A4UExpo Amsterdam: Conversion Optimization

Tue 28 April 2009 21:51, Menno Flikkema

A4UExpo Amsterdam: Conversion Optimization

The first day at A4U Expo Amsterdam starts off interesting for me with an excellent presentation from Ton Wesseling (Orange Valley). He has 50 tips to improve conversion on your website. The (fast moving!) presentation is divided into strategy tips, conversion tips and best practices for multi-variate testing (MVT).

Optimizing for conversion is a two way process – you need to optimize for conversion and persuasion. He kicks off with strategy. What defines a conversion goal? Is that money? No it’s lifetime value, creating value from returning customers. 

The way to create lifetime value is to focus improvements on all the micro conversions that turn prospects into customers.

Start by optimizing usability – to help users move from one step to the next. Going forward from usability you must develop personas with which the target group can identify. Your audience needs to be motivated, and you can help the audience by being clear on how goals can be achieved.

The decision-making process goes through three phases and psychological behavior affects decision-making. Is the potential customer just browsing, is he moderately interested or does he know what he wants? The four persona archetypes are analytical, driving, amiable and expressive. Each archetype is influenced in different ways. For example, give an analytical person extra details to base his or her decision on.

The important tip from the strategy section of the presentation is: build on user data. Each persona interacts with the site in a unique way. Define and optimize these steps and functionality so that different kinds of users can reach the conversion goal.

Ton has more tips on measuring the results. When you follow trends and filter your analytics, you can see different behavior in time the time of day, weekdays or weekends and intent. By identifying differences you can find out where your users drop out of your online sales funnel.

Some other conversion improving tips that Ton mentions are:

  • Redirect wwww. ww. and domain without www to your homepage. These are often made domain misspellings.
  • Browsers: check your site in all browsers: safari and chrome are over 5%.
  • Check broken links, make an informative 404 that helps users continue on in the site.
  • Registration: don’t require account registration at check out, make this optional.
  • Forms: use inline validation (can increase conversion by up to 20%) and ask for only email first so that you can remind a user later if the second page wasn’t filled in
  • Don’t forget that 5% of your male target audience is color blind!
  • Use conventions, look at the big sites, for example learn from Facebook and Youtube how to do ratings

Ton finishes off the session with some 5 interesting insights from multivariate testing. 

  • On weekdays and weekends, users act differently. In a banking example, a green button works better on Saturday, a red button works better on Monday. Green was relaxed, not being pushy, red had a strong call to action. Conclusion: in the weekend users don’t like to be pushed, on Monday they have less time
  • Don’t push your message. A strong call to action (for example with exclamation marks!) can decrease conversion
  • “It sure looks that way” visuals with eyes looking in the direction of the CTA increase conversion, one example of a visual of a woman looking at the message (instead of straight ahead) increased conversion 9%
  • Elements have interaction effects, what works on one page, doesn’t necessarily work on another
  • Non-clicked content can improve conversion: no one clicks on testimonials, so get rid of them? In one example the presence of a testimonial link improved conversion

See more of Ton's great tips on SlideShare, his presentation is here:



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