3 equations to help solve your conversion marketing problems

When he’s on stage he wears a kilt, and when he sleeps he dreams about a future where all your conversion marketing problems are solved by a robot – but until then, Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner can walk you through a few equations that will help.

Vancouver-based Unbounce helps marketers build landing pages that are honed to convert website visitors, i.e. – they take the action you want them to take. The firm supplies templates and scripts to help get the job done, but Gardner sees a future in which an artificial intelligence script wraps itself around all your digital marketing materials and optimizes it for you.

“One of the biggest problems that marketers face is ‘how do we optimize our landing pages?'” Gardner says. To address it and help tide over marketers until the robot assistants can do all the work, the co-founder presented three conversion-improving equations to the Call to Action Conference in Vancouver this week.

He also shared them with ITBusiness.ca, so strap on your number-crunching kilt and let’s dive in. Also, click on each equation to see a larger image.

The Clarity Equation

Simply put, Gardner’s Clarity Equation is about whether you’re making your value proposition clear. There’s even a five-second test you can do – read your copy to a friend and ask them if they get it. If you find that only three out of 10 people understand, then you might have a problem, Gardner says.

Easy mode

Hard mode

Probably most people will want to refer to the “easy mode” equations here, but if you’re really serious about crunching the numbers, then you can do the algebra. “It’s ironic because one of the parts of the clarity equation is how many acronyms do you use, and I have 19 in this algorithm,” Gardner says.

Take stock of your landing page and think about what you really want your intended audience to do. If there’s an ultimate goal to your marketing efforts, is that action the clear focus of your page? If there are distracting elements that could derail a conversion, axe them. Also consider what your headline is promising to your audience and ask if you’re really meeting that expectation with your content.

When it comes to your text, you can run it through a free tool with readability-score.com to get a score from 0-100 and a reading level of Grade 5 to Master’s Degree. For your font, the golden ratio of typography online is a 16-point font and a 25-pixel line height, with a 680-pixel wide column. An online calculator from Pearsonified will tell you how close you come.

Then there’s the overall facility of your web page. Can people actually read it? Do you have light grey text on a dark grey background? If there’s a moving slider, how much text can a person read before it flips away? Running tests with Usability.com can help marketers answer these questions.

Don’t feel that you have to have every point in this equation exactly right, Gardner says, but “the more you fix, the more enjoyable it will be for people to be on your website.”

The Video Equation

With video a growing form of content online, many brands are dipping their toes into the medium. But is your video helping you convert more customers? Using data from video platform Wistia, Gardner explored some of the most effective tactics to win that conversion.

Easy mode

Hard mode

One of the main ways you can convert people watching your video into some sort of action is by using annotations – text that appears on top of your video and can link to other places. Gardner finds that using the words “click here” or even “click here now!” have a positive influence in conversion, so long as the text isn’t too big.

“You have to use a softer tone when it’s a large thing in front of you versus something that’s off in the corner,” he says.

Also, consider that people may not have their audio on, or will have their headphones resting on the table when your video starts playing. In that situation, captions or even a simple title above the video can trigger people to start listening.

A Wistia feature that prompted users to input their email to continue watching a video led to better engagement for those that conformed, Gardner says. Giving a form of social currency tends to deepen your audience’s commitment to your content.

Even still, don’t bore your audience. Once you pass that 30-second mark, you’ll notice the engagement starts to drop off. For this reason, ask if your five-minute video can actually be multiple shorter videos.

Also be careful about using autoplay video only in the appropriate situations. If you’re presenting someone a thumbnail with a play button in an email, then it makes sense to start the video when they get to the page. But if a user hasn’t directly confirmed they want a video to play, it’s rude to start it.

The size of your video player can matter too. A size of 540×400 pixels seems to be ideal, Gardner says.

The Social Proof Equation

This one isn’t as fleshed out yet, Gardner says. He tends to start his equations with spontaneous 4 a.m. whiteboarding sessions and build on them over time. The idea with this one is to help your audience visualize their life with your product or service as part of it.

Easy mode

Hard mode

“If you’re using stock photography, that often turns people off and they won’t believe what you’re saying,” Gardner warns. Better to instead use original photos created by your company, even if they’re not the most professional grade possible.

Often companies look to demonstrate social proof with customer testimonials. These are great to have, but don’t execute on them the wrong way. For example, instead of linking out to an external site that contains a testimonial, take a screen capture of that page and feature it in a light box on your own site. This avoids a break in the user experience.

Also, don’t group testimonials together in a section, but sprinkle them throughout your site and especially have them close to where you want your audience to convert. Use social proof to remove the anxiety someone might have from committing to a relationship with your company.

Incorporated into Gardner’s own social proof equation is the CRAVENS model developed by Angie Schottmuller, a growth marketing advisor and speaker. Take a look at her slides explaining the method:

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.