Joel Harvey & Brian Massey are two website optimizers from Conversion Scientist, a company dedicated to optimizing client’s websites to generate more revenue, leads, and subscribers from the present traffic on the website. Joel & Brian take on the role of scientists as they test their client’s sites using the scientific method and a set of hypotheses to attain tangible and meaningful results.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to use logic combined with previous experience to conduct a valuable 4 way split test.
- The “crazy & you’re not serious” variable that they put to the test which resulted in a massive uptick in phone calls.
- How to find unbelievable results in a test which is almost guaranteed to underperform.
To See This Tactic In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: Hey Joel and Brian, how’s it going today guys?
Male Speaker 1: It’s cool.
Male Speaker 2: Fantastic it’s another day in a lab coat for us here in Austin, Texas.
Tim: That’s so weird. I’m wearing a lab coat too. I know —
Male Speaker 1: Are you really?
Tim: I don’t know. No, I’m not but if I were it would be weird because it doesn’t have anything to do with me but that’s awesome. I appreciate you guys coming on today and so here’s what I want to hear right now. Let’s kind of just share just the results from this particular case study.
Male Speaker 1: Sure in this case our client is interested in us generating phone calls. Why are they interested in us generating phone calls instead of form fills? So phone calls to them based on total sales after the lead were worth ten times more than a form fill.
Male Speaker 1: Ten times more. So the question we had is all right, we know the real people to call, we should play with this form right? We don’t – we have that there’s an option and we should understand the extent to which we might be sacrificing phone calls which are these beautiful 10x return compared to form fills.
Male Speaker 1: So we started playing with that and to kind of fast forward to the end, we found a way to increase phone calls by 16% by playing with the form which is kind of weird.
Male Speaker 1: We learned about some of the fundamental things that will drive people to either fill out a form or pick up the phone and call. It’s actually more fascinating part of a story. So a 16% increase in phone calls for this particular client was very valuable. They were very happy but what we learned along the way is something we’ve actually been able to apply several times over with very similar results if not better results.
Tim: And probably to multiple different kind of conversion points as well I’d be willing to be bet.
Male Speaker 1: Yeah.
Tim: Yeah that’s great. When you see what we did this can blow you away.
Male Speaker 1: I love it. I can’t wait. So unfortunately I have to wait because the first thing that I want to do is I would love to hear about the conversion scientists saying kind of what you guys are all about.
Male Speaker 2: Well we are a company of website optimizers. That is all we do. We focus on finding more revenue, finding more leads, finding more subscribers from the traffic that you’re already getting. We do that by sliding on our lab coats and applying the scientific method. We’re going to find out develop a set of hypothesis, and as wonderful and smart as we are if we give you a list of hypothesis, we are going to be wrong on some of them. So we’re going to find out where your audience behaves differently from the other sites that we’ve done. So we developed this list of hypothesis and then we test our way through it. Another thing that’s remarkable about us is because we believe in measurements and because we believe in delivering measurable results which usually translates into revenue for our clients, we do a what we call conversion catalyst which is 150 day trial essentially. 150-day pilot project in which during that time we’ve got to find the money that’s going to pay for our services to get to our clients to renew. So we take a little bit of different approach but when you get measurement on your side and you know what you’re doing, it’s not such a risk.
Tim: Yeah I love that because that’s kind of the most important thing. Like I think if people were to take just one thing away from every episode of our podcast, it would be the test. Because we hear I mean we’ve done this kind of intentionally. We’ve had guests that have presented opposing kind of tests that are the same tests that got opposing results and you know, there are so many different variables and that’s why I love exactly what you guys are talking about. It’s because it’s really based on testing and you know that you’re going to have some failed tests and you know your hypothesis are going to be proven wrong and I just love that.
So All right, I want to hear about this. I want to hear you’ve got a nice little put together test for us and people are going to be eager to hear it. So let’s hear kind of what you did.
Male Speaker 1: All right. So set the stage, here’s where we are. So this is actually in the addiction rehabilitation space right. So kind of a somber serious space but you know, in this case our client offers addiction rehabilitation services and spends a tremendous amount of money in pay per click and a tremendous amount of money on SEO to fight for traffic really right? So on this landing page, we’ve got several elements. You know we’ve got the headline, the call to action that says call us, here’s why. We got some content that’s structured to answer questions that we know visitors to these kinds of pages have. Then at the bottom of this landing page we have a long form right.
So in the control state, we had a form, a very long form that actually broke many of our known “form best practices” which we don’t really believe as Brian kind of alluded to in best practices of any kind. But it’s often a good place to start, right? So this form was asking a lot of questions and in some cases some pretty intrusive ones right?
Tim: It was ugly.
Male Speaker 1: It’s ugly, right? It’s an ugly form but was it ugly enough I don’t know. We’ll find out in a moment. But it’s asking things like you know, what are the drugs of choice, what prescriptions are you on, how will you pay for this, please describe legal issues, please describe all prior stints in rehab. A lot of questions that you know, as conversion scientists would say this is not going to get a lot of people to fill out the form.
Male Speaker 1: Now in this case remember hit the rewind button we care a lot less about form fills than phone calls.
Male Speaker 1: And so we said you know, what can we do to steer some of these people who are filling out the form away from the form and on to the phone. Because we actually have developed a belief that there are really – from a lead gen side, there are three types of people, three types of visitors to the site. One type is going to fill out a form no matter what you do. Another type is going to pick up the phone and call you no matter what you do. The largest group is the third group which can kind of go either way depending on how you persuade them right?
So we looked at this form and we said all right, we know a phone call in this case is worth ten times more than a form. We know that there’s a large group of people that will either call or fill out a form depending on what we do. So what are some variations that we could come up with based on our hypothesis right?
Tim: Get rid of the form.
Male Speaker 1: Get rid of the form. Hey, phone calls are worth ten times more than a form. Why should we have this stupid form?
Male Speaker 1: And then of course there’s the old the best practice right, the best practice what do you do?
Tim: Get rid of half the field, give up as many fields as you can. Make it a short form.
Male Speaker 1: That’s right. Make it pretty. Make it pretty.
Male Speaker 1: Make the best practice police happy. The best practice picks up and write you a ticket if you cut this form in half.
Tim: I love it. Are there really best practice police?
Male Speaker 1: Have you never gotten pulled over by one?
Male Speaker 2: I haven’t no.
Tim: I have no idea.
Male Speaker 1: They wear cowboy hats.
Tim: Yup, yeah. They look interesting.
Male Speaker 1: They’re pretty wild. All right and so then the other variation. So we’ve got remove the form. That sounds logical. Cut the form in half. Remove all the intrusive questions. That sounds logical. Third variation, we put some copy basically I call it the you know, you’re crazy and nowhere near serious if you actually fill up this form instead of the telephone right?
Male Speaker 2: Great.
Male Speaker 1: So basically in this case it said, you know, instead of saying get help now, fill out this form, the headline above the form says get help by calling our help line. It says nothing about the form.
Male Speaker 2: Yup.
Male Speaker 1: And then a short paragraph below it, it just says and I’m going to read verbatim here, remember it’s better if you call us and take real action right now.
Male Speaker 1: However if something is truly preventing you from calling, then fill out this form and we will get back to you as soon as we can. So what happened? We ran this test, we ran the statistical significance, what happened?
Male Speaker 2: Where do you place your bets Tim?
Tim: I’m going to just go with what I feel like is kind of the clear answer is I’m going to go with the third one. I feel like the third one would make sense that that would get more phone calls.
Male Speaker 1: Absolutely. You’re absolutely right. So that was our +16%.
Male Speaker 1: But here’s what’s interesting. So we got a +–
Male Speaker 2: I pick number three.
Male Speaker 1: Well he just –he picked this one.
Male Speaker 2: Okay.
Male Speaker 1: With the one that we described.
Male Speaker 2: Okay.
Male Speaker 1: Yeah.
Tim: Yeah I’m sorry the third I guess variant.
Male Speaker 1: That’s the last one.
Male Speaker 1: What we found here is on the third one you’re right that increased phone calls by 16%. Guess what it didn’t do. It didn’t decrease form fills.
Tim: Oh that is so interesting.
Male Speaker 1: Form fills stayed even. Guess what happens on the variation, the first one we talked about removing the form.
Tim: Phone calls went down.
Male Speaker 1: Phone calls went down by 56%.
Male Speaker 1: And form fills you know, you can – I’ll give you another guess. What happens in the form fills?
Tim: Yeah, right, right. Wow. I wonder how that’s possible?
Male Speaker 1: Well the shortened version of the form, phone calls went down by 67% and form fills went through the roof.
Tim: Wow that doesn’t surprise me, the form fills going up but —
Male Speaker 1: We made it easier.
Male Speaker 1: Remember that third group that we talked about a little bit ago.
Tim: Yeah, yeah.
Male Speaker 1: So we made it much easier. We lowered the barrier to entry of using the form. We said hey you’ll get what you need if you fill out this form instead of you will not get what you need. You may get what you need if you fill out this form but you’ll definitely get what you need if you call. And there’s also an inverse relationship which is interesting. The drops —
Male Speaker 1: – were bigger than the increase, which means we scared away more of that third group by messing with the form.
Tim: Yeah. That’s what – what I want to know and again this isn’t going to be – this probably isn’t valuable but it’s something that I just feel compelled to talk about is what would you attribute to this. There’s two things that I’m really curious about and one is what would you attribute to the first one where you eliminated the form field and it’s you know, destroyed phone calls by so much? Why do you think people stopped calling when there wasn’t a form at all?
Male Speaker 1: Elimination of choice.
Male Speaker 2: Forms are big beacons for the eye so you know, I think that I’m able to take action on this page. I’m able to take action on this page is obvious by the form and you know, a good call to action button. So it kind of puts you in that mind of this page is one that’s going to ask me to do something.
Male Speaker 2: Then you say that if it’s a big ugly form, you’re like oh, maybe I’ll call.
Male Speaker 1: And you have a choice.
Male Speaker 2: And you have a choice.
Male Speaker 1: Versus the forms.
Male Speaker 2: Choices, choice is one of those slippery things in conversion —
Male Speaker 1: It really is.
Male Speaker 2: Because too many choices.
Male Speaker 1: Sometimes even an easy choice will just baffle and confound and drive away visitors so.
Tim: Yeah this is so awesome. So and the other one let’s about kind of the winning variation. So form fills didn’t change at all.
Male Speaker 1: No. They were even to the control.
Tim: Which is insane because you got so many more phone calls. So you really – what happened was the group of people that would just no matter what would fill out the forms just were still there. They weren’t driven away from filling out the form which is kind of surprising to me because the copy was so strongly opposed to that. Yet you still snagged that, a large part of that population of people that could go either way to make the phone call.
Male Speaker 1: Yeah and our theory there is that this form is at the very bottom of the page. So at that point in time, this is not a really lengthy page I would say. At that point in time, you know, the people who were going to bouncing the page bounced.
Male Speaker 1: So we’ve kind of eliminated the nonqualified visitors. People have scrolled down. They’ve remained somewhat engaged at least and this +16% since the form fills stayed even, what we believe is that this +16% is actually we were able to carve that out from people who were about to leave the site. So these are people that hadn’t been compelled to call yet, didn’t want to fill out the form as it was and we had one last pitch here for them to call. We called them and we got them to call rather. So not only is there a 16% increase in phone calls, it probably came from a group of people that are going to become you know, waste of money, spoiled goods.
Male Speaker 2: It kind of changes the conversation in the visitor’s mind from do something on this –fill out this form or leave. The opening paragraph changes the decision from call us or fill out the form. Those will become the two choices. So again we’re all speculating on the why of this —
Tim: That’s right yeah.
Male Speaker 2: Yeah but you know, you need to have the why for a couple of reasons. Number one, you know, if we go to a client any client and we say yeah the first thing we want to do is make your form really ugly and [0:13:43] [Indiscernible]
Tim: [Laughs] Right.
Male Speaker 1: They’re going to be kind of looking at us funny. Or better yet they say we want more phone calls on this and we say we’re going to add a form to the page. They’re going to look at us like we’ve got three heads.
Male Speaker 1: So kind of being able to understand at least have a plausible explanation to the theory is important.
Tim: Yeah that’s right and the thing is you know, like you mentioned, I mean there are some people that are just not going to call and so having the form there still gives you an opportunity to you know, extract something from those people that you know just aren’t going to call even though the form fill is much less valuable than the phone call.
Male Speaker 1: Uh-hum.
Tim: Is that kind of – besides the fact that it didn’t affect or I’m sorry besides the fact that it drove up phone calls, I would guess that’s probably the reasoning behind having the form in there besides kind of the things we’ve already discussed.
Male Speaker 1: Certainly. Absolutely.
Tim: Interesting. So let’s kind of – I just want to make this so that somebody listening right now could again take this as an example as something they could go test. So as a future client, if a future client were to come to you and say we want to increase our phone calls, would you implement this exact same test to see if you got the same results or would you now use this, you know, obviously the winning variation as the new control?
Male Speaker 1: We would start with their control.
Male Speaker 1: Right and so this is actually one of five rules that we’ve developed for increasing phone calls. So this is part of the rule that we call harmonize the elements. So that means making sure that everything else on the page is working in harmony with your goal of generating phone calls.
Male Speaker 1: So using traditional internal ad space to handle secondary objections not the primary objection of should I call you or not but secondary objections of well could I afford this even if I call you and I like what you say for example. Making sure that the form works in unison with the phone call. And so the answer is yeah. This would be one thing that we would test and we might prioritize what we test differently based on every client because every client is different. But one of our first type offices and one of our first test experiences would be adding language similar to this to the form.
But the other thing that we didn’t talk about is this particular language that we chose was chosen for a reason. Right? It has certain evocative principles that we know press buttons for people in the space. Like the words take real action right in this particularly addiction and rehabilitation space.
Male Speaker 1: It’s actually usually the loved one of the addict who’s calling and it’s an entire world based on denial and half-starts and things like that. So are you ready to take real action?
Male Speaker 1: Which is speaking to your subconscious saying because I know you have had 50 false starts before this. You know, if there’s something truly preventing you. So it’s calling out these subconscious excuses that people have made. You know, we’ve done a lot of headline testing in that space and in other spaces and you’ve got to get the emotional piece right. We wouldn’t use that exact same language on a B2B [0:16:56] [Indiscernible]
Male Speaker 1: Because it’s too aggressive.
Male Speaker 1: And nobody wants you to get emotional with it. There’s a different vibe that you got to come across.
Tim: You know, in our conversations one of the larger issues in your audience relationship to consider this is that the clients don’t know the value of a phone call versus a form fill.
Male Speaker 1: There we go.
Tim: Yeah. They just don’t know. So do the research to understand how many calls the web is delivering. Usually that’s as easy as some putting a different number on for web calls.
Male Speaker 1: Right.
Male Speaker 2: And find out through whatever back sales process you’ve got going on what your close ratio is on those calls. So that you can really understand are you filtering away really valuable phone calls over form fields.
Tim: Yeah right. Exactly. It’s all about knowing what – which conversion point is going to be the most valuable for your business. Awesome. So you guys thank you so much. You provided so much value and if you guys would like to see some examples from this discussion and you want to see what these kind of pages look like, you can head over to ConversionCast.com/CSdownload for like you know Conversion Scientist download. So thanks again, guys. I appreciate you being here. Thanks for coming on.
Male Speaker 1: Thanks Tim, it was a pleasure.
Listen To Get The Phone Ringing Off The Hook: