EF Staff

May 6, 2018

Hey everyone, Greg here.

Today, I am bringing a guest post from Kurt Philip, founder of Convertica, to you. Convertica is a conversion rate optimization company that helps you get more money for your websites with the same amount of traffic. This is a strategy I evangelize quite often in various communities as a super easy way to get a website to earn more.

Whether you’re buying a site or already have one that’s earning money, using a company like Convertica is often a fast way to increase your overall net profit in a pretty short time frame. I highly recommend them because it has little time cost on your end. Convertica handles it all.

We hired Convertica at the start of January to do some work with us and it was a great experience. Considering our weird WordPress design mashup we have in the backend, it was a fairly complicated project, but they did exactly what we asked them to do. The first project was successful, and now we’re moving on to a second project with them.

Kurt wrote this case study about what exactly happened during our first project, so I’ll let him take it away from here.

Enter Kurt Philip!


Empire Flippers’s Valuation Tool is an awesome lead magnet that lets you get to the bottom of your site’s value based on dozens of tested and proven metrics. When Empire Flippers wanted to use conversion rate optimization (CRO) to increase its conversions, they turned to us.

I personally had been both a buyer and seller on the site multiple times in the past five years, so that gave me a unique insight into the tool from a CRO perspective.

I started CROGuy (now Convertica) at the beginning of 2017. By the time Empire Flippers approached us, our slick team of CRO experts had run over 1,000 tests on over 100 lead-gen, affiliate, and e-commerce sites. That previous experience helped us know exactly how to get users to convert, so we were 100 percent sure we knew what to do to fix the tool’s issues. No magic—just hard data.

This campaign contains huge value for Empire Flippers readers because the lessons from our success can easily be applied to your own lead-gen sites to boost your conversions too.

First, What is CRO and Why Should it Matter?

Conversion rate optimization is the science and art of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, be it buying a product, entering an email address, or submitting a form.

With a systematic approach, you can successfully identify what is stopping a user from completing your goals and remove those obstacles. Basically, it’s optimizing a web page’s chances of directing a user toward a desired action.

As an online business owner, your goal for Empire Flippers is simple: get the maximum exit price for your business. Since your exit price is determined as a multiple of your net monthly profit, any extra sales become exponential in value.

If you aren’t doing at least some CRO, then you are missing out on a major portion of your site’s potential exit price. But driving more traffic is hard, isn’t it?

Why not just squeeze more value out of the traffic you already have?

That’s what Convertica did for Empire Flippers. In fact, we even surprised ourselves with how much extra value we provided (we don’t surprise easily).

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how we did it.

Using CRO to Increase Valuation Tool Conversions

The challenge: With over $47 million-worth of businesses sold and 45,000 evaluations, the valuation tool was already doing plenty well as it was. But there were some sticking points that were creating obstacles for users.

We had to figure out a way to make the submission process as streamlined as possible to maximize lead captures, and it all had to be done with Empire Flippers’s Frankenstein WordPress website (their words, not mine). Their custom-designed platform would be tricky to work with.

The solution: By the second half of 2017, we had already CRO’d over 100 websites, and lead-gen sites were our best performing (62 percent increase on average). Based on our past wins for lead-gen clients and my perspective as a former buyer, Convertica theorized a solution based on a simple principle: The more a user has to think, the lower the conversions will be.

If we could keep user thinking to a minimum and make the form more engaging (like a game), we knew we could increase conversions.

“Gamifying” the tool had worked on nearly every single client site for us in the past. Once we made the tool more intuitive and engaging, we would test it against the original. From there, we would further test and refine based on live data until we reached our goal.

I am going to outline the exact steps we took to increase the valuation tool’s conversion rate by 51.6 percent in 47 days. They seem like pretty outrageous numbers, but when you see the process it’ll make a lot of sense. I’m confident that if you apply these lessons to your lead-capture tools, you’ll see an increase, too.

Here’s how we did it.

Steps to Achieve Campaign Goals for Empire Flippers

  1. Set a Goal

The first step in any campaign is to set a realistic goal, and often the main thing to keep in mind when doing CRO is to keep it simple. We wanted to increase overall leads captured by the tool by 50 percent. We had repeatedly outperformed this goal with lead-gen sites, so we were confident we knew exactly what we were doing.

This shouldn’t be too hard, right? Just track the success page at the end, where the lead is actually captured, and then start moving backward.

Lesson: CRO must be done with a purpose. Always set challenging goals so you don’t settle for mediocre results.

   2) Gamifying the Lead Capture Process

We had routinely increased conversions for our lead-gen clients by over 60 percent, and one thing that had worked well on nearly every single site was gamifying the lead capture process.

It’s 2018 and people are glued to their phones. We use apps all day long for just about everything—we find dates, we order food, we chat with friends and family. Most of the time, the apps are so intuitive that we operate them fully with our subconscious. This is incredibly valuable from a CRO perspective. We knew that if we applied this psychology to the valuation tool, we could achieve our goal.

The first part of the lead capture is a page where you select your monetization method to get your website valued. It’s already very intuitive. The user doesn’t have to think much at all, just click a button.

conversion rate optimization

However, before we went in with CRO and once we chose our method, we got this:

conversion rate optimization

These forms are non-intuitive (you actually have to think to enter data). This makes the user come out of the subconscious and decreases conversions.

Lucky for us, we have a kick-ass in-house team that has a lot of data from the past 12 months on what was working, and what was not.

Lesson: More thinking makes for fewer conversions. The more work you do for your users, the higher your conversions will be.

2a) How We ‘Gamified’ the Tool

Our past experience with working on lead-gen sites taught us that if two or three of the initial fields do not require any specific input, conversions will be much higher. Multiple choice or yes/no questions work miracles in these situations.

In order to gamify the lead capture on the valuation tool, we got our in-house user interface (UI) designer to work her magic. Our plan for the first three slides was to:

  • Use multiple choice and yes/no questions to automatically generate the form without the user realizing it (keeping them in that subconscious stream we love so much)
  • Use interactive sliders rather than having the user input anything (as in the second slider below)
  • Visualize their progress so they would be more likely to complete the form.

Here is what we came up with:

conversion rate optimization

conversion rate optimization

Instead of punching keys on a keyboard, all the user has to do is click a button and drag a bar. Before they know it, they’re 40 percent done with the form with minimal thinking involved.

Did you notice that one of the steps doesn’t even have a “Next” button? Minimize the actions you’re asking your visitors. If there is a multiple choice answer, don’t ask the user to enter the answer—give them the options available to minimize input. If it doesn’t need to be there, it shouldn’t be there.

conversion rate optimization

conversion rate optimization

Now, by the time the user actually has to enter some specific numbers, they are already 40 percent of the way through the process and are more likely to complete the form submission.

Pretty cool, huh?

Lesson: Don’t require any specific input until after the user has invested time into the process. Use yes/no or multiple choice questions to keep user thinking to a minimum.

3) How We Tested the New Lead Capture Against the Old

Once we designed this gamified version of Empire Flippers’ valuation tool, we were sure we had a winner. However, as part of our standard operating procedure (SOP) at Convertica, and for the client’s peace of mind, we always run a split test. We then use that data to make decisions on what the second test would be.

We decided to run a split URL test. A split URL test sends 50 percent of the traffic at the original variation and 50 percent at the new variation that you want to test.

This is very important as it uses live visitors and will give you very clear data on which is performing better.

The good news is it was a very clear win on the new lead capture, so we called off the competition in a few short weeks.

conversion rate optimization

Our custom reporting software provides valuable insight into which type of user is being converted by each version.

As seen by the charts above, the gamified version killed it (as we suspected).

Conversions: 40.16 percent increase in two weeks.

The goal, however, was not to increase leads by 40.16 percent but by 50 percent, so we still had some more work to do. At Convertica, we never settle when we know there’s more that can be done. Each test provides valuable data that can be used for further testing.

Lesson: Let your tests run long enough to declare a clear winner, but don’t settle there. Each test provides valuable data that can be used for further testing.

4) Implementing the New Lead Capture

As soon as we rolled out the gamified version of the valuation tool, we noticed a clear jump in user submissions.

That was great news. It just gave us extra validation we were heading in the right direction.

conversion rate optimization

The clear jump in lead submits in-line with our testing.

Lesson: Track everything.

5) How We Used Live Data to Further Optimize

Like we said before, our goal was a 50 percent increase, not 40 percent. We knew we could use the data collected and some killer CRO software to further identify friction points and use this to our advantage.

Creating a variation and testing against the original is just the tip of the iceberg. Using live data collected from rolling the new variation live allowed us to get more increases in conversions for Empire Flippers.

This was the icing on the cake.

6) Optimizing for Mobile with Formisimo

A split URL test will show you that users aren’t converting. What it won’t do is tell you why they aren’t converting.

For lead-capture sites that use forms, we use an awesome piece of software called Formisimo to conduct more focused (and effective) tests. It allows you to speed up your CRO by showing in-depth data and identifying bottlenecks.

Just a few weeks of running Formisimo revealed some very insightful data. Most notably:

  • Top drop-off areas for each device
  • Form starters and end-to-end conversion rate
  • Areas where users corrected fields most

Formisimo also allows you to segment data down to the device level so you can optimise for each. You split the types of visitor data; for instance, we split the visitors coming from mobile versus desktop, as they each interact with the lead capture in a different way.

conversion rate optimization

conversion rate optimization

The Mobile Thumb Problem: The insight revealed a few sticking points for users that operated fine on desktop but were hard to operate on mobile. We deduced that it was due to the layout and the fact that most users were filling out the form with one hand. This extra friction was leading to higher drop-offs.

The Solution: Our UX magician made some changes based on how users use their thumbs on mobile.

conversion rate optimization

conversion rate optimization

The entire tool now falls into the “OK” or “Easy” to reach range. Remember, the more thinking a user has to do, even if it has to do with moving their thumb, the higher the friction and lower the conversions.

Lesson: Testing is an iterative process. Don’t quit after you’ve declared a winner. There are tons of great pieces of software out there that will let you further refine your new version based on raw data.

Completing the Campaign

That’s really all there was to it. What at first seemed like an outrageous goal (increasing an already successful tool’s conversions by 50 percent) came down to a few key principles:

  • Creating a challenging but achievable goal
  • Making the tool as intuitive as possible
  • Testing, testing, testing, and then testing again
  • Collecting live data and adjusting accordingly
  • Optimizing down to device level

I say it all the time: CRO doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s all a process. And an iterative one at that. A key takeaway from this entire campaign is that there is always room for improvement in CRO.

Key Takeaways for You to Apply CRO to Your Site

Even though the valuation tool evaluated 45,000 businesses, we were still able to increase its viability over 50 percent by applying basic CRO principles. I’m confident if you take the same steps I’ve outlined here, you’ll see some big wins too:

  • Set goals
  • More friction makes for fewer conversions. Keep the buyer in their subconcious by decreasing their workload (yes/no or multiple choice questions).
  • Don’t require specific user input until they’ve invested time in your lead capture. Be sure to show them how much progress they’ve made already.
  • Test and track everything.
  • Once you’ve found the winning version, test further based on the live data you’ve collected. Segment audiences down to device level to find even more easy wins.

Is your site generating 20,000 unique views per month? If so, there’s probably room for some major wins in terms of CRO. A free audit from Convertica could help pump up your exit price in a big way.

Click here to connect with us today.

Photo Credit: VadimVasenin


Make a living buying and selling websites
Sign up now to get our best tips, strategies, and case studies
Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. Kurt Philip says:

    Hi Kim,

    Generally, when there is such a large increase in conversions we can call a test earlier. We did run further tests to further verify the data however. After we rolled the test out live we tracked the data over the next few months and the increases remained exactly in line with our testing. We ran further tests to mobile and tablet and we were able to increase even more.

  2. Kim says:

    Great idea but how do you know your sample size was correct?

    There is only a difference of 60 form submissions between the control page and the variation page – doesn’t see like that much. Could easily swing the other way if you ran the test for say another 2 weeks.

    And what software do you use to run the tests? Wouldn’t mind doing some CRO on my site.

    • Greg Elfrink says:

      Hey Kim,

      Kurt can probably chime in better here than me. But for us the increase was significant from our running average (over months) and has stayed consistent since the work has been finished.

      In our industry specifically, it can be tough to get statistical significance so there is still some guesswork involved. Overall though, we’ve seen a large lift here.

      As far as software goes, I believe Convertica mainly uses VWO, but maybe Kurt can elaborate there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a site to sell?

Click here to find out how much your website is worth

Sell Your Site