A marketer with 17 years of experience, Bob has taught over 1,000 webinars and spoken at over 50 events.
A marketer with 17 years of experience, Bob has taught over 1,000 webinars and spoken at over 50 events.
In this episode of the Lead Generation Podcast, Oliver discusses the lessons he's learned during his journey as a serial entrepreneur, shares his key elements for a high-converting landing page, and highlights a few surprising ways he uses basic software tools in his daily life.
If you want to learn more from Oliver and his crew after listening to the discussion, be sure to use the coupon code leadpages at ConversionRateAcademy.com to save 50% on your first purchase (monthly or annual).
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Bob Sparkins: Oliver, thank you so much for joining me from across the pond today for today's episode of the Lead Generation Podcast.
Oliver Kenyon: Thank you for having me. I'm super excited to get into it. I'm, yeah, really looking forward to discussing some CRO and some other good stuff with you.
Bob: Excellent. Well, I'm certainly looking forward to digging into that as well. Before we get into that, let me ask you a question I love to ask our Lead Generation guests, which is what's the most transformational way that you impact the lives of the clients that you work with at Conversion Rate Academy?
Oliver: Wow. Yeah, great question. I think for us, we focus on design. We focus on increasing your conversion rates through design frameworks, so CRO frameworks, having certain elements on your page to increase your conversion rates. I think it's sharing our frameworks with people, implementing them for people, and literally doubling people's conversion rates overnight, which is super exciting.
Bob: Yeah, as you say, skyrocket their conversions.
Oliver: Yeah, that's our favorite word. I think if I could trademark the rocket emoji, I would. That's the most used emoji I think I've ever used. I love it.
Bob: I bet you would. As I was researching a little bit more about what you've been up to over the last decade plus, you have been part of what is now called ConversionWise, but used to be Landing Page Guys, but you've also started and stopped a few different ideas. I think you are one of those serial entrepreneurs that a lot of the listeners of our Leadpages podcasts tend to be. Give me a little bit of an example of when you first got started as a solopreneur, as an entrepreneur, and then as somebody who runs a company. What was the impetus for you? What caused you to do that route instead of being an employee somewhere else?
Oliver: Yeah, great question. I like this whole origin, looking back. I actually wrote a post on my Twitter about a month ago. I've recently got into Twitter and I wrote a post on my Twitter recapping the past. I suddenly realized that I've been online for 15 years. I made my first bit of money about 15 years ago and I've owned, well, founded ConversionWise, which as you rightly said was Landing Page Guys 10 years ago. I did this whole recap and it's quite a nice experience to do it, to actually sit down and look back at what you've done. But how did I get into this world? I don't think anyone ever wakes up at school and thinks, "I want to do conversion rate optimization."
I don't think you even know what that is at school, right? We didn't even touch on marketing, let alone the deep depths of CRO and conversion design. But I actually stumbled across the CRO space, funny enough, through hip-hop music. I still am. I love hip-hop music and as a young teenager, I was a full-time chef. I trained to be a chef. I was in the kitchens here in the UK and I used to go online to research hip-hop, these battles. This was the days of 8 Mile. Do you remember the film 8 Mile with Eminem?
Bob: Oh yeah.
Oliver: I was obsessed with those rap battles and I was going online. I was on these different forums and basically, one thing led to another and actually my first ever website was a forum. My true passions are communities and CRO so I've always launched forums and communities and I've always loved CRO. And on one of these hip-hop forums, I actually met another guy who was in Wales who introduced me to CPA marketing, a form of affiliate marketing, which some of your listeners may have heard of. It's cost-per-action marketing. It basically means that for every action you get someone to take like fill out a survey, you get a cost so you get a bit of revenue. And this lad introduced me to CPA marketing and we joined this CPA network. Again, for those listeners who are as old as me, it was a network called CPA Lead that some of you might remember, but CPA Lead was genius. It had a live chat so you would log into this network, see your affiliate stats and how much you've earned for the day and it had this live chat.
I basically was trying to figure out how to conquer CPA marketing. I was asking everyone. I was still a chef. I was like, "How do we do this," but the annoying thing is no one was revealing their secrets, right? It was all quite close to people's chests. They were afraid that if they shared, it would get saturated. And I was this young naive lad, still a chef, still listening to his hip-hop music, and I just thought, "Do you know what? I'm going to start a forum about CPA marketing." I started this community in this forum about CPA marketing purely for one reason. I didn't know how to monetize a community. I didn't even know you could make money from a community, but purely for the reason that I was going to invite people from this chat over to my forum so that they could be a little bit more elaborate on what they do because everyone inside the CPA Lead chat was so closed in, right?
I created this forum. I remember I did the whole... I think you guys have Shark Tank, right? We have a program called Dragons Den, which is very similar and I did the whole Dragons Den or Shark Tank pitch to my father and my grandfather at the time. I remember sitting them down and saying to them, "Look, I need 150 quid. It's going to cover a vBulletin license." Back in the day, vBulletin license was the forum software that you used, a domain, and a bit of hosting, and they, in return, would get 40% of this business. Thankfully, they said they were in. They gave you the money. I started this community and it was mad. Within three, four weeks, I had several hundred people join the community and I was like, "How has this happened? I didn't even think this was going to be a community that people joined." Long story short, I owned that community for, I think, roughly about 10 years and it was the first real business I had online.
We renamed it called Affiliate Fix. It was all about affiliate marketing and to date, it is the largest ever affiliate community online. And I actually sold that business back in 2017 to Neil Patel, which is quite cool. I actually found someone, funny enough, on that community. All my, I guess, businesses and ideas and stuff have come from networking in forums and communities, and I found someone in that community. Bear in mind, this was a global community. At this time that I met Andy, my co-founder, I think we probably had about 10,000 members. It's now got 250,000 plus members, but I think we had about 10,000 members and the beauty of vBulletin is that in your profile it said where you were from. You could put your location.
And this was a global forum. I mean, global as in there were people all over the world joining this community. And all of sudden, this guy pops up and it said, "Andy." He wrote a post about affiliate marketing and it said, "Bristol." I was like, "Whoa, that's crazy. I'm from Bristol. Is this guy stalking me or is my girlfriend playing a joke on me or something?" Anyway, I hit him up and said, "Look Andy, this is nuts. I'm from Bristol as well. How about we meet for a coffee?" And I always remember my girlfriend at the time, I'm married to her now, 13 years on, I think I've got that right, she said, "Don't get in touch with this guy. You don't know who he could be. Could be some weirdo. Don't invite him to our house." This was before the days of Tinder or meeting people online or whatever.
And anyway, we met and we've been business partners since, and it was with him that we actually founded Landing Page Guys, somewhat 11 years ago now, and got into the CRO space. And it was basically because there was a lot of people on the affiliate community who saw the design of the community and loved it. I found an amazing designer who still works with us quite to the day by the way, and asked if they could use him. And I basically arbitraged his design to begin with, created a company, created this idea, and yeah, along the way tens and tens of failed websites and ideas, but Affiliate Dix and Landing Page Guys, now ConversionWise, were the two that stuck basically.
Bob: That's amazing, and maybe if we flip the tables around someday, I'll share my story of origin on a membership forum as well. It was pretty similar.
Oliver: Oh, we have more common than we think. I love it. Very cool.
Bob: Very cool. The next question I have for you around that is within your community as you grew, there was a time, I'm sure, where you were like, "I need to monetize this in some way." What was one of the first ways that you wound up generating some revenue from that initial, basically research project that you had?
Oliver: It was funny. Like I say, I wasn't clued up to the art of internet monetization at this time. I probably didn't even know what the word monetize meant. I didn't really know I could make money from a forum. I just did it to bring people closer together and I think that's probably something that if anyone starting a business can take from this, I've always believed in that the money will follow and people get obsessed with obsessing over, "How can I make money from this?" But actually, if you build a community and you build a thousand true fans, the money will always follow and that's just a bit of a segue.
Actually, funny enough, the first person to ever hire us at Landing Page Guys who we built some landing pages out for and he actually grew our company substantially as a mentor and our friend and customer, was a guy called Tim Burd. Now, I'm not sure if you are aware of who Tim is, but probably a lot of your listeners are. He's nicknamed the Godfather of Facebook. He started a community called AdLeaks. Just very successful Facebook marketer basically and he used to own an affiliate network. He hit me up on CPA Fix, it used to be called, now affiliatefix com, and he said, "Can I pay you to put my banner advertising my... This is display ads back in, God knows when it was. "Can I pay you to put my banner on your forum so that people can click through and join my network? And then as publishers, they can join through my network and I can obviously earn commissions from them."
I was dumbfounded. I was like, "Whoa, I can make money from this? You're going to pay me just to put a stupid, static banner on my site with a link," and I was like, "Hell yeah, you can pay me, Tim."
And anyway, me and Tim got really close and he was our first customer at Landing Page Guys.
But to answer your question, when we were actually fully operational, six, seven years in making some really good money before we sold the site, the main monetization channels were display banners. And one thing we did, which transformed our business is we went from monthly packages to six and 12 monthly packages. Instead of saying, "You can advertise for one month," we would say, "No, we only work with serious networks. You have to pay six months upfront or 12 months upfront," which just meant that we could work with more serious companies on bigger CPMs, et cetera.
And then a huge driver of revenue was affiliate marketing. It was what we were doing, but we were doing it through companies like Leadpages, et cetera. What we would do, and we still do this today, me and Andy have another company that is doing relatively well that we can talk about or not talk about, it doesn't matter, but it's a similar model. What we would do is we would approach a Leadpages for example, and we would say, "Hey guys, you have an amazing software that our audience would love to use it. It seems like you've got an affiliate program. All we do is ask the two things. We ask for a commission for everyone we send over and we ask for an exclusive discount coupon or bonus for our members."
We would have a discounts page on Affiliate Fix. It's still there to date. If anyone wants to check out how it's displayed, et cetera, it works, where we would say, "Right, all Affiliate Fix members get 50% off the first month at Leadpages," plus we would then get a kickback and we would grow. The best thing about affiliate commissions on that level is they're recurring. They compound over time and the more people you send in, if the softwares are good and they retain that low churn, it just compounds and compounds and compounds so it's really good.
Bob: Yeah, I think anyone listening who can incorporate affiliate marketing of any SaaS business really adds a very lucrative revenue stream and I would highly recommend it obviously with Leadpages, but there's a lot of different tools out there too that you can use.
Bob: Now you have started a few other companies along the way so I'm curious, what had you either evolve, pivot, or stop a business idea that you have because I'm sure you have more than you can handle. Go through mind and your strategic methods that has you choose one of those pathways.
Oliver: Yeah, absolutely. The ones that come up to me... You started this interview by saying that I fall into that serial entrepreneur bracket. I guess I do because I get a kick. We have a full team now over at ConversionWise. There's 30 plus of us and me and Andy, we're not away from the business, we're in the day-to-day, but I get different kicks than Andy gets. I get kicks from new ideas, whether it's a new website, it's new branding, it's a new solution that we're launching. I enjoy two things. Well, three. I like quick wins. I get kicks out of new things and I love talking. You can probably tell. I can talk for England, that's the phrase, and I get very passionate when talking about entrepreneurship, CRO, et cetera. But I'm really happy when I can launch new things.
I think I learned this later on in my entrepreneurial career, well, the last recent, few years, that shiny object syndrome is real and I think we used to launch too much. We just used to try everything and then you'd get distracted from the main thing. And now we keep the main thing, the main thing. We have two businesses and we're growing them pretty well. Over the years, I've launched so many different communities, businesses, forums, ideas.
I think one that really stands out to me that makes me laugh is I partnered with a guy called Scott Richter who is a very well-known entrepreneur, media buyer, domain broker, and he had the domain airline.com. Me and him partnered to launch airline.com and that's not the funny bit. The funny part is that I'm petrified of flying. I haven't flown since I was 14 and I've only ever flown twice in my life.
The cheek of me launching airline.com as a shop, a community, a forum for frequent travelers and airline reviews and discussions was quite funny. That project didn't work out for one reason or another, but that was quite funny. But yeah, there's lots of projects that I've failed in and some that I've been very lucky and won in. Highs are better than the lows and it's very cliche to say, but it's a journey that I enjoy. I'm never going to stop new ideas, new businesses, new solutions because that's just who I am. But at the moment, we've stopped and we are just focusing on the two companies we have.
Bob: Yeah, which brings me to my next question. You have two different companies. One is basically an agency that does design work and the other is an education platform. Did one come before the other? And when you look at those two types of businesses, there's a lot of people listening right now who are service providers and they're contemplating having an education arm where they can have a digital course or something like that. What advice have you learned that you would love to have five years ago or 10 years ago when you were evolving your current brand of ConversionWise?
Oliver: Yeah, really good. We count that as one business because they're all under the ConversionWise arm. Our other business is actually a company called Internet Marketing Deals. It's like an AppSumo equivalent where we have internet marketing discounts and deals. It's like a Groupon for internet marketers. You can check that out, internetmarketingdeals.com, to see what it's about. But basically, like I explained for the Affiliate Fix model, I took that model and put it into this new business, whereby we ask providers for an affiliate commission for us and a discount for our users. You can go on there and I think there's about 350 plus deals on there for the top softwares and services. Pretty sure we got Leadpages on there. I think we have. That's the one company and then ConversionWise, which is our main company. You're absolutely right. We split it off into different arms of the business.
We were traditionally an agency, I think, for the first nine years of our existence. And then about seven months ago, we launched our Conversion Rate Academy, which is, as you say, an educational membership site, a monthly recurring membership site where you get access to training, wireframes, design swipe files, a community. We do weekly calls, et cetera and the reason we did that is because we're a victim of our own success, if you will. When we launched this company about 10, 11 years ago, we were called Landing Page Guys and we essentially did work. We said on the tin we wanted to become the go-to people for creating landing pages. Again, we fell victim to our own success where we would just say, "Yes," to anyone. We didn't really niche down as far as we were this marketing company who did Facebook, Google ads, SEO, conversion rates, landing pages.
We were just landing pages but we worked with everyone. We worked with your solopreneur. We worked with your Fortune 500 company. I can reel off a list of companies we've worked with that's huge, but I can also reel off a list of people who are your brick-and-mortar or someone who's got their own little personal business and they just want a high converting page. We just said, "Yes," to everyone and the problem with that is we didn't really have a very targeted demographic for our business. We were the yes men.
What we realized after 9, 10 years is two problems. One, is we catered to everyone but two was we didn't build as a business. We didn't build any recurring or predictable revenue into our business and that has actually held us back for years because we were just stuck in the cycle of churning out pages.
We'd churn out between 50 and 100 pages per month. We were just churning out pages, churning out pages, but then at the first of the month, we would start at zero. From a monetary perspective, we have no recurring revenue. We had nothing so we realized that in order to scale and in order to get where we wanted to be, we had to change that. The academy ticked two boxes. One, it's recurring revenue for us, which is nice because we can now predict a certain chunk of revenue that we're making every month so we can allocate that to different departments to scale, et cetera. But two, it allows us to stick by our company mission. We rebranded ConversionWise, as you said, about a year, year and a half ago now and we redid our core values, our company mission, purpose, et cetera, and we want to be known as the biggest and most trustable conversion rate company in the world.
We have huge ambitions, but our company mission is to make high conversion rates achievable for everyone. Now if you come to the agency side of our business, our pricing starts at 5K. That's not accessible or achievable for everyone. The academy was also a part of that. It was like, "Okay, how do we take our frameworks and our learnings that we've developed over the last 10 years, which by the way work nine times out of 10, and make these accessible to more people?" We now have, I guess, the stepping stones in anyone's journey from solopreneur to massive company, could be run by one person. Of course it could, but budgets and different phases of your journey.
We have the academy. We have free content so we give a lot of free content out on my Twitter, on YouTube. We then have our next step, which is our academy, $97 per month, low barrier to entry. You get all your training, et cetera, but it's done with you. You have to actually go and implement the work. We then have our audit solution, which we look at your pages and audit them and give you high-impact suggestions based on your pages to increase your conversion rates, which sits in the middle. And then we have our agency tier, which is a done-for-you solution. We will literally get into your data analytics. We'll look at your pages and we'll redesign these pages for you and give you your files and you can then go and get them dabbed up and use build or whatever you want to do it. Yeah, over the last year or two we've refocused, reaffirmed that mission and now we have the four solutions within that one business, which it's really exciting. It's good because we've got different departments, et cetera, and it's good.
Bob: Yeah, I want to highlight two things real quick. One is when you do have that recurring education model, as you mentioned, it's predictable revenue. When somebody says, "I don't want to work with you anymore," the hit is very small compared to if you lose-
Oliver: Exactly that.
Bob: ... landing page clients that are paying you 5K plus and they say, "No more," it's a little different story.
But also basically you're training your future customer who is going to be able to then grow into being your customer, which I think is really important for anyone listening.
If you don't have a lower ticket entry point to offer some folks that you want to serve that can then become better qualified, essentially leads that you've earned money on for future work.
Oliver: That was it. It was just monetizing... Exactly. It was monetizing a portion of the audience that we couldn't before. We couldn't fulfill them. We didn't have a solution for them. I think it was Tony Robbins, and I'm going to get this quote completely wrong... No, sorry, not Tony Robbins. Who was it? It was Grant Cardone. Obviously, the king of sales and such who said, "If you end the phone call without making a sale, it wasn't because that person didn't want to buy from you. It was because you didn't have a solution that was right for him."
We always have that in our head as well. I'm not a big fan of Grant Cardone, but it's the whole point of we now have a solution for everyone within the cycle of marketing online and launching your own business when it comes to CRO, and that all feeds into our mission of making high conversion rates cheaper for everyone and also our goal of becoming the most recognizable and trustable conversion rate company on the planet, so yeah.
Bob: Yeah, that's awesome. I have one more question before we get into the conversion rate optimization tactics and strategies, et cetera, and that is this idea of being in a company that's growing successfully. It's eight, nine years in and you decide to rebrand it and rename it, and I imagine that was really scary and went through lots of different iterations.
As you look back now, anything that you learned that others can shortcut to a success or something you'd do differently if you ever wound up having to rebrand like that again?
Oliver: Yeah, these are really cool questions. You're making me think.
Honestly, the process, it was almost needed for us. It was a hard stop because we were in this... It's very hard after 9, 10 years of doing the same thing over and over again every single month to just stop that wheel. It's very hard to then come out and say that we are offering different solutions or we are slightly changing the solution, but I feel like it was a break that me and Andy, my co-founder definitely needed. We needed a shake-up. We'd become far too comfortable. We'd become, I guess you would say a lifestyle business, where we had a really great team, but if we weren't there for several weeks, it didn't really matter and that's fine for many people and most people start a family. I've got two daughters now, both under three years old. Probably wouldn't have done this at that time of our life but I'm always up for a challenge and as I said, I love working on new things. To me, it was super exciting.
One thing we did do is we used... I can't remember the name of it. It wasn't Hatchwise, but very similar for the naming convention of the company. We didn't come up with ConversionWise ourselves. You can actually run naming contests, which is quite cool. We paid $500 and then you probably get about 300 suggestions from people who are experts in finding... You can filter for available domains, but you can also filter for premium domains under a certain budget, et cetera. I think we ended up paying about 10K for ConversionWise, which for a very brandable, one-word, pronounceable dot-com is, which wasn't available, I think, is very, very good.
One funny story is we did get a cease and desist about a month after from TransferWise, now known as wise.com, but their lawyers were really, really amicable and really, really cool guys. They actually basically said, "As long as we don't ever go into foreign exchange or money transfers, we're all good with the name ConversionWise," which was nice. We've got that on paper. But no, I actually really enjoyed the journey and we made a huge thing of it. We're a really small company. As I said, we're about 30 people, but it was so nice after 10 years to actually celebrate what we'd done and stop and make plans for the next however many years. And we got everyone together in Bristol. We hired out a venue. We got all the signage made, that if you're watching a clip, you can probably see behind me. But if you're listening on a podcast, we had these signs done and we rented out a bar. We invited all our friends and family and it was really nice because I could be accountable.
I stood up in front of say, 50 or 60 of our closest friends and family and became accountable to them on behalf of me and Andy and said, "Look, in the next five years, this is what we want to achieve with our business.” We want to, again, sorry to reaffirm it, be the most recognizable conversion rate company in the world and I'm accountable to every single one of you in this room," and it was really a really cool thing to do. Yeah, I think our experience was really good and it also gets you back in front of the same audience but with a fresh spin. Those people who have been used to seeing the same colored emails, the same logo, the same name from you, to then have this bit of a buzz and excitement about what you're doing after 10 years, it's been good. I've enjoyed it.
Bob: Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you sharing your journey and the lessons you've learned along the way. Let's change gears now over to conversion rate optimization, your bread and butter. And one of the things that I think comes to mind first is you've, you and your team have done thousands and thousands of audits of landing pages. I imagine if you're like me, I do those every week for current Conversion Coaching sessions. You see common mistakes that people just keep doing and I imagine if you could wave a magic wand to rid the world of crappy landing pages, there's two or three things that you’d get rid of.
Oliver: That's what we're trying to do.
Bob: What two or three common mistakes are you seeing again and again and again that people could do really well just to eliminate those pieces?
Oliver: Yeah, absolutely, and I'm guessing I'm right in saying that majority of your audience is going to be in lead generation, is that correct?
Bob: Yeah, they do sales as well, but mostly service providers and then folks that... They want a relationship with their client at the end of the day.
Oliver: Yeah, absolutely. Just to give context to what we do and what we work from as a methodology, I guess, from CRO. I split CRO into several different buckets. Traditional CRO is, I would say, leans into ongoing testing. It leans into laying out your landing page, how you think, relying on guesswork. I think this will convert. I've run some data to it. I spent some media on it. I send an email, whatever that may be. I track my conversion rate. I then may create a split test. I may alter several things, or I may create an A/B test or multivariate test where I edit one thing and see if it has an uplift. But I have to go again. I have to then run more data, see if it converts better. If it doesn't, it's back to the control. If not, it's reiterate again and go again.
And I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that at all.
However, what we do is we try to get it right from day one. From the last 10 years of banging out God knows how many, thousands and thousands and thousands of landing pages for hundreds, if not thousands of customers, we have built up a framework. We call it our blueprint of our framework, which says, "If these elements are in these certain places or annual page follows a certain framework, it is nine times out of 10 more likely to convert than relying on guesswork." There's a solid framework and this is what we teach in our academy. But to us, it's more about not what you don't do, it's what you do do. It's where these elements go.
And I'm very happy to run through what I would see as a high-converting framework for our landing page, but we focus on psychological principles. We focus on copywriting. We focus on different design elements in different places. But as far as things that people shouldn't do and things that we see consistently, it's things like not going direct response enough, so having several different call to actions on different landing pages. Let's say, for example, you are looking for someone... Your ultimate goal, not focusing on your ultimate conversion goal. Let's say your ultimate conversion goal is an opt-in for a webinar and on your landing page you have a link that says, "Learn more." You then have a phone number that you want people to call. You then have a form at the bottom if you want people to submit a question.
Conflicting too many call to actions and too many conversion goals is a huge, huge mistake. You need to go very, very direct response. Again, I hate to say it, keep the main thing, the main thing. You want that opt-in. Everything on your page should be about that opt-in and if it's not, you should be objectively handling why people aren't going to opt in for your webinars. We see that consistently.
The nightmare things like people putting social share icons on their landing pages, people having navigational links that take them off to different pages. People using social widgets is an awful one.
Making sure that your pages are cross-browser compatible is a huge one. A lot of people don't test enough.
There's things like BrowserStack, which is costly, but there are free alternatives and other sources, softwares that you can use. But often we've seen huge mistakes where you've got your massive companies driving hundreds of thousands dollars worth of data to a landing page and they haven't even cross-browser checked it. Although it appears great on Chrome, because I use Chrome and I'm looking at it, the CTA or the form might be missing on Safari. We've seen mistakes like that.
Responsiveness is obviously one as well. But yeah, to us it's more about the framework and what you should have on your page as opposed to mistakes that are made on pages, if that makes sense.
Bob: Yeah, absolutely, and I think to hit home on one or more point, when you say responsiveness, you're talking about different devices, especially mobile traffic being more than half. Most of the time people ignoring can be really problematic.
Oliver: Yeah, absolutely. Different devices, and if you want to get really geeky, different versions of those devices as well, right? The iOS... No, sorry, not iOS. Your iPhone 8 doesn't view the same as your iPhone 12. I'm sorry, I don't know what the latest iPhone is, but yeah, I've got very old iPhone I'm looking at right now.
Bob: Hey, I have an 8 right now too. I'm going to be upgrading to a 14 probably sometime over the year.
Oliver: 14, there you go. See, I thought it was 12, the latest one. There you go.
Bob: Yeah. You mentioned this idea of different purposes and I think that's the big thing, right? Make the main thing the main thing. For some of our audience, they're in your sweet spot of e-commerce and folks that are selling something on that page and others are really looking for lead generation to do a service. How do you think differently in CRO when you're dealing with that human element where they're trying to have a relationship with their client versus meeting the need of the customer through some physical product that they're selling? How do you look at those differently, if at all?
Oliver: Yeah, you do. You definitely do. I think again, the elements stay the same. I think maybe I'd love to run through some of the elements that we think are crucial on landing pages. Maybe we can do that next. But the elements speak across whether you're selling memberships, whether you're selling a course, whether you're doing consultancy, whether you're doing lead gen, student loan, debts. You name it, the elements stay the same whether you're selling a physical product. It's just the meat and gravy around those elements that changes.
Let's say for example, a physical product, it depends what product you're selling. If you're selling something like a pillow for example, you do and you will want to focus on the pain points. You want to focus on, associate the problem, market the problem, sell the solution.
You want to touch on do you struggle with neck pain? Are you aching throughout the day? Are you struggling to sleep? That's associating the problem and then you market the solution with your authority and then your solution, which is we sell the pillow that solves the back pain, et cetera, benefit, benefit, benefit.
It's the same when you come to selling, for example, courses and memberships. It's first and foremost associating a problem. It's then marketing solution once you've established your authority.
For example, we are just launching our new site this Friday, touchword. I've been staring at it for five days and I'm going crazy. On our homepage, we have updated the story to associate with a problem.
We start by saying, "Hey guys, look, we know the last few years have been tough. COVID's hit, less spending online, iOS 14’s hit. You can't track reliable data. Supply chains have been hit because of COIVD, et cetera, and wars. Plus you're relying on guesswork and no reliable testing."
And then we say, "Well thankfully for you, we've navigated hundreds of our clients through these troublesome times by increasing their conversion rates with no additional ad spend. Associate authority, and then it's like, "Here's the solution. We are ConversionWise."
The messaging changes depending on what you are doing and what you're selling. For example, if you're selling maybe a vitamin, you probably wouldn't go into as much detail of the problem solution, but it all comes down to, like I said, the layout, the framework, and the elements that you have on your pages. But I think, like I say the meat and the gravy, I think that's a very British expression, but the substance around those elements changes depending on what you're doing.
Bob: Yeah, vitamin is also very British too, but we won't go into that pronunciation.
Oliver: Vitamin. Vitamin.
Bob: Yeah, exactly.
Oliver: There you go.
Bob: Yeah, let's dive into the elements then. Let's give our listeners a good idea of what are the order of operations, so to speak, for higher conversions.
Oliver: Yes, perfect. Love it. I'm not going to touch on them all because there is a lot, and like I say, this is stuff that we've stuffed inside our academy and been building for the last 10 years, but let's start from the top. We always talk about above the fold. It's the section that loads as soon as you go on a landing page, whether that's a desktop or mobile. It's what appears above the fold in your landing page and we tend to talk about six key elements that have to appear above the fold in your landing page. First and foremost, is a strong value proposition. I probably think singlehandedly, this is the most important element to have on your landing page. There's a stat that says it takes between three to five seconds to get your value proposition across on your landing page before you lose that consumer and we're talking about cold clicks here so clicking an ad, click an email where they've never seen you before. You need to tell them and associate with them within that value proposition within three to five seconds.
You start with a strong value proposition.
How to build a strong value proposition? We tend to focus on the benefit. A lot of people get this wrong. We work with a lot of Shopify customers, people who do e-com and sell online, and they don't utilize their product titles.
Let's take a vitamin for example. We use this in our training. We use a product called Conversion Vit, which is our conversion vitamin. Now, nine times out of 10, students or clients of ours would just name their product Conversion Vit. What we do is we take that product title and on the end of it, we put a colon. We put Conversion Vit, and we say, "Get healthier and live a happier life in seven days," and that instantly transforms your product title to a strong value proposition because in that value proposition, you need to focus on the benefit, that transformation, that end goal of your product. That's super, super important.
Number two is we have to include social proof. Social proof includes anything from reviews, case studies, testimonials. Typically speaking, because the real estate is so valuable on mobile, to get all these elements in, we just use a simple one-liner.
We have in the UK where Trustpilot is used, we have say, for example, five Trustpilot stars. You could use five emoji stars. You could use five icon stars. Leadpages gives you the flexibility to add icons, et cetera really, really easily. Again, and this probably eludes back to your question of problems you see, most people will stop at saying, "4.95 stars." They'll just have the stars and it'll just say "4.9-5," okay?
That is really again, undervalued real estate that we can leverage through social proof. Instead, we have the stars. We have 4.9, but we say, "4.9 out of 5 stars by 300 plus verified customers," or "300 plus happy customers."
What we teach in our framework, it's not rocket science, but every single thing that we do moves that needle like a tiny percent. Do you imagine when you start to do 20 of the things, we can literally double your conversion rates. Number two is having social proof above the fold.
Number three is leveraging trust and credibility. Trust and credibility is super, super important. What can we do on our landing page when a cold consumer clicks our ad or an email or wherever they come from to instantly instill trust in our brand from a consumer’s perspective? What can we do to do that?
We like to use things like icons and text. Again, below that nav bar in the header, let's say we're selling an e-com product. Let's go back to the Conversion Vit product. We use our trust policies. It's things like money-back guarantees. It's things like free returns, 24/7 support, COVID safe. When it comes to lead gen, we talk about form so SSL secure. We will never spam you. We only call on convenient times, those things. What can we do to instantly instill trust? And when you do this, use icons plus texts because it works as a visual. Don't just use text. We can have a little navigation, little toolbar underneath our navigation bar that just scrolls with those elements. That works really, really well. That's point number three.
Number four is strong product imagery. It goes without saying when it comes to e-com, you need to have strong images of your product. But again, a mistake that we see a lot is that people just have pictures of their product. They just have these light boxes photoshopped with a nice plain background, product in the middle. Looks great, however you're not making the most out of that real estate in your scroll of your images. You need UGC content. You need pictures of product placements. You need to put your product in different situations and different scenarios and you need to use it more. When it comes to lead gen as well, there's nothing more powerful apart from your value proposition than your image. If you're doing things like life insurance, funeral cover, solar, whatever it may be, that image above the fold is super, super important and you need to use something that's emotive.
If you're doing life insurance for example, use a picture of a family who are hugging and are happy because you need someone to come to this page and think, "Shit, that's not me. I need to be this. I need this life insurance." You need to touch on that emotive thing. Number four is imagery.
Number five is urgency and scarcity. How can we add a subtle, and I underline subtle, form of urgency and scarcity? I've been doing this for 10 years, so I've lived through the ages of rush my trial, big flashy banners, only two left, get it now. That just doesn't work anymore.
I think you can do this subtly. We like to do things like let's say for example, you are a consultant or a coach. Having underneath your buy buttons, just having a little green emoji, the red circle, sorry, green circle emoji, and just saying something like... Making it dynamic. Just saying something like, "Now open for January enrollments," or "Three consultations left for January."
Again, if you're selling products through e-com, having something underneath that buy button that just says something like... Using the amber emoji and just saying, "Low in stock. Order now to avoid disappointment," and this works on seasonality as well. You can really touch on Christmas, winter, January, winter sale now on, et cetera. Some form of urgency.
We've gone value proposition. We've gone social proof, trust and credibility, strong product imagery, urgency and scarcity. Yeah, what am I missing?
Okay, we really like to focus on having a bullet point-driven benefits above the fold. Again, a mistake, and probably I should have answered this question before when you asked me it, it's easier when you're rolling through in your mind the perfect layout, is a lot of people will have plain paragraphs and text and people don't read plain paragraphs and text.
We live in such a fast-paced world, right? Everyone's just on their mobile or on their desktop. They're going between Facebook and buying a product or looking on your landing page versus WhatsApp. We're just so fast. We consume content so quickly these days that if you have long paragraphs of text, they're not going to get consumed. What I suggest you do is take those long paragraphs and text and transform them into three to five benefit-driven bullet points. We like to use emojis just to draw attention and then short, concise, benefit-driven bullet points. They're going to convert way better than long paragraphs of text. Can I keep going?
Bob: Yes. I don't think anybody that's listening will tell you, "Stop it, Oliver. You're telling us too many good things."
Oliver: I appreciate it. That's our above-the-fold. Again, I'm not going to go through the whole framework because it's quite detailed, but we would then take them through. We've reinvented the AIDA principle.
We don't claim to be the creators of the AIDA principle or anything like that, but we've reinvented it. The only problem is ours isn't pronounceable. Ours is A-T-I-D-F-A, and for those of you who are listening who don't know what the AIDA principle stands for, it's attention, interest, desire, action. It's basically your layout of how your landing page should be.
Attention above the fold, then you peak people's interests, then you show them desire through social proof, and then you make them take action. We've added two new sections in because we've found over the last 10 years and lots of data and testing, et cetera, that these two new sections add huge uplifts to your conversion rates.
We go attention, which is what I've just told you about the fold, then we go transformation. This is really important and this works on lead gen. It works on consultancy. It works on e-com. It doesn't matter what you're doing. Go and look at our site. We leverage this. Transformation is basically telling people in three simple steps how they can opt into your product or buy your product and then the third step is the transformation.
As an example, let's just take Leadpages for example. Step one would be select your package and it might say underneath, "We have flexible and affordable packages for all different sizes of businesses."
Step two is all about the delivery of your product or your solution. Step two would be build your pages in minutes. We have high-converting templates because Oliver's given us his framework and then we have high converting templates that you can launch in a matter of minutes.
And then step three is always the outcome, but it's the benefit. It's not have a nice landing page. It's earn more money or it's profit more from the same ad spend.
Because we have high-converting pages, you profit more.
Let's go back to that vitamin product. The outcome, the step three isn't having a vitamin every day. It's living a healthy and happier life. It's that transformation. That's the transformation step. Then we go into the interest step, going down the fold. Interest is all about benefits and features. We split it into two sections. You want to start with your benefits. You then want to go into your features. Let's take a vitamin for example, or let's take Leadpages for example, because everyone is going to know what Leadpages is on this podcast.
You would start first and foremost with what are the benefits that someone's going to get out of using Leadpages? And it's not that you have a hundred different templates. It's not that you have a draggable UIUX. Those are the features, and often we talk about too much about the features. It's actually that you can launch your new business ideas in seconds. It's that you can use proven templates that convert like crazy. It's you can earn more revenue. You can increase your lifetime value. You can increase an AOV from a customer. It's money in my pocket. It's actually the end goal for me.
That's what you want to start with. Then you can lead into benefits. That's when you can go, "We kick Unbounce’s ass with our builder. We have all these shiny objects. We have the best UIUX draggable builder." That's when you can go into your features and that's the interest section.
Then you have desire. It's social proof. It's testimonials, reviews, case studies.
Then we insert our new section, which is F, which stands for FAQ. FAQ is really important. People underestimate the power of an FAQ on the page and the only objective of the FAQ is to handle any objections. You are lucky enough, by the way. You are super, super lucky. You are a CRO expert if you have got someone that hooked that they have scrolled down to this section of your page naturally and found your FAQ, that you don't want to give them any excuse to leave your landing page. Go and survey your audience and ask them for the 10 questions what they had had about your product that your page doesn't tell them and put those questions into an FAQ.
Typically speaking, when it comes to in e-commerce, things like deliverability, refunds, returns, where do you ship, how long does it take, and then a few product-specific questions. When it comes to lead gen, it's things like, "Will you call me back? When will I get a quote?
When it comes to the webinar, can I watch the webinar instantly? Can I download the webinar? Can I get a replay? Are you upselling on the webinar?" What these questions that people are asking them, put them in FAQ, handle the objections and less people will bounce.
And then it's action. We've got FAQ, then it's action. One clear call to action. Keep the main thing the main thing. What do we want people to do? If I want them to join a webinar, watch webinar instantly now. If I want them to buy a product, get mine now. If I want them to opt into my funeral cover, get your free funeral cover quote now. And we always, always, always on our call to actions, we use directional cues so a chevron or a pointing emoji, and we always use the word now. You need to spark action. Put the word now on it. It will increase your clickthroughs.
Bob: That's awesome. There's a lot there obviously, and folks who want to explore more can enjoy Conversion Rate Academy obviously.
We've also built a lot of these elements into the templates, as you mentioned at Leadpages. One of which is that FAQ. Those of you using a Leadpages template that doesn't include an FAQ, you have your section templates where you can just drag one big section.
Oliver: Drag it in.
Bob: It's got eight questions ready to go. And one of the things I love to highlight with that is you're telling people who this product is for and who it's not for in that section. And so, I do agree it's an underrated element on most people's pages.
Bob: ... so I'm really grateful that you highlighted all those elements, but especially that one. All right. As we come to a close, Oliver, thank you so much for all those great tips.
Bob: Beyond the scope of conversion rate tools, I imagine with all the different ideas that you have, there's maybe a tool or two that you've started to gravitate towards using in your daily life that just made your business run more smoothly. Anything come to mind that you'd like to share with the audience that they might not already know about?
Oliver: Yeah, tech stacks. What do we use? Because we have lots of clients, we use Monday. Monday is our client-facing portal, I guess. That's where we handle all of our onboardings. We actually put our sales pipeline in there as well. We run all of our operations on there, our SOPs. Our hub is in there. Our clients are all in there so we're a big fan of Monday. That integrates with Slack.
Again, quite cliche, but we use Slack for communication because we're completely remote. It's only me and my co-founder who are in the office here in Bristol. I think there's 12 of us in the UK so we do have a team that connects, but they'll work from home there. They all prefer that.
And then personally, I mean, I've been around. Me and Andy, my co-founder, we geek out on new apps so things like Notion, et cetera, are what we geek out but I still stick to Apple Notes. I still feel it's the best for me. I've introduced check marks and then I have the separate list per project, et cetera, not to get, and then I break it down per project and then I break it down into today because I think if you have them all on one list, it's just mind blown, right? You look at it and it's like, "There's so many things to do." Each day I take an important task out of the individual notes and put it into today's note and that's worked really well for me. And then luckily, I think it's quite good not to have these shiny objects, but keep it simple.
I love Google Sheets. I'm not technical in any way, shape, or form. Luckily, Andy is. You can tell I do the talking. He's the actual brains. That's the workings out. But getting him to do some really cool things in Google Sheets is great. I love the accountability of Sheets. I love checklists. This may be not a, I guess, business tip, but one thing that I've found really helped me grow as a, I guess as a person, as a father, as a businessman, an entrepreneur, whatever you want to call it, is having accountability within a Google Sheet. Every single month, myself, Andy, and a couple of our local friends will create a sheet with four things that we want to achieve for that month.
Let's say, for example, it might be, I want to work out every single day. I'm a huge fitness freak. I love fitness. I want to work out every single day. I want to have a cold shower for 30 seconds. I want to read 10 pages of a book, and I want to make sure that I spend two hours with my kids without my phone and TV. These are actually my last month's goals, by the way.
We will note them down in the spreadsheet, and then you'll have a day, every single day, the date will be running in the column, and then you'll have a tick box. And the second you get other people involved, you become accountable but you can also gamify it.
Andy will have his tab. Max will have his tabs. Steve will have his tab. They'll have their full tasks, and they could be completely separate to mine, but I will not lose so I make sure that every day without fail, even if I'm working out at 11:30 at night just to make sure I do it. I have to tick that green box because I know lads are looking at me, and I'm not going to lose against them. I think that's a really cool hack to just get things done in life. I really love that one.
Bob: I love it. That accountability piece is really cool.
Oliver: Maybe not a software, but yeah.
Bob: No, Google Sheets is one of the more underrated productivity tools. I think people tend to leave and find the shiny things and they wind up coming back again and again. That's the case for me, at least.
Bob: My final question for you, and then I'd love to send you off to those two lovely daughters of yours to spend-
Oliver: Thank you.
Bob: ... your family time is you've run a lot of businesses. You've been productive. You've, I'm sure, run into obstacles though, along the way. Do you have a mantra or a thought, something that gets you to the other side of it when you do get stuck?
Oliver: Yeah, great question. I actually put a tweet out about this yesterday. I guess maybe egotistical is the word. I don't know. For the first seven, eight years of our business, I thought I didn't need to read. I thought I knew it all. I didn't think I needed mentors, et cetera. And the second I got over that and opened up to learning and mentors and reading, et cetera, I think our business transformed. I would definitely say that that's something that I would suggest people do if they do feel like they don't know it all, because again, my co-founder, Andy, is a huge reader, and I never used to read, and I used to get fed up with business books. I still think there should be a rule where no business book should be over 100 pages because I've seen it time and time again when one book reiterates the same thing for 600 pages and I get fed up.
But I think it's really cool that if you could just learn one thing from that book that you can implement in your business, it's huge and you pay like four quid for it.
But I'm a huge believer in trusting your gut. A mentor taught me a couple years ago. This is why I got into that because I didn't have a mentor, but now I have several mentors, taught me a couple years ago to just trust your gut. Nine times out of 10, your gut is right. If you have a decision to make, if you face a crossroads, if you have a problem, that first initial thought that comes to your head is normally the right one. You can talk yourself out of it. You can spend hours debating it but I practice now just going with my gut.
I don't spend hours worrying anymore. I don't spend hours up all night putting out fires. I just get it done by just going, "Right. Whatever comes into my head in the first place is probably the right answer. Let's just go with it." And I also think karma is real so I try and help as many people as possible because I know it might not come back directly from that person, but indirectly, someone else is going to pay it back to me at some stage.
Bob: That was awesome. Well, Oliver, this was a really rich conversation. Thank you so much for sharing all of your tips around your entrepreneurial journey, conversion rate optimization, et cetera. It was a real pleasure.
Oliver: Thank you so much. Yeah, if anyone wants to keep in touch, look me up on Twitter. I'm trying to get active there. Yeah, you can look me up at Oliver Kenyon. And yeah, we'd also love to give your listeners a 50% coupon off our Conversion Rate Academy. You can find that at ConversionRateAcademy.com and just put in the coupon leadpages, and we'll give you 50% off your first purchase (month or annual), but I've really enjoyed it. Thank you so much.
Bob: That's awesome.
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A former high school history teacher turned entrepreneur and marketer, Bob has educated business owners worldwide on how to leverage digital marketing to grow their brands. He’s taught over 1,000 webinars, participated in over 200 podcast episodes, and taken the stage at over 50 business conferences and events.
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