Viljo Vabrit is the cofounder of ConversionXL Agency, a conversion optimisation startup based in a small office in the trendy bohemian area of Telliskivi in Tallinn, Estonia. They’re expensive, but it doesn’t seem to put off their large corporate clients, such as Kaspersky, Nuts.com and Diamond Candles. Their tagline is, ‘We will make you tons more money’, their manner playful - yet deadly serious. They are confident in their service, but more importantly, obsessively passionate. The first thing Viljo says to me is, “Show me your site then,” he actually couldn’t wait to get stuck in, and he gave us a bit of a roasting - along with some great advice to share too.
Firstly, tell us a bit about you
I’ve been working in marketing for almost 10 years, different jobs, different organisations, NGOs, companies. I started a few of my own companies and failed! The thing is that I was always interested in marketing, the human aspect, how to learn who your clients are and how to communicate about a product or service to make them buy it! Traditional marketing can be quite boring and you are limited by the country or the nation where you’re living. That’s why online marketing was much more interesting for me and also my business partners - one is in the United States and one is also here in Estonia. We all have a marketing or tech background, so it was a good combination.
What do you do at ConversionXL?
We do conversion optimisation, which actually means that whatever your goals are on your site, we help companies to achieve those goals, whether it be sign-ups or some kind of content. The thing with this conversion optimisation is that it’s quite new, not so many books out there, we have our own blog which is the most read conversion optimisation blog on this planet, and actually where we get all of our business from - a good blog really drives traffic to any site. We have three full time people working for this blog writing articles, etc. When we started it, we realised that there were not so many places where you can learn this stuff from, because it was quite new. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your site and then do the action that you want them to do. We prefer bigger clients because with commercial optimisation you need a lot of traffic, when it comes to statistics you need a certain amount of conversions to get a significant result, otherwise the tests would take too long to run. For startups who don’t have a lot of money and need to get their conversions up (because they usually cant buy the traffic) we are always happy to give advice.
The basics of the landing page
If there are people who really don’t know what you do, it’s very important to get this information above the fold (on the initial landing area). A concrete value proposition, maybe an explanatory sentence along with your tagline to say what the site is all about. Too many sites are confusing and ambiguous. You have to think about what the mindset of your visitor is, 'How much do they actually know?' Usually they don’t know much.
You have to give them a direct path to follow, that’s why websites usually have a main call to action above the fold: ‘Read more’, or, ‘Go and buy this or that’. So, is that the main intent of the visitor? If it’s a content website, ‘Read’, ‘Watch’, and ‘Listen’, is a good idea. You provide people with the next steps because they prefer to consume that content in different ways, someone might be in the office and cant use audio, etc.
Above the fold on a content website
Using an infinite video loop is usually not a good idea, it’s like a TV when there is text on the screen, you can't concentrate on either the video or the text. That’s why we usually recommend static images, but not moving stuff. The video stuff, you start to watch it, but… *Laughs*... Use static images - of the human face, famous people, business people, it draws attention and creates emotion. When you start a content website with a feature story, it’s so much more interesting. Now sites like the BBC, they have fresh content all the time, they are the benchmark really. In the end opinions don't matter. Everything should be A/B tested to make sure it works for your business or not.
“Good landing pages are similar to articles in magazines, you have a headline, you have something like a leading paragraph, and then you have the content. It's so important to understand that they are similar to articles because people are used to reading articles.”
Key areas to consider to make your site attractive and keep visitors
Usability - Every website has usability problems usually, so if you get those usability problems fixed, it means that more people continue using your site and they're not dropping off. Maybe if there’s something they really don't like, they leave.
Copywriting - Value propositions, product copy and call to actions. How to make people buy your stuff: Make sure you test what works best for your business.
Analytics - Data gathering and analysis is so important. Commercial optimisation always starts from analysis and that you have to look at the site from a heuristic point of view. Then you have to gather qualitative data, like user testing, customer interviews, and surveys to ask the clients what the problems are; what they like and don't like. You also have to look at the analytics, to see the numbers, the quantitative data, to map what the problematic pages are. If you can combine this data you'll get insights that tell you where visitors are dropping off and why they are; then you can start to solve those problems.
A/B Testing - There are many ways in which you can improve the site, but you never really know what works for your customers. So we run these tests where half of your visitors are given the standard site and half the new version, and then we measure the conversions to see whether the new version is statistically significantly better than the old one.
By just keeping these few things in mind you can make your business a great deal of money.
Read also 6 Ways to Imporve Your Website by ConversionXL's Viljo Vabrit