Planning a website update on a white board.

A Complete Guide to Improve Ecommerce CRO

Planning a website update on a white board.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use! 

Despite the importance of eCommerce conversion rate optimization, in our experience, the tactic can get overlooked. Simply put, eCommerce CRO is a tactic that can make tremendous improvements to your bottom line, without acquiring additional traffic than what you’re bringing in today. An improvement in eCommerce CRO from 1.5% to 2% could lead to a 33% increase in sales – all without adding additional traffic.  

When you sell services, products, or platforms online one of the most important metrics is your eCommerce conversion rate. It tells you what percentage of your site visitors are converting to customers. 

As an eCommerce growth agency, when we onboard a new partner, eCommerce conversion rate is one of the first tactics we want to tackle head-on when working with a new partner. 

Whether you’re a subscription-based business converting Free Trial Users to Paid Subscribers, a brand selling your product online, or a SaaS platform looking to grow – we undoubtedly will look at your eCommerce conversion rate

The reason: you don’t need to increase your ad spend to convert more. You just need to know how to optimize your conversion rate. 

At Tuff, a tactic called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is at the heart of everything we do. From constantly testing paid ad campaigns across the internet to figuring out why more leads aren’t turning into customers, CRO is at the forefront of our learning and results.

What is eCommerce CRO? 

Ecommerce CRO is the process of making continual changes to your ecommerce website to improve the rate of users visited to the number of purchasers (ecommerce conversion rate). The easiest way to track ecommerce conversion rate is to divide the number of purchasers by the number of total site visitors. 

The simple formula of (purchasers) / (site visitors) = ecommerce conversion rate is the north star for all ecommerce CRO efforts. 

Whether it’s making stylistic changes to your product pages to cut down scroll rate, adding an exit intent pop-up to convince users to make a purchase, or improving the visibility of reviews on your site to influence potential customers into making a purchase, ecommerce CRO is an ongoing process with the intent of making continual improvements.

eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization

For eCommerce businesses we typically look at the eCommerce Conversion Rate to tell us how traffic is interacting and converting through the eCommerce sales funnel.  

When our eCommerce clients at Tuff ask us how they can grow their online business without increasing their budget, we usually take a deep dive into what’s driving their eCommerce conversion rate

For starters, take a look at the table below showing how much you can increase revenue when the only metric that is increased is eCommerce Conversion Rate.

Full Month Target
Visitors 36,681 36,681
eCommerce CVR
0.19%
0.5%
Transactions 95 200
Average Order Value $1,143.96 $1,143.96
Revenue $108,676.05 $228,792

In the above example, our client can increase revenue by 110% by simply optimizing their conversion rate from 0.19% to 0.5% (a 163% increase). 

That’s a $120,115.95 revenue increase from pure optimization – no additional resources or ad spend needed!

How to Tackle Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization with 72 Hour Sprints 

A computer measuring ecommerce conversion rate.

To increase your conversion rate you will need to learn what factors contribute to your existing CVR.  

At Tuff, an analysis we might use to learn more about your current CVR is to find out what percentage of your website visitors are getting to your checkout conversion funnel, which traditionally has three stages:

  1. Added to Cart
  2. Initiated Checkout 
  3. Purchased

By analyzing your checkout funnel, we can use our analysis to make a series of hypotheses about what is preventing a higher conversion rate – we then use those hypotheses as frameworks for our tests. Maybe there are frictions in your checkout process that stops visitors from purchasing or maybe it can be increased with a different type of product or service page or completely different user journey. 

Let’s pretend this is your checkout funnel for a month’s worth of visitors.

Visitors % of Total Visitors
Added To Cart 544 2.25%
Initiated Checkout 492 2.03%
Purchased 409 1.69%

Based on this data, we know that a low percentage of total website traffic ends up adding a product to their cart, which will effectively produce a low number of conversions. 

In addition, the amount of visitors decreases by 10% between Added To Cart and Initiated Checkout stages in the funnel. Between Initiated Checkout and Purchase, the decrease is 20%. 

Therefore, hypothetically a solution for us to increase the conversion rate with the above metrics is to increase the initiated checkout percentage.  

Now that we have our hypothesis, we must find a way to test it. 

Developing a Test 

 

Our hypothesis is – if we increase the number of visitors adding to cart then we will increase the conversion rate. 

A simple way to find out if this is true is to run a test that gets more people adding to cart by providing users with a discount code in exchange for information that is valuable to you. 

For many eCommerce websites, a piece of information that is extremely valuable is an email address. 

To find out if our hypothesis is correct, a lean and easy to implement 72 hour CRO Sprint test would be to ask for an email address (or other desired action) in exchange for an offer code. 

This type of test’s results are easy to track because you can see how often the promo code is used through your eCommerce platform. Removing this test is also easy should you find that it’s not working or is causing more problems than it’s solving in your customer checkout funnel.

Implement The Test

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

To implement, the test needs to contain a time-sensitive offer, which will increase the likelihood that the offer is used at a faster pace than one that is not time-sensitive. 

Here are two examples of time-sensitive offers:

  • 15% off your purchase when you order in the next 10 minutes. 
  • Limited Time Offer: Free 2 Day Shipping Today

Create the pop-up through your email service provider (ESP) so that it is triggered when a visitor has been on a specific product page for more than 50% of the average page session duration.

If your average product page session duration is 30 seconds then the offer should open at 15 seconds. 

Do not set it to trigger when someone lands on the homepage. You want the visitor to be more qualified than a unique visitor. 

The offer should contain an email signup field and clear copy that compels the potential customer to use the offer within a specific amount of time. 

Best Practices

Be advised that a best practice for this is to provide the promo code to the customer on the form after they provide their email address and click submit. You can provide it in a separate email as well, but you want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to get the code and continue on their customer journey. 

Once you have the test launched, then set it to run live for 72 hours, but don’t just forget about it. 

Monitoring

Data to measure your ecommerce conversion rate.

You’ll need to closely monitor it. You must make sure that the test is either perpetuating your average conversion rate or increasing it. If it decreases your conversion rate then you will want to abandon the test and return the variables back to their original flow. 

Once your split test is complete then you can take your learnings and create a new test to run. Remember, you only want to run one test at a time or else you risk changing too many variables at a time and not being able to point to what works. Realistically, you don’t want to run more than 2 tests per week. 

Ecommerce CRO Test Examples

Here is a list of 7 more ecommerce CRO tests you can do to increase the percentage of visitors converting to customers:

Landing or Product Page Offer

If you’re using Shopify, an easy way to test pricing as to how it affects ecommerce conversion rate is to add a “compare at” price field and show that the product is “on-sale”, even if it truly isn’t. Doing this periodically will help you guage your pricing and how your audience responds to deals. 

Navigation Header Menu Organization 

Test changes in your navigation by prioritizing your top selling products and categories. Or, alternatively, push seasonal products by prioritizing them in the navigation structure as well. 

Homepage copy change

Using Google Optimize, you can test updated homepage content to see which copy variations speaks best to your target audience. Test, analyze, rinse, repeat. 

Homepage creative change 

Like a homepage copy change, you can test updated creative assets (images, featured products, etc.) to see what imagery works best for your site visitors. Is it product photos? Is it use-case photos? Does your audience want to see reviews above the fold? Test it! 

Increase Site Speed 

Site speed is directly correlated to conversion rate. If you have beautiful product photos on your site, make sure they are sized properly. A good CRO strategy will make sure the technical elements to the site are in good-standing. 

Exit Intent Offer Popup 

One quick test to implement for your ecommerce CRO efforts is to put an exit intent popup on your site with an offer to persuade users who may be on the fence. Even a small discount such as 10% off has been shown to improve ecommerce CVR. 

Referral Widget  

Have an engaged customer base on your site? Encourage them to share the good word! Many programs such as a “Give 10%, get 10%” encourages existing customers to share referral links to friends and family so they get a reward as well.

Ecommerce CRO can lead to big wins

If you’re curious to learn more about our ecommerce CRO process, or want to chat about your CRO potential, let’s talk!

User browsing an athletic website

Capitalizing On Your Branded Search Terms: How To Find The Right Mix Of Branded And Competitor Bidding

User browsing an athletic website

Though it’s highly unlikely you’re reading this blog post on a growth marketing agency’s website without being at least somewhat familiar with the term “Branded Search,” it’s important to properly define before diving into how to properly leverage your brand name in Paid Search campaigns.

Branded Search refers to bidding on any keywords that relate directly to the brand being advertised; for example, if you search a prominent brand, you’ll likely to see a paid search (and potentially shopping) ad atop the SERP, especially if the brand practices e-commerce:

SERP for Apple

There are many reasons a company would bid on branded terms, with the primary being to capitalize on existing brand awareness to increase website traffic, with the goal of increasing revenue, conversions, etc. Today, we’ll dig into some of the reasons why leveraging branded search is more essential than “just capturing traffic” or lowering account cost per conversion metrics as a simple way to improve PPC results

Branded Search: A Deep Dive

Let’s do a quick thought exercise on how people make purchasing decisions.

Let’s say you’re a marketer at Apple, and a user has been contemplating buying an Apple MacBook Pro for a few months and finally has decided to make a purchase. 

Or maybe, you’re a PPC manager at Robinhood and an avid investor saw some a TV commercial or news headlines involving Robinhood.

Perhaps an avid runner saw an Allbirds ad on Instagram or TikTok, and it’s your job as a marketing manager to get them to convert.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that each of these hypothetical users might go to their trusty search engine and search a branded search term. A user would hop over to Google and search: “Apple” or “Allbirds”, and suddenly, their search engine result page is full of options.

For each advertiser, the ideal outcome would be:

  • Apple: online MacBook Pro purchase
  • Robinhood: new account creation
  • Allbirds: online shoe purchase

Many would make the argument that simply ranking #1 organically for your branded terms ensures a sale. But that’s not always the case.

A branded paid search ad gives advertisers more options for driving conversion-focused traffic, both with extensions, landing page destinations, and more.

A Good Alternative to Organic

You may be thinking to yourself:

“But what if our organic branded terms are healthy and driving great results?”

Even brands or advertisers with strong brand awareness and prominent organic presences can stand to benefit from bidding on branded search terms.  In many cases, branded paid search campaigns outperform organic search performance from a conversion rate standpoint.

For one of Tuff’s partners seeking to drive signups for a online gift-giving platform, we saw branded paid search convert at a 65% higher rate than organic search branded queries between January – April 2022.

Another one of Tuff’s partners, an eCommerce company, branded paid search campaigns converted at a 363% higher rate than organic search branded queries while driving a higher average order amount during the same period.

Running branded paid ads allows you to control the landing page URL and experience more than a homepage result, which could be serving multiple purposes and may not be as optimized for conversions as a landing page would be.

Branded Search vs. Non-Branded Search Campaigns

Branded search campaigns typically drive higher ROAS than non-branded campaigns (due to typically having higher conversion rates and lower CPCs*). In addition, they can offer extremely valuable insights in terms of period-over-period trends in branded search volume (a good indicator of brand health and demand) as well as who you’re competing with via the Auction Insights.

*Lower CPCs are usually awarded when advertising one’s own brand and the reason for that stems from the way Google and other search engines judge an advertisement, using Quality Score.  Quality Score is calculated based on the combined performance of 3 components:

  • Expected clickthrough rate (CTR): The likelihood that your ad will be clicked when shown.
  • Ad relevance: How closely your ad matches the intent behind a user’s search.
  • Landing page experience: How relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad.

Using one of our examples from before, someone searching “Apple” is extremely likely to click an ad bidding on that keyword (CTR) with the word “Apple” in the ad copy (relevance) and sending traffic to apple.com (landing page experience); because of this, they were awarded the top result and likely paid a nominal CPC. 

Generally speaking (and assuming your keywords and negative keywords are in good shape**) maximizing Impression Share (Share of Voice) in branded search campaigns makes sense. An 80% branded search Share of Voice (SOV) means that for every 100 times a user searches one of your branded keywords, you are showing up 80 times. This may not be achievable given your budget, competition, or bidding strategy. 

**Apple may want to add negative keywords such as fresh, fuji, career, internship, etc. since the search terms that trigger those keywords would likely not be as relevant, likely to be clicked, and likely to lead to a conversion. Robinhood may want to add the negative keywords such as lawsuit, king richard, fairytale, story, etc. for the same reasons.

Assuming there isn’t a specific reason prohibiting us from doing so, we typically aim for 80-90+% SOV for branded search campaigns, depending on performance vs non-branded search campaigns and other campaign types as well.  This should serve both conversion/revenue goals while also remaining prominent when your brand is searched, regardless of specific user intent.

Gathering Auction and Competitor Insights

What if you aren’t able to capture a majority of your branded search SOV?  Google and other search engines offer the ability to view campaign, ad group, and even keyword level auction insights, allowing you to delve into the data and see who is potentially bidding on your branded keyword. 

Using our previous examples, perhaps another trading platform, such as Webull, is bidding on Robinhood keywords; this would result in direct competition with Robinhood and likely a decrease in Robinhood’s branded search SOV.  In this hypothetical scenario, it would be safe to assume Webull sees value in bidding on Robinhood keywords to increase visibility, web traffic, and/or conversions and revenue.  Google Trends would assist in reinforcing this thought, as Robinhood has substantially more search volume:

Webull vs. Robinhood Search Volume

Using Branded Search to Test Bidding Strategies

Though we mentioned Share of Voice as a barometer when evaluating branded campaign’s performance, it’s not a given that these campaigns should automatically use the “target impression share” bidding strategy.  This bidding strategy will prioritize impressions (or searches shown up for) instead of clicks, conversions, or conversion value.

Speaking from experience, we’ve tested almost every bidding strategy on branded search campaigns, ranging from manual cpc to Target CPA; there are pros and cons to each and they can vary depending on industry, budget, and goals.

If visibility is, in fact, the primary goal, then target impression share makes perfect sense.  But what if your goal is something else?  

Chances are that Google has an automated bidding strategy for that. Take for example: 

  • Maximize clicks: this bidding strategy will optimize to drive the highest number of clicks possible based on the set average daily budget
  • Maximize conversions: this bidding strategy will optimize to drive the highest number of conversions possible based on the set daily budget
  • Max conversion value: whether you have ecommerce conversion tracking or want to assign dollar values to specific conversions, this bidding strategy will optimize to maximize the overall value of conversions in favor of number of conversions
  • Max conversions (target CPA): the bidding strategy is ideal when an advertiser has a lot of data and a good idea of what their target cost-per-acquisition is

Using Google Ads’ experiment function, it’s very simple to set up a schedule or ongoing experiment to judge how these bidding strategies perform against each other, but that’s a topic for another day.

Branded Search: More than Just a “Set it and Forget it”

Whether you’re advertising for a Fortune 500 company that’s been around for over 100 years or a scaleup trying to gain traction and scale growth, branded paid search serves many different purposes and should be a part of almost every digital marketing strategy.

Want to learn more about how we use branded search for our partners? Let’s talk!

How These Three Companies Use TikTok for B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing Proposal

Is your B2B brand on TikTok? If the answer is no, you might’ve read that question and thought “No, our target audience is not using TikTok so why would we be”, or,  “Isn’t TikTok mainly used by Gen-zs or Millennials”. If any of these thoughts crossed your mind, keep reading, because it may surprise you how Tuff partners use TikTok for B2B marketing.

Oftentimes, when we’re working with B2B brands, they think the best social ads channel for their business is either LinkedIn or Facebook. Historically, yes, these have been two of the top-performing social channels for B2B advertising, but the times are changing and the way B2B brands are advertising on social media is too. Within the past year, TikTok ads have become a large portion of Tuff partners’ paid social budgets across all different types of industries, and many of our B2B partners are now joining in on the buzz. 

It’s not just Gen-z on TikTok

Did you know that only half of the users on TikTok are below the age of 30? According to Statista’s 2022 TikTok demographic stats, 41% of all TikTok users are between the ages of 30-49 and 11% of users are 50+.  

TikTok percentages for age demographics

TikTok has become a popular platform where people go to unwind for the day or get a laugh during their lunch break which makes it the perfect place to connect with your audience in a creative way. 

Think about it, how often do you log into LinkedIn on the weekends or when you’re unplugged from work? 

TikTok is a different experience. A lot of our B2B partners at Tuff are discovering that TikTok is where their audience is spending a majority of their free time when they’re not working, often times even more than Facebook. 

How we approach B2B TikTok campaigns at Tuff

As a growth marketing agency, before we launch ads on any new channel for our partners, the first thing we’ll do is a channel deep dive on the audience targeting options to make sure we’re able to reach their audience on that platform. 

On TikTok, you can target users by location, gender, age, languages, interests (including industry interests like ecomm, education, financial services, etc.), video interactions, creator interactions and hashtag interactions. 

Once we’ve built out the target audiences, we’ll look into how we can reach these users and convert them into a lead and/or customer. There are two approaches to lead generation through TikTok ads. 

  1. Option one: You can set up a campaign using TikTok’s native lead gen objective which will populate a form within the platform with custom fields for the user to fill out once they click on the ad 
  2. Option two: You can set up a conversion campaign and send the user to your website and optimize for users to submit a lead gen form on your site. 

Once we launch campaigns, we’ll monitor the lead quality to see how the MQLs and SQLs compare to the more traditional B2B social ads channels like Facebook and Instagram. 

How Teachable is using TikTok to acquire new leads

We recently launched a TikTok campaign for our partner Teachable –– a platform that allows individual creators with an array of skills and talents to create courses and sell them so that they can teach others to do what they do. So naturally, we wanted to go after an audience that aligned with Teachable’s product––people that are likely to have hobbies and talents that they’d want to teach courses on.  So we brainstormed different interests and hobbies that we see courses being created from across the web, and we matched those up to interests available in TikTok. After some hashtag research to find effective hashtags, we combined them all into one Interest and Hashtag campaign. 

After we settled on the audience, we researched which TikTok optimization event would help us best accomplish our goal. Looking at the standard events for TikTok we saw quite a few options that could help us target people at different stages of the user funnel, but ultimately our goal was to get users to sign up for a free trial though, so we settled on complete registration, which tracks when users create an account on the Teachable website. 

Even though this campaign was going to be for a B2B audience, we didn’t want the creative to be too corporate-y and abandon the fun nature of TikTok videos. We recognized that TikTok as a platform responds well to ads that look and feel native, and we know that even though we’re targeitng a B2B audience, it’s still people on the other end. So we just needed creative that would appeal to actual people who would want to use Teachable to sell courses.

The result was an array of creative options that ranged from motion graphics to UGC. After running them for a week, we quickly saw that we had made the right decision. Our CAC numbers outperformed Facebook, and our CTR was incredible. We had two separate campaigns and our contest campaign outperformed our evergreen campaign by a pretty significant margin–– likely because it leveraged better offers and incentives than the evergreen campaign did.

 

Channel CAC  CTR
TikTok $21.63 1.45%
Facebook $37.19 .58%

 

Now that we know TikTok ads work for our B2B partner Teachable, we’ve continued to experiment with new creative and audience targeting, but one thing is salient for us: Treat the people on TikTok like real people. Address their concerns, show them the benefits, grab their attention, and they’ll convert just like a B2C user would. It just might take a bit longer.

How Thnks is using TikTok to acquire new leads

For our partners Thnks we knew it wasn’t going to go be as easy to jump right in and drive quality conversions. Due to this, we took a two-pronged approach to work our way into a conversion-based campaign getting potential customers to sign up for a demo using TikTok for B2B marketing. 

Our first phase was prospecting to find out exactly what audiences and creative resonated best with potential customers. For this campaign we used the Traffic objective optimization toward a view content event that fires every time someone lands on the TikTok specific landing page. 

Replicating where we have seen success on other social platforms we structured our campaign to target three main interest based audiences:

Business Growth:

Targeting options for Business Growth

Sales:

Targeting for Sales

HR:

HR Targeting options on TiktTok

Our second phase of this campaign will be to evaluate key metrics of our prospecting campaign and determine what audiences and creative will get carried over to a conversion-based campaign. With phase one of this test being a prospecting traffic campaign we looked specifically at metrics like clicks to the site, CPC, CTR and CPM. Compared to Facebook our initial findings are that CPC was 84% cheaper than Facebook and CPMs compared to Facebook were 1/4th of the cost.

Something that gets overlooked in the prospecting phase of campaigns is the data the pixel is collecting and how to leverage it. By running a traffic campaign to start, not only are you able to drive a large amount of traffic to your site, you are also able to collect valuable data through the pixel to further target those potential customers in the conversion phase of your campaign. In addition to carrying over the top performing interested based audiences. We will also be able to build out custom pixel based audiences based on users interactions with our ads and landing page. For this client we will be building out two custom pixel based audiences to retarget potential customers. One going after anyone who has visited our specific landing page in the last 90 days and has not taken any actions. The other being anyone who has watched 50% of our ad, and not taken any action to the site. These both are great ways to re-engage potential customers and get them to take action!

How B2B Brand Visory is using TikTok to acquire new leads

For our B2B partner Visory, we did some initial research on potential audiences on TikTok and found some interest targeting options that would allow us to reach their target audience. We kicked off our campaign by identifying two main interest based audiences that we have seen perform well on other social platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Broad interests around money management and bookkeeping:

eCommerce specific interests:

eCommerce Targeting Breakdown

One thing we’ve learned about targeting on TikTok is that broader is usually better (for prospecting or retargeting campaigns). The reason we separated these out was because they were roughly the same size + eCommerce (alone) has been a top performing audience for us in the past.

Prior to considering TikTok for Visory, we were able to test out some user-generated content on our other social platforms, which allowed us to determine what resonates most with Visory’s B2B audience and then repurpose the top performing creative for TikTok. Creative is SO crucial on any social platform but specifically on TikTok. If you want to dive deeper into the creative world, here is an additional resource: The 5 Main Components of Effective TikTok Ad Creative.

We knew that TikTok was going to be more of a top of funnel channel for Visory (similar to how we’ve viewed Facebook), so we’ve been optimzinig our campaigns for traffic to the site. To measure success, we are looking at clicks to the site, CTR, CPC and site engagement in Google Analytics. The result? Compared to Facebook, we have seen comparable CTRs but lower CPCs. Looking in GA, we’ve seen time on site as high as 00:06:25! While we have yet to see any last-click conversions from this site, we’ve learned that more traffic to the site historically results in more conversions over time. 

Conclusion

TikTok ads are becoming very popular among B2B brands and it’s an effective & cost-efficient way to reach your target audience in a creative way. If you’re ready to see how TikTok Ads can work for your business, give us a shout!

writing copy for a landing page

How To Write Landing Pages That Turn Traffic Into Paying Customers

writing copy for a landing page

When working with a growth marketing agency like Tuff, you can expect that we’ll tackle all kinds of growth marketing strategies, from CRO and SEO to Social Media Ads and PPC.

But none of those strategies can happen without the help of the simple landing page!

Whether it’s using one to collect email addresses, encourage downloads, make an order, or set up a demo, landing pages are an essential building block to every marketing funnel.

And while there is no perfect formula to writing landing page copy that converts, I’m going to share some of the key elements required to write landing page copy that will make your Stripe account sing. 

Let’s dive in!

1. Know your audience.

It’s one of the basic tenets of marketing: know your audience. 

But instead of talking about whether or not your target demographic is a mom between the ages of 35-40, with a preference for lattes, bulldog videos on TikTok, and drives a minivan, I want to talk about understanding what’s going on in her mind—specifically, her stage of awareness.

Touted by the copywriting great, Eugene Schwartz, your prospect’s stage of awareness refers to how much they know about a problem they’re experiencing, what options they have to solve it, and why your product is the one they should pick. 

The 5 Stages of Awareness are:

  • Most Aware: At this stage, your prospect already knows everything about your product and is 100% ready to convert. They just need to be told where to punch in their credit card number so that they can buy.
  • Product-Aware: At this stage, your prospect has a clear idea of what you sell, but hasn’t decided to go for it. They’re on the fence and need a bit more information to help them over the line.
  • Solution-Aware: When your prospect is solution aware, they know what kind of result they want, but have NO CLUE that your product can help them achieve it. 
  • Problem-Aware: When your prospect is problem aware, they understand that they have a big problem, but they have no idea how to solve it or that a solution might exist.
  • Completely Unaware: At this point, your prospect has no idea who you are, what you sell, or that there’s even a problem that they should worry about.

So when it comes to writing landing page copy that converts, take time to consider what stage of awareness your prospect is in when they land on your page. 

What do they already know? 

What do they need to know in order to make an informed decision? 

What are their hesitations about buying and how can you speak to them directly?

The more you can understand the stage of awareness your prospect is in—by asking questions like the ones above—the higher your chances of hitting the conversion rates you’re looking for. 

2. Limit your requests

The internet (and life!) can be full of distractions. Going back to our bulldog-watching, latte-loving mom from earlier, let’s say that you sell a jitter-free coffee alternative and want to create a landing page that will drive her to opt-in and request a free sample. 

If you use your landing page as an opportunity to also barrage her with “download this free report on the negatives of coffee” or “sign up here for a 10% off coupon” or  “learn more about our company” or “check out our latest arrivals,” you run the risk of:

1. Overwhelming her into INaction 

…and…

2. Could drive her away from your landing page altogether—distracting her from doing the original action you hoped for.

If you were to thumb through a stack of high converting landing pages, you’d see that most stay very focused.  Because trying to do otherwise will leave you with an overwhelmed prospect and a conversion rate that falls flat.

Which leads me to…

3. Make your Calls to Action (CTAs) strong & clear

You’ve experienced it before. You see an ad while scrolling through Facebook and you click through to its landing page. Except, as you start to read down the page, you can’t figure out how to order because they’ve buried the “Buy Now” button and their messaging is more clever than clear. So what do you do? You leave.

The reality is, confused people don’t buy. 

In order to write landing page copy that converts, you’ve got to make it crystal-clear what you want your prospect to do. You can’t expect them to just know, so feel free to spell it out for them in detail. 

Consider your own CTAs. How can you make them more specific? How can you make the path from point A to point B, even more clear?  

Pulling it all together

The secret to writing landing page copy that converts is that it helps lessen friction and uncertainty in your prospects. By joining the conversation already taking place in their mind, you can create a solid bond and increase that know, like, and trust factor that’s an essential part of conversion.

Then, drop in a clear and strong CTA and get ready—it won’t take long before your pipeline is flushed with paying customers.

mapping user flows for landing pages and paid ads

How (and why) You Should Optimize Landing Page Copy For Each Target Audience

mapping user flows for landing pages and paid ads

When we think about developing 1:1 messaging for our targeting audiences, our brains immediately think: ad creative. Making sure that the image, caption and headline speak directly to the audience you’re targeting is critical to our success as a growth marketing agency, for sure. But it’s equally as important to think about the landing page experience, too. 

CRO is a big, broad (and kinda vague) marketing term we like to throw around a lot. We could write about CRO strategies, best practices, and what’s been successful for our partners for days. For the purpose of this blog, we’re focusing on developing landing pages for paid campaigns that use value props and messaging specific to different target audiences to improve the user experience.

Optimize existing landing pages with small copy tweaks

The targeting options are almost endless on paid social, and there’s so many different combinations of interests and behaviors that could indicate a user fits in your audience persona. Oftentimes, we’ll find ourselves running several prospecting audiences at once, all applicable to our target audience persona, but potentially different in the actual ad channel.

Take this example from one of our partners, Sharetown. Their target audience is anyone living in a suburban area, with an entrepreneurial spirit, that’s looking for a side hustle. They’re probably married, have a family, and between the ages of 25-40. There are SO MANY different ways of targeting that group of people on Facebook – and we’ll test several ad sets to see which targeting combo is most efficient. 

building facebook audiences in ads manager

 

The Dave Ramsey interest audience has always been a top performing audience for us – a personal finance guru of sorts who teaches his followers how to get out of debt and build their personal wealth. When the conversion rate to our original landing page started to dip, we built out a new version of our main paid social landing page that uses terminology the Dave Ramsey audience is familiar with.

landing page example for social ads

 

This simple copy tweak in the hero zone of our landing page increased our conversions 38% the first month we implemented it. 

From a strategic perspective, we didn’t start out with custom landing pages for each and every interest audience on Facebook. We instead focused on testing new landing pages for all of our audiences to find pockets of success. After we ran campaigns to our top performing paid landing page for a bit, scaled budget, THEN saw our CVRs dipping, we refreshed the landing page we drove our top performing prospecting audience to with copy that was most  relevant to them.

Build custom landing pages based on each audience persona’s pain points

If the targeting options are there, and you’re able to clearly segment your campaign structure with two to three audience personas, there’s nothing wrong with building out ad experiences that are custom to each of their pain points. 

The key to being successful with this approach: ensuring that your audience in the ad channel is specific enough to resonate with more individualized messaging, but not compromising your audience size with targeting that’s too narrow. 

Take our partners over at Multiverse for example. Our Tuff team helped build awareness around their software engineering apprenticeship program in the U.S. Multiverse has two different B2B audiences for this program, and we were able to target narrowly enough to prevent overlap between the two main personas, while making sure our audiences were a decent size.

After researching the audience targeting capabilities on LinkedIn, we decided to create custom ad journeys and landing page experiences for each persona. Why? Because they experience very different pain points, and our value props were stronger when we could use 1:1 messaging for each audience. 

mapping landing page to paid ads  ppc landing page

paid search landing page optimization  paid search landing page design

The copy is close, and maps back to a similar value prop, but articulates the problem in a way that’s customized to each audience. We’re only able to speak directly to each audience persona in this way because the targeting options work in our favor on LinkedIn. 

Paid search and how your landing page experience is critical to success

Quality score, costs on Google, and the landing page you’re driving traffic to all go hand-in-hand. One of the simplest ways to optimize your Google ads campaigns is to make sure that the keyword you’re targeting and your ad copy make it onto your landing page. 

Wizardry does exist where you could dynamically insert keywords into your landing page. You’re able to see strong results with this approach, for sure. Like any dynamic keyword insertion tactic, you do run the risk of things getting a little weird. 

Here at Tuff, our PPC team organizes similar keywords into the same ad group on Google. This structure allows our team to create landing pages that are specific to certain keyword phrases. 

MyWellbeing is an excellent example of this. MyWellbeing is an online therapy platform that matches therapy seekers with therapists that are right for them. One of the things that makes MyWellbeing unique is their matching process – where individuals can select things that are important to them in a therapist. MyWellbeing is particularly successful among the LGBTQIA+ community in New York, because it’s hard to find LGBTQIA+ therapists that can truly relate with what the therapy seeker is going through. 

We saw that keyword phrases like “lgbtq therapist in nyc” is a top performing keyword for us in terms of clicks and volume, but didn’t stand out in terms of conversion rate. To optimize the landing page experience and improve our overall quality score on Google ads, we incorporated those search terms into the hero zone of that landing page.

landing page for specific keyword

This landing page tweak led to a 25% conversion rate for our paid search campaigns.

Landing pages for paid campaigns can always be tested and improved upon. It’s so easy to focus on your ad creative and targeting, but the reality is that your landing page experience has a stronger impact on your paid performance than almost any other campaign element. 

There are so many ways to approach a landing page test. The next time you start brainstorming ways to improve your campaign, try a 1:1 messaging approach, and let us know how it goes! 

marketing team working on a split test

How to Create a Split Test (and Why) with Google Optimize

marketing team working on a split test

No matter what you’re promoting online, whether it’s products, services or platforms, conversion rate is one of the most important metrics you need to be watching. You can have the most engaging ad experiences in the world, but if your website experience is lacking, don’t expect to gain any new customers.

At Tuff, website conversion rate is always top of mind. It is an incredibly important part of the equation that determines if our efforts are profitable or not. It is a metric we’re always looking to improve through a tactic called Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO.  There are a couple of different ways to do CRO, with our favorite being landing page split testing. 

There are a number of different tools out there that can help you get split tests set up and begin your CRO work, but our favorite is Google Optimize. It integrates well with Google Analytics, is easy to set up, and it’s free. 

Why should you be split testing?

Before we jump into how you get set up with Google Optimize, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves why we should be split testing. Why is conversion rate so important? Let’s look at this hypothetical example:

Say you own an eCommerce business that sells running shoes. You’re using paid channels (Facebook ads, Google ads, etc.) to drive traffic to your site. These are the average metrics you see on a monthly basis:

Visitors 100,000
Average Order Value $95
Conversion rate 1%
Purchases 1,000
Revenue $95,000

Congrats! You made $95,000 in revenue! On the flip side you’re making less than $1 per visitor on your site, which is not a great position to be in considering the average cost to get someone to click on an ad through paid channels. Now, for the sake of the example, let’s say that through CRO you’re able to increase your conversion rate to 1.8%. These are what your site numbers are going to look like.

Visitors 100,000
Average Order Value $95
Conversion rate 1.8%
Purchases 1,800
Revenue $171,000

You just increased your revenue by $76,000 without increasing your site traffic at all. That’s the magic of CRO. So much focus gets put on cost per click, but we also need to be paying attention to what those clicks are doing once they get to your site. 

While this article won’t detail out how to identify which tests to run, we do have some great CRO test examples you can start with in our article on Increasing Ecommerce Conversion Rate. 

What you need to set up split testing with Google Optimize

The first thing you’ll need to start split testing on with Google Optimize is an account. Once that is done, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Link your Analytics account
  2. Download the Optimize Chrome extension
  3. Install the Optimize code snippet on your site
  4. Set up your test in Google optimize

Install the Optimize Code snippet on your site and download the Chrome extension

There are a few different ways to do this, but the easiest way is to use Google Tag Manager since there is a baked-in integration between Tag Manager and Optimize.

Click on settings inside your tag manager account and copy your Optimize container ID.

setting up a split test with google optimize

You’ll also see links here to link your Analytics account and download the Chrome extension. These will each only take a second, so knock them out before getting the code snippet installed on your site.

Copy your container ID, jump into your Tag Manager account and create a new Tag. From the options on the right, select Google Optimize as your tag type. Paste in your container ID and set the tag to trigger on all pages. 

setting up a split test with google optimize

OK! We have the infrastructure in place to set up our test within Google Optimize. Now it’s time to decide what will be the “B” part of our A/B test. This will be which aspect of our page we are going to change. That can be anything from changing a headline, swapping out a graphic or reordering content on your site.

Whatever you decide on, try not to make too many changes at once. The best way to split test is incrementally so we really get a good idea of which changes are impacting the difference in performance we expect to see. 

Setting up your split test 

Ore we start setting up our test in Google Optimize,  let’s review what we’ve done so far:

  • Built our Google Optimize account
  • Linked to our Optimize account to our analytics account
  • Downloaded the Optimize Chrome extension and installed our Optimize code snippet on our website
  • Identified our variable for testing

Once we have done all of these things, we are ready to configure our test within Google Optimize. Luckily for us, Google Optimize makes setting these tests up very straightforward.

From inside your Google optimize container, you’ll click “Let’s go” to create your first experience.

setting up a split test with google optimize

There are a few different types of tests you can run here, but for the sake of this example, we’re going to select an A/B test. Give your test a name that easily calls out what is being tested. For our test, we’ll be changing the headline on our form submit page.

setting up a split test with google optimize

From here, click add a variant to begin setting up your first test. Select a name that lets you easily identify which changes are going to be made. We’re going to name our experience “Lead Magnet Page – Headline Test”. Any guesses what is going to be changed on our test page?

Now that we have our experience built, it’s time to add a variant. When naming this, give it a name that tells you what the change actually is. We’re going to name our variant “Headline – Quick wins and long term growth” so we don’t have to dig around to see what the change we made actually was. 

You will now see your original page and the variant you just created listed on top of each other. Since we installed the Chrome extension, we can easily edit our new variant and make changes to the page without using any code.

setting up a split test with google optimize

Once you Click edit, your original page will open with an editing tool where you can drag, drop, and edit different elements on your site. You’ll make your changes and then click save in the upper right-hand corner. 

setting up a split test with google optimize

By default, your traffic will be split 50/50 between the original page and your new variant. You can shift more traffic to your new variant if you’d like quicker results, but we recommend keeping that split even. You can now select an objective which is a list of goals that gets automatically pulled in from Google Analytics. We’re going to select our form completed goal that we have already in Analytics. You’ll want to select whichever goal you’re looking for the user to complete on your site, whether that be a form fill, a purchase, or a different action. 

And that’s that! We’re ready to begin our test. The last thing left to do is click the start button in the upper right hand corner!

Analyzing results

Google Optimize makes it incredibly easy to measure the results from your test. Once it’s launched, you’ll start to see data come in on session, conversion and conversion rate for your original page and your variant. Once significant data comes in, Google Optimize will give a prediction on which variant it thinks will win this test. We recommend waiting until that number is 95% before making any changes permanent and ending the experiment. 

A/B testing is a crucial part of improving the performance of your acquisition channels. It can help make your organic traffic much more profitable and enhance the performance of your paid advertising without any additional ad spend. There are a number of different tools out there to help you get set up, but in our eyes Google Optimize is tough to beat. It lets you get tests set up quickly, integrates well with Analytics and Tag Manager and it has a very attractive price tag at $0.

Interested in learning more about how CRO can impact your bottom line? Get in touch!

testing different desktop landing pages

A/B Testing Your Landing Page to Reduce CAC: Tiny Changes & Big Result

testing different desktop landing pages

There are so many pieces to a growth marketing campaign that it can be hard to tell which levers you should pull to make the biggest impact. Or which levers need a bit of work. That’s where A/B testing comes into play. It’s important to facilitate thoughtful A/B tests for your landing pages, ad creative, audience targeting, CTAs, color choices… and well, almost every single element in your marketing campaigns.

Proper A/B testing takes patience, especially CRO and landing page tests. Here at Tuff, we map out our A/B tests like a science experiment, focused on testing one variable at a time so we know exactly what drove the most impactful results. This approach is methodical and can take a bit of time to execute, but in the end, we’re able to optimize our conversion rates, and scale our budgets while maintaining a profitable CAC.

Note: Throughout this article, I’m going to be referencing one of our partners, Sharetown. Our goal is to increase the number of reps on their team by 15% each month, with a CAC of $900. A rep is someone on their team who picks up and resells like-new furniture as a side hustle. 

We have campaigns running on Facebook/Instagram, Google Search, and YouTube. We also just started growth content to help with organic growth. 

Our landing page test methodology

For Sharetown, we didn’t propose a complete redesign. Instead, we focus on implementing impactful, but sometimes small, design changes to the existing page’s layout, copy, and images to help increase conversion rate. 

landig page example

It’s also important to isolate as many variables as possible throughout testing so that you can definitively say what improved (or negatively impacted) results. Not all CRO landing page tests go as planned, but with our testing methodology, we can always go back to the previous version of the landing page and start again with a new variable to test. 

That’s why we structure our tests bracket-style. (Any other March Madness fans out there? We see you.) We’ll have two almost identical campaigns running in our paid channels, but with the ads pointing to two different landing pages. We’ll take the winner, and pit it against the next iteration of the landing page. 

Statistically Significant Testing

Before we make any calls on what worked and what didn’t, we have to make sure that each landing page gets enough traffic to make our insights meaningful. That’s why we aim for 500-1,000 clicks per landing page before choosing the winning landing page. This threshold can be different for every brand, but we normally base the amount of traffic we need on historical conversion rates and CAC. 

Establish a Baseline

Even if your marketer’s gut instinct says that the landing page you currently have is going to be a total dud, we still recommend running campaigns with it to establish a benchmark. This will give you the data you need to compare future iterations.

But what the heck do we even test first?

Big Landing Page Elements to Test

Once you’ve established a baseline with the existing landing page that needs a little love, we start by updating the following thing (elements that we’ve identified as having the biggest impact based on previous experience)

  • Changing the images throughout the page
    • Incorporate images that don’t look like stock photography
    • Incorporate designed infographics/explainers that are more intelligible and helpful
  • Rewriting the copy to make the page more action-forward and incorporating value props more clearly
  • Rearranging the layout of the page to display value props in a more prioritized order
  • Changing CTAs and button colors
  • Adding simple “how it works’ sections 
  • Incorporating social proof and testimonials

Sample Landing Page Test Plan

The sample landing page test plan below is from a test we conducted with Sharetown. This test is still a work in progress, and we’ll update with more data as we get the results.

landing page testing plan

If you’re interested in doing something similar, here’s a sample gantt chart template we use to plan for landing page tests

Phase 1: Existing Page – Establish Baseline

  • Over the course of three weeks, drive traffic to the current page to establish a baseline with paid acquisition channels running (vs. just organic/referral/direct sources)
  • This will also give our channel experts an opportunity to collect initial acquisition data to refine targeting and ad creative

Phase 2: Two New Landing Pages – New Layout, Testing Different Copy

  • Phase 2 is where we start our landing page test, now that we’ve established a baseline as part of Phase 1. 
  • We’ll create a new layout to use for both landing pages, but each landing page will have different copy, specifically on the hero image and button. The design will stay true to the integrity of the existing Join The Team page, with updates to the layout and the order in which certain sections and elements appear. 
  • Variables to Test:
  • Header image copy
  • Button copy
  • Number of Landing Pages to Develop: 2

Phase 3: Brand/Partner Recognition

  • We’ll take the winner of Phase 2, and pit it against Phase 3’s landing page
  • Variable to Test
    • Placement of brand recognition
  • Number of Landing Pages to Develop: 1

Phase 4: Video

  • We’ll take the winner of Phase 3, and pit it against Phase 4’s landing page
  • Variable to Test
    • Putting a video in the hero zone
  • Number of Landing Pages to Develop: 1

Phase 5: Opt-In

  • We’ll take the winner of Phase 4, and pit it against Phase 5’s landing page
  • Variable to Test
    • Testing an opt-in pop-up
  • Number of Landing Pages to Develop: 1

Phase 6: Graphics v. Images

  • We’ll take the winner of Phase 5, and pit it against Phase 6’s landing page
  • Variable to Test
    • Using graphics instead of images throughout the page
  • Number of Landing Pages to Develop: 1

Phase 7: Earnings potential calculator

  • We’ll take the winner of Phase 6, and pit it against Phase 7’s landing page
  • Variable to Test
    • Creating an earnings potential calculator (similar to Zenernet’s!)
  • Number of Landing Pages to Develop: 1

Measuring your landing page test

Now for the fun part. Digging in the data to determine if your landing page test was successful. It’s important to take a full funnel approach when you’re evaluating the outcome of your A/B test. 

We create scorecards that allow us to measure conversion rates throughout the funnel, especially when the user journey includes multiple steps. In the Sharetown example, we have four conversion rates that we monitor: 

  • CVR from traffic to lead
  • CVR from lead to application
  • CVR from application to vetted opportunities
  • CVR from vetted opportunities to reps

Our first landing page versions had a killer CVR from traffic:lead, more than doubling that conversion rate from our benchmarking phase. But, by working with Sharetown’s sales team, we realized that the lead quality was quite low, and no one seemed to be converting to become a rep. 

We asked their sales team to give us any qualitative feedback that they had on why these applicants weren’t finishing the process. After gathering a few call transcripts, we realized that many of those leads were only interested in the first half of the rep role — moving bulky furniture. They weren’t interested in the gig when they found out Sharetown reps are required to resell the like-new furniture on a marketplace, like Facebook or Craigslist. 

After realizing that, we made tweaks throughout hero zone to emphasize reselling by changing the copy and switching out the image to show a Facebook marketplace listing.

landing page results

The data in the table above (peep Phase 4), speaks for itself. Our conversion rate from traffic to leads decreased significantly from ~8% down to just 2%, resulting in fewer total leads. But they were the right leads. Our bottom of the funnel conversion rates increased tenfold.

This is a prime example of why it’s important to look beyond initial conversion rates to make sure that your landing page test is actually moving the needle. Without collaborating with Sharetown’s sales team, we would have never known why the leads weren’t converting.

Questions? Comments? Ideas! We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a note. 

developing ad creative on a computer

The Beginner’s Guide to High-Performance, Channel-Specific Ad Creative

developing ad creative on a computer

When balancing the main components of a growth marketing tactic (strategy + targeting + creative), there comes a time when many organizations find themselves in a chicken-and-egg scenario: which comes first? Is it the campaign strategy and targeting that should dictate creative? Or should great creative—backed by battle-tested value props and watertight messaging—lead the way into a strategy that can really bring it to life; serving it to the right people, and driving up conversion?

The short answer: it depends. (I know, I know).

In a perfect world, the world in which giants like Verison, Budweiser, Nike, and other Super-Bowl-ready players operate, there’s an endless well of data at the ready to inform all of the above. And you’d know what creative works best on which channel paired with which optimized audiences, etcetera, etcetera. But! If you’re here, you’re likely looking for a growth marketing agency that can operate with trim budgets, run efficient tests, and use scrappy creative to drive quick wins and set the stage for scaling. 

So, before we talk about creative, we’ll need to broach the topic: what kind of creative do you already have at your disposal? Your answer to this question might help you hone in on which channels are your best starting point. Here’s our quick guide:

Making the Most of Creative You Already Have

Before you jump headlong into creating a full new library of creative for the channels on which you’d like to run ads, revisit your existing assets with a fresh lens! How about that product shoot you shot last year? What’s left in the B-Roll folder? Revisit that brand video you commissioned for your sales team. Check in with your videographer to see if you might be able to snag some other shots out of his archives to repurpose instead of planning a full new shoot. 

Still Photography/Images:

  • Suitable for: Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, Gmail Ads, Display Advertising, Email Marketing
  • Make them ad-ready: Hire a freelance designer (we love UpWork) or get your own hands dirty with a drag-and-drop tool like Canva. Add simple on-image copy and your logo in an unobtrusive way so it’s super easy for a user to understand who you are and what you do in a flash. 

Owned assets (meaning images, illustrations, or other graphics that have been created specifically for your brand) are typically much more impactful and drive better results than stock photography. But, that doesn’t mean you should rule out stock! 

GIFs or Simple Motion

  • Suitable for: Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail Ads, Display Advertising, Email Marketing
  • Make them ad-ready: Ensure your freelance designer from UpWork has the ability to accomplish simple animations in After Effects or a similar program. Canva also has some simple, easy-to-use motion templates as well. The same advice goes for GIFs or simple motion in your video — make sure it’s super easy for your audience to get the message. If possible, even keep the copy to 5 words or less. 

Super simple motion, like animated text flashing over a still image or a 3 second looping video almost always performs better than still imagery across all the above channels.

Video

  • Suitable for: TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail Ads (as longer as they’re under 30 seconds long)
  • Make them ad-ready: Swing back by Upwork and find yourself a scrappy video editor that can help you recreate ad-ready assets. Ensure product placement (or super strong branded elements) appear within the first 3 seconds and that your video does not run longer than 30 seconds in length.

No matter if you’ve got a branded video, YouTube reviews, or a scrappy library of shot-on-iPhone video, it’s definitely worth splicing, dicing, resizing, and testing video against your still assets.  

🚨 Important! Before you start drawing up your strategy, investigating your targeting options, and setting aside budget, be sure to check out this Creative Ad Specs cheat sheet to make sure your files are large enough and are either in the right aspect ratio or can easily be reconfigured.

Pro tip: you’ll (likely) see better results quicker if—instead of creating brand-new creative—you instead focus on resizing your existing assets to fit each placement. 

How to Create High-Performance, Channel-Specific Ad Creative

If you only take ONE thing away from this whole article: don’t bust your budget on creative. Our approach (and, truly, the only way we can get behind creative production): test, test, test. Then, only then, consider investing in more high-value/bigger-production creative after you’ve gotten an opportunity to really hone in on the messaging and visuals that drive down cost per click (CPC) and drive up conversion rate (CVR).

Here at Tuff, when we take on creative production on behalf of—or alongside—one of our partners, here’s the approach we take:

The Tuff Timeline: Creating, Deploying, and Learning From Creative

When you hire a revenue and conversion-first growth marketing agency like Tuff, before we dig into pre-production, we’ll ensure the first weeks of our engagement are centered on rapid, actionable testing so that we can confidently make new creative that really resonates (and is worth the cost).

Days 1-3

Before we spend a dollar, we’ll start by digging into your target audience and validating/battle testing your value props. Based on the site experience, your sales materials, and what we can learn from you, are we confident that we can make creative that can hit the right people with the right message at the right time? 

Days 3-5

From there, we’ll get into concepting. If “fair, modern and inexpensive insurance” are the strongest high-level value props (for example), we’ll build creative ideas around them and workshop them with you to make sure we’re aligned.

We’ll create three very distinct concepts to test against each other so we’ll be able to understand—from a high level—which works and which don’t work as well.

Days 5-15 (depending on complexity of the creative)

Then, we’ll get into production. We’ve got a Rolodex of photographers, videographers, and designers to quickly and efficiently produce great creative.

We’ll produce 1-2 different pieces of creative underneath each of the three distinct concepts (for a total of 3-6 pieces of creative) every 6 weeks until we hone in on winners and double down there.

Days 30-60

Finally, and most importantly, we’ll put that creative through the wringer by conducting a full creative analysis that measures its effectiveness using two major data points:

  • CPC (is it grabby/compelling enough to get a quick click?)
  • CPL (is the ad-to-site experience seamless enough that the creative helps smooth their path towards conversion?)

From there, we’ll emerge with insights about what’s performing, what’s not, and a game plan for a fresh round of production (the timing on this cycle is totally dependent on ad spend and audience size).

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you’re ready to break out and start testing what kind of creative drives the best results for your growth or you need to enlist the help of a team that can take that burden off your hands, we’d love to hear about it!

Why (and How) We Spend $35,000 on Website CRO Each Year

 

We spend $35,000 a year on our website. That’s more than every other marketing tactic combined. 

For a big company that might not sound like much but for Tuff it’s a big deal. 

And as the owner of a growth marketing agency, it’s a tough call to make. Especially when I could reinvest that back into my team and the people responsible for our growth. Or use it to supercharge our reporting. Or build out a new service. 

So, with full intentionality, website conversion rate optimization (CRO) is something we prioritize because it’s the one tactic that has consistently grown our business. 

Disclaimer: we’re by no means claiming that we have the best or most highest-performing website on the block (or even that our process is perfect). But what we are saying is that we dedicate significant time and resources to continually improving our site because it works. Applying this process to incremental site improvements has shown us real, measurable results. And we hope this process can help you do the same!

How We’ve Grown Tuff (and our clients) By Focusing on Website CRO

When it comes to growth marketing, there are two types of tactics we’re focused on: acquisition (getting the right traffic) and conversion (getting that traffic to do something). 

Acquisition channels help you get traffic, which is great. Then what? 

Increasing traffic—especially when that traffic is composed of relevant audiences—is a huge part of your early growth goals and the strategies you put in place to achieve them. Once you’ve figured out the traffic equation, half the battle is over. But that does mean half the battle remains, and that comes down to conversion rate optimization, or CRO.

So when it comes to CRO, we focus in on two main things: 

  • Our website (currently at a 1.09% CVR) 
  • Our sales process 

More to the point:

  • Once someone gets to our website, what happens next?
  • How do you get site visitors to do something?

And also:

  • How do we do our best to answer prospects’ questions in the sales process?
  • How can we give them all the information they need to make an informed decision?

Our 5-Step Website CRO Process

While our website CRO process is now a well-oiled machine, it took us a few years of in-the-weeds hard work to hone and refine it. And, while it still requires a concerted effort to make notable impacts on our CRO month after month, it’s so incredibly important. 

Even if your website is significantly different from ours, or you exist in a totally different industry, this battle-tested process can help anyone improve their site whether you’ve got $35k a year to spend or not. 

  1. Figure out the most important metrics.
  2. Identify areas to optimize.
    • Revisit your competitors and value props 
    • Use conversations with your audience to get better 
    • Study Google Analytics – common paths and top pages 
  3. Make a list of monthly priorities. 
  4. Execute 
  5. Measure, rinse & repeat.

But before we dive deeper, a quick note about our approach. 

With website CRO, there are essentially two approaches to take: 

  1. Make bold changes that will drive more profit and you get fast, measurable results.
  2. Make small, continuous tweaks each month to keep your site strong and lead to incremental increases in conversions over time. 

Both have merit, but the second one is the one we at Tuff are passionate about. Small, ongoing adjustments, implemented fast, give you better CRO results. It’s the one we’re going to focus on for this post. 

Let’s dive in! 

1. Figure out the most important metrics

Before you start outlining updates for your website, make sure you’ve set clear goals you’d like to achieve – even if you don’t have much data to base them on.

For Tuff, we focus on the below metrics and study them monthly: 

  • Conversion rate (CVR): this can exist at numerous stages of the customer journey, but in this instance we’re talking traffic to conversion. Examples include: traffic to purchase (eComm), traffic to sign up (B2B, tech, SaaS), traffic to install (mobile app), etc.
  • Time on site: duration of site visits.
  • Bounce rate: how fast site visitors leave.
  • Entrance page/user journey: which pages get the most entrances? This helps you understand which pages are providing traffic (service pages, blog posts, etc.). You can find common paths and determine which pages to improve as a “first impression.”

CVR is such a key metric because it allows you to reduce costs by getting more out of the traffic that’s already coming to your website. By improving your conversion rate you can increase revenue per visitor and lower your overall customer acquisition costs. Ultimately, there’s a CVR threshold you’ve got to get to in order to be profitable. Part of the challenge is honing in on what exactly that is. 

website conversion rate from google analytics

But let’s start with the basics. Here’s how to measure the impact of increasing your CVR:

  • If a website has a conversion rate of 5% and receives 5000 visitors a month, then the website will generate 250 conversions per month. 
  • If you can improve the conversion rate to 7% by making regular improvements, you jump up to 350 conversions from the exact same amount of traffic. 

It can be hard to know what a “good” conversion rate is and honestly it depends on your stage, service, and revenue but to help, we put together a spreadsheet with the conversion rate for some of the businesses we work with to give you a starting point. 

Once you get familiar with this kind of data, it will help you interpret your own.

2. Identify areas to optimize

The next step is to get your team together and build your user acquisition channels list – write it down, type it out, drop it into Google Sheets, whatever you want to do. Don’t worry if it’s unorganized or sporadic, you can swing back in and restructure it later.

We generate ideas by going to a handful of different places for inspiration: 

  1. Revisit our competitors and value props 
  2. Use conversations with our audience to get better 
  3. Study Google Analytics — common paths and top pages 
    • Entrances!  

Revisit our competitors and value props

We start by pulling up our competitor websites and studying how they articulate their services with copy and design. These findings help us inform/bring detail to:

  • How we position our offering (copy) 
  • How we weave in our value props visually (design) 

Then, we revisit our value props (here’s our value proposition spreadsheet if you want to use it as an example). While our value props don’t change on a monthly basis (we update yearly), we do this because it reminds us of the unique ways we solve a partner’s “problem” and how to stay true to that. 

Use conversations with our audience to get better

This comes pretty easy to us because I manage our website and run our sales team. We get between 50-60 leads per month and have conversations with anywhere from 8-10 of those leads. During these calls, we ask a ton of questions and get asked a ton of questions. 

After each sales call, I write down the major questions and look for patterns. If the same group of questions continues to surface, we start to think about why and then look for ways to incorporate those learnings into the site so that our language reflects what our target audience is actually saying (vs what we think they are saying). 

If the team or person managing your website isn’t close to your sales team or in a position to talk regularly to your target audience, change that! 

Study Google Analytics — common paths and top pages

As a growth marketer, I’m in Google Analytics at least 10 times a day. Every time we get a notification that someone has submitted a form on our website, I jump into GA and take a look at two things: 

  • Where they came from (source) 
  • What they did

This helps me understand how traffic from different sources behaves as well as the most common paths to conversion. We have over 300 pages on our website and we can’t afford to optimize all of them so I use this information to decide what the priority pages should be. 

website entrances from google analytics

We also always look at the entrances (vs pages with the most sessions). This is really important for us because it helps us understand what pages people see for the first time. Is it a blog post? Is it a landing page? Is it our homepage? Again, with this information we can prioritize what people see first and how to guide them through different funnels and paths on the website.  

Using the above information—competitor research, value props, conversations with prospects and existing clients, and Google Analytics—we build a big list of optimization ideas and put those down on paper each month.  

3. Make a list of monthly priorities

So you have a big list, now what?

Even lean testing means an entirely new suite of copy, design, dev resources, and outputs, so it’s important to be intentional about how you and your team spend your time on your website.  

One way to manage your monthly optimization tests and increase the chances of success is to spend time upfront evaluating each proposed update—the idea is to test and get early access to good opportunities, but you can’t do everything.

So we take our list of ideas and ask: 

  • How likely is it to increase our conversion rate?
  • How easy is it to implement the test?
  • Will it have an impact on our site traffic? 

Once we’ve prioritized the 6-7 tasks (one big one and a handful of smaller optimizations) for the month, we add the tasks to our Website Trello Board. 

website optimization trello board

Then, we divide and conquer the work. Right now, we have someone responsible for each of the below roles: 

  • Strategy & Project Management: Responsible for identifying the areas to optimize, prioritizing to-dos, and keeping us on schedule 
  • Copy: Responsible for helping us write copy for the site that captures our value props and tone 
  • Design: Responsible for taking the copy and visualizing it (we use InVision to build wireframes and mocks) 
  • Development: Responsible for building out the mocks in staging and then pushing live

4. Execute

When it comes to website CRO, or any growth marketing tactic for that matter, even the best strategies can fall flat if you don’t see it through with solid execution. We take a very disciplined approach to website CRO and keep our entire team accountable to a schedule that helps us produce higher quality optimizations on a monthly basis. 

Here’s an example of a typical timeline looked like for last month’s website optimization: 

  • Identified June priorities by May 21 
  • Met with web team to review on May 24
  • Finalized copy by June 1 and added to Trello
  • Built wireframes for each optimization 
  • Held first staging period from June 7 – 11 
  • Mid-month check in
  • Held second staging period from June 21 – 25 
  • Identified July priorities by June 22 
  • Final review of June edits 

5. Rinse and repeat

We follow this process every month because we believe action produces momentum and you can speed things up by actively making updates (small and large) each month. It’s a lot of work (it’s more of a time commitment than a financial one) but right now, for us, it’s worth it. 

website wireframes

I also feel like we’re only really scratching the surface and as we grow we will look to iterate and expand on our website CRO process. Here are some of the new things I’m excited about implementing this year that we aren’t currently doing: 

  • Talking to people who came to the site but didn’t fill out a form 
  • Asking people (not people that work at Tuff) to review our competitor sites and give us feedback 
  • Building out wireframes and getting feedback from existing clients before pushing live 

I’d also love to hear what website CRO process your team has been using. What has worked well for you? 

Thanks for reading! I hope you picked up one or two new tips and tricks for your website CRO process. If you want to bounce some ideas or learn more about the process outlined above, let’s talk. 

person at laptop

7 Well-Designed Landing Page Examples

person at laptop

Well designed landing pages are no easy feat, but much easier to make happen and do well than 10-years ago. With a whole host of tools and content for landing pages at your disposal, developing one for your business has never been easier. 

Before you dive into your first landing page, we recommend doing your research and learning the process of how to write, build, and test landing pages.  Despite the easy accessibility to tools for building landing pages, it is still possible to build a bad landing page. 

In light of this, here are 7 of the best-designed landing page examples for you to hone your skills on. 

1. HelloFresh 

hello fresh

Ever had a HelloFresh box show up out of the blue with really no recollection of how it could possibly have your name on it or be at your front door? 

That’s because their landing pages are so dang cute from a design perspective and genius from a landing page strategy, that you barely realized you had signed up for more than one delivery. 

We’re not saying that HelloFresh tricks people or anything – we’re all aware of what we’ve done, but the landing page process can be so seamless and the offer can be so good that it’s hard to realize what you’ve done. 

That is until you’re standing there with a sack full of new groceries on a Monday staring dumbfounded at the HelloFresh box at your doorstep because you totally forgot it was HelloFresh week and you actually didn’t need to buy groceries. 

That’s the power of a well-designed landing page. 

2. Winc Wine Club

Winc Wine Club

 

Similar to HelloFresh, ever had a box of wine show up at your house that you totally forgot about because again, signing up was so easy that you barely realized what you were doing until you did it, then forgot about it, then found it delivered at your house? 

That’s the power of a well-designed landing page – all the elements come together that it doesn’t even feel like shopping anymore – it feels like… well magic! 

3. Yeti Coolers

Yeti Coolers

Then there are landing pages that are just seriously thought-through, beautifully crafted eCommerce collection pages in disguise. 

Take this Yeti Collection page for their Tundra Yeti Coolers for example. The difference between this one and every single other product collection page you’ve ever seen is that lifestyle image right smack in the middle of the page. 

Set there on the page like that to give you some perspective on what one of Yeti’s coolers looks like out in the wild. As you can see, it looks pretty god damn tough – like their messaging points out. 

And right there on that page, you get why there’s thousands of reviews for what you might have thought was an overpriced insulated box. 

That’s the power of a well-designed landing page. 

4. Monday.com

Monday

Great copy, perfectly styled creative, and well placed CTA can go a long way! 

But not as far as it can go when it’s positioned perfectly between a conversion and an aligning search ad. I triggered this landing page off of searching for “Scrum Board Software.” 

Knowing that my intent was based on managing team tasks, Monday.com came to my rescue and made me feel like they had just the solution I needed for my search. 

That’s the power of a well-designed landing page. 

5. Zapier

Zapier

The reason all of these landing pages are so impressive is partly due to the fact that they are all built around search ads triggered by specific phrases. 

When done right, search advertising paired with a supporting landing page that is dialed to the query is the perfect example of an optimized customer journey.

What I love about this hero copy is that it provides the user with three CTAs:

  • The demo is a bit less aggressive than the trial
  • The trial still being front and center
  • And then that bold small offer looking for the 0.01% who are also looking for an offer to pull the trigger on. 

That’s the power of a well-designed landing page. 

6. Allbirds 

Allbirds

Other times, you end up somewhere you didn’t really intend to be. 

You were searching running shoes and thinking you would end up with some Adidas or Nike ads, instead you get an allbirds ad and think, “allbirds? Is making performance running shoes now? I should probably check this out – just for fun of course.” 

And you get there and it’s as if allbirds is saying, “Hell yeah we’re making running shoes, come check them out, you won’t be disappointed!” 

And you’re so drawn in by the hero video of people running on the beach in what you guess are allbirds, that you have to keep scrolling, and then all of the sudden… you have allbirds on the way to your apartment. 

That’s the power of well-designed landing pages. 

7. Shopify

Shopify

And then there are those familiar ones – the ones you use every day, the Shopifys of the world. 

You run a search just to see if there’s anything else out there. 

A dumb search like, “Sell goods.” You think,  maybe… something… anything else has come up that might dwarf Shopify in comparison. 

First, search result, it’s Shopify. Well of course it’s shopify, you think. You click it – what the hell? 

You don’t need to be sold on Shopify, but you see the landing page and know you’re still in good hands. 

That’s the power of a well-designed landing page.