Alon Cohen’s Blog

(Online Marketer, Golf Player, Husband & Father)

Archive for the ‘Sales & Marketing’ Category

What would you say if I told you how to increase your conversion rates from 1 sale in 150 visitors to 1 in 100? Or bring it down from 1 in 50 to 1 sale for every 30 visitors?

Everybody wants to increase revenues and many focus on getting more traffic to their site through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC/SEM), Social Media Marketing, and more. However, there is one item that many, even seasoned, online marketers forget about — testing different versions of the same page or entirely different pages to maximize sales with your existing traffic. We all want to increase good targeted traffic to our sites. But you should also spend time making changes to your site to increase the conversion rates. Let’s assume that for one of the merchants you are promoting:

  1. One visitor in 100 that comes to your website converts into a sale
  2. Your average conversion value (commission) is $40
  3. You are getting 10,000 visitors per month and as a result earning $4,000 from that traffic

Now how would those numbers look if you were to optimize your site and thus increase your conversion rate to 1 in 70 or even 1 in 50?

Conversion Rate # of Visitors # of Conversions Earnings
1 in 100 10,000 100 $4,000
1 in 70 10,000 142 $5,680
1 in 50 10,000 200 $8,000
1 in 30 10,000 333 $13,320

With these numbers, you can see the value in putting some effort into increasing your conversion rates. So how do you increase your conversion rates? You make small and large changes to your pages and website and test to measure the differences. These can be small changes like changing the text on the Order Button from “Buy Now” to “Order” to “Checkout.” These can also be large wholesale changes like a new site deign.

Most seasoned online marketers usually have a good feel for what will and will not work, but it is always a good idea to test. Let the numbers make the decision, not your gut feeling.A/B Testing
The “simplest” test is an A/B test. This is when you test two different versions, or variations, and measure the results. While most look at sales or conversions you can also look at things like newsletter signups, pages visited, time on site, contact forms filled out, phone calls, messages posted, etc. Any actionable event by a user can be tested.

Similar to the checkout example mentioned earlier you may want to test how to get more people to the merchant site you are promoting. So you can change the hyperlink from “More Info” to “Buy Now” next to your descriptive text and see which gets you more clicks.

You can also test a new site designs by redirecting some of your visitors to a new version of the website. I’ve seen 30% and even 40%+ increases in site redesign tests like this. There are a number of ways you can do this — the two most popular are to use an inner folder or a different sub-domain for the new design. This way if your new design negatively affects conversions, it will only affect your test subjects.

Multi-Variable Testing
As the name implies, Multi-Variable Testing (sometimes called Multi-Variant Testing) is similar to A/B testing with the addition that you are testing more than two changes. I will often perform multi-variable tests in my PPC campaigns like buy youtube views and then implement the best producing combinations on the rest of my site.

A “simple” example would be changing the text on the order button and at the same time trying it in different designs:

Version Text on the Order Button Page Design
Buy Now Order Now Design A Design B Design C
1 X X
2 X X
3 X X
4 X X
5 X X
6 X X

As you can see in this test, we are testing the text on the order button combined with three different page designs.

You can really go crazy with this to get your optimal conversion rate. Last year I ran a test that had 42 different versions.

Timing
It is important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples when running these tests. Many people will run one version for a week, then another version the next week and so on. The problem is that you may have different traffic or different market forces at work.

Imagine a retailer that focuses on holiday gifts. The traffic during the first 2 weeks of December will be vastly different then the traffic during the first 2 weeks of January.

Ideally you will have a program/system that randomly sends visitors to your different versions as they enter your site in real time. Let’s say you have 2 versions and want to test it on 10% of your traffic — then your system should randomly send 90% to your regular page, 5% to version 1 and 5% to version 2.

You can build it so that these are different physical files or the same file with different variations.

You can even use ClickBank TIDs to measure the differences.

Tools
There are a number of options for setting up these tests:

Each of these has different costs and each has its advantages and disadvantages. I suggest you do some research to find out which tool gives you the functionality you need at the price that works for you.

Summary
While we are all trying to get more relevant traffic to our sites, our goal is to generate more revenue. I suggest spending a portion of your time on increasing your website’s conversion rate, putting more money in your pocket.

Alon Cohen is the general manager for several successful ClickBank products. Check out the affiliate program for one of those products at: http://www.reversephonecheck.com/affiliates/

A record of your IVA will appear on the publicly accessible IVA register, part of the general insolvency register for up to three months after it has been completed.

Note: This article was originally published in the Clickbank newsletter on October 30, 2009

Looking for a VAR Sales Manager (Boston)

We just finished the technical side of a new e-commerce related service and are looking for a reseller sales manager to come in and take the lead on the sales side of the fence.

Contact info:
Email alon [at] accucomcorp [dot] com
Phone (617) 262-9317
Fax (617) 262-9325

No recruiters please.

Within a short period of time Sears managed to lose a customer that has spent several thousand dollars with them over the years and would have continued to do so over time. All over about $200 and lack of accurate information their employees give customers over the phone.

The title may seem familiar to some of you, taken from the movie “How to lose a guy in 10 days” – http://www.howtoloseaguymovie.com/.

I’ve been a customer of Sears for quite a few years. On the bigger ticket items I will often get their extended warrantee – often the in-house option.

One example is the Craftsman Snow Blower (actually now they now called Snow Throwers) we bought about 4 years ago. In the first year it got a flat. No problem, called up Sears and their technician came out to our home and fixed it. Last year our extended warrantee expired and we chose to renew it. About a month after that the Snow Blower stopped working just as I finished clearing off my driveway. Again a call to Sears, they came out and fixed it at no charge, turned out to be a belt that needed to be replaced. Now that monster does not fit into my little Ford Focus so I would have had to rent a truck or U-Haul to bring it in to be serviced.

So far I was very happy with the service. About 2 weeks ago I thought I remembered that part of the extended warrantee included a yearly tune-up. I called Sears and they said that it was included and scheduled an appointment for the coming Friday December 12. The gentlemen on the phone gave me 2 options: 8-12 or 1-5. As I had some plans for the morning I chose the 1-5 option.

So, what’s the problem?

On Thursday (the day before the scheduled appointment) I received an automated call from Sears confirming my appointment between 8 AM and 5 PM. I called them back to specify that we scheduled 1-5, not a whole day appointment. I was informed that in my area they do not offer 4 hour windows, only whole day windows (Strike 1). As luck would have it, that Friday was the day of the big Ice Storm in New England. So the appointment got pushed off a few days until Tuesday.

Around 4:30 the technician called and came to our house. To our surprise he said that the tune-up was NOT covered in the plan we have and that we would need to pay $100 for it. He also said that we were not the first and not the last customers with the same issue. He told us that their extended warrantees had not cover tune-ups since 2000 (Strike 2). We chose not to pay the $100. As it turns out what they do in the tune-up is change the oil and check the spark-plug, both of which I was able to do my self. 

Ready for strike 3?

When we bought our home we also bought a Kenmore Dehumidifier from Sears. A bout a month ago it stopped working. I tried the usual – making sure it was plugged in, cleaning the filter and seeing if I could see anything wrong. The motor and fan were running, but it was not collecting any water. So about a week before the Snow Blower incident I called up Sears to see what warrantee options are available. From the manual I found that closed internal parts were covered by the manufacturer warrantee for 5 years.

Great, it was only 4 years. Now it looks like Kenmore is owned by Sears. When you go to their site for service they send you to Sears (http://www.kenmore.com/shc/s/nb_10154_12604_NB_CustomerCare?adCell=AH).  So I called up and the issues began.

The person on the phone told me that I had two options: to have someone come to my home or bring it to a repair center. After a few minutes of searching he said that their were no repair centers in my area and that my only option (other then driving to another state) was to have the repair done in my home. The cost to have a technician come over was about $100 or $65 if I brought it to a repair center.

I asked if that money would be refunded if it turns out the issue was under the manufacturer warrantee. To which he said no (Strike 3). Huh? Why am I paying $65 or $100 to repair something that is under warrantee? This was an item that we bought for about $160.

To anyone at Sears: Even in regular times you want to make sure that your customers are happy within reason. Even more so in these tough economic times. You need to make sure that:

1. The employees in your call centers are giving your customers accurate information (see strikes 1 & 2 above).

2. That your policies make sense and are reasonable (see strike 3 above).

Congratulations, within a short period of time you managed to lose a customer (me) that has spent several thousand dollars with you over the years and would have continued to do so over time. All over about $200 and lack of accurate information about the yahoo bad credit lenders your employees give customers over the phone.

Update:
After publishing this post I also contacted Sears to get their response. Below is part of the email they sent me a few hours later.

…We apologize for the misinformation that you have received. Just to clear the record, what you paid for was a “trip” fee. You were actually covered under the warranty…

We truly apologize for this misfortune, and hope one day you may decide to come back to us. If you do not, we are sorry for our loss. We did appreciate you as our customer, and we try everyday, when training our employees to instill in them to ask, and not just answer a question, if they are not sure. It happens in every business. Unfortunately, we lost a great customer due to something like this: Misinformation, and Miscommunication on the product warranty.

We do appreciate you.

Here you can read the last EZTrader review and please let us know your thoughts on it.

Sincerely,
Rosa…

It sounded like she just skimmed my post instead of fully reading it and did nothing to try and rectify the situation.