Converting your visitors is the ultimate goal of any online marketer. It doesn’t matter what the conversion is either. It could be a click, a signup, or a sale. Getting your traffic to take the action you want them to take is absolutely essential.
There are a lot of different factors that come into play to make this happen. Conversion is part science and part art. Getting it right on the first try never happens. That’s why we test everything.
Here are a few of the generally accepted factors to test when it comes to conversion
Calls to Action
Each of these have their own set of “generally accepted” factors to boot. As you can tell by the title of this post we’re going to take a look at colors and their factors.
Derek Halpern of Socialtriggers.com fame recently produced a fantastic video discussing the nuances of color in your design. He lays it out in really easy to understand terms. But what I like best is his advice on “action colors.”
Take a peek here – go on, it’s a short one.
So what part of affiliate marketing can you use this for? I’d hope that was obvious but here are few ideas
overall site design
email optin forms
call to action buttons and links
product comparison tables
product review pages
And probably several other things I’m missing right now.
Have you tested colors in your marketing? Leave a comment below
Remember the time your design team created that new landing page, call-to-action button, or email? You remember the one, the one that was going to be the end-all-be-all as the single greatest success in your creative career. Well, how’d it go? Was it as amazing as you thought it would be? If it’s like anything I’ve put out, it had a few more versions to go. The key to successful creative assets is to always be testing. If you’re running an affiliate program, the right affiliate tracking software will assist in testing, tracking and optimizations.
Before we jump into commonly tested components, I want to bring up establishing a hypothesis prior to launch. I’ve encountered many instances where people roll out tests and didn’t know what they were looking to observe. Make sure that you have an accurate hypothesis based on what variables or KPIs you’re testing and determine what each outcome will mean and represent. If you’re real good, you’ll have a post-test action plan.
Let’s move on to the many different components we can test. Please keep in mind; these are not all of them, just commonly tested ones that can produce medium to large improvements.
Whether it’s a title, headline, subject line or some other form of first-see-copy, make sure to provide; timely, targeted, relevant and appropriate copy. Use the 2 second rule; your headline has 2 seconds to grab attention and confirm users have found what they’re searching for. Alternatively, this can help deter users who aren’t looking for what you’re offering, saving you money if you’re paying per click.
Make sure to test different copy and appeal to your user’s emotions. You know the reasons your customers need your products or services, appeal to that emotion and reaffirm your solution. This reminds me, write copy that is customer-focused and not company-focused. This will indirectly increase your sales as you’re solving a problem rather than advertising a product.
Constantly test different variations of copy that appeals to your users, focus on; tone, style and theme. Look into the different demographics of your audience and see what resonates best with them.
The call-to-action encourages your user to do something, which makes it one of the most important assets to test and optimize. I recommend testing five to ten different variations of your call-to-action and test which renders the highest click-through rate. Remember to display and rotate your assets evenly. If you’re not randomizing, your results will be skewed.
Common call-to-action text include; “Start”, “Submit”, “Go Now” or even the age old “Click Here”. Internet users have become numb to these phrases over the years. Still test them, but also test longer messaging that provides more targeted information. For example, a retailer might want to A/B test the following text; “Buy Now” vs. “Proceed to Checkout”. More information in your call-to-action button will do two things; increase your click-through rate and better qualify users.
Test the following when optimizing your call-to-action buttons; copy, length, color and size. Test messaging that is short and sweet versus informative and lengthy. Try as many different colors as possible, when you find a winner, test different shades and gradients. Test the size of the call-to-action, studies have shown size relative to its surroundings can make incremental improvements to click-through rates. Which leads to my last point, test the various locations on your site where your call-to-action is placed.
Landing Page / Sign-Up Page
The length of your form will largely dictate the success of your conversion rate. A short form (typically 4 to 8 fields) can yield much higher conversion rates than long forms (8+ fields). I would start by, what information is critical to capture? A lot of companies use required fields and optional fields. This is a great idea, make sure to A/B test required + optional vs. just required. You may decrease your conversion rate by displaying too many fields (required + optional) to your users and overwhelm them.
Adding credibility logos to your site can increase user confidence and provide a sense of security. I’ve seen mixed results with credibility logos, so plan to test several of these. In addition to increasing user confidence through credibility logos, experiment with testimonials at the bottom on your conversion page. Users feel more confident knowing others have had success when interacting with your site. Use your Thank You emails to incentivize users to post testimonials on your site.
I’d also recommend displaying inbound phone numbers on your purchase or conversion pages. These appeal to users who don’t feel comfortable transmitting personal information over the internet. Additionally, less technologically savvy users convert or purchase over the phone more than online. Utilize a third party call tracking systems to correlate your conversions to specific media channels or affiliates. RingRevenue is incorporated in your HasOffers affiliate software to track inbound calls.
No one is perfect and therefore no asset will be either. Be patient and think creatively, you’re going to find greater successes when you think outside the box. At first, you’ll see big wins and you’re going to need to harness that energy when it comes to squeezing the lemon for those 10 basis point increases in the future. Don’t spend too much time on the little victories, start thinking about your next big success and move quickly.
Are you currently utilizing split tests in your marketing efforts?
Your answer better be yes, and if not, you should probably stop reading this article immediately and start implementing split tests right now.
If you ARE currently split testing, are you using a statistical significance calculator to interpret your results before taking action?
Again, your answer better be yes, or you very well could be wasting your time with split testing and losing out on a lot of profit.
Split testing and not correctly interpreting and taking action on those results is without a doubt the number one biggest mistake I see affiliates making. Either the affiliate isn’t split testing at all, or the affiliate is making unfounded assumptions about the results.
I’ve been in the industry since 1999, as an advertiser, affiliate, and have owned multiple CPA networks. I can literally count on two hands the number of affiliates I know that correctly utilize split testing and calculate the results properly. This is such a HUGE problem and almost nobody pays attention to it.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with statistical significance, to strip it down to a brief summary: A statistically significant result is one that is unlikely to have occurred by chance.
So why should you care about this as an affiliate?
Statistical significance sounds like some nerd-driven term that you should completely ignore. Big mistake.
Probably the best way to illustrate how important it is for you to understand this concept is to look at some split test results.
Here are some actual results from a targeted grant campaign I was running. This is the first group of 100 visitors:
After 100 visitors each, offer 2 has more than double the number of conversions and conversion rate of offer 1.
Which offer would you run? Well with more than double the conversions after 100 visitors it’s pretty clear offer 2 is the hands down winner right? …Wrong!
I’ll spare you from the math formulas, as there are a number of solid statistical significance calculators out there that will do the math for you. However, with this particular test, here are some interesting mathematical results…
For offer 1, we can be 95% confident the actual conversion rate long-term will fall between .19% and 5.81%. For offer 2, we can be 95% confident the actual conversion rate long-term will fall between 3.52% and 12.48%.
Those are some HUGE differences. So assuming that offer 2 is the winner from this split test could cost you a LOT of money long term. In fact, here are the results after 5000 visitors:
Offer 1 was the true winner and converted 1% better. If I would have just eye-balled the split test results like most affiliates do, I would have chosen the wrong offer long term, and for just this one campaign the difference in profits would have been over $75,000 in the first year alone.
I don’t know about you, but I hate missing out on $75K extra per year just because I didn’t use a statistical significance calculator to make sure my split test decisions were correct.
As an advertiser I can’t count how many times I’ve dealt with an affiliate promoting one of my offers that calls me or sends me an email mid-day that says something like, “I am pausing the offer, and I want to know why my conversion rate for the day so far is half of what it normally is.” This of course is after like 500 visitors and he of course has not done any statistical significance calculation at all.
I normally do my best to explain to them the offer hasn’t been touched so it’s something on their side, the ad network side, the cpa network, or much more likely…it’s simple statistical deviation.
As you can probably imagine, that usually flies like a ton of bricks.
Quite honestly it’s hard to blame them because the numbers can look so very blatant and obvious in one direction when in fact it might be the opposite.
I shouldn’t really need to drive this point home any longer…lets get straight to the tool you need to start making better decisions about your data.
The web-based tool doesn’t quite give you as much information and detail as the downloadable calculator, but it’s great for a quick check.
If you’d like more information on how to use the calculator in detail, be sure to checkout the video on this page where I do a complete walk through for you, as well as provide some extra insight into statistical significance and how you can leverage it to make more money.