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Marty's Conversion Challenge
After posting this piece to G+ I thought of a way to TEST tips like these. I think, after 12 years of Internet marketing and thousands of tests, there are ways to increase ANY SITE'S conversions by at least 2x. I'm willing to bet lunch that any ecommerce site's conversions can be at least doubled by simple tips. If you wan't to take me up on my version of the Pepsi Challenge email your site to Martin.Smith(at)Atlanticbt(dot)com and please put Martin's Conversion Challenge in the subject so I don't delete it as spam.
Nice clean, clear site design here, but it needs to be "warmed up" to increase conversion. Websites start COLD and HARD and need design, copy and images to make them feel approachable, authentic and fun. Here are 6 "Warming Up" Tips:
1. Roll is a tad fast. Rolls make our lizard brains active as we reassess threat damage so I'm not a big fan despite their prevalence in today's web design. If you do roll, roll SLOW.
2. No clear Call To Action - solid branding left a little abandoned by no clear directive about what you want me (visitors) to do now.
3. Navigation - never grey out your navigation as it causes more "What do I do now" panic. The non-grey HOME is supposed to say, "Hey here is the navigation," but it creates confusion since it is an active link even though it doesn't go anywhere since we are ON the home page (this is a pet peeve of mine and a common mistake) and Home is treated differently than the rest of the navigation. I don't like doing things one-way in a particular situation as it creates cross talk and confusion.
4. No testimonials or other trust marks - Don't ever pitch yourself, but always share feedback and comments from people who love you. The absence of any other voices here make this design more start than if it had people sharing the love.
5. The Blank Space - Hey I get it, I've used negative space too as it turns up the tension and makes visitors LOOK but not in such a flat, clean design. Here the missing tooth on the second line just makes it look like you forgot something. I WOULD NOT but a book in there, but a teaser to a sale page or a testimonial pull quote would achieve the same MADE YOU LOOK tension without looking like someone pulled a tooth and left a hole.
6. Bold at the bottom - Bold is an accent best used, like all accents, sparingly. Here again the site walks by a chance to create clear hierarchy. By bolding all the bottom copy it all becomes equal and so goes away. Attention is best gained and kept with meaningful differences. Creating meaningful differences is the job of the designer, differences that translate the merchandiser's and ecommerce manager's secret desires into conversions and engagement.
This design is solid, but also a good example of how CLEAN isn't the only issue. Websites are like opinions everyone has one. I approach an ecommerce website from years of experiences and over $30 in sales. That can make me too commercial for some. I've been called a bit of a used car salesman and that hurts :).
I see it as our job, I always work with teams of designers, merchants and SEOs, to create an inviting, engaging, clear and concise environment that helps visitors become customers. Yes I like making money, but only as the ultimate score card for if we are achieving our goal of mutual benefit.
No matter how many times we employed Occam's Razor when I was a Director Ecommerce, we were never half as clear as we needed to be (lol). If Designtuitive were my site I would warm it up with the voice of others, help visitors by being clear about what I want them to do next via hierarchy and data (sharing most popular or best sellers is always a good idea on an ecommerce site) and look to be a little less Bauhaus and a little more our house :). M