Learn Out Loud: How to Turn Window Shoppers into Customers?

January 18, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

Another Grouporation = Group + Collaboration

Company: Learn Out Loud is a place to get podcasts, audio books and Videos you can learn from..

Problem: Currently they’re getting about 100k uniques a month to LearnOutLoud. However, less than 1% of those people ultimately purchase a product, in part because they make so much free stuff available on our site.

Question for us: What is the best way to get more of these people to actually buy products on their site?

Please leave a comment and help if you want your site, product or service to be reviewed in the future.

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11 responses to “Learn Out Loud: How to Turn Window Shoppers into Customers?

  1. Miles Reply

    Great question! We are going through a similar thing with our new site although not at the traffic levels you are seeing.

    Here’s my quick feedback…

    1. More focus on the products w/pricing – you only have 3 books showing above the fold and your featured item is below the fold. There is a lot of text on both sides of your product area and visually it made it hard for me to focus.

    2. Move the ‘Become a Member’ area up above the fold as well. That is a strong consumer message (free shipping, downloads, etc.) You have your mkt message twice (above the nav & above the books) but as a consumer I want to know what is in it for me.

    3. Make the ‘free’ stuff harder to find and make sure people have to do something to get it (looks like reg is required right?) This is kinda part of #2 but your front page should be about what you are selling. Contact these people on a reg basis – they got something for free and you’ve earned the right to tell them about your sales, etc.

    4. Cut the clutter on the home page – maybe even create a splash page that really showcases your hot items, any promotions and even some customer ranking/feedback. Make it simple and let people drill-down to the level they are comfortable with.

    Overall I think there is a ton of great content on your site but the home page is too busy and there’s where most people make their buying decision. I would be interesting to see from your 100k visitors, how many go deeper than the home page and what links do they click? Maybe you can use that data to narrow down what is presented up front and drive them to purchase more.

    Just my two cents – you guys have a great site & I’ll be sure to reccomend you as well.

  2. Ben Reply

    Obviously, there’s probably a lot that could be done here, but my intial thought was moving the checkout functionality higher on the page. Right now it exists midscreen, just above the fold. On other commerce websites (amzn, ebay, ostk, etc) the checkout functionality is clearly above the fold and in the direct view of the customer.

  3. Alaska Miller Reply

    The whole site needs to be redone. As of now I have absolutely no clue within 30 seconds what it is I’m suppose to do after landing at the site.

    The Free section is a mess but I disagree, I think you should make it a lot easier to get to. It should have one big button on the front page that just says FREE but yes make you submit an email address but have the FREE part be 5 minute or 10 minute samples. If it’s quality content people will buy it, from that point you upsell on other products. Connect with iTunes and get listed if you’re not already. Look through your current stats and notate the top 5 most popular categories that’s being looked up and market that.

    One niche I heard was teaching Japanese via podcasts (jappod.com?) and giving out 30 second teasers and charging the business travelers who would like to listen to a 1-hour or 2-hour audiobook/podcast on a plane ride.

    Make free audio book more “premium”. Invest in a CRM and make communication between the site and users easier, have a sign up box to request weekly updates on weekly free audiobooks and make that on the front page.

    The problem is at 1024, the new section isn’t above the fold. The top nav bar is hindering. The recommendation overtakes. All in all a redesign is in order. It’s a hybrid of content site and ecommerce site but as of now it’s hard for me to digest any of it and makes me lose interest real quick, which I guess is why no one purchases anything. It’s just overloaded with features. Stick with 10 at most and go from there.

    Yes I know my notes are all cluttered, I’m just frazzled from cranking out 25 layouts and mockups in the past couple days for my own site. But I think I can knock out a good mockup in an hour if you’re really interested.

  4. Jon Bischke Reply

    Awesome feedback y’all! I’m definitely handing out free hugs at Community Next. 🙂

    I don’t want to say too much right now as I don’t want to steer the conversation but let me answer a few of the questions and clear up a couple of things.

    1. We do require registration for download of most of *our* free content. When people register there’s an opt-out newsletter so we can follow-up with them. Having said that, we certainly can do more here. As for content we link to on other sites, that’s hard to do much about.

    2. Moving Checkout above the page…absolutely. We’ve moved it up once already (it used to be WAY low…) but I agree that another move is in order.

    3. Agreed on the tracking front. We use Index Tools which is pretty good but we haven’t done nearly enough analysis on patterns. Crazyegg is definitely something we plan to look at.

    Great stuff guys. Keep it coming!

    Jon
    Founder, LearnOutLoud.com

  5. Mike Sabat Reply

    Noah,

    What a timely question for me. I attended Google Unbound conference in NYC today. I probably read more than 98% of the population, but that isn’t saying much. Nevertheless I went solely because of the unbelievable line up of speakers, not because I am super interested in the business. Right now it seems like an awesome coincidence.

    Please check out my blog for some of the themes that were presented by some of the speakers.

    1. Does this site do something unique and worth my time to stick around (why do I care)? People may show up to the site for the free stuff, but they can get the audio books anywhere else for less or even free. They don’t even have to drive to another store.

    2. Does the design and copy convey what the site does and what is unique about it?

    Suggestions:

    There were many successful authors that spoke. The one thing they had in common was that they all did a tremendous job of promoting their book in an innovative way. Although I am sure they are all good writers they were successful not necessarily for their writing, but because of their marketing (not advertising).

    But they are the exception. Most authors are an expert in their field or in something other than guerilla marketing. So my suggestion is to become the website that helps authors promote their works, schedule tours, record and sell their own audiobooks, distribute signed copies, run contests, get feedback, COLLABORATE with other indie authors for promotion.

    Can you sell the same stuff that Amazon and Ebay sell only with less leverage and no secondary market on your site?

    Don’t sell or give away a commodity. Be the network where people that buy books can_______________.

    I also had a lightbulb go off right over my head at this conference and I have a “great” and related idea that I will formulate and try to post tomorrow.

    Sorry that this comment isn’t that smooth, but likemind is in a few hours and I need to sleep not review. Jon, I like to talk about ideas like this. Email me if you’d like to speak further.

  6. Berry Reply

    First, how do you get 100,000 hits a month? I am just always wondering how a site generates traffic without paying a quarter a click… of course you do have a lot of content, etc so that always helps.

    Anyway, on to my feedback– you are a an AUDIO site. People buy because they like what they hear. So I guess that is where my guidance is focused.

    When you get to a book’s page you have a link that says, “HEAR SAMPLE”. I think it should say “LISTEN NOW”. or “CLICK TO PLAY AUDIO BOOK” . You’ll notice sites are using longer, easier to understand phrases now.

    Then the pop up for the sample should have 1. A somewhat shorter clip (the one I listened to was over five minutes) I recommend three- people get bored listening- so you want a short clip and then stop it before they get bored… once they get bored they just close the site without buying… but if you make it shorter then they may buy.

    Also, consider having more controls in the AudioBook’s popup window. So when they are listening closely they can slide back and forth.

    (I know this stuff is easy to type in a comment- but could give your engineers big headaches.) BUT… in the popup window why not have the appropriate ADD TO CART LINK- Or at least a description of what they are listening to… that way they feel free to browse the site while they listen… and can always buy when they are ready right from the pop up screen… I did see one listing with a picture of the book in the popup window.

    Just remember– you sell sound so make the sound easy to use.

    You have a robust site that I am sure was not easy to put together… minor changes should triple your sales.

  7. Thomas Holmes Reply

    Wow! Lots of great feedback already.

    The biggest impression I get when I look at the homepage is one of clutter. My brain is confused and I don’t know where to go. I don’t know where my eye should settle.

    Then my eye settles on the Quick Start Guide. But I also notice there are about eight Calls to Action on the page excluding the login and register at the top.

    It would be very interesting to see where people go from this page by doing some tests in Crazyegg.

    I think you really need to go through the design on this page and decide what is important. When we were doing the wireframes for our own site, we labelled each component of the page with a visual priority level. Then it was designed so that the visitor should see the page almost in this order.

    A great example of this in action is the Wordtracker site. Though I see now they’ve added a big ugly purple section on the right – guess they’re trying to push that. But overall notice how the ‘Find the best keywords for your website’ section is so dominant. Everything (apart from that purple bit now) is secondary to that. It’s the only section with a white background. Even the branding and navigation are almost greyed out. This gives focus to the page.

    Then within that section they have a really clear message and three clear calls to action to lead you deeper into the sight.

    Visually the LearnOutLoud site has no visual priorities and it has a confusion of calls to action.
    The book Call to Action is a great place to start. Their new book is great too. This type of stuff is the bread and butter of my blog as well – persuasive website design – just follow my website link above.

    But you are in a great position – starting out with 100k traffic! With only some small changes you could see some dramatic impacts on your bottom line!

    Good luck and if you would like any more feedback feel free to contact me (thomas (at) logicintuition dot com)

  8. Jon Bischke Reply

    Wow. I’m overwhelmed by how great this feedback is. I’ll answer a few questions. Also, I wanted to hook anyone who is interested up with a discount on our site as a thank you for this help. Just enter the code “okdork” when you check out and you’ll save 20% off any order you place this month. OK…

    Porn – Unfortunately there isn’t a ton of money in audio porn. 😉

    Mike – LOVE your comments. The interesting thing is that one of the most compelling parts about our site is that we’re the only major site on the Net selling DRM-free spoken word content. And yet that isn’t even on our homepage. Shame on us… Would love to hear more of your stuff and will follow up with you via e-mail.

    Berry – It’s actually 100,000 uniques not hits. 🙂 A combo of good SEO, a little bit of paid search, some good press (we’ve been on the homepage of Digg, Lifehacker, etc. a number of times and are featured in a magazine this month that goes out to almost 3 million people) and probably a lot of good ol’ word of mouth. I like all of your suggestions and we’re going to take a good long look at how we can best implement them.

    Thomas – Agreed that the homepage is WAY too busy. We’ve fallen into the Amazon mode of just adding and adding until finally there’s too much stuff here. A couple of us here have read Call To Action (awesome book BTW) but it’s probably worth re-visiting. I agree that having 8 calls to action on a single page = not a good idea.

    Thank you guys again so much for this feedback (and please keep it coming!). We’re excited to make some of these changes as soon as we can.

    Jon
    Founder, LearnOutLoud.com