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How to Get Past Cold Calling

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Andrea Hewitt – Enjoy! 

Cold calling is proven to lead to high levels of anxiety for at least 40 percent of sales people during their careers. That’s why every company should strive to get to the point where they can stop relying completely on cold calling and finally see hot leads coming down the pipeline.

Unless you become a giant corporation, which is not the case for most companies, you’ll still be tracking down new clients through cold calls. It’s the perfect way to touch base with many potential customers that wouldn’t find you otherwise.

But how do you transition to less cold calling and more customers coming to you? Start with these four steps and you’re sure to see more hot leads coming your way:

1. Provide a great product or service

The easiest way to draw people to your brand is to have an incredible product or service to offer them. Find a need in whatever market you want to break into, and make something great to fill the void. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Find something that needs to be updated and create a better version. If your product is good, people will talk about it and you’ll start to see positive feedback that could attract potential customers.

2. Network every chance you get

If you focus on a specific industry, get to trade shows and use the opportunity to spread the word about your products. If you’re trying to sell to a specific region, go to local festivals, gatherings, and any opportunity for you to mingle with community members and leaders. Hand out as many business cards as you can, then let the customers come to you. Utilize every opportunity to hit the pavement and you’ll be sure to build awareness of your brand.

3. Create an awesome web presence

One of the main ways you can drive leads to you is to have an incredible web presence. If it’s been a couple years since you built your site, create a more modern design. Think of your website like a book—people are judging it by the cover. You also need to make yourself search engine optimized (SEO). For example, if you own an ice cream shop in Duluth, Minnesota, when people search Google for “ice cream in Duluth,” you want to be the first result. Start increasing your SEO by conducting a site audit. This step will point out problem areas that you can work to fix so your site starts performing higher in the rankings.

4. Cultivate a good reputation

Build relationships with the movers and shakers in your industry. If there are publications that many of your potential customers read, contact them with well-written press releases about new products and updates. Or ask if you can write something for them to get your name out there, educate your audience and demonstrate your authority. If there are professional organizations or chambers of commerce that are trusted in your area, get in touch with head honchos and convince them your company deserves public attention. Getting those people on your side and talking about you will lead to more inquiries.

You’ll also create a stellar reputation by having solid customer service. If you consistently go above and beyond for your current customers, they’ll do word-of-mouth marketing for you by bragging to their friends and colleagues.

Once you’ve tackled these first four steps, you’ll be on your way to finding the balance you desire between cold calls and hot leads. This won’t happen overnight but if you take your time and take pride in your exceptional product or service, you’re destined to get where you want your business to go.

Andrea Hewitt Andrea Hewitt is a content writer at StorageAhead, a web marketing company. She spends most of her time writing blogs that help others grow their businesses. She loves tackling a variety of topics and if she’s unfamiliar with one, she’ll do hours and hours of research until she feels like she has enough authority to write about it.

 

How to Increase Customer Loyalty

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Jill at SurveyAct - Enjoy!

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photo credit: SurveyAct

Customer satisfaction is the number one driving force behind developing loyal customers.  Gaining loyal customers is like striking gold!  This group of repeat customers converts easily, spends more, costs less to service and helps spread the word about their positive experiences.  According to data from Marketing Metrics, eConsultancy, and Adobe, loyal customers demonstrate conversion rates 5-9 times greater than first-time customers!

Not only are loyal customers “conversion-friendly” but also have the ability to generate additional business from a slew of new customers.  They are likely to be brand ambassadors and influence others to purchase from your company.  These days, word-of-mouth referrals are more prevalent because consumers are prone to sharing their opinions on public forums and social media websites.  And, did I mention that these referrals are free marketing?

Given this information about loyal customers, repeat customers are worth targeting. The challenge for merchants is earning repeat business. To meet this challenge, you must go directly to the source.

How do you develop more customer loyalty? Through the creation of customer satisfaction surveys!

Creating an anonymous online survey that asks customers to provide honest feedback about your brand will make them feel as though their business is important to you, and serve as a reference for how to increase customer satisfaction by identifying where your business needs attention and improvement.

Where to Start: Choose an online survey tool that is easy-to-use, yet includes advanced reporting methods which you to slice and dice the data you collect in many different ways.

What Types of Questions to Use: To ensure that users complete the full survey, keep most of your questions as easy to answer as possible by making them close-ended with a response rating scale.  For example create questions like:

“How do you feel about the quality of Product Widget?”

  • Extremely Satisfactory
  • Satisfactory
  • Neutral
  • Unsatisfactory
  • Extremely Unsatisfactory

What Should my Questions Address? Ask key questions that address the following key areas of your business:

  • Quality: How do your customers feel about the quality of your product?  Does it need improvement?
  • Customer Service:  Are customers satisfied with the support that they have received?
  • Pricing: Is your pricing competitive in the marketplace?  Does it match up with the quality of goods/services you sell?
  • Competition: How does your brand/product stack up to your competitors?
  • Brand experience:  How was the customer’s overall experience from beginning to end when?  Was the buying process easy and convenient?
  • Brand Perception:  Do your customer’s feel positive about your overall brand?

Lastly, ask at least one open-ended question so that customers can make suggestions that you might not have already though about.  For example:

  • “How can we improve our offerings to best suit your needs?”
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photo credit: SurveyAct

As long as your survey tool allows you to break down your analysis into percentages, it should be quick and easy to identify which parts of your business may be under performing.

If you want to delve even deeper into the analytics, filter results based on specific criteria.  Did many people answer that that they were unsatisfied with your pricing but also claim that your product is just as good as your competitors’?  This would be a clear sign that you are missing out on business solely because your competitors are undercutting your pricing. Slash costs and you may be on your way to an increase in volume of sales.

If you have multiple target markets that you’d like to break the data down by, be sure to ask a demographic question (i.e. “What is your gender”?).  When filtering by sex, you may find out that males and females have a difference in opinion about your business. You can then take this information and develop separate campaigns that address the issues of each market.

I’ve Made Changes and Developed Campaigns Addressing Improvements.  Now What?

If customers aren’t aware of your improvements, all of your research and hard work will be for nothing!  Go ahead and shout it from the rooftops.  Announce the changes you’ve made everywhere you can – through social media, your internal newsletter, your blog and if it is news-worthy create a press release and/or pitch it to specific media outlets.

Jill is an established entrepreneur and Marketing Strategist at the newly re-launched online survey tool startup SurveyAct, based in Long Island, NY.  When she is not strategizing and executing marketing plans, she is enjoying vegetarian food, playing tennis or writing poetry.  Feel free to contact her at [email protected] with any questions regarding online surveys, marketing or whatever fits your fancy!

Conversion Rates for Different Devices 101

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Calvin Sellers – Enjoy!

Cuddling with multiple devices

photo credit: Flickr by adactio

Digital Marketers use lots of metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts these days.  Not only do we have to evaluate all the different options for social networks, ad display networks, and content creation, but Marketers should be increasingly aware of the types of device displaying their marketing efforts.  Unless you have implemented a responsive website that displays the same no matter the device, chances are people are not having the same experience when they click your ad on a mobile device as those that click through on their PC.  Let’s discuss some things you need to consider when planning and evaluating the effectiveness of your campaigns across devices.

Device Statistics

Unless you’ve been under a Digital Marketing rock for the last year, you know that more and more people are using smartphones and tablets to access the web and perform all types of tasks that would have required a computer just a few years ago.  It’s important to incorporate this trend into your online marketing plan.  For instance, according to a study by Monetate, computer-driven traffic and tablets are converting to sales at very similar rates, 2.56% and 2.54% respectively.  Smartphones are lagging behind at only a .96% conversion rate.

This large difference in device effectiveness can be caused by the different ways users spend time on the devices.  As many as 70% of all tablet users mostly use their tablet at home where 70% of smartphone users access the internet on-the-go.  Smartphones can be used for last-second research while in a brick and mortar store or to quickly check out a new app their friend mentions.  People just may not have the time or capabilities to complete the purchase on their phone.  Many people prefer to wait until they get back to their tablet or computer to complete the transaction.  Evaluating this type of data can help you allocate your time to properly optimize your campaign so you get the most bang for your buck.

What’s the Problem?

So what  happens after you’ve decided on your targeted keywords, know where your ads are going to run, and have a killer content strategy to captivate your visitors, but for some reason, the traffic you are getting isn’t leading to as many conversions as you have anticipated?  Assuming your product or service is viable and has an eager customer base, this is probably caused by a disconnect at some point in your online sales funnel.

First we need to analyze your traffic.  Where are the leads coming from and which devices are they using when they visit your site?  Most analytics software suites, like Google Analytics, can provide these answers with a just a few clicks.  You will be able to see a breakdown of the traffic by source and device(plus a lot of other options like Operating System and the web browser visitors were using).  If you are receiving a lot of traffic from mobile devices and/or tablets but your conversion rates from this traffic doesn’t correlate with your PC traffic conversion rates, there is most likely an issue with user experience.

How Do I Fix It?

Once we’ve determined there is a disconnect in the funnel, we need to find out what is causing people to lose interest before completing their transaction.  Test out your landing pages on a pc, a tablet, and a smartphone.  Note any differences in the way the content is displayed.  Can you easily find the call to action and the buttons to click through on each device?  Does the “Click Here” button that is displaying on the top right portion of your PC screen get forced below the fold on your Lenovo tablet?

Identifying weaknesses in your online marketing strategy now can give you time to fix the issues caused by different resolutions before you throw too much time and money down the drain.  You should continue to test and make adjustments to your campaign until the experience is intuitive on all devices.  When people are interested in your product and can easily navigate their way to purchase, conversion rates soar!

Have you experienced significant conversion rate differences across devices on any of your recent campaigns?  What did you do to fix the problem?

Optimized-Profile picCalvin Sellers is a mobile technology and social media writer from Tampa, FL.  Follow him on Twitter @CalvinTheScribe.

3 Marketing Strategies You Haven’t Tried

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Josh Kaufman – Enjoy!

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Photo credit: LollyKnit

Every business owner knows that attracting the attention of the right client at the right time is an essential part of building a thriving business. But what happens if your tried-and-true marketing strategies aren’t working the way they used to? Or if you’re simply tired of using the same marketing strategies over and over again and are ready to change things up? Here are three marketing tricks you might not be taking advantage of — and why they’ll generate more sales.

1. Give something away

I know what you might be thinking: if I’m struggling to market myself and sell my products, how could giving something away for free possibly help me? But even if the prospect of giving something away seems unnerving, free offers almost always work. Customers love the promise of getting something for nothing, and the giveaway is subsidized by additional sales it eventually generates.

By giving your prospects something of no cost up front, you earn their attention while giving them the opportunity to experience the value of your product. Focus on giving away real value that will attract real, paying customers.

2. Don’t shy away from controversy

We’ve been conditioned to believe that negative attention is something to be avoided at all costs. But if you’re too unobjectionable,

People take issue with the fact that I claim in The Personal MBA that it’s simply unnecessary to get an MBA from a college or university. But every time someone speaks out against my claim or the book in general, people’s attention gets piqued, leading them to seek out the book for themselves.

This isn’t to say that you should write an op-ed trashing a competitor or start a Twitter feud with a dissatisfied customer. Seeking out controversy for the sake of attention likely won’t garner you the results you want.

That said, it’s definitely okay to have strong opinions and take definite stances. Doing so creates discussion and dialogue, which are powerful forms of attention. Remember that controversy won’t help you if you lose sight of the purpose behind your actions. But if you can keep that big picture in mind, creating controversy may entice people into checking out what your business is all about.

3. Make heroes out of your clients

As business owners and marketers, we don’t often think of ourselves as storytellers. But telling stories is a universal currency, and whether we realize it or not, narratives play a key role in how we market products to customers.

Joseph Campbell’s theory of “The Hero’s Journey” provides an outline of the narratives your customers want to experience. Even if this desire is subconscious, customers want to be heroes. They want to admired, respected, powerful, and strong in the face of adversity. They want to draw inspiration from those who have come before them and vanquished a foe.

Telling your customers a story about how others have used your product to solve a problem or enhance their lives encourages them to learn more about what you have to offer. These stories grab prospective customers’ attention and show them a path toward achieving what they want. The more vivid, clear, and emotionally compelling the story, the more prospects you’ll attract, and you’ll likely have an easier time translating these prospects into sales.

522151_629733177052501_1375838019_nJosh Kaufman is the author of the #1 international bestseller The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business as well as the upcoming book The First 20 Hours: Mastering the Toughest Part. Josh is teaching a free, live business course on creativeLIVE this August 8-9. You can stream if for free here. Visit his website http://personalmba.com/ for more information.

How to Sell More by Focusing On Less

Today’s guest post is from Sean D’Souza. – Enjoy!

rarefind

Image Credit: Sean D’Souza

I remember flying to Pittsburgh in the year 2004.

It was a 7am presentation in front of about 40 people who I didn’t know. And who didn’t know me, either. And by the time the presentation was done at 7:45am, I asked the crowd a simple question.

“How many of you would like to buy this product?”

And over 50% of the hands in the room went up. Which, by the way, wasn’t the most interesting part. The most interesting part was that I hadn’t told them much about the product, or the price, or the delivery. So why were so many of those in the room willing to buy the product?

The answer lies in a discussion I had early in my career with an amazing salesman

I was new to sales and marketing back in the early 2000s. And I ran into this multi-millionaire called Brian Tracy. And his advice on sales was the best definition of sales I’ve ever heard. He said: Sales is a transfer of enthusiasm from one person to another.

Oh darn, so that’s what was happening — enthusiasm was being transferred!

Indeed, I’d made a good presentation. Yes, the content was very interesting and useful. But it’s the enthusiasm that caused people to brush aside the rest of the details and make a decision to buy the product.

But it’s one thing to say “be enthusiastic” and quite another to do it. So how do you create enthusiasm?

The answer lies in a concept called “isolation”. It doesn’t matter if you are selling offline or online, you can’t be enthusiastic if you’re bogged down with seven hundred features and benefits. So instead you isolate just one. Just like Steve Jobs did when he presented the MacBook Air. Instead of simply rattling off every feature, the drama was centered on just one thing: the fact that the MacBook Air was so thin, it could fit in an envelope.

The BBC presenter, David Attenborough, creates this same moment of enthusiasm

There he is, standing in the middle of the forest, surrounded by thousands of trees,  bushes, insects chattering endlessly and what does he do? He drops to his knees and he shows you a flower. And then his eyes light up as he goes into detail about that flower, while ignoring everything else around him. What he’s doing is zapping that enthusiasm right into you, but he does so by creating isolation first—and then getting his message across.

Enthusiasm doesn’t mean you have to be loud or boisterous

The best sales people aren’t those who get in your face. Enthusiasm means you feel very strongly about that one feature of the product. So much so, that you’re willing to drive home that point in detail. And if you’re exciting enough, the audience feels this surge of excitement. Yes, your product has a ton of features, but they want that one feature, and they’re willing to raise their hands for it.

This method of sales can be done both online and offline

Offline, you drive home the point in person by demonstrating or showing a particular feature. Similarly, online you pick that one feature and drive it home using more pictures, more explanations, thus isolating the importance.

Sales is a transfer of enthusiasm from one person to another.

To feel that enthusiasm you need to isolate one feature of the product that’s extremely exciting to you.  You then transfer this enthusiasm to your audience.  And then, like the Pittsburgh audience, watch as their eyes light up and their hands go up.

Yup, just like that.

sean_croppedSean D’Souza is the author of  The Brain Audit—Why Customers Buy And Why They Don’t.  To read more articles by Sean, and get a very useful free report on “Why Do Most Headlines Fail?”  go to http://www.psychotactics.com/

How to Get Better Lead Generation Results

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Gregg Schwartz. – Enjoy!

Lead PipelineAnd old saying in investing is “diversify, diversify, diversify” – you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket by investing all of your money in one company’s stock. Instead, smart investors spread their investments around to a diverse portfolio of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cash and other assets. In the same way, a smart lead generation strategy requires a balanced approach.

Your sales organization needs to think about how you can “diversify” your lead generation efforts between inbound and outbound sales leads. Sales leads often perform differently and cost more (or less) depending on how you acquire them. Sales leads from some sources are higher quality or better qualified than others. The cheapest sales leads to acquire are not always the best, and sometimes the main cost of acquiring a sales lead is the effort it takes to create that initial relationship and attract interest from the prospect.

Here are a few points of difference to consider between inbound and outbound sales lead generation as you build your diversified “portfolio” of sales leads:

Inbound lead generation: The sales leads come to you.

With inbound lead generation, your company creates a platform of marketing activity that helps draw people in. Basically, sales leads come to you – this requires your company to invest in building the online infrastructure and human capital that make people able to find you (and make them interested to talk with you).

A few types of inbound lead generation include content marketing (blogs, articles, social media), SEO (search engine optimization – designing and writing your website in a way that is optimally suited to attract people who are already looking for what you offer), and PPC (pay-per-click ads such as Google ads, where you can put a brief message in front of people who are searching for your solution, and invite them to click through to your company website).

Inbound lead generation is great for drawing people in. Instead of attending conferences and networking events, cold calling, or buying e-mail lists, the sales leads come to you. But with inbound lead generation, you need to put in a lot of upfront work and time investment in optimizing your website, writing content regularly and staying active on social media. It’s a lot of work, but you can get a lot of sales leads.

The only drawback of sales leads from inbound lead generation is that you don’t always know what level of sales lead quality you are going to get. Most sales leads from inbound marketing are going to be unqualified – the prospects might have some basic level of understanding about your business, but beyond that, there is no guarantee they are qualified.  They can be the wrong size business, wrong geography, and in many cases, just not the right fit. The quality of inbound sales leads can vary from one week to another. Some inbound sales leads are your ideal target market, and others are not. But you might end up with a lot of great sales leads that you would not have found from traditional outbound approaches.

Another advantage is that over time, with inbound lead generation your organization is creating a lasting footprint of published content and online outreach that can potentially continue generating sales leads into the future. You never know when a valuable sales lead might find your website based on a blog article or forum comment that you published a year ago.

Outbound lead generation: Go find your ideal target market.

While inbound lead generation can help drum up a larger pool of sales leads, most B2B sales organizations are still finding big opportunities from “traditional” outbound lead generation tactics like cold calling, appointment setting and e-mail.

Outbound lead generation is pretty straightforward – you choose your ideal target customers, and go after them. You have to spend time researching prospects and investing time in building relationships, but the advantage is that these tactics enable you to target specific companies that are in your organization’s sweet spot – companies that are the right size, the right revenues and that are more likely to be in the market for what you offer.

Instead of investing in online activities and hoping that good sales leads show up at your front door, outbound lead generation enables your sales team to proactively go after the types of B2B sales leads that are the best fit for what you sell.

So which type of lead generation is “best,” inbound or outbound? The truth is, if your organization wants to build a robust sales pipeline, you need both.

Inbound and outbound lead generation tactics help support each other. For example, your outbound prospecting calls will be more effective if your company has a well-designed website and up-to-date blog that shares your company’s expertise with customers. Your sales team can use the content marketing materials as part of its conversations with prospects.

Having a diverse portfolio of sales leads from both inbound and outbound lead generation efforts is the best way to keep your sales team busy closing deals.

GreggProfilePicGregg Schwartz is the Director of Sales at Strategic Sales & Marketing, one of the industry founding lead generation companies.  Gregg has developed and implemented winning lead generation strategies for hundreds of businesses.

The 7 Pearls of Selling Wisdom

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Jeff Kline – Enjoy!

HonestyThe concept of “selling” is different these days.  And that’s because customers are different.

Today’s customers are more educated and informed than ever. Much of this is a result of the Internet, which expedites word of mouth and provides consumers with easy access to thousands of product reviews. For this reason, old school “Slippery Sam” sales techniques are no longer effective. Customers today see right through gimmicky sales tactics, preferring instead to buy from individuals and companies they trust.

Emerging ideas about selling – what I like to call “Selling Wisdom” – focus on building trusting customer relationships. Selling Wisdom abandons coercion and embraces integrity. It’s about understanding your customers’ needs, tailoring high-quality solutions, and providing honest, educational information about your product.

Most importantly, Selling Wisdom dictates that you always treat your customers with the highest level of respect.

THE 7 PEARLS OF “SELLING WISDOM”

1) Infuse sales into your company’s DNA.
Don’t think of Sales as a single department or tactic. Instead, establish a totally sales-driven organization in which everyone sells. Every individual in your company should be expected to participate in selling – whether it’s the way the receptionist answers the phone or the message the marketing team communicates in a brochure.

Oprah2) Get to know your customers, Oprah style.
Conduct your initial meetings with customers with the same level of interest Oprah uses when she interviews her guests. Listen twice as much as you speak, and wait two seconds before responding to a comment – this will allow your customers to finish their thoughts.
Use a predefined qualification form to determine your customers’ needs.  And make sure you understand your customer’s decision-making process. Don’t be reluctant to ask the hard questions:
• Could you explain how your decision making process will unfold?
• When do you plan to make your final decision?
• Do you have an established budget?

3) Educate your customers.
Customers are most likely to trust the company that provides them with educational content about their products and services. Your company’s blog, ebooks, whitepapers, product demonstration videos and free trials are all effective tools for informing your customers and drawing them closer to a sale.

If you’re interested in learning more, I write frequently about content and its role in sales on my blog.

4) Apply the “De Niro effect” to presentations.
When Robert De Niro is playing a role in a film, the way he delivers his lines is so authentic and natural that it’s impossible to detect that he is following a script.
At Accrinet, we always use the same scripted presentation, but we apply what we call the “De Niro effect.” This means we encourage our sales people to inject their own passion and personality into to their delivery. The presentation never feels scripted, allowing us to use the same presentation over and over again.

5) Create a sense of urgency.
Today’s customers are experts in comparison-shopping and might spend weeks looking for a better deal. For that reason, it’s important to instill a legitimate sense of urgency on a proposed transaction. For example, you might say:
• “We have limited availability of the product that you are interested in and I want to make sure that it is available when you are ready.”
• “In order to complete your project by your proposed date, we would need to receive the proposal within the next five business days.”
Remember to be truthful.

6) Give to Get
Never make a concession without asking for a fair trade in return. If a customer asks for an early delivery, let them know it can be done only if they have the approved paperwork to you by the end of the week.

7) Don’t force the close.
Closing the sale should be as natural as the setting of the sun. There is no need for clever closing tactics or manipulative antics. If you’ve won your customer’s trust, you’ve earned the sale.

Selling Wisdom = Success
What makes these pearls of Selling Wisdom effective is that, no matter what, you are always treating your customers with the highest level of respect. Gain a full understanding of their needs, be honest about your products, and make fair negotiations. Treat your customers like kings.

And remember this: You are not doing your customers a favor; they are doing you a favor by allowing you to serve them.

Jeff KlineJeff Kline started his sales career with the Fortune 100 Company Burroughs Corporation, where he was quickly promoted to branch and regional sales manager. A serial entrepreneur, Jeff founded his first company Adcom Corporation in 1986, overseeing the sales of office technology for ten years. Jeff has since owned three other companies, all in the technology field. His most recent endeavors are Accrisoft and Accrinet Corporations. Jeff writes weekly about internet marketing at blog.accrinet.com@Jeff_A_Kline

How to Lift Your Website Conversions

It is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Chris Goward – Enjoy!

LIFT Model v2As a growing business, you need more than just a basic website to be successful on the Internet. You need a website that serves prospective clients and clearly communicates why they should buy from you. Your website needs to work hard.

In short: you need more than just traffic; you need conversions!

Unfortunately, it can feel daunting to compete against larger businesses that have large budgets to perform SEO, hire copywriters, and support dedicated design and development departments.

What can you, as a SMB, to use this your advantage? You can leverage your ability to test and evolve more quickly than the big guys.

We’ve found the best way to improve how websites communicate to their prospects is by testing to uncover business insights. The A/B/n split tests that we run on our clients’ sites make huge improvements in their business.

We will use the example of Iron Mountain, where our tests started with a 45% lift in the first test, then a 404% boost (!), then another 44%, then an additional 38%, followed by a 49% conversion rate increase.

The best result for me was when a sales manager walked down the hall to ask our marketing client what he’d done to increase the lead flow into the sales team. That’s a great feeling!

Iron Mountain isn’t a small company, of course, but every business that uses online can use the same methods they do.

You can get results like this too.

One of the tools we use is called the “LIFT model™” conversion optimization framework to construct task-based hypotheses.  I’ll walk you through how to evaluate your webpage with the LIFT Model and create your test hypotheses for improving your website.

The LIFT Model has six parts

1.     Establish Your Value Proposition – This is a classic problem. Even though every business owner can tell you why they are the best, we often find that they forget to say it explicitly on their website. Do you have the best customer service, lowest prices, highest quality? Do you know what’s really most important to your prospects? You can test to find out what makes you the best in their minds.

2.     Create Urgency – Ask for the business. Tell them why now is the right time to take action. This doesn’t have to be a hard sell, but urgency is a powerful fuel for driving your customers to take action. You should test the best way to create urgency. In a test of a site-wide call-to-action, we found that adding an urgency message lifted conversions. Can you test something similar?

3.     Improve Clarity – Even very effective pages probably aren’t perfect. Is the copywriting effectively communicating your value proposition? Do the images support the message? How obvious is the next step call-to-action?

4.     Improve Relevance – Your headline is your first impression. It should tell the visitor they are in the correct place AND what to do. Images are also valuable assets for establishing relevance; make sure your photos match the purpose of your page.

5.     Decrease Anxiety – Testimonials, certifications, warranties are all important to establish trust. If your visitor has to stop to consider their safety they may never start back up. But, too much emphasis on security can also hurt sales. We tested an example where placing a security symbol too close to a shopping cart actually reduced e-commerce sales by 2%. You should test that!

6.     Decrease Distractions – If an element isn’t important to your business, tone it down. How many things are you asking your customer to do on a single page? What is the most important element on the page? Stay focused on the page’s purpose.

Here’s an example of some of the LIFT points we identified for one of Iron Mountain’s landing pages, for example.

Iron Mountain LIFT

We can then take those problem areas and test to find the best ways to eliminate them.

Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths

The LIFT points are used to turn an online experience’s weaknesses in hypotheses to improve your conversion rate. Another word for the “strength” in this case is a hypothesis.

A valid hypothesis has three qualities:

1.     It is Testable – You should keep your tests simple. Change of copy, use of bullets, and change of images work well because they can be implemented without complicated efforts.

2.     It is Falsifiable – Testing requires the risk of being wrong. You derive insights by proving your hypothesis either true or false so you can take that knowledge to save you time or work in the future.

3.     It is Fruitful – There are many hypotheses that can be tested and assessed, but don’t make a difference. Make sure the goal of the test is something that improves your business (like form submission or add to cart) not something like time on page.

A good hypothesis also needs to follow a certain structure that says “Changing x into y will do z.” So, potential hypotheses in this example would look like this:

  • If we reduce emphasis on the privacy policy more people will complete the form.
  • If we add a review of our service more people will complete the form.
  • If we change the header graphic to an illustration of backing-up data more people will complete the form.

Each of these hypotheses has a clear means for testing, a recognizable goal, and is possibly false.

HypothesesHow do you apply this to your website?

When you look at the experience you are trying to improve, list out the six LIFT factors and find at least one change to improve each factor.

 

 

  • Establish Value Proposition
  • Create Urgency
  • Increase Clarity
  • Increase Relevance
  • Reduce Distraction
  • Reduce Anxiety

Look at your LIFT points and create a hypothesis like: If I change x into y my prospects will do z.

Now that you have a clear testable hypothesis you are ready to begin your test. You can use whatever tool you are comfortable with (e.g. Optimizely, Unbounce, Google Analytics Content Experiments, etc.) to run the test, and because you have created a valid hypothesis you will have an insight for your marketing, not just a completed test.

Want to learn more?

Want more details about Iron Mountain’s conversion optimization strategy?

I’m going to host a free webinar to show how Iron Mountain has dramatically lifted their conversion rates over the past three years. I’ll show strategies and tactics you can use on your websites too.

Join us for the free case study webinar.

 

Chris_Goward_smChris Goward founded WiderFunnel with the belief that digital agencies should prove the value they bring. They’ve developed conversion optimization programs for clients like Google, Electronic Arts, SAP, and Shutterfly. His new book, “You Should Test That,” published by Wiley in 2013 redefines conversion optimization and shows how to create dramatic business improvements and gain marketing insights. You can find out about his company, WiderFunnel, and follow him on Twitter at @chrisgoward.