The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into ecommerce marketing — from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses.
Marketing Strategies and Topics Covered in this Episode:
Arlen: Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast. Everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest Joris Bryon who is the founder and CEO of Dexter Agency, a remote team of e-commerce conversion optimization and email marketing specialists. The agency serves high-revenue e-commerce stores that are ready for continuous growth. With over 1500 A/B tests under his belt, Joris wrote the book “Kill Your Conversion Killers” to help all the online stores he hasn’t worked with (yet). Welcome to the podcast.
Joris: Thanks. Yes, no problem. And I’m super excited to talk to you. I love that book title though, as well. Kill it. Kill your conversion killers. That’s a catchy title. Definitely. I guess the way to remember to show. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. Good stuff, man. I like that today. We’re going to be talking about what really is kind of your bread and butter, which is conversion optimization, conversion rate optimization, and how e-commerce businesses can really take advantage of that, what they need to do to really improve their conversions rates.
Arlen: Cause that’s, that’s really the hot topic these days with the influx of all of these online buyers. The bottom line is you can drive as much to your site as humanly possible, but if you don’t have things in place to convert all those users, then it’s a waste. So, you know, hopefully you’re going to shed some light into that, but you know that definitely, but you know, before we get into all of that, if you don’t mind telling us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today,
Joris: I’ve been around pretty long. I’ve been in marketing I’ve I’ve started in marketing about 20 years ago and it started like a classical advertising agency around. And I worked in the advertising agency for about 10 years at the end. I hated it. It was like a bunch of discussions, all driven by emotion and gut feeling like, oh, maybe it’s blue banker’s rep put this logo on top, put it on the bottom, make it bigger, make it smaller. I hate that kind of discussions kind of gradually evolved into digital marketing and from digital marketing, I started like what most people do if you see SEO is, was beginning days. And then after awhile I discovered provision optimization and I totally fell in love with it because it kind of brought all my background back to the digital marketing sphere. So I knew a lot about design psychology copywriting, but then it added the data into the mix statistics, digital validates, that kind of stuff. So basically I realized that all the previous discussions I ever had, like in classical advertising agencies about make it to the market, make it red, make it bigger, make it smaller, that could go away by AB testing it. And so I feel have all that background, that knowledge, but I could now apply it in the online world. And if for all those discussions that I hate, because right now it’s just about let’s test it.
Arlen: Yeah. That is about a blind. And I, I definitely echo your sentiment with regards to those meetings because there was a founder here in RA and as a founder, he had OSI affiliate software. I’ve been in those meetings before with, you know, kind of our mark, our design team. And yeah, it’s hard to get through where, where you’re down to talking about, oh, should it be blue? Should it be orange? Where does this go here? Yet? Those meetings drove me crazy as well. I know
Joris: They drain your energy. And at the end of the day, you’re asking the wrong people. Cause you decided in, I dunno a meeting in the goal, but actually you should ask the user and that’s what we do with AP testing.
Arlen: That’s the bottom line. Yeah. I mean you can pick colors out of a hat all day. That’s not going to make a difference. The bottom line is what is going to be more appealing to users. What is going to have the typical user convert better? So the only way to find that out is like you said, AB testing. And at that point, the proof is it is going to be in the pudding for show her so to speak. But yeah, so, you know, of course, as I mentioned at the top of this recording, we were going to be diving deep into conversion rate optimization. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that subject? What is it and what are some typical ways to kind of increase your conversion rates?
Joris: What is it? I mean even the term conversion rate optimization, I think it’s not like a greater, I write about that in the book as well because the term conversion rate optimization kind of focuses too much on the conversion rate. And I mean, optimizing your conversion rate, it’s pretty easy to cut your prices in half and you’ll get a higher conversion rate. But at the end of the day, I mean, that’s tough make you a lot of money. I’d say that conversion optimization. And I typically, I dropped the term rate and it, so typically I say conversion optimization is it’s called the art and science to increase your revenue by working with what you already have. And so that’s working on your conversion rate, but it’s also working on the average order value, trying to increase that, but also work in on the purchase. We can see that you’re already half customer, so why not try and sell more to the same customer.
So I like to look at it from that angle because you know, the, if you look at it, there’s only four ways to grow an e-commerce. I’m talking about e-commerce here because that’s our specialty, but it’s trafficking in absent traffic it’s conversion rate. You can increase your conversion rate, it’s purchase frequency. You can increase that or you can try and increase your average order value. Those are the only four levers that you can pull to, to grow your store. And I think there’s way too much focus on the traffic side of things. And there’s a lot of opportunities still in trying to increase what you want already have. So you have the, you have customers so you can increase the purchase frequency. You have those transactions, you can try and increase the average order value. You have those site visitors. So you can try and convert more of those.
Joris: So I’d say like conversion optimization to me is trying to increase your revenue by working with what you already have. Now, the second part of your question, what should you do? I think, I mean, there’s no time to go in detail here, cause a horrible off free in the book of more than 200 pages about it. But I think a couple of main principles here is I think working on clarity. So really trying to make things clear. If people don’t understand what you sell, you’re not going to be able to sign this. That’s a big problem. And it’s probably the most overlooked problem. And that starts with people and on their side, not really immediately understanding what you stand for and what you’re selling and why they should buy from me. But it’s also in pictures, for instance, there’s missing information and needed a detailed shelf from one angle to understand your product better or to make that decision.
Joris: Sometimes it’s like finding copy that is missing. Like, I don’t know what fabric is it made off. So a lot of working on clarity is super essential as one of the most overlooked things, I guess in converse optimization. I think there’s still a lot of people that in golf, conversion optimization as being all that psychological principles. That’s nice. But at the end of the day, if your site isn’t working well, people don’t understand it. It’s not accessible. It’s not fast, it’s not intuitive, not a single psychological trick in the book is kind of work. And another thing that a lot of people think it’s all about design and yes, design is important, but I think copy is policed as important for your conversion. So that’s another thing to work on 3m on our copy and then not our principles. It’s really trying to remove any kind of friction or frustration that, that, or this might happen.
Joris: And that’s not going to be yet. I think let’s start with your forms. Typically people don’t like to fill out forms and there’s a lot of things that go wrong in forms. So have a look at those, make sure that they work correctly at all. Your error messages are helpful. So that kind of stuff make it easy for them to buy from you. It’s also working on trust. So by adding reviews and testimonials by adding a good about us page and not just an about those page that says like, Hey, we were founded in that year and that’s our mission statement, but really something that people can relate to that show the founders, show the people that helps that that creates trust, but not a thing that creates stress is building that brand, working with my friend for instance. So that, that’s a long-term way obviously.
Joris: And I’d say like another principle that’s important is trying to remove any kind of distraction. So I that’s something that I see happen a lot is there’s so many things going on on page that you’re so distracted and you have to decide first, like what do I want my visitor to do on this page? What is the most one that action. And then you got to focus on that most on action and anything that doesn’t contribute to that most wanted action of that particular page. You can get rid of out of it. That’s also an important principle. I mean, it’s very high level, but those are a couple of principles that are definitely important to keep in mind when you try and optimize.
Arlen: Yeah, definitely. And those are definitely very helpful. You mentioned a few things. I have heard those experts that had heard different podcasts, read different blog articles about the psychology of the buyer and then how you need to do certain things, use certain images. But I think there’s really nothing that can Trump the core principles of just meeting the needs of those visitors. What are they coming there to find? How are you going to make it clear to them what it is that you were providing? And ultimately once you get those questions answered, then getting them creating a smooth path for them to ultimately make the conversion and pull out their credit card or whatever it is. So, yeah, there’s really no way around that, no matter what type of psychology tricks that you try to try to pull out there, but I’ve seen a lot of them.
Joris: And so I get it. There’s a lot of blog posts about those because it’s sexy, but the end of the day, it’s not always the most important thing.
Arlen: That’s true. And one other thing also I wanted to bring up is I think a lot of times site owners, people that are managing these e-commerce sites, there’s really kind of like a dance that they’re playing between really meeting the needs of their customer, but at the same time, trying to meet the needs of Google and the major search engines, because there’s a lot of things that need to happen on the website, of course, in order to rank well for Google, there’s a lot of OnPage SEO things that have to be done, content placement, you name it. And so I think a lot of times owners are white website developers. They get caught up with just trying to focus so much on what is Google looking for. And then it kind of forgetting about really the end goal, which is meeting their needs of the customer.
Arlen: And so I think a lot of businesses fall into that trap, which is focusing too much on our eye. Is this going to be good in the eyes of Google, but ultimately they have to think about that really Google really only wants to provide the best user experience. And so you got to think about all right, once they land on my site, am I answering those questions that they came to Google for? That’s really kind of the biggest thing. You know, I’m a huge advocate of tools and resources, especially nowadays because there are so many things out there to make our jobs easier as marketers, as e-commerce business owners. And so from your experience and the things that you’ve done, what are some tools that are out there that can really help with these conversion optimization strategies?
Joris: I think a lot of tools I find important are really centered around trying to understand what people are trying to do on your sites. So it’s really trying to get insights into that user behavior. I mean, this is like a very obvious one, but Google analytics is still crucial. The thing that Google analytics though, is that it gives a lot of data that you have to extract the insights from it. So a lot of people I meet, they kind of get drowned in the data in Google analytics. You don’t need more data, you need more insights from it. And they look at metrics that are nice to know, but at the end of the day, if you look at a metric and you cannot really use it to improve your site or your marketing, then it’s useless. So if you look at a metric and then kind of say like, Hey, okay, how can you use this?
Joris: If there’s no answer to that, then just drop it. So Google analytics will tell you where you have problem areas on your site, but it still doesn’t tell you why you have those problems on your side or people jumping off for instance, on certain steps of the checkout. So still see a lot of people falling into the trap, like, okay, so this is what’s happening, but that’s not true because you cannot deduct that from Google analytics. You don’t know why that’s happening. And that’s where you need more qualitative research tools. I say, and one of my all time favorite methods to do that is user testing or usability tests, whatever you want to call it. And tool that we always use for that is usual user field. So that’s just user field of common. And I believe it’s like 59. Yeah. It’s bound to now installer 59, that dollar, sorry for one user test that we have approved as such.
Joris: And then you can give them a couple of assignments. People have to come that love what they’re doing and you see their screen at the same time. And it’s so powerful to really see people using your site. So I, if you have to pick one tool, go for a user for this orders as well, like your customers come, but just go for you. So use a testing tool. That’s awesome. Other tools that you can use. I think Hotjar doesn’t need any explanation. It’s pretty well known, but stuff also like Sukkot that’s you can use that for form analysis. So if you have noticed, for instance, in your checkout that you have a huge drop off in when your steps, then you still don’t know if there’s like one particular field in your checkout or in your checkout form that is causing a drop off the tool like that.
Joris: You can zoom into that and you can really understand like, oh, okay. People seem to be making a lot of mistakes here in this step or a dropping off and this type of reform. So you can kind of zoom in where the problem is. And then there’s like, this might surprise you in this list, but the phone is a great tool to understand the behavior. If you can often check out, for instance, you can send them an email and how to take care of it, coming up on a goal. And just like to ask you a couple of questions that can really help you, but also a chat tool that be like Intercom or mini chat or whatever that will help you a lot to improve your conversions. I’m a big fan of chat because what it does is there’s always a lot of people that have questions.
Joris: And many of those will not ask the question. They’ll just go to another site and an order there because the questions are answered there. So with the chat option, if you have a chat to people, we’ll ask that question too. And so you can sell to them in short term, but you’ll learn a lot from it and you can change your sites and add that missing information that people are asking for. So that other people who don’t even do the effort to, or make the effort to chat with you so that they can convert and find that information as well. So our chat is probably overlooked the conversion optimization tool, and then hopefully, I mean, there’s artists, the spending of, of, of them like tools for a sitespeed because the suicide is a killer as well. Like just what each test orange there’s Chidi metrics and alerts.
Joris: But I think like when it comes to second phase one, the first phase is really trying to understand what’s happening and then you start to solve potential problems by AB testing and for AB testing. I think Google optimize is a great AB testing tool it’s free. So just get started with that. If you need to upgrade to beta version of an AB testing for, because Google optimize is not enough for you, then I highly recommend converts. So convert.com six, really beat us into a great value for money we’ve been using conferred for, I don’t know, last five years. So it’s one of the most overlooked AB testing tools, but it’s, it’s brilliant. I think the better known versions are like a visual website, optimizer and optimized ABBC. Those are like our players in the AB testing tool world.
Arlen: Okay, great. Great. Thank you for sharing those tools. One thing that I think he did say that is overlooked is the fact that yeah, you know, there’s all these solutions out here that provide all of this data. We’re kind of in the whole world of data. Now there’s so much there’s more than ever, but the bottom line is it’s where the data can make a significant difference is that insights that you gained from it. And it’s just certain strategic ways of doing that. Like you said, the user testing is a big thing. I know a lot of business owners are, you know, they’re making decisions a lot of times on their website, their product placement, their messaging and the verbiage based on just them and their internal teams. And you got to get outside of your group outside of your team and get fresh eyes on it to determine what’s the average person seeing what do they say? So those tools are definitely very, very useful. We’ve used them a few times internally here in our Sarnai. And then that’s something that we’ve had discussions about an RN here to do a lot more of. Cause we kind of get caught up in what we think is best, but at the bottom line is we, you know, we don’t know, we don’t know what are the end user is saying or they’re our typical visitor is seeing or what they’re thinking.
Joris: It can be very confronting, right? If you see someone struggling on your side, you’re like, Ugh.
Arlen: Yeah, it can be tough to watch, but I think it can definitely help a lot various very beneficial. Now, you know, there’s of course, as you’ve mentioned, a lot of things that you can do to improve your conversion rates, a lot of different, you know, the tactics and strategies, but at the end of the day, what really are some of the key performance indicators that are going to measure the effectiveness of any of these changes that you make or any of this optimization that you do?
Joris: Yeah. We really like to look at revenue and profit as well. Conversion rate as such is just, I mean, it’s an indication, but it’s not always the most important metric. Although it’s called conversion rate optimization, we’ve had instances where the conversion rate was lower, but profit was higher because there was a great upsell that with a lot of margin and obviously you decide to implement that all look very, this lower because of the profit that goes up and clients making more money. So it makes sense to implement that. So don’t get too hung up on conversion rate, look at your revenue. That’s the main thing, revenue and profit, and that’s the most important metric. And then depending on a test, how you’re running, if you’re really focusing on trying to get people, add something to the cart, for instance, you can look at is the add to cart rates going up or not. But at the end of the day, if that doesn’t lead to more transactions, it’s just nice to have moved the needle there, but it doesn’t really make you more money. So focusing on money debt that’s
Arlen: Yeah, that is the bottom line where the, what is it? What’s your bank account saying to all of these changes that you’re making? There’s no way around that, for sure. Well, yours, as we get ready to wrap things up, I’m always a, you know, kind of a keen advocate of looking at success stories, case studies and other companies that have been successful with certain strategies. So what businesses that you’re familiar with that have been successful with optimizing their conversion rates and what are some specific things that they’ve done?
Joris: I’d say all of our clients, obviously, I mean, generally speaking, once I have the highest conversion rate I’ve ever, ever, ever seen was on an e-commerce of flower company. And I believe they had, if I remember correctly, it’s been a few years now, but I believe it was like eight, 18, 19% conversion rate. But the conversion, like the final transaction that’s stained, but they had a couple of things going for them. First of all, they had a high brand recognition. So the brand really helped. But when do you buy flowers online? Because it’s searching it’s, you know, like, oh my mom’s birthday is coming up tomorrow, so I have to buy now. So there’s urgency involved and it just, when you go to that kind of site, you already know you’re going to buy flower. So I mean, they really had a couple of things going for them, but typically what I see like these big strong brands sites that people trust and so brand really contributes to that trust factor.
Joris: And they typically have somewhat higher conversion rate anything also with a, a lower dollar value. I can have a much higher conversion rates and obviously with a higher dollar value, I’d say like anything would be low 20, $25 still an impulse purchase. So those typically have a lot higher provisions as well. And any brand that really understands their customers and focuses on those customers. I still talk to a lot of e-commerce owners when I ask them like, okay, what’s your customer persona? Where are you serving? And he said like, oh, women over 50 Caucasian. And that’s about it, what they know about their customer. So the ones that really focus on their customers. So a lot of DTC brands are getting down. They understand that they service a specific kind of customer and they know their customer really well. They typically do very well when it comes to configurator as well.
Arlen: Okay, great. Great. Thank you for highlighting those that kind of definitely allows us to see what can be done and these things do work for, you know, definitely for sure. Final question though, before we kind of let you go, that I was thinking about it. And when you mentioned AB testing, it’s something that I think comes up a lot from different blogs that I’ve seen in different articles. There’s two, I think schools of thoughts with regards to AB testing, what I’ve heard, and maybe you can agree to this. Maybe you don’t, a lot of people say with AB testing, it’s really only effective. If let’s say you’re testing, maybe caught various calls to action on your site, or maybe you’re testing different landing pages of just for example, what I’ve heard is that AB testing really is only effective. If you’re getting a certain amount of website traffic, if you’re just starting off to traffic is really very minimal. You’re not getting too many visitors. It’s not worth the while. Is, would you say that’s the case? Yeah.
Joris: I agree. The danger of running an AB test with not enough traffic is that you’ll end the test too way too soon. It doesn’t reach statistical significance and it can still flip. If you have more traffic, what do you think is a winner could still be common lose already our way around. So just to give you some kind of ID, if, if you have like 250 to 300 conversions per variation, that’s usually enough for me, this is really short, but it’s more complicated than that. But turn 50 to 300 per variation, then it could make sense to run an AB test. So that could be the final transaction, which is ideal opposite buyer could also be like, if you want to see the add to cart button clicked, for instance, if you consider that your conversion, you could test like that as well, but then you’re still not going to be sure if that really moves the needle when it comes to revenue.
Arlen: Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Thank you for explaining that. I mean that, that’s not what I thought was the case from everything that I’ve read and seen because you know, like you said, if it’s not enough traffic, then yay, most likely you’re going to end it too early. You just don’t have enough data there to make a solid decision. So
Joris: I think the best thing you can do in that case is really do a lot of user testing and get into the mindset of your customer and make the best decision based on that and make sense,
Arlen: Makes total sense for sure. Well, it’s definitely been awesome having you on yours. I’ve I’ve definitely learned a lot. I always deal with every episode and I know our listeners have as well, but I always like to pivot here my last question, just to kind of switch gears here. So our audience can get to know you a little bit better. If you don’t mind sharing one kind of closing fun facts that you think our audience would be interested to know about yourself.
Joris: I’m a huge cycling nerd. There is only a few cycling, enthusiastic as listening to the show, but a fun fact, I had the honor of getting a private to treat a factory of any Merck’s with the man himself and the need doesn’t may not ring a bell to you, but I’m from Belgium. He’s Belgian. He’s the only, the biggest sort of best cyclist in history of cycling. And I had a private tour and that was awesome.
Arlen: Oh, wow. Yeah. I’m not familiar with that gentlemen, but I could imagine if he is kind of up there and you got a private tour of his, you said his factory
Joris: Actually. Yeah. Before it’s solid. Yeah. That’s the most like 10 years ago, but it’s still
Arlen: Gotcha. Gotcha. Oh, that’s awesome. I know that’s a big deal for sure. So, you know, those, all those cycling enthusiastic, I know, kind of probably flipped over that. Well, thank you. That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that. Cycling is kind of big for me as well. During these lockdowns of here in Florida, I’ve done a lot of, a lot of biking, a lot more biking than I probably would have if there hadn’t been. Cause when everything else was shut down, couldn’t do too much else, but go outside, walk by, you know, you name it. It is, it definitely is. Well, yeah, like I said, thanks for sharing that your so, but before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain any more about conversion rate optimization or conversion optimization in general, what is the best way for them to get ahold of you?
Joris: You can always reach out to me. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. And then you can also email me just yours at text about agency. And yeah, maybe if you, if you want to grab a free PDF version of my book and you can just go to desert agencies slash free dash book, you can access a free PDF, original hypercare. So we don’t have.
Arlen: Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Well thank you for offering that. We appreciate that. Definitely encourage anyone interested to connect with you and check out your book and, you know, see how they can take their conversions up a notch for sure. Well, thank you again, yours for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast.
Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast.
CEO of Dexter Agency
Marketing Strategies and Topics Covered in this Episode: