Dave Chaffey is the Founder and CEO of SmartInsights, a publisher in the digital marketing space. They help digital marketers by planning, managing, and optimizing their efforts. They offer strategies and plans for clients to improve their digital marketing because of the fact that 50% of digital marketers implement without a plan.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to increase leads without annoying prospects
- How to correctly implement a commonly used tactic
- 3 Keys that make this tactic successful
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: Brace yourself. This is an episode about pop-ups. Yup, one of the most argument prone facets of the online marketing world. Are pop-ups worth the sometimes the annoyed site visitor or is this sometimes frustrated customer too big of a no-no to be worth a few extra opt-ins?
Today’s guest is Dave Chaffey, the founder of Smart Insights who spooler alert, is a big believer in pop-ups after his recent round of testing. He was able to increase his opt-in rate by 40% using timed pop-ups and that amounts for him to a huge number each month which I’ll let him tell you all about now. Oh and he’s also going to share with you what makes his pop-ups work so well and give you a few suggestions for testing them.
I’m Tim Paige, the senior conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Hey Dave, welcome to ConversionCast. Thanks for coming on the show.
Dave: Hi, Tim. Yes, you’re welcome. I’m a bit enthusiastic about CROs so interested to discuss our test.
Tim: Yeah. I can’t wait to talk about it. Why don’t we start by talking about what the results were that you were able to get with this test?
Dave: Sure. Well it was actually a two-phase test and it’s we’re running a pop-up no a site on a publishing site to generate more leads for business to business marketing. In the first instance we saw a 40% increase in leads through implementing the pop-up and then we saw a further 10% just by making a really small change which I think your listeners will be interested in because it already shows the value of testing and even making quite small changes.
Tim: Yeah, I love it. That’s great. Well why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about who you are and what you do so that they have a sense for where this is coming from?
Dave: Sure. So we’re a publisher. We work in digital marketing. So we help marketers get more from their digital marketing. Our strap line is plan, manage, optimize. So although we talk about conversion rate optimization and we give advice on that from members, the main resource our members use are to create strategies and plans for digital marketing because we find many businesses are doing digital marketing but they don’t have a plan. They don’t have a roadmap. We often, you know, we asked this in our research and we find as many as 50% of businesses are doing digital marketing but without a plan. That’s crazy.
Dave: I think.
Tim: Yeah. I totally agree. It sounds like a good process and so this test that we’re going to be talking about, was this something that you were doing for your business or was this being done for a client?
Dave: That’s right. It was for our business. So we run a freemium platform on our site. So before the test, we were getting around 5000 new leads every month and we’ve got a global reach. So we are getting hundreds of thousands of unique to the site each month but we were finding our conversion to lead was that around the 1.2, 1.3% mark. So we were looking to boost that through this test of using pop-ups. We did have a lot of prompts, like many business to business sites. We had a lot of prompts, calls to action offering rather than free downloads. But we weren’t using pop-ups. To be honest, I’d really resisted it because you know no one likes seeing a pop up.
Dave: Bu I wanted to run the test just to see what the uplift would be. I was really quite shocked by the improvement given that we already had a lot of calls to action in the right side bar, within copy and they would personalized as well. So if you were reading a part of the site about I say search engine optimization or email marketing, you would get a relevant offer for SEO or email. But we still managed to boost it by 40% as I said at the top of the show.
Tim: Yeah, that’s really awesome and just one quick thing to point out for the person listening. I think it’s interesting because this is something that I hear all the time people say well pop-ups are so annoying, I would never want to use them
Dave: That’s right.
Tim: …on a site right? People think that because it’s annoying that it doesn’t work but that doesn’t really correlate. Now that said, you know if you have some kind of a very strong personal brand where it’s all about these kind of things and you want to be careful about the experience, it’s something to consider but I still would really encourage people not to avoid using pop-ups just because they personally find them annoying.
Dave: Yes. Yeah. I think that’s a great comment Tim and I think it’s about intelligent use of pop-ups. So being sophisticated and maybe it doesn’t make sense to serve them on smartphones so you don’t do that. You certainly shouldn’t serve them straight away. Maybe it’s on exit if someone is moving towards another menu. That’s what we tend to do.
Or you can set the time so that it’s sensitive plus 10, 20, 30 seconds you can play around with all of those parameters. So yeah, intelligent use of pop-ups is the way forward, I think.
Tim: Well good. Let’s get into it. Can you walk us through what you did and what got the best result?
Dave: Yeah. Of course. What we did was we used this stage in the first test we were using the Google AB testing to content experiments and we simply did an ABC test. So we had the original page view and then we had two different pop-ups with and if people go to smartinsights.com, and browse the site, you’ll see the pop-ups serve.
What we came to do I think a lot of pop-ups they looked quite basic and they don’t really show the value. So we put a lot of money into designing a pop-up that looks great and it mentions big brands and showed that we’d really help businesses. And then what we decided to do was to focus not on one individual topic but a complete toolkit of everything that you need to improve your digital marketing strategy. So providing not just one resource but a whole series of resources that would help people benchmark compared to others that that’s really what seemed to work.
Tim: And was this served, was this a general kind of pop-up that was on your main page that was timed or was this an exit intent? What was it?
Dave: In the first instance it was timed at I think 10 and 20 seconds. We trialed and we did find that there was a drop off between 10 and 20 seconds such that we did need to serve it after 10 seconds.
Dave: Btu these days, we know use rather Google content experiments, we use convert.com for our split testing and that allows to do more sophisticated tracking like the exit intent as someone moves the mouse up towards the [Indiscernible [00:07:24] bar to exit the site. We can then serve it.
Tim: Interesting. So this one that worked for you, it was timed at around 10 seconds and it had lots of social proof other companies that you’d worked for and the offer itself was kind of a big offer as opposed to one small individual little thing. It was a big huge value resource.
Dave: Yeah, yeah. That’s right. So you give the idea that yeah even if some parts of this tool just aren’t useful, there must be something there that [Indiscernible [00:07:59] as if it will be helpful. So that’s something I then encourage trying.
In terms of the social proof, that was the proof that we used for our credibility initially which is some of the big brands that we worked with. So like you’ll often see in pop-ups, we had various publishers we’d worked with and other brands. But we didn’t have social proof in the sense of individual people who are our members saying hey they found our resources.
So we did a follow up test and I think this is another learning that often people will…they’ll run it. They’ll have a successful test but they want to tweak it further and we were working with an agency here in the UK conversion rate experts and they recommended that we added just three testimonials across the bottom. So literally just a sentence, a couple of words from each person and that gave us the further 10% uplift. So when you’re getting thousands of leads a month as we are, it’s great just to be able to make a very small change. Add some testimonials, and then within a week, the test had completed because it had been served to a hundred thousand people or so.
Tim: Yeah that’s amazing.
Dave: So keep testing, keep learning is what I would advocate.
Tim: Was this only on your homepage or did you have this really on just about every page?
Dave: It’s mainly a lot of our force driven by Google so that it was on our blog that we were mainly serving this. You do have to be… we’ve got a lot of sales letter type pages where we’re talking about the benefits of our membership. We’ve got forms of course for data capture and we dint want to put the pop-up on those. So many times I’ve seen them state where people will they’ll serve a pop-up but it’s like well, people are in the middle of filling in a form which is crazy.
Dave: So you do have to think quite careful whether you do that and like you say you may or may not want to use it on your home page. We’ve actually got quite strong calls to action on our homepage anyway so we didn’t use it on there.
Tim: Very interesting. Yeah, I think this is cool. This is a great talk about again something that people are a little nervous about being that maybe they find pop-ups annoying but you’ve gotten such great success. It’s working for you and it’s something that might be worth testing for other folks. So thank you David for sharing this on ConversionCast. I really appreciate it.
Dave: No, you’re welcome and I would say if people are dead against pop-ups and they’re never going to use them, they can still test our calls to actions. There’s a lot of interesting new formats we look at. You mentioned those premium brands, Tim, like so for example the Harvard Business Review. They use to use pop-ups but they don’t any longer because they felt they weren’t right for their brand. But they’re testing a lot of different formats in the page. So stripping back the blogposts right back so that the CTAs are much more visible. So I’d recommend people on the call go and take a look at Harvard Business Review and maybe Venture Beat as well for people who are publishers who are not using pop-ups because I know they’re not for everyone. Certainly for us now that I’ve tested them, we’ve got to keep using them because they work so great so for us.
Tim: Yeah that’s a great point. Yeah. Be focusing, regardless you need to be focusing on list building but be focusing on other ways that you can improve your results. That’s great. Thanks.
Dave: Exactly. Thanks for having me Tim.