18 Unexpected Formulas of Websites that Win

#2 Your visitors don’t care about your company or your products.

Hear the 18 website formulas that will change your fortunes. Click the image to See the Slides.

What if you could finally understand why your website isn’t bringing the leads and sales your business needs?

#5 Every click is a promise that you must keep.

What if you finally saw your site through your visitors’ eyes? Would it scare you?

#8 Avoid business porn.

On Thursday, October 25, the folks at LogMyCalls.com are sponsoring a free Webinar in which I reveal 18 of the most important formulas you can apply to your site.

You have the opportunity to fundamentally change the performance of your website.

I’m going to tell you exactly what questions you should be asking.

Where has your well-meaning designer led you astray?

How has your eager development team made the mistakes that testing shows don’t work?

Why are do your visitors seem so hard to convert?

Why is 98% of your traffic wasted?

#11 The most important part of your design is the dollars it generates.

In one hour, you’ll get all of the most important points from my book Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Website Formulas of The Conversion Scientist.

I hope you’ll join me. See the Slides.


Brandscaping for Content Marketing Bigger Budgets and Faster Results [INFOGRAPH]

One of the best books I’ve read this year is Brandscaping by Andrew Davis.

However, Davis gave the audience at Content Marketing World a nice overview of the concepts he champions in the book, concepts that can fundamentally change the success of your brand today and in the coming years.

Here is my Instagraph of his presentation to warm you up. Watch this space for a complete review and watch Amazon to get your own copy.

Andrew Davis Branscaping Content Marketing World Instagraph

Click to Enlarge


Content Marketing Secrets from 29 People Who Should Know

Business content can be fun and educational. Here’s the proof.

TopRank and The Content Marketing Institute have teamed up with 27 smart marketers to put together a notebook of tips and tricks for marketers.

This is serious stuff. By “serious” I mean “seriously can help,” not “seriously boring.”

If you don’t read the 29 secrets eBook, that’s OUR fault.

If you don’t read it, your problems won’t be solved, you won’t see us as brilliant and helpful people, and you certainly won’t buy our books, read our other offerings or hire us to help you dominate the Web.

In other words, no one wins when the content is safe conservative business-speak boring. Think about that when looking at your site.

The folks at TopRank are trying. Here are some of my favorite agents:

Pam Didner #5: “Find your content dream team.”

I talk about building your “Markishing Department” in my new book.

Jim Kukral #9: “Write a book.”

I like this because the hard part is over. The book is launching September 5 at Content Marketing World.

Waynette Tubbs #12: “It’s About Them”

Unexpected Formula #1: Your opinion doesn’t matter.

Julie Fleischer #15: “Serve Needs”

We have an amazing ability to provide a service through our websites. They are actually software programs. Did you know that?

C. C. Chapman #16: “Speak Human”

Just puts a “!” on my point above. Human mans not boring.

Chris Baggott #20: “Blog to Email”

I talk about the blogcano eruption in my book. Love this tip.

Andrew Davis #22: “Your content marketing mission is to find talent. Talent that already has an audience

Lee Odden #28: “Be Amazing”

If for no other reason than because you are.

Yes, I’m in there, too. I don’t know how this line got in there or what I was thinking.

“It even works for content
that is great.”

Give me your interpretation in the comments.


The Conversion Scientist on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are two ways to increase conversion: get more qualified traffic or turn more of that traffic into leads, sales and subscribers. SEO is key for the first of these: visitors that need what you offer. Here is an excerpt from Your Customer Creation Equation on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

From Chapter 6: How Content Fuels Conversion

A Search Engine Translator

Regardless of how good your advertising and marketing are, one thing is certain: More and more of your traffic is going to come from search engines.

The top search engines on the Internet now include Google, Bing, and YouTube, and these are influenced by social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social networks benefit from a community that helps to sift and tag your content.

Google, Bing, and YouTube suffer from a fundamental lack of comprehension. Your site has the burden of communicating its content and value to these search engines, and it’s a lot like talking to the autistic savant Raymond from the Tom Cruise movie Rainman.

Raymond was the character who could repeat facts and do calculations with amazing precision. However, Raymond—like the search engines—could only understand the literal meaning of what he heard and read.

Google has made efforts to reward sites that have plentiful content, and prefers sites with frequently updated content. Hire an SEO specialist to ensure that your content is being found by the search engines. Your efforts will be rewarded with increased standing for your site, which will translate into more traffic.

From a conversion standpoint, look for SEO experts that have the following characteristics:

They talk about traffic, not ranking.

If they are overly focused on your ranking, proceed with caution. You can easily rank for keywords that aren’t being searched, or for keywords that bring the wrong kinds of eyeballs—eyeballs that don’t want what you offer.

They are picky about the pages they send traffic to.

The best SEO firms have a conversion practice. They will want to optimize pages that are designed to convert visitors.

You can optimize the home page for search all day long, but it is your product and landing pages that will convert search traffic best (as you will soon discover). That is what they are designed for. Hire a search resource that is focused on optimizing effective pages.

Original content is a key to their strategy.

The algorithms that Google and Bing use to prioritize websites like yours change once or twice a year. One strategy that seems to be consistently effective is original content.

Your search engine translator should encourage you to use original content to create keyword-rich content for your site, to place that content on other sites, and to use it in social media. These activities work to build the authority of your site.

Design Your Book Cover for Conversion

While we love to stay in the incredibly measureable realm of the online world, we know that many websites need to fuel action in the real world. As I’m putting the finishing touches on my new book, I am faced with the design that will make my book easy to recognize, easy to describe, and easy to buy.

In the book business, there are two conversions: convert an searcher into a finder, and convert a finder into a buyer.

We’ve already named the book Your Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Formulas of The Conversion Scientist. Now it’s all about presentation.

My preference will be a white cover with hand-drawn elements and a picture of me. Here is a crude mockup The drawn images are just for placement, and I’ll want to work with my cover designer before doing any drawings.


What do you think? Please let me know in the comments.

There are are some guiding principles I used to come to this collection of elements, many of which you will find in the book when discussing website development.

Here are my guidelines and some examples.

Show the Product

Tim Ash shows a sales funnel on the cover of his book.

In the case of my book, I am the product, as teacher and co-creator of my readers’ digital conversion labs, so it might make sense to put me on the cover.

I don’t find many examples of this in the business book space, and this gives me some pause. However, given the personas I’ve written the book for, it may be a way to look unique in the space.

Encourage word of mouth

When a reader is recommending a book to another person, it is helpful to give them a way to describe the book.

“You really should read the conversion sciences book. I forgot the guys name, but it’s the one with the _________ on the cover.”

In the case of my mockup, they could say “…a guy in a doctor’s coat.” Of course that could sell a lot of books for Bill Nye, the science guy.

The book Presentation Zen might be “one with stacked rocks on the cover.”

Brian Solis book Engage is the “chain” book.

Express Your Brand

Scott Stratten is a funny, self-effacing, contrarian writer and presenter. He says on his Twitter profile that he’s “kind of a big deal on a fairly irrelevant soc media site which inflates my self-importance.”

His book, Unmarketing, is in a plain brown rapper, and looks like it was stamped instead of printed.

This is potentially one of the most powerful integrations of book and marketing, and can make your book instantly recognizable for your most engaged potential readers.

My brand centers around two memes.

Meme 1: The Lab Coat

I wear a lab coat in my presentation and photos. This will be recognized by many of my readers.

Meme 2: Hand-drawn infographs

I occasionally do hand-drawn infographs when at conferences. My book has some of these hand-drawn images in it.

How Leaky is your Shopping Cart

I envisioned an entire lab in hand-drawn fashion, but haven’t had the time to complete it.

Emphasize the author or the topic?

After six years of writing and speaking as  The Conversion Scientist, my business brand is much stronger than the book brand. One could argue that it makes sense to highlight my name more so than the book title.

However, I’m not established as an author, and I’m not a household name. People are more likely to be searching for the book title than to be searching for a book by Brian Massey, or the Conversion Scientist.

I could go either way on this one.

Use universal visual memes

Drawing from universal memes in the imagery quickly communicates what the book is (or could be) about. Philip Graves uses the universal sign for shopping, the shopping cart, over and over again in his book cover.

Universal memes for a book by a “Conversion Scientist” include the lab coat, the ubiquitous test tube, the Erlenmeyer Flask, the Bunsen Burner, and other remnants of High School chemistry class.

The chemical equation will either strike fear or recognition in the minds of potential readers.

I have a whole universe of conversion “elements.”

This is probably too over-the-top.

Own a Color

Groundswell owns lime green.

The “For Dummies” series owns yellow and black.

The Guerilla Marketing books own camouflage.

Avoid business porn

In all cases, I want to avoid what I call “business porn,” or the use of happy, beautiful people who inevitably are devoid of emotion and authenticity. Wiley has built an entire series with cover designs like this. The books are excellent. The covers are uninspiring.

The words should be readable

So easily forgotten in the design of covers is that the title and author should be readable. This means

  • Avoid placing title and author on a busy background.

  • Avoid placing dark text on a dark background. Gradients are especially bad as some part of the text won’t show up no matter which background you choose.

  • Avoid placing light text on a light background

  • Acknowledge that for aging readers, light text on a dark background is harder to read

  • Don’t create font-confusion

Appeal to your readers’ tastes

Once you’ve identified these logical ground rules for your book cover, you can apply your readers’ preferences. This involves choosing designs from other successful books have done in your space.

If you get rid of the business porn, I like the simple design and white background of the Wiley Hour a Day series, and those readers interested in my book have bought lots of books in this series.

I like the had-drawn style of several recent books, and I have some ability to draw a cover such as this.

Stay tuned for the final cover art

I’ll be publishing in less than 30 days, so you can see my final cover.

I’ll notify you wen the book is out if you become a friend of the author. You’ll also get a free video to help you determine your unique site formula to increase conversions.

Talk to me. Comment below.

Want Your Website to Generate Profits?

Forget Sexy Graphics. Go Find Some Calipers.


Whether you’re an attorney or you sell baby food, chances are that more and more of your marketing, customer service, even customer transactions are taking place online. But there’s so much advice on what your website needs to look like and how it should perform, about user experience, design and content, how do you know what to focus on so your website fuels your business goals?

As someone who makes a living helping people increase their online profits, I can tell you it’s in one word: Conversion.

Conversion is the act of moving people through the process from looking for something, to buying it from you. In traditional mediums, that meant spending millions of dollars on advertising to get in front of your customers, then wowing them with emotion-packed messaging.

That simply doesn’t work for online marketing.

Online marketing is far more mathematical. To begin with, most companies have a conversion rate of about 2%. That means that if 1,000 people visit a site today, only 20 will buy something. But let’s say that, by making small changes that have been tested on similar sites—like increasing the size of the “Add to Cart” button—those companies could increase their conversion rate by 1%. That’s a 50% increase in sales.

There are many small changes like that that will steer visitors to take action. That’s why we want them there in the first place. We want them to join an email list, sign up for a newsletter, join a purchasing program or buy something. Conversion experts, like me, constantly study and test which incremental changes promote conversion behavior. We have worked with hundreds of customers, making small changes and measuring the impact. Just as turning the rudder of a ship a few degrees completely alters where the ship lands, small changes on a site can alter where a business winds up. Those incremental changes are seldom the kind of eye-catching, state-of-the-art, sexy changes that make site owners proud.

But they are the ones that make profits rise.

My new book, The Customer Creation Equation, and this blog, are about those incremental changes. How to find the ones most likely to increase conversion rate. How to implement, test, and measure them to make a website generate profits. Sign up for a guide of action steps to transform not only your website, but the future of your business!


Smart Pricing Lessons from a Nine Year Old – Caine’s Arcade

With all of the high IQs running around the Conversion Sciences lab, it’s easy to overlook simple sources of genius. Caine Munroy is one.

Caine built an arcade in his father’s auto parts store out of cardboard and odds and ends. And this arcade was not unsophisticated, employing ticket dispensers (manual), a PIN verification system (calculators taped to the sides of the games) and an intuitive pricing scheme.

The pricing system was so smart that it made filmmaker Nirvan Mullick to create a short called Caine’s Arcade.

Caine’s Pricing Model

For the price of dollar, you get 5 plays at any of the cardboard games. However, for the price of just one dollar more you get 500 plays.

Five plays for one dollar or five hundred plays for two. Would he ever sell anything other than the two-dollar ticket?

Caine was even smart enough to give the high-end ticket a cool name. He called it the “Fun Pass.”

What businesses can learn from Caine

What Caine did naturally is what Dan Ariely teaches us in his book Predictably Irrational. When offering options, you want to make your most expensive or most profitable selection the most desirable. Otherwise, buyers are likely to choose the cheapest selection.

You can achieve this by anchoring. Here, Caine clustered a five-plays-for-one-dollar option with a 500-plays-for-two-dollars “Fun Pass.” Offering five plays for one dollar sets the value of a play at $0.20, so the Fun Pass looks like an absolute steal.

Had he only offered the Fun Pass, buyers would have set  the value of a play at $0.004, and could easily have said, “I don’t have time to get my money’s worth.” By using anchoring the value of a play at $0.20, the one-dollar option makes the buyer say, “Wow. Even if I only play 20 times, I’ve made out like a bandit!”

For more on the psychology of pricing, we strongly recommend that you read Dan’s book and also check out Roger Dooley’s excellent book Brainfluence (That’s “Brianfluence” if you’re dyslexic like me).