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    Easy 3-Step Funnel Optimization for Digital Magazines

    at Content Strategy, User experience
    Image of multiple doors representing the stages of a conversion funnel optimization

    Know everything about conversion funnel optimization for magazines? Have you finally got your purchase funnel optimization 100% down? It seems doubtful, right? And yet there is a lot to master. Everyone who’s ever started a magazine will understand that it’s typically 1-3 unique tricks that changed the game for them at several points along the way. Figuring out how to optimize sales funnel steps is tricky stuff. Understanding how to do a perfect full-funnel optimization is even harder.

    Your sore spot may not be the same as another digital magazine. Sometimes, however, there are just a few items that will put almost any magazine over the top on engagement to evolve a real marketing funnel that actually works. When that something involves magazine design tips you can turn into subscribers, what publisher doesn’t want to hear about that?

    This blog post on conversion funnel optimization for magazines will explore three of these magazine design tricks that you might not have considered yet. They involve UX, psychology, and what is hard for many site owners in the design field, optimizing your humility.

    You should have Google Analytics set up, tracking each page and post on your website, and should have meaningful goals in GA already set up and working for purposes of these experiments. Your purchase funnel optimization will ultimately depend on good analytics feedback for fine-tuning.

    Why Should You A/B Test Your Digital Magazine’s UX?

    Many websites simply don’t work in terms of UX. Your site’s UX may have been approved by experts, but experts can be wrong. If your UX isn’t factoring in A/B testing, even on paltry traffic, then you have nothing to go on. 

    There are many ways to get the traffic you need to test your content. If you advertise, you should already be trying to test your landing pages and your funnel. But there are other ways to do this without spending vast sums in unknown territory just yet. Here’ we’ll go into just such a testing procedure as you ramp up your publisher game.

    Magazine subscription CTAs that WORK

    The Controlled Visit Experiment

    The Controlled Visit Experiment

    You should know better than anyone how your site’s funnel is actually supposed to work, right? Let’s find out!

    • Do a personal test of each of your funnel goals from A to Z, starting from the initial email opt-in or the initial ad click.
    • Test every campaign for each campaign goal you track
    • Time your progress for each
    • If your time for each is over 2 minutes total, count it as a failed visit (in the negative column)
    • Average your successful tests and make that the “norm” (the standard) for your next experiments

    Got 360UX® yet? If not, this test may cause you to seriously give it some consideration for the next evolution of your magazine’s purchase funnel optimization. 

    Your site should be as intuitive and fun to navigate as a game. If that doesn’t resonate, stop and consider the course of the Web in our current 5.0 mode. We’ve come a long way, baby. Seriously. We’re there in the Jetsons mode now. The user is king now. Content is Court Jester (the quirky, entertaining jester from King Lear, hopefully, and not just a common joker).

    the faux visitor test

    The Faux Visitor Test

    Recruit ordinary people to test your site with a few simple guidelines.

    Find a group of people with no web credentials whatsoever to simply surf your site and follow the first CTA that strikes their eye to its logical conclusion. This should lead to the pinging of one of your campaign goals in Google Analytics and it marks the end of a successful visit. This could be an opt-in for your email list.

    On round 2, you could ask those people to locate the email they received from the last time and then see if they can figure out how to find the page of your email’s offer in just one click. See how many tries it took them from the email to get to the right landing page. You should time the test visitors on your mark, not allow them to do this on their own schedule. Timing matters here for purposes of accuracy and transparency.

    The Faux Visitor Test Flow:

    • The Email

    Your email creative, text, layout and CTA – If your email doesn’t get the desired click within 2 minutes and without explanation to the tester, you may consider that visit a failed attempt and count it in the negative vote column for testing purposes.

    • The Landing Page & CTA

    How long does it take your test visitor to actually get to the desired click on the desired CTA for your landing page? Got more than one? No problem. But how long does it take to select and click one? Now record that. If it takes more than 30 seconds, count that visit in the negative column.

    • The GA Goal/Event

    Your funnel is the physical manifestation of your buyer’s journey via your web assets (email creative, website pages, etc.). If it doesn’t work, your path to conversions doesn’t work. 

    See how long it takes your test visitor to perform the desired goal/event action which records as a goal in Google Analytics. Have at least 10 goals and give each isolated test subject only 1 goal to reach in each iteration of the test they participate in, so that you’re always dealing with a “fresh visitor” with no prior knowledge of the particular funnel pathway being tested. The goal here is an authentic fresh visit, not teaching your test subjects how to reach the goal.

    The < 80% rule

    If fewer than 80% (of your 100%-”motivated”) test-visitors can get through to the target action on a particular funnel and ping the desired goal, your funnel definitely doesn’t work and you need to rethink your purchase funnel optimization.

    Adjust and record your standard “norm”(average) time for each campaign you tested. This is the standard you’re going to run with for Part 3.

    random people in a A B testing environment the streets or anywhere at all

    The Real Visitor Test

    You’ve tested your ideal conditions yourself. You’ve tested out how that pans out with other people. You’ve optimized the process until you and those in your test sample understand 100% of the time how to get to the desired goal without coaching. Great. That’s just the beginning.

    Now is the time to use your ad budget or organic traffic.  This is how you’ll discover how live subjects out in the wild respond to your funnels. That’s right. We need real eyeballs to get this “conversion funnel optimization for magazines” thing 100% on track for your particular digital magazine with your assets, your color scheme, your CTA, etc. all down pat.

    You established the standard in your first round of tests. You saw how it changed from test 1 to test 2. Now in the freeform (unstructured) test 3, we’ll see how real visitors in the wild deviate from the standard (the famous  “standard deviation” of A/B testing – ). With that standard deviation range, you now know how accurate your testing currently is, and how to go about improving it scientifically (that is, .

    So, ready for the real test? Make sure your sample is as large as possible. It’s going to be different for every site, so don’t worry too much if your sample is low. It’s better to test diligently with the above process than to do a large sample where the visitors have time to figure out your funnel on their own.

    Getting it right: Once you’ve tested each goal, consider running the test another time anytime you get less than 2% of a conversion on a targeted line of traffic. Conversion funnel optimization for magazines is all about periodic retesting and tweaking until you get your CTA and funnel step logic 100% perfect.

    Not sure how to target your traffic for testing purposes? That’s going to come from organic traffic streams that stem from referral traffic or a proven keyword phrase. Ad campaign traffic may also be used if you’re confident about that traffic. No matter how diligent you may be about your testing, you can’t have great test results if your traffic isn’t targeted. 

    Now, want to know a bonus secret? This is how the advertising pros nearly always prep for real A/B testing during a standard purchase funnel optimization. That is, when they don’t pay someone else to do more or less the same exact series of tests. Want to have the best possible conversion funnel optimization for magazines that your magazine possibly can? Follow these tips. If they get you closer, but you’re convinced you can do better, just contact us for help on how to optimize sales funnel pages and get those leads in queue!

    Check out 360UX™
    Stuck in your purchase funnel optimization progress?

    Maybe it’s the UX?

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