Web Optimization for DR

by Oded Noy on Oct 7, 2014 9:56:00 AM

Oded Noy
It was a privilege to participate and present at the ERA D2C Convention in Las Vegas in September. The topic of the talk was Web Optimization, and the intention of this blog post (possibly the first in a chain of posts) is to cover the subject for the benefit of this industry.

Let’s start at the beginning. What is web optimization and how/why is it different for the DR industry?

To best answer this question, let’s get to the DNA of DR:
  1. Test-learn-test-learn-test-learn: see what works and then grow your business by activating what works.
  2. The phone (tele-sales) was the core of all sales and testing the script was one the core tenants of running a successful campaign.

The industry grew by testing consumer facing creative (e.g., long-form TV) and testing elements like: creative treatment, timing of the CTA, the celebrity, and the offer (kit, bundle, multi-pay, price point, etc.). When done right, the phone started to ring. And then the tele-sales script was optimized.

Optimizing the telesales script is critical in order to maximize the offer take rate, but also to increase the Average Order Value (AOV), capture possible lost sales (save-a-sale)—which was done typically by cross-sells and down-sells. Naturally, the phone script needed to closely reflect the ad creative and build on it.

Web optimization works exactly the same way. The idea is to deliver the best possible consumer experience, so what they see on TV (and later what is done via digital customer acquisition channels) or hear on the radio is a natural continuation of the experience and results in high conversion rate and AOVs.

For most of you, the percentage of orders captured on the web versus the phone is on a constant rise (not to mention that from web order there is a dramatic shift to mobile rather than desktop). Therefore the need for web optimization will continue to grow in business importance.

The first question typically asked about web optimization is: “you mean landing page optimization, right?” No! Optimizing just your landing page is like asking your telesales people to just optimize their greeting—and completely ignore optimizing the rest of the sales script. The telesales interaction with a consumer is design to complete a transaction (which is why we all created the optimization for upsells, down-sells, etc.). The web is another channel—but the fundamentals work in exactly the same way.

In this new climate of consumer voting with their fingertips, web optimization can be framed as:
1.    Test-learn-test-learn-test-learn:
    a.    Having a website that is three years old because it is too hard technically to change is not good enough anymore.
    b.    Testing the landing page is a start but not enough, since the entire experience is what determines if an order is captured or a sale is lost.
2.    The phone is no longer the major sales channel – Now digital sales (both desktop and mobile) are significant enough that all optimization techniques we applied to the phone need to be applied to the web and we need new tools to do the job.
3.    On the web (just like on the phone) not all customers are created equal – Thus, a prospect that just saw a banner on Facebook is not the same prospect (statistically speaking) as one who comes via branded-search (most likely after they saw a TV ad). There’s a need to be treated differently during the consumer journey.

This blog post attempts to frame the discussion of web optimization—a departure point into the details and mechanics required to take the next steps. Next time, I’ll start drilling in deeper into the optimization funnel—what to test, how and when.

Please don’t be shy and leave a comment, so we can start a dialog.

If you purchased an All Access Pass to the D2C Convention but missed Oded’s Masters Series session titled “Optimizing the Online User Experience to Increase Conversion Rate, Average Order Size, and Lifetime Value,” check out the video. Please note: These videos are password protected for All Access Pass holders only.

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