John Ekman

Have you have ever been unsure of what to test when conversion-optimizing? Have you ever been in doubt regarding why your website just isn’t performing? Are you having a hard time getting the hang of mobile optimization? Then you should definitely read this post, as I had a chat with John Ekman, the founder of the Swedish Conversion Optimization agency Conversionista.

John calls himself the “Chief Conversionista.” He founded the company six years ago. He said that he has always optimized everything he does, from taking the shortest path to the subway to calculating the number of times he should shave in a week to minimize shaving time. John says that Conversionista is the number one player in Scandinavia on CRO, and if anyone disagrees, you can let him know.

Here are the major takeaways from the John Ekman interview:

  • Searchers are converters. The people who are searching on your page are much more likely to convert, as they have shown a desire to find one of your products.
  • If you are unsure of what to test, the product page is always good to check out.
  • Look at mobile apps: Where is the navigation placed? Then, look at your mobile site: Where are yours? Streamlining your mobile version with the way apps are designed is the way to go.

This post is packed with tips and interesting points – and optimizing your conversion rate is the safe way to grow your business. You do not want to miss this!

Want Conversionista’s plan of action?

As the Chief Conversionista of the company Conversionista, there’s no doubting John Ekman’s expertise in CRO. The team at Conversionista have spent years optimizing conversion and they’re now sharing invaluable knowledge with you. Get Conversionista’s plan of action and increase your conversion rates instantly.

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The traits of an ideal “Conversionista”

John described the ideal conversionista as curious. It is not a discipline but a personal trait. Most conversionistas are nerdy people who like working with details and getting them right.

You should have a passion for understanding how people work, how ideas form, what causes frustration, and what makes them move along the conversion funnel; combine all of this with being data driven and enjoying working with Excel and doing analyses.

Those traits are not always present in the same person, and two people can fulfill them beautifully. In recruitment ads, Conversionista often write, “Are you pissed about websites that suck? Then join us!”

The million-dollar question: What to test

When you are going to test, you should look at your site and use your experience from previous projects to come up with hypotheses regarding what should be changed. Then, in the second step, you do a quantitative analysis with the web analyst to qualify the rough hypothesis.

The other way is to go straight to Google Analytics and just dig into the data to find anomalies—a little bit like forensics. You are looking for clues, maybe one landing page that is converting better than the others; investigate why.

Another thing you should consider is the PIE prioritization model, which was developed by Wider Funnel: “P” stands for “potential”, “I” for “importance”, and “E” for “ease”.

The potential is telling you what kind of uplift you can get. Importance is where the improvement is happening—is the uplift going on in an important page? Massive uplifts are not prominent on all pages. Ease is how simple it can be done.

Invaluable lessons

One of John’s top tips is to find out how you drive search on your website: your internal website search. As they say at Conversionista, searchers are converters. Hear John Ekman talk about an interesting study conducted at Conversionista and the useful results it had:

If you do not know what to test, the answer is given by the fact that there is only one page on Amazon.com that the employees are not allowed to test without explicit permission from Jeff Bezos: the product page. It is simply too important. So basically, the top of the product page is paramount; if you want to start somewhere without knowing anything, commence with the product page.

Is creativity key?

It can be tricky and, sometimes, nearly impossible to come up with ideas on what to test and what to change. Listen to John talk about how they come up with new ideas and his opinion on being creative:

Common mistakes

  1. According to John, a lot of sites that are switching to a responsive design do not pay enough attention to the website’s speed and performance. They know it is important but don’t understand the magnitude of how important it is. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, as he said.
  2. The inside-out problem: Bryan Eisenberg has said, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.” Many ecommerce sellers are so consumed with doing their thing and making their site work that they forget to make the page welcoming, logical, and clear. Hear which six factors Conversionista uses to evaluate sites and which six factors you should consider when evaluating your own site:

3. One of John’s clients, who sells high-end outdoor gear, opened its flagship store in Stockholm. John went there and asked the CEO, who had designed the new store.

The CEO said that they hadn’t used an architect or designer but had designed it themselves. He said that the designers do stores so that the store looks good and so that they can be proud of it.

However, in reality, the store only needs to be the background for the products, and the products should be in the first row. John found that statement to be mindblowing since the brand new website for the same outdoor company did just that – It was standing in front of the products.

When John goes to many websites, he finds that the products aren’t in the first row— it is a common mistake. Many put too much emphasis on other things than the actual heroes: the products.

Get mobile optimized

John recently spoke at a conference in Stockholm about mobile optimization and gave what tips he had, and he said that his first three tips were:

    1. Website speed
    2. Website speed
    3. Website speed

Listen to John explain why the website speed is so important that it is taking up all three spots in the top three:

Think about the time people spend on mobile, on the apps and mobile web. John recently went to a conference and listened to Joel Harvey from Conversion Sciences, who said that 86% of the time is spent in mobile apps and 14% on the web. This means that what happens in the app shapes our expectations of the mobile web.

All of the apps have their navigation at the bottom, but all of the websites have their navigation at the top. If people spend 86% of their time in a place where the navigation is at the bottom, and then, your navigation is on the top, that isn’t right.

Think about what apps look like and how you can redesign your mobile websites. Consider the average size of mobile screens and the things you want people to click on.

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Download Conversionista’s plan of action now.

Wrap up

John pointed out that conversion optimization is a separate business. You build your site, your CMS, and your e-commerce platform, and then, you get new tools and new processes to add an optimization layer on top of the baseline.

But you don’t want the innovation process to be separated from your experimentation and optimization processes; they must all be integrated with your optimization efforts, either on the same platform or with the same API’s.

Secondly, you want as little human intervention in that process as possible; you want the machine to do all of that. It is the future, for certain, John thinks, but it is reserved for a select few, the biggest players on the market.

And that was all from John Ekman! What surprised you the most? Have you tried optimizing your mobile site, and what did you find out? Let us and everyone else know!

Emil Kristensen
Emil is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote. When he’s not busy with writing awesome content and building the Sleeknote brand, he spends his time reading and watching vlogs on YouTube (big fan Gary V). Fun fact: between the co-founders he is the fencing champ.

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  1. Mobile Optimized site is a must nowadays, especially if you are an e-commerce. Great stuff guys.

    Reply
  2. Wow, interesting to hear how searches convert more than non-searches. I would love to see the full report from the benchmark that John talks about in the audio clip, but I don’t know if they have created such thing?

    Reply
  3. I totally agree that it is important to optimize your website for mobile. Most traffic goes through the phone and a mobile-friendly website looks good to customers. It kind of shows that you are up to date.

    Thank you for the valuable post!

    Reply

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