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PhotoShelter is a web app that lets photographers easily create highly effective websites, allowing them to sell, market, and store their photography online. By applying our CRE Methodology™ to PhotoShelter’s website, we have helped it to double its annual sales. This is money that will continue to accrue every year.
When we started working with PhotoShelter, the company was already well beyond the stage of obtaining product/market fit; it was a successful business operating in a market that was relatively mature (at least in web terms) and competitive. It would never have doubled its sales if it had not aggressively tested its website to find improvements.
(Side note: If your company, product, service, web app, or whatever is still in its embryonic stages, we highly recommend you read these resources from four very intelligent guys: this article by Paul Buchheit, who created Gmail; this one by venture capitalist Paul Graham; this slide deck by Dave McClure; and these videos by retired entrepreneur Steve Blank.)
We have run many projects with PhotoShelter. Here are some of the activities that are most likely to apply to your own business:
Our surveys revealed that PhotoShelter’s visitors were anxious to try out the product. PhotoShelter already had a free version, but it had limited features, and an analysis of the business data revealed that it wasn’t particularly effective at persuading users to upgrade to the paid versions. On the other hand, we found that once users tried the fully functional version of PhotoShelter, they were likely to continue using it.
Armed with this insight, we established that our goal was to get as many visitors as possible to try out the fully functional paid version, by offering a no-risk $1 trial of it. The new conversion funnel was more popular with visitors than the “control,” as determined by a split test.
The split test was carried out using Google’s split-testing tool, but we obtained the results by analyzing data from PhotoShelter’s back-end system to compare the lifetime customer value of each group of customers.
To better understand PhotoShelter’s service and its customers, we
The insights gleaned from this research allowed us to better communicate PhotoShelter’s benefits, as seen through the eyes of its prospects.
Throughout the site, we used direct language about how PhotoShelter benefits photographers—based on things we knew they cared about, using language that we knew would resonate with them. Can you see how this stuff is no longer guesswork once you get under your customers’ skin?
For example, we reworded PhotoShelter’s table of benefits, prioritizing features that we knew the customers cared about, and expressing them in words that they would understand.
We surveyed the people who converted, to understand what made them different from those who didn’t. They reported that viewing examples of other photographers’ PhotoShelter websites had persuaded them to get their own.
An analysis of Google Analytics data confirmed that people who converted were much more likely to have seen examples of existing PhotoShelter websites.
Interestingly, this vital content was not prominently featured in PhotoShelter’s conversion funnel. We consequently added the Examples page to the global navigation bar. This subtle change may appear to have been trivial, but a split test confirmed it increased the site’s overall sales by 12%.
With all companies, the conversion funnel extends far beyond the first sale. This is particularly true of web apps, which are usually charged as a monthly payment. We analyzed PhotoShelter’s entire customer journey to identify opportunities for increasing the customers’ satisfaction—and hence the lifetime customer value.
We wanted prospects to start using the product immediately after signing up. We therefore removed all distractions, showing users a linear path towards getting their first site set up. So, for example, we changed the user journey so that customers were encouraged to upload photos immediately after signing up.
Additionally, in response to customer surveys, we worked with PhotoShelter to create more help resources for new customers, to make it easier for them to get value from PhotoShelter.
PhotoShelter’s willingness to move forward with bold changes allowed the company to double sales, and it’s still growing! Successful conversion rate optimization requires a commitment from the consultants and the company; PhotoShelter certainly held up its end of the deal!
PhotoShelter has a great service and is helping over 60,000 photographers show their work. The company is helping many of them make a living from doing what they love.
Take one step at a time. The first step is to listen to the people interacting with your site. Give them the opportunity to talk to you, and you’ll discover eye-opening insights!
Based on these insights, make changes to your site, and then use split testing software to test the changes, so you can discover what your visitors prefer.
To get a great additional tip that was incredibly effective for this project with PhotoShelter, subscribe to our free newsletter. We’ll send you a copy of the PDF straight away. The tip is a simple change to your site, but most companies aren’t using it. It’s applicable to pretty much any website.
1. If you’d like us to work on your website—to dramatically improve your conversion rate and profits (like we did for all these companies), then claim your FREE website strategy session. On this free phone consultation, one of our experts will discuss your conversion goals and suggest strategies to double your sales.
2. If you’d like to learn conversion for free, go to our “Learning Zone” page, where you can download templates of million-dollar winning pages. Or, if you’d like us to build your company’s in-house capabilities (not for free), then contact us and we’ll discuss your requirements.
3. If you’d like to work for us—or see why our team members love working for us—then see our “Careers” pages.
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