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Conversion Rate Optimization With Jon MacDonald Founder of The Good

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June 11, 2019

Welcome to search talk live with search engine optimization and marketing expert Robert: O’Haver and Matt Weber Weber Powered by the Robert: Palmer family of Confidence.

Robert:Alright welcome back to the show we had a little technical difficulties so we’re running a little behind I want to welcome…Co-hosting with me on the show today is Matt Weber Weber, Matt Weber how are you?

MATT WEBER: I’m doing great man, it’s always good to have an enthusiastic crowd in the studio too when we have technical difficulties
Robert O’Haver: Right!

MATT WEBER: breaks the stress a little bit

Robert O’Haver: Right! Those of you that are listening for the first time search talk live is a digital marketing podcast, we talk about everything to do with digital marketing. We talk social, SEO, content marketing

Matt Weber: Paid

Robert O’Haver: yeh, paid to advertising, And today we’re gonna be talking about conversion optimization, one of my favorite subjects. Today with us is Jon MacDonald, He is the founder of The Good. And I want to welcome you to the show.

JON MAC DONALD: Thanks for having me I’m excited to be here

Robert O’Haver: yeah it’s great. Now, why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and your background?

JON MAC DONALD: Sure, so again my name is Jon MacDonald. I’m the CEO and founder of The Good. The Good is a conversion rate optimization firm. So what that means is we help brands to convert more of the existing website traffic into customers and how we do that is through data science. We help them track every click and movement on their site. And in an aggregate wise, so there’s no privacy concerns. And we help utilize that data t understand why people are dropping off, where they’re dropping off in the funnel and how that can be resolved.

MATT WEBER: This is gonna be great because the basic principles here for a lot of folks they can make more money by getting more juice out of the oranges they already have, than going through the trouble of buying more oranges. And that’s really what today show is about, it’s getting more results out of the audience you already have.

JON MAC DONALD: Yeah it’s interesting you say that I think a lot of people shoehorn this industry into one metric, and that’s conversion rate, because obviously, where conversion rate optimization is the name of the industry, but there are so many metrics that we want to take a look at improving and one of them RO Ads, right Return On Ads Spend and so there are so many people who are driving tons of qualified traffic to their site but that traffic just doesn’t convert and thus that return on investment from all of that hard-earned investment on driving traffic just is lost.

ROBERT O’HAVER so let’s dive into it, I mean why don’t you give us the high level exactly. You approach a site what are you looking for?

JON MAC DONALD: Well the first thing is we want to make sure that the brand is tracking the right information. So there are really four key pieces of data that they should be looking at. The first is analytics, and of course, most sites have google analytics installed, but you know let’s be honest here google analytics is free or at least they offer a free version which is most popular because they’re trying to sell more ads, right, so the idea behind this is you really should be setting up specific dashboards to help you understand how people are engaging with your site in analytics, so it’s not just out of the box you really want to be taking a look at the paths people are taking through your site, and search terms and there’s just so many small things you can get out of google analytics as a free tool if you spend a little bit of extra effort there.
The second piece of data that we look at is heat mapping so went to look at not just where mouse movement is on a site, but also you know scroll mapping. How far down every page are people scrolling or click tracking or click mapping where are people clicking on every page? These things kind of help us understand what data people are engaging with or what content they are engaging with on a page, not just what pages they’re visiting.
The third piece of data is user testing, this is where you would send people who match your ideal customer profile to your site and you ask them to complete some tasks on your site while you record their screen and their audio, and really what we are looking for here is similarities amongst the videos. We’re looking for what people continue to have problems with and what they’re thinking about. now what this really gets you is the why behind the what people are doing so analytics and heat mapping type of data can really tell you what people are doing, user testing is going to tell you what they’re thinking and why they’re taking those actions or not those actions.
And then the last one is AB or multi-variant testing. So this is where you now understand what people are doing and why they are doing it and you form hypothesis around how you might be able to change those situations that you’re looking to change and improve and AB testing is the best way to gather data on whether or not your changes are going to be effective.

ROBERT O’HAVER Let’s be clear too for the listeners. You’re not just talking mobile or you’re not just talking desktop, you’re talking both, in most cases probably a lot more mobile than it would be desktop.

JON MAC DONALD: For sure you really want to be testing both. Obviously, the majority of traffic these days is done via mobile, but the majority of purchases are still done on desktop especially as you have larger priced items, that scale starts increasing pretty quickly. So you definitely want to check out both desktop and mobile.

MATT WEBER: Jon your mantra is “Reduce friction don’t create friction.” What are the most common three ways you see that an average e-commerce website creates friction?

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think the first thing is, is that most e-commerce site owners have a really hard time reading the label from inside the jar. Now what I want to mean by that is that as the site owner or an e-commerce manager you are on your site every single day. So you know what your products are, how they’re organized how to navigate around your site, but you don’t really have empathy for the people who are new and coming to the site. And I think that’s the first friction point, is most people don’t really understand how to see your website under a fresh set of eyes, and that’s really collecting all this data is going to bring to the table.
The second thing is that a lot of brands will do pop up emails, and what I mean by that is how many times have you been to a site and you start scrolling and all of a sudden there’s a pop-up asking you to sign up for an email. Now there may be a discount attached or something of that sort, but look if I could remove a couple of things from the internet, the pop-ups would be number one and the reason is that honestly, they don’t convert, they really kill conversions. Now here’s the best way to think about this, in terms of again having empathy for the consumer visiting your site. If you had a retail store and you wouldn’t do something in your retail store you should not do it on your website. The first thing is I walk into a retail store and a store associate jumps out in front of me with a clipboard and says give me your email address. I’m probably going to have one of two reactions, and one of this is going to be pretty violent right so think about that on your website right, what kind of experience are you providing? if somebody is intently looking at your content, they’re trying to accomplish their task and all of a sudden you pop-up and interrupt their flow. That’s not a great experience and I hear all the time “but Jon these pop-ups they collect emails and I really, you know email is one of my highest converting channels.” Look I’m not discounting that, you should definitely be collecting emails all I’m suggesting is do it in a humane way and don’t do it through pop-ups.08:28

MATT WEBER: Clients love the pop-ups and developers love them. But users don’t.08:38

ROBERT O’HAVER I mean I’m the same way. I mean, the analogy was spot on. I think that you know you walk into a store and a jack in the box jumps out and goes give me your email or something.

MATT WEBER: Well it’s like when you walk into the store and as soon as you cross the threshold, they say “can I help you?” And you’re like wow dude chill, I’m just here to look around, and some site kind of do that. Jon on your first point when you talked about website owners not having empathy for the uneducated, how do you mean that? Do you mean by the copy is not talking correctly to the user or do you mean that they have designed functionality that isn’t conducive for first time visitor?

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think that’s both. And in terms of the copy how many times have you been to a site as well and within two seconds you have no idea what that company is selling 09:23 Right, because they don’t clearly communicate that right upfront but instead their trying to give you some marketing message about what their sales are or you know one particular product 09:36 use case and a good example of that is we worked with a major helmet manufacturer for a number of years. And they had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars creating this great marketing video. Now they made ski helmets, was one line of helmets that they made and they went up and they took a bunch of famous skiers heliskiing, that means they took them up in a helicopter on top of a mountain and then dropped them out of the helicopter, and they could ski down the mountain. Now it looked really cool, it sounds really cool, it definitely demonstrates how they use their helmets, but they took this video and they put it on their home page as the main marketing message. The problem was so many people were coming to the site and they didn’t know what they were looking at, not only that but they were distracted because now they’re watching a cool video that they’re like “oh man this is really fun looking what an adventure,” And they forgot what they were there for. Now I have a two and a half-year-old at home, the number of times he’s pulling at me while I’m trying to research something online you know is… I think I’ve lost count. You really only have a limited amount of time before somebody gets distracted and you need to give them that message really clearly. So content very clearly plays into not having empathy. 10:54 Now in terms of functionality, this goes back to even just like the navigation right, so if you think about it, if you know your products really well, you’re going to design navigation that you think is most organized, but as soon as the consumer who has no idea what product your selling or how that’s organized or what those terms mean. Maybe you’re using 11:16 in your navigation for categories then it becomes a bigger issue. And at that point, that’s where I think you should really be thinking about functionality.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yeh, I would definitely have to agree with you there. I mean I’ve seen situations where there wasn’t really a strategy around content as well, I mean you see a lot with e-commerce sites where they’ll just write articles and write articles but there’s really no focus on articles that pertain to the product 11:44 they offer you know what I’m saying. SO having a clear strategy there, you know makes a huge difference.

MATT WEBER: yeh let’s11:52 extend the time and tell me about photos on e-commerce sites and what role does the quality of photos and photos in general play on e-commerce conversion?

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think it Matt Weberers quite a bit. Now we’ve worked with companies that have one single static photo, and we’ve worked with companies that do things like 360 images and go into more depth, now people are going to use visual as a way to search and understand your product before their going to read anything. Now you know as humans we have the had the drawn picture before we have written word right, so it’s just human nature to be drawn to images over text and that’s where people are going to do a lot of their research. So the first thing they’re going to do is take a look at your photo if it’s not high-quality that’s gonna set the bar for what they think the quality of your product or your experience is going to be. In addition to that, you really want to be able to dive into the details with your images. What I mean by that is of course if you can have a 360 image that’s great but if you can’t just have the ability to zoom in number one and two have some close-up shots. And there’s some other things you should really be doing with images and that is showing comparative images. And what I mean by that is, help understand relative sizing 13:15 So we work with a backpack company and one of the best things that we found, tested extremely well on their site, was to show different products next to the backpacks. So they would show an iPad and an iPhone and a bottle of water. Things that people would normally put into backpack and you have a really good understanding in general of what size that is.13:38 Like most people, if you gave them a plastic bottle of water they have an idea of how big that is within some reason, something with an iPhone, etc. So it really can of help you to judge the relative sizing of the product, so it’s a great way to be thinking about other information you can deliver through those images.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yeah, I mean you know the job of a CRO or a conversion rate optimization person is you know a lot like an SEO person you know I mean they are basically one and the same.

MATT WEBER: Squeeze in more results, fine-tuning,


MATT WEBER: Getting better all the time

ROBERT O’HAVER With the best practices

MATT WEBER: With the best practices, and Jon your research has kind of landed anywhere between multiple photographs and single photographs as a general tendency?

JON MAC DONALD: Definitely want to have multiple now you don’t want to have so many that it because an issue, but generally we find three to four high-quality photos and a mix of the product, mixed in with one or two additional either sizing photos, as I talked about earlier, and or in use photos. So especially like for the backpack example having the backpack on somebody to see how it sits on their body is really great.

MATT WEBER: And then similarly where did your research lead you on having the add to cart button or the buy button above the fold and not having the user scroll to get to the CTA?

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think anytime you can reduce the amount of work that somebody needs to do the better your going to be in terms of conversion. So putting the buy button front and center is always helpful, now the only problem that might cause is if you are perhaps you have a lot of hardcore information that’s really detailed that is you know specifications or product that you really need somebody to read more information about before their going to be ready to buy. Then, of course, you want them to be able to do that research and scroll a little bit to read before they end up buying.15:49

MATT WEBER: What’s your answer to the age-old question? What’s a good e-commerce conversion rate to strive for?

JON MAC DONALD: Yeh age-old is right. I get this question multiple times a day and I think the answer I have is probably not the most popular one that people want to hear but the best conversion rate is one that is always improving. Now it’s so common to compare yourself to competitors right and to say, oh I saw online that so and so is getting a five percent conversion rate why am I not getting that? I saw an average was two percent. Look here’s the problem it really doesn’t Matt Weberer what an average conversion rate is it only Matt Weberers what your conversion rate is. And what only Matt Webers about that conversion rate is that it is consistently improving over time. So week over week, month over month, year over year, that you continuing to seek gains that’s what gonna be most important.

MATT WEBER: I’m so glad you answered that way. There’s the case study, Robert O’Haver I don’t know if you’ve ever read it, about FTD. And FTD published this case study about three or four years ago, that they had a conversion rate of like sixty-five to seventy percent and yet if you tried to benchmark yourself against that you’re never going to make it. Because if you think about FTD what’s your situation when you go to FTD? You’re probably under duress, right and you know you’re you know. And then what do they sell, it’s kind of like one thing what’s your expectations? Very singular


MATT WEBER: Yeh flowers right so it’s not like you’re gonna be considering a lot of different options so of course, they have a massively high conversion rate, and that’s not something the average e-commerce website should compare themselves to.

JON MAC DONALD: Exactly, and I couldn’t agree with that more.

MATT WEBER: You wrote an article on a conversion technique that doesn’t get a lot of attention and at first, I couldn’t believe you wrote an article about it but it was awesome. The second line in an address form, because we all spend a lot of time and attention in reducing the friction of that final check out process. And you wrote an article that says “hay you may not realize it but the second line in address form may be holding you back more than you think.” can you review that with us?

JON MAC DONALD: Sure well I’ll start off by saying it’s funny that you mention that because that is actually the number one visitor article on our website and so that goes to show you how much of a challenge that is for consumers because their even finding our website topic about it and then you know people are searching on google what is address line two mean? What do I put into address line two? It is a huge conversion issue so a lot of cart abandonment happens because people don’t understand how to fill out the information and it could be as simple as address line two. now if you are running an e-commerce site you know what address line two means, you know how you want it to be used but again having that empathy for the consumer who’s coming to your site who does not understand that maybe they’re not from the United States, where it’s a lot less common internationally or perhaps they’re not used to ordering online. There’s a lot of things to be thinking about there that a normal consumer just does not understand. So address line two most people understand that when you put in your address there’s two fields. The first one is always gonna be, for instance, your house number and your street, But the second one could be for suite or care of 19:17 or it could be a number of different things. And that’s where people get confused. Is what do I put in there is this required and I think that’s what’s really important is, again have the empathy for the consumer on that.

MATT WEBER: So one of your suggestions was really clarifying the ghost text that’s on that field and then your suggestion if your platform makes it possible is to let the user choose if that’s necessary.

JON MAC DONALD: Correct, Yep! so it’s always great to say you know I need an address line two or I have a suite number and then they can just click that and then the field appears.


JON MAC DONALD: So reducing the fields that you need somebody to fill out or you’ are asking to fill out is always going to be a winner for increasing conversions. You should always have a minimum number of fields needed and no more. And so if you put out there that you have an address line two field but you don’t really need that information unless somebody knows what it’s about and wants to give it to you don’t show the field automatically. Instead say you know I have a suite number or care of or something, give them some little hint and then make that a link they can click that will expand and show the form that’s gonna be your best bet.

MATT WEBER: You know Jon you ran by something really fast and I want to make sure everybody grabs it. Don’t have more fields than are absolutely necessary.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yep! And you can also, I mean one thing I would want to add and maybe you can tell me if it’s right or not to using hidden fields, like if you are trying to track what the source is you know what page they were on stuff like that. Not for attribution but for the person getting receiving lead source.

JON MAC DONALD: Yeh you know progressive profiling is generally what that’s called if I’m understanding you correctly where if you’ve asked somebody the information once you don’t need to ask them the information again. So the nice thing about this too is you can continue to build out a profile of your consumer in this way because you could, in theory, ask them for additional information each time they complete a form. But if you already have their information there’s no need to ask for it again. There’s actually this great tool for Shopify sites called cart hook C.A.R.T. H.O.O.K. They are a great company, its somewhat of a startup but they’ve been in business for a handful of years. Now they have a tool that you can use that will help you to replace the Shopify check out with one that’s a little more optimized. In addition to that, it will allow you to do upsells after the person has already completed their check out. But then it won’t ask them for the information again instead it will just modify the original order and add the items to that order and update the credit card amount to be charged.

ROBERT O’HAVER Wow that’s nice.

JON MAC DONALD: So it’s a great tool, an example of why you should not be asking for that information again because you just collected it. Now most upsells, if you used a traditional Shopify cart that they provide, if you want to do an upsell on the confirmation page, they’d have to go through the entire check out process again. And that can be a bit of a problem for conversions obviously.22:28

ROBERT O’HAVER Well Jon we got to take a break really quick. Before we or when we get back, we’re gonna ask… we do a segment called who influences the influencers. We’re gonna ask you who do you follow on social media or where ever it may be that kind of influence you in the industry. Alright, we’ll be right back.22:50

ROBERT O’HAVER Alright we are back guys. we had a great conversation, we are geeking out with Jon MacDonald of The Good. Where were we at? oh yeah, who influences the influencer? So tell us, Jon, who influences you in the industry and why?

MATT WEBER: who do you follow?

JON MAC DONALD: Well I might be a little bit biased but I have to start here. But our blog at The Goodis written by our entire team here and I’m always learning something new from the team. So I know that might sound like a cop-out but I had to include because I think it’s one of the better educational content for conversion optimization. And then there’s never a sales pitch on it. It’s always just helpful educational content about what we are learning on a regular basis. In terms of who I follow on social and learn about great things, VWO or visual website optimizer is a great one. They are a conversion optimization tool and platform. You can do AB testing etc. through their tool but they are always producing really great content, really nice webinars they have great articles up there etc. So that’s always a good one I like to follow. A third would be a gentleman by the name Neil Patel. If you don’t know who Neil is, He has been involved with some great optimization toolsets like Crazy ache. Crazy ache is a heat mapping tool that you can utilize. A lot of our clients utilize it, but that is a great toolset to checking out. And he always is producing some great educational content as well.

MATT WEBER: There used to be a conference on conversion rate optimization that I went to for a couple of years. I don’t remember that it’s still around. It was dedicated two days might have been three days to 100 percent conversion rate optimization.


JON MAC DONALD: yeh there are a few out there right now that do pretty well there’s one that’s called CXL live, conversion XL live. Conversion XL is firm similar to The Good that does conversion rate optimization. I don’t know if they are still doing the events or not but there’s several of them out there right now.

MATT WEBER: Well let’s talk some more techniques and let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Because you also wrote an article about a pretty interesting topic that goes, I think outside of most folk’s radar and that’s the footer of a website. And you actually think the footer is a missed opportunity for conversion rate optimization can tell us about that

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think it’s missed because most people overlook it right. They think that hay the footer is where I store a whole bunch of extra links and store contact information but the biggest problem is, is most people overlook it. Now here’s our thought process on this, if somebody has taken the time to read all the content on your page and scroll all the way to the bottom and you don’t give them a way to convert in that footer you are missing a huge opportunity. Now, what do I mean by convert just allow them to push themselves further down the funnel. So there should be your product navigation at a minimum should be in your footer. There are so many times that the footer is missing the product navigation and instead it’s all information about the company and your mission and all these other things but they forget to include the product information there. So really quickly that’s the first thing the second thing is make sure your contact information is in the footer and that it’s in the bottom right-hand corner. Now it seems obvious I shouldn’t really have to state that but most people forget to include two things or just neglect or just don’t, they don’t include an email address where they can be reached for general information or customer support and they don’t include an address and a phone number. Now you need all three of those and it’s really important because the footer can really increase the trust level of your site. So just having a footer that includes a physical address let’s people know that your e-commerce store is legit, and what I mean by legit is that it’s not just fly by night, that you’re not working out of your parent’s basement somewhere randomly, and gonna steal credit card information. They want to know that you’re a real physical business and having an address on there is really helpful for that. Now people aren’t going to show up right at your door it can be a PO BOX and the second thing is with a phone number, there are a segment of people who would rather pick up the phone and call and I think that’s really important and it’s often overlooked so making sure you have a phone number on there, even if you use an answering service, there’s tons of answering services out there that are really cheap on a monthly basis, that will pick up the phone take a message for you and just have a live human answering in your phone, I think that’s really important to look into and have available. Other things you can do in the footer is email list sign up. Remember I talked about how I would eliminate pop-ups for emails from the internet, this is an easy win of where your email sign-ups should go because if people want to stay in touch and they are down in your footer that’s a place they are going to convert. So those are three quick things that you could do in your footer that will help improve conversions pretty easily.

ROBERT O’HAVER That,… I would say that’s definitely the appropriate place to put the newsletter stuff.

MATT WEBER: And probably the last place a lot of designers and developers look for conversion opportunities is the footer.


MATT WEBER: Well let’s talk about one of the bigger ones though, it’s reviews. And Jon reviews torment e-commerce site owners. What can e-commerce site owners to maximize the potential of reviews or do you think that reviews don’t play a role in e-commerce conversion?

JON MAC DONALD: I think they play a huge role and it’s for two reasons. One is the social proof that it provides, we consider reviews and testimonials and all that to be wrapped into a category we call social proof. Now what that means is A its lending credibility to your site right and two it’s helping people to do their research. And what I mean by that is consumers are gonna go to product reviews and consumer comments and read through that to get their questions answered. And also, we’ve done a ton of testing on this and surveying and what we found is that visitors to your website are gonna trust what those reviews say over what your product description. And that’s because it’s consumer to consumer and not a business speaking at them. And so really what’s important here is to optimize for a few things in here. One is to ask the right questions when you’re getting reviews. instead of just asking the generic one question ask two or three questions, how is the sizing? for instance. This is the number one thing we find reviews that other consumers are looking for when they are reading reviews. They don’t care about the stars that much as long as it’s three, three and a half stars or more, they’re fine. What they’re really looking for here is does that shirt I’m buying run large? Does it run smaller? What size should I get? How ’bout those shoes I want, I’m normally a seven does the seven mean I need to buy an eight here or a six or is it true to size?
Right, so that’s where they are trying to get that type of information, they will disregard the things like “hay when I got it the package was ripped or the box came damaged.” They understand that those things are out of the control of the store in most instances now the best that you can do with reviews is hop in and address any concerns that are on the reviews straight on don’t delete them address them. Because then it shows that you care and that you will respond and take care of any of the challenges the consumers have. And that means much more to the person reading the reviews than what the consumer is complaining about.

ROBERT O’HAVER you know and simply too I see a lot of mistakes of, or I wouldn’t know if it was a mistake, people just left them unanswered you know.

MATT WEBER: Worst thing, worst thing, when they get a negative review. It’s really an indicator of your commitment to your customer service.

JON MAC DONALD: it’s almost a bigger issue if you have no negative reviews because then they’re not going to be trustworthy.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yeah, fake.

MATT WEBER: So how does e-commerce recruit reviews?

JON MAC DONALD: Well there are some great toolsets out there but there’s a couple of places you should be doing this. Now I’ll start with a mistake first, most companies that utilize a lot of the review platforms that are out there the problem that they have is that they put a button on the product detail page that says leave a review. Now that’s opening themselves up to a couple of issues. One it immediately reduces trust of the quality of the reviews because anybody can come to the page click that button and write a review. Two is that you are opening yourselves up to having to moderate all of these reviews because even your competitors can come and start leaving negative reviews on your page. So take that button off because there’s no positive that comes from that button you will not get additional reviews by having that button at least not legitimate ones. Nobody, if you ever think about any time you’ve ever bought a product, have you ever just gone back to that product detail page clicked that button and left a review. You had to be prompted in some other way. I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to go back to every product buy and look at the product detail page and then leave a review. It just doesn’t happen so really what you want to do is have a great post-purchase follow up campaign. now there are really And I have a great article on our website at about this, if you just type in the search box post-purchase you’ll see it, but really there are five emails that you should be sending after somebody completes a purchase and two of those are gonna be centered around reviews. And so if you think about that two/fifths of the follow-up emails should be review. And the fifth of those emails is going to be adding them to your normal marketing email list, so really, it’s half of the emails that are gonna be about reviews because that’s two of the four transactional emails. So you know really want to make sure you are following up in that way and then also making it easy. One of the things you can do, and there are plenty of review platforms out there one that I really like a lot is called Shopper Approved. Now the reason I like shopper approved is two-fold, one the only way that you can leave a review using shopper approved is if you have actually purchased the product, so you know they are legit, now also what that means is that people like google and those type of services that want verified reviews will…, they love when you use shopper approved. Now what they do is that they send it on an email and they only ask for a star rating to start, so start really easy, just let the person click on the star rating and that logs it and then it has follow up questions that it will ask and that’s really what’s helpful because you are getting people to take that first step without overwhelming them with a big form of questions. so that works extremely well.

MATT WEBER: Can a product have too many reviews or too many good reviews?

JON MAC DONALD: I think if you only have five-star reviews and there are hundreds of them that there’s a problem there. Most brands would say “I’d love to only have five-star reviews.” Yeh but that really means to a consumer that you are deleting the negative reviews, because you are always gonna get that one bozo out there on the internet who complains about something that’s not really relevant and everyone knows it. And so they understand that you can’t have perfect reviews, and that’s really where responding to those negative ones is really gonna be really helpful. So I almost trust now, I do this for a living right, but I trust reviews that have for or four and a half stars way more than I trust reviews that only have five stars.

MATT WEBER: I think someone’s gonna write a coffee book, and I’ll give you this idea Robert O’Haver you can have it, that is just excerpts from Amazon reviews cause some of them are so darn entertaining sometimes. Someone’s going to go through and excerpt the best ones and just create a coffee table book out of it.

JON MAC DONALD: You should definitely do that I would buy it.

ROBERT O’HAVER Now earlier you had mentioned that it’s not just about on-page, I mean your company does email optimization I would imagine right?

JON MAC DONALD: To some degree, when it’s related to conversions yes.

ROBERT O’HAVER right that’s what I’m saying, so getting a better click-through from the messaging on the emails those type of things.

JON MAC DONALD: Yep exactly!

MATT WEBER: Jon you probably cringe when you see a button on a website that says submit. What has your research led you to believe based on language of buttons? What tips can you provide?

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think that a call to action, any call to action needs to be explicitly clear of what you want them to do, so if you are looking to get them to sign up for an email list it should say sign up. If you are looking to get them to add to cart, it should say add to cart. If you were getting them to fill out a form to contact you it should say contact us or send your message something of that sort. If it says submit that’s just, honestly, that’s just being lazy, it’s not telling the consumer what to do or what the action they are taking. And That’s really what you want to do use your call to actions to guide the consumer to the action you want them to take.39:54

MATT WEBER: We are getting down to the end, some great stuff here Jon, we got to sneak in one more question. A lot of people ask us about chatbots, can chatbots improve conversion rates?

JON MAC DONALD: Yes, they can when used appropriately. Now what I mean by that is a handful of things they should always be in the bottom right-hand corner, that’s where people look for them so if you have that little floating chatbot icon make sure it’s in the bottom right-hand corner that’s where instinctively people go don’t make people think about it just put it there.
The second thing is don’t have it there unless it’s manned, so it depends on the service you are using for that chatbot there some great ones like drift that allow you to do some automated flows. that might be ok however if you have ones that require somebody to be there make sure you have the settings set so that it does not show the chatbot unless it’s being manned.

ROBERT O’HAVER I am so glad you said that. I equate an unmanned bot to you know you go to a phone prompt and you’re like press one, for this press five for this, press three for this you know it’s the same thing.

MATT WEBER: Or you walk up to the fast-food counter and nobody is there


MATT WEBER: Yeah that is probably the single most common mistake I think I see in e-commerce sites is chatbots or chat functionality that isn’t well thought out on that.

ROBERT O’HAVER Well I think it’s that time Matt Weber.

MATT WEBER: Ah it’s that time for believe it or leave it. So Jon we’re gonna give you three statements we found on the internet about conversion rate optimization, some of them from your peers by the way,

JON MAC DONALD: This should be fun

MATT WEBER: And whether our audience should believe it or leave it. Are you ready?

JON MAC DONALD: I’m ready let’s do it.

MATT WEBER: Alright number one, you should never make any of the buttons on your website red because red means stop.

JON MAC DONALD: Leave it, button color does not Matt Weberer for conversion.



MATT WEBER: ok, and you’ve done some AB’s on that?


JON MAC DONALD: We’ve done a lot of testing on it I could go into this for hours but the number one thing that people will tell you to test when you start AB testing is button colors, honestly, it’s not helpful. Really what you should do is make sure that the button has some contrast for the page. That’s really a full stop and you don’t have to worry about anything other than that.


ROBERT O’HAVER Alright number two you should not copy and paste descriptions of products from the manufacturer’s website.

JON MAC DONALD: Leave it! times a hundred. oh sorry, believe it times a hundred. That is so accurate it’s the number one mistake on product descriptions that we see is that brands will just copy their data from the print catalog and not format it for the internet or format it into bullet points for how people are reading. I’m a firm believer that if websites were originally started by sales teams instead of marketing teams, we would have a lot clearer content around products on the website.

ROBERT O’HAVER Very well said.

MATT WEBER: Number three, rotating headers always increase e-commerce website conversion rates.

JON MAC DONALD: Oh leave it. I said there were two things I would eliminate from the internet and one of them would be pop-ups the second is rotating banners. Now I’ve given talks for an hour just on rotating banners and how damaging they can be to your web site; they are right up there with email pop-ups. Again think about if you were trying to read a message in the store and it just, the message just kept moving how frustrating that would be. Now Notre Dame actually did a ton of research on this a few years back and what they found was less than one percent of all visitors would actually click on the first item of a rotating banner and then it dropped, the percentage dropped dramatically for the second, third fourth, fifth etc. So it’s the most important area of your website is that initial header right there right. and it’s where you should be communicating your value proposition and making sure people understand they’re in the right place as quickly and easily as possible and instead your trying to show multiple messages and your scrolling then=m by to the point before somebody can finish reading them often or even if they go to click the button and it scrolls right by that’s an extremely frustrating experience. And again this goes back to where we started the chat today around empathy right. Having empathy for the consumer who has to deal with that. As opposed to the marketing team that loves these rotating banners because they can get multiple messages out there very quickly.


MATT WEBER: I believe you just generated a lot of groans from the audience seriously, Cause Robert O’Haver how many e-commerce themes still have rotating headers in the, it’s like got to be forty percent thirty percent that you can fill out there.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yeah. Alright, so we got a bonus question for you normally we only do three but I have a bonus question for you. Now live chat always increases e-commerce website conversion rates.

JON MAC DONALD: Well I think based on what we talked about I would say believe it but also, I think it needs to be done correctly right. So just putting it on your site is not going to help, if you do it correctly and man it so that you’re answering questions and actually taking some care with it and treating it as if it was somebody calling you on the phone then I a hundred percent believe it and I’ve seen it work very very well.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yeah, I’d have to agree with you. I’ve seen where Proactive chat where if you set up certain rules for a chat or website and then they hit those rules and then it pops up and says “hay have a question?” or something like that, well I’ve seen maybe after they are on the site for a minute or longer I’ve seen that do really well.

MATT WEBER: I’m feeling good about the show I think we just helped people increase their conversion rates.

ROBERT O’HAVER Yeah, Yeah, I think so. Alright well, let’s do the search talk live tattoo.

MATT WEBER: Alright Jon, great show, great advice it’s gonna be hard for you to pick the best advice here but what’s your most succinct most powerful conversion rate optimization tip that is tattooable, that we can give our audience?

JON MAC DONALD: Great question by the way. Let’s see I think it would be what gets measured gets improved.

MATT WEBER: Ok now you’re quoting someone but that is a fantastic quote. “What gets measured gets improved” commit yourself to analytic commit yourself to the data.


JON MAC DONALD: Data backed decisions is the way to go.

ROBERT O’HAVER Well I have really enjoyed you being on the show I’m sorry we were a little late there.

MATT WEBER: great stuff.

ROBERT O’HAVER great information for people I hope that it helps a lot of people and I want to thank you for being on the show maybe we can have you come back on another episode.

JON MAC DONALD: Yeah, I’d be more than happy to. Thank you, guys, for having me as well and I enjoyed myself today. Hopefully found some help.

ROBERT O’HAVER So guys if you have questions you want to ask Jon you can email me and I’ll email me or vice versa. Jon if they want to get a hold of you like on social media or something how can they do that?

JON MAC DONALD: well feel free to connect with me on linked in or even better is just shoot me an email I try to read and respond to every email that is sent to me and I can do that a [email protected] that’s my personal email happy to respond and let me know if have any questions.

ROBERT O’HAVER you know we have thousands of listeners who might wish you didn’t give out your email address.

JON MAC DONALD: Not a problem.

ROBERT O’HAVER And then your website is obviously right


ROBERT O’HAVER Alright so go check out his sit guys. I want to thank you again for listening to the show we’ll be back next week. And be sure if you have questions during the show, we are life, so you can do #searchtalklive and if it’s after the show you do the question, we’ll still answer the question because I always monitor that quite a bit. You can also if you want to be a guest on the show if you’ve got what it takes you can send me an email Robert O’[email protected] and I would be more than happy to review your email and possibly get you on the show. I want to thank our sponsors we’ve got a new sponsor hRefs I’m sure you guys have heard of them. They’re gonna start their sponsorship next week. SEO monitor and Directive consulting and thanks for listening we’ll see you next week. Matt Weber, I’m sorry Matt Weber did you want to say something.

MATT WEBER: Thanks for listening everybody.