9 Simple High ROI Shopping Cart Abandonment Prevention Tactics


How are you handling your shopping cart abandonment?

The first step is for you to track and recognize how many shoppers are leaving items in their carts without finalizing the purchases.

If you’re not addressing it, you’re missing out on sales.

Take a moment to ask yourself how you can improve the customer experience.

Is there a problem with your conversion funnel?

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This is a basic visualization of how companies create conversions.

First, the consumer becomes aware of your brand, products, or services.

Next, they have a need or want that sparks interest in something more specific.

Once the consumer knows what they want, they consider the purchase.

Adding a product to their shopping cart definitely qualifies as the consideration part of this conversion funnel process.

They are just one step away—or even one click away—from finalizing the sale.

So, what’s the problem?

Let’s take a look at a conversion funnel with some holes in the process:

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If customers are getting all the way to the shopping cart, I’m willing to bet you don’t have a problem with your homepage or product service page.

What about your contact page or customer service information availability?

It’s possible the customer doesn’t feel comfortable finalizing the purchase based on the provided information about your business, reputation, warranty, or return policy.

But again, they’ve already made it to the checkout page with items in the cart.

So, I think this is another unlikely scenario.

The issue has to be in the final step of your conversion process.

I’ll show you some techniques that will minimize shopping cart abandonment on your platform and increase your conversion rates.

1. Recognize that customers are price sensitive

Your prices may be deterring the consumer from finalizing their purchase.

Look, I get it.

Obviously, you’re trying to make a buck.

I’m not telling you to start giving everything away.

You should be making a healthy profit on each transaction.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some numbers:

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Unexpected prices are the number one reason why customers are abandoning shopping carts.

So, the initial price of your item might be okay.

But the added charges are turning customers away.

Some examples of these extra charges may include:

  • Sales tax
  • Shipping
  • Processing fees
  • Any other hidden charges

Is there a way you can eliminate some of these?

Here’s an idea.

Maybe you can take on the shipping fee.

Instead of putting that burden on the customer, you can adjust the original prices of your products to account for the shipping charges.

Will the customer end up paying more?

Yes.

But it’s not an unexpected charge.

You’ve got to find a middle ground.

Based on the graph above, the price was a factor in three of the top four reasons why people abandon shopping carts.

Try to keep your prices competitive while still generating a nice profit.

You may end up making slightly less money each transaction, but it’s worth it if you can increase the transaction rate.

2. Make sure your website and checkout procedures are secure

In the last five years, 46% of Americans were victims of credit card fraud.

That’s an alarming number.

Americans are the targets of nearly half of all the credit card breaches worldwide.

Consider these numbers for a second.

Have you had a credit card breached?

Do you know someone who’s been a victim of credit card fraud?

This is a legitimate concern for people.

Your customers may have had a bad experience in the past, and that is making them hesitant about online purchases.

The purchase process on your website needs to be secure.

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You are responsible for your customers’ credit card information.

Don’t be the reason for their accounts getting hacked.

Take the proper security measures and place the corresponding badges on the checkout page, similar to the graphic above.

Make sure your website is secure.

Is your website running on an HTTPS connection?

Look at the example from Dick’s Sporting Goods:

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See the secure sign?

It makes the consumer feel more comfortable at the checkout page.

Personally, it’s a red flag for me if I don’t see this while I’m shopping.

I won’t be entering any of my personal or credit card information on a web page that’s not secure.

Quick side note: notice Dick’s offers free returns on its apparel?

I wanted to point that out as well. It makes the customer feel better about the checkout process.

A secure website and checkout process need to be a priority for your ecommerce store.

3. Allow your customers to check out without creating a profile

Obviously, you want customers to have an account with your company.

It’s a great way to track their behavior and keep them informed of special offers and promotions.

However, you shouldn’t be forcing people to create a user profile just to make a purchase.

Why?

  1. It’s an extra step. People are in a rush, and you want the procedure to be quick.
  2. They may have a fear of getting unwanted emails, text messages, or junk mail.

If your website doesn’t have a guest checkout option, you’re making a mistake.

Here’s an example from Lululemon of the guest checkout option:

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It’s a really clean checkout page.

There are two clear options.

Returning users can easily sign into their accounts, and customers without an account can proceed without creating one.

This ensures you aren’t losing sales.

Here’s the thing, though. In order to complete the checkout process, the customer still needs to enter their information.

You’ll have their name, email address, location, and other information.

Once the sale is final, you can entice them to create an account.

All they need to do is create a password.

You already have everything else in your records, so they don’t need to submit information twice.

Here’s a great example of what this should look like:

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Give the customer a reason to create an account.

Refer to the image above.

What’s the customer getting in return?

  • Option to track the order
  • Exclusive discounts

But they shouldn’t be forced to create a profile just to make a purchase.

Make sure that’s optional.

4. Accept a wide range of payment options for the customer

What kind of payment options are you accepting?

Visa only?

You don’t accept Discover cards?

I understand.

Certain credit card companies have higher processing fees than others.

Accepting transactions from PayPal or similar platforms could be even more costly.

By not accepting certain payment methods, you could be turning customers away.

You might think that everyone has one of the credit cards you accept, but that’s not always the case.

Give the consumer lots of options.

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Do you accept Apple Pay?

There are nearly 86 million iPhone users in the United States.

Last year, Apply pay transactions grew at a 50% rate.

These numbers show alternative payment methods are trending upward.

Don’t fall behind the curve.

If you’re accepting only one or two payment forms, it could be the cause for your shopping cart abandonment.

The customer gets to the checkout process only to discover you’re not offering their preferred payment option.

5. The process needs to be mobile friendly

Is your website mobile friendly?

Is the checkout procedure optimized for mobile devices?

It needs to be.

Research shows 84% of smartphone users have experienced a problem completing a mobile transaction.

And 40% of users will go to your competitor after an unsatisfactory experience on your mobile site.

What do these numbers tell you?

People want to shop on their phones.

Here’s some additional information about mobile users:

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Nearly 5 billion people have a mobile device across the world.

Of course, not all these people are your potential customers.

But a large chunk of them could be.

Don’t alienate people from shopping on their mobile devices.

It’s estimated that half of ecommerce transactions take place on mobile platforms.

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That number is only going to grow.

If getting to a laptop or desktop is the only way for your customers to shop, it could be hurting your sales.

Make sure your checkout procedure is optimized for mobile devices to decrease your shopping cart abandonment rates.

6. Don’t let your competitors steal your customers

How unique is your product or service?

Chances are, you don’t own the space outright.

You have plenty of competition.

It’s not always easy to compete with the big players like Amazon or Walmart.

Earlier we looked at a graph that said 36% of shoppers abandoned a shopping cart because they found a better price elsewhere.

If your prices are higher, that needs to be justified.

Make sure your quality and service are outstanding.

Your customer needs to understand this.

The website needs to load fast.

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Don’t make the process too complex.

We know that 25% of shoppers will abandon their shopping carts if the navigation is too complicated.

They will go to your competitors instead.

Be aware of how your competitors are operating.

It’s always helpful to use competitor analysis tools to improve your traffic.

7. Send an email reminder if a cart is abandoned

Okay. So you may not be able to prevent everyone from abandoning their shopping carts.

Even if you decrease the abandonment rate, you won’t get that number down to zero.

Where do you go from here?

Don’t give up just because a customer abandoned their cart.

If you have their information, reach out and send them a reminder.

Here’s a great example from Saatchi Art:

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This email accomplishes a few things:

  1. reminds the customer of their shopping
  2. creates a sense of urgency
  3. offers an extra incentive

The reminder alone may be enough to get the customer to finalize their purchase.

But if it’s not, it creates a sense of urgency by saying “high sell-out risk.”

We’ll get into some more detail on this method shortly.

It also provides an extra incentive by offering a 10% discount.

Earlier we discussed that customers are price sensitive.

They may have abandoned the cart for financial reasons.

Giving the consumer a discount will show them you care.

That promotion may be enough of a reason for them to finish the checkout.

8. Use A/B testing to simplify your checkout process

How long does it take the customers to make a purchase on your site?

Every extra click they have to make gives them a chance to second-guess their decision.

You can run an A/B test to see which checkout procedure is more successful.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Here’s the checkout progress bar from Crate & Barrel:

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It’s a quick checkout process.

  • Shipping info
  • Payment info
  • Place order

Three steps and done.

Here’s an example from another website:

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Their process is six steps.

That’s double the number of Crate & Barrel’s process.

If you have a long checkout system, I suggest you shorten the process significantly.

Still not convinced?

Run an A/B test.

Use your current system as the control group and a shorter version as the experimental group.

See if you notice a difference in your shopping cart abandonment statistics between these two groups.

9. Create a sense of urgency

Earlier I mentioned that Saatchi Art created a sense of urgency with their abandonment recovery email.

FOMO—the fear of missing out.

You can do this on your checkout page as well to reduce cart abandonment.

Some customers are just browsing.

New customers most likely won’t buy something on their first visit to your website.

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But you can give them an extra incentive to finalize their purchases.

Create a sense of urgency.

  • “Limited quantity remaining”
  • “Sale price expires at midnight”
  • “14 people booked this flight in the last 24 hours”
  • “9 other people are looking at this room right now”

I’m sure you’ve seen phrasing like this before while browsing online.

Hotels and airlines do this all the time.

Act now, or miss out.

You can incorporate this psychological strategy into your checkout process to minimize cart abandonment.

Conclusion

Shopping cart abandonment is a problem for your ecommerce website.

You’re not alone.

It’s not too late to make changes to your checkout process to prevent future cart abandonment.

Follow the advice above to keep your abandonment rates low while increasing your conversion rates and revenue.

Customers are price sensitive. Don’t hit them with any unexpected charges.

You need to accept multiple forms of payment while also making sure the payment procedure is completely secure. Customers won’t shop on your website if they think their credit card information is at risk.

Don’t force shoppers to create a customer profile to check out. Instead, offer a user account as an option after they complete the process.

Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. If not, your customers will go to your competition.

The checkout process needs to be short. You can run an A/B test to play with different options and formats.

Create a sense of urgency to avoid cart abandonment: if the customer doesn’t act now, they may not be able to get this product in the future.

Even if someone abandons their cart, it’s not too late. Send them an email to remind them about the product.

You can also offer a discount or promotion as an extra incentive to finalize the sale.

How will you implement these methods on your ecommerce checkout page to minimize shopping cart abandonment rates?





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Should You Jump on the Live Video Bandwagon?


Social media platforms have evolved.

Today, you can do much more than just write posts and comments or upload pictures and videos.

Now, you have the option to live-stream with your audience.

It’s a cool concept, but should you be doing this?

Absolutely.

People love videos.

You just need to make sure you’re effectively using live stream to your advantage.

Over 90% of Internet traffic comes from video content.

Facebook is one of the top options for you to consider for broadcasting live content.

Since Facebook Live launched in 2015, its search popularity rose over 330% in the last two years.

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What does this information tell you?

Not only do people love watching videos, but they are also actively searching for more.

The number of comments can show the popularity of live videos on Facebook too.

Facebook users comment on these videos at 10 times the rate of commenting on regular videos.

Keep an eye on these comments.

Reply to your viewers if you can.

You can reply verbally or type the responses.

It’s a great way to interact with your customers and keep them engaged.

Here are some psychological behaviors that impact and create engagement:

  • curiosity
  • desire to be recognized
  • belonging
  • control
  • exclusivity

We’ll discuss these in more detail as we go through some examples, but here is a quick overview of each emotion.

People are curious by nature. You can use this information to your advantage while you’re streaming a live video.

People also want to be recognized. Mention them by name or username.

If a user makes a comment, acknowledge it. Say thank you or give them a shout out.

This will also give them a sense of control if their comment affects your decision.

Since live videos don’t last long, it’s an exclusive feeling for the viewers. They are part of a smaller group as opposed to just one of the thousands of followers you may have.

Here are some effective ways to implement live video in your business.

Stream live events

Streaming an event can have a positive impact on your sales.

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Take a look at the numbers above.

Two-thirds of viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to an event after seeing a live video of something similar online.

That number is on the rise.

Over 80% of people watched more live videos last year than the previous year.

It’s clear that those numbers are trending upward.

Your business needs to stay up to date with current trends. Use this strategy to promote events for your company.

This works especially well if you’re trying to endorse similar events in the future and drive ticket sales or attendance numbers.

You can also stream videos from events you’re attending as opposed to just hosting.

Let your customers know you’re attending a conference or business expo.

Ask them if there are certain booths or displays they want to see.

This all relates back to that feeling of exclusivity.

Your viewers can feel as if they are at a special event even if they weren’t invited or don’t have a ticket.

Host a live interview

Set up an interview or discussion with a client or employee.

This discussion can establish you as an authoritative source in your field, which is a great way to generate social proof.

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Focus the interview questions on educational information for your viewers.

The conversational structure of an interview may be less formal and more entertaining than just a presentation with one person.

Try to get your customers involved in asking questions as well.

Remember, you want them to be engaged.

Allow some time during the interview to field some questions directly from your live audience.

Like I said earlier, always acknowledge the user by their name.

It will make them feel they are contributing, which is a psychological way to connect with your customers.

Show the customers how your product creation process works

If you’re selling a product, use live video to show your customers how you make things.

For safety and practicality purposes, it may be unreasonable to offer tours of your production facility.

However, you can take your customers on a virtual tour with a live video stream.

Walk them through your building, and explain how the process works.

Take them through each step of your production.

This is a great chance to showcase the quality control of your product.

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It holds you and your employees accountable.

You wouldn’t want to show customers a dirty or dangerous production facility.

Doing live video will prompt you to tighten your quality control and tidy up your facility if you’ve been slacking in that regard.

Give your viewers a behind-the-scenes look

Behind-the-scenes live videos trigger some of the emotions we discussed earlier:

  • curiosity
  • sense of belonging
  • exclusivity

This is a great technique for certain businesses, e.g.:

  • photographers
  • filmmakers
  • tattoo artists
  • hair stylists
  • media companies

It will give your viewers access to areas they normally wouldn’t be able to see.

A photographer or movie producer wouldn’t let just anyone stand behind the camera while they’re working.

But live videos can give fans a sneak preview of what they’ll see when the final product is released.

Live videos temporarily remove the “off limits” feeling your customers may have.

Take a look at how media publishers are using live videos:

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Compared to other industries, media pages are using live video the most.

Consider giving your viewers access to a news anchor or reporter preparing to go on TV.

Even if you’re not part of the media, you can still use live videos.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s trending now.

Provide training seminars

Make sure you’re streaming high quality live videos.

You’ll need a strong Internet connection.

Quality is the most important aspect of live videos, according to 67% of viewers.

This is especially important if you’re broadcasting a “how to” video.

It’s vital your customers can clearly see what you’re doing.

Make sure your training videos are informative.

Keeping your customers informed is a great way to increase customer retention.

Let’s take a look at some of the top perceived benefits of live videos:

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Creating a more authentic interaction with the audience is number one on this list.

A training seminar is a great way to accomplish this.

You can establish a regular viewing audience and host a live video like this on a weekly basis.

It gives your customers a reason to keep coming back.

Do a live Q&A segment

Question and answer sessions are a great way to establish trust with your customers.

You want your customers to trust you because it shows you care about them.

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If your customers don’t think you care, chances are they will leave you for another company.

In fact, based on the graphic above, it’s the number one reason why customers stop using your service.

You need to provide and emphasize excellent customer service.

Amazing customer service can help you double your revenue.

Your customers have questions.

You need to be there to answer them.

Hosting a live question-and-answer session is a great time to do this.

Plus, you can do it at a time that’s convenient for you.

Encourage customers to ask questions.

I’m sure lots of people have similar questions, so by answering them in front of an audience, you won’t have to keep repeating yourself.

This is more effective than taking calls from one customer at a time.

Use live stream video to run a contest for the viewers

Everyone loves getting free stuff.

Live videos are a great way to give away gifts and prizes to your customers.

Promote the event, saying a winner will be randomly selected from the live audience list.

You can use this as an opportunity to promote and market other aspects of your company.

Let’s take a look at some numbers:

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Viewers watch live videos three times longer than they watch pre-recorded videos.

How can you use this to your advantage?

The key is to get your customers to view your live video initially.

Once they start watching, they will watch for a long time.

Using a gift or giveaway promotion is a great way to drive views to your live stream.

Based on what you’re promoting during the stream, those views can ultimately generate leads, clicks, and conversions on your website.

Get feedback for your new products or services

Use your live video stream to hear from your customers.

In the past, I’ve explained ways to understand your customer.

Surveys and interviews are a highly effective method.

Earlier, I suggested you use a live question-and-answer forum for your customers.

This is similar, but the roles will be reversed.

You’ll be asking the questions, and the customers will provide feedback.

Have you ever used a focus group?

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Look at this graph.

Focus groups are expensive.

You can use live video to connect with your customers and ask them questions, and it will not cost you anything. The only cost is your time.

And trust me, it’s well worth it.

You can gain valuable information about your products and services by asking your customers directly about them.

Your customers have an opinion, but they may not share that opinion if they aren’t asked.

Use this information to make your business better.

Take the customer feedback seriously, and apply the necessary changes moving forward.

You can do this on a regular basis, but it’s especially effective right after a new product launch.

Launch a new product

Speaking of new products, use live video to create a buzz about something new.

Tell your social media followers you have a special announcement on a certain day and at a certain time.

Stimulate curiosity.

Don’t give it all away ahead of time.

Make them attend the live video to hear the announcement.

You don’t have to come up with a completely new product.

Announce a product extension instead, for example.

Look at this growth model:

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Extensions can improve the life cycle of a product and prevent a decline over time.

Launching something new is a great way to get your customers excited.

Again, this relates back to that feeling of exclusivity.

First, you get them curious by saying you have a special announcement.

Then, you get them enthusiastic about a release.

During the live video stream, you can even give away a couple of products as we discussed earlier.

This is a great way to make sure people keep tuning in to your live events in the future as well.

Be personal and make a connection with your customers

It’s important to show your face and let your customers and subscribers know you’re a real person.

I’ve explained that you should be personal with your email marketing tactics.

The same idea can be applied to your live videos.

Have a sense of humor.

Just stay away from discussing or making jokes about taboo subjects like politics, race, or religion.

Make sure you’re providing the viewers with compelling content.

Look at some of these statistics:

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Interesting content was the number one reason why customers viewed a live video.

What else stands out to you?

How about that 25% of people watched a live video because a family member or friend recommended it?

If you use personalization techniques during your video streams, your customers will like you more.

As a result, your customers will recommend you and your brand to their loved ones.

Introduce the viewers to your staff as well.

Don’t underestimate the value of being personable.

Conclusion

Should you be using live videos to promote your brand and business?

In short, yes.

Just make sure you’re doing this in an appropriate fashion.

You don’t need to live-stream every aspect of your personal day-to-day life.

However, there are definitely ways to use live video to your advantage.

I recommend using the tactics we discussed above.

So, what platforms should you use to stream live videos?

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Facebook Live and YouTube are most popular right now, but you can research to find out which platforms your customers use the most.

Stream live events.

If you’re going to host similar events in the future, this is a great way to increase ticket sales.

Host live interviews and training seminars.

Provide question-and-answer segments.

These sessions will showcase your authority and knowledge within your industry.

You also want to stimulate curiosity and customer engagement.

Running contests, giving away items, and launching new products will help you excite your viewers.

Create a feeling of exclusivity by giving people a behind-the-scenes look at your production process.

Use live videos to get feedback about your products and services.

Be personable.

Try to stimulate certain emotions that will help you develop a bond with your viewers.

Respond to their comments, and call them out by name.

What tactic will you use during your next live video stream to connect to and establish trust with your viewers?





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Everything You Need to Know Before You Start A/B Testing


Do you think your website is performing to its full potential?

It’s frustrating if you’re not getting enough clicks and conversions on your website.

The layout of your page might be the issue.

Think about the goal of your website.

The layout of your website should match the goal for your website, depending on your business model.

For example, the main goal of an ecommerce site is to increase sales.

But the primary goal of a media or news platform may be to get users to click on advertisements.

The setup of your website needs to reflect your goal.

An ecommerce page will most likely get formatted differently than a news site.

What’s the best way to lay out the content on your website?

Use A/B testing to find the optimal configuration.

Here’s an example of how it works:

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The graphic above is a good depiction of how you would use and analyze A/B testing, which is also referred to as split testing.

It’s a simple concept.

Half of your visitors will get directed to one version of the website, variation A.

The other half will be sent to another version of your site, variation B.

Then, you can determine which layout helps you achieve your goal better.

In the example above, variation A has a 23% conversion rate, while variation B only has an 11% conversion rate.

Variation A is the clear winner of this split test.

Again, the concept isn’t difficult to understand.

But applying this model to your website can be tricky if you don’t do it the right way.

If it’s your first time doing an A/B test or your last attempt was unsuccessful, don’t worry.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know before you start A/B testing.

Set a clear goal for your testing procedure

Here’s a visual representation of what your procedure should look like:

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The first thing you need to do is determine which conversion to improve.

Don’t change every aspect of your website.

That’s an ineffective approach and won’t give you measurable results.

Instead, make an alteration to something specific that’s related to your goal.

If you’re unsure where to start, here are some examples of different components you can change on your website:

  • the headline
  • subheadings
  • your call-to-action buttons
  • links
  • text
  • awards and mentions in the media
  • testimonials and social proof
  • images
  • videos
  • advertisements

These are just some basic suggestions to get you brainstorming.

All these components can affect the behavior and actions of your visitors.

Ultimately, these actions can impact your conversions.

Once you set a goal, you can form a hypothesis to test to determine whether that solution will help you reach those goals.

For example, let’s say your goal is to increase conversions.

Your hypothesis is that increasing the size of your call-to-action button and making it more prominent on your homepage will increase conversion rates.

Then you devise a split test to test that hypothesis.

Here’s an example from Yuppiechef:

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Yuppiechef hypothesized that their website users were too distracted by their navigation menu.

They thought that visitors had too many options to click, so they weren’t selecting the CTA button.

What did they do?

Yuppiechef removed the navigation bar for their variation page of the A/B test.

The test layout resulted in a 100% increase in their conversions.

Highrise used A/B testing to test a hypothesis about the header on their homepage:

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Altering this heading increased clicks by 30%.

To sum up the process:

  • set a goal
  • come up with a hypothesis (what elements should I change to try to achieve this goal?)
  • run an A/B test
  • analyze the results

If you change too many components of your website, it will be extremely difficult to accurately test your hypothesis.

Select a platform to run your A/B tests

Okay.

You’ve got a goal and a hypothesis.

But how do you implement these tests on your website?

Not everyone who operates a website is a computer engineer or programmer.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be either to run an A/B test.

There are plenty of tools and resources that can help you do that.

Here are some places to start.

Google Analytics has an A/B test feature.

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I use Google Analytics to get actionable data from my websites.

If you’re already using other features of Google Analytics and you’re comfortable using this platform, I think it’s a great place for you to start.

You can also try:

  • multivariate tests
  • redirect tests

Both of these are options through Google Analytics.

Multivariate tests let you change multiple elements of your web pages.

Redirect tests are also known as split URL tests.

These are great for testing different landing pages.

Google Analytics gives you organized and detailed reports from your experiments.

You can easily analyze this information to prove or disprove your hypothesis.

It’s also free to use, which is always an added bonus.

The Five Second Test is another platform you can try.

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It’s super easy to test the design elements of your homepage, logos, and landing pages with this service.

You’ll discover what your website visitors like and don’t like about your page.

You can run:

  • click tests
  • performance tests
  • navigation flow tests
  • A/B tests

It’s a great resource to test the call to action on your landing pages.

Five Second Test also has some free plans to choose from.

Optimizely also offers A/B testing.

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Like with Google Analytics, you can run multivariate tests in addition to A/B tests with Optimizely.

It’s easy for you to edit and change virtually every element of your website’s design.

You do need to sign up for a paid subscription to use their platform.

However, Optimizely offers you a free 30-day trial to check out their software—you don’t need to commit to a subscription right away.

Optimizely generates a line of code for you to insert into your HTML.

It’s easy to follow their instructions, and you’ll see results based on your testing in real time.

If you have a mobile application, Optimizely allows you to run experiments on your app as well.

Unbounce is another popular choice for A/B testing.

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Here’s what they offer.

You can build a landing page with high conversion rates.

Integrate your analytics, marketing automation, CRM tools, or email campaigns with their software.

Their A/B testing lets you optimize conversions, converting traffic into leads and sales.

I like their drag-and-drop format to customize your website.

This feature makes it easy to make changes to your A/B tests.

It’s another paid subscription software.

Their packages start at $79 per month.

If you’re on the fence about which software to use for your A/B experiments, I would definitely recommend trying one of the options we just discussed:

  • Google Analytics
  • Five Second Test
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

These are all easy to use, regardless of your goals.

Understand the statistics behind your data

All right, as I said before, your A/B test will help you test your hypothesis.

Once you have the results, you’ll need to make sense of them.

This is a basic statistical experiment.

If you slept through your high school or college statistics course, I’ll give you a quick refresher so you can effectively interpret and analyze the results.

Here are some basic terms to get familiar with:

  • mean
  • variance
  • sampling

The mean is an average value of something.

Variance measures the average variability of your results.

The higher the variability, the less accurate your mean (or average) will be for the experiment.

You can use an A/A test to detect any natural variance on your website.

Here’s an example of A/A testing to determine the variance.

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The two homepages above are identical.

However, the one on the right had 15% more conversions.

You can do the same on your website by splitting the traffic between two identical pages.

It’s important to know this information before you start the A/B test.

Here’s why.

Let’s say the A/B test yields a 15% higher conversion rate for the page you’re testing.

Well, if your natural variance is already 15%, the A/B is inconclusive.

If you don’t know your variance from the A/A test, it could potentially give you a false positive result when you run the A/B test.

Your sample size is also important.

There’s no fixed number of visitors you need to get or set number of days you need to run your test for.

Continue your A/B test for as long as you have to.

Here’s an example of some results you may see after a couple of days:

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At first glance, it appears that your variation was unsuccessful.

But your sample size isn’t large enough yet.

Here are the results of that same test two weeks later:

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Sure, you want to stay on top of your data so you can measure the outcome.

But don’t do this too soon.

If you ended your test after the first couple of days, you would have missed out on all this additional information.

After running the test for two weeks, you can see there was a 25.18% improvement in the variation of your control page.

It’s statistics 101.

Yes, I know you’re excited to see the results so you can come up with a finalized page.

Rushing won’t help.

Take your time so you can get accurate results.

Conclusion

If you want to start A/B-testing your website, that’s great.

It’s an effective method to figure out what changes you need to make to your website to achieve your goal.

Want to improve conversions?

Maybe changing the color scheme, button size, or button placement can impact the results.

A/B testing is the best way to figure this out.

But make sure you keep everything we discussed in mind before you dive into this.

First, you need to set a goal.

The goal should be actionable, measureable, and realistic.

Next, set a hypothesis for your goal.

For example, if you’re an ecommerce company, you’ll want to increase your checkout rates.

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Look at the graphic above.

What elements of your website can you change to minimize cart abandonment?

If your checkout process is too long or complicated, try a variation page with a simpler checkout procedure.

Test the hypothesis.

Earlier we looked at an example where a website eliminated a navigation bar for its A/B test.

This minimized clutter and brought the attention of their visitors to the CTA button.

Analyze the results.

Was your hypothesis correct?

In order to effectively and accurately measure your data, you need to understand the basic statistical concepts we talked about:

  • mean
  • variation
  • sample

You should consider running an A/A test before you start your A/B testing procedure.

The A/A test will help you determine your natural variance to avoid getting a false positive from your experiment.

There are lots of great tools you can use to run A/B tests.

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to find the best one.

I recommend starting with one of the choices I mentioned:

  • Google Analytics
  • Five Second Test
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

These platforms are a great starting point.

Their analytics tools will make it much easier for you to interpret the results of your test.

Do not rush. Give it some time before you jump to conclusions.

Make sure you get a large enough sample size before you draw conclusions about your hypothesis.

What aspect of your homepage will you change to test a hypothesis and increase your conversions?





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Here’s the Process to Help You Consistently Build 7 Backlinks a Week


Are you familiar with backlinks?

If you’re not or if you’re just getting used to the concept, you need to make this common term part of your everyday vocabulary.

By definition, a backlink is an incoming hyperlink from one website to another.

Anytime a website mentions your name, brand, or company with a link to your site, that’s a backlink.

Sure, these may happen by accident.

Maybe a company was doing some research, stumbled upon a statistic on your page, and wanted to give you credit for it.

That happens.

But you can’t rely on that as the sole way to build high quality backlinks.

Do you need to put an emphasis on backlinks?

Absolutely.

Here’s why.

First of all, getting mentioned and linked to from other websites is a great way to increase traffic to your page.

A reader who has never heard of you may be more inclined to click on a link recommended by someone they read faithfully.

But there’s more to it than that.

Backlinks affect your search ranking in Google’s algorithm:

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Getting your page ranked high on Google needs to be a top priority.

According to Net Market Share, over 97% of searches from mobile devices and tablets are made through Google.

Google is responsible for over 75% of the total global search traffic from desktop devices as well.

Take a look at the graph above.

Nearly 24% of that algorithm has to do with the trust and authority of the host domain.

Over 20% of the algorithm involves external links to your page.

Essentially, backlinks can help with about 44% of the factors influencing your search engine ranking.

That doesn’t even include traffic, click-through rates, and page popularity.

I’ll show you how you can build 10 backlinks consistently each week.

1. Take advantage of broken links

Broken links can harm your website’s ranking.

The key is to find broken links on other sites and get your page linked to as a replacement.

This is also a great way to network, make some friends, and establish beneficial business relationships.

Here’s how you do it.

Find some websites similar to yours within the same industry.

For example, if I owned a restaurant, I’d look for blogs about food or pages that critique and suggest places to eat.

Next, use a service like Dead Link Checker.

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Most people use such tools to check for dead links on their own websites.

You can do that as well.

But we’ll take this one step further.

Search for dead links on the websites you found relating to your industry.

Next, contact the person running the website, informing them about these broken links.

You’re doing this person a favor because, like I said before, dead links will hurt a website’s search engine ranking.

Now, you can suggest replacing these dead links with links to pages on your website.

This isn’t a foolproof method.

The webmaster doesn’t have to take your suggestions.

They can simply thank you for the heads-up and replace the link with somebody else’s.

But it doesn’t hurt to try.

Think of it like this.

What were your site’s chances of getting randomly chosen as a replacement for broken links?

Probably slim to none.

At least now, you’re in the running.

Give it a shot.

2. Write guest posts

Guest posts may sound unappealing to some people.

You may think it’s not worth your time to create content for other websites.

Big mistake.

Sure, the number of monthly blog posts published on your site has a positive impact on your site’s inbound traffic.

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People look at these numbers the wrong way.

Yes, you need to write lots of blog posts each month on your own website.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to other blogs.

It’s not a waste of time.

Guest blogging is an effective inbound marketing strategy.

And it won’t cost you anything.

The only price is the time it takes you to write.

Guest blogging will open lots of doors for you.

First, your name, company, and brand will get exposed to a new audience.

These readers may have never heard of you before.

Next, you’ll have a chance to create backlinks to your own website throughout the article.

If a reputable company offers you to write a guest post, say yes.

You can also actively search for sites in your industry looking for guest posters.

3. Mimic the methods used by your competitors

If your competition is having success with building backlinks, you can follow their example.

Subscribe to your competitors’ newsletters.

Follow them on social media.

Pay attention to their tactics.

It’s an effective way to analyze your competition.

You can take this a step further with their backlink strategy.

Use a service like Monitor Backlinks.

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With this platform you can monitor:

  • domains
  • competition
  • keywords

It’s structured similarly to Google Alerts, which I’m sure you’re familiar with.

The only difference is the primary focus of this service is backlinks.

Here’s an example of what your reports will look like:

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If you discover your competition has a home run strategy for building backlinks, follow their lead.

What websites are featuring your competition?

Reach out to them directly and ask if you can write a guest post.

Maybe send them a link to one of the infographics you created, and offer it as a source of information.

Monitoring the habits of your competitors is a great way to stay ahead of the curve.

4. Reach out to bloggers and journalists

Earlier, I talked about contacting webmasters to get backlinks through broken links on their websites.

You can apply this same concept to websites run by journalists and bloggers.

Even if they don’t have broken links, reach out to them. It can’t hurt.

If you don’t know how to reach the right person, here are some options.

First, try the “Contact Us” option directly on their website.

If that doesn’t work or an email address isn’t listed anywhere, try to search for the person by name on other platforms. Do they have a Linkedin account? Connect with the blogger there.

You can also send them a message on Facebook or another social media platform.

Introduce yourself. Tell the person why your pages would be a credible source to mention on their blog.

5. Actively promote your content

You won’t be able to generate any backlinks if people can’t find your information.

How are you promoting your content?

Content promotion needs to be at the top of your list of things to do every day.

Having a website isn’t enough.

You need different avenues to distribute your content across multiple channels.

Are you using videos as a marketing strategy?

You should be.

Videos are growing in popularity, especially on mobile devices.

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Online marketers are recognizing this trend and planning for it accordingly.

If you’re not using video to promote your content, you’ll fall behind the competition.

Build a successful YouTube channel.

YouTube videos are optimized for mobile devices, which is necessary based on the graph above.

They also have a mobile application, so it won’t be a problem for people to find your video content.

You can include these same videos on other platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Your website
  • Other people’s websites as guest posts

It’s an effective content promotion strategy.

Marking experts recognize the importance of videos and plan to use them more often moving forward:

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The majority of businesses are planning to incorporate some form of video marketing as part of their content distribution channels in the next year.

You need to do the same thing.

Promoting your content will make it easier for people to find you.

Ultimately, you’ll end up getting more backlinks.

6. Build infographics on your website

People love images and visual data.

Use this knowledge to your advantage.

Here’s a great example from Marketing Profs:

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Look at what they did.

They found a study and built a visual representation of the data.

What’s someone else more likely to use for a blog post?

Numbers? Or the infographic?

The infographic wins.

It’s easier for readers to find and interpret infographics, especially if they’re reading a long blog post.

Make infographics.

People will use them on their websites and backlink to your page as the data source.

It’s super effective.

If you’re a faithful reader of mine, you know I love to include infographics in my blog posts.

I always give credit to the source with a backlink.

Here are some tips to follow when building an infographic:

  • Stay relevant. Use information related to your industry or areas of expertise.
  • Use legible images. Nobody will use your graphic if it’s too hard to read or understand.
  • Use accurate numbers. Make sure your data is coming from reliable and high quality sources. You don’t want to get a reputation for spreading inaccurate statistics.
  • Use recent information. Data changes over time. Make sure you update your infographics. Instead of coming up with completely new graphics every year, update your old ones.

Building infographics will also increase your website traffic.

It’s a great way to generate backlinks as well.

7. Write reviews and comments

Here’s a great opportunity to backlink to your website.

Comment on related blog posts and articles in your industry.

Use your full name whenever you write comments.

This is a perfect opportunity to generate leads.

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Here are some tips to keep in mind while you’re commenting on someone’s blog post.

  • Talk to the author directly.
  • Address them by their first name to start your comment.
  • Take a stance on a specific topic in the article or ask a question.
  • The post should be relatively short but more than just a few words.
  • Always use a valid email address so people can contact you.
  • Do not spam.
  • Your whole post shouldn’t be about your business or website.
  • Stick to the topic.
  • Place a backlink to your page in a natural way within the comment.
  • Don’t be afraid to comment on big blogs such as Forbes or Mashable.

Again, it’s a great way to gain exposure.

Conclusion

Now, you have a method for each day of the week to build backlinks to your website.

These seven tactics work.

And they don’t take much time or effort.

Building backlinks needs to be a regular part of your content marketing strategy.

Why?

Backlinks are a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.

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It’s the most popular search engine in the world.

If you’ve never actively tried to build backlinks, it’s easy to get started with the strategies I shared with you.

Start by contacting webmasters, bloggers, and journalists.

Use online tools to look for broken links. Try to get your page as the replacement link for these.

Even if you can’t find broken links, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to other websites, asking for a backlink.

Do not turn down guest posts. Search for websites in need of guest writers.

Build infographics. People will use your images as a source of information for their articles.

Actively promote your content. Use platforms such as YouTube to make videos as a promotional method.

See what your competitors are doing. If they have a great backlink building strategy, try their methods.

Comment on blogs and articles. It’s a great chance for you to gain some exposure and backlinks to your site.

Which strategies will you start using this week to build backlinks for your page?





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How to Create a Customer Journey Map That Converts


What strategy is your company using to improve the customer experience?

Hopefully, you’re taking multiple approaches to enhance your customer service department.

Here’s the trick.

Are you looking at the customer experience strategy from an internal company viewpoint?

Or are you trying to see the customer’s perspective?

Journey maps help you get inside the mind of today’s customer.

That’s why these tools are super effective and can ultimately boost your sales.

What’s a customer journey map?

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Essentially, it’s a story.

It details the experience a customer goes through from their initial contact with your company to a purchase.

The map also outlines and explains the procedure of managing the customers as they form and develop a lasting relationship with your business.

Now, look, it’s nearly impossible to outline every single step a customer takes during this process.

That’s not the goal of the journey map.

You need to identify the most important avenues that would cause customers to behave a certain way or take a specific action.

Create a timeline with digital touch points throughout each phase of the map.

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Try to incorporate the thoughts, feelings, and emotions your customers may have throughout their personal journeys.

Understanding how your customers feel throughout each phase will help you improve conversion rates and retention rates.

Ultimately, this will help you to:

  1. enhance the overall customer experience
  2. increase sales

In this post, I’ll show you how to create a customer journey map for your business.

Identify the point of view of your customer

Again, we want to look at these maps through the eyes of your customer.

This may be difficult to comprehend at first.

Try your best to take a step back from the process that works best for your company and get inside the mind of the consumer.

Here’s an easy example.

For practical purposes, let’s say you own a restaurant.

You could create a journey map for lunch and dinner customers or create a map for your catering customers.

Yes, both of these types of customers are important.

But they will likely take very different paths from initial contact to final sale and relationship management.

One map does not apply to all customers.

Here’s an example.

This map creates the profile of a woman who needs a phone and Internet service.

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The map above identified 4 phases of the customer’s journey:

  • Inquiry
  • Comparison
  • Purchase
  • Installation

While in reality the customer may take more steps throughout the process, this map outlines the most important parts.

We go from initial contact to installation.

Look how the company identified the viewpoint of this customer.

The customer is moving.

The map for this customer looks different from the map of a customer who needs phone and Internet services because they are unhappy with their current provider.

Do you understand the difference?

Depending on your company’s structure, services, and industry, you may need to create multiple maps to truly understand your customers.

Let’s continue with the customer profile above.

She’s moving.

So the customer may feel:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Sensitive to price

While a customer who isn’t moving, but is simply unsatisfied with another company, may not have the same feelings.

For example, they may not be as overwhelmed.

This customer may not be as price sensitive either.

In fact, they may even be willing to pay more if they can get better service.

The first step of your customer journey map process is identifying which customer point of view you’re going to outline.

Improve information gaps between departments

The customer journey map is a great opportunity for different departments to work together.

Your lead and development team needs to be part of your strategic operation process.

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I’m amazed by how many companies thought that their lead and development department was lagging in certain aspects of the business.

This problem starts at the top, with ownership and management.

Don’t let your company fall behind.

Include representatives from every department in your meetings while you create a customer journey map.

Here’s why.

Sharing information about the customer experience can help eliminate instances where the customer gets frustrated.

In isolation, your marketing department may have improved acquisition and retention rates from previous years.

The accounting department says sales are good and revenue is up.

Your software development team has optimized your website for mobile devices.

So as a manager, you think everything is operating smoothly, right?

There’s always room for improvement.

Bringing these departments together while you build a journey map will help everyone identify flaws in your system.

Analyze the customer behavior

To determine why your customer takes a certain action, you first need to figure out what those actions are.

How do customers behave on your website?

You may know your click rates, subscription rates, and conversion rates, but you can take this a step further when analyzing their behavior.

Services like Crazy Egg can help you figure out where the visitors on your website are spending their time and improve those areas.

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You can use critical information like this when you’re creating your journey map.

It will help you put yourself in the shoes of the customer as they navigate your website.

Making the proper changes can help improve your conversions and boost sales.

You can also use Google Analytics to generate a behavior flow report.

Here’s a quick step-by-step process for accessing these reports.

Step #1: Navigate to the “Behavior” menu in the “Reporting” tab.

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When you click the Behavior button, you’ll see a drop-down menu.

Navigate to “Behavior Flow” to get started.

Step #2: Choose how you want to view the report.

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Go to the “Site Section” menu and choose from the following options:

  • Automatically Grouped Pages
  • Events
  • Pages and Events

The reports will show how the traffic flows on your website.

You’ll get to see connections and exits, which help you analyze the behavior.

Your content grouping page will show all the points grouped by certain rules or tracking codes.

The events report will analyze something specific on your website, such as a download or video play.

Pages and events allow you to analyze a single page or an assortment of pages on your website.

Step #3: Analyze the behavior in each report.

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“Nodes” are the points on your page where traffic flows.

Anything that’s green is a page node, and the blue sections of the reports are event nodes.

The connection shows the path from one node to the next.

You can use these tools to help you analyze your customer behavior while you’re making a journey map.

This process works well with the previous point about getting all of your departments involved during this discussion.

Understanding the customer behavior on your website can help you determine areas where the customer is getting frustrated.

Use this information to make the necessary improvements.

Build your customer journey map

Now that you’ve gotten inside the mind of your customer, met with all of your departments, and analyzed the customer behavior, it’s time to build the map.

There are tons of different ways you can do this.

You could write it out by hand, use a whiteboard, put sticky notes on a wall, or use some kind of graphic design software on your computer.

Another option is using software that’s specifically designed for building a customer journey map, like SuiteCx.

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SuiteCX is all about improving customer experience.

Their customer journey mapping tools can help make sure you don’t skip any steps in this process.

The software is really easy to navigate, and the visuals are a great way to comprehend the information.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide of their platform.

You can still apply these steps to any software you’re using, even if it’s not SuiteCX.

Step #1: Start by brainstorming.

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Brainstorming is a great way to create better content for your customers.

Start at the beginning.

How does the customer walk through your doors? Or get to your website?

The brainstorming area allows you to put your thoughts down.

The example above shows some lead generation options for a medical clinic.

Remember how earlier we said your journey map doesn’t need to include every single component of the journey?

For example, the clinic may decide not to include brochures in gyms into their journey map.

These leads probably aren’t as prominent as doctor referrals and their landing page.

Step #2: Organize the leads.

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The SuiteCX software lets you drag components from your brainstorming list directly onto a map.

From here you can build an arrow from one part of the map to another.

You can include notes for each step of the process that focuses on the customers’ thoughts and emotions.

Use the information you found earlier about the customers’ mindsets and behaviors.

Make sure all of your departments are present during this process so that you can minimize information gaps.

This will ensure your map is more accurate and effective.

Step #3: View a graph of your plan.

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The graph will help you analyze and plan any changes you’re implementing to improve the customer experience.

First, you’ll see their current journey.

Next, you can plan how to implement the changes you’ve identified.

You may need to ease into this to avoid completely shutting down your conversion methods during a transitional time.

Finally, you can project and implement the optimized map.

Step #4: Outline the customer’s physical journey (if applicable).

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This tool is perfect for businesses with retail locations.

Map out the physical steps your customer will take as they step through your door.

What does the customer see?

How will you generate a sale based on your current layout?

It’s a great opportunity for you to analyze your store.

Step #5: View the finalized version of your maps.

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Yes, maps. Plural.

Remember earlier I said different customers would take different journeys?

You need to have a map for each customer.

The illustration above shows a great example of segmenting your maps by demographic.

Millennials’ first form of contact is through Google AdWords, while Boomers get contacted through direct mail.

Boomers will pick up the phone to call for more information, while the Millennials will go to your landing page.

Each map is different, but the end result is the same.

Conversions and increased sales.

Make sure the finalized version of each map is available to everyone in your business.

They need to understand the importance of each step of the journey.

Conclusion

Journey maps help you get inside the minds of your customers.

They outline and explain the different steps a customer could take throughout their experience with your business.

It starts with the initial point of contact, goes through the conversion process, and continues through the customer life cycle.

Identify the viewpoint of the customer before you create a map.

If you’re building multiple maps, you’ll have to do this more than once.

Next, analyze the customer behavior.

There are ways you can track customer habits on digital platforms.

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You can use tools like the heat map from Crazy Egg or the behavior flow reports from Google Analytics.

This will help you gain a better understanding of each step your customer takes throughout the process.

For example, 47% of buyers view 3-5 content pieces before contacting a sales representative.

Build your map.

Consult with all the department heads in your company.

Bringing everyone together to meet about the customer journey will help ensure there aren’t any information gaps causing customer frustration.

Once those gaps get identified, you can all work together to come up with a solution that improves the customer experience.

Ultimately, your sales numbers will grow as you enhance the overall customer experience.

What tools will you use to get inside the minds of your customers and create your first journey map?





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