Unbounce Panel: The Road to Conversion Optimization is Paved with User-Focused Content

by Rebecca Bakken | June 15

digital-marketing-stats-unbounce From left: Roberta Rosenberg, John Bonini, Michael Aargaard, Ellie Mirman, Larry Kim, Oli Gardner, and Dan McGaw.

The Conversion Road Trip Boston, hosted by Unbounce, brought a panel of experts with varied backgrounds to discuss conversion optimization, the holy grail of online marketers. While each speaker had his or her own area of expertise, the common message was clear: Your campaign should be laser-targeted to your ideal consumer.

Topics included landing page optimization, PPC innovations, email marketing, copy that converts, video, and A/B testing. Here’s what each speaker had to say:

Oli Gardner, Co-Founder of Unbounce
Does the acronym NSAMCWADLP mean anything to you? It should, according to Gardner, because it’s a key component of any marketing campaign. It stands for Never Start A Marketing Campaign Without A Dedicated Landing Page, and it’s smart advice.

Gardner said that each landing page should be a “dedicated experience” with a clear goal. Here are a few key points from his talk:

  • Understand the rules of design. Landing pages should have linear, easy-to-follow design. Usability Hub is a great tool to test this.
  • Copy should inform design. Your messaging is the most important thing in a landing page, so come up with clean, concise copy before doing the layout.
  • Mind the attention ratio, which is the number of links on your page in relation to the number of goals for that campaign. Giving your viewer too many options may take them off track.

Larry Kim, Co-Founder of Wordstream
Marketers who think a 3 to 5 percent increase in conversion rates is a win are setting their goals too low, according to Kim. They should be looking to boost these numbers by three to five times instead. He offered five conversion rate optimization hacks to improve PPC performance:

1. Introduce more friction to weed out visitors with no intent to convert.
2. Change sign-up flow. Registration at the end of the form may garner more leads.
3. Convert abandoners with remarketing to make sure there are no missed opportunities.
4. Pre-qualify site visitors to boost conversion through qualified traffic.
5. Eliminate landing pages using new PPC ad formats. This can cut an entire step out of the sales funnel.

Ellie Mirman, VP of Marketing for Toast
Anyone who thinks email marketing is dead need look no further than their own inbox to see that isn’t true, said Mirman. But methods like “pay and spray” are definitely a thing of the past as we’re now able to more precisely target emails. Among Mirman’s tips were:

  • Include a clear, prominently placed call-to-action.
  • Align email content with funnel stages to appeal to recipients; and optimize your landing page accordingly.
  • Run large, varied tests – not just subject lines. You want them to do more than open the email.

Michael Aargaard, Founder of Content Verve
Aargaard started his talk with a powerful concept, and another acronym: WYSIATI. It stands for What You See Is All There Is. Not to be taken literally, the concept should inform your marketing copy as you try to create a user experience that facilitates “cognitive ease,” Aargaard said. Simply put, don’t confuse your audience.

As it turns out, simply mentioning a negative concept makes it a real possibility for your user. Aargaard ran a test of two CTAs asking for email addresses, one with no explanation and another with a note: “I will not spam you.” The latter version tanked conversion by 23 percent.

You should write copy based on analytical data (based on funnel analysis, analytics, etc.) that has a clear goal “so you can answer questions before [your reader] can even ask,” Aargaard said.

Dan McGaw, Founder of Effin Amazing
Speaking to the basics of conversion rate optimization, McGaw said marketers need to get into the CRO mindset, know that failing is part of the game, and always follow the data – both quantitative and qualitative so you know what to test and who your audience is. Here’s a few key tips from McGaw’s talk:

  • Use survey tools at drop-off points to pinpoint problems.
  • When A/B testing, change one element at a time. (Key example: Photoshopping a beard on a male model boosted “add to cart” rates by 50% by targeting the hipster demographic.)
  • Don’t call your A/B tests too early.

Chris Savage, CEO of Wistia
Video is a popular form of content marketing, and getting even more so. Savage said the key metrics you should be testing on video include time on site, play rate, engagement, in-video conversion, and on-site conversion. Here are some easy tips from Savage to boost video conversion:

  • Optimal size is 240-800 pixels
  • Just changing the color of your play button can have a significant effect
  • Take time choosing the frame shot

John Bonini, Marketing Director at IMPACT
Bonini closed the event with a talk on A/B testing throughout the sales funnel. He stressed that marketers should target customers, not merely visitors. Here were some of the takeaways from his talk:

  • Write copy that addresses them; and let them self identify with a form.
  • Measure performance by revenue, not conversion rate.
  • Conversion and revenue are not the same thing. You can have increasing conversion rates and stagnant revenue.
  • Don’t weigh “vanity metrics” too heavily, they can be meaningless to growth.
  • It’s not about you, it’s about your user.

The Copywriting Panel
Writing copy that not only resonates with your audience but motivates them to take action is a tricky game. Do you go sensational or factual? Do you try to impress with your verbiage or dumb it down? It’s hard to tell what works sometimes, but three panelists offered their advice:

Beth Dunn, product editor-in-chief at Hubspot, said copy should always address the reader directly, as well as offer them a solution. “If our copy is focused on our goal and not our user’s problem, we fail,” Dunn said. She added later that clarity should always come before cleverness.

Roberta Rosenberg, a copywriting and landing page specialist, echoed the sentiment of the night and said that the user is king. “What they have is a headache, you have to prove to them that you have a solution that’s going to make a difference,” Rosenberg said. She advised writers to choose “juicy nouns and verbs” so you don’t need to rely heavily on adjectives and adverbs.

Michael Aargaard spoke again on the panel about forms and the large role copy plays in their success or failure. “Copy is a big part of forms,” so be sure your message is concise and clear. Aargaard said forms are like a landing page within a landing page.

See all of the speakers’ presentations here, and follow Unbounce on Twitter to find out about future events on SEO and optimizing your content.

Rebecca Bakken
About the author

Rebecca Bakken