7 Conversion Mistakes Most Startups & Fortune 500 Make Every Day [OMP 002]

Show Notes


Hey, it's Nicolas and welcome to online marketing for profits. This is episode two. This is the first episode where I'm going to talk about the good stuff and things that really matter.

How you can grow your business by, perhaps, getting rid of these conversion mistakes that I've seen both in startups to midsize businesses, and to huge Fortune 500s. I've seen these seven conversion mistakes done all over the place.

As you'll see in a second, there might be a few of those that you're unfortunately doing on your website. Which, if you can get rid of them quickly, they're bound to just increase your conversions and grow your revenue.

This is episode two. If you missed episode one, that's when I introduced myself and talked to you about my journey. My very atypical journey, where I started as an engineer. Started building websites and sold some of them. Was a professional poker player for a few years, then did some body language coaching throughout the years. Eventually, some consulting on conversion optimization with conversion rate experts.

If you missed that episode, you can go back to episode one and listen to it right now if you want to find out a bit more about me.

Let's talk about these conversion mistakes.

Conversion Mistake #1: Having a False Bottom

The number one conversion mistakes I see every day, and pretty much half of the websites I see out there, are what I call a ‘false bottom'. Having a false bottom. What this is, is kind of a result of WordPress to some extent. The themes today that are designed are a big culprit of this.

What is a false bottom? That's when you see your screen, when you stumble upon a page… This could be a homepage, a product page, pretty much any page. Typically, it's less so in blogs because big blogs tend to be big text. It's pretty evident that there's more stuff there. You kind of assume and expect when you get to a blog post, that it's going to be a big text. There's more stuff below the fold.

When you get to a homepage, or a product page specifically, what you see on your screen … There's basically a white space at the bottom of the page that insinuates that the page could be over with and there's nothing below. Because of the design, and when I said WordPress is a big culprit of this, a lot of themes out there are designed that they have these huge sliders now. We'll talk about slides in a bit. They have these huge sliders with big imagery, that take a lot of screen space. Underneath that, there's a big white space. That's typically the way they're designed. That's typically where the fold falls. Which, basically means that a lot of people don't quite realize there's more stuff below the fold. Even though people do scroll up more than they used to, a lot of people actually miss that.

To give you a bit more detail, the average screen resolution these days is 1366 pixel by 768.

Which means that, given their browser navigation and all that, the fold when you're designing a page is at about 600 pixels. Just roughly. Of course, it all depends on your screen resolution, if you're a laptop, if you're PC, if you're Mac and the actual dimensions of the monitor. Things like that. It's not a rough figure. It's a ballpark. When you're designed your webpage, you want to be quite wary about the 600 pixel mark. You want to make sure that there's no white space, or extra white space, there that could make that people actually don't realize that there's more copy and more information below the fold. When that happens, basically people are missing out on probably half of that 75-80% of your material on a single page, which is a lot. It's putting a lot of pressure on your home, above the fold copy and everything you have over there.


Do I have a false bottom on my page?

How can you make sure that you don't have a false bottom? First thing, you can plug in any page into a couple websites. There's one that's called, ‘whereisthefold.com' and ‘foldtester.com'. Basically, you can go there. You enter the URL of any page you have on your website. It will give you a nice visual rendition of your page, with colors and all that. Especially with pixels telling you where the fold falls on your page. Maybe that'll tell you that you have some big white space in there that you should maybe get rid of.

If you're using heat map tools, like ‘Hotjar‘ or ‘Crazy Egg‘, they have also another tool that's called ‘scroll maps'. Scroll maps, when you see those, basically they tell you how far down the page your users will scroll. What you really want to have, is the hot spots, the hot colors at the top, and then a nice gradient from the hot colors at the top to the colder colors at the bottom. It's always going to be hotter at the top, because people see what's above the fold. It's always going to be way colder at the bottom, because less and less people actually scroll down your page. That's okay.

What you don't want is to have quite a big break between the hot colors, and then the rest of your copy below the fold. That's when it tells you you have a problem with a false bottom that you want to get rid of. You want to have a nice gradient, so that people actually realize that there's more stuff below the fold and they scroll accordingly.

Getting rid of your false bottom

How can you make them scroll in your design, and make sure you don't have any problem with that? The first thing you could do is to have some kind of design element, or copy, that falls in that 600 pixel mark. If you have a testimonial or a big block of copy, or any design in a box of some kind that falls in that 600 pixel mark, then of course if that box is cut off at the half people will realize that there's more stuff below.

What you can also do is use some copy … A small blurb with some design elements, like an arrow pointing down. For example, I like to use … If the first thing that I'm displaying below the fold is … I'm just making this up. Let's say it's a guarantee about the return policy, or the guarantee for purchasing, I'll just add some kind of copy element above the fold that says, “See how you can buy this product worry free.” Then, I'll have an arrow pointing down so that people will see that bit of copy. They'll see the arrow, and they'll understand there's more stuff below the fold. They'll want to find out more about how they can purchase it worry-free, because I'm talking about the guarantee or any return policy. Something like that.

There's also kind of a new trend to see, these icons – circular icons – with a little arrow or downward triangle pointing downwards. That's okay.

I guess savvier web visitors are going to understand what that's all about. I'm not convinced that everybody will. I much prefer having some bit of copy with an arrow, because the copy will sell it much easier. At the same time that you're selling the fact that there's more stuff down the fold, you're also selling what you're introducing with the copy. That's a much better way to do it.

Beware of those false bottom, especially if you're using a CMS. WordPress is a big culprit of this. You'll be on your way to getting more people to read your copy below the fold, and of course that's always good.

Conversion Mistake #2: Carousel or Sliders

Conversion mistake number two – we talked about it a little bit in the first segment, but it's actually carousel or sliders. Again, WordPress is a big culprit of this. That's why you see them all the time. There's going to be a lot of themes out there that, especially for the homepage, they come with a carousel, a slider. Basically, you can have several slides. Slides one, two, three. Then, when you hit the homepage you see slide number one. Then, either by a time delay, five seconds later it will switch to slide number two, then side number three. Or, with arrows – a navigation within the slider – you can see the other slides.

First of all, these often look like banners the way they're designed. They usually have big imagery, very little copy. That can lead to banner blindness. People we know often dismiss banners because they're used to seeing them as advertisements. You don't want to have that, especially when you're above the fold copy – above the fold elements – on a homepage or on a product page. That's not good.

Second thing is that, you're above the fold content should be your best stuff. If your best stuff is on slide number one, which it should be, then your essentially hiding your best stuff as soon as it switched to slide two and three. If it is your best stuff, it should be very apparent that it is and should always be visible to your visitors.

If you do have, I guess, secondary good stuff that you want to showcase on slide two and three, that's okay. Don't do it on slide two and three in a carousel or slider. Just move it below the fold. That's much better. That way your best stuff still gets seen all the time, because there's not going to be switching between a few slides.

Then, also what's underneath what's on slide two and three will get seen as well, if people do scroll down the fold. Not only are you not hiding slide one and your best copy, your best benefits, your best features, but you're also not hiding what's possibly good things on slide two and three. Because some people actually never scroll … Never flip through the slides. They'll completely miss what's on slide two and three. A lot of people will miss some of the slides, and all of that good content and copy will be hidden. They'll never see it. That's certainly not good.

When to use carousels or sliders

When is it okay to use a carousel or a slider? The best place, usually, is typically on a product page, when it makes sense to have multiple picks that don't auto-rotate. Think about how Amazon does it, for example. When you have a product on Amazon, you'll see the main image and then you'll see a few secondary images. Some thumbnails to the left. People can flip through the imagery they want and they can come back to the first image as easily as just clicking the thumbnail associated to it. That's the way to do carousel or sliders that's not going to harm your conversions.

When you have product pages like this, or if you're selling real estate, it makes sense to showcase a lot of imagery. That's fine. Don't have it auto-rotate. Just have some small thumbnails there, so people can flip through and come back to the image they want to see as easily as they can.

Conversion Mistake #3: Focusing on Design Instead of Copy

Conversion mistake number three is focusing on design instead of copy. That's a big mistake I see these days. People … We want our websites to look good, and I get that. The design does help. I'm not dismissing design whatsoever. Design certainly can hurt conversions if it's badly done, or help conversions if it's done properly. Of course, it'll give your website a more professional appeal. It'll build trust and credibility. That's certainly good for overall sales and revenue.

Think about Amazon. Think about eBay a few years back. Think about PayPal. Twitter, when it started. Those were websites all focused on engaging the users, providing value, and their design was pretty bad. We can't argue that these aren't huge brands that made it through all this. Remember that you're not selling the bells and whistles of your website, you're selling how you're going to change your customer's lives. That's really, really difficult to do with design.

It's done with copy. With some good copy, a nice headline, some bullets and nice chunks of copy, highlighting how the features of your product or service are going to benefit your users. When you have those … Going back to those sliders, those WordPress sliders, when you have just big image with just a headline – that you see a lot of these in new websites have – that's putting a lot of pressure on that single headline, and the imagery. It's much easier to have a lot more copy in there, so that you can give a bit more detail about your messaging and puts a lot less pressure on your headline.

If you have only the headline and the image, on that above the fold content … If your headline doesn't do it, you're pretty much screwed. Might as well have a lot more copy in there. I know people like white space and like to have beautiful websites, but at the end of the day copy will oversell design any day of the week. It's really important not to forget that.

Conversion Mistake #4: Poor Call-to-Actions

All right, conversion mistake number four is to have poor funneling call to actions. Most people understand, you probably know, that you need a call to action in your page. Typically, you need to have only one. You might have secondary call to actions, but they can't be as visible or a obvious as your main call to action. It might be, “Subscribe to my email list”. Get further in the funnel. If you're on the homepage, you want to funnel people through your product pages. Things like that.

If you're on the product page, you want to make people buy. If you're an affiliate page, you want to make click to the merchant website. Having a main call to action I think is something that pretty much everybody understands. Let's not forget that once people … The mistake that a lot of people do, and that's killing their conversions, is that they only have one call to action higher on the page. Typically above the fold, which is the right thing to do, but when people are scrolling down the page you want to give them more ways to continue in the funnel. Have them repeat those call to action. Have some boxes spread out on that single page, so that people can actually purchase from within the copy, and not just have to scroll back up and click that call to action.

Spread out those multiple call to action throughout your page. If you do have some secondary call to actions, don't forget that your main call to action should be very visible. Maybe a brighter color. That's the button that stands out. If you have secondary call to actions then it's okay, but have the design maybe lessen the appeal on them for that page. You need to make people understand that there's one thing that they need to do on this page, and that's for example ‘purchase this product'. One call to action and spread it out within the page.

That were conversion mistakes number one to four. Not having a false bottom, be wary of carousel and sliders especially on homepages, focusing too much on design instead of copy, and having a poor funneling call to action. We'll take a quick break. It's time for the offline ignition minute, where we talk about your body language as an entrepreneur. I'll be back at the end of that with conversion mistakes number five, six and seven. We're going to talk about some things that I really feel strongly about and that are really, really conversion killers. I'll see you then.

Conversion Mistake #5: Captchas

Let's talk about our conversion mistakes number five, six and seven. At number five are captchas. I'm sure you're … If you're like me, you've been through a captcha or two that's been very, very frustrating. Captchas are becoming more and more complex, so that bots can't go through them. I get that to some extent.

Man, it can be frustrating at some times. Just to give you some numbers, it was a captcha study done by Stanford University where they tested … I think they looked at eBay and about 14 million samples of a week of date from eBay. They revealed that visual captcha's take about 10 seconds to complete. Think about it. 10 seconds to complete. We know that after just a few seconds on a typical page, people will leave the page.

Now, they want to get through. They want to convert to some extent. They're right there on the form. Those visual captcha's can take 10 seconds to complete. Audio captcha's are even worse. They take about 30 seconds to complete, once you actually hear it and try to solve it. 30 seconds. They have a give up rate of about 50%.

One person out of two will just give up. You see how much this can totally kill your conversions? Captcha's I would get rid of entirely. I've seen captcha's on checkout processes for huge Fortune 500's. This is just … I understand there might be bots trying to get in and all of that. I get the reasoning behind it.

There's gotta be a better way, because it's a total conversion killer. Get rid of those captcha's. If you're running a site based on WordPress, for example, and you get spam … I noticed a lot of folks have done that. You install a captcha on your comments, or maybe your contact form, because you're getting spammed too much.

I get it, but there are better ways. For example, if you're on WordPress, you can run Akismet or Antispam Bee. That's Antispam and then bee like a bee. B-E-E. Which is a terrific plugin, will get rid of pretty much every spam comments that you might have, and is much easier for your user to actually to want to comment. Because there's no captcha's. There always are better ways. Just look for them and get rid of those captcha's to improve your conversions.

Conversion Mistake #6: Low Social Shares

Number six. You've probably heard of social proof, and how it can really help boost trust and credibility, because people will rely on what other people say about your product, your service, your brand. The contrary is also true, that a low number of followers or social sharers can actually hurt your conversions.

Trust is always a friction point when people are deciding if they want to buy from you or use your services. If you can show some high numbers, then all great. That's even better. Some people make the mistake of actually showing also low numbers. We know that after about eight seconds people will leave. As soon as they hit your page, if they see that there's only a handful of people that actually ‘share' this page, it's a big hurdle to go through because that social proof is actually working against you now.

Shares can boost conversion or actually kill them. Especially on funnel pages. If you have a blog post, some informational page … Perhaps you want to keep that Facebook share button, that Twitter share button, or all the other shareable buttons there, because you want people to share them easily.
That's okay, but especially on funnel pages, your key pages in your funnel … So, for example, product page and then maybe you're going to an option, or maybe a checkout process, remove those social shares from those pages. Especially if they're low, because it can totally kill your conversions.

Conversion Mistake #7: Brand Guidelines

Number seven, number seven of conversion mistakes: Brand guidelines. If you're a solopreneur or maybe just a startup, you possible don't have brand guidelines at this time. It's very, very important to understand the mindset and why you come up with brand guidelines, and possibly, most importantly, how they can really hurt you in the end.

Brand guidelines, there's a usefulness to brand guidelines. You need your messaging to be … When your company reaches a point where it's spread out, there's a lot of people working perhaps on different things. You want the messaging to be constant. You want perhaps the type face, the colors, to be constant. I get that. That's fine. If you have a shade of blue in your messaging, you want the same blue across all your platforms. That's okay.

Brand guidelines are meant as guidelines. Not hard, fastened rules. That's so important. So many people don't get that. I mean, I've had clients time and time again tell me, “We can't run that test, because that's not in our branded guidelines.” For example, I was having a different way that the call to action was displayed. Maybe I added some handwritten font with an arrow, just to draw the eyes into something I wanted people to look at. That's a great way to do that. Well, people will tell me, “We don't have a handwritten font in our guidelines. We don't have arrows on our website. We can't do that on our site… Our call to action needs to be three words. Nothing more.”

That's just wrong. Okay? These are not hard fastened rules. They're guidelines. If at the end of the day, your bran guidelines are preventing you from growing your business because you can't test new things and try new things out, they're wrong. There's nothing like that. It's as simple as that. When clients tell me, “We can't run this test because of our brand guidelines”, I ask them this question, it's pretty simple, “How would you feel if we knew in advance that the results of this test would give us a 25% lift in conversions and revenue? Would you feel so strongly about this?”

The answer's pretty much always ‘no', especially if you're dealing with decision makers. If the answer is ‘no', then what's stopping us? Those brand guidelines are stopping us! We need to stop, okay? If you're thinking about having brand guidelines, if you're thinking about doing that, that's okay. At the end, remember that these are just guidelines. You need to oftentimes think outside the box, and that's going to be outside your guidelines, to grow your business. You can have your design team, your conversion team, shackled because your guidelines are too strict.

That was conversion mistake number seven. Please get rid of all of these. Get rid of your false bottoms, your carousels and sliders. Focus on copy instead of design. Have multiple call to actions. Get rid of those darn captcha's. Hide those followers, or social shares, if the number's low. Be careful with those brand guidelines, because they can really hurt you.

I've seen these in startups, in medium size business, and Fortune 500's. Be careful of these. Once you get rid of all of this, your conversion rate will go up. I'm convinced of it. These are great tests to run and prove that you had a conversion killer, in there, on your website was totally hurting your revenue.

Use SpeakPipe to Ask Me Any Question

All right, that's a wrap for this show. I hope you enjoyed it. I really had a blast recording it. If you want the show notes, the links to all the tools I talked about today, the slides, the full transcript, go to onlinemarketingforprofits.com/2. If you have a question for me, you can hit me on the right hand side of the website. There's a SpeakPipe button. You can click on that. It'll ask you to use your microphone on your computer. It's super easy. You can record your question to me, and I will listen to every question that I get. I'll respond to you very fast. Also, leave me a comment or a rating on iTunes. I would really appreciate it.

Again, I will read every comment that's posted there. Leave me some rating if you enjoyed the show. Tell me what you enjoyed. Tell me what maybe I should be touching on, what you enjoyed the most, some things you might want me to improve on. That's fine. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll see you next time when we talk about some blog posts. If you hate writing, if you're not good at writing these huge blog posts, what can you do to build traffic and have some posts that are likely to rank in Google and go viral? We'll talk about that next time. I'm looking forward to it. I'll see you then.

In this first edition of the offline ignition minute, I want to talk about body language and how important it is to your success. If you're meeting people in person trying to sell them your services or your product, if you speak in public, if you like to do webinars, or if you have client calls with some client trying to sell them your product or services, having a good, sound body language … Even if they don't see you, if it's just through the voice, it's crucially important on how you'll be perceived and how they will think you're credible, you know what you're doing, they can trust you. Which is a big part of the overall persuasion, and trying to sell them and buy your product or services.

There was a study by two Harvard professors. The study's kind of known in the world as ‘the thin slices' study. In this experiment, what they did is they took a bunch of students and had them watch a 30 second video clip of teachers in the classroom. Then, they gave them a questionnaire on different variables like likability, confidence, warmth, honesty, optimism and things like that. What's really special about this is that 30 second video clip, they actually removed the sound, so the raters only had the visuals for 30 seconds to base their evaluation on.

It was only on non-verbal cues. You couldn't hear what the professor was talking about, how he was talking. It was just solely on how he was presenting himself and talking to his audience without any sound.

As you might expect, the analysis of the questionnaires from these people that only watched a 30 second mute video clip was fairly consistent with people that had gone through the entire semester with that professor. With sound and all of that, for months and months, that had taken the same questionnaire on likability, confidence, warmth and all that.

Only watching a 30 second video clip, without any sound, you could do a fairly accurate judgement of a professor. In other studies, what they did, is they took this a bit further and they actually reduces the 30 second clip to 10 seconds. And then after, just a mere two seconds. Again, no sound in all of that. The results, as you can imagine, were pretty much the same. That tells you a lot of how quick we are to judge people. Mostly, it tells you a lot of how accurate we are. We judge people quickly because, honestly, we're pretty good at it.

When you meet someone for the first time, when you speak to them on the phone, when you speak in front of a crowd or in a webinar, that first impression … Those first few seconds, if you don't hit it out of the park, you're very much screwed. Because, it's going to be very hard to convince people that they were wrong about you because most of the time they're right.

I just wanted to set the foundation today about how important nailing your body language … It's not that difficult, honestly. You just have to pay attention for a few things, and you'll be well on your way to pressing yourself way better.

In the next five episodes, I'm going to talk about my PEERS formula – P-E-E-R-S – to impress your peers about making a wonderful first impression and really knocking it out of the park. This is kind of the same formula I've used a few years back. I started to be an entrepreneur about 15 years ago. A few years back, I went back to the job market. Wanted to seek a little bit more … A different pace. Trying to see what's out there.

I went through a job interview cycle, where I used this specific peers formula to get a job. I eventually got seven second interviews, four job offers, in just two months. It's hard to say how much this formal actually had an impact on all of this. Sure, what I said and how, but mostly how I presented myself, I positioned myself and how I made people trust me, was crucial I think to the whole process. Using this peers formula really works, and I'll show you in the next episodes what it's all about.

That's the offline ignition minute.


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