About one year ago, Fathom decided to focus even more tightly on areas of industry expertise.
At this time, the Fathom website –the most important medium for reaching new customers and generating more sales – was in need of a new identity to reflect our evolving approach, services, areas of expertise and brand identity.
(Cue superhero music) Enter a dedicated marketing team with the sole purpose of promoting and establishing the Fathom brand.
PRIORITY #1: RECOGNIZE THE ISSUE
As we began digging into the analytics of the website, we found ways to boost the conversion rate, audience engagement, and overall user interaction.
From a design perspective, the original version of the website was not mobile-friendly, and was not automated to react responsively to browser window sizes. Responsive Web design (RWD) is an approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors). A site designed with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids,flexible images, and CSS3 media queries.
Also, there was an incredibly large amount of real estate in the upper-left-hand corner of the home page that was ripe for repurposing. Your top priority “above-the-fold” should be establishing who you are and how your products or services can benefit your potential customers. Think of it as your storefront window; it is a peek inside of your business. If it is not appealing almost immediately, then chances are that your prospects will move on very quickly (attention deficit issues are at an all-time high on the Web these days, if you haven’t noticed).
Another balance designers must achieve is aesthetics vs. usability, i.e. user-centered design (UCD). UCD is focused on the usability of a site, or what makes for an easy and seamless user experience, including the ability to complete tasks (especially conversions, from the commercial perspective). We needed to integrate conversion-centered design (CCD) with a total creative redesign of the website. UCD and CCD do intertwine, but the major distinction of CCD is that it aims to persuade the user to achieve your business goal while ideally matching it to the user’s.
To sum it up, CCD is a discipline targeted specifically at designing page-level experiences that achieve a single business goal. It seeks to guide the visitor towards completing that one specific action, using persuasive design and psychological triggers to increase conversions. In Fathom’s case, that single business goal was to get users to request a free marketing opportunity assessment.
PRIORITY #2: REDESIGN THE FATHOM WEBSITE WITH RESPONSIVE CCD IN MIND
Now that we had established a conversion-centered design, the next steps were to mock up a website that not only maximized our new desired conversions, but also appealed visually to our target audience, and behaved in a responsive manner.
We redesigned the entire site to be responsive within our existing CSS template, but for the sake of time and this article, we will focus on the design of the homepage. The plan was simple: Focus on key elements that spoke to our customers with clarity about three very important topics:
- Who Fathom was and why we exist
- Our approach to digital marketing
- Industry specialization
The initial mockups resulted in two varying designs of the homepage consisting of essentially the same content. Version A focused heavily on our digital funnel management approach to marketing, and included many features:
- Industry areas of expertise
- Ticker for tracking revenue delivered to clients
- “About us” video
- News and blog feed
- Featurette of one of our teams
- Resource library slider
- List of the company’s top accomplishments and awards
Version B primarily concentrated on who Fathom was as a company, our goals, and our service areas of expertise. Version B was designed to be much simpler and more visually appealing than Version A, and included a large image slider with large calls-to-action; a breakdown of our digital funnel approach; a list of industry areas of expertise; our “about us” video; a news and blog feed; and a resource library slider.
Both variations included two main call-to-action buttons: “Free Assessment,” and “Chat with Our Experts.”
PRIORITY #3: ESTABLISH AN A/B TEST OF THE HOMEPAGE VARIATIONS
After some quick and masterful development within WordPress by our resident front-end Web developer/genius, Matt Thompson, it was time to put Versions A and B of the revamped homepage to work. With the help of Visual Website Optimizer, a multivariate conversion testing application, we put the two variations of the homepage face-to-face in a battle for conversion glorification. We focused our tests on three important variables:
- Our Approach (clicks to the ‘approach’ page through any stages of the funnel breakdown buttons)
- Engagement (overall time on the website)
- Free Assessment Conversions (clicks on the green button to our assessment request page containing a lead form)
The results of the test, which ran a total of three months, although very close in some cases, gave us some very important insights (see below).
While Version A led by a hair in conversions to the “Free Assessment” page, winning by 0.30%, Version B won the test for website engagement and clicks to learn more about our approach. With these analytics, we were able to conclude without a doubt that Version B led to higher engagement, keeping visitors on the site longer, resulting in higher education about Fathom’s approach and services. With this knowledge, we have set Version B as the static and full-time variation of Fathom’s homepage.
PRIORITY #4: KEEP TESTING!
And the testing is far from over! Now that we know Version B holds the highest engagement, we will utilize this data to formulate and create three new variations of Version B to A/B/C test. Because we now know that our homepage visitors did not overwhelmingly request the “Free Assessment”, we can focus one of our variations around it with a slider banner image. Other elements we are planning to test include:
- Variations of CTA button designs within the slider to increase clicks
- Moving the “about us” video above the fold to increase engagement/time on site
- Focusing the top entirely on our industries of expertise
- Designing the top fold to be “approach”-centric, educating our audience on the services and people who make Fathom unique
The bottom line is: We will never stop testing, and neither should you! Web design and content architecting is the perfect storm in which creative, conversion and analytics fuse together to become the ultimate proving ground for your business. Do you have what it takes to appeal to your audience while maximizing conversions for your business? Balancing these interests can be a challenge, but the only way to truly refine and perfect this art is through the fusion of creative, conversion and data. The measuring stick to this balancing act will always be testing – and you should never be satisfied.