Author: Khalid Saleh & Ayat Shukairy
Unsure what this book is about? Then here's the extended subtitle, "The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers: Converting Your Website Visitors into Customers". Also the cover of the book isn't the one shown here - instead its a magnet attracting iron filings which seems much more apt.
If you normally skip prefaces make an exception for this book as it sets the scene - a case of a phoenix rising from the ashes - the disaster being a team of 20 developers building a feature rich website with a $15 million budget that led to a great-looking site that attracted the expected tens of thousands of visitors within its first few hours of operation but a scant 10 orders.
Chapter 1: The Journey From Clicks to Sales considers some of the basics of conversion optimization with statistics to prove just how difficult it can be. One of the good points about this is that it is going to temper expectations. The figures from 2007-2008 show that conversion rate averages for different types of sites ranged from 0.7% to 4.6%, although the top sites can do considerably better. For example, while most online retailers convert 2.3% of visitors into customers, Lane Bryant converts 24%. This chapter discusses landing pages and concludes with a case study that looks at conversion bottlenecks - discovering that in the example cited it was the checkout process that accounted for the failure to convert.
We move on to the Four Temperaments originally proposed by Aristotle in 325 BC ( hedonic, proprietary, dialectical, ethical) and by Galen in 190 AD (sanguine, choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic). Combining these with Carl Jung's 1921 theory that humans used four functions for dealing with the world (sensing, intuiting, thinking and feeling) and his introvert/extrovert dichotomy David Keirsey (1950) divided the four temperaments in a study of human behavior as:
The authors then use the concept of the four temperaments in the process of persona creation and define:
Chapter 6 "FUDs" - the acronym for fears, uncertainties and doubts - looks at what puts potential customers off - from site errors and 404 errors, through long forms with too many fields, browser compatibility and even discount codes. Chapter 7 looks at using incentives - low prices, freebies, buy one get on free and product bundling being examples. There are many helpful tips here. Engaging the visitors to your website is the topic of Chapter 8 and concludes the list of six principles of how visitors interact with websites.
There are two more planks of the framework - testing the changes you make to your website and a long term commitment to conversion optimization by being willing to iterate the testing process. These are the topics of Chapters 9 and 10 and along the way it provides details of "Forty-Nine Things You can Test on Your Website." And it also explains why you should confine yourself to change only a few variables at any one time.
This book is a good mix of background theory and psychology and practical hints and tips well illustrated with examples. It is also well written and therefore highly readable. I particularly enjoyed a box out "A case against Multivariate Testing" which includes an aside about Edsger Dijkstra. Although in the context of the book it was a bit contrived it worked for me to boost the book's authority.
If you are in any doubt about how to make profit from an e-commerce website read this book. The framework it presents is well formulated and it does not make extravagant or unrealistic claims.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 20 December 2010 )|