How To Optimize Customer Testimonials Part 2: Designing A Test

In my Part 1 post about optimizing customer testimonials, I laid out my CAPP framework for thinking about the various aspects of a testimonial and the variables you might improve on and/or test.

In this post, I want to illustrate how I would apply this framework using a multivariate test to see which optimized combination of factors would increase conversions the most. Continue reading

Shocker: Usability Guru Undervalues A/B Testing

glam shot of jakob nielson

Jakob Nielson

Usability testing guru Jakob Nielson recently published an interesting comparison between A/B Testing, Usability Testing, and Radical Innovation. Despite my somewhat sensational headline for this post, it truly is worth a read, and I have great respect for Mr. Nielson. Not only has he been making the Web less frustrating for all of us to use for a long time, he also has sweet sideburns.

The article compares three methods of “achieving better design” in terms of cost, benefit, cadence, risk, and more. Continue reading

How To Optimize Customer Testimonials Part 1: A Framework

The wonderful thing about testimonials is that they have the ability to increase conversion rates across a wide variety of applications: direct-response landing pages, B2B lead generation, eCommerce, etc.

Study after study has indicated that when we make purchase decisions, we listen to our friends and peers more than we listen to “experts.” Our social networks carry an amazing amount of authority, and testimonials tap into the authority of the crowd and give us ‘social proof‘ that our peers vouch for a product or service.

When I think about optimizing customer testimonials on client websites (which is quite often), I break my efforts down into 4 categories: Content, Authenticity, Placement, and Presentation (CAPP). The good news is that all 4 are great things to make a part of your ongoing testing efforts, either in isolation, or combined in a multivariate approach! Continue reading

The Steps of the Scientific Method (for Marketers)

photo of scientist in labThe marketing world, especially the online marketing world, has made great strides in recent years moving towards being more scientific, more data-driven, more evidence-based, etc. in its approaches.

The ability to run live experiments on  web pages (e.g. A/B/n split and Multivariate) has made being “scientific” about conversion optimization much more feasible, so hats off to those software vendors that continue to bring us those abilities.

So while we all “talk the talk” of testing our landing pages and shopping carts, I sometimes get the impression that we’d “walk the walk” even better if we had more solid backgrounds in science and especially in the Scientific Method as it pertains to experimentation.

I was guilty of not paying attention in science classes, and not focusing much on science courses in college. In fact, I think I’ve learned more about the Scientific Method in my work on Conversion Rate Optimization than I did in school!

If you could use a primer on how exactly the Scientific Method should be used to run a test on your website or other marketing touchpoints, I’m going to break down the scientific steps in very marketing-centric language. Continue reading

What Do Your Trust Tattoos Say About You?

trust logos

Image courtesy of

A past client of mine coined a wonderful phrase when he mentioned the fact that his shopping cart “had all the usual security tattoos,” referring to the seals/badges/logos seen around the Web as credibility indicators and anxiety reducers.

While I laughed at the time, I now think that there’s something to this idea that trust badges on sites are like tattoos on people. You can make some pretty safe assumptions about people’s personalities based on their body art, so maybe online shoppers are making assumptions about your site based on your security “tattoos”! Continue reading

Images Blocked Email of the Month: March 2012

This happens to me SO often, and it drives me SO crazy, that I’m just going to have to do a monthly “wall of shame” series. I give you my first installment:

images blocked email exampleEmail marketers: Assume that your emails will be viewed with images blocked. Test your emails with images blocked. Put yourself in the recipients shoes, with images blocked, and ask: What’s in it for me?

Have some more atrocious/humorous examples? Email them to me at, and maybe I’ll put them in my ongoing “wall of shame”!

LPO: Speak to The Skeptic in All of Us

I recently came across a concept that got my curiosity revved up: a hosted eCommerce solution provided by none other than Amazon. I’m always interested in learning about up-and-coming eCommerce solutions, and you have to admit that Amazon “knows a thing or two” about eCommerce!

However, this post isn’t about their service, it’s about their landing page. [In doctor’s voice: No, no. Your web service is fine. It’s about your landing page…]

Since my curiosity was engaged, I clicked on a PPC ad to learn more. The landing page (click thumbnail to enlarge) I encountered became the subject of this post because, while it did a whole mess of things “right” in terms of Landing Page Optimization, it failed to speak to the skeptic in me. Read on to learn why this particular failure is so dangerous to conversion. Continue reading

Lead Nurture Campaign Optimization: The Basics

nurturing imageLead nurturing campaigns, generally delivered via automated series of emails, have long been an important part of online marketing in the B2B space. And for good reason–they are the best way to “nurture” a lead who isn’t ready to convert/buy by delivering timely messaging, helpful content, and repeated calls to engage with your business.

However, lead nurturing campaigns are often treated as “set it and forget it” initiatives, where less-than-ideal results are accepted as status quo for months or even years.

This is a shame, because like any marketing initiative, they can be improved using approaches that are being employed in website and landing page optimization. Continue reading

Site Optimization for Mobile: Defer the Big Project

phone image "We need a mobile redesign for our site."I’ve heard similar comments from several marketers lately that concern me a bit, so I wanted to post a bit of a warning, and of course provide some alternative thoughts.

The gist of the comments was that these marketers knew that their sites weren’t yet optimized for mobile, and that they viewed that fact as a problem that could only be solved via a major project aimed at optimizing the entire site for mobile devices. Continue reading