EP 126: Web Optimization And How To Fix It With Chris Dayley | Disruptive Advertising

In this episode, Stacy sits down with digital marketing entrepreneur, speaker, and neuromarketing expert Chris Dayley. They discuss the biggest problems that most companies are facing with their websites and why fixing them is not as simple as just redesigning them.

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Stacy: 00:00

  • Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money. Whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.

Speaker 2: 00:31 

  • Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.

Stacy: 00:36   

  • I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Chris Dayley, who’s joining us to discuss his extensive experience in digital marketing. Chris is a digital marketing entrepreneur, speaker and neuro marketer, who helps businesses drive revenue through their websites by utilizing marketing psychology. He started his conversion optimization agency, Dayley Conversion, back in 2014, which he later merged with Disruptive Advertising. And now, works as VP of Site Testing and Optimization. Today, we’re going to talk about how to drive revenue through a website by utilizing marketing psychology. What are the biggest problems that most companies have with their websites? Why fixing them is not as simple as just redesigning them? And how do you get your visitors to convert to clients?

Stacy: 01:15     

  • We’ll learn what has worked from Chris’s experience? What maybe could be avoided if you’re doing this yourself? And where other brands are missing the mark? Chris, welcome.

Chris: 01:22 

  • Thank you so much for having me on the show. I’m excited to be here.

Stacy: :25  

  • Super happy to have you here. Because, this is a marketing topic that is near and dear to me. Because, whether it’s our own website or our clients, when they’re doing partnerships and campaigns, there’s always just something that could be done a little bit better. And what I’d love to do is have you start off just explaining a little bit more about who you are? What your background is? And what got you to where you are today?

Chris: 01:47     

  •   Yeah, I grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, from the Phoenix Valley and moved to Utah, where I currently live when I was about 21, I believe. I live up here in the mountains, the cold mountains and absolutely love it here. And we had an interesting thing happen in Utah, I want to say probably 10 to 12 years ago, we had an analytics company called Omniture, that started up here in Utah. Which later was acquired by Adobe and is now the Adobe Marketing Cloud. And because of that, there was a huge influx of technology and marketing type jobs and companies that started up and spun off here in Utah. And so, I’m a product of the Utah marketing bubble. I got my first real job doing search engine optimization, SEO. This was, I want to say, 10, 11 years ago for an agency, and absolutely fell in love with the digital marketing world. And spent several years doing search engine optimization, which is all about driving traffic to your website through Google, right?

Chris: 03:07  

  •  I was in the traffic acquisition game. I did some PPC on social media, some PPC through Google AdWords. But, primarily focused on search engine optimization. I spent about three years doing search engine optimization and ended up in-house at a company, where we had about tripled our organic traffic in a six month time frame, we were crushing it, getting tons of organic traffic to our website. And I remember sitting down in a meeting with my boss and I don’t know some other executives that were at the company at the time, and one of them said, “Well, Chris, this is great that we’re getting all this traffic. But, what does that mean for the business?” And honestly, that was the first time in my career that I really had my traffic numbers challenged. Where it was like, “Yeah, traffic is great, traffic to the website is fantastic. But, is it converting? Is there anything actually happening with it?”

Chris: 04:05   

  • And as I started digging into the numbers, we were getting some conversions, but not nearly as many as I would have expected. And so, that is when I started scratching my head going, “Why would that be the case? I assume that this traffic we’re getting is great traffic. Of course, there’s the potential that it’s just crappy traffic. But, before I accept that the traffic is crappy, first, I want to see if there’s something wrong with my website.” That is where I discovered the realm of conversion rate optimization and the idea of A/B testing, and I thought, “What the heck, let’s give it a shot.” So we ran an A/B Test on our website, I had no clue what I was doing at the time. I just found some landing page template online and tested it against one of our landing pages, and, it increased conversion rates by like 20%.

Chris: 04:53         

  • I thought, “Wow, this is crazy. This template doesn’t look nice, but it converted a lot better.” And that’s what really sparked my love for conversion rate optimization. And really, the psychology aspect of, as you were reading my bio, the psychology aspect of digging in and asking, “Why did this work better? What is it that people were looking for on this website? What is it that resonated with them on this design that wasn’t resonating with them on the previous design? What changed? What happened? What is it that is driving people’s behavior on the site?” And that’s the question that continues to excite me every single morning as I get up and get out of bed. I mean, it’s a long story from there. I started my business and merged with Disruptive Advertising, and that’s its own story in and of itself. But, that’s a little bit about my background, how I ended up doing what I’m doing today.

Stacy: 05:49 

  • That’s awesome. Are there some commonalities that you typically see that cause low conversion rates?

Chris: 05:57  

  • That’s a great question. And first, let me first start by, maybe, altering the question a little bit. Because, usually, the first reason that people think about doing conversion rate optimization or A/B testing, is because, conversion rates are low. And that makes sense. There’s a problem, you know that there’s a problem, but more common than not is, conversion rates are fine and nobody is worried about it because things are fine, right? It’s like, “Well, our site is converting fine so let’s not do anything to it to improve it.” And so, one big challenge in this, it’s the same problem with high converting sites or low converting sites. The problem is that there’s no strategy, either that goes into the website when it’s initially built, or, there’s some level of strategy and a bunch of assumptions are made about the website. I’ll tell you a story to explain what I mean there.

Chris: 06:59

  • We had a client that came to us that had spent little over $300,000 on a new website design, right? One big thing that a lot of companies will do, and I think we can talk more about this later, but, one big thing that most companies will do is, like every two to five years, say, “Oh, we need to redesign the whole site. We need a big website redesign.” This company had spent about $300,000 on a big website redesign. Which, when you spend that amount of money on a site design, you’re expecting that it’s going to have some impact on performance, right? I mean, you need to see some kind of ROI on that.

Stacy: 07:34 

  • ‘Should have some bells and whistles.

Chris: 07:36

  • Yes. And so, they did a bunch of research that led them into this design. They did research on their audience demographics. So, they were like, “Oh, we know who our audience is, we know what age range they’re in, we know that most of our traffic is coming from Instagram or from social media. So, they’re on mobile devices, so, we’re designing for mobile first.” Anyways, they definitely gathered some data and did some research. And, the problem is, because they had done this research, they made a ton of assumptions about what their audience wanted. So, they designed a site that they thought would appeal to this particular audience on this particular device type coming from this particular traffic source. They launched the new website, and nothing happened. Conversion rates didn’t go up, they didn’t go down, so, I mean, it’s not the worst thing ever. And, conversion rates didn’t improve at all.

Chris: 08:34    

  • They had done all of this work, and so, then, they left similar to my experience earlier in my career, they’re sitting there scratching their heads going, “We would think this would have some kind of impact on conversion rates, what happened?” And so, when they came to me, that’s when we got to start digging in and asking, “Well, what does the audience actually want to see? That’s great that you know that your traffic is on mobile devices. That’s great that you know your traffic is coming from social media. And, we still don’t know what they actually want to see. You sell a bunch of products on your website, we don’t know how many of those products they want to see when they come to the homepage.

Chris: 09:13 

  • Do they want to see all of them? Do they want to see one of them? Do they want to see categories of your products? We don’t know what they actually want to see on the site, so, all you’ve really done is, you just repackaged your old website and made it look better. But you haven’t actually improved any of the … you don’t actually know what your users want on each page. And so, you haven’t improved anything that matters. Turns out, the design doesn’t actually matter to your audience, what matters is the functionality.” So, we started challenging a lot of their assumptions. For example, on mobile, they had designed their page to look a lot like Instagram. So, you get to their homepage, and there’s just endless products. You just scroll and scroll and scroll on mobile, and they just have tons of products. We challenged that assumption, and we said, “Well, let’s run an A/B test. Let’s run a test where we have less products on the page.”

Chris: 10:03     

  • In fact, we ran eight different versions of their homepage, with less, fewer and fewer numbers of products. I think, their original homepage had like 50 or something. When we ran a version of their homepage, they had 40, and 30, and 20 and 10. And then, we ran a version that just had categories on there. And out of all of those eight different variations, six of them increased revenue and conversion rates, which immediately told us that the assumptions that we had been making were wrong, and, that the design isn’t what’s important, it’s the actual content, the experience, the journey through the website. And we needed to explore and find out what journey we needed to be giving our users. And so, that is the most common challenge that I see businesses have is, businesses make assumptions because they talk to their customers. They have analytics data that says, X, Y and Z, or they have done some customer research that say thing.

Chris: 11:00    

  • So, they make a bunch of assumptions about what people actually want on the site, without testing it to verify that that is actually going to perform better. I think, that’s one of the biggest challenges that most companies in the world today are up against. And this is irrespective of a size. I think, only 20% of the Fortune 500 companies do any kind of A/B testing on their site. Which means, 80% of those companies are just flying blind. They’re just doing whatever their design team told them to do or what a design agency told them to do, but they don’t actually have a lot of data backing up what they’re doing.

Stacy: 11:36      

  • And is that because people just, are not thrilled with the idea of plotting along and throwing different things out and testing them? Or, why is it that there’s this abhorrent space to [inaudible 00:11:47] and non interest in doing A/B testing?

Chris: 11:51  

  • Yeah, there’s a few common reasons that I encounter. The first biggest reason is that people just don’t even know that it exists, which blows my mind with conversion rate optimization today being a lot more visible than it was when I started. You would think that a lot of companies would be aware of how valuable it can be, but most of the people that I talked to, have never tried A/B testing before. It just never even crossed their mind as something that they need. And so, that’s the first thing. And I think the reason why that happens is, it is so easy to get lost in the traffic game, right? It’s like, you try out PPC, and you identify that Google is a great channel for you to send traffic to. So, then your marketing mind just becomes consumed with optimizing your PPC campaigns, driving more PPC traffic, figuring out what your budgets and your schedule should be, and your mind is just a one track mind.

Chris: 12:53    

  • Same thing with SEO. I mean, it’s the same problem that I had. When I was doing SEO, what are the things that I’m concerned about on a daily basis? What am I concerned about rankings? What are my rankings on different keywords? I’m concerned about different KPIs leading indicators. Like, how much content are we reproducing? How many articles are we republishing? All these types of things. And so, it’s so easy to just get this narrow minded focus, and you tell yourself, “Well, we’ll focus on conversion rates and the website at some point.” And the truth is, you never do. Because, it is never going to make itself a priority, unless, conversion rates tank. And if conversion rates tank, then it’s panic mode. And so, we have a client right now that we’re working with, that is in panic mode. And they’re having a very hard time doing A/B testing, because, they’re like, “No, our business is failing, conversion rates are tanking. We need to just make changes to the website, we need to fix this problem now.”

Chris: 13:52

  • And that’s where most businesses start making really stupid decisions. Because, if I need to make a decision today, to fix a problem today, I’m probably not making a very smart or strategic decision. Because, smart and strategic decisions take a little bit longer. So, I think, that’s the second concern that people have. The first concern I’ve seen is, people don’t know about it. The second concern I’ve seen is, it never becomes an urgent issue until it’s almost too late. And the third issue that I have seen, the third reason why companies don’t do A/B testing is, that they tried it, and had no idea what they were doing. There was no strategy, there was no expertise involved. They tried it, and when most companies try A/B testing, they do one of two things.

Chris: 14:39   

  • They will say, “I hate this thing on our site. So, let’s try a version where we remove that thing on our site that I hate. I hate that we have a picture of the founder on the homepage. I really want to go to my boss and tell him that his picture on the homepage is hurting conversion rates. So, let’s run a test.” So, they run a test, and either it works or it doesn’t. If it works, then they go, “Great, let’s take that picture off the homepage.” And then, they never test anything else because there was no strategy behind it. Or, it doesn’t work, and they go, “Well, crap, that was the only idea I had. There’s nothing else to do.” So, that’s one reason. Or, businesses try it, and they fail. And I say failure almost with quotations around it, because, it doesn’t work. Whatever their ideas doesn’t work, and they don’t know where to go from there.

Chris: 15:29      

  • And so, that’s, I think, the third biggest reason is just, businesses have tried it, and either haven’t had success or have, and haven’t known what to do from there. Because, they haven’t had any expertise or strategy, and so, they just get stuck. And so, yeah, like I said, there’s a lot of reasons, there’s so many companies out there that aren’t doing it, which is great news for those of us marketers and business owners, that are willing to try this. Because, that puts us a huge step ahead of all our competitors.

Stacy: 16:02     

  • Fair enough. Now, are there any industries that it doesn’t really matter? And is it just as important for B2B as well as B2C businesses to A/B test, and then, really get this down correctly?

Chris: 16:16      

  • Yeah, great question. I will answer, yes, with a caveat. Yes, it is just as important for B2B or lead gen, as it is for e-commerce. And, the strategies are going to be different, right? You can’t apply an e-commerce A/B testing strategy to a lead gen site. Because, the goals are different, the conversion is completely different, right? On e-commerce, it’s like, a one and done type of thing, right? It’s like I generate a transaction or I don’t. On lead gen, it’s a little more tricky because, your conversion is a lead, which is not yet a customer, right? And so, there’s some other things you have to take into consideration, such as, “What’s the quality of these leads that I’m generating? If I increase conversion rates, am I decreasing lead quality? And that’s a common assumption that people have, and that’s not always true. But, sometimes, it is.

Chris: 17:13   

  • Like, “Hey, I doubled conversion rates and cut my lead quality in half.” And so, there’s more factors, there’s more things that you need to take into consideration with lead gen, namely, lead quality and conversion rates. And then, there’s other things, which is, with a lot of lead gen type companies or B2B type companies, there’s the variety of different ways that you could convert someone. You could generate a phone call, and a lot of times, companies would prefer a phone call to a lead submission, because, you have a live person on the phone. And so, the question comes up, “Well, what conversion metric are we trying to optimize for?”

Chris: 17:51  

  • And so, that’s one of the first things that I will ask clients that I’m working with is, “If I increased your phone calls and decreased your lead submissions in equal proportions. If I generated 20 more phone calls and 20 less form submissions, would that be preferable? Would that be worse? What would you prefer that we focus on? And, how much more valuable is a phone call than a lead? Or, how much more valuable is a lead that gives us all this information versus a lead that gives us just their name and phone number?” Those are the things that, again, you need to really take into consideration, and a lot of companies haven’t even thought about. As sad as it might sound, a lot of times when I’m having these conversations with businesses, it’s the first time anybody has ever asked them these questions. It’s like, “Well, what do we want? We want more sales, so, just get us more leads.”

Chris: 18:43   

  • “Okay, what kind of leads do you want?” “I don’t care. Give me a phone call, lead form submission, a chat. I don’t care, give me anything.” And so, when I start pushing them to say, “Yeah, but if we had to focus on just one of those conversions, what would be the best one for you?” A lot of companies start scratching their heads at that point, or they’ll go find their sales team, and go, “Hey, sales manager, what do you want?” Those are the other things. So, it is equally important because there is no such thing as the perfect website. There is no point, even with clients that have done A/B testing for years, there is no point at which you have arrived at the perfect website that will convert perfectly well. Because, you’re going to be sending different types of traffic to your site, website behavior is going to change on a year to year basis. You might get more mobile than desktop and you might not have a great mobile experience or whatever. There’s lots of things that are going to change over time, and so, there is always room for improvement.

Chris: 19:46

  • So, both lead gen and e-commerce type companies need to be doing this.

Stacy: 19:51

  • Well, and then, from a lead gen’s agencies viewpoint, when you were asking that, that was triggering questions in my own mind of, is it better to have a chat box? Is it better to have an email? Is it better to get a phone call? And if you’re not staffed to actually have someone available to respond to a chat box, or someone who’s able to respond to a phone call, that has to play into all of these decisions too.

Chris: 20:17

  • Absolutely. And, the other thing too, one challenge that I see with lead gen type companies, is, a lot of companies prefer one kind of conversion, just because that’s what they get, right? So, I have a client that I said, “What if I was to generate more phone calls?” And they say, “Well, we haven’t historically generated many phone calls. So, lead form submission seems to be the method that people prefer.” And it’s like, “Well, it might be that they prefer that just because that’s really the only option they have on your site right now.” And so, that’s where it’s good to sometimes challenge the status quo and say, “Well, maybe we like leads better, just because, that’s how we’ve built our system. Because, that’s all we were getting for a while. And maybe, phone calls would be better for us. Or, maybe we hate phone calls, and phone calls are crappy because we get a bunch of window shoppers and they’re just very low quality people. And so, we either need to focus more on the form submission, or we need to do more qualifying of these people before we actually ask them to call us.”

Chris: 21:26

  • Again, but, these are lots of fun, strategic questions, that to me, are really fun to dig into and start investigating. Because, it helps you make better business decisions, and a lot of times, it can shape the way that you do business with your clients.

Stacy: 21:43   

  • When you’re looking at a website, can you just instantly see areas that are problematic?

Chris: 21:50    

  • It’s funny you say that, because, we have a training program that we take our conversion rate optimization people through here at Disruptive. And, a lot of times, I think … Well, I’ll take a step back. I recently read the book, The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, which is fantastic, highly recommended. One of the, probably, top 20 books that I’ve ever read. And in it, he talks about, how a lot of times, people will look out like a Jujitsu Master or like different martial arts Masters. People will look at these Masters, and think that they are doing something mystical. Because, these Masters of a different areas of expertise have practiced so much and they’ve spent so much time in their field, to a new person, to like a rookie, what they are doing looks like magic. It looks impossible. It’s like, “How can they possibly move that fast? How can they think that fast? It’s like they could read my mind. They knew what I was going to do.”

Chris: 22:58  

  • But that’s not the case, they’re not reading people’s minds, they’re not magic. They’ve just gotten so good at what they do, that it comes automatically to them, right? They don’t even have to think about it anymore, it becomes an unconscious competence. And so, can I look at a website and immediately see things that people need to improve? The answer is, kind of. And I say, kind of, because, there is no guaranteed formula to improving conversion rates. I could look at your website, or actually, I’ll use my own site as an example. We were creating a strategy for our own website, the Disruptive Advertising website. And so, we were trying to generate leads, and I looked at the page and what does come very easily to me is test ideas, test concepts. Things that I know have worked because I’ve run hundreds of these types of tests, right? So, I’ll look at a website, and I can usually identify, what are the conversion levers going to be?

Chris: 23:57  

  • What are the levers going to be that we could pull? Is it going to be the content on the site? Is it going to be our call to action? Is it going to be the imagery on the site? Or, I can usually identify if there are things that might be distracting people on a website, that’s a big one that I see with a lot of websites. There’s usually too much stuff on the website, and so, we’re distracting our audience. I usually, I’m able to look at those sites, and I immediately have a bunch of light bulbs go off, where I say, “Okay, this is probably going to be a lever, this probably going to be lever. So, I look at the Disruptive Advertising website, and I say, “Well, value propositions are a big deal for somebody that’s deciding whether or not to fill out a lead form, right? So, are we featuring the right value propositions on our website?”

Chris: 24:45        

  • Now, I had some theories, I thought, “You know what? We’re probably not featuring our value propositions prominently enough, so, let’s try variation where we feature value propositions more prominently. We probably have too much content, so, let’s have a variation where we remove some content.” But, one thing that’s very important to me and that is very important for anybody that is serious about website testing, is you always have to be willing to challenge your own biases and your own assumptions. So, that’s why I say, kind of, because, I always challenge my own ideas. If I think we need to have less content, then, we also need to test a variation where we have more content. If I think we need to have more prominently featured value propositions, then, we probably ought to have a variation where we have no value propositions, or, feature our value propositions less heavily.

Chris: 25:35       

  • Because, again, I need to give my audience the flexibility to tell me what they actually want. And so, I will tell you this, after running thousands of A/B tests, I am still wrong on things that I think will work on a website on a daily basis. So, that is why I am a big advocate or I am a strong opponent to people that call themselves UX experts. It’s like, I am a user experience expert or a user experience designer, because a lot of times, those people will claim that I know how to design a great user experience. And I call BS on that every time, because, a great user experience is totally subjective. Each audience has their own definition of what a good user experience is. Each audience responds to different amounts of content. I ran a test on social media examiner’s website. I met Michael Stelzner a few years ago and we’ve worked together quite a bit over the last few years. And so, we are running a test on his website, and that website has a ton of content.

Chris: 26:44   

  • We’re actually testing on the conference website for Social Media Marketing World. And I looked at the Social Media Marketing World website, and I thought, “Okay, content is obviously going to be a lever here. I think there’s too much content. So, let’s try some variations where we reduce or summarize some content. We tested having less content, and then, of course, we tested a variation that had more content. And guess, which one turned out to win? The one that had more content. It was completely counter to what I thought of as a best practice, but for his audience, that worked, it resonated. That’s what they were looking for. And so, that’s where you have to be willing to challenge your own ideas, and there is never a best practice that everyone should just implement on their site, that will immediately guarantee higher conversion rates.

Stacy: 27:33     

  • And so, what are the first steps? What should someone who’s going to do, let’s say, they’re not hiring you. What should they stop and do first?

Chris: 27:41  

  • yeah, a couple of things that you need to start with, like foundational pieces. You need to make sure that you’re gathering as much data as you possibly can. I mean, if you don’t have Google Analytics on your site, I mean, that’s just a bad idea in the first place. You’ve got to be gathering analytics data. Make sure you have Google Analytics on your site, that should go without saying, but, sometimes, it doesn’t. And then, the other thing that I always recommend people do is gather heat mapping data. There’s a free heat mapping tool out there called Hotjar, that people can put on their site for free. And what this heat mapping tool will do, is, it will show you, where are people clicking on the site? How far down the page are they scrolling on desktop and mobile? And just as important as where are people clicking? Where are they not clicking?

Chris: 28:33   

  • Because, what that will usually do, when you start looking at a heat map of your site and you go, “Oh, wow, no one is clicking on our main call to action.” This happens a lot with e-commerce websites. You’ll have a hero banner that has your deal of the week or something that’s on the banner, and we’ll run a heat map and find, no one is actually clicking on that. And that’s usually a surprise, because, I think, e-commerce sites probably spend more time worrying about their hero banner than any other companies out there, and they’re constantly swapping about. I mean, I’ve got clients that are swapping their hero banner out on a weekly basis. And so, sometimes, you look at that and you go, “Crap, no one is clicking on our hero banner, that means one of two things, either, the offer we have in there sucks, or it’s not resonating. Or, people like something else on my page better, and people don’t want to hear our banner.” Right?

Chris: 29:31

  • And so, that’s where it’s important to, you gather this data, and then, you start asking questions. “Why might this be happening? What are the possible reasons why people wouldn’t click on my hero banner?” And then, you create a test that addresses each of those things. So, that’s the first step, get some foundational pieces in place, gather some data. And then, the next step, the easiest getting started step is getting it an A/B testing tool on your website. Google has a free tool that you can use called Google Optimize. It’s definitely not the best A/B testing tool on the planet, and, it’s free and it’s pretty good. And so, it’s a good place to start. So, get Google Optimize setup, it’s fairly easy, especially if you already have Google Analytics on your site. That’s fairly easy to set up. And I recommend starting with some simple tests. And so, the first and simplest test that I usually recommend to clients, is what I call an existence test.

Chris: 30:37 

  • The basic premise of an existence test is testing whether or not everything that’s on your site should actually be there. So, with an existence test, what you’re going to do, is, you are going to go through and remove things on your site. I’ll use an e-commerce homepage as an example. And fear strikes everyone in the heart, as soon as I mention, removing things from their site. Most business owners, as soon as I say that, they go, “No, what about SEO? No, we can’t remove content off our site. What if I have different types of people that are coming to my site. I need to have an offer that resonates with all my different users.” I mean, there’s just so many friction points here which just cracks me up all the time. Because, it’s all just this emotional reaction to the idea of removing something from your website. But, what I will say is, 10 out of 10 websites that I’ve worked with, or literally every site that I have worked with to date in my career, has had, at least, one thing on every page of their site that is hurting their conversion rates.

Chris: 31:46 

  • In other words, you’ve got something there that’s distracting people, or you have something that people don’t like, that is causing anxiety. Or, you have the wrong offer on your page. And so, starting with an existence test is where you go through and you say, “Okay,” let’s take an e-commerce homepage, for example. What’s typically on an e-commerce homepage? You have a hero banner, you’ve got categories of products. Sometimes, you have specific products. And then, you have a bunch of company crap down at the bottom. You’ve got Instagram pictures and your blog and all that stuff. Usually, what I recommend is, run an existence test, it’s very easy to create in Google Optimize. You put the URL in Google Optimize, it will pull up the website, it will load it up inside of an editor. And, you can literally just click on something and click on a button that says, Remove. It’s that simple to create one variation.

Chris: 32:44

  • So, if I say, “Okay, variation one, I’m going to remove my hero banner. I hate the idea of doing this, but I’m going to do it, because, it’s a win win scenario. If I remove my hero banner, and conversion rates drop, then I know my hero banner is helping conversion rates. I know that it’s resonating, I know that it’s actually helping me convert people.” And that’s hugely beneficial because, that tells me the next thing I should test, my hero banner. And if conversion rates go up when I remove my hero banner, well, that’s great. I just need to increase conversion rates with one test and, I had [inaudible 00:33:22] remove something, that’s awesome. And I found that that was distracting my users. So, I mean, there’s no way you can lose here in this test, you are either becoming more informed and more strategic, or, you’re increasing conversion rates. And so, yeah, on any e-commerce one page, I would suggest like three variations. Version one, remove your banner. Version two, remove your categories. version three, remove your products. And then, test all those versions against each other and see what happens.

Chris: 33:50

  • See which one generates the most revenue, see which one generates the most product page views or whatever your conversion metric is that you’re looking at. It’s a very simple test and it’s a very easy way to start out by just saying, “Let’s make sure that everything we have assumed should be on our site, should actually be here.

Stacy: 34:09  

  • And what’s wonderful about that is, you just gave all of our listeners a way to do it, where they’re not accidentally losing their information forever.

Chris: 34:17 

  • Right, exactly.

Stacy: 34:20  

  • I clicked, I deleted, it’s gone, never to be found again.

Chris: 34:24 

  • Yes. The other great thing, because that’s one point that I often see friction with people on, is, I have business to say, “Even if conversion rates go up without a hero banner, I’m not removing it. I’m not going to take it off my website. So, you shouldn’t even run the test because, we’re going to keep it on there, no matter what.” And so, I always counter that with, “Okay, the great thing about this is, it’s just a test. It’s just an A/B test, so, we can turn it off in a week and we don’t have to keep showing that to people forever. And, wouldn’t you, at least, prefer to know if you are convinced that something that you are going to keep the hero banner on your site, no matter what the data says, you should, at least, know what decision you’re making.” Like, “Okay, I’m going to have the hero banner on my site, no matter what, even if conversion rates dropped by 50%. You need to know that, so that you’re making an informed business decision.”

Chris: 35:26 

  • Because otherwise, what most businesses do is, they say, “These things are off limits, sure. We’ll test the button color, I don’t care about that. Sure, we’ll test a different image on the page, I don’t care about that. But, we’re not going to take anything off.” And again, the risk that you run is, one of those things that you are unwilling to, at least, challenge, could be having a significant negative impact on your conversion rates, and you, at least, need to be aware that you’re making that decision.

Stacy: 35:54    

  • What has been one of the biggest, I guess, to phrase, the wins? You’ve gone through, you’ve done A/B testing, and someone who was originally getting 10 traffic numbers a month, whatever it might be, now, it’s 1,000,010. What have been the biggest and best case studies from someone actually doing this, where you’ve really seen an upswing?

Chris: 36:19   

  • Yeah, I’ve got a few of these and it’s one of my most favorite parts of my job. Obviously, I love learning what drives people to make decisions online, that is fascinating to me and it’s fun. But, I love seeing and I love having a meaningful impact in businesses, and we get to have this experience pretty regularly. So, a couple of experiences, one of them, I spoke at Social Media Marketing World two years ago. And I met a company that … actually, I bumped into a guy that was in my session. Literally, like, we were walking into another session, and he just mentioned and passing, he was like, “Hey, I saw your session, it was a hell of a session.” And so, we just struck up a conversation, and he said, “That stuff was really interesting to me and I would love to learn more about it.” Anyways, we started chatting, they became a client. And two and a half years later, today, we just went out and visited them out in Missouri, like two, three weeks ago. And they shared a couple of things with me.

Chris: 37:37

  • Number one, they shared that their conversion rates have never been better than they are now. In fact, their business has been … they have hit their last two years in a row of revenue targets, because of the improvements we were able to make through site testing. And so, it was great to hear that we had a heavy hand in helping them accomplish their business goals. But one of the things that they also said that really struck me as they said, “Because of what you guys have done, because of how you guys have helped us to think and how you are helping us to become informed about our customers, we’re never going to make a decision on the site again without testing it through you guys.” We ran a test, and I don’t want to … hopefully, there’s no listeners on here from Norton Antivirus or whatever. But, these guys were approached by Norton Security, Norton Antivirus.

Chris: 38:34 

  • And Norton said, “Hey, our studies have shown that conversion rates increase when you have a Norton Antivirus logo on every page. Because, it helps customers feel more secure. So, let us put this Norton Antivirus thing on every page of your site, and you only have to pay us a percentage of the increase in sales that we generate for you.” They were claiming that they did some kind of A/B testing to prove their increase, right?

Stacy: 39:03 

  • What a product placement on a site, then you get to pay for it to be there. That’s phenomenal.

Chris: 39:10   

  • Right. And so, the client of ours said, “What the use to make sense, we’re only going to pay them if they make us more money.” And I said, “Okay, that’s interesting. And, why don’t we test? Why don’t we run a test on this? Let’s test a Norton Antivirus logo against just some logo that we make up, and then, against nothing. So, we’ll have a version where we have nothing, we’ll have one or two versions that we just invent our own security logo, that just says like, “Secure shopping experience,” or something like that. We’ll just make something up, and then, we’ll put the Norton one on there. Let’s see which one has the biggest impact on conversion rates.” So, they agreed, Norton Antivirus agreed, we ran the test. Interestingly, the Norton Antivirus logo had no impact on conversion rates. In fact, I think it had a slightly negative impact. And the one that we just created, one of the ones that we just created and made up, had a significantly positive impact on conversion rates.

Chris: 40:10  

  • And so, that was one of those ones where our client was so grateful, they said, “Thank you, because, not only did you guys help us gain some insights for our customer, but you also saved us probably 10s of thousands of dollars over the course of each year, in like, rev share that we would have been paying to Norton by having their logo on our site.” And so, again, it’s not that I’m anti Norton, it’s just that, in these kinds of cases, you need to make sure that you’re not just buying into some hype, and that you are actually testing what’s best for my business. So, that’s one example. I had another example, it was one of my first few clients that I got when I started my business. And it was a lead gen company in the mortgage space. We started testing on some of their landing pages, and, I believe, within about a six month timeframe, we had almost tripled conversion rates.

Chris: 41:04 

  • To the point where their sales team was so overwhelmed with leads that they had to pause their marketing efforts for a little while, just so their sales team could catch up on all of these leads that they were generating. And so, that’s one of those problems where business owners hope that they’re successful, but they become so successful, they don’t even know what to do with themselves. Like, “I don’t even know how to respond to all this demand.” And that’s definitely the kind of problem I want my clients facing.

Stacy: 41:34  

  • We all want that problem.

Chris: 41:36

  • Yes, right.

Stacy: 41:38  

  • That’s a good problem. Okay, fair enough. Those are some great case studies of the importance of not just jumping in and doing something, because it can cost you money, because, you have the wrong expectations set out. As well as, actually, over delivering so that you have a new problem created and have too much business, which we would all love to have.

Chris: 41:59  

  • Exactly.

Stacy: 42:02      

  • Beyond the A/B testing, going into more of some of your specialties with SEO, and, what are other practices that people should be considering here? Or, really should their focus just be to start, at least, on A/B testing and seeing how the results play out for them?

Chris: 42:23 

  • Yeah, that’s a good question. And I’ll try to pick that question apart a little bit and answer it in a couple parts. But, I mean, first, I would just say, yes, businesses need to just start A/B testing, just start somewhere. Because, if you don’t start today, you will never start. That’s been my experience. We’ve had a lot of clients that would come to us and they’ll say, “Hey, we’re going to put this on pause for a little bit. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to this.” And they never do. Or, other businesses that we’ll work with, that will say, “Hey, we’ll try this on our own.” And then, they come back a year later and say, “Hey, I know we said we would try this on our own, and we didn’t. So, we’re going to come work with you guys so that we do it.” But, I’ve seen a lot of businesses that will try this on their own, and see a ton of success.

Chris: 43:12  

  • I mean, you’ve got to just start to figure out, what do you want to do? Do you want to work with somebody else to do it for you? Do want to do it yourself and actually make sure that it happens? So, just start is my first suggestion, and a good marketing approach. Any good marketing strategy is going to coordinate multiple different marketing efforts, right? It’s not like, you can just do conversion rate optimization and your business will succeed, you’ve got to pair it with doing good SEO, and doing good PPC. Whether it’s on Google or Facebook or wherever you’re marketing. You’ve got to pair all of these different marketing efforts together, because, that’s when you get the biggest bang for your buck. I mean, if you’re just focused on PPC, if you’re just focused on driving traffic through Google AdWords, and you’re not optimizing the website, you’re missing a huge opportunity because, you could be converting a lot more of that traffic that you’re paying for.

Chris: 44:12 

  •  If you’re just doing conversion rate optimization and you’re not sending traffic to the site, well, your conversion rate optimization efforts will never generate a very big impact, because, you’re probably not getting enough traffic to your site, and you’re probably not getting the right kind of traffic to your site. So, you’ve got to make sure that you do both of those together, and you’ve got to make sure that you are constantly looking for ways to improve. I mean, I see so many businesses that just get on autopilot, and it’s like, “Okay, we’ve got a pretty decent spot on our Google AdWords campaign or Google Ads campaign, we’ve got no previous in spot on our Facebook campaign, we’ll just keep updating those once a month or something, but we’re not going to keep exploring.” And they just hit hit the snooze button on innovating.

Chris: 44:59  

  • And, again, you can have a successful business that way, and, you could have a more successful business, if you just put some additional effort into optimizing these processes. And so, one concern that I hear often and I mentioned this earlier, one concern I hear often when I start talking about conversion rate optimization, is, the SEO people saying, “Well, you can’t remove stuff from the site,” or, “If you’re running a test where you’re changing content, it’s going to screw up our SEO rankings.” And I understand, again, my background is in SEO, so, I understand where their concern is coming from. And, in my experience, if you can increase conversion rates, it will actually increase your organic rankings more, than having additional content. Or, in other words, if you’re on site metrics improve, because, Google does look heavily at your on site metrics. They look at things like, what’s the bounce rate for your website? What’s the click through rates? What’s the average time on site?

Chris: 46:04

  • Google is trying to figure out, “Are you giving a good quality experience to people when we send people to you?” And so, if you can increase conversion rates, even if you have slightly less content on your page, so you look less relevant. You look like a better experience now, because your bounce rates are lower, your click through rates are higher, your conversion rates are higher, your time on site is higher. It’s the rising tide that lifts all ships. And so, I have not had a single experience where, increasing conversion rates, decreased SEO rankings. I’m sure that it’s happened, so, if anybody has had that experience, I’d be happy for them reach out and tell me that I’m wrong. But, I’ve never seen it happen in the last seven years that I’ve been testing.

Stacy: 46:49  

  • Fair enough. And if someone does want to reach out and tell you that you’re wrong, how is the best way? Or, more importantly, if they want to say “Hey, Chris, how can I actually be doing this better and do it right?” How can they be reaching out to you? What’s the best way?

Chris: 47:04 

  • Yeah. I mean, the first place is, a lot of what we’ve talked about today is the basics, right? Like, “How do I get started with A/B testing?” And we actually put together a starter guide for A/B testing, that addresses a lot of these questions that we’ve been discussing. Like, “What tools should I use? What are the first few tests that I should run?” And then, also, goes into a little bit more depth with additional test concepts. How you should customize for lead gen versus e-commerce and a lot of other things? And so, the first place people are interested in taking some next steps that they can go, is to disruptiveadvertising.com/guide. You can download that guide for free. There is a box there if you’re interested in talking with me or somebody over at Disruptive, there’s a box you can check, and we’ll reach out. But, otherwise, you can just download the guide.

Chris: 47:57

  • And then, I am on LinkedIn, Twitter, my name is Chris Dayley, last name is D-A-Y-L-E-Y, and so, people can reach out there. And I’d be happy to answer any questions, or, if somebody wants to debate something that I said today, I’d be happy to engage in a fun, healthy debate.

Stacy: 48:17    

  • Well, Chris, thank you so much. I know, I’ve found a lot of value out of this, so, I am going to be looking at that Google Optimization tool that you mentioned, as well as, coming back to our team to see what we need to be doing better with A/B testing, and maybe, in touch with you to speak a little bit more about that as well. But, really, really, found a lot of value in what you shared with us today. So, thank you so much for your time.

Chris: 48:41  

  • Thank you again for having me on, it was a pleasure.

Stacy: 48:43 

  • Is there anything as a last thought that you’d want to share with our listeners today on how they should get started?

Chris: 48:52     

  • Just the last thing that I want to say goes back to what we talked about at the very beginning. Which is, the most successful individuals, in fact, I’ll share a quote, it’s one of my favorite quotes, it’s from Jim Rohn. And he said, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development.” And what I love about that, and I’ve seen, over and over again, with entrepreneurs, with marketers, with employees alike, is, the people who are the most successful, are the people who are constantly willing to adapt, to challenge themselves to be willing to think differently. And so, I guess, my invitation to people is, if you’re hesitancy with A/B testing, if you’re not A/B testing right now, because, you think that you already have a great website or you’re concerned about, you would rather just use a user experience design or something like that, be willing to challenge your own idea.

Chris: 49:56      

  • Be willing to challenge something that’s on your website. Be willing to feel a little bit uncomfortable for the sake of learning and developing yourself. Because, again, whether you’re a marketer, an employee, an entrepreneur, if you’re willing to constantly improve and constantly look for ways to improve yourself, your business, your website, you will be vastly more successful than people who are not willing to do that.

Stacy: 50:21

  • Well, that is phenomenal advice to take to heart. Chris, thank you so much for today.

Chris: 50:27      

  • Thank you.

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