The Need for Speed: Increasing Sales with Site Optimization

the need for speed infographicThe bottom line is that site speed and page load time affect your bottom line. Believe it or not, something as small as 1-second delay in load time can lead to reduced conversions, reduced page views, and reduced customer satisfaction. All of these things impact your business’s bottom line. When you’re spending money on lead generation and various marketing mediums, the last thing you want is to have the people that visit your landing pages bounce without spending some time connecting with your content, products, and/or services. Here’s what causes a slower load time, how delays impact your site and business, and a few steps you can take to optimize your site for speed. Read the full entry

A Bright Outlook for Landing Page Optimization

landing page optimizationLanding pages are a key focus for many marketers. This could be where a user lands during their first time on your website or it could be the place where they are engaging with your business for the first time. Even if it’s not, landing pages are often designed with engagement and conversions in mind, whether your business is looking to drive subscribers, leads or webinar sign-ups. Landing pages can be a determining factor in whether or not a marketing campaign is successful and in order to develop a successful landing page, there are a few things your business must do. A recent Ascend2 report took a look at what makes a landing page strategy superior. Here’s what they found and what you can take away. Read the full entry

Long Landing Pages: The Secret of the Scroll

ILong Landing Page SEOMozt’s all about the numbers: social followers, email subscribers, and conversions. Conversions: a keyword for marketers looking to validate their efforts. Landing pages play a role in the conversions rate and many marketers are well aware of the term “above the fold” when it comes to their design. Often times, businesses will include their key product or offering and a clear call-to-action in this section of their landing page. Some marketers are wary of longer pages due to more aggressive sales techniques. However, the “right” page length will vary from business to business so testing is a must. When it comes to your longer landing pages, analyze the way your users scroll and know your metrics before getting started. Read the full entry Takes the Tour to San Francisco for the Latest in User Experience

Last week, as part of the Growth Tour of America, I had the pleasure to participate in a design workshop with 30 user experience designers and product managers in downtown San Francisco. The workshop was hosted by Cooper, a design consulting company that serves both big and small companies in Silicon Valley. As a product manager and user experience designer, one of the questions that I’m constantly struggling with is how I can more effectively align teams to design and build better products for our audiences. This workshop provided me with lots of new ideas and practical tips that I can start putting to use in our own business. Here are a few quick takeaways that B2B marketers and user experience designers can benefit from.

Use Videos to Tell User Stories

With a little creativity, videos can be produced with very little labor and time. A picture is worth a thousand words and videos are more powerful than pictures. Building good products starts with building empathy with our target users. During the user research phase, user experience designers and product managers go out to the field or learn a lot about our users, but the bottleneck is how to communicate it back to the team and allow the bigger product team to be on the same page of who we are building the products for. Video can be very effective at this stage. In fact, a recent CMI study found that 60% of B2B marketers find videos to be an effective content marketing tactic and the use of video has risen from 52% in 2011 to 70% in 2012. People usually associate videos as labor intensive and expensive projects. They don’t have to be such an investment in order to be successful. Cooper shared a few methods to produce high quality videos with a microphone and simple PowerPoint.

Work like a Team, Share like Wildfire

Building user empathy is no easy task. Deeply involve users in the everyday business routine and in the entire product development cycle without losing focus is no easy task. One of the tactics the Cooper consultants shared with us is “working out loud,” which basically means that artifacts produced in the product design stage, such as personas, design prototypes, user stories, videos, snapshots, should be widely shared within the company. It gets people to be more familiar with the target audience and create an immersive user-centered environment. Team members with distinct business functions are moving towards the same goal: delight the customers.

Participation Leads to Buy-In

Decisions cannot be made in silos. No matter how glorious the product manager’s vision, or how great a user experience designer’s wireframe is, it won’t go anywhere if they are unable to build rapport within the company and get buy-in on that vision. Business buy-in and design decision making involves more people than ever before. Crain’s BtoB magazine found that the 81% of B2B marketers must contend with multiple decision-makers during the sales process. To get everyone involved, conduct workshops and ideation sessions that encourage contributions from different functional teams. Getting insight from different perspectives and departments is a good way to show that you are taking into consideration the opinions of all the business units in the development process. Hearing different perspectives and the rationale behind those opinions pulls the team toward a shared vision.

Think About the Entire Online Ecosystem

For online product offerings, thinking just about the landing page user experience isn’t enough. Marketers would be smart to take the entire online experience into consideration, beginning with where the users come from (SEO, SEM, referral, direct and etc.). You’ll want to ask yourself about the route someone took to get to your page as well as:

  • What other touch points beyond your website – such as email, social media, display ads, and offline interaction – are available and is the prospect using?
  • What kind of customer journey has the prospect been through and what stage are they at in that process?
  • What needs are specific to their background, industry and position within a company?
  • What needs are their more general needs that apply to others as well

Keeping all these questions and collaboration strategies in mind help us as user experience designers, marketers and product managers build a clear mind map on how and where our new offerings and solutions can make the biggest impact.

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The Lasting Effect of Landing Pages

In the midst of social media, email marketing and SEO, landing pages can get lost. Creating the best subject lines, attention-grabbing intros and fresh content are just a few of the tasks modern B2B marketers are tasked with. With all that going on, landing pages are sometimes forgetten about. However, they are crucial to the success of your website and business. In fact, HubSpot’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarks Report found that companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from just 10 to 15. More landing pages provide your business more opportunities to deliver a connected and continuous experience to customers. In order to create the best landing pages for your business, consider these best practices.

Integrate the Source with the Page

Landing pages are often the first step in a lead nurturing campaign. Don’t confuse your prospect right off the bat by having broken continuity from a link to a landing page. You want to keep a consistent experience for the user, using similar language, design, etc. Integrate the source of the landing page with the page itself. If your landing page is for a link sent out on a social network, you’ve got to make sure you have a more information built out on your landing page, since a tweet or status update isn’t going to give those clicking through as much information as an email or newsletter snippet might. You also want to give the prospect a sense of continuation. They should feel the brand extending from your email or tweet to the landing page in terms of design, copy and offers.

Keep Social Media in Mind

In the past, marketing professionals have had the idea to create landing pages specifically for those accessing the page through their mobile device. While some companies may still continue along this route, marketers need to consider streamlining all landing pages to accommodate those visitors who may be coming in from a friend’s “forward,” a mobile search or a social media post. One example would be to reduce the number of form fields for those visiting a landing page on a mobile device versus a laptop. Eloqua found that there is a significant drop-off in overall conversion rates after both three and seven fields in a landing page form. You can nurture those leads and gradually collect more information by directing them to other content that requires minimal, but additional information to be accessed such as related whitepaper or case study.

When it comes to social media traffic,  the share-ability of your landing page is important to keep in mind to generate future traffic. Having social share buttons is a must – you could even include social proof once a page is successful. One example is eye glasses and lens provider ACLens which experienced a 41% increase in conversions and 58% increase in value per transaction after incorporating customer testimonials in their landing page.

Don’t Lose Out on Layout

The layout of your landing page matters. While the source may be a factor, it isn’t the only thing to keep in mind with layout formatting and design. According to MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Optimization Benchmarks Report, page layout came out on top when analyzing which elements of a landing page had the greatest impact on overall website performance. The layout of a page can affect its load time,which can cause a business to lose conversions and customer satisfaction. According to the Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay in page-load time results in 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversions.

Different landing pages will be successful for different tests. The best practice your business can take is to ABT, or “Always Be Testing.” Test different layouts, form fields, and designs to determine what type of landing page will be the most successful for your business. Consider your customers and what they would be expecting when landing on a page. You want to leave a positive and lasting impact so that in the event a prospect chooses not to fill out a form, they keep your business in mind for when they are ready.

How many landing pages does your business currently optimize?