Conversion Optimization: The MarketingExperiments year in review


In last year’s wrap-up on the MarketingExperiments blog, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, and Paul Cheney, Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, shared the most-tweeted articles from 2011.

This year, Daniel and Paul have been gracious enough to hand me the reigns for our year-end review, and I decided to do something a little different …

Today’s MarketingExperiments blog post is crammed full of the posts and Web clinics you found most helpful over the last year.

And if that isn’t enough, we’re sprinkling in a few extra posts that some of the MarketingExperiments contributors selected as recommended reads in case you missed them.

Our goal for putting this massive amount of content into one location is that it will hopefully serve you as a quick reference guide that aids your testing and optimization efforts in the year ahead.


Ad optimization and maximizing conversion

Blandvertising: How you can overcome writing headlines and copy that don’t say anything

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: Blandvertising is a wishy-washy marketing claim, wanting to mean something but just doesn’t mean anything. If you’re paying for the opportunity to say something, then actually say something. See what we have found works through testing.

Rapidly Maximizing Conversion: How one company quickly achieved a 58.1% lift with a radical redesign

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: There are many guides to A/B split testing on the Internet. And most are adamant about making sure you test one thing at a time.

In this free Web clinic replay, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, taught the methodology behind the radical redesign to help you achieve a greater ROI in less time.


E-commerce and PPC conversions

Landing Page Mistakes: E-commerce sites treating new and returning visitors the same

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: The landing page is the hub of most modern marketing departments, and LPO can deliver impressive ROI. So learn the most common landing page mistakes our marketing optimization researchers encounter on e-commerce sites, to help you increase conversion and improve your marketing performance.

Online Advertising Forensics: We investigate how and why a text-based PPC ad produced 47% more conversions

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition (free excerpt at that link), 56% of marketers claim achieving or increasing measurable ROI is their most frustrating challenge when it comes to paid search.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint reviews a recent experiment where a few changes to the PPC ad copy resulted in a 47% increase in end conversions.


Average conversion rates, and common errors to avoid with headlines and calls-to-action   

Marketing Research: Average conversion rates

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: We’re often asked, “What is the average conversion rate?” This blog post will look at some average conversion rates, but first we’ll explain why many variables should cause you to use this data with caution.

Minor Changes, Major Lifts: How headline and call-to-action optimization increased conversion 45%

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: One of the best ways to get around IT and budget challenges is to optimize areas on your website that are relatively simple to change yet have the opportunity to make a significant impact on conversion.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint teaches the two most impactful elements to test on your page, as well as five common errors to avoid with headlines and call-to-action.

  • Recommended reading from our contributors

Content Marketing: Are users more likely to convert with only one article featured or multiple articles? by Daniel Burstein

“This post illustrates how one company achieved a strong result. And, hopefully, it inspires other marketers to test landing page elements on their visitors to find out what resonates with that target audience.” – David Kirkpatrick, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa


Transparent marketing and predicting customer behavior

Transparent Marketing: How to make your product claims credible … not incredible

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: Adam Lapp, Associate Director of Optimization, MECLABS, summed up the challenge most marketers face in making product claims credible, not incredible. Even if your product is amazing, you will need reliable sources and proof that it works. Here are five tips for increasing credibility in your marketing messages.

What Your Customers Want: How to predict customer behavior for maximum ROI

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: In this Web clinic replay, Flint McGlaughlin taught attendees how to get the maximum amount of customer insight from A/B split tests.


Writing and testing subject lines

Email Marketing: Tips from your peers about writing subject lines

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: How can marketers and copywriters create subject lines that improve clickthrough rate? Your peers have shared some insights on what they have learned about writing effective subject lines.

Subject Lines Tested: How to write subject lines that double your clickthrough rate

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: We’ve seen repeatedly in our research that subject lines can have a disproportionately large impact on email opens and (more importantly) clickthrough.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint analyzes the winning subject lines from a recent experiment, and explores what made them work so well. He also teaches how you can apply those principles to your own subject lines.


Call-to-action errors and copywriting optimization

5 Common Call-to-action Errors

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: The call-to-action is one of the most critical parts of your message. Learn five common call-to-action errors marketers make and how you can avoid them.

Copywriting on Tight Deadlines: How ordinary marketers are achieving 103% gains with a step-by-step framework

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: Most marketers are concerned that if they don’t use the magic sales words needed to hypnotize their readers, no one will ever take action. However, all you really need is a framework for writing copy that is good enough to get the job done.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint outlines a storyline-style framework that you can leverage to get the copywriting part of your job completed quickly and effectively.

  • Recommended reading from our contributors

What Eyebrows and Websites Have in Common

by Adam Lapp

“Hideous photos of celebrities and coworkers aside, I’ve long been a proponent of ‘the details.’ This post perfectly illustrates how these often overlooked ‘minor’ details frequently hold the key to a page’s success, both in delivering messages and leading to conversion. While there is much to be said for the dramatic impact of a radical redesign, it’s also important to note that even the smallest of changes can make the difference between a user clicking a CTA, or that nasty red ‘X’ in the top corner of the screen.” – Brad Bortone, Senior Copy Editor, MECLABS


Homepage optimization and Web analytics

Homepage Optimization: 5 questions every marketing team should ask themselves

by John Tackett

Excerpt: Homepage optimization is not a destination – it’s a continuing process. Here are five questions every marketer should be asking about their homepages’ optimization efforts.

Five Steps to Better Metrics: How one marketer leveraged Web analytics for an annual revenue increase of $500,000

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: Web analytics can yield an intimidating mound of data — much more than marketers can interpret and use.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint reveals the results of an experiment that shows how one marketer effectively leveraged Web analytics to increase annual revenue by $500,000.  Also, learn five steps you can use to turn your data into powerful customer insights.


Call-action-optimization and reducing customer anxiety

Optimizing Calls-to-action: 4 questions to ask yourself while writing a CTA

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: The call-to-action on a landing page is the pinnacle of your copywriting efforts, yet marketers often struggle with crafting the right “ask.” Read on to learn four questions every marketer should consider when optimizing their CTAs.

263% Higher Conversion Rate: How reducing anxiety helped one company improve conversion rate three-fold

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: Anxiety is causing your website to leak revenue. And, until you can plug those leaks, any amount of traffic you drive there will have a negligible ROI.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint shows how one organization saw a 263% increase in conversions by using the transferrable principles behind correcting anxiety that are featured in this clinic.


Complex sale landing pages and research in action

Infographic: Landing pages for the complex sale

by David Kirkpatrick

Excerpt: Landing page optimization is a continual process of test planning and design, testing, reviewing of results and, of course, the next cycle of tests. But how do you plan and design for sales that are becoming increasingly complex throughout the marketplace?

Read further to learn some key takeaways and insights from one of your peers as he shares his thoughts on landing optimization for the complex sale that you can use to aid your testing efforts.

See the Research in Action: Dr. McGlaughlin personally optimizes your landing pages

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: Generating more revenue from your pages and paths takes more than learning optimization theory. It requires you to apply that theory to your own particular situation.

In this Web clinic replay, Flint and the MECLABS research team provide live optimization of audience-submitted landing pages from a variety of industries and customer types to show you how to bridge the gap from theory to practice.

  • Recommended reading from our contributors

A/B Testing: Working with a very small sample size is difficult, but not impossible

by Lauren Maki

“In our [Web] clinics, we work with a broader audience, so this blog post was great because it was able to get much more granular on the topic of testing.” – Paul Cheney, Editorial Analyst, MECLABS


Email optimization and effective content marketing

Email Optimization: 72% of marketers test subject lines

by Daniel Burstein

Excerpt: For the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we asked 2,735 marketers which email marketing elements they test most often. Find out which elements ranked the highest among our respondents, and also learn some insights from your peers on subject line and target audience testing.

5 Steps to Effective Content Marketing: How to extract the maximum revenue from your content

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: Content marketing is one of the five most-used lead generation tactics, with 54% of surveyed marketers engaging in it, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link).

In this Web clinic replay, Ninan Chacko, CEO, PR Newswire joins Flint as they discuss some of our recent research discoveries in content marketing.

Flint also reveals how one organization created a highly cost-effective lead generation campaign that garnered a 90% decrease in costs-per-lead, along with a 197% increase in lead rate for returning visitors.


A/B testing and optimizing shopping cart pages

A/B Testing: Learn about testing hypotheses from a 200% increase in chocolate consumption

by Jon Powell

Excerpt: Creating customer theory can be as simple as figuring out what candy your people like (without asking them). Read on learn about testing hypotheses and developing a customer theory through a chocolate consumption test.

Optimizing Shopping Carts for the Holidays: 6 last-minute changes you can make to your shopping carts to increase conversion

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: Shopping cart pages are often the most overlooked optimization opportunities that can potentially add some serious ROI to your bottom line. In this Web clinic, Austin McCraw, Senior Editorial Analyst, MECLABS, and Jon Powell, Senior Research Manager, Research and Strategy, MECLABS, share research discoveries from real-world shopping cart experiments that explore the relationship between shopping cart optimization and ROI.


Mistakes designers make with color and the most intriguing discoveries of 2012

Website Optimization: 5 mistakes marketers and designers make with color

by John Tackett

Excerpt: Webpage designers often overlook the element of color and the role it plays in a site’s performance. Read on to learn more about the five common mistakes designers make with color, as presented in one of our recent Web clinics.

The 5 Most Startling Marketing Discoveries from 2012

MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay

Excerpt: How can busy marketers effectively optimize their budgets in order to pursue the greatest potential ROI in the New Year?

In our final Web clinic of 2012, Flint reviewed the five most startling research discoveries from MECLABS this year. Flint also teaches marketers how they can apply our top discoveries of the year to their upcoming marketing campaigns.


  • Recommended reading from our contributors

Value Proposition: Why do customers act?

by Daniel Burstein

“I think this post is core to why we write the MarketingExperiments blog to begin with. We’re trying to help marketers determine why their customers act, why they buy certain products and services and not others, and how to try to learn the information they need about their customers to serve them better and, ultimately, act on offers for products and services that provide value to both companies and the customers they serve.” – Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS


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