Our special guest for episode 336 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast was Talia Wolf, Founder and CEO of GetUplift. Host Erin Sparks spoke with Talia about the critical role landing pages play in CRO – conversion rate optimization. Here’s what we learned:
Talia Wolf: Her Background and Experience
Talia is the founder of and “Chief Optimizer” at GetUplift, a CRO consultancy and training space for top brands that want to optimize their funnels and websites and create experiences customers love by using customer-centric methods, emotional targeting strategies, and in-depth data. She has been invited to teach conversion optimization on hundreds of stages such as Google, MozCon, Call To Action Conference, SearchLove, and many more. She was recently listed as one of the most influential experts in conversion optimization.
On EDGE of the web we often tend to focus on search engine optimization, but Talia is all about the destination of where search sends you (in spite of Google’s attempts to keep you from ever leaving search). If those landing pages users arrive to don’t shine by giving people what they need when they need it, then bounce rates will be high and conversions will be low.
Talia has been in marketing for years and got into the social media end of things in a time when the main point seemed to be accumulating likes and engagements, but Talia kept asking about the business results in terms of leads and sales. No one ever had any answers or data around that. But Talia was always thinking along those lines, asking how she could enhance the customer journey. She was optimizing CRO without even knowing it or calling it optimization. She would change ads, change the landing pages, seeing what worked best.
The only two blogs at the time about optimization were totally focused on driving traffic to the website, but Talia felt there was something bigger than that to be figured out, which is the quality of landing pages and website consumers visit. And there were only three companies at the time doing conversion rate optimization. She opened her own agency and started building her unique methodology, which is heavily on psychology, consumer psychology, persuasion, emotion, and data analysis.
She built the agency up, sold it, and started GetUplift, which is more of a consultancy and training for conversion optimization. The trainings are about how to find the emotions of your prospects and find your value composition and how to optimize your websites and your funnels using emotion. The newest training is called Fix My Funnel Bootcamp, a live training during which participates plan, create and launch a funnel in just nine days. It runs on January 6-14, 2020.
Why Emotion is the Way to Optimize and Sell
Many marketers have been trained to do landing pages a certain way, a kind of rational approach as if consumers are carefully weighing comparison evidence between options. What Talia learned early on is that you can tinker with the elements of a landing page all you want and not find success. Her fundamental shift was in realizing that conversion optimization at its roots is about solving people’s problems. You have to understand the real, raw challenges of your prospects in order to be able to convince them you are the one who can solve their problems.
You have to tie into the emotions of the problems people experience and what they feel around them. Emotions are key because they drive decision-making more than anyone cares to admit, even though scientists have been saying for years that without emotion there is no decision-making. You must discover what emotions are motivating your prospects. And it’s rarely just one emotion. Usually, it’s a mix of several. But it’s only when you understand the emotions involved that all the pieces can fall into place, such as the right copy, the right design, the right visuals, the right colors you’re using on the landing page. It’s like an emotional style guide, but many marketers simply aren’t thinking in these terms, and don’t want to, either.
There’s a race to machine learning and AI and automating everything. But for now, even if you have the best machines in the world, you still need someone to write that copy and you still need that copy to resonate with people. You still need a design that makes people feel something towards your brand. And you have all of three seconds to convince someone to give you a chance. The way you use those three seconds is emotion. In just three seconds the prospect looks and feels like you understand them. There’s nothing rational about it – no comparing of prices or features. All of that can and will come later, but to catch that person initially into the top of your funnel is pure emotion.
Fix Your Funnel By Getting to Know Your Prospects
People go through different stages of awareness, and there are five of them: 1) Unaware, 2) Pain Aware, 3) Solution Aware, 4) Product Aware, and 5) Most Aware. When you understand where people are in the customer journey, it’s easier for you because you know what your next stage should be and where to move them to. But the only way to do this is by getting to know your prospects. Not getting to know data about them, but getting to them as people, because that’s what they are – real people, not just data. Your job as a marketer is to connect with people and solve their very real problems. You build a relationship with them and when you do solve their problem they will then become your brand ambassador cheering you on and sending more prospects to you. And the thread running all the way through from beginning to end is emotion.
- Unaware: Many companies have the challenge that people aren’t even aware they have a problem that needs to be solved. You have to make them aware they do have a problem, and you’ve got the solution. And that’s the only thing you have to do with people at this stage. Make them aware of the problem and pain so you can then move them on to the next stage.
- Pain Aware: For the people who become painfully aware, they may just be living with the pain because they don’t know there’s a solution for it out there. Now your goal is to move them into the next stage.
- Solution Aware: People who are solution aware realize there are solutions out there, so they’re going to be reading, researching, searching for the right solution to their problem because they’re not sure what that solution might be. It’s a discovery stage of trying to find potential solutions.
- Product Aware: In this stage, people have come across your solution to their problem. They are aware of you as a solution provider but aren’t yet necessarily convinced your solution is the right one for them. Believe it or not, this is the first stage of the process where you start to talk about yourself as a company or a brand. Everything before this has only been about the customer and their pain and needs. This is when you start talking about your product’s features and pricing and what differentiates you from competitors, but still within a customer-centric framework that directly relates to solving their particular problems. You differentiate yourself from competitors because of how your particular features deliver the value they need.
- Most Aware: In this stage, people are on the edge of conversion and you just have to give them the right call to action.
It Ain’t About You. It’s About Them
Did you notice that stage 4 awareness was the first time you start talking about your company? This is the big mistake most marketers make. Their landing pages and website and everything is all about their company and their products and its features and so on. But to get people into the top of your funnel, to begin with means you have to focus on the prospects and make it all about them way before talking about yourself.
This is why getting to know your prospects through extensive customer research is absolutely critical. And this means actually talking with people. What the research needs to be about is digging deep into why people buy from you. You’re trying to isolate the emotion that drove their decision to purchase. People who buy insurance aren’t purchasing a policy, they’re buying peace of mind. Buying clothes might be about buying self-confidence.
The critical questions to be asking in customer surveys aren’t about your company or your product. The questions should be about the customers themselves. Ask them how they were solving (or not solving) their problems before they found your solution. This kind of question gives you actionable insights into how to communicate and connect with people to get them into the top of your funnel. If you find out what else they tried that failed, then you can reference that in your landing pages. Ask them what they would miss most if they could no longer use your solution, and it won’t be about specific features, which is what most companies assume they’ll get from that question. The answers will be all about the value they get from the solution.
Ask customers what was happening in their life at the moment they came across your company and its product or service. Don’t ask why they chose you. You want to know what was going on with them that led them to you. When you ask customers questions about themselves, then the answers you get to become the basis of the copy you write. You won’t have to make any of it up because it will all be right there in the survey responses. The better you know your prospects, the better the customer experience you can create for them.
When you create a funnel that speaks to people’s emotions, when you create a funnel that’s about them, their desired outcomes, and their value, then you are essentially creating a client for life because you’re helping them achieve their goals, which in turn helps you achieve your own. You have to make it about them. That’s the number-one rule in the emotional targeting methodology Talia developed. It’s not about you. You’re not the hero of the story, they are. Look at your funnels and your website, and you ask yourself, “Is this about me? Am I solving people’s problems or is it about me? How many times am I talking about us and using our logo?”
Talia understands that not everyone has the money to put into paying a consultancy group like hers. You may not even have sufficient resources to do a deep redesign effort on your website. But GetUplift has a great collection of resources – templates, checklists, frameworks, and formulas for how to infuse emotion into your existing website, understanding people’s emotional biases, and so on.
Better Testing for Emotional Connection
The kind of testing you need to do to get all this right is not your standard A-B testing on switching out a specific element. What you need to do is step back and test a strategy, not just a specific element. For example, if you identify that there are two or three different emotions that people need to feel on the page when they land on it, you can change your headlines, your copy of the entire page, your visuals, the colors, everything. And you can test that, the original versus the new variation. It may be an entirely new redesign, and it may be just a new paragraph on the page. But you’re testing two different murals, essentially.
You want to put heat maps on it through user testing. You want to see how people are responding to this new variation and, most importantly, when you get the results you want to dig deeper into identifying, “Okay, did this work? Did it not work? Could it do better?” Then you start optimizing on that within the different elements. That’s when you can start changing the various specific elements like call to action buttons or different headlines. Do focus groups on it. Test it through a Facebook group of customers to see how they feel about it. These are ways to do testing before going live.
But the sad part of all this is how many marketers are simply afraid to take this approach, even though it’s absolutely basic marketing – get to know your customers and their emotions by talking to them!
Connect with Talia Wolf and GetUplift
Twitter: @TaliaGw (https://twitter.com/TaliaGw)
Facebook: @TaliaGWolf (https://www.facebook.com/TaliaGWolf)
GetUplift web: https://getuplift.co
GetUplift FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/weoptimize
Fix My Funnel Bootcamp: https://getuplift.co/fix-my-funnel
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