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Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers Paperback – November 11, 2010
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About the Author
Khalid Saleh is co-founder of Invesp, an ecommerce optimization company. He has more than 12 years of experience in ecommerce architecture, design and implementation, and is an in-demand speaker at industry events such as Emetrics, SMX, Conversion conference, DMA, PubCon and ACCM. Khalid is also the chief architect behind the first conversion optimization intelligence platform.
Ayat Shukairy is co-founder of Invesp, and focuses on website usability and online persuasion. She is a frequent speaker at industry events such as Search Engine Strategies and Web 2.0. Ayat is regularly quoted in publications including Internet Retailer, Retail wire, and Medill. Ayat is Invesp’s lead conversion architect helping companies such as HowStuffWorks, RHDJapan, and Home Gallery Stores generate an average 65% improvement in conversion rates and online revenue.
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Top Customer Reviews
While conversion rates vary by industry, product and specific business, most are in the single digit, some even lower than 1%. This means that well over 95% visitors that find their way to your website do not take the action you want them to take. This is a huge area for improving the ROI on your website.
According to the authors, "The purpose of this book is to help you create a strategy and provide you with tactics to sell more efficiently and effectively online." To accomplish their purpose the authors provide a logical framework for optimizing the conversion of a website.
The first three steps in conversion optimization are to understand your site visitors through personas. While most marketing professionals are familiar with developing customer profiles, the authors go into great detail describing how to develop your customer personas and how the different personas will react differently on your website. One size will not fit all. You must understand your customer personas and optimize your website to suit them.
The second step is to gain trust and confidence. The third step is to design your website for the different buying stages. Again, the authors go through the different buying states that most prospects will go through before reading a buying decision. You must know where a prospect is and speak to them where they are. Trying to convert a visitor when they are at the awareness stage (an early stage) will not work.
Then the authors lay out the next steps for the framework. You must understand the impact of FUDs (Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts) and work to eliminate them on your site. The next step involves how you use offers and incentives. Some incentives can actually turn out to be disincentives. You website must be engaging and persuade your visitor to convert.
The final step in conversion optimization is testing. Most marketers are familiar with A/B split testing. There has been a lot of discussion lately about multivariate testing. The authors spend a good deal of time talking about the positive and negative sides of multivariate testing.
According to the authors, "The science of marketing is about studying human behavior and how to influence it. Optimization done correctly starts with a full analysis of the target client and gaining deeper understanding of their business goals." It is dangerous and often unproductive to rely more on testing software than putting the brain power to really understand what is going on with the prospect and how they interact with the site.
The book is well written. They authors bring their real world experience to the book and share numerous examples of what works and what doesn't.
This book is for the website professional. While there is a lot of great information and insights that will help any web designer do a better job, the book is primarily for those charged with optimizing business websites.
You will come away with a much better appreciation of all the different things on any website which can be improved.
If you are in anyway involved in ecommerce, you would do well to read this book. You will have a much better understanding of why online conversions is so difficult and how you can improve your site.
I was contacted by one of the authors asking me if I would read the book and give my opinion on it. I believe he asked me because I am a frequent reviewer on Amazon.com. What he did not know is I am also the owner of a small e-commerce website and I am fighting a down economy and the whims of Google changing their search algorithms. My website traffic has been steadily dropping, along with my sales due to the Google Panda update. I needed this book, NOW. Maybe you do, too.
Conversion Optimization offers a comprehensive plan to increase your conversion rates with a methodology that addresses all facets of getting customers who have found your site to "convert". For sites selling products, like mine, that means to buy something. For informational sites or lead generation sites those goals will be different. What I really like about the book is everyone from the large corporation who has their own staff of developers and a totally customized site, down to a mom and pop operation like mine that is running on a Yahoo! store, can find something in the book to help them out. Of course, there are some things I cannot do like the A/B testing, multivariate testing, extensive surveying, etc. But, I highlighted dozens of passages of things I can do and plan to do over the course of the next several weeks.
When it comes to increasing sales, you can bring more customers to your site or your can try to get the ones who are coming to your site to make a purchase. With conversion rates on ecommerce sites running at 2% for a decent site, even getting one more customer out of a hundred amounts to a 50% increase in sales. I have been running my site for 9 years now and I have always thought it cheaper, easier and more productive to try to improve my conversion rate than to go after new traffic. I have had so many SEO firms have called me up offering me ways to get more traffic. I am much more interested in how I can get the traffic I have already got to buy. Until I saw this book, I had not heard of firms that specialize in optimizing conversion rates. I always wished they existed. But, all of the solicitations I have gotten are from people offering me to put more people into my sales funnel, not helping me to close up the holes. As a sales guy with 25 years experience, I can tell you I would much rather be able to be more efficient at closing the leads I have than in getting a bunch more leads that I have to chase down, qualify and then try to close.
The book is full of real life examples, including screen shots of websites who have done things right and not-so-right. It is technical enough for a developer. But, it is accessible enough for a business owner. Whether you are a small business owner, a contract website developer or a large company, I think you will find this book well worth the price. As a website developer, the knowledge in this book will make you more valuable to your clients. I got the Kindle edition which has a great digital index so that you can actually look up the topic you are interested in and it links back to the relevant passage in the book.
I have already recommended this book to the development company that helps me with my Yahoo! store and I'm going to strongly encourage them to read it. I am hoping to implement many of the ideas immediately. In fact, today, as I was finishing up the book, I took a few minutes to rewrite the introductory paragraph on my home page to address the various personas of prospects landing there. Unfortunately, it'll have to be a hit-or-miss kind of implementation since I do not have the resources to go about it in the scientific, iterative way outlined in the book. However, I certainly expect that my conversion rate will be going up as a result of having read this book.
The book was written by Khalid Saleh and Ayat Shukairy of invesp.com. I have been following their blog and the webinar for few years. They produce a webinar about once a month. I highly recommend attending it.
So, I finally decided to go ahead and order the book. This book provides a great deal of practical examples to landing page and conversion optimization without the fluff you find in the few other books on this topic.
The book obviously is written for digital marketers who might have done some testing in the past or online business owners who are looking for good starting point with conversion optimization. In addition to the real life examples, the book provides a solid methodology for evaluating your website, campaign and landing page. Of the four different books written on this topic, (landing page optimization, call to action and you must test that), this is the book that you should start with and the one you will always come back to.
If you are doing serious business online, I highly recommend getting this book. The ROI of this book will pay for it a thousand times.