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Episode Overview: Conversion rate optimization tools are key features of every digital marketer’s strategy to convert leads. Knowing which CRO tools to use is a challenging aspect to creating a winning conversion strategy. Join host Ben as he concludes his discussion with Pathmonk founder Lukas Haensch examining which conversion rate optimization tools and metrics brands should analyze and how merging SEO data with other resources can improve conversion rates.

Summary

  • AB testing and chat bots or widgets can be useful to testing and boosting engagement on your pages, and enhance activity from users to gain conversions.
  • Reacting in real time to user actions by providing the right information at the right time can enhance coversion rates by 40% or more.

GUESTS & RESOURCES

Ben:                 Welcome back to agency month on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro and this month we’re focusing on understanding and optimizing the relationships between SEO agencies and their in-house partners.

Ben:                 Joining us today is Lukas Haensch, who’s the founder at Pathmonk, which is an AI-driven technology that provides an effortless customer acquisition channel to automatically grow clients from website and social media traffic. Prior to working at Pathmonk, Lukas also worked at a little company called Google. Yesterday we talked about how Google views technical SEO optimization and a bunch of great tips about how to optimize for site speed. And today we’re going to talk about how agencies can blend SEO data with other sources to optimize for conversions. Okay, on with the show. Here’s the rest of my conversation with Lukas Haensch, founder at Pathmonk.

Ben:                 Lukas, welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast.

Lukas:              Thanks. Thanks for allowing me back for round two. I appreciate it.

Ben:                 Excited to have you back here. Always an honor and a privilege to talk to an ex-Googler and hopefully have you spill some of the beans. And yesterday we talked a lot about how agencies can help their clients work with site speed, and honestly we just got into a million tips about how you can optimize your site to make sure that it’s showing up as quickly as it possibly can so you can rank well. So agencies or not, a really useful and interesting episode.

Ben:                 Today I want to talk a little bit about blending SEO data with other sources. And I think that this is relevant for the agency conversation, because a lot of the times when marketers are hiring agencies, they are not specifically just looking for SEO companies. And when you’re an agency, you’re not just specifically selling SEO services. Talk to me about blending the data that we get as SEOs with other channels. I know Pathmonk works with website data and social media to help optimize. Give us some tips for how we can blend all of our data together to have better conversions across the board.

Lukas:              Okay. So it’s a big question, I have to say, but what I can say is the angle, the perspectives that we’re taking at Pathmonk is that a lot of the data that you’re collecting is sitting in a lot of different tools, right? We could be thinking about a tool that is a heat mapping tool, we could be thinking about your Google analytics tool, but then the question remains how quickly can you actually react to what the person is doing on your website, on your assets. And this is where we started thinking about all of this as not so much how do you go collect all this data, do a lot of chunking, and then come with a conclusion that is in hindsight, but actually how can you start reacting on the page while the user is on the page, and while they’re there.

Lukas:              And this is where originally Pathmonk has been born from. So the approach that we’re taking is to see, okay, what signals can you collect from a user being on the page, such as their scrolling behavior, their amount of visits, their right clicks, the de-focusing and focusing of the page, everything that they do, the products that they’re checking out on your page, how can you take all of this data and then run that through intelligence and give an output such as a case study, a testimonial, frequently asked question about your product that are then pushing the likelihood of conversion higher, so that it becomes more likely that a person is actually starting to convert. So this is basically the idea and thinking where Pathmonk has been born from, and the work that we’re doing, it’s all about, okay, how can the website in real time started to react to what the person is doing, and to then provide valuable information to the user, to then enhance the likelihood of conversions.

Ben:                 I think the common thread here between what we talked about yesterday with site speed and what we’re talking about with page optimization and taking your SEO data and some of your other sources and blending them together is the ability to iterate quickly. And it’s one of the things that is very challenging for in-house partners where the aggregators of all of these data, but we need these systems that can be very expensive to be able to take in our first-party data from our website, maybe third-party data that you can collect about who a consumer is, what somebody’s … The search term that they came in on, what their behaviors are, and be able to modify the experience. So let’s take an SEO view on this, if I’m trying to blend what I know about what someone’s interest is with the page to what I can collect outside, what’s the easiest way to blend all of that data together to improve my conversion rates?

Lukas:              I have to give you a biased opinion here, and obviously my thinking is this is where we started to build on this is the simplest way is that you don’t have to do it. The simplest way is if an artificial intelligence is learning about all of those signals, it’s taking in where somebody is coming from, the source, it’s taking what product they’ve been looking at, or maybe you can campaign which campaign did they come from, which is the stream of actions they had on the page, and then what is the piece of content. And we at Pathmonk does this through smart cards, but obviously there can be other ways, but what is the piece of content that you have to show them right now that is most likely to lead to a conversion? After which actions?

Lukas:              So, my answer would be, in order to be as fast as possible with this process, it would be a real-time process. It would be a real-time process where you’re taking all of this data, let it stream into an artificial intelligence that then spits out, okay, this is the piece of content that we have to show right now with this call to action that is matching the product that they’ve just been visiting. A lot of businesses might have a lead generation form or they might have a trial or they might have a demo, but they maybe only want to have people from a certain campaign actually signing up for the demo. And all of this information, I’d say the fastest way is to let it run in real time and then provides the pieces of information that are matching that particularly user type. And that’s basically what we’re working on.

Ben:                 So talk to me about what some of those improvements when you’re working with a platform or an agency to try to collect all of this information in real time, as opposed to having a static website, what is the conversion rate optimization metric that you look at and how much can you actually improve conversion rates by merging your SEO data and some of the other sources together?

Lukas:              So, I would say the first thing is what is the status quo? What, is that you can currently doing? At the moment, the options that are around there in the world is you can be doing AB testing, which is a hindsight improvement of what has been happening. And it takes quite some effort, and I would argue a lot of teams don’t regularly actually run out the AB testing on a continuous basis. And the second thing that you can be doing is obviously you can throw in a chat bot or a chat widget or any such things in order like tools that tried to enhance the activity on the website, or the personal touch of the website, in order to get conversions.

Lukas:              Obviously there’s different baselines for different industries and there’s companies that are shooting out of the baselines, but a common number that we see again and again is around that 1.8, 1.9 conversion rate when we’re speaking to the companies who we’re working with as a baseline to start, some are lower, some are higher. What we’ve been seeing is if you are starting to react in real time to what a person has been doing, if you give them a different piece of content on the second visit or if you wait on the first visit, the first visit actually is quite a very interesting visit because it goes through a couple of phases, and a lot of the conversions happens on the first visit. We just analyzed recently is set up one million user actions and the first visit had some very interesting phases there. If you’re providing the right information at the right time, that can enhance conversions at least by 40% or more, that’s what we’ve been seeing, which means you’re moving from a 2% to a 2.87 conversion. And depending on the value of your product, that can be very significant.

Ben:                 So, tell me about some of the agency partners that you work with and how are they taking advantage of the Pathmonk service?

Lukas:              Yeah, so basically we work with … It’s from small to larger agencies, but I think a very interesting use-case is midsize agency that is working with a lot of local leads. For example, lead generation companies where, again, talking about a car repair business, I think that’s a really good example of an agency there supporting different car repair businesses on a local lead generation level, getting very decent traffic on the page. And now ask the question, how do you get more calls, how do you get more people into the business? And obviously they’re serving information that is helpful to the user at this particular time proactively, rather than passively waiting. And it’s something that can enhance the experience.

Lukas:              It’s a nice add-on to what agencies can be doing, where they can be optimizing page speed as we were speaking about yesterday, they can help you help them from an SEO perspective. But in terms of conversion optimization, we’ve been having good experiences with industry basically just running a one-month tests or a two-week tests, depending on the size, and learning from the data, and seeing, okay, what is the amount of conversions that we had before, what is the conversions that we have right now and did it help us to bring proactiveness into the website?

Lukas:              And the experience with the agencies has been very great actually because it’s an extra service they can add on and in a way make the advertising efforts, their SEO efforts, more valuable because this is what conversion rate is all about. If you speak about conversion rate, the only thing where you actually own the piece on your website where you don’t have to spend more into advertising, where you don’t have to create more content is if you optimize your existing traffic. And if you look at the average being somewhere around 1.7, 1.8, 1.78%, there’s still a lot of room to improve this.

Lukas:              So, I would say it’s a very interesting angle for agencies to take on conversion rates, a bit more sophisticated and with a bit more focus in order to be able to help the agencies to make their other services more valuable.

Ben:                 I think at the end of the day when you’re evaluating your agency partners, you can go very deep or go very broad. And one of the things to consider is not only what are their understandings of technical SEO, what’s their understanding of content, how can they help you figure out what your specific search and content strategy is, but what are some of the other places in your business that your SEO can provide value? And specifically in this case, what are some of the tool sets? So, agencies that are working with tools like Pathmonk, that are helping with conversion rate optimization, agencies that are specific for technical optimization and site speed, like we talked about yesterday. As you’re trying to investigate your agency relationships, it’s really important to understand not just what the technical chops they have on SEO, but where are the other places they can help you drive value to make sure that if you’re getting incremental gains with your search traffic that you’re actually going to make the most of it.

Ben:                 And that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Lukas Haensch, founder of Pathmonk. We’d love to continue this conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Lukas, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes, or you could visit his company’s website, which is pathmonk.com, P-A-T-H-M-O-N-K.com.

Ben:     Just one link in our show notes I want to tell you about, if you didn’t have a chance to take notes while you were listening to this podcast, head over to voicesofsearch.com where we have summaries of all of our episodes and contact information for our guests. You can also send us your topic suggestions, your SEO questions, or apply to be a guest speaker for the Voices of Search podcast on our website. Of course, you can always reach out on social media, our handle is VoicesOfSearch on Twitter, or you can send a note to my personal handle, which is BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. And if you haven’t subscribed yet and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, we’re going to publish episodes multiple times per week. So hit that subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed soon. All right, that’s it for today, but until next time, remember the answers are always in the data.

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