How we got a 225% lift in conversion by changing a few simple words

How we got a 225% lift in conversion by changing a few simple words


How to increase conversion rate through storytelling 

Why are we publishing an article that explains how to increase conversion rate through storytelling? Allow me to explain. As Wayzn’s CMO I have the honor of shaping the brand of a company that brings happiness and freedom to many people and their pets. Having a great product makes the job easy, or easier, or maybe easy-ish. We’re still faced with all the challenges that come with marketing and running a direct-to-consumer e-commerce website. So we put a lot of effort into it, and occasionally we make a discovery that feels important enough to share. If there are any marketers in the audience, this one’s for you.

The results I’m sharing here may be a bit hard to believe, so a little background may help increase your confidence that the approach and outcome are legit. I’ve been running A/B optimization tests for longer than I care to admit. My first exposure to controlled testing was in 1994 while managing direct mail membership fundraising for Greenpeace. I was immediately struck by the power of using controlled testing experiments to see which tweaks could outperform the control. This was before the web, and before email, so we waited two months from idea to answer — a month to make the mailing and another month for the results to slowly trickle in. And it was worth the wait. Over time we steadily improved response through testing.

I’ve run countless tests for all types of companies in the years since, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of letting customers vote with their wallets to tell you what works best. At Wayzn we use A/B testing to optimize and increase conversion rate continuously. As a result, we’ve managed to double our monthly sales volume twice in just the past six months.

When developing a new test hypothesis we tend to shy away from discounts and other gimmicky marketing techniques and instead place emphasis on getting the messaging and creative right. Recently a friend of mine suggested I read Building a Storybrand, by Donald Miller. In the book, Miller suggests applying a tried-and-true screenplay storytelling tactic to marketing in hopes it may increase the likelihood that customers will respond. He claims this approach will help clarify your message by focussing on the aspects of the offer that help customers survive and thrive.

I was skeptical at first because it sounds like the back of every other marketing book. But I read Miller’s book cover to cover, and the approach seemed like it would be worth a try.  So I read it again, and then I got to work trying to apply the framework to Wayzn Smart Pet Door.

To be perfectly clear, the old adage that there is no magical silver bullet applies here just as it does everywhere else. It took me over a month of research, brainstorming, and idea testing to arrive at the elements of the “story” we would test. After that, it took considerable thought and effort to integrate the story elements into the product page in a way that contained the necessary elements but also felt natural and could work with the existing structure and the digital assets we had available. Our goal was to test the words, and this meant leaving the structure, images, and call to action as similar as we could between the control and test versions. I’ve included both pages in their entirety below so you can see for yourself how similar they are, and what changed. As you can see, we are only talking about a few specific word changes here!

We tested the new page using Google Optimize and achieved statistically valid results (at a 99% confidence level, according to AB Testguide’s awesome test result calculator) in just a few days. The purchase conversion rate increased from 1.5% on the original page to 4.8% on the new page. To illustrate the significance of this lift in conversion rate, our cost to acquire a customer went down by almost two-thirds as a result.

This experience taught us how powerful storytelling can be when done well. It underscores the need for every brand to identify and communicate the right messages and to use words that do so efficiently and effectively. And of course it is a great reminder of the power of controlled testing. For the record, I’m in no way affiliated with Storybrand, and your results may vary. If you decide the benefits of re-telling your brand story warrant the time and money I hope you find similar success. If you need help, Storybrand offers consulting services, or you can always reach out to me if you need a hand or want to bounce ideas. Just ask for Adam.

 If you are interested in optimizing your WooCommerce store, you may wish to investigate Shop-o-meter, a leading WooCommerce reporting solution

To enlarge the images, right-click and open in a new tab, or download and open the file with an image viewer…

Original version

e-commerce conversion lift original version

Storybrand version

225% increase in conversion rate - Storybrand version

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The Wayzn story