[49] How To Optimize Your Landing Page Experience – Email Growth Society

[49] How To Optimize Your Landing Page Experience [Guest: Manbir Sodhia, VP Of Growth At Oura Ring]

CWEG 49 | Landing Page Optimization

Email is only good until the click, folks. After this, your user is left to complete your purchase or sign-up with the landing page they move to. Often, we put our focus on ads, emails, and social channels, but you have to remember that your website is your storefront, it's your brand. This is one area that needs to present your users with a top-notch experience but is sadly often forgotten about.

Today, I sit down with VP of Growth, Manbir Sodhia, who currently works for the prestigious Oura Ring. He is a master at optimizing the funnel as he calls it, looking for key areas of drop-offs and testing until he has a fully optimized, and friction-free website.

Get ready to take some notes on this one. And don't worry, if you have questions for Manbir, you can reach out to him via Linkedin here. And send any other questions to me at conversations@emailgrowthsociety.com.

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TOOLS & TIPS:

  1. Heat mapping & User recording: LUCKYORANGE
  2. Tips to analyze your funnel via Segment

Have questions? Send them to conversations@emailgrowthsociety.com

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Listen to the podcast here:

How To Optimize Your Landing Page Experience [Guest: Manbir Sodhia, VP Of Growth At Oura Ring]

We are trucking along this year, heading into month two. We have got a great conversation to cover. I have brought it up many times. When we think of email, the last major point of control is the click. Once the click happens, the buyer's journey is out of the email's control and is now moved into the control of the landing page or website page the user is on. There's a ton of friction and user experience blockers that can happen here, which then reduce the impacts the email could have had.

While you put so much thought and effort into getting an email out the door, expecting it to perform for you, remember that landing page optimization is key as an ongoing digital marketing effort. Sadly, we tend to forget that our website is our storefront. It can make or break any digital marketing channel's effort because friction causes users to bounce. Once they bounce, there is a good chance they may not come back, and worse, they may be with your competitor already.

There's nobody better suited to give you tips and tricks around best-in-class landing page experiences than Manbir Sodhia. He is the VP of Growth at ŌURA Ring. That's a super cool data company. Manbir had years of experience in growth marketing, specifically looking at funnel stages and the conversion rates, which have led to huge lifts and wins for many companies. I have worked closely with Manbir in a previous organization. I watched him test and optimize to continue to make landing page experiences stellar, which then made my email programs look good. Let's jump into the episode. Make sure you are able to take notes on this one.

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Manbir, welcome to the show.

How is it going?

I'm good. We are so glad you are here. We want to dive into how to optimize and create success once someone has gotten to your landing page or website. This seems to come up a lot with business owners mostly. They think their emails and ads right there are not converting. When they look at the micro-conversions of the email or ad data, it looks like it could be an issue on the landing page or where we are sending the users. What are some red flags that business owners or marketers can look for to notice if their landing page experience is causing user friction?

Sometimes you shoot yourself in your own foot. You may not realize it but you create your own barriers.

I will start with a precursor to those red flags, which is around keeping it simple and starting with the measurement. Do you have a funnel that you can view through? I would use a free tool like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. If you have that, plot it out. If your tactics start to bring people to your site via email, then you are going to want to look at, "How many people received that email? How many people opened it? How many clicks did you have?"

If you have Google Analytics, are you able to tell the number of site visitors you had in that given day, week or whatever time frame you are looking at? Can you see the number of clicks that you had on a call to action button? Are you able to measure sales? Whether it's through a tool like Google Analytics or whatever eCommerce tool that you might have at your disposal, the data does not all come from one source. You have to hunt down that data, first of all. I would start there. You can start to dissect and see what red flags you might have.

The top three that come to mind are checking out your bounce rate, "Did people arrive at your site and leave right away? Is that unusually high? Can you compare that to other businesses in your category?" Looking at your conversion rate as a whole, I mentioned measuring that funnel so you can see how many people started at the top of the funnel and what percentage completed that funnel. Last but not least, try to look at the heat maps of your site. There are free tools like Hotjar that are available that have some great freemium options. I would look and see through the heat maps, "Are they hovering over and clicking elements of your page that you would expect them to?"

Those are quick wins. Mapping out the funnel is important. Also, you need that baseline data to even know that there might even be a problem.

Measuring is important. I have advocated for this a lot. You need to have a source of truth. That might be shaky at first. You might not have all the data available from one single source. You may have to blend this source of truth together. Having a baseline is important because, without that baseline, you don't know how to improve.

With that being said, what are some common issues? In your experience, you had a lot of it when it comes to conversion rate optimization that you see a lot.

CWEG 49 | Landing Page Optimization

 

With a lot of businesses, it doesn't matter if it's a small business that is focusing on a local community or a major global eCommerce brand. No matter the level, most businesses don't know where to begin when it comes to conversion optimization. I mentioned measuring and tracking before. That's the first part of it. If you want to develop a program based on experiments, how do you prioritize? They are running with a program that can sustain and continually improve because conversion optimization is not something that's one-and-done. It's not an on-off switch. It's like a rotary dial.

The most important thing you can do is to create a culture for brainstorming. Invite your friends, colleagues, and ultimately your customers to help you with ideation. Conversion optimization is all about creating experiments, running tests, learning quickly, making changes, and then continuing to improve. It's rinse-and-repeat.

If you want to brainstorm, write out at least a hypothesis and start there. That's how you start. Write out all the things you want to do. Create a wish list and tackle it however you can, whether it's messaging, design or even looking at your product offering. The common issue that I see with a lot of businesses, especially small businesses is, "Where do I begin?" My answer is to brainstorm.

It marries well with your suggestion to create the funnel because I would assume that there are probably going to be areas in the funnel where you are devastated by the drop-off. You can sit there and go, "What hypothesis do I need? What do I think is going on here? How can I test that to be true or false to make changes?"

You are going to want to look at the step-by-step drop-off. There's something called linear drop-off and the inverse of that, which is conversion. All I'm trying to get out here is to look at the percentages of people that make it all the way down your funnel. You will find certain areas that might have the highest friction. When I say friction, what I mean is sometimes we shoot ourselves in our own feet when it comes to our customers. We create these barriers and may not realize it. Perhaps we have a complex product or we have a lot to say about our brand and business. We live in a world where people have very little patience and time. We want things right away.

It's important to look at, "Where are we creating friction? How can we simplify?" It's important to look at your funnel, and prioritize and seize the opportunity as well. That's another thing to keep in mind. In terms of common issues, I mentioned brainstorming but there's also prioritization. You can brainstorm and come up with hundreds upon hundreds of good ideas but there's only so much time in the day. How do you make the best bet that's going to drive the highest impact? You are able to clear the air and focus and prioritize by seizing the impact and making your best guesstimate on, "Which of these ideas is going to reduce the most friction and bring more customers further down in our funnel?"

You can brainstorm and come up with hundreds of good ideas, but there's only so much time in a day. So, you have to think about how you make the best bets that are going to drive the highest impact.

I know for the eCommerce companies, a lot of times focusing on the email channel, we tend to see that an email can be outstanding. It has great open rates and click-through rates. We start to see folks clicking on things on the site but when it comes to placing the order, there's this drastic drop-off. We are always like, "We’ve got to look at the landing pages."

Especially email after email, when you start to see that zero there, you are like, "Something is got to be wrong." In that vein, what are some optimization tactics that can be used to reduce user friction and improve the conversion rate on the pages themselves for someone like an eCommerce company that doesn't have a ton of resources? Any that come to mind?

There are a few principles worth noting. This has been true. First off, mobile-first is something people preached years ago and now we are in a mobile-only world for the most part. Any testing you do for landing pages, don't even try to make a prototype mock-up for desktop. Make it for mobile-first. I will be honest. The desktop should be an afterthought. That doesn't apply to every business but the majority of businesses think mobile-first design. Keep that in mind.

A common theme I have referenced is simplified messaging. Focus on your key value propositions. When someone loads that lander that you have developed, does the message resonate with that site visitor's level of intent? If you have a product that requires a lot of learning, does your key message nurture them to continue down that journey or are you focused more on a direct sale? Is that your goal?

It's a very easy and quick decision, either way, you've got to simplify messaging. Continuity is something that a lot of people have been talking about, whether someone arrived at your site through email, text message or paid media ad. Does that website match the message, design, and vibe of where they started? Does it feel like the same brand?

The first and the last are particularly near and dear to my heart. I get frustrated when a website is not mobile-friendly. I abandon it altogether typically. The last one was a good one to point out. I appreciate that.

CWEG 49 | Landing Page Optimization

 

One of the best ways to build a program and pick things up is to look at inspiration, "What are brands that are doing things well in your opinion?" You are not able to look behind the curtain necessarily and see how things are converting. If it's a brand that you aspire to be someday or a competitor that might be getting a lot more traffic than you, see what others are doing and try to replicate that for your business.

It's fair to say to that point that if you are a member or already a customer with a brand and you love the experience they have given you, you can also model some best practices there.

That's the key. Think about the brands that you love as an individual. I'm sure you have bought products and decided to hire services. Look to your own world, do research and get inspiration.

The topic that always comes up is everyone loves getting these tips but then they are like, "How do I do this? I'm supposed to build a funnel now and optimization is something I can't lose sight of." What is an easy way for somebody to set up a schedule for optimization? What does it look like? How often do they need to check in?

The best practice that you will hear from folks if you look into CRO is around finding statistical significance or stat sig for short. That's your mathematical confidence that the experiments are minus course. You know if you had an experiment a control, meaning your current site's, current lander versus a variant. You have 1 or 2 variants. Between your control and variants, one is out in terms of converting more customers.

There are tools that are out there like Google Optimize and Optimizely. If somebody requires some lifts to set up an implement, you don't necessarily need a mathematical modeling or A/B testing tool to determine a stat sig. It comes down to working within Google Sheets. If you are able to run a live A/B test, that's going to be great. You can also run something called the before-and-after test. If you look at what variables you have if things are relatively consistent in terms of traffic to your sites, are there seasonal moments?

We live in a world where people have very little patience and where they want things right away.  

Removing all that noise aside, I would suggest going back to your question on setting up a schedule and building cadence. You have got your list of hypotheses. You have prioritized them based on impact. I would create a simple matrix. It's healthy to run things for about two weeks. That's pretty standard. Make sure that the experiment doesn't conflict with anything else that might be going on in the background with your marketing campaigns or seasonal moments.

Try to build a regular habit of it. Document your learnings and keep it centralized. Create this matrix or ledger where you can document your experiments. The great thing is, over time, it becomes this database of knowledge for you and your business. It becomes a rubric. It helps you understand what has worked in the past and what you know to be true. It gives you a North Star of how to build your program.

That is a great way to do it. In an email, we usually A/B test. We either get statistical significance or not and we are done. We have moved on to something else. It seems like this one takes a little bit more time and patience, running it to statistical significance. You can implement changes and move on from there. You gave a nice outline for folks. This tends to be the hardest thing, putting it into practice.

You want to make a program that's not like an engine that's sputtering but you want something that's everlasting and always running. It's like a plant in the garden. You've got to water it and put sunlight. It requires some love and attention. If you treat it well, it can grow into a tree. It becomes a pillar for your business. It helps move the needle in so many different areas of your sales and marketing. I can't advocate enough for it. Keep it simple, brainstorm, learn, document, set up a regular cadence, give this area attention and you are going to see real results.

He wrapped it up for us there. I remember this mean thing that's important for readers to know. While we sometimes focus so much more on the channels, "We want paid ads to bring leads in and email converts," we forget that the website and the lander are the storefronts. Why wouldn't we put time there?

Your website equals marketing. That's something I try to ingrain in folks. It's your product and tech but it's your marketing to your customers. Use that as a channel. You have a lifecycle, paid media, TV, organic social, and your website as channels. Treat and develop it well.

CWEG 49 | Landing Page Optimization

 

Thank you so much, Manbir, for lending your expertise on this topic. It's talked about more than I can even tell you. Where can readers get ahold of you if they want to ask you some questions?

LinkedIn is the best. Feel free to reach out. I'm happy to connect with folks. Amy, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate this.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Manbir offered some great actionable next steps for you to ensure that your website is performing well. Remember, building that ongoing schedule is key so that you are able to keep up with the digital marketing changes as well as you are not missing an opportunity to get a customer. Reduce that friction and take some of Manbir's tips to heart. Plan them out right after this episode. There are a bunch of resources linked up in the show notes. If you have questions for me, please reach out to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time, happy emailing and optimizing your website, everyone.

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About Manbir Sodhia

CWEG 49 | Landing Page OptimizationManbir has lead Growth Marketing for several companies over the past decade, specializing in conversion rate optimization. He is a master at his craft, focused on analyzing funnel stages to reduce user friction and make statistically significant optimizations to lift overall lander conversion.