Saturday, June 22, 2013

How Secrets of the Past Can Optimize Conversion Today





At  Conversion Conference in Chicago, +Brian Massey (the Conversion Scientist) and I (the Professor) gave a talk on how CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) principles really had their roots in Direct Marketing Response Principles.  We talked about the discipline of conversion’s roots in direct marketing and how these principles have been used in traditional direct mail and can be applied to the web. We Introduced some of the names in the direct marketing and advertising field that you may not know and to shared some of their wisdom.

Our talk was called, “Everything I Needed to Know about CRO I Learned from Direct Marketing,” based on these principles.  We talked about their roots in direct marketing and how these principles have been used in traditional direct mail and can be applied to the web.  We hailed back to David Ogilvy, Jim Kobs and Murray Rafael, who applied persuasive principles in the testing environment of direct marketing. 

Using Direct Marketing Principles for Paid Search

I noted results  some classroom examples from paid search campaigns.  For example, just by adding to word “free” to an offer, using the principle of reciprocity (buy something and who will get something back from me for ‘free’) dramatically increased results in a paid search ad.  Using the scarcity principle “act now while supplies last” also dramatically improved click through rates, which was our conversion measure.  If you missed our talk, catch the slides and the audio on Slideshare.

Why and How Direct Response Principles Work on the Web

Brian explained how the human brain works and how we need to get past the area in the brain that automatically filters out messages.  Human beings respond to persuasive principles because the brain is ‘hard-wired’ to recognize certain types of communications and respond to them.  Brian presented some excellent examples of online marketing that uses direct marketing principles.  One of these principles is long form copy.  Long form copy is based on the principle of commitment or escalating involvement.  As the prospect or customer reads first an offer, then information in other forms, he or she becomes more committed to our product.  The self-programming thermostat, The Nest uses these direct response techniques online.  Even though we hear that people don’t read or want to read on the web, if information is presented the right way, consumers will respond.

Remember the Customer

We also talked about how response really depends on the customer and where they are in the purchase process or in awareness of your product.  .Years ago advertising legend Eugene Swartz suggested “Five Levels of Awareness” and that we need to tailor our messages to customer awareness levels.  If the prospect is aware of our product, then discounts and deals are most effective.  If unaware, then stories and secrets help to build awareness.  We showed examples of different web sites and offers that were targeted to different levels of awareness.  We also stressed the importance of testing, so easy to do with today’s technology.

Thanks to +Tim Ash and +Casey Murphy for a great conference and for allowing us the chance to speak.

P. S.  Reminder:   If you missed our talk, catch the slides and the audio on Slideshare.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.
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