Shazeeye's Blog Thoughts on User Experience, Technology and Business

13Jun/140

Five steps to improve your conversion funnel

Dear Readers,

I apologize for the hiatus.  I almost forgot about my dear blog after having a baby (Sept. 2011) and starting a new job (May 2012). I'm back and want to update you on all the wonderful things that I've learned over the last 2 years.

Let's start with some best practices to improve your conversion funnel. A conversion funnel is a series of steps that users need to get through to get what they wanted on a website. For example, if users want to print coupons from your site some of the steps they would go through would be sign up (optional), select coupons, download and install software to print coupons (only for new users and not returning) and finally, print coupons.

Step 1: Define the "steps" or stages in your funnel and track it. Some funnels are complex but it is critical to define them. Some steps could run in parallel while others could be sequential. Some are optional while others are mandatory. Some steps are not required for certain segments (new vs. returning visitors example above) of your site traffic. In all these cases having a visual flow will help tremendously. Tracking these steps and how many get through each step is also very critical. For many sites it may be easy to turn Google Analytics on and get this data but in some cases such as the coupon printing one above it can be difficult to track activities that are not on the site. It was easy to track how many clicked on the print download button but difficult to track what steps took place after the click when the plugin was downloading on a user's laptop.

Step 2: The next step is to monitor the funnel to get a baseline while accounting for highs and lows due to seasonality, day of week or time of day. It is important to get a predictable baseline to make sure improvements to the funnel can be attributed to your efforts and not external causes.

Step 3: Prioritize and understand the drop offs in your funnel. Now that you have a baseline and know how many are dropping off at each point you can prioritize which one to tackle first. For example, we looked at users that added coupons to their credit card so they could use the coupon if they swiped their card at the store. We prioritized on the last step and targeted those that added the coupon to the card but did not use it. If we increased conversions at that point we would have maximum impact as we would increase our revenue if they used the coupons on the card.

Step 4: Understand why users are not converting. There are many ways to understand why users are leaving your site. The most simple and effective way is through a survey but you could also do some usability tests. To understand why users were not redeeming we sent an email to the users who added the coupons to the card but didn't use them with 3 simple questions. Why have you not used the offer? How likely are you to return to the site and use other offers (rate us)? Why did you rate us this way? Insights from our survey indicated that users had forgotten about the offer or didn't shop at that store recently. Thus to improve conversion we are considering alerts as a way to remind users to use the offer and them check conversion. In this case it was easy as we had email addresses to send a survey but if you don't you could pop a survey when a user is leaving your site to understand why. You could also follow up with some interviews to get more insight after you conduct a survey.

Step 5: Make changes and repeat steps 3 and 4. We will soon be testing if alerts will have higher conversions that no alerts (or the control group). There is lots of literature and best practices on A/B tests (see a presentation from KISSmetrics) specifically how many to test, what significance level to accept and how long to test. After you decide on making the change or rejecting the change you would go back and optimize on another step (assuming you have done everything for this step) and repeat steps 3 and 4.

31May/110

Learning Google Adwords

I started my first paid advertising campaign early this month with Google Adwords and would like to share some interesting things about it. My campaign is to promote my services in design and usability. My skills are varied and range from usability to design to marketing so I created many ads (example of one on the right) to target different users in the Bay Area. Let me walk you through the process.

1. Define the goal for your campaign and a budget. My objective was to promote my services online so that targeted people would visit my blog and email me to inquire about my services. I started with a $50 budget but you can start with $10 and see if the return on investment is greater than the costs.

2. Sign up on Google Adwords: Google helps you through this process and you can sign-up in less than 2 minutes.

3. Create a campaign: To create a campaign you need to create an ad (as shown above), identify keywords, define the regions where you know your audience is from (example: Bay Area) and define the cost per click (CPC). It is best to create more than one campaign to target different segments. For example, I make websites easy-to-use so I can target marketing people, design people and user research/usability people. I could also target industries such as healthcare, finance and retail. Let's review each step in detail.

a. Create an ad: Having decided to target an audience that wants better design I created 3-5 ads as shown on the right. Ads need to include keywords and a call to action. I created more than 20 ads and after trial and error narrowed it to the ones that I found to be most effective.

b. Identify Keywords: Keywords are the words people enter in Google search which trigger the appearance (or absence) of  your ad. With the help of the Keyword tool and the Traffic Estimator tool you can identify about 10 effective keywords for each of your campaigns. Keywords should have a high Quality Score (yellow square) and attract substantial traffic for a low estimated CPC.

4. Monitor your campaign: It is critical to monitor campaigns regularly and change them if needed. I stop campaigns that don't work and create new ones that I think will work better. Similarly, I'm tracking my most effective ads and keywords. You can also connect Google Adwords to Google Analytics to track your campaigns.  In the past few days I have got 6 clicks (right image). Eye Tracking and User Experience Design are effective keywords. Visitors spent an average 2 minutes on my blog and bounce rate was at 50%. Both bounce rate and average time on my blog through these paid campaigns show better numbers than the free traffic visiting my blog. I have yet to learn how to control CPC (as it's currently in auto mode) and will share my learnings soon.

29Aug/102

Building Trust on E-Commerce Homepages

trust, e-commerceA Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) survey in 2006 showed that 70% of terminated online purchases are due to lack of transaction trust, costing e-commerce retailers $1.9 billion in lost revenues. Studies have also shown that 60-80% of visitors to an e-commerce site are first time visitors and that trust is the single most important issue to convert visitors into buyers.

These facts led me to conduct my own research on trust at first glance or factors building trust on e-commerce homepages. I studied 4 e-commerce sites (sites sold diamonds, books, toys and electronics) with an eye-tracking study and found 26 trust building factors on e-commerce homepages:

  1. Trust seals such as PayPal, McAfee, Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, etc
  2. Payment alternatives such as Bill Me Later
  3. Well defined categories
  4. Free Shipping
  5. Professional looking images/animation
  6. Professional layout - color, font, organization, visual harmony
  7. Ability to track orders
  8. Buying Advice/Guidance/Expert Suggestions
  9. Professional Reviews such as reviews by Economic Times and Wall Street Journal
  10. User Testimonials
  11. Popular Brands displayed
  12. Big Shopping Cart icon on the top right corner
  13. Deals/offers updated daily
  14. Returns/Exchanges available
  15. Locations across many countries
  16. Product images with prices
  17. 1-800 number available
  18. Professional logo
  19. Relevant details in 'About Us' section such as how long the site has been in business
  20. User derived content such as ratings, blogs and communities
  21. Perception of a wide range of products
  22. Perception of finding products easily with search and filters
  23. Competitor comparisons available
  24. Awards for the site displayed
  25. Relevant Ads/Banners only displayed
  26. Trust-inducing words used such as certified and conflict-free

For details read the complete article here.

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