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survey new logoSmall businesses are becoming increasingly aware of conversion rate optimization (CRO), and the huge potential it can have on improving sales, customers, subscribers and leads on their website (without having to drive more traffic!)

The great news is that many of them are now starting to use it to complement their traffic building efforts. However, there seems to be little research into their performance, and to understand issues they have and what help they need.

To help understand this, I have created the Small Business Website Conversion Survey 2014. It’s fairly short and should only take you 5 minutes to complete.

Win an expert website review & testing tool subscriptions

What’s in it for you to respond? Apart from learning from the results when they are published, three survey respondents will be randomly chosen to win one of three prizes. You can win either a Premium Website Conversion Review from myself (worth $399), a year’s Pro subscription to Unbounce landing page tool (worth $600) or a year’s Small Business subscription to Qualaroo visitor survey tool (worth $750).

Make your voice count and complete the survey

If you are a small business, it’s simple and quick to make your voice count – it should only take you 5 minutes to complete the survey using the link below:

Take the Small Business Website Conversion Survey 2014

In April August 2014, the survey results report will be publicly shared on this website, along with the winners of the two prizes.

Please help spread the word to small businesses

We are looking to get as many small businesses to respond as possible, from web design agencies to real estate firms. Please share this survey by using the social media buttons below. Thanks so much!

website problemJust launched an online business? Don’t know how well your website is really performing? Don’t have a clue how to check conversion rates?

“Most websites don’t have a massive traffic problem, however every website in the world has a conversion problem” – Bryan Eisenberg

The truth is many online businesses don’t really know how to check if their website is converting well, other than by judging how many sales or customers they are getting. And many others don’t really know how to use Google Analytics to check their conversion rates either.

Therefore to help you find out if you have a website conversion problem (without having to use Google Analytics to find out), I have put together a list of 25 signs that indicate your website isn’t converting very well and that you need expert help!

How many of these 25 signs sound familiar?

  1. You spent $100 on driving traffic without seeing any new sales or customers
  2. You haven’t done any A/B testing to improve your website
  3. You think that increasing traffic is the best way of increasing conversions
  4. You use ‘click here’ for some of your links
  5. You haven’t recently tried purchasing or signing up on your own website
  6. You aren’t providing a free incentive to get more people to sign-up/register
  7. You have never asked your boss for money to improve your conversions
  8. You don’t offer any guarantee or other risk reducers for your visitors
  9. You have never surveyed your website visitors to ask for feedback
  10. You don’t have a clear call-to-action on your homepage
  11. You don’t clearly show your unique value proposition on your homepage
  12. You don’t show any security or trust seals in your checkout or sign-up pages
  13. You don’t know what the page fold is or how to use it best
  14. You use a ‘captcha’ on your forms to prevent spam or bots
  15. You don’t know the names of any conversion rate experts
  16. Your website has few signs of life – few comments, few likes or follows
  17. You care more about getting on the first page of Google than conversions
  18. Your boss decides on whats best for the website, not your visitors
  19. You don’t know the benefit of using goals in Google Analytics
  20. You spent a ton of money on a site redesign but it didn’t increase sales
  21. You don’t know what a landing page is, let alone used one
  22. You don’t know your own website conversion rate
  23. You only get a few subscribers to your newsletter per week
  24. You don’t know what social proof is or how to build it
  25. You have never checked your website in a different browser

Now over to you…

Be honest. How many of these signs apply to you? Don’t worry, you won’t be alone in admitting many of these – even some experts make some of these mistakes!

And if it looks like you have many problems, don’t be too shy or proud to ask for help from some of conversion experts (like myself) listed in sign #15.

beeBuilding social proof on websites is a new online marketing buzzword to help you boost your conversions and increase sales. This is where you add specific things on your website to make it look really popular and well-liked to increase the chances of visitors liking and using it (a term made famous in the marketing world by Robert Cialdini’s excellent ‘Influence’ book).

Here is the brutal truth though – most online businesses are doing a poor job with building social proof. It’s certainly not just a simple case of adding social media icons, product ratings and testimonials on your website and then hoping for the best.

To make sure your website gets the full power of social proof, I’ve created The Buzzworthy Technique.  Following this new technique will boost your conversions and sales on any kind of website, and get all kinds of visitors raving about your website and products. It involves hunting for highly compelling social proof elements, picking the best ones, then adding them to your website and testing to see which perform best. Let’s get started with the 10 fairly simple steps: Continue Reading »

Merry-ChristmasHappy holidays everyone! 2013 is nearly over, and I thought it would be a great time to round-up some of the best website conversion rate optimization articles from the last year. Perfect for some leisurely reading while you enjoy some much needed time off!

Lets get started – here are the 12 most awesome articles, in no particular order…

10 Things Small Business can Learn from Top Ecommerce Websites
This article is packed with great examples and learnings of what top ecommerce sites are doing to improve conversions.

The Beginners Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization
Enough said. This was one of the most popular articles of the year, and perfect for getting your feet wet with conversion rate optimization.

14 Conversion Tips that Will Matter the Most in 2014
These tips from 14 conversion rate experts (including myself!) will give you a great kick-start to the new year.

How Walmart’s Responsive Design Boosted Conversions by 20%
This great article highlights the potential and real benefits of creating a well optimized mobile website.

21 Ways You Are Screwing Up Your Landing Pages (And What To Do About It)
This awesome article highlights some great examples of common landing page conversion mistakes.

Highlights from the 2013 Conversion Rate Optimization Report
The Annual Conversion Rate Optimization Report was released in November, and this overview infographic is excellent (and fun!)

7 Simple Tweaks That’ll Shoot Your Conversion Rate Up
This was just one example of some of the many amazing conversion related articles by Neil Patel that caught my eye.

What’s the One Thing That Keeps Searchers from Converting on your Site
This good article by Brian Massey provides help from a unique angle – improving conversions from search visitors.

The Essential User Guide for Website Testing Tool Success
A shameless self-promotion, but I’m pretty proud of this one – an indepth look at how to use A/B testing tools to ensure success.

What Conversion Rate Experts Often Forget About: The Customer Lifecycle
This excellent article focuses on the often ignored bigger picture of conversions – improving customer conversions in the long run.

10 Quora Threads About Conversion Rate Optimization
This unusual article highlights some of the great conversion rate optimization articles you can find on Quora.

3 Excellent Ways to Ensure Your Landing Page Social Proof Actually Proves Something
No best of year guide would be complete without an Unbounce article – these guys crank out solid articles like this all year.

Bonus awesome article: 8 Effective Ways to Increase Your Blogs Conversion Rates
Daniel Sharkov is only 19 but is wise beyond his years – ignore his wacky blog design – he is going to be a star of the future!

What was your favorite conversion rate optimization article in 2013?
Please comment below and share the website conversion articles you loved the most.

Have a website with the goal of generating leads or email subscribers? Great news – there are now several awesome low-cost tools to really give your form completion conversion rates, subscribers and sales a huge boost. However, they all vary slightly in features and its often hard to decide which is best to use.

To help you understand the differences and pick one that best fits your needs, I have compared and rated the three major options available – Opt-in Skin, Opt-in Monster and Popup Domination 3.0. And the pop-ups they create can’t be blocked, so are very effective at generating leads – they use lightbox functionality.

You can actually see Opt-in Skin being used on my website (at the end of each article) along with Opt-in Monster (the lightbox pop-up that appears when you move your mouse to leave my website – known as an exit intent popup).

These tools gave me a huge boost in my email opt-in rates – from 2% to 45%!

Here are the ratings and comparisons for these three major opt-in tools:

opt-in skin logo opt-in monster logo popup domination logo
Cost $67 flat fee. $49 for basic version. Exit intent pop-up version costs $199. $77 (extra advanced form themes cost $30 more).
Types of opt-in forms available 8/10 Embeddable opt-in forms (5 styles) but only 1 pop-up form offered. 8/10 Pop-up form (5 styles), slide in form, slide up footer form. No embeddable forms. 6/10 Comes with 5 pop-up form styles (video style costs more). No other form types though.
Quality of pre-built opt-in forms 6/10 Varying quality, but some look very amateurish. 9/10 Good variety of professional designed themes offered. 8/10 Eye-catching high quality themes offered.
Ease and control of setting up opt-in forms 7/10 Easy with good options, including control of when and where forms are seen. Only for wordpress sites though. 7/10 Very easy to setup with good amount of form setup options. Also only for wordpress sites. 8/10 Very easy to set-up using the plugin for blogs, and offers great standalone version for non-blog websites.
Exit intent popup form capability 0/10 Not included. 7/10 Pop-up shown when visitor goes to exit (extra cost to use). 9/10 Offers the most exit-intent pop-up functionality options.
Ability to customize themes and styles 7/10 Not enough options to customize, and non-standard options for each style. Good advanced CSS editing option. 9/10 Highly customizable, including colors, fonts and bullet points for each style. Comes with cool Google fonts too. 7/10 Fairly good ability to customize some elements of the forms, colors and text, but in need of improvements.
Analytics and A/B testing capabilities 8/10 Great analytics, including analysis by page plus A/B testing. 7/10 Standard analytics, with A/B testing functionality. 7/10 Simple analytics, with A/B testing functionality.
Comments Ideal for creating great forms at end of articles, but lacking in customization, and only offers one popup style that is not great. Has great variety of opt-in methods – the best for pop-ups. Is missing embedded opt-in form capability though. One of the original and best popup opt-in tools, but they need to improve by offering other opt-in types.
Overall rating 7/10 The only offering embeddable forms. Lowest cost, but needs improving. 8/10 Excellent for pop-ups, but exit intent option too expensive. Good other form types. 7/10 Good price and features but limited to pop-up form types unfortunately.

My overall advice for choosing a great opt-in tool

As you can see in the ratings, its pretty close between all three tools. Opt-in Skin is quite different though because its the only one to offer embeddable forms (like I use on my site), and personally I use it because I think its a great place to show a form (it’s where visitor’s eyes naturally end up, not in the side bar). They don’t offer exit-intent popups though, which is like the secret-sauce of boosting email opt-ins!

Opt-in Monster and Popup Domination 3.0 are much more similar though and are both great for pop-ups. And while its the most expensive for the very powerful exit-intent functionality, I think Opt-in Monster (shown below) is marginally the best because it also offers slide-up and footer forms, and is currently building new features.

opt-in monster screenshot

All three have a money back guarantee anyway, so don’t just take my word for it – give one a spin, and you can always try another if you don’t like it.

Great incentives and follow-up emails are also essential

However, I think its just as important to focus on what you are offering as an incentive in your opt-in form! To give your opt-in rates a great boost, always try and give away something of value for free (like I have done with my free toolbox). For a few other ideas you could give away a free ebook relating to your website, or a free trial or consultation – visitors love getting something of value for free (and don’t forget to mention you won’t spam them!)

And finally, not only do you need an email marketing tool to capture opt-ins and send marketing emails, but you really need to design a compelling series of engaging auto emails with the aim of ‘softly and gradually’ converting your visitors for your main website goals (like a purchase or additional orders).

Now over to you – have you used any of these tools with great success? Or maybe you use another opt-in tool – please comment and let us know – thanks!

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