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Landing Page Optimization: 3 quick recommendations from the stage at Optimization Summit 2012

June 12th, 2012
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“What is the objective of this page?” Dr. Flint McGlaughlin asked audience member Maile Keone at the Pre-Optimization Summit LPO Workshop in Denver.

“To get people to call.”

The problem is the page isn’t achieving the objective — at least not to the extent the marketers (including Maile) at VacationRoost want it to.

The page was plastered on two huge screens at the front of the room here at the Denver Marriott Tech Center with 150 marketers from around the world scrutinizing it.

 

Click to enlarge

 

So, to help Maile and her team from VacationRoost, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin offered some recommendations for ways to improve the page.

To begin, we need to ask three critical questions from the perspective of the customer, Dr. McGlaughlin noted:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. Why should I do it?

When we ask these questions, three optimization recommendations for the page come to mind.

  Read more…

Lead Capture Optimized: 201% increase in captured leads with clearer value proposition

June 11th, 2012
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

I just arrived at the Pre-Optimization Summit workshop in Denver and caught the end of Dr. Flint McGlaughlin’s Value Proposition Session.

In this Landing Page Optimization Workshop, Dr. McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, taught the live audience here at the Denver Marriott Tech Center about a simple case study drawn from the MarketingExperiments research library.

In the case study, Dr. McGlaughlin revealed how one company clarified the value proposition of a landing page for a 201% increase in captured leads.

Here are the details of that case study:

The Background:

The company in the case study was a B2B company (anonymized for its protection) selling data and mailing lists to other businesses. The goal of the page was to capture a lead.

The Control:

Here’s a screenshot of the control.

Click to enlarge

The Treatment:

Here is a screenshot of the competing treatment.

Click to enlarge

The Results:

And here are the results.

The winning treatment generated a 201% increase in captured leads by clarifying the value proposition of the page.

So, how can you, a B2B marketer, replicate the success of this case study? Throughout his presentation, Dr. McGlaughlin drew out some principles we could apply to our own pages.

PRINCIPLE #1: Frame your value proposition with customer logic

The first principle Dr. McGlaughlin mentioned is this:

“The value proposition must be framed with customer logic rather than company logic.”

The primary question we must answer to determine the value proposition of a page is in the first person: “If I am the ideal customer, why should I purchase from you rather than any of your competitors?”

By answering this question in the first person, we are able to view the message through the customer’s eyes. This is helpful because we most often view the message through our own “marketing” eyes.

PRINCIPLE #2: Determine the necessary derivative value propositions

“Customer logic demands an obvious connection between the company, its various products and its different prospects.”

While your company likely has a primary value proposition, your landing page may not be the best place for it. A landing page may have its own value proposition, while a PPC (pay-per-click) ad may have another one. All of these, however, are derived from the primary value proposition.

Dr. McGlaughlin grouped these derivative value propositions into four main categories:

  • Primary Level: the overall value proposition of a company
  • Product Level: the value proposition of an individual product
  • Prospect Level: the value proposition for an individual prospect type
  • Process Level: the value proposition for a specific step in a process

PRINCIPLE #3: Map the micro-yes pathway for each product- and prospect-level value proposition

“For every product value prop, and for every prospect value prop, there is a micro-yes pathway up the side of the inverted funnel.”

When you are determining the product- or prospect-level value proposition, you must understand that your customer must make a series of micro-yeses before you can get to the ultimate yes, which is the conversion you are after. These yeses occur on the side of an imaginary inverted funnel.

To effectively communicate the value proposition on our lead capture pages, we must be able to map every micro-yes on the inverted funnel.

PRINCIPLE #4: Use the process-level value proposition to achieve each micro-yes

“For every micro-yes pathway there are a series of process-level value props.”

The last principle Dr. McGlaughlin mentioned ties everything together. To achieve the necessary series of micro-yeses, you must use process-level value propositions at each step.

In other words, every step in the process must answer this critical question:

“If I am the ideal customer, why should I take this next step rather than end the process?”

Related Resources:

Customer Value: The 4 essential levels of value propositions

How to Test Your Value Proposition Using a PPC Ad

Conversion Rate Optimization: Building to the Ultimate Yes

Landing Page Optimization: Value-focused revamp leads to 188% lead gen boost, increase in personal interaction

B2B Social Marketing: 4 ways to build one-to-one relationships with social influencers

May 4th, 2012
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According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, the most effective social marketing tactic you can implement is to build one-to-one relationships with social influencers.

 

Click to enlarge

 

What I found to be truly interesting about this chart is the third most effective tactic: posting content on company branded/managed blogs. In other words, the time I’m using to write this blog post would actually be better spent building one-to-one relationships with social influencers in our space.

Of course, because we believe so much in delivering true value to our readers, I’m sticking this one out.

But the chart does leave us asking a question:If building one-to-one relationships with social influencers is so important to a social marketing strategy, how do we do it?

  Read more…

New Marketing Research: 3 profitable traffic sources most marketers are ignoring

June 2nd, 2011
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If you’ve been reading this blog for just about any amount of time, you already know that landing page optimization is an effective way to increase the ROI of your website traffic.

But when most people think of landing pages, they think of pages tied to certain traffic sources. The most popular of those sources are generally PPC ads and email messaging.
But there are a few other opportunities to capitalize on your traffic with landing pages. Take a look at this marketing research chart from Boris Grinkot’s 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report:
dedicated landing pages chart

According to the chart, most marketers aren’t optimizing traffic from:

  1. Social media sites
  2. Referring sites
  3. Organic search

Now right off the bat, you might be thinking that the reason those traffic sources aren’t capitalized on has to do with the fact that most websites aren’t getting traffic from those sources.

However, this data only factors in marketers who have traffic from these sources.

So for example, of the E-Commerce sites that are currently receiving organic search traffic, only 31% of them are capitalizing on it with dedicated landing pages.

The fact that some marketers are dedicating landing pages to these particular sources of traffic is a good indicator that they are working to convert that traffic, but that most marketers are simply missing out.

This one chart signals that there is a tremendous opportunity to get ahead of your competition and start capitalizing on more of your traffic.

Get 41 more charts like this one…FREE

This is simply one insight from one chart in the Benchmark Report. If you really wanted to, I’m sure you could get a lot more out of this chart. You’re only limited by your own business intelligence.

For the next few days, the entire chapter from the Benchmark Report this chart is in can be downloaded for free thanks to a generous sponsorship from HubSpot. All you need to do to get your 41 free charts including Boris’ insightful analysis is click the link below, fill out the form on the landing page, and download the chapter.

Get your free chapter now…

Marketing Optimization: 4 steps to discovering your value proposition and boosting conversions

May 20th, 2011
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Confession time…one of my favorite movies is the Will Ferrell classic, Elf. I love the scene where Buddy (the elf) sees a sign outside of a coffee shop announcing that it has “The World’s Best Cup of Coffee.”

It’s quite a value proposition and thanks to Buddy’s innocence (or ignorance) he barges into the shop and congratulates the entire staff for a job well done. The reason it’s so funny is because we know better. Even the staff at the coffee shop knows better.  To believe such a claim is ridiculous.

Yet many companies still have trouble avoiding such preposterous value propositions in their marketing.

According to a recent incentivized survey done by MarketingExperiments (MarketingSherpa’s sister company), 120 out of the 275 (30%) total business plans we reviewed had no real value proposition. Another 60% were categorized as having only limited or substantial value. Only 10% were considered to have a strong, unique value proposition.

In all, on our scale of zero to five, 90% of those surveyed were at or under a two.

It’s an unnerving statistic given that a well-stated value proposition has (according to our research) been proven to get better response rates on everything from business plans to landing pages.

So how do we craft a value prop that isn’t going to induce a side-splitting laugh in your audience?

Well, I have yet another confession to make…

I’m probably not the right person to ask. I honestly don’t have a lot of background with value proposition. But I DID recently attend a workshop on Landing Page Optimization with the Managing Director (CEO) of MECLABS, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin.

In it, he devoted a whole section to getting your value proposition straight. So I’m going to share what I learned there and share a little of my own commentary as well.

A true value prop isn’t dictated in a board room

According to Flint, the basic key to determining a strong value proposition for your company is understanding that a value prop is not usually determined, it is discovered.

It’s a simple shift in thinking that makes a huge difference. Sitting at your desk and trying to manufacture a shiny new value proposition that you think will sound good is usually pretty fruitless.

Prepare yourself for some hard thinking and investigation into the bowels of your company, as we explore four steps to discovering your value proposition…

1. Answer the question: If I am your ideal customer, why buy from you rather than your competitors?
Assuming it was true, “The World’s Best Cup of Coffee” could be an excellent value proposition. The ideal customer in this case is your typical Manhattan coffee drinker and the reason they should buy coffee there is obvious – it’s the best in the world.

The problem is, it’s not true. The modern consumer simply does not believe your overindulgent hype. So the ideal customer is put off and ends up without a reason to buy coffee there instead of the better-looking shop across the street.

Admittedly, this is an extreme example. Yet marketers make this mistake every day. You likely come across this marketing jargon-filled hype every day. Does a two-person B2B tech start-up really offer a scalable solution for Fortune 500 companies, for example? Just because you say it in your marketing material doesn’t make it true. And your savvy audience is well aware of this fact.

When you’re answering this question for your own value prop, it’s important to note here that you are putting yourself into your customer’s mind by answering as if you were them. So spit out the Kool-Aid and be a little skeptical.

2. Compare your answer with the claims of your main competitors.

Of course we all know that just about anywhere you go, there’s a coffee shop claiming to have the world’s best cup of coffee. Again, that’s part of the comedy of this scene.

If any of your competitors can say the same thing about their products or business as you without completely lying, you don’t have a strong value proposition.

While your mother probably told you how special you were, a unique snowflake unlike all the other kindergarteners in the world, the same can’t automatically be said about your product offering and company. Is it really unique? Or do people only buy from you on a lark or because they haven’t stumbled across your competitors yet?

3. Refine your value proposition until you can articulate it in a single, instantly credible sentence.

The problem with the coffee shop’s value proposition was that it wasn’t instantly credible. No one believes their coffee is the best coffee in the world because there’s no way to prove that.

Your value proposition must be instantly believable. A great way to do this is to add numbers to your value proposition. If that coffee shop had said something along the lines of, “9 out of 10 people preferred our coffee to Starbucks”…you’d be more likely to believe it.

Another strategy is to be as specific as possible. Let’s say you’re not quite there yet with the imaginary value proposition above. What if it said, “9 out of 10 people preferred our coffee to Starbucks in a double-blind taste test?”

The double-blind taste test adds a dimension of specificity that increases the credibility of the sentence.

4. In the end, you must test your value proposition.

No matter what you do to come up with a value proposition, there’s no way to guess what resonates the best with your audience. You need to test it.

Your value prop should be visible in every step of your sales process. Wherever you display it, test different phrasing, angles, and ideas to get deeper inside the mind of your customers.

The better you know what they find valuable, the better you can serve them.

The next stop of the MarketingExperiments Landing Page Optimization Workshop tour is on June 1 in Atlanta. It will also be taught by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin. Then our MECLABS team will take the workshop on the road to New York, San Francisco…and more cities to be announced.

Related Resources

B2B Marketing: On Occam’s razor and value propositions

Optimizing Landing Pages: 3 Keys to Increasing Conversion Rates

Powerful Value Propositions

Value Proposition: Our research team answers your questions