Avoid 3 Common Technology Traps and Boost Conversions
Technology is your friend.
That's what marketers say after they employ a largely tech-driven tactic that provides some lift. Unfortunately, that's rarely the end of the story. Often, things that look simple — e.g., implementing pop-ups to capture email addresses for remarketing or enabling promo codes — can have unintended consequences. If you don't think through the usability impact or downstream conversion effect, technology-driven improvements will often cause tough-to-diagnose pains down the line.
Therefore, it's better to be prepared. When implementing one of these tactics, it's better to think through implementation pitfalls before execution, start small, and test your way in. Here are a few areas where you have to be especially careful:
1. The pop-over trap: Look, pop-ups can work. They can work really well. It's actually because they have so much potential that a lot of marketers overextend how pop-ups are supposed to be used.
The problem starts when marketers use pop-ups to get email addresses very early on, usually through a discount or featured product campaign. This is, of course, a technology play. If you have the email address associated to a visit, you can do a range of interesting things:
- ensure visitors can come back to a cart without starting over, if they get that far; and/or
- remarket to a person if he or she leaves the site without completing a transaction.
Those are both nice to have in the bag — after the visitor does some actual visiting. The problem with how this tactic is being used is that the pop-ups usually launch within two seconds of the visit. That's before the visitor has had to make sense of the navigation or scan the content to see if what he or she needs is available.
There are two key issues here. The first one is about attention to the task. When someone is considering whether your site has what they need, the last thing you want to do is get in the way and call attention to something else. The second one is segmentation and personalization. Two seconds in, you rarely have enough information to create a compelling offer.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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