Lars Lofgren is the Director of Growth for KISSmetrics (https://www.kissmetrics.com), a software company that provides marketing analytics tools for online businesses. They meticulously help their customers track data and analyze it to optimize marketing efforts. Simply put, KISSmetrics helps businesses find where their bottlenecks are online, and gives them the tools to improve their online efforts. Lars creates A/B tests, speculates conversion rates and lead volumes as well as connects the marketing and sales team on growth initiatives.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to redesign your homepage without wasting time on copy
- How to simplify your signup process and provide visitors with an effortless experience
- Why you need to pay attention to your homepage conversion rate
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: Let me ask you a question. What’s the goal of your homepage? If you’re not sure, then you should probably take some time to figure that out. But if you know the goal, then is your homepage fully optimized to help you achieve that goal? Lars Lofgren from KISSmetrics is back on the show today to share the incredibly simple steps that KISSmetrics took to make sure that their homepage was converting visitors to sign-ups and it works to the tune of around 8%, 8%. You’re also going to hear Lar’s favorite go-to big win conversion act and it’s one that we’ve heard over and over and over again and we’ve heard it work incredibly well.
So if you’re ready for your homepage to start getting you some serious results, listen on. I’m Tim Page, the conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Welcome to ConversionCast, the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. Now here’s another data driven case study.
Hey fellow marketer. The episode is coming right up but first don’t forget to join me for this Thursday’s LeadPages webinar. This is an all-new webinar for 2015 that’s going to show you how to turn your site into an evergreen lead generation machine without spending all of your time marketing. It includes our four top list-building strategies for the New Year. All you need to do join is text LeadPages all one word to 38470. Again text LeadPages, that’s L-E-A-D-P-A-G-E-S all one word to 38470 and you’ll be registered for the webinar. Oh and if you’re outside the US, don’t worry you can still join the webinar. Just go to ConversionCast.com/webinar. We’ll see you there and now here’s today’s guest.
Hey, what’s up Lars? Thanks for coming back on the show.
Lars: Thank you. I really appreciate it. It’s great to be here.
Tim: Absolutely. Of course I wanted to have you back and today we’ve got some interesting things to discuss with your homepage, which you know we were literally just having a discussion about how I think more and more people are starting to understand why it’s important to use your homepage and really every page on your website as a landing page but you guys take this to the extreme. So —
Lars: Yes, we do.
Tim: [Laughs] And I love that. So you can you tell us first off what the results were from these changes?
Lars: Yes. So we basically tripled the conversion rates on our homepage and to give you guys some raw numbers, when we started our conversion rate from homepage traffic to signup, these weren’t actual clicks. These were full signups, full free trial signups. Our conversion rate was about 2.8 a little under 3%. These days it’s well over 8%, in the 8% to 9% range.
Tim: Yeah from the homepage, that’s beautiful.
Tim: I love that and you know this is to a full signup for a KISSmetrics membership.
Lars: yeah KISSmetrics free trial.
Tim: Free trial, got it, okay Perfect. So that’s good to know. So for those of you or for those of us listening who haven’t yet may be heard our last episode, can you kind of tell everybody just a brief overview of what KISSmetrics is and what your role is there?
Lars: Yes. I’m director of growth here at KISSmetrics. Basically that means I spend all my time doing AB tests, managing conversion rates, driving lead volumes, making sure that marketing is giving our sales exactly what our sales team needs as far as good qualified contacts to reach out to you and push the benefits of KISSmetrics forward.
KISSmetrics specifically what we do is basically we’re a marketing analytics tool. We’ll take your data, giving you some – track everything for you, tie all of your data to actual real people so you can see what they’re really doing across different devices and front the first touch point to the last. And then we’ll give you a whole set of reports that quickly and easily pull insights out, you know, about those people, do your analysis so you can figure out how to actually optimize your marketing. You know I got photo reports, cohort reports and AB test reports, path reports, pretty much everything that a modern day growth hacker needs to dive into their data and figure out where the bottlenecks are, how to fix them and then you know where to find more ready and willing customers.
Tim: Beautiful. It tells you what you need to —
Tim: –just make your business work.
Tim: I love it. Okay. So let’s kind of set the stage. So you know, you made a few changes but I think you mentioned that there was one kind of primary thing that you did that got this result. So can you kind of dive into this and just kind of share with us what you did?
Lars: Yeah. So there’s a couple and kind of the biggest one – well we kind of did two things at the same time. I’m sure if you go through like the way back machine, and you start looking at all the homepages through our homepage, I can dig up some screenshots for you guys too.
Lars: But you know, if you look at our homepage towards the end of 2013 there’s a fairly conventional, a little bit of copy on the left side of one of the fold and then you know, the beginnings of a signup form on the right hand side. Pretty straight forward. Still fairly minimalist conversion focused. But nothing, nothing that crazy or you know, also the results weren’t even that intense either. You know, just 2% to 3% conversion signups, it’s okay but nothing too crazy.
So what we decided to do early 2014 I think we launched this right in the middle of January or the beginning of January, is we kind of made two really big changes at the same time. The first thing we did was we got super minimalist. Now we all we’re big fans of you know, keeping things simple and really focused and you know, really minimalist but we decided to take that to its absolute extreme. [Laughs]
Lars: So we pretty much took every item on the home page that we could delete or remove and that’s exactly what we did. We cleaned out the page entirely. Now on top of that, during the same test, we actually also did one other thing. And I believe this gave us the majority of the wins came from or at least I believe that the majority of the wins from the test actually came from this second item. And that’s the fact that we didn’t just throw people straight into the signup form. We actually started putting them through a Google authentication process first.
Now if you listen really closely here, you may have picked up on the fact that I actually added a step. We added a step to our signup process.
Lars: If you have been through the KISSmetric sign-up flow, with our Google authentication, you’ll realize that there’s a signup form still behind it. We just don’t have it on the homepage anymore. So we moved the signup form back a step, put a Google authentication step on the homepage as our main call to action. Now we ask people for permission to basically their Google Analytics accounts through their Gmail log-in,. And after we get that access, then we populate some of the fields automatically in our signup form but we still had them fill out the signup form. And after we added that extra step, did a complete redesign of the homepage, made all those changes all at once. We put them through an AB test. I think we got a 40% pop right off the bat in signups. It was crazy. You could actually see exactly when it happened in a month to monthly accounts in our signup accounts. You know it was just crazy.
So even though we added extra stuff to our signup flow, now we actually got a huge boost in conversions and the number of trials that were coming in.
Tim: Now how did you come to the conclusion that you were going to add that Google authentication first?
Lars: Yeah so there was a couple of ideas banging around at the company. Now then I guess a couple of different objectives. So we thought that there were – we’re trying to go after a couple of different things all at the same time. One is if we have access to people’s Google Analytics accounts, one we can start doing some more analysis on our end on what people are actually using Google Analytics for. We can start looking at ways to tie that data into KISSmetrics. Start looking for kind of other kind of bigger signup flows to get people to shift from Google Analytics over to KISSmetrics. And getting access to that data was kind of a key piece of figuring out whether or not that was possible.
Now as far as the conversion side of things go, you know that was kind of like a strategic product objective. But the conversion side was more along the lines of there – and we’ve seen this multiple times in several different situations and I’m starting to notice it over and over again. It’s becoming kind of like one of my more – more of my go-to big win conversion hacks.
Is if you get people to buy into a process with a step that’s very, very easy to do, very simple and nonthreatening, it’s you actually radically increase the number of people that fall through around the holding process even if you might be adding an extra step like we do with a homepage.
So some examples of this would be you know, was okay so we added Google authentication before you even hit the signup form. Great. Well you know, you just – you do the Google authentication you only have to click a couple of buttons. You don’t really have to fill anything out. It doesn’t really feel like work. But after you kind of commit to the fact that yes I’m going to give KISSmetrics permission to my Google Account or at least a very small piece of it, you know, you’re more inclined to actually finish the rest of the process once you get past that first initial step.
We’ve seen the same exact thing happen when we split up webinar registration forms or other types of forms into multipole steps where we actually just gave you the you know, the initial name and email and then asked you everything else after that.
That’s a good way to increase form fields as a whole. That’s pretty reliable one. So if you can basically even though you’re adding extra steps, you’re making that first step look a lot easier and a lot smaller and then once people start that, they’re more inclined to go all the way through.
Tim: Yeah it’s kind of like we’re starting the cycle and they just want to kind of close the loop.
Tim: We see this a lot with kind of the what we have as a feature called LeadBoxes. You know, it’s a two-step opt-in rather than a one step,
Tim: and a lot of people are saying oh there’s that – there’s no way that’s going to work. You know, so you’re giving some —
Lars: It does.
Tim: –body another step but it really does. It’s the same thing if you think about you know the hello bar. If somebody is using a hello bar, if somebody is going to sign up kind of the first step in the sign up is to create the hello bar. It’s not really just sign up necessarily.
Tim: And so giving them that first step prior to signup can really work if it’s done properly.
Tim: and what I’m curious about is and I know that you guys track this, I’m curious if you’ve noticed that your –you know, people that are going through this process, are they sticking and converting to paid customers more often than not or have you not seen a change there?
Lars: Yes. So we had [[0:11:18]] [Indiscernible] and the rest of our funnel. So generally I mean every once in a while you run into a test that optimizes sign-ups but then kills activations or something along those lines.
Lars: Those do happen. But on the whole especially for all of our bigger wins, when we saw big wins, we also saw increased on account activations and also paid customers at the end.
Tim: That is huge. I love that. And so at the end of the day, you’re seeing an improvement in sign-ups to you know, the trial that you’re seeing improvements or at least consistency but you know, you mentioned improvements through the funnel. And doing it by having less things on the actual homepage itself –
Tim: –but may be one extra step that makes sense in the process that you can use even for other things. Does that sound about right?
Lars: Yeah, yeah. Yup, yup and for us Google authentication really worked really well. I think for us you know, since we’re in the analytics space and everyone has a Google Analytics account there’s a really nice tie-in there.
Lars: If there’s some other sort of like quick authentication you can get people to do that really makes sense for your space, I would definitely explore it.
Tim: yeah, absolutely. I mean whether that’s a you know, that can be a step that comes in before the actual signup like may be a preview or something that it’s just the stuff that kind of gets them invested a little bit —
Tim: -like they’ve clicked it and they’ve gone forward and now they might as well keep going. Whatever that is for you know, somebody who’s listings, audiences, I think that that makes sense and then I just love the simplicity. We talked about one of our highest converting landing pages of all time was just it was a background image with just a form and a tiny headline that was it. You know?
Lars: Yeah. But it worked beautifully.
Tim: It’s crazy.
Lars: We’ve got some redesigns coming and we’re still sticking to that super minimalist type home page so.
Tim: Brilliant. I love it. Well Lars thanks so much for coming back on the show. I really appreciate you sharing what you guys are doing that’s working.
Lars: Yeah I love it every time.
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Listen To Discover The Exact Homepage Conversion Strategy That KISSmetrics Used To Increase Signups