Rich Briddock: “What conversion rate optimization really is about is removing friction from the process of getting someone to come to the website and then take the desired action that you want them to take.”
Intro: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s Experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite
Alex Membrillo: Hey, everybody really excited. We’ve got Rich Briddock on the line here with us on Ignite today. He’s our SVP of Performance Marketing. What does that mean to you? That means he knows everything when it comes to paid media, creative, analytics, SEO. How to drive an incremental patient out of your spend. This guy has been with me for nearly a decade now. Somehow he’s not tired of me, and certainly, our clients have never grown tired of him and his beautiful British accent. Rich, welcome to Ignite.
Rich Briddock: Thanks for having me, Alex.
Alex: Yes, absolutely. Let’s get into it. Today, I want to talk about conversion rate optimization. A lot of friction happens when people are hitting sites. We make it very difficult to get what we want in the end, which is an active lead that we can turn into a patient. Talk to us about the top mistakes that impact conversion rate. How you’re seeing them.? Then we’ll start talking about how to avoid them. What are the biggest mistakes you see?
Rich: I think, first of all, it probably warrants explaining a little bit about what conversion rate actually is. How to make yourself successful when you think about going to a website, getting people to do what it is that you want them to do. I think we fall down a lot because when we build landing pages, we don’t really have our end-user in mind all the time. We’re just like, “We have to tell them this information. We have to put this information on a page.” That’s what we do.
We just put the information on that we think is necessary without actually thinking about the patient and what the patient needs. A lot of people, when you talk about conversion rate optimization, they really think about some AB testing of pages. They think about red button versus green button, which that might be a valid thing if you’re, Amazon. You might have a red button versus a green button because you’ve got a million visitors coming to your site every day. You can understand if a red button versus a green button makes any difference.
What conversion rate optimization really is about is removing friction from the process of getting someone to come to the website and then take the desired action that you want them to take. You’re shortening that journey from someone hitting the landing page and taking your desired action. How you do that, is you create a highly motivated user, a highly motivated visitor. You make it really easy for them to convert. There’s something called the Fogg Behavior Model. It’s just an axis. The Y-axis is motivation and across the X-axis is ease.
What you want is really easy, which is the far point of the X-axis, and really motivated, which is the top of the Y-axis. If you can get to that point, your users when you ask them to do something, they will do that. Conversion rate optimization, people think it’s a design thing or people think it’s an analytics thing, but really, it’s grounded in neuroscience. It’s about understanding people’s behavior and what motivates them. There’s a couple of brain chemicals, dopamine and cortisol. In your life, you’re trying to create more dopamine. You’re trying to create more of that reward mechanism. You’re trying to avoid cortisol because cortisol is that stress hormone.
You just don’t want to be stressed out all the time. Essentially you’re doing the same thing when you’re building landing pages, is you want to reward the user. You want the user to feel rewarded. You hear that terminology, surprise and delight. You want to create dopamine because that’s what’s going to motivate a user to take the action that you want them to take. You want to avoid cortisol because that’s what’s going to cause the user to pump the brakes and not want to do that thing.
For instance, if you had in your paid media ad, “Covered by major insurance carriers or covered by insurance,” when it comes to your landing page and you don’t talk about insurance at all, and actually, maybe you even say, “Treatment starting at XX dollars.” They think that they have to pay for it out of pocket. That’s going to create a cortisol response. They feel like there’s been a bane switch. They thought it was going to be covered by insurance and now you’re telling them maybe not. Those are the things that you really have to avoid.
Conversion rate optimization is not just about a pretty design or about how concise your copy is, it’s really about thinking about who your end-user is and ensuring that you are providing them with the rewards that they need. You’re removing the barriers that they may have. Your motive to take the action. The other piece of that, the other component of the behavioral model, the Fogg model is making it easy. If I go to a landing page that has 500 things going on and the call to action is buried somewhere. It makes it very difficult for me to try and ascertain what it is that you want me to do and what I should do next.
Again, going back to neuroscience, the brain has two modes of thinking. There’s fast thinking and then slow thinking. Fast thinking is the intuitive stuff. Two times two equals four. That’s fast thinking. If you saw two times two, you would immediately use your fast thinking mode to say four. Whereas if I showed you something really complicated on a slide, then your analytical, your slow thinking has to kick in. You have to really think about it and analyze it and come up with an answer.
As you can imagine, humans don’t like to do slow thinking because it’s work, it’s effort. If I have to figure out a puzzle, I don’t want to do that. I just want to know the answer straight away or I want to get to it immediately, especially in this day and age where we’re busy, busy, busy. We’ve got stuff on our phone all the time. You want to make it as easy as possible. If you want someone to call you, that call action better be right there at the top of the screen, clear with something saying, “Call us to get X, to get this reward.” Don’t bury it at the bottom of the page, or don’t even have it on the page. or having a tiny font because then you’re making it hard for me.
If you make it hard for me, my brain is going to do this cost-benefit analysis, which is saying, “Is it really worth my effort to go through with this or should I just bounce and try and find another provider that’s going to make the same thing really easy for me.” That’s a little bit of context there about conversion rate optimization. It’s not just red button versus green button, but there’s all this neuroscience that it’s tied into and trying to make these experiences as easy as possible for the end-user.
Alex: It’s interesting. It seems like the confluence of creativity and analytics. It’s like when you’re looking for someone that’s going to help you with this, if it’s not red button versus green button, it’s not just a design principle, and it’s not just that looking at the data, you have to look at ad copy, landing page. You’re really looking at this as a marketer. This is not a simple skill set or strategy to embark upon, is what it sounds like?
Rich: No, because you’ve really got to understand the user and the user’s motivation. There’s a lot of analytics and research that go into that.
Alex: Let’s talk about that. What are you doing to analyze what’s happening qualitatively and quantitatively? What are we doing?
Rich: The quantitative piece is the easier piece. That’s Google analytics. You’re looking at conversion rates. You’re looking at bounce rates, average time on the page. You’re looking at these things segmented by things like device. Is the page working on mobile versus desktop? If you’ve got demographic information, you can look at it by, “Are females responding better than males and things like that?”
The qualitative piece is really probably the more insightful, but also the more difficult piece to do, which is why you’re trying to understand people’s motivations. Why are they doing the things that they’re doing? There’s a whole range of qualitative research that you can do. We do things called heuristic walkthrough, which is where we go through the page. We basically gauge our immediate reaction to the page.
Then we gauge our longer-term view of the page. We analyze the page. We do that fast-thinking, slow-thinking approach to the page of like, “If I’m a user, I’m here for the first time and I’ve got five seconds of attention, can I figure out what this page is about? Can I understand what the offer is?” Those kinds of things. We go through all that ourselves. Then we’ll analyze, heat mapping. We’ll analyze user recordings to understand how other users are reacting to the page.
We’ll do polls and surveys. We’ll ask questions about how effective the page was digitally. The classic thing you got to perpetrate, “Did you find everything that you were looking for today?” Asking the users, questions like that to understand if they understood the experience, if it was good experience for them? Then beyond that, mining reviews is a great way to understand what people think, not necessarily of the page, but of the company.
If you’re a healthcare provider and you mine the reviews and you find a nugget in the review that says like, “Weren’t transparent about X, Y, and Z, and it keeps coming up,” well, then on the landing page, you should address that. You should be talking about those things. That’s a poor user experience if people think that they’re getting one thing and then it turns out to be something else.
Then also the other thing that we do is talk to stakeholders, talk to customer support. In terms of health care, talk to people who are triaging and scheduling these appointments. What are the common questions? What are the things that are still holding people back when they’re calling and not quite ready to book? Let’s make sure that we’re addressing those upfront on the page. All of this research really helps us to derive hypotheses for testing-
Alex: Good. I love it.
Rich: -through the next stage of the process.
Alex: Okay. Some of the tools, you mentioned Google Analytics, Hotjar?
Rich: Generally some combination, some confluence of Hotjar and Google Analytics will work. There’s plenty of other research tools that are Hotjar independent.
Alex: All Right, I got you. If you would say if you are a medical practice and you got a decent amount of traffic, top three things that you should do to increase conversions. What are those top three things?
Rich: It’s different for everybody but if you had some sort of best practices, I would say, Simplify the page to exactly what it is that you wanted the user to do. If you want them to call you, make sure that call CTA is prominent and that it follows you throughout the page. One thing that we see a lot of is that you have the so call button would be at the top of the page. You have a long page. By the way, having long pages, it’s fine. That’s another misconception of conversion rate optimizations is that it can be short.
You can spend a lot of time especially on mobile scrolling and that CTA is not visible. Sticky navigation with that CTA button so that it’s always visible on every screen is a huge win in terms of driving conversion rate. That’s tip number one. Tip number two and this really applies to media advertisers is if you’re spending money driving advertising to a landing page or to a website, make sure that you have a one-to-one message match between the ad and the page.
Alex: Give me some examples in health care that you see. We take insurance and then–
Rich: You can take insurance and then you don’t mention it on the page is a good one, or in terms of things like DSOs. If you want to talk about a promotion–
Alex: DSOs are Dental Support Organizations, big dental groups.
Rich: Sorry, big dental, yes. If you’re going to talk about a promotion like $500 off your next pair of braces, that better be the headline on the landing page.
Alex: What are a lot of practices doing, just sending to homepage from a PPC ad that they are running and they’re not thinking about specific offer and landing page?
Rich: Yes, you get a lot of that. You get a lot of people just sending it to the location page or to the homepage. There’s nothing promotional on it, nothing promotional on your ad. That message mismatch, that’s what creates that cortisol that I was talking about earlier is, “Oh, I didn’t see that thing that I thought I was going to see. Now, all of a sudden I’ve got this alarm reaction going on. I don’t want to move forward because I’ve got this bane switch.
The third thing I would say is and this one is again easier to do if you know who your audience, if you’re driving it through paid media, is– Well, this is one that I like is, “Understand the awareness level of your audience and provide them with the correct, what we call information hierarchy.” There are different awareness levels. The highest awareness level or the most awareness level I should say is problem aware. I have a problem, my tooth hurts. I’m solution aware, I know I need a filling. I’m going to type in, “Fillings near me or implants near me.” I know the solution that I need.
There’s most aware where I’m actually looking for a specific brand who does that service. In case, one of our client’s search, “Dental filling near me,” I am really aware. Now depending on my awareness level, you need to be giving me different pieces of information. If I’m searching, “My tooth hurts,” and then you show them a very transactional offer about filling, well, I just need to be explained to why my tooth hurts. If I’m typing in, “Fillings near me,” don’t give me a page that talks about toothache and all the common causes of toothache. I’m already aware that my tooth hurts. I’m already aware of the solution.
I just need to be told why your solution is better than the other guy’s solution. Dental might not be the best example there, but when you think about a lot of medical procedures and elective medical procedures, there’s a lot of people who understand what the solution is. They know that they’ve got a health problem. They already understand the solution because they are looking for it.
We have a tendency to go back and expound on the problem rather than explaining to them, “You should come and see me because my solution is better than X, Y, and Z’s medical solution. That’s another good tip, is understand your audience and talk to them at the level that they are in the problem.
Alex: Do we run ads on top of the funnel problem type stuff or that’s mostly in SEO play? Do we spend money?
Rich: We will a display. We will a display. We’ll run some. We don’t run and search most of our [unintelligible 00:14:20]
Alex: PPC Tips on another podcast. PPC Tips, I just want to tease them, bro. I just want to tease them. Okay, I like it. All things conversion rate optimization, if you want more tips just Google, “Conversion rate optimization agency.” I think Cardinal might be number one. You can find out more. We’ve got 5,000 words on that page with everything that was talked about. I think you can get some more info there. Rich, hugely helpful. Final, final question, implementing a proper CRO program, a conversion rate optimization program. What general lift do they see? Is it worth doing, just give me a percentage? Is it worth it?
Rich: Yes, it’s absolutely worth it because you can see between 200%-500% with a sustained program
Alex: Okay, that means I could spend that much less on my PPC or my paid media and get the same return. I could pivot the savings in SEO. I could pivot in the traditional. Nobody is doing that anymore. I could pivot that into other things and save the money because CRO could help drive more efficiency.
Rich: Yes, I think it’s also worth mentioning too, is that CRO applies to SEO. It’s not just [unintelligible 00:15:21].
Alex: You’re looking at the organic pages, not just landing pages and not just ads. You’re looking at those and seeing how they convert and moving things around.
Rich: Yes, we’re doing a big CRO test right now for one of our largest healthcare clients where we’re reducing the length of the funnel that it takes to get from landing on the page to the conversion. That applies to every channel. That change is made of the homepage where we’re driving both paid search traffic, display traffic, but also SEO traffic. It’s even going to affect direct and improve the conversion rate on direct. It’s not just through marketing efforts, obviously, there’s more than you can do with paid but you can do a lot on the organic and direct side as well.
Rich: Okay, very good, no matter what you’re doing, if you’re not even doing paid media please, pay attention to CRO and still engage some kind of CRO specialist to help take a look at things, install some tracking and give you some ideas that are more qualitative. They’ll look at your copy. They’ll look at your funnel. They’ll look at your lead points and CTAs. They’ll look at everything and make sure everything matches up and drives more dopamine not cortisol. We want lots of dopamine. Don’t do it artificially though. CRO feels like artificial dopamine. I like it. All right, Rich, thanks for joining us on Ignite.
Alex: Thank you, Alex.
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