About Marketing Experiments
Marketing Experiments does exactly what its name suggests -- it's the first internet based research lab to conduct experiments in optimizing sales and marketing processes (yes, there really is a lab). This organization is dedicated to providing free information through its website and blog and paid services like on-site landing page and email optimization workshops, online site testing certification courses and published research reports. (FYI, Marketing Experiments recently acquired Marketing Sherpa). It also works with in-depth with research partners (businesses to run experiments for) each year and are currently taking applications for next year.
I had the privilege to attend the live Landing Page Optimization Workshop in Santa Monica last week which included a Professional Certification Exam (I am now a charter member of the community of MEC Landing Page Optimization Professionals, thank you very much). This workshop had around 100 attendees, with about half representing Omniture (just kidding, but there were a bunch of them).
Conversion takes place in the mind, not on the page
Marketing Experiments' approach to landing page optimization, based on what the customer experiences, can be summed up in the Conversion Sequence formula:
C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) - 2a
Don't worry, this is not an equation that requires solving, rather its a helpful heuristic that ties together the components of the Conversion Sequence. A customer must be motivated to stay on your page (m), be met with a clear value proposition (v), have an incentive to take action (i), will experience a degree of friction (f) or resistance during the process and anxiety (a) about entering information or committing to a purchase.
How the clinic works
The Conversion Sequence formula also serves as an outline for the on-site optimization clinic. Dr. Flint McGlaughlin spends about 1 hour on the theory behind each variable and about 30 minutes of "live optimization" on clinic attendees' sites. Of course, there's not time to critique everyone's pages in the session, so the dream team of optimization experts Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Aaron Rosenthal, Bob Kemper, Jimmy Ellis, Tony Valcarcel and Boris Grinkot are also available on networking breaks (and even during breakfast) to help you with questions relating to your own site. After about 12 hours of training, you should be ready to write your certification exam.
What to expect next week
For my Marketing Experiments Conversion Optimization series, I'll be going deep on each of the Conversion Sequence variables to share what I gleaned from the workshop and apply it to online retail sites, with a special emphasis on holiday landing pages (something not addressed in the clinic).