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- HubSpot Impact Awards Finalist 2016 - Growth Driven Design-

Educating America About Self-Directed IRAs

How The Entrust Group is accelerating growth through Growth Driven Design

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Recognition
hubspot-impact-awards HubSpot Impact Awards
Honorable Mention
Growth Driven Design
   

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The Entrust Group

The Entrust Group (TEG) is the leading Real Estate Self-Directed IRA administrator in the United States. A self-directed IRA is a retirement account that gives individuals complete control over their investment choices. Self-directed IRAs don’t limit investors to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It allows for alternative investments in asset classes such as real estate, precious metals, and private businesses.

The buying journey of a self-directed IRA investor is reliant on education and the availability of knowledgeable customer service representatives to answer questions about getting started and managing accounts.

TEG has the most comprehensive learning center and was uniquely positioned to capture even more share.

Market 8 is helping TEG to continuously optimize their website for growth through Growth Driven Design.

www.theentrustgroup.com

Components of this project

  • Customer-Centric Research
  • UX design and usability
  • Growth optimization / Growth Driven Design

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The Entrust Group was able to grow the overall marketing contribution to sales from 13% to 20%; this meant a business growth that amounts to 7-digits, all directly attributable to our campaigns and Growth Driven Design efforts that Market 8 has been working on with us."
Yvonne Garcia
Director of Marketing
The Entrust Group

Situation

The Entrust Group is a mature company whose website was already delivering results in terms of traffic, leads, and sales before engaging with Market 8, a Growth Optimization Agency. They wanted to improve the quality and quantity of leads and improve marketing’s contribution to sales. They engaged Market 8 to help them run a continuous optimization program.

 

Key Challenges

  • Lack of a consistent methodology for optimization. TEG had been creating content, launching campaigns and setting up landing pages to capture more leads on their site, but were missing a structured methodology to optimize their website’s performance over time.

  • Needed to improve Marketing contribution to Sales. TEG’s marketing contribution to sales had stagnated and needed to improve by increasing the effectiveness of current marketing spend. What good does it do to put more dollars into marketing, without fixing the leaks in the website?

  • Minimize risk and build on current success. Because of the current success of the website, doing a complete website redesign was unnecessary and inappropriate. Instead, they needed an incremental approach to improving their site. An incremental approach also ensured we didn’t undo what was currently working while also making it possible to identify the changes that improved conversion rates.

  • Limited Budget. A full website redesign project for a website of this size and complexity was unthinkable as a first approach.

  • Web design talent. The Entrust Group is constantly launching new products so having a web design partner on board was an imperative.

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The Solution

The Entrust Group website was already generating qualified leads, hence a radical redesign was inappropriate. Any change was carefully considered to avoid any disruption to the current website performance and to their aging audience experience on the site. So we followed a Growth Driven Design (GDD) approach to making improvements to the site: GDD is a data-driven approach that starts with research which informs an action plan, then prioritizes actions based on the level of impact to the business. Over time, small improvements are made to the copy and design.

Here’s how we accomplished these results:

Part 1 - Customer-Centric Research and Action Plan - Market 8 began with both a qualitative analysis (asking lots of questions to TEG’s key personnel and their buyers), and quantitative analysis (looking at Google Analytics, scrollmaps, heatmaps) to determine exactly where the site was leaking money and why.

We developed a customer survey that was sent to recent TEG clients. The results gave us a thorough understanding of TEG’s buyers and insight into:

  • Specific details about the behavior of the end customers,
  • their current situation,
  • what matters to them most,
  • and whether the website addresses key questions or not.
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I was impressed by the research that went into the creation of our website. Our clients and services are very unique. Market 8 really took the time to understand us and our clients before building our website. We have increased our lead generation and have better quality leads."

Yvonne Garcia
Director of Marketing
The Entrust Group

Part 2 - Fixing Website Usability and Readability issues - To minimize risk and protect the current website’s performance, we implemented site-wide improvements for glaring usability issues (not a radical website redesign), integrating research-based recommendations specific for their aging audience. Key usability and accessibility improvements included:

  • Improved site readability with larger fonts and better contrast
  • Fixed mobile behaviors throughout
  • Established consistent navigation styles and breadcrumbs
  • Minimized risk by preserving traffic & conversion metrics
  • Distributed investment with monthly billing as improvements are implemented

Part 3 - Growth Driven Design Sprints for continuous improvements to the website. As soon as the research process began to uncover areas of improvement, we began an agile process of executing on improvements. Every 8 weeks we select new items to work on, beginning with the ones that have the highest expected positive impact on TEG’s leads and revenue. We also evaluate the results of the action items from the previous 8 weeks, and noted lessons learned that could improve other areas of the website.

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Much of the improvement involved understanding user behaviors and user intents. Once we understood that, we put hot conversion triggers in the path of motivated users. It’s like constantly doing sun-tzu on the website.”
Dustin Drees
CRO Guru, GDD and Conversion XL certified
Market 8

An Example of an Action Item in the Growth Driven Design Sprints

Example 1:

I - Situation

During the research we found out that:

  • The majority of buyers had one question when first visiting TEG’s website: “What is a Self Directed IRA to begin with?” Although there was content in the website to answer this question, it was difficult to find.

  • The homepage had too many competing messages and did not include a clear value proposition.

  • The layouts and picture selection were adding friction to the user’s interaction with the website.

II - We developed a hypothesis

If we craft a clear value proposition on the homepage and direct buyers to an introductory page that offers the “Basics” eBook in an online form,

then we can increase lead capture by 20%.

We believe this to be true because research showed us that buyers want to know “what is an SDIRA” and the eBook offered answers to this question. Analytics research showed us that users are having difficulty answering this basic question.

III - The Solution

Market 8 developed the challenger user flow with the following components:

  • A streamlined homepage with a low-commitment most-wanted action: “Tell me more about Self-Directed IRAs.”

  • Buyers were sent to a simple landing page where the ONLY objective was to introduce the concept of Self-Directed IRAs.

  • Buyers were then given the option to download a “Basics of Self-Directed IRAs” ebook which directly answered their top-of-mind question.

IV - The results

187% more downloads during the first few weeks. This single change moved the needle in terms of overall lead generation and lead quality for the company.

With no additional traffic and no promotional efforts of any kind, TEG was able to grow lead generation in a very significant way.

 

Example 2:

I - Situation

Real Estate IRAs are an important offering for The Entrust Group. Their primary lead generation piece for this segment was offered through a sidebar graphic directing to a landing page.

The page used to move traffic to the landing page was dry and unfocused.

12% of traffic moved from the page to the landing page.

II - We developed a hypothesis

If we make the page more accessible and remove a page from the conversion funnel,

then conversions on the report will increase.

We believed this to be true because heat mapping was showing little engagement on the page, and analytics was reporting that we were losing 50% of the traffic that moved to the landing page.

III - The Solution

Market 8 cleaned up the page design, to make it more engaging and easier to read.


Our biggest change was to create a submission form directly on the page. This change expanded on our previous successful implementation of this technique, because we used what we believed about the visitor at that time, combined with motivating language to drive interest to the content offer.


Before:

After:

IV - The results

A 111.7% increase in conversions.

In the previous setup, 6.2% of visitors to the page proceeded through the funnel and requested the report.

In the time after the change, 13.2% of visitors requested the report, a 107% increase in conversions.

By putting the offer in the user’s path, with the right language and timing, lead generation doubled for the same content piece. We effectively wiped out the abandonment of the landing page and increased conversion slightly above that.

What's Next

Market 8 and The Entrust Group plan ahead with a full year’s outlook of activities, projects and improvements for the website. We’ve partnered to reach and stretch the goals of increasing marketing’s contribution to sales and supporting that growth for TEG while ensuring the message is spot-on as we optimize the website iteration after iteration, month after month.

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It is always challenging to find improvements on a website that are already performing and driving real dollars to the bottom line...

However, effective web design is really a matter of understanding the buyer. We look forward to continue to help The Entrust Group in their growth journey."

Eduardo Esparza,
CEO and Chief Web Architect
Market 8

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