This interview with with Chris Goward of Wider Funnel Marketing Optimization is part of the Convirza Webinar Series. The following is the Q&A portion of the interview.
McKay Allen: Awesome. Chris, first of all, thanks. That was awesome. I think your process for testing is really kind of what sets you apart, it seems like. As you said, there are a lot of people who say they’re experts in the field but your testing expertise seems to be really useful.
Yeah. A couple of questions are coming in already. We encourage you to ask some questions here to Chris and he’ll address those.
The first question, and this is actually kind of an interesting one, “It seems like what you’re saying is that there really aren’t – of course, there are a few – but there are not necessarily some hard and fast rules about landing page optimization but that it really does depend on data and testing. Just address that A, and then B, if there are any sort of hard and fast rules, what would those be?”
Chris Goward: Yeah. You know, it’s true. There are a lot of so-called best practices out there and some of them often work. But I believe we’re still in the early stages of really exploring and understanding the best user experiences online. So I would hesitate to say that there are any design user experience marketing best practices that should be codified and nailed down as best practices. I think there’s things that work today. There are things that work in a particular environment for a particular target audience, and there are certainly principles.
So that’s why we’ve developed things like frameworks like the LIFT model to think more principle-based in thinking through that unique user’s experience and how they’re interpreting things like the value proposition, the relevance, the clarity, the anxiety. And what that does is that actually helps you to understand what should be the best practices for this particular situation rather than trying to generalize and saying orange buttons always work or you should always have two-column or three-column websites or you should always have responsive web design or big bold phone numbers in the header or countdown timers. All of these tactics will work in some situations but won’t work in others.
And even with people that do a little bit of testing, they might run one test and say, “Well, we showed that large red headlines always beat black headlines.” You can find blog posts that say that. In fact, I can point to a blog post that says, “Green buttons always work better.” There’s another blog post, though, that says, “Red buttons beat green.” So which one’s true? Well, if they’ve tested them, they’ve only tested them in one environment.
So that may be a long answer to a short question. But, really, the best principle is to think about scientific marketing as a process for making marketing decisions and business decisions rather than looking for tips and tricks.
McKay Allen: That’s great advice. Address the rotating banners thing because, as you said, a lot of sites, I mean, tons of sites, our site, for example, convirza.com, we have a couple of banners that rotates between. Talk about some of the specific data that you’ve found that indicates that it distracts and it doesn’t work very well.
Chris Goward: Yeah. We’ve ran that test in several different environments for e-commerce and B2B, and it’s interesting. It’s rarely won. There are some situations where an animation can work. But the actual rotating offer carousel between different messages just doesn’t convert.
When you think about the user’s perspective, it makes sense, really because they’re there to try and find a solution for their problem. Whereas the marketer, the business owner, he’s trying to solve their problem of communicating the message they think is important. But those are sometimes conflicting goals, right? You’re trying to communicate your latest event or product you’re trying to clear out of the warehouse or the new offering you’ve got. But they may be there for a completely different reason.
So what’s much more effective is to try and think about their perspective and think, “Of all of the prospects that are coming to this page, how many are looking for this message, and how many are looking for some other message, and how do we show them the breadth of the products and services and messages that would be right for them so they can find the one that’s right for them?”
Usually, that rotating carousel is the worst way of doing that because really, what it’s doing is saying, “Okay, here’s a message. Now, here’s another message. Now, here’s another message,” rather than saying, “Here are all of the menu of options and one of them will be right for you.”
So that’s kind of a hint into what we’ve seen win is different experiences that actually show the breadth of products and services rather than emphasizing the one hero shot at a time.
McKay Allen: That’s great. The interesting thing is, as you said, you’ve tested it in a lot of environments and have tested it thoroughly. So, as you said, it’s not just your opinion. You know what I mean?
Chris Goward: Yeah.
McKay Allen: That’s critical. The other question – and this is a good one as well, “You mentioned a couple of slides ago about the internal pages of the site. It seems like those pages…” I guess the question is this, “Do we focus too much on landing pages and maybe not enough on holding the other pages on our site accountable for converting, for lack of a better term? It seems like there’s some optimization that can be done on most people’s “How it Works” page and other pages like that.”
Chris Goward: Absolutely. Yeah. There’s often so much attention paid to landing pages that they may not be the best opportunity for improvement because they’ve already had all kinds of people try to improve them. We’ve really found a niche in optimizing category pages, optimizing product pages, optimizing persistent calls to action and found that they are neglected in many cases.
Of course, we still do a lot of landing page tests and a lot of homepage tests. But those informational interior pages are very important to the business. And that’s where people are consuming information.
Often, we find they have too much content on them. They’re distracting and they’re just not laid out well. The eye flow is terrible. The calls to action are confusing and all kinds of problems. People just think of them as throwaway pages like that’s just for the CMS to populate with content. But they’re important for people’s decision making.
McKay Allen: Good stuff. Chris, I want to see if you have any sort of last words of wisdom before we conclude. Then we’ll wrap it up. So any final thoughts from you before we end today?
Chris Goward: Well, I think I’ve covered most of the principles that we’ve got. But I encourage anyone if they’re looking for more information or just want to learn more and follow what’s happening, we always have new articles and new thoughts and new research that’s coming out on our blog as well. It’s WiderFunnel.com/Blog. If you subscribe to that, of course, we’ve got the articles that come up there. That’s where I’m posting on a fairly regular basis on all of the stuff that we’re learning and coming up with and new tests and best practices.
But, yeah, I really appreciate the invitation, McKay. I look forward to continuing and I’m hoping we do this again.
McKay Allen: Great. Chris, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time.