sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t run a real AB test. So what I recommend you do is if your business and you are going to be successful, you are going to grow. So at some point you will have more traffic. So the time between now and then is the most important time for you and you need to be doing that qualitative research and doing usability testing, doing these survey questions on all this kind of stuff so by the time you do have enough traffic you are primed, you are ready, you know exactly what you are going to test because you have already formed a hypothesis based on your observations.
    You don’t need traffic for usability tests, you get people to go walk through your stuff.
    Clarity tests like I said on usability hub, it costs pennies. You can do it for free if you do the test yourself, like walk through other people’s tests, you get credits and then you can set up your own test and it doesn’t cost any money. So there is a lot of stuff you can do with no traffic and no money and by the time you have traffic you know what you should be doing.
    Alaister: Yeah I think that is a really good point actually, that is good advice just being able to understand what to test because a lot of people they just want to jump in to testing and trying to get these lists but it is not that meaningful and useful if you are not understanding why you are doing these tests and if you don’t have meaningful hypotheses and things like that.
    Oli: A really important thing, distinction, to remember, optimization is not AB testing. AB testing is part of optimization. Optimization is what you want to be doing, making things better. AB testing is one method out of twenty that you can be doing so just think about I need to optimize my website, I need to optimize my campaigns. Testing is something you will do when you can do it.
    Alaister: Oh that is great. Let’s go back to the conversion centered design that you spoke about earlier and you mentioned there was seven principles. And we have kind of talked about a couple of them just in the conversation. Do you want to spend a bit of time just going through the seven and just giving a brief description of them just to get everyone on the same page? I will add the blog post at the bottom as well but I think just coming from you directly it will be really great to hear what you have to say about it.
    Oli: Yeah we will put a link in to the talk I did at Call to Action conference last year because that is the only place that really has the actual content. Like I said, the stuff that is out there is the old version.
    So there are seven principles and basically you can apply them to a website too but it is about campaigns, it is about using landing pages for campaigns. There is seven principles.
    The first one is attention, so there is two main components. There is attention ratio which is the number of things you can do on a page, the number of things you should be doing. So you only have one goal on a page. If you have 80 links on your homepage that is 79 distractions. So that is why you need to dedicate a landing page to one thing to do.
    And it also includes 23 principles of attention driven design so things like proximity and contrast and dominance and visual hierarchy. Which the eBook for that was part one of seven, that comes out in September I think.
    Context is number two and this is all about when you are running campaigns, a landing page is a post click experience and the entire goal of your page is to deliver on the promise made prior to the click. So context is all about doing that through message match, like matching your ad copy to your headline, design match which is bringing the visual so from a Facebook ad or a banner ad or whatever. So people immediately go “Oh I am in the right place, now I am going to relax and I am going to consume the rest of your page. “
    Clarity is number three. This is being able to communicate really quickly what your offer is, who you are, what the benefit of interacting with you is, the purpose of the page and the campaign. Like I said doing those 5 second tests is a really good way to figure out if you have a clarity problem.
    And here is a really simple test; I love doing this. If you have a headline with a subhead, flip them because 90% of the time, all of the clarity is in the subhead because people try and be clever. And then they put, “Oh and we do this and it is really amazing because of this.” That is the goal right there. So flip it. I don’t mean like flip it and leave it, flip it and look at it. And you will go, “Oh yeah yeah that is much much clearer.”
    And those clarity tests on usability hub, it is a great way of you say, “What does this product do or service?” And you will get the responses. Flip it, do it again.
    I just did an example where I got zero people the first time, I flipped it, 60% knew when I flipped it, it was awesome.
    Principle number four is congruence. This is the idea that every element of your page should be aligned with your campaign goal. There is a psychology called priming which is like say you show me a picture of a nurse and then you say “male health care professional.” You are going to go to doctor straight away because you think nurse, you are primed to do that. Words kind of relate like that. Congruence is the same. If everything on your page has the same purpose, you are not jumping anywhere else you are all talking about the same thing so every sentence primes you for more of the same thing.
    Credibility is number five, that is social proof and all that kind of stuff.
    Closing is number six; this is the idea that you can use psychological triggers at the point of conversion, so if things closely position to your CTA, but they are the biggest things you have to test because it is very dangerous. It can have a big impact or they can crush your conversion rates so really important to test.
    And continuation which is post conversion. Like say you are doing lead gen after the form has been submitted, what is the post conversion experience, what do you ask for next? Because about 50% of people doing lead gen ask for nothing on the confirmation page. They say, “Thank you.” Come on, that is wasting an opportunity. Just ask for something else.
    On our webinar registration landing pages, on the confirmation page we say, “Hey that is awesome you registered, you might also like our blog” because it is similar. 40% of the people subscribe to the blog, so we had 2500 registrants, 1100 subscribed to the blog; it is massive, just because we asked.
    Alaister: Yeah they are already invested in your products and what you are doing as well, so just asking them to get a free eBook is not that much of a jump really.
    Oli: Well that is the important part, a good point, then don’t make it a big jump. We started, “Oh you registered, maybe you would like to try Unbounce.” They are not ready for that, that is way too aggressive and nobody did it. Now we have a demo at the end of the webinar and you would be surprised how many people stick around. As long as you make it contextually relevant, like we are going to demo…this is let’s say a webinar about mobile conversion, at the end we are going to use Unbounce to demo our mobile responsive feature. It is relevant, people stick around and that is how you acquire customers out of a webinar.
    Alaister: You just mentioned there about mobile landing pages, how do you see mobile landing pages being different to like desktop landing pages. And I suppose that is what people are usually thinking of, they are thinking of pages where they are driving traffic from pay per click ads or something like that but with the mobile landing page how do you see that differing?
    Oli: Again it comes under context; I mean you have to treat it like a phone a little bit. If phone calls are important to you make sure you have a click to call not just a phone number that is sitting there. Maybe you don’t want to do lead gen on your phone because forums are really fiddly on phones. But for the most part I think you just have to design a mobile experience.
    People are so hung up on responses, “Everyone needs to be responsive.” Well responsive in part makes decisions for you, how your mobile experience is. That is why we built the feature in Unbounce it is mobile responsive, it is a mish mash where it is responsive but you can show and hide different elements. You can still design a specific mobile experience which is way smarter because maybe someone is not going to go through a page this long on mobile. You can try cutting the non essentials out some times.
    Alaister: That is a really good point. I think yeah like you said a lot of people think I need my website to be responsive, and it is this huge website compressed into a tiny screen and all of a sudden people are scrolling through pages and pages of content and they are just getting lost in it. So being able to design and create a specific mobile experience that is responsive I think would be a lot more valuable.
    So I am just having a look at some of the questions here that have come through again and I have got a question here from Tim and he asks, and we get this question basically every single week, and he asks, “What are three or four books that you are reading right now that you think are really useful whether it be for conversion rate or just business in general or startups, what have you found really valuable?”
    Oli: I just became a public speaker a year ago and I obsessed over how to do it. So the first one I recommend and it is not just for speaking, it is for speaking but it will teach you all about any kind of presentation whether you are a startup and you are trying to tell a story and pitch to someone, whether you are writing a book, a blog post, whatever it is, he analyzes…it is How To Deliver A Ted Talk by Jeremy Donavon. There are some other imposters out there, some other books that are similar but the one by Jeremy Donavon is the one you want to read. And he analyzed hundreds of Ted talks to see why the most successful ones were successful. And it teaches you a lot about communication.
    The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli is amazing, it is 99 explanations of psychology principles and they are really short, like 1, 2, 3 pages each. It is a fascinating read and you can…I have got it right here. I am just going to show you. Just evidence; here is the book. Evidence of how good I think it is, these are all the notes I have taken from that book because you can look at all these principles and go, ah I can apply that to this. I can add some persuasion to this experience by speaking to people in that way or designing this experience. It is fascinating.
    Similarly, all these books handy, Resonate by Nancy Duarte again goes hand in hand with the Jeremy Donavon one. It is about communication and design presentations.
    The Checklist Manifesto is an awesome book and A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink which is all about right brained creative people.
    They are my…
    Alaister: Yeah I think those books seem really valuable, we will add them all into the forum as well and be able to link everyone to them so they can get access to them.
    So with Unbounce when you guys started Unbounce I know a lot of your marketing revolves around inbound marketing. So you guys are pumping out content all the time, you, yourself, a lot of your other co founders. I see yourself writing content for your own blog, on other people’s blogs, guest blogging. You are producing like you said webinars, slideshares, all these things. Was that a conscious effort right from the beginning to invest a lot of time in these inbound channels which…I mean I suppose originally you weren’t able to test them and measure the results from them?
    In the beginning it was “Let’s spend all this time and invest all this energy into building amazing and valuable content and then see what happens in terms of people consuming them and coming and finding our product.” Was that a conscious decision or did you guys fall into that?
    Oli: No it was very conscious. We have six core values at Unbounce and one unofficial one. We didn’t have them then, we have them now but you can reflect back. Like one of them is courage, and it takes a lot of courage to believe in that because at the beginning it is very serendipitous. There are some things you can measure but what you can’t measure is what the impact is going to be a year from now and whether it was the right decision or not .So it takes courage to do that kind of thing.
    We like I said, I began marketing day one so I did every letter, every pixel, I did all the design, I did all our marketing, I did all our content, like 350 blogs and landing pages. That is why I have to come up with new theories because I have kind of talked about all that. But yeah we started the blog day eight of the company I believe. So I put up like a simple website. There was our home page, an about page and then the blog. And just lots and lots of that.
    But then early on as well I made the decision to, I was doing guest posts but I kind of went big so I went to …at the time the Moz community, SEO Moz then was the biggest community in the world for just like how active they were and how big sharing was on their blog. So I wrote a post on there. I did really well but then Rand came back to me and he said, “So are you going to write another one?” And I am like, “Yeah it is going to be epic” which is kind of one of my traits of how I live my life. If I am going to do something I kind of tell everyone I am going to do it and then let peer pressure do the work because once you said you are going to do it, if you don’t you look kind of lame.
    So for that I wrote The New Guide for online marketing, which was a 15, 000 word massive post, 50 million megapixel infographic. It took me months, part time, I wasn’t doing it all the time, it was huge it broke every record on their blog. It has been translated into ten languages. We get photos of people who have printed it out six feet high on the walls of their offices. It was just huge, it just blew up and it is believing that that amount of effort can change things because it did. That was massive for us.
    Alaister: Yeah that new guide to online marketing is something that I have seen and I love it. I have shared it myself personally and I actually printed out not a six foot version but a smaller version and hung it up and everything. So yeah it is amazing content. I can see the amount of effort that goes into it. It wasn’t just a piece of content that you thought, “Oh I am just going to spend half an hour and pump out this article,” it was a really thought out article. And you really wanted to help people go through this process of marketing.
    And I think that is where a lot of people at times fall flat, they don’t understand the value of trying to provide real value in helping people rather than just writing a content to promote my product so they will buy it, I suppose.
    Oli: Yeah exactly and I didn’t talk about us at all in that. And again it is serendipity, you talk about the problem that needs to be solved and yeah our product solves it in part, at some point they will come around if they start doing things the right way they will come around and you will be there as a solution for them.
    But I mean, yeah for that, the reason it got so big was it was kind of autobiographical, it was basically the story of my first six months as a marketer going from not being one to being one and basically it is a six month course of how you get there. It is a bit out of date now but that is kind of why it was very personal and it was very growth oriented.
    Alaister: So you mentioned courage being really important, being able to believe in that specific effort and being able to believe that this amount of time will be worth it in the end with whatever results come through. What advice would you give someone looking to start with inbound marketing and trying to produce content? I mean it can be very disheartening producing content and having no one read it, or no one view it or share it. How do you push through that? What advice would you give to someone that maybe they have written a few articles, no one has read their blog, no one has shared it? How do you keep up that motivation to keep going until you get to a point where you have got a critical following or something like that?
    Oli: Yeah you have just got to believe a little bit but that is why I went to Moz because their blog was open in the sense they have two blogs, You Moz and Moz and anyone can go in and write a guest post on You Moz. It goes in and if it does really well it gets pushed to the main blog and then it blows up. So it is not like a lot of places, because you have to guest post when you are starting out. It is not as valuable as it used to be in the day but you have to do it. There is usually a massive process to go through and a lot of people won’t accept you if you haven’t…it is kind of chicken and egg.
    So that was a great way of getting on somewhere and setting up “Look what I did.” People see you, you develop a bit of a name, then they start coming back to you but it is also about building your social following so that when you share content there are people listening. I mean when we started I spent for the first six months, I spent six hours every day building our Twitter following, on top of everything else. It wasn’t just like…these were 14 hour days but it is worth it because then you have a venue where if you target people right, where people will list because then you see…just keep going. Social shares will go up overtime.
    Alaister: Yeah I think it is just a difficult thing right being able to persevere with it and make slow and incremental improvements and slowly you will start seeing results. And as it kind of builds that is when you start seeing bigger results and bigger wins and it just builds from there.
    Oli: Yeah and go big, don’t be afraid to go big. We would not be where we were if I hadn’t gone big with those content pieces it just wouldn’t have happened the same way.
    Like I said we have six core values. The seventh official one which kind of supports all of them is calls GAS which is giving a shit. If you give a shit about something that just under pins everything you do and it will elevate everything you do to a higher level. You really have to care if you are going to be successful.
    Alaister: With your product I believe it is a SAS product and a monthly subscription product. You have a free trial at the beginning is that right?
    Oli: Mhm.
    Alaister: Is that something you guys have tested? I have had some questions come in where people run membership sites and they are kind of debating whether the model and the pricing, should we go with maybe a yearly price so that the commitment once they are committed, they are committed for a year. Or should I go for a monthly where the barrier to entry is much lower but they have to keep recommitting every month. And how I suppose a free trial fits into that. Is this something you guys have tested and experimented with a lot? What sort of advice would you give people in this position?
    Oli: Yeah we haven’t tested it like with or without; we just did that from the start. It is fairly standard in SAS businesses. For a membership site it really depends on how much you are going to be updating having new content and everything, whether someone can actually see the growth in value to whether they want to commit to a year. I mean I will talk about the SAS business model a bit because it is what I know most about in that realm.
    A couple of things I mean early on we had cheaper plans, like $10 and $25 and all we did was get people who weren’t…our target is professional marketers with a budget and we were getting people like seven year olds who didn’t know what marketing was and it was just a massive drain on our support. This guy Lamar would just, he would phone in every day. We loved Lamar he was great but he didn’t know anything. So we took away those pricing plans and immediately our revenue went up, our support costs went down. So sometimes it is designing an experience for your ideal customer and that kind of floats as relevant anywhere.
    But when you talk about yearly billing or whatever, one of the benefits of that is because a lot of people want to pay. Like if they are in an organization where there is budgeting and all this kind of stuff, they don’t like monthly subscriptions these places. They want to have this line item once for a year where they can do their projections and everything, so they really like that. And when you switch on yearly billing you also get, you start developing a pretty nice cash cushion which is good for growth.
    Alaister: Yeah I suppose with that there is no right answer it is just about experimenting with the audience. Once interesting thing that you mentioned was that you do attract different people with the different pricing plans and models that you go with and it is about whether or not those are the ideal customers for you and which customers that you do want.
    An interesting thing I mean I think it is always a problem with SAS products where there are, maybe it is an 80/20 rule where there is people that have spent, they are taking up so much time off your team, your support team and they are not really using the tools or the products that you have to the maximum ability or capacity or whatever it may be. So yeah it is interesting trying to get a balance between who you are trying to track and how you would track them with your different pricing and models I suppose.
    Oli: yeah and a lot of it when you talk about content marketing as well it comes down, this is something that we are learning and everybody goes through I think, that you need to get into lifecycle content marketing, so you need different, you have problem unaware, problem aware, solution unaware, solution aware, there is different content you need to write for different parts of that life cycle so you can attract…you will do top funnel, very simple stuff to get a lot of people in then you start pushing them to the next level, next level and that is how you would get…instead of just going wide at the top and bringing people in and then letting them crash and burn because they are not ready you know. You have got to really nurture them through it.
    Alaister: Coax them through it, yeah.
    So you have been I suppose at the cutting edge of landing page optimization and conversion rate optimization for years now. What are some of the biggest trends that you see happening in the future? Maybe now 2015 where do you see conversion rate optimization heading?
    Oli: Hmm. That is a loaded question. It is funny, what month are we in? August. At the end of every year it is like hey we are doing a round up post for what is going to happen next year and a round up post of what happened this year. The truth is you never know what is going to happen. What I think is important though is there are design trends out there that need to be tested because people blindly implement design trends and then they may be killing their business because they didn’t test them and they just thought this looks amazing. Ghost buttons: They look clickable. Parallax done wrong is horrible.
    There is a thing, I don’t know what it is called, I call it scroll control, scroll assist, it is probably some JQuery bullshit where when you start scrolling you can stop but it will keep going. It is like it has kind of got a bit of a roll on effect. And you are like, “Arg I wanted to stop there.” And you go back up and all of a sudden it is just dancing and you hit the back button. Things like that are terrible.
    Carousels with auto play and all this kind of stuff, it is just like terrible for conversion these things. It is a me too society where stakeholders or business owners say, “Well they have this and it looks amazing, we need to have that.” No.
    So I think the important thing is to observe trends and implement them very carefully.
    Alaister: Yeah it is just about going back as I mentioned, not mimicking or copying everyone else but understanding why do you want to use this specific element, whether it be in a carousel or a parallax or whatever and seeing if it makes sense for what you are doing I suppose.
    Oli: Yeah.
    Alaister: One thing I have seen you write about a lot in some of the blog posts that you have written is being careful with using videos in your landing pages just because I think you mentioned maybe ten or only ten or fifteen percent of people actually watch these videos. So a lot of the time a lot of the information is not actually being translated to the audience.
    I have a question here that is coming in from Jeremy and he asks, the question is basically would you recommend videos over text? But I kind of want to broaden that question and just ask, in your experience how do you see videos or maybe even video background, maybe auto play video backgrounds or explainer videos…do you find them effective or what is your advice? Or what would you like to say about those?
    Oli: Yeah it is a fascinating topic. Again it all comes down to testing. I hate to blank it down to you have to test it. But we did an explainer video that we were going to put on our homepage. It was a live action one. So we had an actor came out of the office and we had a script, and we filmed this whole thing and I was convinced it was going to bang up our conversion rates and everything. We spent $12,000 on it for the production company, all of our time doing prepping for this and writing script and getting everything set up. And we put it on the homepage and it did nothing, absolutely nothing. Only 11% of people watched it and it had zero impact on conversions, absolutely none. I mean I think maybe the message in it was a bit too simple and they got it from the value prop with the headline anyway.
    Then I thought okay I am going to turn on auto play because maybe it is because not enough people are seeing it. I hate autoplay but I am going to try it just to see what happens. So like 60% of people no watch the video: still didn’t do anything, a complete waste of time, threw it away.
    Interestingly on the subject of autoplay, the only time when it is, unless you are being kind of spammy and you want to jump in someone’s face, the only time I recommend autoplay is when someone has clicked on a video thumbnail to get there, like say you have a video thumbnail in a video like a link in an email to watch a video, lots of test have shown this: put a thumbnail with a play button. When they click that it is not going to play there it will take them to a page that plays the video but they have asked for video, so then you should autoplay so they don’t have to do it twice.
    We out on a four day conference series called Road Trip in June and in Boston, Chris Savage the CEO from Wistia did a presentation and it was amazing, all full of data. I will throw a few of these at you because I am working on a presentation and I am including some of them. They measured, so they call it a turn style which is just an email address grab. At some point just lead gens they block let’s say, a certain percent of lead gen videos, “To continue, put in the email.” They look through 80,000 pages to see the conversion rate based on where it was placed.
    Right at the start, terrible, right at the end, terrible. But then you come in slightly and you start to have more and more impact, like a big lift, just two minutes in compared to right at the start. The optimal place according to these average stats was 14% of the way through the video gave the highest conversion lift. So things like this are just fascinating.
    Also where the video was placed on the page. They broke it down into 250 pixel segments just to see where positions are, below the fold or just, “Down where the fold is” so it is nice to put it in these segments. And having it above the fold or in the top 250, 350 pixels performed way better than say 2/3’s the way down. So keep your videos up there.
    Just some fascinating stuff but yeah, 10 – 20% of people unless your page is just about a video, only 10 and 20% typically will watch it. So you need to communicate the value of the video assuming people aren’t going to watch it.
    Alaister: Yeah that is an interesting thing; being able to communicate that message outside of the video. A lot of people miss that they say, “I have already explained it in the video why would I want to repeat myself again?” But yeah to that point 80 to 90% of the people aren’t watching the video so you need to be able to explain it to them outside of the video.
    Oli: And a great way of doing that, making sure you can do that at least part way, this comes back to the design principle of proximity. So putting a caption below or in close proximity to your video, people jump to them because your video stands out so their attention is drawn and they are like, “Lots of text, I’ll read the caption.” Everybody reads these captions. So if you put something enticing and valuable in there that explains the value of the video and a bit of a call to action to watch the video and how long it is, “it is only two minutes” or whatever, that can encourage people to watch it.
    It can also teach them something, they go, “Oh that is pretty cool I’ll keep reading the page.” Because they might not want to watch the video because they are in the library or at work without head phones. So they may be interested but they can’t. So that little bit of inspiration that you made them read can help them read the rest of the page.
    Alaister: Yeah one interesting thing that we have found specifically with auto play and maybe even autoplay backgrounds, I know a lot of websites nowadays have videos in the background instead of hero images. They look great and they look amazing. You go to a website and they look beautiful. The problem, I mean I don’t know if you have seen this in your testing, but often times it distracts visitors so it distracts them from reading the actual headline and understanding what the actual page is about or what you are trying to get them to do. All they are doing are watching these clouds in the background move or whatever it is right?
    Oli: Yeah
    Alaister: So I don’t know if that is something you have seen in some of your testing or something you have experimented with maybe with Unbounce or some of your clients have experimented with?
    Oli: I haven’t done it myself but I know the impact it has. I mean it is one of those things that you can just see happening and people talk about it, write about it. It is another design trend. Other than having a top down view of a coffee cup and a laptop as the background, they have got this silent video of a little thing on repeat. Think about tabbed internet. You have got all these tabs opening your browser, one of them is Twitter which every time if you have got it on your notification tab in Twitter, you will see a little bracketed 1, 2, whatever. So if you are there the instant you get there, oh I am looking at this, oh a tweet for me. Boom you are gone.
    Or someone turns you, whatever it is, those two seconds you spent looking at that and not reading the headline, someone interrupts you and you are gone.
    So I don’t have time for that.
    Alaister: So I have got another question here from Mary and she is asking what are some of the biggest conversion rate mistakes that you have seen people make when starting out?
    Oli: Testing for no reason. You have to have an observed pain and a hypothesis to fix it but people just like jump on, because people say, “You should be running tests all the time.” Well yeah you should but only if you have a reason too. Don’t just, “I want to test the button color.” No, stop. Button color for the most part is irrelevant; it is the contrast in that area. So if you look on a color wheel figure out the dominant hue of your page, if you like most SAS companies you have got blue so make an orange button that makes sense. But don’t just go, “Let’s test seven button colors” because then if it doesn’t work you learned nothing.
    Testing is about learning. You need to...if you lose a test that is great as long as you learnt something because you are like, “Oh it is because of that” so there is value there but if you test button color and it wins or it loses you are like, well what did I learn? Nothing. Random.
    And calling tests too early is the biggest problem for every single person doing tests. Everybody does it wrong for a while, then they learn how to do it properly, or they stop doing it they give up because they didn’t know any better. Like I said, every single AB test peaks at the start it is like a heart rate monitor and you get this massive big lift. You need to wait through at least two business cycles, at least two weeks, preferably four. You need to look at a sample size calculator to see how much traffic you need to put through there. You need statistical significance, go for 99. You need all these things together. People call tests way too early. A lot of the time it is because they are pressured into doing it by their client or the boss because they just like it can spike up at the start it can spike down and it doesn’t mean anything. And they are like, “Oh we are losing thousands of dollars!” No you are not, because the other one is up or whatever and it is going to correct itself and over time it will either do nothing or you will win or you will lose .But here this is irrelevant data.
    I love how Optimizely do it internally they have a double blind where they will run a test, nobody is allowed to look at it and then when they come to look at the test at the end of the day, they look at all the data, all the results and they figure out, okay did it actually win are we going to push it live? Then they make a decision. Then they say which one was which because you don’t know. Like if it was my idea and I know there is that confirmation bias where you are like, “Well it is my idea so even though it didn’t win it still won” or whatever. Like it is not finished, the test hasn’t quite finished but it looks pretty good and it is mine. So when you don’t know whose it is: much better chance that you will make a decent decision.
    Alaister: Yeah I think the idea of blind tests is a great idea. A lot of people they often have a decision before the test is actually run. They have decided their version is going to win right? So being able to have this blind test and objectively look at the results I think is a really great way to approach it.
    Oli: Yeah totally.
    Alaister: So I have got another question here and there is a whole bunch of questions talking about tools, tools you use and tools you would recommend in regards to conversion rate optimization. So some tools like heat maps and things like that… what are some other tools you would recommend and how do you see them interacting with maybe making decisions as to what to test or using those tools to help with testing or building landing pages?
    Oli: Yeah it is all about getting as much information as you can and I think that is why hot jar are doing really well right now because they’ve brought all of these tools into one, these measurement tools. So you can see recordings, you can see heat and click maps, scroll maps, session recordings, pop up surveys all of that. You have this data in one place which is really smart on their part because you can look at one thing, like look at a heat map and go, “Oh everybody is kind of concentrating over here.” But then you will look at a recording of someone using it and you’re like, oh, you see something completely different. You need to see things from many angles otherwise you can make incorrect assumptions.
    So having as many things as possible.
    Scroll maps are really interesting because you may spend all your time on this wonderful thing, the lobotomy of your page and 4% of people see it. Come on. Or your video is 50% the way down and only 20% of people scroll that far, so that is a great thing to start with. Then you can just cut your page in half if nobody is getting down there.
    Or you can do things like use sticky nav, like inline anchor navigation to push people down because they are seeing these things that interest them.
    Like I said for clarity tests and clarity is one of the most important parts of conversion: usability hub. Do five second tests there, easy and cheap.
    Obviously is you are building landing pages and you should be; use Unbounce.
    And you know what go to the resources page on unbounce.com. Tons of free stuff, there is two landing page courses, there are a bunch of eBooks, lots of webinars, there is the page fight episodes. We stopped doing page fights but there is a lot of great stuff in there if you want some entertaining conversion advice. Colorful.
    Alaister: We will let everyone check it out and we will add those links to the site as well.
    One thing that I often find with a lot of these tools and a lot of people talking about it in the actual forum is they use all these tools, heat maps, scroll, click maps all these sort of things and often they come into a situation where they have got information overload. They have just got so much information they just don’t know how to actually use it. Do you have some advice maybe to give these people where they have kind of got, they might have a heat map, they have got some survey answers or they may have some emails or feedback from support or customer success team. How do you tie all of this together and use this information in a meaningful way rather than having all this noise out there?
    Oli: Yeah that is really tough I mean, that is kind of why at the same time as it being too much you need these different angles because if you look at the qualitative stuff, feedback from customer service and the surveys you can get a lot of insight into behavioral insight, but you need to make sure you don’t just…you never make a change based on one person bitching about something because that is just not the way to go. You need to observe like that template example, like a lot of people are running into the same thing. Then see if you can go, okay well if that is the question they are asking now with that in mind, I am going to watch a recording and see if I can spot what they are doing to solve that. Like if they are looking for a certain type of information look at where they are going on the page and go like, “Oh it is right there. No, no it is right there.” When I look at the scroll map… if the question that everybody has is on the page, the answer, but they are not getting to it, this is how you combine them , then you are like ah this is something that needs to be higher up.
    Because optimization is all about cognitive ease. We need to answer questions before they are asked so when you can uncover a question, then we have to position it in a place where people are going to see it and get it before they even have the question in their own head or before they react negatively to not having the answer. So you can look at scroll map, how far they go. A click map or a heat map if they are spending all their time doing these things, that is how you tie in the qualitative in. If they are looking for that and it is not there, try putting it there and see if there is an impact.
    Alaister: Yeah I think a lot of times people need to spend time actually pulling meaningful information from it. It is not about looking at a bunch of survey answers or questions and saying, “Oh okay well this is what people are saying.” It is actually tying them in with all the different tools and all the different information and trying to make a decision I suppose and just go with it and test it. A lot of times people get analysis paralysis and it kind of stops them from doing anything right. Even if you make a wrong decision I think it is meaningful and you learn a lot from being able to run with it and test it and see what the response is.
    Oli: Yeah and talk about it with someone else because we just hired Michael Agard he is our CRO, he is an awesome guy, a great speaker, he is an amazing CRO. And yesterday I am running a test and I am like, ah I know the problem I have done the research, everybody who comes here (it is for a course) their problem is they don’t have time or they don’t know when it is, or they don’t know what the structure is like timewise. And I was dealing with it in the wrong way.
    So we sat down, we spent an hour. I communicated here are all the problems; this is the qualitative pain point I am seeing. And he is a great copywriter. So we just discussed it back and forth and then he came up with some really good, “Well why don’t we say that?”
    And then we positioned these bullet points above the faults so people could get the answers. We are running a test right now, but it is just great to go back and forth with someone else. Otherwise you will just, “Oh it is that.” We’re going to jump in on the landing page and change something there and it is going to fix everything. No, have a discussion, whiteboard something, like really spend some time thinking about it so you can really get the right approach.
    Alaister: Yeah I suppose you could spend a lot of time, too much time sometimes just being stuck in the data and trying to go through the data, a lot of the time talking to someone or just trying to explain it verbally sort of clarifies it all.
    Oli: Yeah definitely.
    Alaister: Okay well unfortunately we are running out of time right now but there is a whole bunch of other questions that have come through. But before we kind of leave, what are sort of maybe three things that you would like to leave with the audience, maybe some advice or some tips for people getting started in conversion rate. Or maybe people who have been doing conversion rate and they have got opportunity to improve what they are doing right now?
    Oli: That is interesting. I mean when it comes to landing pages the three main things are attention, context and clarity. I mean removing distractions. Everyone talks about this, it is one of the most basic things people talk about but nobody does it. When you have a landing page, this is why you should look at click maps’ people will click your logo and if you connect your logo to your home page your website, you just broke your campaign. And everybody...and people just want to do that. “Oh but what if I don’t get the information here?” Well if they don’t have the information here you are not doing it right. You need to have the right information there and that is the nice thing about a landing page if they don’t convert it is a yes-no thing. You know it is a problem right here on your website. It is like oh where did they go wrong, was it here or here or here or here?
    So resist the urge. ..you know we have had eBook landing pages where, “put in your email” that is all we want you to do. Oh let’s be helpful, “here are some other resources you might like.” No, no take them away: 31% lift when we did that because people have good intentions but you need to be careful with your good intentions because that is not conversion centered design, that is helpful design and it is not helpful for your bottom line.
    Deliver on the promises you make. Go look at, a great thing to do is just step back and audit your own work. Look at your marketing, look at your landing pages or wherever you are sending your ad traffic or whatever which (Shudder) you are sending to your home page, which most of you probably are. Look at how you are delivering on that promise because if you are not you have big opportunity to do that properly.
    You know if you have an ad for red shoes don’t send me to a place that has black, blue and green shoes. That is just annoying.
    So yeah, stepping back, take your ads whatever they may be, whether it is email marketing, paid, social whatever it is, stick them side by side with your landing page and go “Are these in any way related? Like what is going on here?” Make sure they are aligned.
    And yeah it is like for designers, design in context. If you just design something in your own little world and it doesn’t fit the website or whatever, the ad, whatever it is, you need to look at things in context.
    Clarity: Run these tests. Do the headline flip it is gold.
    Avoid jargon and acronyms. People need to understand really quickly.
    I was talking to a young entrepreneur about a year ago and she was asking me how to develop her elevator page and I said, “Get really meta (physical) with this. I want you to go to the highest building, the tallest building in town (which is the TD tower in Vancouver), ride the elevator all day telling people what your business is. It is going to be embarrassing but you are going to have to do that if you are going to be successful anyway. And you are going to be awkward and they will be awkward but you will get some people who you will say ‘hey can I tell you what my business idea is?’ And they will say, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about.’ Do that all day. By the end of the day you will be way better and your value proposition will be way stronger.”
    Alaister: Yeah I think a lot of the time like what you mentioned just there a lot of people are afraid and you kind of mentioned one of your core values in Unbounce is courage. A lot of people are afraid to put themselves out there, the risk of what will people think, what if I fail, what if it doesn’t work or whatever it may be, often that is the kind of difference. And it is a fine line between doing something that doesn’t work and then doing something that really explodes a business and grows it. So it is kind of just walking that fine line and being able to have the courage and the belief to do it.
    So thanks very much Oil, we really appreciate your time on the show and we are really excited. I know a lot of people are going to get a lot of value out of, you have provided a huge amount of value. All of the books, the blog posts and all of the resources you have mentioned we will go through it and add it all into the posts so everyone can get access to it. And if anyone wants to check out Unbounce I definitely recommend it: unbounce.com
    And thanks very much Oli.
    Oli: Oh my pleasure, thanks for having me on.
    [End Recording]
  • Profile picture of the author iron123
    Very interesting, would love to watch more of this.
  • Profile picture of the author Fisch
    Thank you!
  • Profile picture of the author blackowls
    hiya..any idea how to solve a 404 error on my website..the following error is displayed..Index of /

    Apache Server at thebestofeducation.com Port 80
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  • Profile picture of the author John Adam
    Thank you very much ! I'd love to watch more of this

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