Im Vorfeld zum ConversionSUMMIT (übrigens: das letzte Ticketkontingent ist seit heute im Verkauf) traf ich mich am Rande der Conversion Conference in San Francisco mit einem der führenden Conversion-Köpfe dieses Planeten: Chris Goward. Chris hat mit dem L.I.F.T. Modell eines der führenden Conversion Frameworks erschaffen, das jedem Anwender im Alltag hilft, Conversion Schwachstellen auf der Website zu erkennen.
Chris wird eine Keynote auf dem Conversion Summit halten.
In unserem Gespräch ging es darum, dass Methoden und Tools (wie z.B. ein Framework) wichtig sind, um die Effektivität und Effizienz von Optimierungsprozessen zu sichern.
Chris, thanks for your time to do this interview. Let’s start directly: What are the most common mistakes and misconceptions about conversion optimization?
There are many. But those that are doing it right are getting a huge payoff from figuring it out.
Organizations seem to be very creative in coming up with ways to make mistakes in conversion optimization. Most are having difficulty because the scientific marketing approach is such a different mindset than traditional gut-feeling-based marketing.
For those that have accepted the data-driven mindset, I would categorize the mistakes in two groups:
Mistakes of approach
Mistakes of execution
In the first category, the most important mistake is confusing conversion optimization with data gathering. If you’re simply collecting information through voice of customer surveys, user testing, web analytics, or simply following “best practices”, you’re only looking at a piece of the puzzle. That’s not conversion optimization.
Until you engage in a rigorous testing process, you could actually be hurting your business results! We often test the output of small sample data collection and consultant recommendations and find them to be wrong. Unless a consultant runs many tests like we do, they’re likely guessing too. You should ask what data their opinion is based on.
The second category, execution mistakes, spans a wide gamut. There are many chances for error when executing a testing program. This is where using a proven process for executing tests is critical. The process an organization uses can either lead to a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement or a frustrating cycle of drudgery.
When it comes to analyzing a website, most people claim to have a strong gut feeling. So – Why should I use a framework like the LIFT Model?
Yes, people all have strong gut feeling… and that’s the problem. They tend to trust their first impressions and opinions too much. Perception is clouded by previous experience and training, which is often unrelated. Or, their evaluation could be based on aesthetic appeal, which is entirely different than conversion ability. We have to overcome the pull of our opinions to make progress.
There are many reasons to use a proven process and conversion optimization framework like the LIFT Model. To name a few, it:
Applies structure to otherwise messy marketing endeavours
Prompts strategists to view experiences from your prospect’s perspective
Gives common terminology to move the industry toward higher level conversations
What is the #1 conversion mistake when you look at all your analysis from the past years and what is the problem about?
The single biggest challenge marketers face is their knowledge.
The more you know about your products & services, your industry and your marketing messages, the less you are able to view your communication through your prospect’s eyes. You simply know too much that your prospect doesn’t.
This curse of insider knowledge leads to all manner of marketing mistakes, like acronym reliance, competitor mimicry, and minutia focus.
We find many of important conversion rate gains originate with ideas from different industries. By testing across industries, we can cross-pollinate learning and generate ideas that no one else in the industry is thinking about. The insights from our B2B lead generation clients are delivering huge gains to our consumer e-commerce retailers, affiliate marketers, publishers and non-profit – and vice versa.
Don’t discount ideas from outside your industry.
I have read in the econsultancy conversion report that nearly 70% of etailers still don’t have a structured approach for optimization of their business – how can you explain this?
Surprising, isn’t it? Adoption is slower than we’d like to see, but the good news is that that number is going down. The previous year it was 76%.
Another interesting finding from eConsultancy is comparing the performance of companies who have a structured approach to improving conversion rates vs. those who did not.
Companies with a structured approach were twice as likely to have had a large increase in sales!
So what is your optimization process?
Our conversion optimization process is called the Kaizen Method. We begin with the discovery and conversion strategy phase to develop the Kaizen Plan. This involves a workshop with company stakeholders where we dig into the web analytics, target audience and value proposition positioning. The output of that is conversion optimization strategy that prioritizes a company’s testing and improvement opportunities.
Then, for each of those priority optimization areas, we run the 7-step conversion testing process, which includes the LIFT Analsis.
We’ve used this process to deliver conversion rate and revenue lift for hundreds of companies globally in all industry areas including retail, finance, software, hardware, manufacturing, gaming, travel tourism, higher education, business services, healthcare, affiliates and government. It’s as proven as a process can get!
Sounds great. But is it all about methodology? I have realized that successful conversion optimizers need a huge set of skills and experiences. What are the most important personal skills a conversion optimizer needs?
The right people are critically important to making the methodology work.
A great conversion strategist is a unique person or, more often, a unique team with diverse and complementary skillsets. They should have broad experience in:
User experience design
Tetris (seriously, it’s a decent predictor of a person’s wireframing aptitude)
Improvements in website results are just as likely to come from high level marketing concepts as from detailed user interface tweaks. Conversion strategists must be able to transition from high level to detailed thinking smoothly to identify all opportunities.
Fortunately, missing skills can be learned. There’s no perfect conversion strategist, just as there’s no perfect website!
Thats true. Looking forward to seeing you in Frankfurt in September! Thanks for the talk, Chris!