A high conversion rate is the goal that every onlinified and digitalised company aims for. But it's often a problematic metric to change, and even if you do manage to move the needle, it can be tricky to find out which of your activities was responsible. In this episode, me, Anders, and Stellan share our thoughts on the topic - I hope you enjoy it.
One of the most interesting things we discussed in this episode was a recent conversion experiment that Anders conducted. He wanted to get signups for a webinar (which you can sign up for here), and with the method he chose, he got a conversion rate of over 80% - practically unheard of in our world. How did he do it? Not through optimising a form or changing the colour of a button, but by simply approaching people directly and asking them to sign up.
Increasing conversion isn't always about finding the right 'trick', as this shows. But at the same time, there's a huge amount of changes you can make on-site to get your visitors to do what you want them to. On this topic, Stellan was able to give some advice on how to experiment and report when trying to boost conversion, and of course, what you need to avoid.
As always, this episode is available as a video - but if you prefer, you can listen on Spotify or Soundcloud using the buttons below. You can also subscribe on these platforms, or right here on the blog - that way, you'll get an email whenever we publish a new episode. The transcription is also available below if you're in a hurry.
AB: [00:00:39] And talking about fantastic, I hope everyone observes that Alexander seems to have had a haircut today. Looks fantastic.
AE: [00:00:49] Yeah, now when we started to record with videos as well, I felt it was very much needed. Good, Anders, I talked to you earlier this week before we had a webinar with Martin. And you mentioned to me that you had tried a new experiment in trying to convert participants to the webinar through LinkedIn. Could you just tell a bit what you did?
AB: [00:01:23] I did an experiment from several perspectives. You know, everyone seems to talk about conversion and staying close to customers and prospects and so on. And then I thought, OK, so if I should make some type of record in conversion, how would I do? And I was sitting working late Thursday night last week. And that's for the second webinar we have about digital outlook, focusing on digital outlook. So what I did was open messaging on LinkedIn, contact people that I like that I haven't spoke with in a while, and I thought it could be relevant for them to sign up. So, of course, based on that I actually wanted to know how it was, I added that for them who know Martin and so on, I suggested and I was clear about saying that, sign up, because then you get the recording afterwards, even if you can't make it calendar wise. And the exact figure was eighty six percent conversion, probably the highest conversion I have been involved with when it comes to something commercial. And to give you a round figure, we talk about, I don't exactly remember, 70 people? So that's a fairly good conversion, I think.
AE: [00:02:55] Yeah, that's very good. And therefore, I thought that today's topic is going to talk more about conversion. So I would like to ask you Stellan, what is conversion? We, uh, yeah, we hear it a lot. And it's kind of a buzzword. And so what is it?
SB: [00:03:15] Well, at its core, it's quite simple. It's what happens when a visitor on your site or in your app or whatever it is, does something that you want them to do. So completes a goal of some kind. It can be signing up to something or getting in touch with you about something or using a certain functionality or a certain widget or something like that. That's basically a conversion.
AE: [00:03:44] And the next question was, what's the purpose of a conversion? But it sounds like there are many different purposes depending on what you want.
SB: 00:03:51] Yeah, it's it's ultimately mapped to your goal and what you're trying to achieve.
AE: [00:03:56] So we heard Anders' experiment here to convert. Could you walk us through some other common ways to convert potential customers?
SB: [00:04:09] Well, this is closely related to good UX in general. So what this was doing is really sort of hands-on interacting with contacts and it's basically notifying them that there is a probably for them interesting event to participate in, but normally it's about sort of an automated process of some kind. You drive traffic to some place and from that place, you want them to complete the goal you're looking to achieve. And so that is very much UX driven. So what kind of expectation do people have when they arrive on what's then called your landing page and what happens on that page that drives the conversion to the goal that you're trying to achieve? And there is everything from the layout of the page to the copy, even the micro-copy, you know, the sort of, when you're interacting with a form or something, do you get a confirmation that you enter your credentials correctly and so on? Or does it just give you strange error messages and you have no idea what you're going to do and so on? So all of those kinds of tiny details can affect conversion a lot. So we've been running some experiments where we just changed the color and the copy of the button and had like 20, 30 percent conversion increase just from such a small change. And then when you run bigger experiments, you can have a two or three-X difference in conversion if you're really good.
AE: [00:05:49] So is there then, for example, if you take a color example, is there general colors that are better or is that dependable on the branding itself and the other colors on a website?
SB: [00:06:01] Yeah. So it's sort of the full picture of what you're met with is super important. But in general, yes. If we are using colors the way we're or we're associating colors the way we are normally presented with colors in life. So you drive a car, you're in an elevator or whatever is something is like flashing red, it's an error. So to have like a flashing red CTA to get people to do a banking transaction or something is like a terrible idea. So there are these kinds of general rules that you have to adhere to. But other than that, yes. It's very much down to sort of the branding and the full picture of what you're looking at, what kind of colors you should be using.
AB: [00:06:50] Stellan, that was fine, could you give us more examples of terrible ideas when it comes to UX and conversion?
SB: [00:07:04] Well, I've come across a few, but no, it's I think sometimes the key thing is to, you want to isolate your experiments and you want to run experiments that make a difference. So what you want to do is you want to have sort of a platform to stand on that's based on best practice. But then in each individual case, you want to apply AB testing or multivariate testing to drive the conversion rate. And when you do that, it's more common that you are a bit surprised to see that, "Aha, that works much better than I had anticipated," just because the scenarios are different. Target audiences are different, cultures are different and things like that. So sort of based the starting point on what's known, but then really apply what's referred to as radically different design, try a lot of different options to try to drive the conversion and to see what works and what doesn't work.
AE: [00:08:11] Anders, how much time would you say that you spent on your experiment and reaching out to 70 people?
AB: [00:08:19] Not certain, but perhaps two and a half hours. You have to remember taking that as an example of conversion is that, maybe someone signed up to be nice to me, maybe someone was actually really interested. There's always different sort of preferences. But the nice thing to work with conversions with friends is that if you are relevant, you are welcome back. And the good thing is that if someone now listens that signed up and perhaps attended the webinar, if they really enjoyed it or if they liked the recording afterwards and it helped them in any way, OK, then it was a good conversion last Thursday. Good suggestion. Good outcome. The relationship will continue in at least a good way. But the good thing to do it with well-known people through LinkedIn is that Stellan said in an episode, the proof is in the pudding. That's exactly what I mean. Sometimes B2C brands seem to forget that I think things about their brand as well, doing their automation. I was thinking just today, when it comes to conversion on a well-known Finnish brand that sells a lot of nice stuff for your home, I bought, let's say, lounge furniture for the house a couple of days ago. And today they send me and say this weekend we have a reduction of price for 10 to 40 percent. That's when intended conversion hits the other way. Why didn't I get that price reduction when I bought it a week ago? So that the advantage to do sort of nurturing of known contacts and trying to make them convert to things is that you need to put that sort of in a different scenario than if you throw out things automated and try to achieve conversion. You follow how I think Stellan, right?
SB: [00:10:38] Of course.
AE: [00:10:41] So your goal here Anders was to convert people to participate in the webinar. Could you give some examples of other goals about conversion in the customer journeys?
AB: [00:10:57] I mean, firstly, like I was spinning now, if you, for example, take Zooma's case, we have two thousand plus relevant contacts that we have legal basis, they have asked us to to alert them and keep in touch and so on. And if you only think from the inside, OK, you want everyone to convert to purchase things every day. But everyone is not in that mood right now. Someone is in between jobs. Someone is in a position right now where our services are not relevant. Someone is just about to buy exactly what you can use Zooma for and and et cetera. So you have to decide between a supplier's egoistic conversion target and the situation that people are in. And I mean, if you just look at Zooma, there's a huge amount of possible conversions that you can do on a daily basis. You can do a conversion that you download something, you can do a conversion that you buy something, you can do a conversion that you open an email, you can do a conversion, that you open the email and go to the link and go to the download.
AB: [00:12:21] I mean, there's tons of conversions. But usually, in Zooma, the only conversions that we talk about are the ones who are transactional, meaning that you actually take a step in your lifecycle. And then it's easy to think that you only talk about prospects or potential customers. But it's exactly the same with one of sort of our friends that have been buying things from us for 15 years. Those conversions are as interesting if we talk about transactional conversions, but I mean fulfilling an NPS form or fulfilling a survey about the co-operation the last year between us and a friend or a client, that is also conversions. But when we speak about conversions, we speak about transactional conversions or very close to the commercial part. And to throw something in here, sadly, it's still around that real companies and their suppliers talk about conversions when it's only traffic, meaning how many came to our site. For me it's a prerequisite to reach the conversion, but it's only the prerequisite to reach the conversion.
AE: [00:13:47] You have anything to fill in there Stellan?
SB: [00:13:50] If your job is to sort of optimise the ad, for example, and in this case, you can say that whether that click through to the site from the ad is your conversion. But that's not what the ultimate goal of the campaign is, is to drive something else. So from that perspective, it's a prerequisite for the conversion rather than the conversion itself, so to speak. So it depends on what the goal is of the person that is actually looking at what's happening as well. So it's sort of multiple dimensions in this discussion.
AE: [00:14:23] So Anders had a conversion rate of eighty six percent, is it possible to say what a good conversion rate is in general, Stellan?
SB: [00:14:35] Every year there is a bunch of statistics presented from different angles. So, you know, typical conversion rates in ads, typical conversion rates in e-mail, typical conversion rates on e-commerce websites and so on. And so so, yes, like for industry or type of application, there are benchmarks that you can compare yourself with. So. And yeah, what a good conversion rate is varies a lot between industries, and it also varies a lot, as we said, what type of conversion you're talking about, if it's a transactional one or if it's signing up for a newsletter and so on. So there are statistics, but you can't say that one percent is bad, for example, because it can be really good in certain instances.
AE: [00:15:35] So if we look at the, like historically, compared to the future, what has historically been the tactic is to convert leads and what do you think will be the future?
SB: [00:15:52] Well, obviously, over the last few years, sort of the whole shift and move towards inbound and content marketing has made sort of content the key driver of conversion and going forward. Well, it's interesting to see that the pandemic has sort of made people want to have digital interactions a lot more and sort of prefer that over physical interactions even, in certain cases. And I think that's going to drive sort of a new type of conversion where booking and meeting, for example, and doing an introduction video and so on is going to be a much more important point of conversion than it was before, where essentially you could, you know, at some point you ended up with having to get in touch to book a physical meeting. I also think video is is going to be you can say it's part of content marketing, but got to have like on demand webinars and so on is going to be a much more important point of conversion than what it used to be. Yeah, that would like a couple of takes on where are we going.
AE: [00:17:08] What do you think Anders, about the future?
AB: [00:17:11] I think the future is bright generally. And I think, I hope I must say, because I've been thinking this before, that relevance will win. So the ones who think long-term and the ones who truly mean that they want to help the person who needs something will win, and all the short-term thinkers will lose and disappear. I've been thinking that many times before, but perhaps we now are at the state in the world where most can afford sort of the tech and most can understand what the right way is. So hopefully relevance wins. All the others go home.
AE: [00:18:03] And finally, Anders, what's your main learning from running that experiment?
AB: [00:18:08] The more you know about someone, the easier it is to be relevant.
AE: [00:18:12] And I know you mentioned that there were one sentence that was important related to webinars, signing up for webinars?
AB: [00:18:20] And maybe it's sort of if you were thinking about that I said that provide the recording afterwards? Most most people I throw out the figure now, I think generally speaking, never more than 50 percent that show up when they sign up for webinar. And it's interesting to look at the statistics, OK, they were signed up and attended. How long did I stay? And it's also interesting to look how many signed up for the NPS or fulfilled the NPS afterwards, and how many need a reminder that they actually have a recording now? Do that in a nice way, make sure that the contact owners watches the data and reminds in a friendly and nice way, whether it's automated or not, is just up to the relevance and the tone of how you do that, whether it's automated or it's sending a manual mail or calling someone or mentioning in a video meeting and so on.
AE: [00:19:22] Yeah, good. Thank you both very much for today.