Ben: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Ben Dillon.
David: And I'm David Sturtz.
Ben: And we'll be presenting our webinar today. Today, we're going to be talking about conversion. We're going to be talking about specifically what happens when you're in a campaign, or really in any place where you're specifically pushing content for a purpose, for a specific goal. And we're going to look at the whole span of what happens from that click through an ad, or organic SEO, or social media, or whatever it is that's driving people in through some sort of conversion effect. And we'll talk more about what that means. And we're going to start at the landing page. And, David?
David: Yeah, I wanted to just start out with some definitions. A lot of people use the phrase "landing page" to mean a lot of different things. This can be everything from a navigational page, to sometimes a homepage, or a main page of a section of your website, maybe a department, we'll talk about a department landing page. It's really navigational approach of giving the user options of different directions to go is the purpose behind that.
Google Analytics uses the phrase "landing page," so if you're in there checking on your stats for your website, what they mean is just any page of the site, any URL that is the first URL that's visited during a user's session. So that may be things that you are intentionally thinking of as a landing page, maybe anything else that's available on your site.
From an SEO standpoint, sometimes we'll talk about a landing page, and that's really just a page that's optimized around a particular keyword, where it's intended to be that page that shows up highly in search for that keyword, and becomes that first page visited around that keyword. And then from pay-per-click or PPC campaigns, it's pretty clear to find the page that you add links to, and that's maybe a little bit closer to what we're thinking of today talking about landing pages.
So a landing page, as we're going to talk about it today, really has two goals. So it's a webpage really focused around attracting and retaining traffic in some ways. So that may be through SEO, may be through a PPC, or other paid methods online. And we want to make sure that we're not just getting traffic there, we're keeping them engaged with the page and somehow and some form, and then we're trying to get them to take some kind of specific action.
Ben: I think the specific action part's a really good point. Because I see a lot of organizations that are, in many cases, paying for traffic that's either going somewhere that's strictly informational, doesn't have any call to action associated with it, or doesn't have a specific action that it's driving to. It can be a page that might have 15 or 20 different possible things people can do, spreads their attention so thin that they end up oftentimes not really doing any of them.
David: Yeah, I was surprised as I was looking through examples and getting ready for this, how many PPC ads I saw out there that were actually pointing at even a homepage, or one of those service line level navigational landing pages where there were 20 different options, and the match between the phrases that were being advertised on in that page was really, really weak.
So it may have been, the phrase may have been "knee surgery," but it took you to the orthopedics department homepage, and it was really hard to figure out where to go from there to actually take some sort of action.
Ben: Yeah, every once in a while, there might be a good reason for doing those sorts of things, but if that's the core of your strategy, you're probably not getting full value out of what you're investing in.
David: Exactly. So, just to lay the groundwork here, we're thinking about a conversion funnel as part of this process. And this is a typical funnel that people talk about. There's traction, engagement level, the actual conversion, and then a process of retaining. And really where we're going to focus today is around that engagement and conversion - those two different phases.
So, when we think about a conversion, again, some more definitions here, two things that really we want to think about in terms of conversion, especially around healthcare, it's a little bit tricky. It's not e-commerce necessarily, people aren't going online with their credit card to purchase something and have it shipped to their house. That's pretty easy to track, those conversions, and know what they are.
But there are some things that we do online that are revenue-focused, pretty direct revenue. There are scheduling an appointment, there's signing up for maybe a screening, or a class that has a fee associated with it. There's dollars in the door based on that exchange of information that happens online.
The other thing that I want to think about as far as the conversion is concerned are actionable leads. So it's something that is directional in some sense, that the user has provided some information that is really connected to a particular something that can be purchased down the line. And that may be something like an information session around a particular surgery, or maybe a tour of a facility, a birth center, something like that, a trackable phone call that is about a particular service like risk assessments, those sorts of things.
Email campaigns, as well, if you've got the sign up that is really related to that particular condition. If it's a newsletter sign up, we'll talk about that, and where that fits, in a little bit.
Ben: The actionable leads component of this has been, for us at least, an expansion of the way we think about this stuff. And I think it's really a useful tool, particularly given the amount of marketing automation and cultivation of a relationship that goes on. It's hard to get people to come to a webpage, to a landing page, and say, "Yep, replace my knee." That's just a huge leap. But we can get a conversation started that leads them down a path that eventually gets them assessed, that eventually maybe gets them that, if that's the right thing for them to receive.
David: I think we're seeing too that a lot of the programs that they're really trying to grow out there have a patient liaison or a nurse navigator that is connected with that, and is acting in some ways as that sales person, of taking the person from this actionable leads state, some sort of interest in possibly having a surgery, and guiding them through the many steps that are involved in that process of actually becoming a candidate for surgery and having that procedure done at your facility. And so I think as those processes internally change, it opens up options for what we're tracking online.
Ben: Yeah, I'm starting to see more organizations that are actually doing genuine sales training with some of those frontline staff that are doing some of those jobs. It's really a shift in things. But that happens after the conversion that we're talking about today, so we won't get into that in any more detail.
David: Yeah. So what we will talk about though are some things that tend to happen before those big conversions. And this is a leading indicator, something that predicts that a user is becoming more engaged with your content, with your organization. And these are what we call micro-conversions. So just little indicators that the user is moving along the path towards one of those big conversions.
Some different things that you might want to track here are just number of pages viewed, or it could be screens. So it you're using some of the new design trends and you've got that long, scrolling layout, you might want to actually track those different sections within the page as somebody scrolls down - how many of those are getting viewed, how they're engaging with the page. Things like multiple visits - if they're coming back to the site, that's a good indicator. They're trying to review the content, refresh their memory. Maybe making some comparisons out there.
There's lots of other tracking we can add in. So things like video views or other dynamic page elements. We might want to track if they're opening certain accordions or tabs within the page, or using some sort of interactive calculator. And things where we might be allowing anonymous downloads. So, rather than requiring someone to fill in information to download a PDF or some information, you may just have that PDF available for them to take and print off and go through a checklist, for example.
Some unfocused interactions that they may be doing as well. So, just general social shares or follows indicates some engagement, but it's maybe not directed towards a particular conversion point. General email newsletter sign up, things like that. And just the fact that you've gotten somebody to that landing page allows you to add them to some re-targeting lists, and potentially continue to market to them after they've left the site.
Ben: So, do you look at micro-conversions as just another measure of engagement in how well the landing page is working? Or are these reporting metrics that you actually communicate in some cases?
David: It could be either. It really depends on what you're ultimate conversion point looks like. If you're having a hard time getting some of those conversion points to be online, you're really stuck with some offline processes, you know, "Call this phone number", those sorts of things, these can be good surrogates for the level and engagement success.
It's also a great way to test what parts of the page are working or not working. If you went to the time and expense of getting video put together to put on that page, it'd be great to know if people are actually watching it and how far they're getting with it, and how that connects to some of the other conversion points.
Ben: Yeah. We had the debate, or at least at one time we had the debate all the time about the anonymous download, where you know you're going to get more downloads, more people actually consuming whatever it is you've put together, versus getting that qualified download where you know who the person is and have that opportunity to follow up.
And for a long time, we would balance those things out. It seems like these days, for us anyway, just because we have CRM, because we have all these other things on the other end of this, that we really push towards having people enter that information. And it seems like people have gotten much more open about sharing that kind of stuff if they get something of value.
David: Yeah, it's something that loops back to that process as well. If you've got that internal sales force that is going to be picking up those leads, then it's great to generate leads. If you don't have anybody that's going to pick those up, maybe get more information out there to the patients so there's less impediments in their way of getting to that download. And there's probably other benefits that you can get out of it. If you can use things for re-targeting and track some of those interactions and figure out what's going on, it really is one of those "it depends" situations.
Ben: Fair enough.
David: So, what goes on a landing page? Just to walk through the usual structure there, I really want people to think about this as a flow. And it's a continuous flow that happens from that initial point of discovery so as we're attracting the user into the site, into this landing page, they had some sort of task in mind as they went and did a search on a search engine. Or as they were reading your ad on Facebook, they had some sort of thought in mind, a task, something that connected them to the offer that you're making.
And so we want to make sure that there's a continuous flow from that initial offer, that initial connection point, all the way through the content on the landing page, to that call to action. And this is where it's really one of those somewhat subtle things, but that's where things really tend to break down is when you've got that disconnect, like we were saying, when you come from, "Okay, it's talking about knee surgery and now I'm on a departmental page where I really don't know where to go next." That's a major breakdown.
But it can be much more subtle, where I'm asking about knee surgery, and now I'm on a general surgery related page. That's still maybe not as connected. I'm having a hard time, as a user, processing how my need fits with what I'm being offered here.
So, you definitely want to think about that overall flow. Get it connected back to that user task, to the link, to the ad, wherever they're coming from, making sure that there's a clear value proposition. So this of course, should be focused on that audience that you're aiming at, what is beneficial to them out of this.
We want to make sure that the landing page looks trustworthy and is credible. So this is a great area for design to come in and make sure that it looks like it really represents your organization and how trustworthy you are in the way that the design is presented and the quality of the landing page.
You want to make sure that all the necessary information is there for the user to make a decision. If they're going to act on that call to action, they may need to know what's going to happen next. "Once I submit this request for an appointment, is somebody going to call me back? Who's going to call me back? What kind of questions are they going to have?" If we're going to ask them to fill out an HRA, a risk assessment or some other longer process, what information do they need to know going in so that they can actually make that decision and take that action.
Ben: Yeah, ultimately you're crafting a digital experience here. You're crafting just an experience in general, which just happen to have some digital components. And that experience starts at whatever we're using to grab their attention. An ad online, an ad offline, whatever it is, whatever that tool is that's grabbing their attention, it goes through all of this. It goes through the conversion. It includes the callbacks or whatever additional follow-ups happen after that, and really goes into the care experience as well.
And if you think about that all together, and how does that feel like one cohesive engagement, I think that really helps to make sure that all the pieces fit, and that they work together.
David: Yeah, I think it's a really great microcosm where you get to really focus in on one particular set of things. Just to highlight that: When do you need a landing page in your process? And I'm going to hypothesize that it's really the combination of a user need, a particular user need, and a call to action that indicates that maybe you want to think about a unique landing page, and really explore, "Okay, what is that individual experience going to be for that audience, for that particular need," and the offer that you're making the call to action that's within that content.
So I've put an example together here, a hypothetical example, where you've got similar audiences, different calls to action, different user needs, same call to action. It just works out a little differently. So, you may be doing some Facebook ads, targeting women in a certain age range to download a mammogram guide. That may be one example of a landing page. You've got a certain age demographic here. You're putting their certain routine care.
For a search term of "mammogram guidelines with family history" in there, maybe a slightly different user need. You might want to frame the landing page just a little bit differently for that different audience. There's a different concern coming in to that, a different emotional state. Maybe the same call to action, maybe the same download that you're offering to that more broad-based Facebook group, but it's worth considering, "Do we need to create a different landing page for this particular experience?"
Same thing again. You may be advertising to the same group, but you've got a different call to action. So, you're actually offering maybe in a particular region, or in a different time point to actually schedule that mammogram. And again, coming from search, a different call to action that you might want to highlight, you know, somebody looking for a second opinion on a mammogram - it's going to be a different thing than dumping them on that, "Here's the guidelines page." They probably actually want to talk to somebody about that, and they have a different thing in mind when they're landing on that site.
So, which call to action should we use? And there's a whole range out there. I wanted to bring it back to, what are those conversion points? Thinking again about revenue or actionable leads, but a whole range of different things. And you can get pretty creative with what you're asking people to do. You can certainly test a lot of different terminology and labels for those buttons and those form headers and things like that to highlight what's happening.
As long as it's clear and it really matches the level of commitment that a user is willing to put in, based on their need and based on that overall cohesive process that you're building, it's going to work pretty well.
Ben: And actually, if you have multiple possible calls to action, I think it's a great thing to test. And I think you should think about it that way because we really don't want you putting four or five different calls to action on the same page. People don't know where to go at that point. But I think it's very reasonable for particular groups that you're targeting, particular folks that you're bringing in, which kind of an offer actually engages them, which one gets them to take that next step?
Think of it that way, work with it that way, instead of saying, "Okay, we've got four or five different directions you can go from here. We're just going to put them all on the page for you." That tends to be a little bit distracting and adds some cognitive load. And people don't like it when they have to make too many choices.
David: Yeah, definitely. Just to be clear, do not put all four of those mammogram options on the same page and call that a landing page because it's just too much to process. And especially, my next point is really about mobile devices, especially when you're on a mobile device and you've got reduced screen size, reduced attention maybe from sitting at your desktop.
And we're seeing just huge traffic numbers to these pages from mobile devices. Higher than your overall site average. We ran a campaign recently where we saw 90% mobile or tablet traffic from the PPC ads that we were running. So if you're not starting from a mobile perspective and thinking about this experience, you're probably going to be missing out on converting a lot of folks through that landing page.
So, I would really encourage people to test first on the top mobile devices. You can check your analytics and see what you're seeing most across iOS browsers. Mobile is back where desktop was maybe 2004, where there was so many different browsers. Now, Firefox has launched and added theirs to the mix on iOS. So it's definitely worth doing some of the technical run through. Can the videos load? Does the page load? How fast does the page load? Are the different elements of the page that are interactive actually working on the phone? Just checking those things, checking the content.
As things collapse, if you think you have a responsive website and things are just going to be taken care of, definitely test it out, because the way that things collapse and reorder during that responsive breakdown, it can be pretty interesting when you get in there on a mobile device and see how it actually flows. So, the content length may be an issue. Having shorter headlines is definitely the trend right now. As things are collapsing on a mobile, having a 3 or 4-word headline instead of 8 or 10 words is pretty important.
And then from a design perspective, of course, there's a lot of technical components that factor in there, but just the target sizes. If you're trying to click a link and it's too small, it's not as noticeable, it's hard to do. Making sure that there is touch or gesture support for things like images or carousels and videos and things like that, making sure that those are operating on your mobile device.
Again, download times. Definitely checking phone numbers. A lot of times, we're offering a phone number as a possible touch point, making sure that that is set up for click-to-call, so that it's really easy to go ahead and make that call right from the mobile device.
Ben: And a very trackable conversion.
David: Exactly, yeah. So, you can add some event tracking to that to track those clicks on it, as well as potentially use trackable phone numbers and things like that. And then keeping, of course, the overall page simple, but especially keeping forms as simple as possible. And Ben's going to talk a little bit more about the whole form process and what goes into that, and what it means to use HTML5 input types to make that a little simpler for users.
Ben: Absolutely, absolutely. Within the landing page world, forms are their own art. It's got its own set of things that you need to optimize. There's been a tremendous amount of research around what works and what doesn't. I will kick off by saying, though, we're going to talk about things that we've seen, or things that we've seen in the research.
I encourage you to test things though, particularly if you have high-volume forms where you're getting enough actual conversions on that form to do some good testing. Try some different things and see what works for you. Just because the standard wisdom suggests that one thing is better than another does not mean that it's the best thing for you and your organization.
But as David mentioned, keeping forms simple certainly helps. And particularly in the mobile environment, it's a little bit harder for people to enter information, although I think that barrier continues to drop more and more. People get more and more comfortable with putting things in, and frankly the devices get better at accepting input in different ways.
But here's two examples of a form that I've just thrown together with our form builder tool. The first has a lot of information, the second has much less information. Think through the information that you really need. Sometimes, you're going to communicate back with someone to, say, make an appointment anyway. Don't have them fill out 27 fields if someone is going to have to make a phone call to close that loop anyway.
So, ultimately, in this case, I guess I didn't put a phone number. I probably should have thrown in a phone number instead of an email. But, we could very easily simplify the form if we're going to have to have that phone conversation anyway. And oftentimes, for appointment requests, for instance, that's exactly what's happened. So, only get the information you absolutely need.
There is, however, a balancing act here. And one of the places that we see this balancing act is when you're integrating with a CRM system. In a CRM environment, you're looking not just to take someone's conversion and then kick something off, but really you're looking to connect that conversion with some identity that you're maintaining in the background. You know who this person is, in all likelihood. Or, if you don't yet, you now have a new person in there that you want to be able to track their activities over time.
And so sometimes that means getting more information. Sometimes that means getting a birth date or an address, even if those things aren't strictly necessary for whatever the interaction is. It's a balancing act, though. People have gotten sensitive to, "What do I need to give you in order for you to give me this thing?" And if you're giving them something of value, they tend to be more open to giving you more information. But at the point when you're asking for addresses and birth dates and social security numbers and things like that, it's a pretty high bar.
And so if you require a lot of information in order to connect the dots around those interactions in the backend, expect to pay a price on those within the conversion rate for those forms. So, shorter is better, but sometimes you have to get more because you just need it in order to use that data.
David: I think of that design or fashion principle of you think you have it all together, maybe take one thing away, and see if it still works for you. You can always go with a little bit less.
Ben: I see. Stand with your back to the landing page, do a quick glance, and whatever caught your eye, take that out. That's the area?
Ben. All right. Certainly copywriting matters. And we think about that, certainly, in the landing page. We think about titles. We think about the words on the page. Equally important in the form, whether that form lives on its own page or whether it's part of a landing page that you've put together.
And a couple of things here. The form title itself should be descriptive, and it should be engaging in its own right. The actual question copy here should be rich. The button copy that you put on there should tell me what's going to happen here. So, we've got maybe the stock example in the bottom right here. Email sign up, maybe an email newsletter, something like an email sign up, you give me your email address and how frequently you want it, and there's a submit button. Very common form. We see these on the internet all the time.
But it's not much of a selling tool. It's not really engaging. And we do find that when we do things like put a meaningful title on the form, put a more engaging button text in there, things like that, that your form conversions go up considerably.
So, just to play with the example a little bit, "Get the #1 eNewsletter for Hospital Digital Marketers." You put your email address. Instead of email frequency, we put "How often do you want to hear from us?" Again, a little more natural feel, don't have to think about it. And then "Sign me up" instead of "Submit" because that's really the action that we're taking here.
David: We used to really harp on not using "Click here" in link text. And I think "Submit" is kind of the new "Click Here." You still see it quite often out there, but this micro-content is really, really important, not just to make it easier to use, but also really represents your brand, and it really builds that trustworthy, credible experience.
Ben: And I'd say even if you you're not doing formal user testing, I would have someone look at every form who has no interaction with that thing, at least once before you go put it out there in the world. So often, things make sense to us living in the healthcare system, and frankly you already know what the form is supposed to be for.
Make sure that the questions can't be misunderstood. Make sure that it's clear why someone would fill this out, those sorts of things, because oftentimes it's not so obvious. Very easy way to dramatically improve your conversion rates is to make sure those things work for people who aren't already in the know.
There's a variety of other tools that we can use with forms as well to help us explain to someone what's going on. So, I've put a couple examples of some helper text in. So obviously we wouldn't just have a form with patient ID in most cases, but when you have a patient ID, the natural question that pops up is, "Where would I find that?"
So, there's a number of different tools. Some organizations, or some forms, will have a little question mark in a circle to the right of the field. We like just having the helper text either immediately under the field, so you can find your patient ID in the upper right-hand corner" or occasionally when you actually click in the field, having it pop up a little bit of that guidance. So, it's a great way to give a little more instruction and things of that nature.
The other thing that we play with quite a bit is placeholder text. Sometimes it can be a little confusing. There's defaults, so you can have a field default to some value. Today's date, if it's a date field, for instance. Depending on the nature of the field that may or may not be appropriate. But oftentimes we actually see this placeholder text that's in the field itself that, again, is trying to provide a little bit more guidance. So in the patient ID, it's one of those fields that has a format. So, use the format XXX-XXX-XX. So it's another visual cue for someone, and because it's right in the field, they see that.
The thing that I would discourage is the example on the right. So sometimes people will use the placeholder text as a label. You can do it aesthetically. It's nice, it gives you very clean forms. The problem that I have, and particularly if you're using this as your standard, which means that inevitably it's going to be on some fields that have some formatting, checking, validation rules, is once you start typing, it's not obvious what that field was anymore.
So if I'm used to filling out fields that have last name first and then first name and I go in and I start typing the first name, once I get further down the form, there's no opportunity at all, there's no chance that I'm going to actually realize that I've mixed that up. Or if I get some kind of error that's not very descriptive, "Invalid Option" or something, I have to go in, I have to delete my text out to figure out what I was supposed to put in the field, and then put that back in. So, it's not ideal, but it can be a nice crutch to help people understand what you're looking for when you're in a given field out there.
David: Yeah, I think those placeholders, they can work if you've got one or two fields. But as soon as your mind gets onto that third or fourth, you've probably lost track of where you're at with things.
Ben: Yeah. I'll say that some usability experts don't like these at all because the blank field draws the eye and it tends to help people navigate to the forms. I haven't seen that big a difference in using them or not using them in terms of people's form completion rates. So again, your mileage may vary. It's something that might be worth testing. Particularly if you have specific situations like a patient ID where people just need a little more guidance to know what's appropriate.
David: That can be a design thing as well, if you can style the color of that placeholder text independently of everything else. So, if it looks too dark, it may look like I already filled that in. It may be something to check as well in your particular environment.
Ben: Absolutely, absolutely. Another thing to play with that a lot of us don't think of as anything more than aesthetic is how labels are structured. I still occasionally see forms where the labels are left justified and the form fields are to the right of the labels. I find that incredibly confusing, particularly when you have a long label. So I don't think we ever do that.
But the options that we do see quite a bit and do use quite a bit is either this right-justified as we have on the left, in the first example here, where the labels are very close to the fields, or the situation on the right where the labels are directly above the fields. There's been, again, some research that suggests that it's a more natural eye flow. That eyes don't have to actually move as far, in this situation, the right. And so some people have seen increases in conversion rates around that.
Again, I'm not sure that we've seen a huge difference from a percentage perspective when we've changed those things. I happen to like the look of the above fields, but oftentimes it's more important that you have consistency within your site. Figure out which option works well, make them all consistent in that way.
David: That's another good place to test on your mobile device because the label placement may be different as you get into some of those responsive layouts. And just making sure that you know how that's going, and you're looking at that and paying attention to it.
Ben: Yep. Experientially when you're working in the form itself, whenever it's appropriate for the validation to happen as you're actually entering information into the site, that's always a better option than clicking that Submit button at the end and having it pop a bunch of errors within the form or at the top of the form.
I've always found better results having errors attached to the fields instead of having them all lumped together at the top of the form. But also, certainly if in any situation, so for instance this is an email, yet it's not a valid email format, that's something that while I'm in the field, I can correct.
There's some things where you have to wait until the submit event. There's just no way around that. Required fields, for instance. You don't know if you're going to fill them out until you've either filled them out or you submit. And so some things, you have to hold to the end, but in any cases where you can avoid doing that and do it as people are working the field, you're always going to be better off with that because that's where their focus is already.
And as David said, you really want to make these things mobile-friendly. So this is actually from a Geonetric.com example. This is from our Facebook page. We've got an ad. And one of the things that we see particularly when you're using search marketing, when you're using Facebook marketing, things like that, there's a huge consumption of that on mobile devices now. Essentially all of the growth in Google searches over the last couple of years has come from mobile devices, particularly in healthcare.
Mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches in Google in general. And certainly that's true in healthcare as well. Facebook, social media in general, is consumed very, very heavily on mobile devices. So when someone clicks that link, you have to make sure that what you're sending them to really works on that mobile device.
So you want things to resize. That's obviously part of it. But in addition to that, you really also want to use what David alluded to earlier, which is HTML5 field types. So, without getting too technical here, essentially I want to tell the browser that this is an email field when it's an email field.
What does that do? Well, every device is going to deal with that in it's own way. One of the common things that you see, though, is that when I tell it's an email field, the "@" sign and the ".com" show up in the keyboard. So it's got some of those things right there.
For instance, occasionally one of the ways that I tweet from my iPad, it does not know that I'm typing in Twitter, and so to get to the hashtag, I actually have to hit the number key and then the shift key and get to the hashtag, which is something I do all the time in Twitter. So it's a very inconvenient way to work. The hashtag could be pulled to the front with the right type codes involved. And we see this with a number of different element types where you can actually support things, and individual phones have their own ways that people have gotten very used to of actually facilitating that interaction.
David: It's got to the point that it really feels a little bit raw or unfinished if you don't have that in place. And you get into the phone number field and your alphabet keyboard is still sitting there, and you're going, "This is a pain."
Ben: Yeah, phone numbers are big ones. Dates. A lot of these phones now have very slick date pickers that happened automagically if you've got some of this stuff in place, a very nice way to work.
So I mentioned this earlier, I'll mention it again. All of these things, you're never going to find the ultimate answer right out the door. So you want to put some things out there. You want to test to see how they're working. Then learn from that, make changes, and continue to deploy. Now, that's not equally easy in every scenario. We see organizations putting forms out there that might only get a handful of responses every month. And when you have those sorts of things, it's really difficult to do meaningful testing.
But certainly for forms where you're getting a lot of responses, and landing pages for that matter, those are great places to do testing. Take the lessons from those and apply them to those forms that may be aren't getting, and those landing pages, that aren't getting as much traffic, where you can do a lot of that testing individually for that form.
Now, one way that we do that is through the use of partial responses. So one of the things in forms in particular that's challenging is when people are dropping out mid-form, where are they actually failing. What did they get to when they hit these problems? Google Analytics is really not a good tool for this.
Case in point, very often we'll have a Contact Us page that has phone numbers and also has a form attached to it. Well, when you have low conversion rates on that form, is it that people got into that form and couldn't complete it, or is it that they actually came to that page looking for a phone number? It's really hard to tell. If they are starting the Contact Us form and then bail out, you know with certainty that they hit some snag point or maybe they were partway through the form and realized they could use the phone number, something of that nature.
We also see particularly with longer, more complex forms, understanding that everybody gets right up to the insurance information and then bails out is incredibly informative for, "How can we change this form to make it get a higher completion rate?" That doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to pull out the insurance information. If someone is pre-registering for a procedure, that's just something that you need.
However, maybe at the beginning of that form, before people start, you have a notice there that's fairly prominent that says, "You're going to need these three things to complete this." So by the time someone gets into the form, they already know and they already have the information they need to get through that.
David: That's a great way to make the case for taking that one field away as well. If that's where you're starting to see the hang-ups there, maybe it's worth trying to experiment a version of the form that has a little bit less information requested or required at least, and test that out as well.
Ben: And we found that sometimes that one field is not the field that you expect. It's really fascinating. This also is a good illustration of just as you're testing and understanding things, if we look at version 14 of the form, for instance, we've got about a 75% conversion rate. There's 21 people who at least started the form, 16 of them completed it, 5 didn't.
We made some tweaks, and then version 16 of the form here has about an 85% completion rate. So it went up like 9% or 10% percent. Of the 59 responses, 50 completed, 9 bailed out somewhere in the middle. So it gives us really good information to really explore how far did people get into it, where are they failing, and when you change something, you can see in very detailed ways, "Did that work or did it not work?"
One of the other things we're doing really quite a lot of these days is connecting form conversions on the website into a CRM and oftentimes a marketing automation platform. And really there's a number of benefits to this. You really want to close the data loop, first and foremost. So when you're using a CRM, CRMs are not just tools for generating good lists, it's a lifestyle choice. Everything you're doing in your marketing should really be feeding that system, it should be building the database, it should be making that data better.
And so certainly when you have conversions on the website, you want that data to be part of the overall picture that you have about your consumers, your patients. And so pushing data from your website and those conversion opportunities into your CRM really helps with that.
Now, you can push that data out in a number of ways. Sometimes you can do a monthly load of that data, something like that. We've seen a lot of the CRM platforms now go to have the opportunity to have a real-time connection. So, as someone clicks the Submit button in addition to saving it for whatever you do within the website's backend, it's also, in real-time, pushing that into the CRM.
When you have marketing automation in place, that's where you really see good benefit here. So, if someone signs up for a birth prep class, for instance, there might be a whole series of communications that get triggered going forward based on that interaction that you've just had. And so that all can be handled in a very automated way with a good CRM, with a marketing automation solution behind it.
In addition to that, I think CRM solutions have a lot of insights that can help to make your websites smarter. And we see and we use this fair amount now in some digital marketing and campaign work. Very often, we can look into the CRM and get information about people who had the procedures in the past - psychographic information, interest information, things like that.
We can then turn around and use that information on, say, our Facebook or our Google Ads targeting. Or it might drive us to actually choose to advertise in different ways or to different segments because we have that kind of information. The anecdotal information that you get talking to doctors and staff is great and it's really valuable, but at the time, at the point when you're really trying to scale that, very often having the numbers behind that, incredibly valuable.
And then, finally, we're moving so much communication to digital that really at this point I think we encourage every form to at least capture the email. Sometimes you'll use phone and things like that for the actual communication, but we're all trying to build these lists, and the email becomes incredibly valuable. And we see a lot of organizations where they've got a big database, or a lot of data that they've purchased in many cases. But that data doesn't actually include emails and it really hamstrings their ability to do marketing in that way.
David: So, Ben, where would you start if you were somebody that's listening to this and is not totally deep in the CRM space already. Where do you dip your toe in the water in either getting ready for this or making sure you've got everything lined up? Or maybe even starting to play around with some things that fall into marketing automation.
Ben: Sure. First and foremost, if you don't have a CRM, I think a lot of this continues to be true. So particularly, gather emails. Gather emails because at some point you're going to want to use those for communication. And we see organizations that wait until they want to do something and then say, "Okay, now we're going to start caching emails." Well, now you don't have any emails. That campaign that we were hoping to send. You haven't gotten emails, you haven't gotten permission to email your audience. So start there. Make sure you're doing those sorts of things.
If you don't have a big CRM platform, we do a lot with Tealeaves for instance. And we do some work with a variety of other CRM platforms in the healthcare space as well. They're pretty big tools, and very often if what you're looking for is when someone interacts with you digitally, or even not digitally, if they interact with you at a health fair or something like that, you want to trigger some communications out of that.
There are tools out there that are really much more focused marketing automation tools where the initial byte size is much smaller. They do very different things. I think the healthcare specific CRM tools are really kind of a category unto themselves.
You can do a lot of things from a marketing automation standpoint with a much smaller tool set out there. And then, from there, just start to look through every conversion point that you have out there. Every time that you're getting data. Every form that you have out there. And say "Okay, when they fill out this form, is there a set of communications that we want to follow up with this?"
It might be the answer's no. They're downloading something and we want that to be the end of the interaction. And that's fine. We may say that there's one follow up that we'd like to do. Or maybe it triggers an entire drip campaign that's sending all sorts of things.
But any way that you go about that, you've captured the data so that at some point in the future, when you want to start doing some of these things, you can go in and say "Oh, who signed up for this kind of class in the past? Or this kind of class in a certain time period?" When you get these conversions in this kind of a measurable way, it gives you the opportunity to do more with that.
David: That's actually a great tie in as we move forward. How do you actually get people to these landing pages, and how do you get the most value out of it? Two things that you mentioned there, collecting email addresses and thinking about those future touch points, are two things that we see a lot right now in the page space, where with some of the features that Facebook has released where we can actually take smaller audiences based on email addresses.
And then, we can actually do some re-targeting and re-marketing across a number of different platforms based on simply interests that people have indicted by visiting or interacting with certain pieces of content. Even if you're not doing that stuff today, it's great to be prepared for that in the event that you decide to do that six months down the road and you need that audience to start with. It may not be sending out an email to them. It may be a less direct engagement, but it's important to keep that in mind because you are engaging with these visitors to your site.
So I wanted to talk and just think a little bit about different ways of getting people to those landing pages. Starting, a lot of times, with the owned methods that you have out there. A lot of folks are doing a lot of blogging, doing a little bit of email marketing, or newsletters, those kinds of things. Making sure that those efforts are really connected into these landing pages where it's appropriate. And using your own efforts there as well in social and a lot of those engagements, making sure that you're really taking advantage of those areas.
And then things drift really quickly into the paid area where we're doing everything from text ads all the way through more elaborate social media types of things. Content marketing platforms and areas like that. So, a whole range of options available to get people there. It's really a matter, typically, of how strongly can you match the audience that you're focusing that particular campaign on, or that subset of the campaign, to the offer and to the call to action that's happening on that individual landing page.
Going back to the things you were saying earlier about making sure that you're getting fine-grained enough in the way that you're approaching this, that there is a really solid match and you're not making some sort of disconnect happen in that process.
So, jumping on to measurement now. Doing all this work, obviously a lot of elements coming together in this, we want to definitely think about how we're measuring this. First off, obviously use campaign tracking. If you're putting URLs out there and using them across different ad platforms, just making sure that all of the campaign tracking, the sources, the different efforts are being tracked through your analytics tools to make sure that you can source back all of these conversions to the different campaign elements that were involved.
Tracking conversions with goals and funnels. So, if you're using Google Analytics that's really the place to start is looking at those big conversions, those "dollars in the door" kinds of places with the solid leads. Making sure that you have goals and associated funnels set up to actually capture within GA and really highlight where that's coming from. We'll talk a little bit more about that as well.
If you have some significant micro-conversions, you can look at using goals for those depending on how you want to report things. It may be simple enough for you to do some of those micro-conversions, things like video views, number of pages, things like that, you can weave those into goals.
You want to do some simple things. Looking at accordions, looking at some of those in-page elements, Events is a great way to do that as well. You can do some ad hoc reporting within GA to really get in to "Okay, what are the interactions looking like within these individual pages and what are the ultimate goals and conversions that those are leading towards?"
So a great way to connect all of the dots within GA is to use something that's built into the Goals area, and it's really talking about conversion value. So when you set up a goal to track a conversion, GA will ask you optionally to put in a value for that conversion. And there are a couple of ways to approach that.
One is to ignore dollars altogether and just do a relative scale. If you're really having a hard time getting at the ultimate number of dollars that are associated with that form submission, for example, if it's just too hard to figure that stuff out, you could use a relative scale to say that Form A is really worth five times per conversion what Form B is. And that gives you something that can filter throughout the system and start to get you a sense of how valuable different interactions are within GA.
The much better way to do that, if you can get down to it, I've got a couple of simple examples here to walk through that, is to actually calculate out an estimate of that conversion value. So in this simple example on the left here, $100 per screening is the revenue associated with that. Three out of five of the people that you find that complete that screening request - actually go through and actually have the screening and are billable for that. So dividing that out, then you get a $60 goal value for every screening request.
You can take that, in example two, and get a much more complicated, where you've got maybe a big surgery. You want to look at the number of candidates that actually have that surgery, and walking everything all the way back, by some different percentages to the original information session that people signed up for online, how many people actually attended that. Get out some numbers there for maybe a $2,400 goal per registrant.
Backing up a level from there as well, you can take a look at your PPC spend. How many people do you need to get to that landing page in order to get those 12 registrants? It starts to further divide out your costs as you're looking at that.
But what the really great thing is that happens inside of GA, once you start to put some of these numbers in, you start tracking some conversions that actually happened through that. is you get data flowing into this column that you can see in some of the different behavior areas within GA, and looking at the content that people interact with.
So this is blurred out, but you can see each line is a different page within the site and then over on the right-hand column, Google has assigned a value to that page, an actual dollar value, based on the number of conversions that this page preceded in a user's session.
So in some way, this page contributed to that conversion happening. You can start to see that flow across the site in some really interesting ways. And really start to see what content in your site is helping to drive those conversions, which content is driving the most valuable conversions. It starts to connect some of the dots within GA for you and can be a really interesting thing to look at.
Ben: And ultimately I think this is, it gives you some clarity around which pieces of things are really ultimately working. I think we tend to focus in the wrong part of the funnel in many cases. So we'll look a lot at search terms, and we'll say, "Hey, a lot more people search for such and such surgery prep. And so let's search for that key phrase." Well, maybe that's a great key phrase, but maybe by the time people are searching for prep, they're already scheduled with another doctor somewhere else.
And so, maybe we get lots of impressions, but we don't get a lot of clicks. We don't get a lot of conversions out of that, and it may be something somewhere else that is a smaller number of impressions that actually translates into a larger number of conversions. It's very easy to see the dollars flow through in this kind of scenario. You can also connect this through some of the Google Analytics stuff. So you can attach costs with the conversion values, and understand which of these pieces of the campaign are actually delivering value.
And I'll say also, if it is something where there's an actual dollar related conversion, so a shopping cart, or a class sign up that has dollars, things like that, you can actually pull those actual shopping cart dollars into Google Analytics as well, and it will use those actual numbers in these things.
David: Yeah. That's a great point to make. So this is good for a lot of the looser, form conversion things that we're talking about within the landing pages. If you're doing more e-commerce kinds of things, GA has a whole suite of e-commerce tracking metrics within there which this factors in to. But that's really useful to use some of those as well.
Ben: Yeah, if you're doing durable medical goods for instance, there's no reason to be estimating conversion values. You kind of have that.
David: Yep, cool. So we wanted to pull in a few examples as well and just walk through some different landing pages, and look at them, and give a little bit of a critique, and what we think is working and what may be are some things to consider. This is one that we used a couple of months ago with a campaign trying to drive birth center tours and really get people engaged with that.
So a lot of the touch points for this were social media type ads. PPC within social platforms. AdWords and some offline elements as well, driving people to this page. But you can see the call to action here. Hopefully it's fairly clear that we're trying to get those tours scheduled and getting people to select a birth center tour date.
Ben: And the way things really flow here, I particularly like that that "Schedule A Tour" becomes a big target, because I have big fingers and a small screen. So getting that space around it. Making it easy to interact with that without accidentally clicking the wrong thing. And you also see that certain other elements of the page disappear or rearrange so that the experience makes a lot of sense on a phone. Whereas if we just tried to jam the whole page in there, it might not have worked quite so well.
David: Yeah, exactly. So we had to do a little rearranging of things the way that the responsive breakdown happened. Just off the bat wasn't optimal for getting that call to action high up on the page. So it took a little bit of finessing from the design side to move that button up so that it's actually within one of the first screens as you're scrolling the page.
So here's an example that was sent in to us to take a look at from Milford Regional. This was a grand opening event. They were getting people to RSVP and participate in this big event. So this was an example to look at here. One of the things that I really liked about this was simply using a form and capturing an RSVP at this opportunity.
A lot of the times, I think we just overlook some of these opportunities, like Ben was saying, to capture those email addresses and get things connected. So I think maybe the one critique there is just getting that a little bit higher up on the page so that it's a little more obvious as you're landing on there, that this is the big call to action. I think that really gets people engaged in knowing what they're expected to do here.
Ben: Yeah. On the full page, there's actually, down below the text, and we covered it up with the mobile presentation of things, but there's a button there that says something about refreshments and raffles and things. I thought I could click on that. I thought I could engage with that in some way, and that was not true. So it may have made more sense to have, not to not have that present, but to have the sign up in that kind of a placement on the page.
David: I did notice, as well, within the form that they are using those HTML5 guidelines for the form fields. So that you can see there the keyboard on my phone switched over to the actual "at" sign and the email address type of field. So that was good to see there.
David: I think all the key information is pretty high up on this page around dates and times and those kinds of things. So pretty good example, here.
So another one. This is coming from SSM Health and they sent several examples over. I'm going to show two of these, because I thought they were a good example of two different kinds of calls to action. And in the upper left hand side you can see I pulled in, did a little research and found one of the ads that they seem to be connected to some of this. So this is the Google search term was something around "sports medicine physician." Something like that, and then one of the ads that showed up in our research tool was this sports medicine injuries ad.
So fairly good connection there to my search terms, sports medicine obviously being repeated. You can see right in their ad text it says, "Request an appointment today." So great flow through then when you end up on the landing page and it says, "Request an appointment." Very connected to what I expected to be there when I was clicking through the ad.
You can see on desktop in the background there, a nice engaging photo really connects to the idea, the pretty familiar idea for anybody that would be interested in sports medicine, and starts working through some of the benefit statements there for the visitor. On the right-hand side, in the mobile view, it collapses down nicely. Just within the first screen you can really clearly see the branding and the text is all very readable there. And then they've got an appointment request form in there as well.
So that was the one thing Ben and I were talking about earlier, is the length of that form and what needs to be there. Just making sure absolutely everything has to be there. There may be some CRM reasons again that you're looking for things like birth date. But the shorter the better in a lot of cases.
Ben: Yeah, I also really liked the way that the form laid out on both mobile and on the desktop. They were not using the HTML5 field type, so when you get into the email for instance, you don't get that "at" sign and things like that. So that's one area that might be a nice tweak. I also like having forms very prominent and high up on the page.
So I'm wondering if, instead of the banner that goes across the page, if that image could be a little bit smaller, to the left, move the form up and maybe even do things within the imagery itself that draws the eye towards the form. This is one of those things that, when you play with these things a lot, you start to see. The action of this is coming straight at you, or maybe is straight up and down. The orange around the form probably draws the eye pretty well.
But actually, the next example, which is a similar layout to it, the eyes of the people in this photo are pointing to the left, and they're guiding your eyes to the "Reach New Heights," and away from the form. And so my thinking here is if that could be up, maybe flip the kayakers around, just flip that image so that they're looking from left to right, I think it's one of those things that will naturally draw the eyes toward the form. And interestingly enough, that really does drive a much higher conversion rate.
David: So I thought it was interesting that they shared some stats with us. Not to give exact numbers, but the call to action on this landing page, you can see, is just a little bit different. So this is an actual downloadable, where you just fill out a form and you actually get a downloadable shoulder pain guide. And they found that they had a three to seven times higher conversion rate for the download of the guide.
So it comes back to that testing out what the right call to action is, and thinking about that overall process. Could you get more value from a lead generation process versus that actual appointment scheduling, and what are people willing to do for you, I guess, when they land on that page? What do they want to get involved with?
Ben: Yeah, and I think traditionally a lot of us just wanted to throw it all out there and "Hey, it's the web. It's free. You can put as many things out there as you want." Probably putting both of those things on the same page would lead to a lower conversion rate on either of them than we see on either of them individually as well.
David: Exactly, yeah. They have done a nice job, it looks like though, of connecting that. So if you wanted to jump over and do that appointment there's a link right in that blue bar to jump over and do that. It's prominent, but it doesn't distract from the page so it works pretty well.