Chris Goward speaking at AZIMA's January event.

Chris Goward speaking at AZIMA’s January event.

By Susan Kern-Fleischer

More than 75 guests attended the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) event, “Learn How to Execute a Conversion Optimization Strategy That Drives Dramatically More Profit,” on Jan. 16 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas. Chris Goward, founder and president of Wider Funnel Marketing Optimization, gave us a sobering glimpse into the reality that when it comes to website design and functionality, “most best practices don’t work because they have not been tested.”

People are expecting more when they visit your website and it is becoming more difficult to convert visitors to customers. Goward said most companies, guided by their agencies, make the common mistake of doing a complete redesign of their websites, without ever testing individual components, such as headlines, images, column redesigns, messages about security and more. He cited Amazon as a successful example of ‘Evolutionary Redesign’ which he said is the better strategy. Amazon has had the same website since 1995, but because the ecommerce retailer tests every day, Goward said Amazon essentially redesigns its website on a daily basis.

Urgency fuels Chris Goward's LIFT model, aka Landing Page Influence Function for Tests

Urgency fuels Chris Goward’s LIFT model, aka Landing Page Influence Function for Tests

He encouraged the audience not to get caught up in the latest, hottest design elements, such as using rotating graphics on your home page, which he said fails miserably from a conversion perspective. “Every time we test it, it loses. The only thing it does is solve the problem for the art director,” he said.

Another surprising revelation: The McAfee security symbol decreases conversion rates when inserted near the call to action.

How you test is critical and Goward recommended setting goals to lift sales in what he calls the ‘Waterfall’ method, starting at the top with your business goals, moving down to your marketing goals and finishing with your conversion optimization goals.

Goward shared several examples of proven conversion frameworks and how to create powerful value proposition tests, emphasizing that “there are no losing tests, only inconclusive tests.”

He ended his presentation by offering AZIMA guests a 20-page white paper on the topic (email Goward at [email protected]).

Join AZIMA on Thurs., Feb. 20 when Jodi Gersh of Gannett presents Content Programming For the Social Audience.

And, mark your calendar to attend our 2nd Annual TIM Awards from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thurs., March 20 at the Phoenix Art Museum. Named after Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, acknowledged father of the World Wide Web, the TIM Awards showcase Arizona talent and work in the interactive realm for calendar year 2013. AZIMA is accepting entries through Friday, Feb. 14. To learn more, visit www.azimaawards.com or www.joinazima.org.

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